Mental fitness and the making of an industry leader | Ozwater

Australia's International Water
Conference & Exhibition

Mental fitness and the making of an industry leader

Posted 11 May 2018


Two thought-provoking keynote speakers wrapped up the Ozwater’18 conference at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, by revisiting the central theme of the three-day event – Evolution Revolution.

Advanced Water Management Centre Director Professor Zhiguo Yuan walked the attendees through the evolution of his own career from aeronautical engineering into wastewater research.

“The career goal that has driven my own personal evolution for the past 20 years is how much I wanted to make an impact, how much I wanted to create my own revolution,” Prof Yuan said.

“Even though I was doing well in aeronautical engineering, I felt moving into the water industry gave me the opportunity to have real-world impact, and it was a way in which I could make a significant contribution to something that really mattered.”

But the making of a leader in the water industry, or any industry alike, takes more than just personal drive, according to fellow keynote speaker, Dr Paula Robinson – Managing Director of the Positive Psychology Institute.

An enduring theme of the Ozwater’18 conference was the notion of employee wellness and its importance to the industry as a whole.

According to Dr Robinson, the way forward for the water industry is to ensure organisations have a firm focus on assisting their employees to take care of their mental fitness by allowing them to focus on their strengths.

“Science is showing that people don’t know what their strengths are, but they know what their weaknesses are and can rattle them off,” Dr Robinson said.

“Knowing your strengths and using them more often will give you greater levels of wellbeing. But not only that, when you perform better at work, you don’t get as sick and you’re physically more robust.

“In business, staff who know their own strengths have less stress, higher engagement, are more resilient, help increase business profit, turnover jobs less and show improved productivity.”

According to Dr Robinson, we have 50,000 thoughts a day and 95% are below our levels of awareness and are not facts, but stories we tell ourselves.

“We call these ANTs – automatic negative thoughts,” she said.

“And the goal is for us to turn them into PETs – performance-enhancing thoughts – for the betterment of our mental fitness, our physical health and in turn, our career and the industry it fits within.”

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