Episode 85: Why you’re stressed out at work (and what to do about it) – with Sophie Coulthard of FidlLeaf

Wellbeing expert and co-founder of FidlLeaf Sophie Coulthard explains the link between our values and wellbeing and how we can effectively assess and improve our wellbeing at work using the science of Axiology.

Today’s guest

Sophie Coulthard of FidlLeaf

Website: FidlLeaf

Facebook: FidlLeaf

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Twitter: Sophie Coulthard

LinkedIn: Sophie Coulthard

Sophie is the co-founder of FidlLeaf, an online wellbeing and personal development platform for individuals and companies.  She is a workplace wellbeing expert and helps companies to build a culture based around values that support the personal and professional wellbeing of their teams. 

She is passionate about helping companies to see that wellbeing is more than yoga and perks and can have a positive impact on the company culture and the bottom line when done right.

Sophie is based in London and when she’s not speaking at a conference or delivering a workshop you can find her running through Wimbledon Common or relaxing with a homemade Negroni… it’s all about balance!

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • [1:20] Who FidlLeaf are and what they do.
  • [2:18] The science used in FidlLeaf’s assessments.
  • [3:33] What Sophie was doing before she co-founded FidlLeaf.
  • [5:40] Why Sophie wanted to create FidlLeaf.
  • [7:39] The self-serve nature of the platform and how that allows for flexibility.
  • [8:38] What the science of Axiology is all about.
  • [11:50] What values are, how they can change, and what causes this.
  • [14:30] What your ‘intrinsic self’ is and how it differs from the roles you play.
  • [15:45] The different kinds of intrinsic values that people have.
  • [17:34] Why values are important to your well-being.
  • [19:43] How you measure a healthy balance between work and life.
  • [20:24] How to prioritise which areas of your life need change.
  • [22:19] The balance in changing internal and external pressures in your life.
  • [25:11] How FidlLeaf collects data.
  • [26:28] The format of the assessment and how it pushes you to make value judgments.
  • [29:33] The different types of people FidlLeaf’s assessment can help.
  • [32:11] The benefits of doing an assessment like this.
  • [33:42] What the future for FidlLeaf looks like.
  • [34:45] The resources Sophie recommends and the free workshop she runs.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 85: Why you’re stressed out at work (and what to do about it) - with Sophie Coulthard of FidlLeaf

Jeremy Cline 0:00
Do you feel like you're always stressed at work? Do you have a feeling that things are just out of kilter, they're not quite the way they should be? Have you started to read self-help books, but found that they just don't quite answer the questions that you need answering? How do you figure out what's going on and what you should do about it? That's what we talk about in this interview. I'm Jeremy Cline and this is Change Work Life.

Jeremy Cline 0:37
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the podcast that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. In Episode 65, you may remember that we interviewed Adam Alton, who is a co-founder of FidlLeaf, a workplace wellbeing and personal development platform. And after that interview, I was really keen to dig into some of the science behind the platform, and find out a bit more about how we can improve our wellbeing when we are at work. So, I'm delighted to be joined this week by Sophie Coulthard, who is Adam's co-founder at FidlLeaf. Sophie, welcome to the podcast.

Sophie Coulthard 1:11
Thank you for having me.

Jeremy Cline 1:12
Can you start, Sophie, by reminding us a bit about what FidlLeaf is and who it's for?

Sophie Coulthard 1:17
Yeah, sure. I think you've actually summed it up really well. I remember when I listened to Adam's episode, I wrote down how you described it, because it was such a good, clean, concise way of saying what we do.

Jeremy Cline 1:29
I'll send my marketing bill.

Sophie Coulthard 1:31
Thank you. Yes, we are a wellbeing personal development platform. We are available for individuals and for companies, as well. So, anybody can use it. And the idea, the kind of ethos behind what we do is that to get the best out of yourself in a working environment, you need to focus on your own personal development. And when you focus on yourself, when you focus on your wellbeing, then you will naturally perform better at work, but also you'll get more out of life as well. And so, the platform supports people with various areas of personal wellbeing, and they're all areas that can impact across our lives. So, self, personally and at work.

Jeremy Cline 2:15
And what does that support look like, what's on the platform?

