What do you think it means to live a healthy and productive life?
Accepting yourself for who you are without negative comparison with others. Focussing on and utilising your strengths, and taking a proactive approach towards those areas in which you need help to grow and improve.
As we live longer, what do you imagine the next 20 years of your life could look like?
In my coaching I imagine that I’ll be working with people who are pursuing new and exciting career opportunities later in life – at an age where their parents were retiring! Financial security may be less of an issue for some, as they move away from the responsibility of providing for a young family, and they may use this time to focus on more meaningful and intrinsically satisfying (second or third) careers.
As part of the WiserLife network, what area do you specialise in?
As an organisational psychologist, coach and psychotherapist I take a two-pronged approach. From a personal development perspective I focus on helping people make decisions which are aligned to their principles. Such decisions are most likely to lead to endeavours which are meaningful, and essentially help people live a more fulfilled life. From a practical perspective I help them put their plans into action by looking at how and when they will achieve each of their objectives. Some objectives are glaringly obvious and tangible and we see amazing changes happen fast. Others are more challenging and take time (and support) to achieve.
How do you incorporate ideas of living a healthy and productive life when you work with clients?
I always explore the individual’s personal values. These are the underlying beliefs that we develop as young children and, like a compass, they direct us towards major life decisions. They can be intangible, and sometimes it is hard work for my clients to unearth what their personal values are. However, the effort is worth it because identifying them is a powerful experience, one that many of my clients describe as life changing! This is so because a lifestyle not aligned with our values can be confusing and difficult. Once the values are identified difficulties in life begin to ‘make sense’ and ease the way for a solid career and lifestyle roadmap.
What are some of the challenges clients face trying to achieve their goals?
In my experience there are often 3 types of barriers to achieving goals. Often it is self-doubt and irrational fear which lead people to imagine that they cannot achieve their aspirations. Other times it is a skill issue, whereby clients are in a position (e.g. in a job) which is not a good match with their natural talents, and this places too much pressure on them. Finally, the challenge is sometimes relational, meaning that the people that they are surrounded by are not empowering them to achieve their goals. In such cases the client needs to focus on finding mentors/supporters who they can trust and rely on.
What common traits do you see in people that are living a healthy and productive life?
They belong to a community (this could be family, professional, geographical etc.) in which they feel emotionally safe and accepted. They are resilient in the face of adversity and can spring back from difficult experiences. Furthermore, they are optimistic and believe that problems are temporary and transient – they look to the horizon with a belief that things will work out well.
What nugget of advice do you give your clients?
Listen to your intuition. In other words listen to what your inner thoughts repeat to you over and over again for they provide meaningful messages. Sometimes these messages are helpful (for example “Whatever happens I will be ok”) and other times not so helpful (e.g.
“My interview tomorrow will be disastrous, and I won’t get that job”). Be aware of the unhelpful messages, question them and turn them on their head (e.g. “If I prepare for my interview tomorrow, this will allow me to give it my best shot. If I have done my best, and I don’t succeed then this tells me that this is not the right job for me right now”)
Rachel Setti is owner of Rachel Setti Consulting and is a registered Organisational Psychologist in NSW (Australia) and the UK. In addition to her Psychology background (MSc Occupational Psychology), she also holds a Masters degree in Psychotherapy and has trained and worked internationally in a myriad of organisations and businesses. www.rachelsetti.com.au