I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the perpetual, circular relationship between energy and performance. This may be because I’m now over four months through my Pulse assignment and I want to do everything I can to continue to dig deep and deliver my absolute all for the remainder of this privileged opportunity. Or it may be because I’m now starting to hear from GSK colleagues who will form the next cohort of Pulse volunteers in June and I’m reflecting on what advice I can offer about how to sustain themselves once the initial euphoria of a new environment passes and the real complex challenges hit home. Maybe it’s because I’ve just started training for the Orange United 10K run on 28th June at Eton Dorney and I’ve never run that far in my life. Or even maybe it’s because I tend to hot desk near Save the Children UK’s team of nutritionists and therefore hear about the energy provision of different types of food.
I’ve found my Pulse assignment to be an immensely helpful self-learning opportunity of what I need to nourish mind, body and soul!
I’ve discovered that what I eat at lunchtime can have a huge bearing on my whole afternoon. At GSK, I’d always brought home-made sandwiches but I’ve now experienced the revelation and become obsessed with the power of the super food salad! A great advantage of the Farringdon area is that there is a limitless supply of well-known food chains offering a reasonably priced lunch and who knew that falafel and hummus could be so filling whilst preventing that post-bread slump.
It would have been easy to fall into the trap of staying at a desk all day and trying to power through the day to deliver even more for children, but the reality is that both the quality and quantity of my work improves immensely in the afternoon if I take even only a short break at lunch to focus on something completely different.
During my time here I have enjoyed many lovely experiences over lunchtime. This has included short walks that have invigorated the body whilst helping me to connect all the different parts of east London together in my head above ground rather than just knowing the tube system. I’ve discovered many beautiful parks and gardens and felt the restorative powers of the sun on my face, as I’ve watched the trees and flowers change through the season. I’ve improved my cultural sensibilities by dipping into local museums and art installations for flying but inspirations visits. I’ve even visited local churches for some spiritual nourishment at times. Even today, my short lunchtime jaunt led me to discover that St John’s Lane where the SCUK offices are based is so called after the parish church of St John’s, which developed use of St John’s Wort as a herbal remedy and also stimulated the founding of St John’s ambulance association (see attached photo of the cloister gardens at St John’s – a lovely spot to enjoy lunch).
I’ve attended many of the enlightening lunchtime talks that Save the Children puts on in their basement café and meeting area. I’ve listened to external and internal speakers talk about topics ranging from Education programmes in emergency situations, to helping lift boys out of being child soldiers, to collaborations between the Department for International Development and Nike to support the empowerment of girls in Ethiopia & Rwanda.
I’ve developed a new appreciation for how having coffee with new colleagues (both Save and GSK) can nourish the mind by sharing different ideas, whilst at the same time nourishing the soul through developing new friendships.
One of GSK’s leadership expectations is “Release energy” which applies to releasing energy in ourselves as well as releasing energy in others. It’s taken this assignment for me to realise how knowing exactly what works for me is so critical to the energy I can give to others and as I begin to get excited about returning to GSK, I am questioning myself about what more can I do to bring higher levels of energy back to our important work.