Since the launch of JOLT Challenge we continue to hear success stories from people who have taken up the 9 week challenge. These are stories are from the participants themselves and are stories that continue to drive us forward knowing that we are making a positive difference to people in how they lead their lives and what impact they are having on others.
Malcolm wants a different role
When I was doing the work around Values in JOLT Challenge, it became very clear to me that that there were certain aspects of my role I didn’t like and was being pressured to do more of. I sat down with my manager who was also on the program and we discussed the issues that were affecting me. JOLT Challenge made it clear to me that I wanted to move to another role within the organisation. The program gave us both a shared language that made this discussion easier. I’ve ended up in a role I’m happy in, the team is happy for me and my manager filled my position with someone eager for that role. My manager said it was the most bloodless conversation he’s ever had about moving someone on and it was a classic win-win-win outcome; for us individually and collectively as an organisation. Thanks JOLT Challenge!
Malcolm, workout participant
Chunking saved my life!
As someone that was very new to a role and an excitable person at the best of times, I had a lot going through my mind of what I wanted to personally achieve and what was important to those around me. This had become somewhat chaotic and after reading the chapter on chunking, I knew I’d found a tool to take away the noise. I implemented this into my work life immediately, not even stopping to do the exercise in the journal. Chunking helped me gain complete clarity on my priorities! I even went a step further and chunked these into the big 3 and then chunked down from there. I’ve already been able to share this tool with others and it’s particularly good for those who find it hard to see the wood from the trees.
Amanda, workout participant
Interview with Chris Rickards
Manager of Westpac Bank, Queen St branch
Chris did the JOLT Challenge program from 16 September to 18 November 2008 along with 14 other participants, managers from Consumer and Business banking. The purpose behind running the JOLT Challenge program was to bring these two traditionally siloed teams together.
Mind Warriors (MW) caught up with Chris Rickards (CR) at his branch on 8 July 2009, almost eight months later to discuss any long term changes and benefits as a direct result of delivering the program into the organisation.
MW: What were your expectations before you embarked on the JOLT Challenge?
CR: I was looking for enlightenment around self improvement. I’m very keen on practical applications and there are a lot of books out there that have the information but lack the practical aspect.
MW: What, if any, benefits did JOLT Challenge have for you personally?
CR: The first thing that comes to mind is the visualisation and memory techniques. Also understanding what part of the brain triggers different emotional behaviours. The mental rehearsal has benefited me immensely in my sporting life. Just last week I got man of the match in a soccer game and I constantly use the mental rehearsal techniques on and off the field. I can use it immediately prior to action so there’s no limit to where it can help me. It’s a real benefit to my presentations. Recently I had to give a presentation and I sat in my office and ran through the presentation in my mind using the techniques and it went really well. I remembered everything so although the program doesn’t specifically teach memory techniques, I’ve found I can use the mental rehearsals and visualisation processes for that. Also the concept of ‘Anchors’ helps my memory. Doing little things to remember important things. One thing I do now is to turn my phone upside down to remind me to do something. The water bottle on my desk reminds me to drink water. The STOP tool was useful for me and the program helped me better understand how failure is beneficial and necessary for the learning journey.
MW: Have you noticed any long term benefits as a result of the program?
CR: I’m definitely more robust as a person. Before the program whenever I was in a situation that was fast escalating into an altercation, the emotions would kick in. Now I have the ability to take a break because I understand what part of the brain is working and know the best way to approach conflict. The program has aided my ability in conflict resolution.
MW: In what ways are you more robust?
CR: Well, not just in my ability to control my emotions more but also in my body. Sleep and physical activity is the engine room of my productivity. The work around sleep cycles helped me figure out that I’m a 7-hour sleep person – that’s what I need to be at my best. If I get the sleep and exercise right, the nutrition follows as I have to fuel my body. If I don’t exercise, then I don’t eat well. I’m much more aware of the mind/body connection as I’m mentally sharper, more robust and cope better when I exercise. The importance of proper breathing is also underrated. I practise the breathing techniques and use them in high tension situations. JOLT Challenge has also helped me understand the importance of writing goals and helped me find balance in my life.
