I know too well how overwhelming it can feel when you can't reconcile your high-achieving nature with the toll it can take on your life. Following my undergrad in Economics at the University of Cambridge, I went on to become an investment banker, the Head of Data at a food-tech start-up, the COO of a tech-startup and the founder of a healthy food company. In over a decade of working in high-pressure roles, I had multiple burnouts with significant consequences on my health. As I could no longer watch my health and happiness disintegrate, I decided to take a step back – in order to step in stronger. I was certain there had to be another way of thinking, operating and connecting with those around me. One that wasn't detrimental to my health and happiness, and still empowering my aspirations.
With a curious mind, I set out to explore stress and resilience from every possible evidence-based angle I was be able to find. If I wasn't ready to accept my GP's advice to "just rest", I had to find another way. Putting to use my love for learning and experimenting, I was becoming not only more knowledgeable but also more aware of my own thought and behaviour patterns. I realised that resilience was a combination of mindset and life systems, that stress in itself wasn't necessarily all bad, and that at the heart of the matter was how I responded to stressful situations. But most importantly, that all that could be learnt through practice – it did not need to come naturally. I was gradually becoming a happier, healthier, more creative and productive person.
What's most interesting is that all along that “inner wisdom” existed within me, just as it exists within you. It just needed to be surfaced and cultivated. With a new mission of serving other high-achieving entrepreneurs in reaching their peak performance without compromising on their wellbeing, I went on to train as a transformational life coach, a stress management coach, a health & wellbeing coach, and a plant-based natural chef. In the process, I was working towards founding "new baseline".
Why "new baseline"? Five years ago I came across the concept that we as human beings are born with a “set point” of happiness – a baseline point around which we hover up and down for our entire life. In studies and surveys, researchers found that lottery winners as well as victims of debilitating illnesses both resumed their set point of happiness within a year after experiencing these extremely positive or negative events. I remember feeling deeply unsettled. Could I really not evolve to become a happier person? During my exploration of stress, I learnt that we can in fact shift this “set point” of happiness, this baseline.
"Happiness can be trained because the very structure of our brain can be modified" – Richie Davidson, neuroscientist and Director of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. This phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity – the ability of the adult brain to change its structure and function by generating new cells and pathways, in response to experience.
The key to raising our baseline is making a habit out of certain practices, thoughts and behaviours. Restructuring our everyday systems to incorporate these practices which nurture our cognitive, emotional and physical wellbeing – it’s the gift to ourselves that pays dividends to others.
• new | baseline founder •
• performance & wellbeing coach •
see more about my past experience in start-ups and finance