Here at North East Connected, we are proud to feature the next generation of future leaders across a range of industries. We have been active across the North of the UK, looking for those young entrepreneurs and changemakers who are doing things differently and disrupting the standard. Today we feature Lee Chambers, a certified Life Coach, Wellbeing Consultant and Founder of Essentialise.
Lee has the grand plan to positively impact the happiness and health outcomes of a million people over the next 50 years. He intends to do this through his coaching system, his connected health workshops, and his work with leadership and organisational cultures. Originally referred from a business client based in York, who praised his delivery, attention to detail and joined-up thinking. We interviewed Lee to find out what makes him tick and what he is all about.
NE Connected: What advice would you give a smart and ambitious recent college graduate? What advice should they ignore?
Lee Chambers: My advice to a smart and ambitious college graduate is: stop thinking of yourself as smart, and find out who you are, and who you want to become, and then use that ambition as fuel.
This sounds like such a cruel answer! Yet, as soon as we label ourselves as smart, we are getting stuck in an entity mindset, and when we go out into the world of work and things become difficult, we struggle as we identify as smart and we struggle with failure. It’s much more productive to think of ourselves as a good learner, and therefore when we struggle, we can fail and learn! Such a simple change, but it has a massive impact; having a growth mindset is a powerful thing to cultivate.
Secondly, it’s time to do some inner work. Reflect on what you enjoy, the experiences you’ve had, the people you’ve met. What did you enjoy? This will help guide you towards things you are passionate about. A question I often ask graduates is: “If you got an award from the President at age 60, what would it be for?”. This will give you an idea of what you want to bring to the world.
After reflecting and getting some clarity on who you are, now it’s time to get out there and find out what works for you. Your 20’s is a great time to go out and experiment, fail, learn and have fun while understanding what life you want to live. So often what we think we want, is not truly for us. Set up that business, go and test that industry, travel and learn about yourself. There is no better time to do it then with the vibrant energy, low barriers and lack of responsibility as a recent college graduate.
When you feel unfocused, what do you do?
I design my schedule around training my focus and attention by working in waves and honouring my ultradian rhythms. I’ve found by doing this over the years, that I have less unfocused moments to tackle then I used to. As a psychologist, I’m well aware that focus is like a muscle you can train, to get more powerful and endure for longer.
When I have an unfocused moment, I often try to get my blood flowing, as that tends to get me cognitively processing again, so I will do some exercise, go walking outdoors, put some upbeat music on and dance. I will look at pictures of my family and know why I’m focusing. I sometimes have a cold shower, as that sensory experience certainly gets you in the zone.
In the last few years, what lifestyle, habit or behaviour change has had the most significant positive impact on your life?
I’m always experimenting and testing things. The biggest change for me has been tracking how what I eat makes me feel, both mentally and physically. The original intention of monitoring this was to try and control my chronic illness by lifestyle rather than medication, which is something I managed to achieve.
After three years and a stack full of journals, I now know exactly what foods energise me, which I can tolerate, which drain me, and the ones that set off my disease response. It has become more than just designing a diet because I have become deeply in tune with my body. It has helped me to not only be able to prevent problems before they arise but to make better choices as I now think about how they will make me feel later, and not how they make me feel in the moment.
And by going through this process, I’ve been able to do similar experiments with my sleep, my movement and my mindset. It opened up a world of possibilities, showed me just how powerful our body’s message is, and just how individual we all are. I help my clients to see that learning to listen to their body will help them find exactly what works for them, rather than some diet plan that isn’t designed with you in mind.
Why did you decide to create your own business?
I have always had an entrepreneurial mindset, and set up my first little business selling Amiga games by mail order when I was 12. I’ve always been fascinated by statistics and building frameworks. I spent a good part of my childhood playing business simulation games like Theme Park and Netropolis. I even set up a mobile sweet shop at school before being stopped by the teaching staff as I was carrying more stock than school equipment.
I studied business through school and college and studied International Business Psychology at University, so it has also been part of my educational journey. The biggest driving factors for me are that I’ve never responded well to taking orders and working without an aligned purpose. Creating my own business has allowed me to work on something that I’m passionate about, and that is well worth the instability of not having a traditional career. Ever since being made redundant in 2008, I have had the mentality that my own business gives me the ownership and accountability to work on my own terms. For me, it is freedom, expression and challenges all combined together to enjoy work as part of my life and journey, rather than be something that I do to get by.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
One thing about being in the employee wellbeing and conscious leadership industry is that many people are looking to make lives better, and they come from a heart-centred place which resonates with me. There are a lot of talented individuals looking at psychology, physiology and neurology, helping us start to understand just that bit more what it means to be human.
It’s a pleasure to be in a forward-thinking industry where helping people is at the heart of what we do. At Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing, we collaborate with a number of other providers and practitioners in the industry, which is another great thing about our industry. With everyone bringing different skills, their own authentic delivery, and their personal lived experience, allows for partnerships which amplify the impact we can make to human health, relationships and performance.
What traits do you possess that make a successful leader?
If you would have asked me this as a child, I would have told you someone that is very authoritative, confident and outgoing. Funnily enough, I don’t particularly embody any of these in the traditional sense. The traits that set me apart as a leader are the willingness to lead myself first. People follow the messenger before they follow the message, so I’m actively living the change that I want to make and helping others to start to lead themselves.
I ask powerful questions as I firmly believe that everyone has potential and most of the answers inside themselves. I take time to listen and understand everyone that I work with. Appreciation goes a long way. And I actively encourage and empower others to step into their potential, as personal growth and development should be there for everybody to take advantage of.
Finally, I have a level of credibility as I make sure that I communicate well, and do what I have said I will do. I have a level of charisma because when I’m talking to people, I’m there in the moment, not distracted or thinking about something else. I try to inspire hope in my team, that we can change the world with the work we are doing. And I bind this all together with one trait that sums up all that leadership is truly about; love for other humans.
Lee Chambers is an Environmental Psychologist, Wellbeing Consultant and Founder of Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing. Based in Preston, and working Internationally, he speaks on a range of issues surrounding leadership, wellbeing and psychology. His first book, How To Conquer Anything, is due to be published in November.