Sophie Coulthard 2:18
So, everybody who takes a subscription with us, they start with an assessment, I think this is what we're going to talk a little bit about the science later. So, the assessment is, we call it the wellbeing assessment, and it's based on a piece of Nobel Prize nominated science that was created really as early as the '60s and '70s, and it's used by organisations in many different ways. And we have applied it in a specific way that looks at wellbeing. And so, once people have taken the assessment, they will be able to understand their results in 10 different areas. And they're things such as self-criticism, how you handle stress, how you regard yourself, look after yourself, self-esteem. So, they're very self-orientated, but I'm sure anybody can see how these things are areas that will impact not only each other, but also how we behave, let's say, how we behave at work and how we behave in our relationships.

Jeremy Cline 3:23
Cool. Before we dig into that, I'd love to know a bit more about your background. What were you doing before you and Adam met and you co-founded FidlLeaf?

Sophie Coulthard 3:33
Yes, so I've got a bit, I will keep my backstory quite brief, because I've been one of those typical millennial job hoppers, I would say, that bounced around quite a few different companies when I was younger. I think that my interest in all of this came about really through my dad. He's a performance coach by background, so he works with sports people and also companies and looks at developing performance. And when I was younger, summer holidays or when I had breaks from work, I would follow him around and sit at the back of a classroom or a workshop, thinking that I wasn't taking anything in. But actually, a lot of it did sink in. And I became more interested in performance and how we can develop ourselves. And he actually came across this science when he was coaching a golfer, he was looking at whether it could improve their performance, and when he started to get into it, he then flew to US where the team is that were looking after the assessment that he ended up becoming involved in. And through him, I trained in this science, really got to understand the meaning behind it and that, the science is called axiology, so, started to understand a bit more about that, and then used it in my work really as a consultant. So, going in, having people take the assessment in companies and then giving them their feedback. And the thing that struck me was that it was always the wellbeing areas that stuck out the most to people or had the biggest impact on people. And so, it became clear to me that they were the most important part of people's results. And so, my idea was to develop this further into a platform that people could access, get their results, and then, crucially, get the what next, get the support or learn how to develop these different areas. And that's when I met Adam, and we started to build it.

Jeremy Cline 3:33
So, what weren't you doing when you were going and consulting with these companies that you wanted to do?

Sophie Coulthard 5:40
I wanted – thinking with a business hat on, what I was doing wasn't scalable. Going in and giving people feedback one-to-one on their results and interpreting their results, really, is what people that use this science often do. What I wanted to do was build something that was very simple, streamlined, that took away a lot of the fluff and focused on the areas that really dig in to people. When you see a result for self-criticism, and you really start to understand about how critical you might be of yourself, how much you beat yourself up and why you do that, is it because you have high standards, and therefore you're trying to be a high performer in the workplace, but actually, it's having a negative impact, because you're being very self-critical, and that, in turn, is driving down your self-esteem? I wanted to be able to put this into something where people could come to it, understand, and then learn different ways that they could develop themselves that aren't... One thing that I struggled with when I was looking at a lot of these workshops and self-development platforms, especially when they're aimed at companies or being sold to companies, is that they were very corporate, quite stiff sometimes in their approach. It didn't have a lot of personality. And I didn't feel like I could relate to a lot of it. And I think that's what a lot of people struggle with, particularly younger people – they spend their time on YouTube, on social media, so why wasn't the development content out there a little bit more suited to that? And that's what I wanted to combine into the platform. So, we do use a lot of podcasts, YouTube, videos, and shorter videos as well, to capture people's attention.

Jeremy Cline 7:30
And so, is it all intended to be consume-at-your-own-pace stuff? Or do you still do in-person assessments, workshops, that sort of thing?

Sophie Coulthard 7:39
I do still do face-to-face work with people. Obviously, not right now. But I do still work with people. But the idea is that it's a self-serve platform. So, people can log in whenever they like, and put that time into their own personal development and wellbeing, either when something crops up, so maybe they're going through something at work and they can turn to it for some extra support, or just as part of their personal growth, really. I think we think about wellbeing very much in terms of health and fitness. And it's quite easy to understand the concept that we should be working out regularly in order to see results. And I think the same goes with personal growth. And so, that's what we're trying to build, something that people can come back to and work on over time.

