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Overcoming fear and embracing the new world

“Fear's a thief of your wellbeing and your joy.” – Dr Pippa Grange

Watch the video above to see the full conversation or click here to read the transcript.


Our lives have irrevocably changed in 2020. We are more fearful. But fear about what could happen can lead to overwhelming emotions and have an impact on our overall wellbeing.


We can manage these feelings in a healthy way to make individuals, communities and organisations stronger.


Speaking on ANZ’s Wellbeing Conversation ANZ Group Executive Australia, Retail and Commercial, Mark Hand says the uncertainty of the future is one of the biggest fears customers and employees are grappling with.


“Will it last for two years? Will they ever find a vaccine? Is our life changed permanently or is there some return to something that looks like normal in 12 months’ time? We just don't know,” he says.  “No one's experienced this before. This is this is new to everybody.”


Psychologist Dr Pippa Grange agrees and says while we can't control our circumstances necessarily, we can control how we approach them.


“(It’s about) seeing what you're actually dealing with, facing it and looking at what it's costing, how it's showing up and then replacing it with something stronger and more hopeful,” she says.


Pippa believes this thinking can lead to a reinvigorated a sense of purpose. She recommends going beyond goals, beyond the idea of ‘what do I have to get done’, to something outside of ourselves. “How do we look at what's emerging and become more purposeful around it, especially for other people?”





Feel the fear


Paralympic Gold Medallist Dylan Alcott says he feared a lot growing up with a disability.


“To be honest, (it was) a fear of not being worthy… fear of not being included,” he says.  “I was very lucky I was able to overcome that. I guess you learn to handle your fears a lot better. Once you have that lived experience, you become comfortable with handling fear.”


But Dylan says that fear helps motivate him. “When I roll out to play an Australian Open final on Rod Laver Arena, I'd be kidding myself if I didn't say that I wasn't fearful or nervous of the situation. But I harness that feeling to help me perform better,” Dylan says.


He recommends becoming comfortable with fears and talking them through as helpful strategies. “Don't internalise those fears, because I think talking about it and communicating it is the best way to overcome them… and use them as a positive part of your life.”


“It's completely normal to feel the way that you're feeling and don't fight it.” - Dylan Alcott.


When work and home collide


While technology has enabled many of us to stay connected and work effectively from home, people are having to manage both their professional and personal lives concurrently. “I've had staff tell me they've had a couple of kids at home being home schooled at the kitchen table,” Mark says.


Others might live in shared accommodation and can’t get quiet time, the only space they have to work is in their bedroom, he adds.


“We've got younger staff who have come into the organisation early this year. A lot of graduates, for instance, have never actually met their manager,” he says. “They've certainly never met senior management and they're in meetings where they're talking to people who they have never physically seen.”


Early on, ANZ focused on how we would help our people build ‘resilience’ to steer through this crisis. We launched a HealthyMe digital app offering ‘bite size’ pieces of content on topics of health and wellbeing. The aim was to help our staff develop the skills to boost resilience and deal with challenging situations.


Being part of the solution


Pippa believes much of the burden of taking on professional and caregiving roles in the home fall with women. She recommends leaders actively encourage discussion with their employees about the pressures they’re feeling and get them involved in finding solutions.


“Discussing what's actually on the table… what can be compromised in terms of how much screen time, how much meeting time is realistic, and how are you going to rethink productivity across a period like this so that you're not expecting eight hours or six hours of constant screen time, back-to-back, because that's going to really strain people,” she says.


Watch the video above to see the full conversation.


Where to go for help


Please remember you are not alone. ANZ’s Employee Assistance Program is available for support services for ANZ employees and immediate family members. Please visit www.benestar.com or call 1300 360 364.


For ANZ employees outside of Australia in need of help or support please see ANZ’s intranet site Max for details of your local employee assistance program.


If you, or someone you know needs help or support, please go to BeyondBlue.org.au or call 1300 22 46 36. Beyond Blue has a range of resources to help support people’s mental wellbeing during COVID.


You can also contact Lifeline at LifeLine.org.au or call 13 11 14.


For information on other services that can assist with navigating difficult circumstances visit anz.com.au


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