14 May 2019

Gian Power- My Story

Gian Power, TLC Lions
Gian Power- My Story

My name is Gian Power and upon appearance, you might think my life is perfect. And until 2015 it really felt that way. Graduating from university, spending time at Deutsche Bank and about to embark upon my career at PwC. Life was great. I’m a very performance driven person and competitive at heart and if someone mentioned mental health and wellbeing back in 2014, it wasn’t something I took seriously. It wasn’t until May 2015 when everything came crashing down.

In May 2015 my father left for a business trip overseas and never returned. He was murdered and my whole world turned upside down.

At age 23 I found myself leading an international murder investigation, liaising with government authorities and fighting in court for justice. This continues today.

After 3 months out of work to lead the investigation at the time, I remember returning to work and being overwhelmed with the amount I was having to deal with. Working long hours, continuing to take my intense accounting exams and looking after my family whilst managing my father’s case throughout the night. My body was constantly filled with emotions, from sadness to anger, confusion and panic. All I knew was that I had to keep going in the name of my dad.

When the body of my father found in India was flown back to Heathrow, I began planning his funeral to say our goodbyes. Some days later however we were informed that it was not my dad’s body that landed in the UK.  To this day the uncertainty continues. It was the second blow.

I began to realise that no matter how hard I worked, how much energy I put into this, I could not control everything. I soon realised that there’s a lot I can’t control and in fact there’s only one thing I can control – and that’s how I respond to a situation. Nobody can take that away from me.

It was at this moment I realised I needed to look after myself and take the concept of self-care seriously.  They say you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others, and this is exactly what I needed to do.

I began speaking openly with my colleagues at work about the challenges I was facing, I started putting a self-care routine in place and what I saw was incredible. More and more people started sharing their stories with me, both in my teams at PwC but also sider in friendship groups and friends of friends working in the corporate world.

I soon realised that we all have a story we would like to share, if only more of us would take the time to listen in organisations. I know that when I was able to speak to my team about how I felt, those leaders who showed care and understanding, I would work harder for them, go above and beyond and saw a direct link between kind leadership and boosted productivity.  I saw the need for storytelling in companies.

I knew I couldn’t change my past, but I had to do something to help others and to ensure that anybody else going through challenging times feels they can speak up about it at work and encourage more leaders to support their teams, as I was supported myself.

I had two leaders at PwC who help me incredible amounts. They would take time out to go for a walk with me, listen to my struggles but listen to understand and not listen to respond. They helped me find the positives in the dark times and also supported me in arranging a much-needed counsellor to guide me on my way.

Over time, more and more people started sharing their stories with me both in PwC and externally and I realised that more needed to be done to bring emotions back to the corporate world where people can speak up about their challenges and their mental health. I realised that we needed to build empathy and to educate each other on what it's like to be in someone else's shoes - this is where I saw the power of storytelling that forms the basis of the work I do today. 

After a number of years at PwC I decided to leave and launch TLC Lions. Lion being mine and my father’s middle name – we’re on a mission to ignite emotion and empathy back in the corporate world. Life has changed a lot in a short period of time, and I can say I’m now incredibly happy and I do a lot to look after myself and ensure I reflect and monitor my feelings.

Number one is my SHED.  I constantly track my SHED which is my Sleep, Hydration, Exercise & Diet. If I don’t feel 100%, it’s usually because one of them is out of balance and I adjust and correct myself.

Meditation has been a huge part of my life since 2015 and is something I practice every day. Meditation was difficult at first as it can be for many of us, having to focus the mind and our breathing and so I set myself a challenge. In January 2016 I began what I call my 'quarterly resolutions' and choosing something that was good for my wellbeing and sticking to it for 3 months in the hope it became habitual. I started to commit to meditation 5 times a week for 10 minutes using the app CALM. Honestly, it made a huge difference, it made me calmer, more balanced and much more self-aware. It allowed me to deal with uncertainty happening in my personal and professional life and respond to situations rather than merely reacting.                       

It’s important to me to use my experience and learnings to help others to be equipped to not only survive in times of difficulty but to thrive every single day. I’ve learnt a lot over the last few years and I’m committed to supporting others to lead happier lives.

About TLC Lions

TLC Lions is a collective of 25 ordinary people with extraordinary stories.  The ‘Lions’ (the speakers) share powerful yet uplifting sessions that are tailored to clients' Inclusion, Wellbeing or Learning & Development agendas, bring emotion to life and encourage the audience to take action.

Lions include Dr Kamel Hothi OBE, the UK’s first female Asian bank manager who lives two culturally different lives and is now an advisor to Her Majesty The Queen on her commonwealth trust fund, Jonny Benjamin MBE known as the Stranger on the Bridge who was saved when sat on the edge of Waterloo bridge as well as Victoria Milligan who lost her husband, daughter and left-leg during a speed boat accident in 2013. Gian also started sharing his own story around ‘Wellbeing as a Superpower’ to companies globally.

Gian also felt so passionate about encouraging more people in the corporate world to meditate that he launched my own experience known as The Unwind Experience – transforming rooms in office spaces globally into a candlelit oasis and Europe’s first surround sound meditation experience.

If you’re interested in hearing more about our incredible speakers at TLC Lions or interesting in welcoming your employees to meditate during The Unwind Experience, please do reach out and connect with me on LinkedIn/Instagram –@Gianpower and gian@tlclions.com

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