Jeremy Cline 8:31
You used a word earlier that I'd never heard of before – axiology. What is axiology?

Sophie Coulthard 8:38
Yes, so axiology is the foundation of the science that we use, the wellbeing assessment. And it's better I start with this, and I'll try to keep it interesting as well, and not go too geeky on it. But the science of axiology is the science of value. So, how would I put this? It's looking at how people value things, and generally, if you value something more, you will tend to give it more attention, you'll tend to be better at it. So, it looks at this and it looks in terms of – a very simple way of saying it would be if you value yourself, you'll likely have a higher self-esteem. Very simple. And the assessment breaks axiology down and looks at these different areas within it. So, there's three areas within axiology or within this science, and they are, and if I talk about it in terms of your self, you have your systemic self, which is where you sit in the system, or you as a cog in the wheel of life, let's say. You have your extrinsic self, which is almost your social self, or the role you play in the world. So, you might have yourself as a husband or as a scientist, or whatever that might be. And then you have your intrinsic self, which is your true inner self, your moral self, that doesn't always get seen by everyone, but that is your true inner being. And it's about understanding these three. And we're using them all. But understanding that the intrinsic self is the most important one, and this is where people quite often get lost, this is where organisations get lost, and it can be applied across all these areas. It's looking at the fact that the intrinsic, your true self, it should be the priority. I hope that made sense.

Jeremy Cline 10:45
Yeah, it absolutely did. Do you know what the origins of the word itself are?

Sophie Coulthard 10:50
It's Greek, I believe it's Greek. See, I'm a bit of a, I like to read these things, but I'm not an academic by background. So, I always like to have something that I can read and understand in plain English, and I don't tend to get too deep into the nitty-gritty, but I do believe it's Greek. Axio is value, and then in the '50s, '60s, '70s, it was developed by a man called Dr Robert S. Hartman. And he is known as the father of what they call formal axiology. And he is the man that invented the science that we use.

Jeremy Cline 11:27
The question of values is one that, it can be quite a difficult concept when you first present it to someone. So, when someone says, 'I'm unhappy in my job', and you say, 'Oh, start to look at your values', and they kind of give you this weird quizzical look, 'What on earth do you mean?' So, how do you explain to someone, when we talk about values, what do we actually mean?

Sophie Coulthard 11:51
It's interesting, because I always ask this in workshops, I always ask people, what is a value? And people most likely say it's a belief or it's your moral compass or it's an internal compass pointing you in the right direction, is quite often an answer that I'll hear. And I then normally ask, can your values change? And I think this is really interesting, when you compare values to personality, and anybody that's familiar with the personality type assessments, the Myers-Briggs and those areas, will know that your personality tends to be quite fixed from a fairly young age, but your values can shift and change over time. And they can shift based on just your experience, your life experience, but they can also change if something traumatic happens to you, it can shift your values very quickly, or something like the birth of a child can suddenly transform your values, because as a, not an anecdote, but as an example, if you are somebody who's lived very much in your extrinsic self, your social role in life, perhaps let's say that's as a teacher, and you associate yourself with being a teacher, and then suddenly you have a child, your values may shift to being very intrinsic, because suddenly, it's a human, sort of deep, inner connection that you have, and it might shift your values in that way. And so, values can change over time, and you can develop them as well. And I think, if we get down to the big questions about things such as are people born racist, homophobic, etc., etc., or are they values that have been taught to them, and can you change, then I think that is the interesting thing about values. I'm not sure that's the question that you asked me.

Jeremy Cline 13:49
I really like the example you gave, how someone's values might change from being, if I understood you correctly, someone who is always sociable or is going out partying when we're allowed to go out partying – we're recording this in February 2021, for anyone who's listening back, and so we're still in a bit of a lockdown here in the UK, and no one's going out partying. But yes, it's someone who kind of shifts from being that sort of person, where that's what they do and that's what's important to them, to becoming a parent. And so, then what's important to them is caring for this small, helpless creature that they've brought into the world. Is that kind of the summation of the sort of thing we're talking about?

