The Wellbeing Lab is an organization that brings the latest in technology and research in positive psychology and neuroscience to the masses via practical actions that help people and workplaces to thrive. Founded by Dr. Michelle McQuaid, Ph.D., the organization works with leading experts in the well-being field. These experts are frequently interviewed via the organizations popular podcast titled Making Positive Psychology Work. Their work is also featured on global media outlets.
Via an exclusive interview, author and speaker Michelle McQuaid recently discussed her organization and the steps she feels are important to make as the world steps out from the shadow of the pandemic.
Meagan Meehan (Q): When did you first realize that you wanted to enter into the field of well-being and how did you expand out into media?
Michelle McQuaid (MM): For me, the wake-up call came in 2006. I was living in New York with my beautiful young family, working as a global brand director, and even though I was in good health and successful, I was actually finding it harder and harder to get out of bed each morning. I felt like I was sleepwalking through my life and career. Then, one evening, I saw a Harvard professor talking about the emerging science of positive psychology and happiness. Researchers were trying to develop an evidence-based road-map for consistently flourishing at work and life. And this topic really grabbed my attention. Before you knew it, I was getting my Masters of Applied Positive Psychology under the field’s founder Professor Martin Seligman. And slowly, but surely, my energy for life started returning. I discovered my strengths and began to find more ways to weave them into my soulless corporate job. Then in 2012, I started to teach these skills I’d learned to others. I drew on every positive psychology tool I’d ever discovered to turn my dream into my daily reality. And although my introverted nature can make me socially awkward, I finally felt confident and comfortable enough to create the kind of genuine and joyful connections with others that make life worth living. People really embraced the message, and many went on to make positive changes in their lives. That’s when I knew I needed get this information out to more people than I could teach at conferences and training sessions. That’s why books, online programs, blogs, and a podcast series soon followed.
Q: Why did you decide to establish your organization and how did you build such a following?
MM: When it became quickly apparent that positive psychology could be applied in the workplace for the benefit of both employer and employees, I started to consult and coach for individual corporations. But there’s only so much one person can do. That’s when I decided to build up my wellness organization and make these skills consumable online and through books and course work. It was simply a way to reach more people and then the whole thing snowballed. As people grew happier and more successful – and understood why it was so important to focus on their strengths, word of their successes traveled. That’s how we’ve managed to build up such an active and thriving community of over 100,000 followers. It’s mostly word of mouth!
Q: You’re an author, so what are your books about and how did you find a publisher?
MM: My books provide a practical, wellbeing blueprint for leading a happier, more productive and fulfilling life. Each focuses on a different life challenge, be it overall wellbeing, identifying and leveraging your innate strengths, finding engagement, or bolstering your inner self-confidence. For each, I’ve collaborated with other experts in the field and each is self-published – and selling well.
Q: What does your organization offer your listeners and/or followers?
MM: Ultimately, we give followers playful, scientific, and actionable information and tools that can help them going from sliding to thriving in life, even in these exceptionally challenging times. At The Wellbeing Lab, we don’t just educate, energize and inspire people, we also ensure no one leaves the room without simple, actionable ideas to improve their resilience, wellbeing, and performance. And what’s magical to see is that the science works. It’s measurable. People really can change the course of their careers and personal lives for the better.
Q: What changes do you think must be made in order for companies to stay diligent as we emerge from Covid?
MM: Evidence suggests that workplaces are not stepping up to the challenge of providing health and wellbeing support for their employees. Sure, they may offer progressive flex time and health benefits. But what employees also need is emotional support and wellbeing tools. The biggest change managers should make is to express care, compassion and appreciation for their employees. We saw a bit of that happening at the beginning of the crisis, when both managers and employees had to rely on each other as they shifted into new working arrangements. We also so glimpses of each other’s home lives with those fun, occasionally funny interruptions on Zoom calls. We can’t let that slip away as businesses open up again.
Q: What has been the best thing about working for your organization so far?
MM: Oh, it sounds corny, but it really is the people. Not only the exceptionally talented people I’ve gotten to know through putting together this programs and books, but the people I’ve met through coaching, who have had their lives turned around by using some of these simple tools. It’s amazing to see and brings endless joy to my workday.
Q: What projects are coming up for you soon and is there anything else that you would like to discus
MM: The Covid-19 workplace disruption has given us a real opportunity to speed up the rate of change we need to be making at the office if we truly want to get the best out of our people. We’re going to be keeping a keen eye on the post pandemic corporate culture and see if we can get some of these powerful management tools to stick, as the “new normal” defines itself. It’s a tremendous opportunity for us.
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To learn more, visit the official website site The Wellbeing Lab.