On Tuesday 26th September CEW hosted the Young Executive event ‘The Beauty of Failure’. The evening marked the second event in the CEW Young Executive programme following the huge success of the launch event that took place in April this year.
Sarah Brown, Chairman of the CEW Young Executive Committee and founder of Pai Skincare, introduced the event by thanking Global Media and Entertainment for hosting the evening before handing the floor over to Kathleen Saxton, founder of Psyched Global and The Lighthouse Company.
Kathleen began by explaining to the audience how she has always been fascinated by the workings of the human mind and psyche. After 19 years in marketing, media and technology Kathleen founded the Lighthouse executive search firm in 2009 to bring a psychological lens to the world of work. This curiosity led Kathleen to take a parallel journey to qualify as a Psychotherapist and launch her second business: Psyched.
During the course of the evening Kathleen openly discussed the fear of failure: what it means, what causes it and how to overcome it in order to unlock creativity and enjoy true success in life. Kathleen explained to the audience that as a child she was ‘destined for failure’ – after struggling with an unsafe home life and tragically losing her home at a young age. Despite this Kathleen knew that she was ambitious. She became head girl at school and soon learnt that if you really want something in life you can always find a way to get there.
At the age of 18 Kathleen made the brave decision to move to London with the aim to forge a career for herself. Kathleen spent some time working as an assistant for Theo Paphitis who taught her many valuable business skills that she has held on to during her professional career. Despite this however, Kathleen also experienced many setbacks during the early stages of her career and had to learn how to deal with a multitude of failures.
By definition failure means ‘an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success’. However, Kathleen disagrees with the gravity that this definition holds and encourages people to always look for the beauty in their setbacks. Kathleen explained to the audience that human beings have two brains – the Limbic System and the Prefrontal Cortex or ‘Modern Brain’. The Limbic system experiences fear a split second before something happens including last minute headaches or stomach aches. In contrast, the Modern Brain works emotionally and will will make us doubt ourselves and worry about disappointing others when faced with fearful situations.
In order to combat these physical and psychological symptoms of fear Kathleen discussed the use of ‘The Five V’s’: The Five V’s
• Vulnerability – Be brave enough to discuss your vulnerabilities with others
• Voicing – Ask yourself what is that you need, want and feel
• Vanquish doubts – Once you have established what you need, want and feel you must vanquish the inner critic
• Valour – Dig into your drive, seek out your inner valour and move out of your comfort zone to combat fear
• Visualize success – You must now visualize exactly what it is that you want - as soon as you can imagine something happening you can achieve it
Imposter syndrome Kathleen explained that imposter syndrome is an inability to internalise success, this can include an individual feeling as though they are a private fraud and constantly putting their successes down to ‘luck’ or a ‘right place right time’ attitude. Studies have shown that 70% of people have experienced imposter syndrome and that women are far more susceptible to this than men.
How to combat imposter syndrome
• Stop trying to know everything and accept that as an individual you can only know so much
• Accept that no matter who we are or where we are from, ultimately we are all the same
• Perform ‘power poses’ ahead of nerve wracking situations to lower cortisol levels and raise testosterone
• Be careful how you talk about yourself to others because you are listening
Ultimately Kathleen emphasised the importance of being kind to ourselves and never downplaying our achievements. In a society that is fixated with the image of health we must understand that a healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. It is imperative to look after our mind in order to learn how to act in adversity and flourish in otherwise difficult situations. The evening concluded with a flurry of questions and comments from the audience before Sarah Brown thanked Kathleen for hosting what was a truly inspiring and eye-opening evening. Caroline Neville, President of CEW said “CEW’s Young Executive Membership has now reached over 200 members since the programme began in March. There is undoubtedly the desire by our younger members to have their own programme which speaks to them. I would like to thank our Young Executive Membership committee - Sarah Brown, Alison Page, Ella Dolphin and Gillian Ponting for putting this excellent programme together.”