Sophie Coulthard 14:30
Yeah, I think so. Yeah. And I think a lot of us will associate ourselves more with the role that we play in the world, and that could be a role as a husband or as a teacher, or whatever that might be. But actually, our inner worth is not there. It's coming from us intrinsically. And I think, if you ask your partner why they love you, then it's not because of your role. It's because of something deeper, it's more to do with your intrinsic self. Dr Robert Hartman said something, which I love, a quote of his, and he said, 'Your intrinsic self is why dogs lick you.' They see something in you that's – your role in life, or how you fit into this cog in the wheel is irrelevant. They see something deeper, truer, within you.

Jeremy Cline 15:22
So, if one had to write a list of some of their own intrinsic values, what's the sort of thing, we'll go into how you actually work that out, but what's the sort of thing that you might write down on that list? What sort of words, I don't know whether they're verbs, adjectives, whatever, what sort of words might appear on that list?

Sophie Coulthard 15:45
Yeah. So, I think, if people write down what do they value, so if I take this in a very basic, work-related context, people might say, if they were to say that they value money, let's say, then that would be almost an extrinsic value. But if they were to say things like compassion, kindness, if they were things that were important to them, then they would be more of an intrinsic value. I think when you start to ask people about goals that they set, then that's a good way to get to somebody's true values. Because if somebody sets a goal, let's say, to run the marathon, or get a promotion at work, and you ask them why it's important to them, the first thing they might come to is something of extrinsic value: 'Oh, I'll earn more money', or whatever it is. But when you start to get a bit deeper and say, 'And what will that say about you? And how will that make you feel? And what about your loved ones? What will they say about you? And how will that make them feel?' You then start to get to the intrinsic, which is feelings of pride, feelings of happiness, feelings of joy, perhaps. And I think that's how people can start to really think about, if people can tap into those intrinsic values, rather than the extrinsic values, then they start to get something deeper, and something that has more meaning. Extrinsic, like a promotion, a pay rise, it sounds good on the surface, but it's not going to satisfy you on a deeper level.

Jeremy Cline 17:25
Okay. So, I think you've already touched on it. But why are values important in the context of wellbeing?

Sophie Coulthard 17:34
I think in the context of wellbeing, I think values are important in your wellbeing because if you are too focused on the systemic, which is the ideas, the system, the rules, the regulations, or you're too focused on the extrinsic self, what my role is, what my position is, then you start to lose sight of who you are, and who you are and your own self-worth is the most important thing of the three. And if somebody is comfortable in who they are, if they can recognise who they are, if they can accept who they are, if they can bring the best out of themselves, then they will naturally have better wellbeing. And this is something that we find in our data as well, is that people who have what we call it, very simply, a stronger self side, when they have a strong foundation of themselves, then they generally are confident, they have better perspective on things, they're not overvaluing certain areas, undervaluing certain areas, and then they get more out of life, and they get more out of work as well, they tend to perform better at work. So, when you value things to a healthy perspective, so let's say as an example, work and tasks and getting on with the job. If you undervalue work, then you're not going to get anything done, you're not going to enjoy it, you're not going to get any pleasure out of it, you're not going to feel fulfilled by it. On a contrast, if you overvalue work, then you could be a workaholic, you could neglect people for the sake of getting on with the task, you could be somebody who demands a lot from your team and is always focused on work rather than whether people are getting the most out of it. And so, when you can have that in a healthy balance, then you will get the most out of it. And you'll have better wellbeing.

Jeremy Cline 19:42
Who determines what's a healthy balance?

Sophie Coulthard 19:44
This is where the science comes in. So, the assessment that we use will measure all of those things, and it's got over 50 years of research behind it. I didn't invent it. I can't get to the bottom of how it works. It's got a huge algorithm behind it, but its simplicity in the way that it works reveals these different areas of really intrinsic, extrinsic and systemic thoughts.

Jeremy Cline 20:08
And then, does it measure them against some kind of objective scale that's kind of been developed as a result of all this research? Or is it more developing your own scale and trying to see where you fit in with that and developing your own ideas around that?

Sophie Coulthard 20:25
It will look at things, so as an example, we have averages, and we have things that we can look at for benchmarking. I think for every individual, it's about looking at where you are, and then looking at where you might want to develop. And if you generally, if you're in a good place, then you can get a little bit pickier on areas that you might want to develop. Whereas, if you're not in a great place and you have a lot of stress, and stress is a huge derail of wellbeing – it's so obvious that if you're under a lot of stress and pressure, then quite often everything else goes out the window, so you won't look after yourself, your self-esteem may be poor, you might not have any sense of self-direction, then that can have a real impact. And then, for you, it's about looking at, okay, the stress is the priority. So, how do I deal with the stress first? So, I think there's an element of both in there.

