Episode 56: Very Nice People and Other Deadly Perils

Why is spending time with very nice people not always good for you? Why does this week’s guest stick a picture of a chimp to her computer monitor? And what is the question we should ask ourselves before we say yes to an invitation?

This week’s episode is a retrospective on what the first lockdown and subsequent ways of living and working have taught us about the importance of connection.

Joining Rachel is Dr Jo Scrivens. Jo is a portfolio GP and as such, has had to adjust her working practice in a number of settings in recent months. Jo and Rachel discuss the opportunity that lockdown gave us to reflect on a quieter existence, but also how it spotlighted the importance of connection with family and friends, colleagues and community.

We know that loneliness has a hugely negative impact on mental health, equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day according to one study. Conversely, another study has shown that having a really good friend at work can increase your life expectancy by up to 7 years!

With working practices limiting direct contact with other people as part of the COVID crisis, finding ways to connect with your colleagues may need a little inventive thinking. Making a conscious effort to walk past your admin team to say hello, keeping your office door open to encourage passing conversation or booking in a virtual coffee break if you’re working from home can offer you opportunities to connect.

Rachel talks about a study that shows how deep connection with colleagues can occur with just 40 seconds of conversation. The key to getting these strong connections is finding common ground, offering feedback, and some self disclosure and vulnerability. 

Vulnerability and self disclosure allow us to become more grounded in our relationships with people. It helps us to build our self esteem as we see others are going through tough times too. A good friend at work can really help you see things differently when you are overloaded with stress and your inner chimp is likely to escape – take a listen to understand how Jo uses the chimp metaphor in a very real sense as a flag to her colleagues!

A final thought on connections – they aren’t all equal. Our connections with people fall into 4 categories: Very Wise People, Very Important People, Very Nice People and Very Draining People. Your VIPs will energise you, while your VNPs (nice as they are), don’t necessarily offer you the same energy back. Make sure you are spending your time with the right balance of people in your life to feel energised.

One way to make sure you’re not giving away too much of your time to things that don’t energise you is to improve your ability to say no. Jo offers a few tips here, a critical one being; ask yourself, if I say yes to this, what am I saying no to?

Here our top tips on maintaining better connections:

In work: 

  • Have connection at the forefront of your mind. Change your route, plan a coffee break, keep your door open.
  • Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, people will trust you more.

In life:

  • Take a look at who your VIPs are and make sure you’re spending enough time with them.

Our Stop Start Continue checklist can help you assess how strong your connections are (amongst other things) – you can download your copy of the checklist here

Download our Stop Start Continue Checklist Toolkit

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Other Podcasts

Episode 55 – The One About Alcohol

Dr Giles P Croft is back to chat with Rachel about his experiences following a revolutionary read he was recommended. You might remember Giles from episode 46, where he talked about how as humans, we naturally default to happiness.

Episode 52 – A year of the frog

The week’s episode is a special one as the Frog celebrates a year of podcasting! It’s been quite a year - including charting in Apple’s Top 100 Business Podcasts in the UK!

Episode 50 – Freeing yourself from the money trap

Joining Rachel in this week’s episode is Dr Tommy Perkins, as well as being a GP Partner, and father, Tommy is one half of Medics Money. Medics Money is an organisation specifically aimed at helping doctors make better decisions with their finances. It’s run by Tommy and Dr Ed Cantelo who is not only a doctor but a qualified accountant.

Episode 49 – The Self Help Book Group No 2 with Nik Kendrew

This week Rachel is joined by You Are Not A Frog regular, Nik Kendrew. Last time Nik joined us, we discussed a book that has helped him in his professional life as a GP, trainer and partner as well as his personal life. Nik’s back this week to talk about another brilliant book and to share what insights and learnings he’s gained from it.

Episode 47 – How to Have a Courageous Conversation

Rachel talks with Beccie D'Cunha about the conversations that we avoid and the conversations we really need to have with our colleagues, teams and managers. They can be described as difficult conversations, but we can redefine them as courageous conversations - because ultimately it takes courage for both parties to listen and be heard.

Episode 46 – Default to happy

Rachel talks with Dr Giles P Croft about his take on how to beat stress and burnout. Giles  is a psychology graduate and former NHS surgeon who stepped aside from clinical practice for a decade to explore a number of career paths, including health informatics, cycling journalism, public speaking and high street retail with his wife.

Episode 45 – Rest. The final frontier

Rachel is joined by Sheela Hobden, Professional Certified Coach, wellbeing expert and fellow Shapes Toolkit facilitator. We talk about why rest isn’t just important for wellbeing, but important for productivity and creativity too. 

Episode 40 – Leading with tough love with Gary Hughes

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Gary Hughes, author of the book Leadership in Practice, blogger, educator and facilitator who is a Practice Manager by day. We chat about how leadership in the COVID-19 crisis has had to adapt, and the different roles that a leader has had to take.

Episode 37 – How to manage conflict during COVID with Jane Gunn

Rachel is thrilled to welcome back Jane Gunn – lawyer, mediator and expert in conflict resolution who has been known as the Corporate Peacemaker. This episode is for you if the thought of addressing a difficult issue with one of your colleagues send you running for the hills…

Episode 20 – A creative solution to stress with Ruth Cocksedge

In this episode, Rachel is joined by Ruth Cocksedge a Practitioner Psychologist who started her career as a mental health nurse. She practices in Cambridge and has a particular interest in EMDR for PTSD and creative writing as a way to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Episode 11 – The magical art of reading sweary books

In this episode, Rachel is joined once again by Dr Liz O’Riordan, the ‘Breast Surgeon with Breast Cancer’, TEDx speaker, author, blogger, triathlete and all round superstar who has been nominated for ‘Woman of the Year’.

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