MW: Apart from the visualisation and mental rehearsal techniques, were there any other success strategies in the program that have proven useful to you?
CR: Chunking has been particularly handy, chunking up and down. We get the communication from head office and it’s a 16-page document. I chunk it up for the staff before I even show them the document. I give them the big picture so that the frontline staff better understand the promotion, what’s required of them and why they’re doing it. Then we go into the document with all the detail.
MW: What results have you noticed?
CR: One result is that what we’d do in home loan referrals in a month, we did in two days.
Gratitude was also very important. Gratitude in a recession is important as it keeps motivation up. In a 360 degree report I had scored low on reward and recognition and then we did the piece on gratitude in JOLT Challenge. It got me thinking and I brought in a reward and recognition into the branch to express gratitude for the staff and it’s had a very positive response. The staff get to nominate each other and it keeps motivation levels high.
MW: So the benefits haven’t just benefited you personally. It’s flowed down to your team?
CR: Absolutely. Everything I do as a business leader is viewable by my staff and customers. That’s why JOLT’s work around optimism and drive was important to me. I’ve also taken some of the exercises from the JOLT Challenge workouts to bring laughter and optimism into the branch. It has set a benchmark for all our training – it has got to be interactive and experiential.
MW: What changes have you seen in your staff as a result of you doing the program?
CR: JOLT Challenge has had a positive impact on my team, even though they didn’t do the program because I replicate the behaviour from the book. I help them succeed by either helping them grow in their role or professionally by moving up in the bank. I’ve helped the team leaders in the branch to break patterns, be more open to change and doing things differently. And we can’t underestimate having fun. You hear the music playing in the branch? That’s John Mayer. That’s not typical branch music. You saw when you first walk in the door; we’ve got a staff member in a red T-Shirt sitting at the table with some boxing gloves on it, ready and willing to give you a free mortgage appraisal. My team of forty staff now challenge the status quo, are more motivated and we’ve shifted from 70 to 86% on our engagement scores.
MW: And what about the people you did the program with? Have there been any changes there?
CR: I was relatively new to the bank at the start of the program so it sped up the whole process of getting to know the others for sure. We’re not in silos now. It defragmented the whole silo mentality and now we’re all just a bunch of people who we work with.
MW: Before we finish, I notice you’ve got three business books on your shelf – where’s your JOLT Challenge book?
CR: (laughs). You want to know why it’s not on my shelf? It’s because it’s on my bedside table. Seriously. My wife loves it too. We dip into it and for me it keeps the learning fresh. I need to. The staff look at me, how I look physically and listen to the tone of my voice in everything I do. Every time I walk through that door I jolt myself. I have to jolt myself even when I’m feeling down as I have to set the tone for the business.
The following personal stories are from people who had have been through some pretty tough times. Not that you have to be in that type of situation for you to benefit from JOLT Challenge. We felt by sharing these stories it would show you how having the tools and knowledge you can be better prepared for what ever may occasionally derail you in life or in turn help you to be more fulfilled.
JOLT Challenge provides Post therapy therapy
We have always believed at Mind Warriors what a positive difference the JOLT Challenge program would make with people who are going through hard times, and times don't get much more challenging when you have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
"Having just experienced the most challenging year of my life dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, and the resulting surgery and adjuvant therapies that came with it, the JOLT Challenge programme couldn’t have come at a better time for me. It was relevant to all aspects of my life and has empowered me to take control of my thoughts, emotions and behaviour in a positive and healing way. JOLT’s tools and strategies have enabled me to remove barriers, fears and negative beliefs and replace these with increased self-confidence, optimism and choice. JOLT is a very personal, self-intelligence journey that leads one on a path of reflection, change and wellbeing.