Jeremy Cline 21:23
And to what extent are you looking at changing, for want of a better word, what extent are you looking at changing external factors and to what extent are you actually looking at changing just your own mindset around these things?

Sophie Coulthard 21:39
What do you mean by external factors?

Jeremy Cline 21:42
Someone's unhappy at work, they might think the solution is to change job. And that may be the solution, it may not be the solution. So, what I'm interested to know is whether going through this exercise of identifying your intrinsic values or extrinsic values, that sort of thing, whether what comes back to you, does it encourage you to look around at your extrinsic circumstances and see what changes you should make to those? Or does it encourage you to reflect on yourself and how you internally deal with whatever it is?

Sophie Coulthard 22:18
Yes, I think there's an element of both. And as you were describing that, it made me think of somebody that I gave feedback to once, and they were, they immediately resigned the next day, and they were a new director in a company, and I thought, 'Oh, gosh, what have I done?' But I think that all I did, really, was, by interpreting their results, I held a mirror up to how they were feeling deep down inside. And I think they were thinking that they wanted one thing, they wanted this directorship, perhaps they wanted the role, and they wanted the accolades, etc., that came with it. And then, when they started to understand themselves better and get that self-awareness, they realised that actually, this wasn't the thing that was going to fulfil them. And so, I think you can definitely sometimes have an element of that. I think, one thing which we're seeing in a piece of research that we're in the middle of looking at right now is that generally, the external stuff, the handling work pressure, being able to problem solve effectively at work, being able to value people and the job, the results are not bad. And even now, we're looking at data from the last year comparing it with two years ago, the data is very closely matched, so it's not suggesting to us that people are struggling with the work pressure. But when we look at the self side, and we look at the internal things, such as self-criticism and how somebody puts pressure internally, we're seeing that the results for the past year are very different, much weaker. And so, that's suggesting to me, and at the moment, I'm just throwing ideas around here, because we've just started to look at it, and obviously, with all of this data, all it does is raise questions, it doesn't really give you the answers, but it's suggesting to me that people are putting more pressure on themselves. And it's not necessarily coming from the external factors. It's actually, I don't know, I don't know what's causing it. But it seems like it's the internal pressure which is hitting people at the moment.

Jeremy Cline 24:37
That doesn't entirely surprise me, because you may have an understanding employer who realises that you've got kids at home because the schools are closed and will support the fact that you need to take some time to do that. But internally, you'll still feel, 'Oh, I'm letting my employer down. But at the same time, I'm letting my child down and I should be able to do all of this learning that the school has provided.' And yeah, I can actually understand...

Sophie Coulthard 25:05
I think, yeah, I think you've hit the nail on the head there.

Jeremy Cline 25:08
How's this data collected, out of interest? Where's the data coming from?

Sophie Coulthard 25:12
So, we're looking at our users. So, the people who have taken the wellbeing assessment on our platform over the past year or so. Because we launched in the summer of 2020, so everyone who's taken the wellbeing assessment through FidlLeaf has taken it during a pandemic. And then, what we've done is, as I mentioned earlier, there are other organisations and other various different types of companies that use this assessment as well, although not applied in the same way as us, and I'm on the board of the institute, the Hartman Institute, who look after the science and spread the word, as it were, and so we talk to each other and we share data where relevant. So, yeah, I've compared it to some data from a few years ago to look at the averages.

Jeremy Cline 26:02
And it's all as a result of this, effectively, this sort of personality test, which I'm sure is the wrong word to use, but people doing this assessment, it's the data from that is the data that you use.

Sophie Coulthard 26:14
Yes. So, we all use the same assessment, everybody who uses this science, but how we display the results, or how we look at the results might be different.

Jeremy Cline 26:24
So, what does that assessment look like? Someone taking the assessment, what sort of stuff do they do?

