Remarkable Lives Leadership Series with Stewart Hill | Thursday 15th July

  • Thought Leadership

On Thursday 15th July, FWB Park Brown hosted the first of their Remarkable Lives Leadership Series. This series has been inspired by Matthew Quinn, Managing Director of the Future Sales Factory, and focuses on overcoming adversity through excellent, creative leadership.

Stewart Hill, a retired Senior Army Officer and Leadership Expert, had the group gripped from the very beginning. Stewart described his remarkable story surrounding his early career in the Army, how this was quickly ripped away and the incredible journey he has been on ever since. He shared openly with the group his personal experience of being in Afghanistan and the raw detail of what happened the harrowing day his life changed forever due to brain injury. Following this, Michael Dickson, Director at FWB Park Brown facilitated a conversation allowing guests the opportunity to ask Stewart questions and give their thanks for his thrilling session.

Stewart opened by sharing what he had learnt about creativity through living with this injury, discussing creativity and innovation and the tools we can use in our personal and work life, which was particularly useful as we continue to live through the pandemic. He compared this to how we are coping with the “new normal” of the pandemic. We as humans, have brains that can push through adversity, think differently, and find new solutions. The brain is like any other muscle so we should exercise and look after it like we would the rest of our body, and Stewart discussed the tools we can use to benefit our minds.

Stewart discussed tools in three simple categories:

Minimising negative emotions

Negative emotions will narrow our focus and hamper our thinking, so it’s important to be mindful of how detrimental this can be. Now more than ever we are living with anxieties and stresses, and Stewart emphasised we need to rid our minds of corrosive negativity to allow creativity and growth in our thoughts. He recommended a technique of ‘power of poetry. He found through extremely dark times that writing down powerful language on paper had a positive impact for him.

Promoting positivity

Research shows that employees who are happy and positive are better lateral thinkers and can process complex information and have wider attention spans. We should conduct intentional activities to improve positive aspects in our lives and try to change anxiety into excitement, reframing our way of thinking. Using ‘small positives’ and writing these down on paper initiates appreciations, which in itself can be a robust strategy for improving personal and employee wellbeing.

Generating new experiences

Stewart noted the impact of generating new experiences and being creative in situations, which he termed as ‘finding your art’. A personal example of Stewart’s was pushing himself to be part of a West End Show, alongside other injured soldiers. He explained that problems are best solved through diverse teams, not necessarily the most talented individuals.

Stewart closed the enthralling session with advice on practically implementing these three creative strategies. The overarching message of the session was to focus on applying creative outlets, as creativity can help us adapt to stress. Creative outlets such as poetry, writing, and art can allow our minds to explore and grow and we should be open to these as a vital exercise for our mental health and wellbeing. Stewart’s ability to flourish with a brain disability is down to his resilience and using positive psychology interventions to make his life better; techniques applicable to any of our lives. All of us can make our lives better, irrespective of our circumstances.

After an exciting start to the series from Stewart, we are delighted to welcome Vanessa Ruck on Thursday 19th August. Vanessa is a motorcycle rider, Keynote Speaker and Influencer. If you are interested in hearing more about these series or similar events please see a link to the brochure: Remarkable Lives Leadership Series brochure.

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