At times, the breast cancer journey can feel like a lonely one so the strong socialisation aspect of JOLT was invaluable in terms of creating a supportive and safe environment that I could draw from and also contribute to. There are no barriers in JOLT, it promotes experiential learning and this quickly fostered trust and openness between the participants in my workout group. I looked forward to the weekly meetings where I could share and consolidate my learnings from the week’s reading and journal exercises. The workouts were challenging and creative but also practical and loads of fun. The Mind Warriors team have created an even playing field in that the structure of the programme is simple and effective to anyone from any walk of life. Taking this journey with other individuals is both thought-provoking and inspiring.
At the end of my treatments I felt I needed to re-group and re-energize. I found JOLT’s information on nutrition, exercise and enhanced sleep strategies hugely beneficial to my sustained recovery and, as a result, have made positive, long-term changes to these areas of my life. I use JOLT techniques on a daily basis to nurture my wellbeing and I feel more energized and stronger for it. The relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques calm my body and mind and help me manage my fatigue and stress levels. Learning how to master my emotions and understand my behaviour has given me coping mechanisms which keep me truly positive and optimistic about my journey ahead. I refer to JOLT’s strategies regularly and continue to take small steps every day to increase my happiness and quality of life. Accepting that reaction to stimulus is choice helps me adapt more readily to change. JOLT has put me on a path of informed choice where I look forward to having dinner with whatever life brings to my table!
It is impossible not to be moved by JOLT Challenge, I am extremely grateful to the Mind Warriors team and I wholeheartedly recommend this programme to anyone who wishes to become a better person and lead a more fulfilling life. The JOLT guys ‘get it’ and so will anyone who allows themselves to take this amazing, holistic journey with them."
Cancer, Redundancy and JOLT Challenge
Three months after a recent public workshop we were overwhelmed by some pretty inspiring feedback from a participant. You just don't know sometimes what is around the corner. We are so grateful that JOLT Challenge played such a positive role.
"Three things happened to me simultaneously at the end of 2009. Within days of starting the JOLT Challenge public program I was made redundant and then diagnosed with cancer. The last two incidences were obviously not pleasant, to say the least!
At this point, my learning and experience of JOLT Challenge stepped in and provided me with the coping mechanisms and strategies that helped me get through these ordeals.
Firstly, the programs experiential learning approach of feeling, reflection, thinking and doing, let me dig deep within and explore myself. The interaction dynamic in the class room allowed me to focus and take on board what my fellow learners were thinking regarding the topic at hand. Without knowledge of my ordeal, my fellow learners gave me the direction and focus that I needed in my time of need.
Secondly, relaxation, both mentally and physically, was a much needed state that I required as I faced major surgery and months of grueling chemo, along with the uncertainty of the outcome of the treatment. By learning through JOLT Challenge how to maximize my energy through correct breathing and sleep and mastering my emotions it enabled me to remain optimistic and I was able to minimise the trauma of the surgery and its after effects. For those who have not experienced chemo, it is one of the most tiring and energy sapping treatments that a human being can endure. JOLT Challenge helped me manage my energy levels effectively and consequently continue a fairly normal life style.
Thirdly, setting long term goals and strategies in JOLT Challenge, both on a work and personal level, allowed me to explore where I was going and to set the pathway for how I was going to get there. Without JOLT Challenge providing me with the platform for rediscovering myself, I may well have lost my way and consequently the optimism needed to get through the ordeals.
The twin ordeal I was experiencing was certainly a good catalyst for getting in touch with myself. However, JOLT Challenge was the vehicle that allowed me to deal with it in a way that I believe has made me a better person, going in the right direction that will best serve myself."
JOLT Challenge takes another Gold
I am a carded athlete, a four time Taekwon-Do World Champion in the event of special technique, and a Sporting Performance Consultant.