Sophie Coulthard 26:27
Yeah, it's quite strange, actually. And it's funny that you said personality assessment, because I think everybody thinks of those assessments where it says, 'Are you more like this or less like this?', and you have to rate it from one to five or something like that. And generally, there are 100 questions, and they all are sort of similar. And you're trying to work out, what is this saying about me? This is quite different, actually. And it will probably make a bit more sense, given what I've talked about. So, what Robert Hartman did was he looked and he ended up, after all his research period, he took 18 statements and all you're asked to do is order them from positive to negative, and then you're given another set of 18 statements, and you're asked to order them from agree with to disagree with. And that takes about 15 minutes. And what's interesting is, when you take it, you think, 'What is this? It's got no relevancy, these random words and sentences that I'm being asked to put into an order.' But what's quite clever is, all of these statements, they have either an intrinsic or an extrinsic or a systemic value to them, a lot more complicated than how I'm explaining it right now, but what it forces you to do is actually sift through your own values. And so, actually, this is better than this. And you are making your own value judgement – axiology, axiological decision – of where to place those statements. And then, the results, obviously, are given to you in the 10, for us, the 10 different wellbeing areas.

Jeremy Cline 26:32
I like the idea of a test where you rank things, because the ones where it's, you see a statement and it's strongly agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree, I always find those are quite difficult, thinking, do I agree with this or do I strongly agree with this? What does it mean? But I think the idea of being able to say no, this one's definitely more important than this one. That's a really interesting approach.

Sophie Coulthard 28:23
And what people normally say is that some are very obvious, very obviously good, very obviously bad, and then there's a grey area in the middle, which is where you really have to tap into yourself to decide where to put them. And I think, nothing against personality assessments, I think you can get a lot from them and companies use them a lot. Anyone going for a new job pretty much has to take some kind of psychometric assessment. But sometimes, you can figure out what you should be putting in order to get that job. If you're going for a sales position, then you can almost adapt to where you should put some of these scales to reflect that you would be better at sales, let's say. So, yeah, the abstract nature of it, I think is what makes it unique.

Jeremy Cline 29:08
I'm sure the answer to the question, 'Who should do this test?' is probably, 'Everyone should.' But leaving that aside, what might someone be experiencing? What might someone be feeling that is indicative that maybe things aren't in alignment and they might benefit from doing this sort of exercise?

Sophie Coulthard 29:33
I think it's interesting that you said, 'Should everyone take it?', because back in the '70s, I think it was Nixon's psychiatrist got a hold of this and wrote a letter to President Nixon saying that everyone in America should take this assessment. And they actually wanted to use it to understand who may have psychopathic tendencies, which is completely against what Hartman's work was all about. He was all about, how can you develop good in people? But that's a side story, anyway, I can tell you where you can read more about that later. But I think we are certainly seeing that people who are feeling, as you said, out of alignment, and people who are maybe starting a personal development journey, and I think most of us start by saying, 'Oh, what self-help book should I read?' And you may have a friend that recommends a self-help book to you, and that might be the book that really touched them, that for them, it addressed everything that they needed. But that might not be the case for you. You might need something different. And I think we almost see this as a self-help book brought to life, because you take the assessment, and then you understand where you should focus, where you should put your energy to develop. And so, I definitely think, if you're starting a journey of personal growth, or personal development, which I think in 2019, 3 million self-help books were sold in the UK, which was a record, and I imagine what that number's doing in the last year, because I think a lot of people are turning to things to support them. But we also see a lot of people who, and my background of working with this assessment more of a consultant was working more with people in high-performing organisations and people who are recognised as high performers, almost to say, 'What's getting in your way? You're at this level, how can we get you to the next level? And is something like your self-criticism, my favourite example, self-criticism getting in the way of you performing at your best?' So, you really do see, I would say, those two would be two clear groups of people that might want to look at something like this.

Jeremy Cline 31:58
And what's the expectation that they might get on the other side?

Sophie Coulthard 32:02
The output, do you mean?

Jeremy Cline 32:04
Yeah, what do they gain from doing this? What will they get? What will they be able to do that they weren't able to do before?