I recently completed my Master’s thesis in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Auckland. My research regarded how best to personalise ‘psychological skills’ such as ‘self-talk’ for the enhancement of physical performance. As such, I was instantly attracted to JOLT Challenge as a vehicle for further deepening my understanding of just how to take our personal growth into our own hands, while inspiring others to do the same. I am yet to come across such a comprehensive compilation of effective tools as found within JOLT Challenge and through my own ups and downs as an athlete, and my academic knowledge, I am pleased to have the chance to relate just how empowering the JOLT Challenge can be.
At this point I would like share a personal experience which I feel illustrates how the ‘tools’ found within the JOLT-challenge, as compiled by Mind Warriors, work to empower an individual and inspire them to make changes which ultimately lead to deeper growth and, as far as I have seen, higher levels of self-awareness.
In July of this year, I completed JOLT Challenge just prior to my pinnacle event of the year where I had a personal best fighting performance in a discipline which has eluded myself and many NZ Taekwon-Do competitors for many years at an International level. The scene was the Taekwon-Do ‘World Gold Cup Championships’ held in Jamaica with six top fighters present in each weight division, with each representing a different continent; Argentina, Canada, Poland, Japan, Jamaica and New Zealand respectively. At the previous year’s pinnacle event, in November of 2009, I had been defeated in the final match for gold at the World Championships against the home-crowd Argentine fighter. Through the tools found in JOLT Challenge however, this year I was able to detach myself from both anticipating the outcome of a rematch with this Argentine as well as the results of the previous match. We went on to meet in the final once again, only this time, a spectacular knockout head kick won me the match. It was a surreal experience, and here I would like to state that although I have relatively always been physically well prepared, I feel this break-through occurred as a result of unlocking my own potential with the help of several tools found within JOLT Challenge. What I had spent years researching for my master’s thesis in terms of personalising an approach to gaining a psychological edge, had been brought to life for me in a most dramatic way.
It is my sincere belief that JOLT Challenge is an invaluable approach to enhancing the performance of athletes, because it addresses issues that are deeper than our superficial awareness, helping us to uncover barriers that may prevent us from fulfilling our dreams out of fear or insecurity. Put simply, I feel JOLT Challenge contains the tools required to liberate athletes to dare to be their best.
Carl van Roon
JOLT Challenge helps win Gold
We got a lovely email from Kaye Jackson 2009 World Masters Squash Champion. Kaye won Gold in the over 60's category and credits the teachings of JOLT Challenge of helping her go all the way. She writes...
"I want to thank the Mind Warriors team for changing my attitude to life, and for contributing to the success I enjoyed in my sporting endeavours during 2009. I bought the JOLT Challenge book and hadn't got past the foreword when I read the passage "Why change is difficult" which has changed my way of thinking and behaviour completely.
I have found this paragraph so helpful in helping me deal with certain areas of my life that weren't to my liking. I would get very down but kept dwelling on something I couldn't change – and even though it was painful, it was what I had gotten used to, and in a perverse sort of way, comforting.
I then realised I needed to change my way of thinking, and not slip back into the same "poor me" mentality and it has worked. The chapter on "Mastering Your Emotions" and "Inner Voice" gave me personal insight and as a result I am a much happier person and am enjoying whatever every day brings to me.
Being a professional sportsperson, I have played in many national and international competitions. In September 2009 I was playing in the Australian Masters Squash Open and I spoke to one of your JOLT Challenge trainers and said "I am really going to try and win this competition." His reply shocked me when he said, "Well, my bet is you won't". I asked why not and he said "Listen to you, you are really going to TRY and win this competition." What you should be saying is 'I am GOING TO WIN this competition'." He reiterated the importance of having an empowering inner voice and using the right language to program your mind.
Needless to say, when playing in the final, I was struggling, and my inner voice started criticising me. At this crucial moment in the game, his words came back to me, and I stopped "trying to win" and went out and won. I again used the wisdom of JOLT Challenge a month later at the World Masters Games and won the Gold medal. So thank you Mind Warriors and keep up the good work."