Sophie Coulthard 32:11
I always say that it really does raise the mirror to what you most likely already knew, even at a subconscious level. And we always survey people once they've started using the platform, and a lot of them say that it told them something that deep down they already knew. And I think that if you are looking for a really simple way to start your wellbeing journey, as I like to say, then something like this is great. Because it will really highlight to you what is going on, what areas might be impacting on other areas. And something that you thought was true, you might discover is not true. But equally, I think, if you want to go much deeper, you want to look at this as somebody who is a high performer, let's say, and you want all the detail of all the results of what this science brings, then you can always go and take a look at another company that uses this tool in a different way. We are very focused on wellbeing only, but if you want to look at something like high performance, and how can I get that edge, and what is getting in my way, what are my high-performance frustrations, as I like to say, then there are other companies that use this tool and might be able to give you something a little bit more in depth, let's say.

Jeremy Cline 33:30
And turning back to you and Adam and FidlLeaf, what's the uptake been like so far? Where do you want to get it to? What are your ambitions for the company?

Sophie Coulthard 33:41
So, we obviously launched last year, we're working with our first users and our first companies at the moment. So, it's all very exciting. I feel like we're at the beginning even though we've been working on this for a good few years. It feels like this is the beginning now. We'd really like to be able to grow in companies using something like this, companies recognising that personal development is a real key to wellbeing at work, over things like perks, and I don't know, one-off initiatives. And we'd also really like to be able to produce more research and have more eyes on the data as well, because I think that the data is so valuable, and what can it tell us, and what can it help us to understand about what wellbeing should be like in the future, as well? So, that's something that my inner geek is excited about, and the more users that we have, the better our data is going to be.

Jeremy Cline 34:36
And so, if people want to explore this more, apart from your website, do you have any sort of particular resources, books or anything, which are a really good place to start?

Sophie Coulthard 34:46
So, a lot of what I've talked about today comes from a book called Freedom to Live, which is by Robert S. Hartman. You can get it online very easily. And it's almost his life story, which is fascinating, his theory and how he's developed this idea of formal axiology. And then, he does also talk about how you can get, how you can develop yourself, how you can develop this intrinsic self, as well. So, it's yeah, it's part biographical and then part self-help book. But it's not something that's, I don't think he has the recognition that he should have. And then the Institute as well, the Hartman Institute, which you can find online, has lots of resources about axiology. Especially if people are looking to put it into practice and maybe as a company looking at how they can use axiology in the way they make company decisions, as well.

Jeremy Cline 35:45
Fab, I'll put links to those in the show notes. And if people want to find out more about FidlLeaf, if they want to get in touch with you or with Adam, what's the best way they can do that?

Sophie Coulthard 35:54
Yeah, sure, fidlleaf.com, they can find out more about us. And then, we're pretty active on social media as well. And we are also running a workshop nearly every month, free workshop, and it's all focused on each different wellbeing area. So, anybody can find the links to that on our website and come and get a taste of what we do if they want to.

Jeremy Cline 36:15
Brilliant. There's only so much we can dive into a topic in a short 30-minute interview. But thank you for the introduction. It sounds absolutely fascinating. And yeah, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Sophie Coulthard 36:27
Thank you, Jeremy.

Jeremy Cline 36:28
Okay, what do you think of that, then? I hope you enjoyed that episode with Sophie Coulthard of FidlLeaf. What Sophie was saying about values, and particularly identifying your intrinsic values, just really chimed with me, and I can see just how important it is. When you're in the workplace, it's easy to feel like you should be acting in a particular way or that a particular promotion is what you should be going for. But once you dig into these intrinsic values, it may actually turn out that that's really not right for you at all. I also like the idea that it's when you start to read self-help books that you might be in a position where you'd benefit from the sort of process that Sophie was talking about. One of the challenges is it's often difficult to know when and in what circumstances something will be right to you. So, I was really pleased that Sophie raised that as a potential indicator.

Jeremy Cline 37:20
If you want to find out more about the subject of axiology or get in contact with Sophie, then you'll find links to FidlLeaf and the book that Sophie mentioned in the show notes page for this episode, which are at changeworklife.com/85 for Episode 85. And if you know someone who does always seem stressed out at work, why not share this episode with them? They might find something that really helps them. And you can do that using the social share links, which are also on the show notes page for this episode. Once again, they're at changeworklife.com/85. As always, there's another great interview coming up next week. So, if you haven't already, please subscribe to the show, and I can't wait to see you in next week's episode. Cheers. Bye.

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