Over the course of 20 minutes Simon Haigh and Justin Caffrey from The Mindset & Mindfulness Training Institute, delivered a masterclass on “Mindset for Growth” in the latest Lunchtime Bytes Webinar from the ICBE Aviation Skillnet.

Covering a range of areas from the importance of a growth mindset, the major leadership resilience types, through to emotional intelligence and showing how to achieve a highly impactful Flow State, the speakers shared their combined business experience with personal growth stories including.

  • The importance of a growth mindset and win-win mentality;
  • The essential requirements of clarity and single-minded determination;
  • Two of the major leadership resilience types: influencing and self & situational awareness;
  • Emotions and emotional intelligence and the four key traits of effective leaders: calmness, ability to listen, importance of being measured and resilience;
  • Developing a mindset for growth and sustaining that growth through powerful mindfulness;
  • When we pay attention to the mind, our emotions, and our triggers, we can achieve highly impactful Flow State.

Kicking off the presentation and highlighting the growing importance of this area Simon showed an analysis of the Top 10 Corporate Skills 2020 (Future of Jobs Report World Economic Forum) which includes mindset, emotional intelligence, cognitive awareness as the collective skillsets that need to be developed.

Justin then outlined the importance of understanding what instinctively feels right, in the context of the eastern philosophy of having three brains – the head, heart and gut.

We often lead with our head which also has a tendency to feature a negative feedback loop “We need to be resourceful and should not ignore gut feel, which has evolved over generations”

“We are born with a capacity to drive ourselves forward” commented Justin on the question of ‘are we born with an instinct for driving growth’.  However a lot of what we have built up is learnt experience and with learnt experience bad habits can also develop.  Justin also pointed out the difference between Mindset (knowing and having the skills) and Mindfulness (leveraging the instinctiveness).  Through mindfulness we can achieve greater awareness he added.

As leaders we also  need to be aware and conscious of our emotional state and limitations.  People can tend to react emotionally.   “Our emotional state should not be ignored and we need to ask “what are my emotions like”. 

The quest is to seek a calm state and question ‘how will I react to certain situations’ and ‘what impact do I have’ in dealing with how things are and not how we wish them to be.

In highlighting the impact of Mindset and Mindfulness Justin used the negative example of someone entering a negotiation while stressed and distracted.  He advises taking time out, focus on breathing and then bringing a calm state to the negotiation table.  This calm state makes people comfortable with silence which can lead to better listening and frequently a better outcome in negotiations.  

“Resilience is the capacity to cope with life and how you manage your emotional behaviour reaction determines your levels of resilience” said Simon as he defined the three categories of resilience – self, societal and life.  We are also born resilient but we learn to become fearful.  At school we are thought to be fearful of change and making mistakes.  We have to learn to deconstruct these learnt behaviours.  

Justin used the analogy of the water bottle and stone to explain how we can manage stress, build resilience and decrease stress.  As you move through life the water in the bottle fills with stress but with some people they collect extra stress (in the analogy it equates to extra stones in the bottle) which causes it to fill faster until finally there is no more capacity to absorb any more stress.  “At times we need to work on ourselves and remove those stones so we have the capacity to navigate the complex world around us” he added.

“People who have the best sense of self and situation awareness have the best chance to cope” commented Simon as he explained that Situational Awareness is comprehending what is going around you while Self Awareness is understanding who you are.  

Those with high emotional intelligence, who have the ability to listen and have a calm mind hold the initiative and experience better outcomes in negotiations.  Simon also advised people to look at Plutchiks wheel and see where they sit on the range of complex emotions.

In looking at the key traits of effective leader Justin outlined calmness, ability to listen, being measured in actions (especially in times of crisis) and resilience and capacity to bring these together.

“Mindset is the intention while Mindfulness is the ability to sustain action” said Justin emphasising the importance of self help.

“We all have negative feedback loops and sometime we need to switch off that other voice in our heads”.

By combining all these elements leaders are better positioned to reach a ‘Flow State’ and the speakers left the group to ponder a number of areas to help them achieve this advanced performance level at the end of the presentation:

  • Close your eyes and remember one of your great successes
  • Did this feel like hard work, or did you feel truly connected to outcome?
  • Within flow state you are moving without conscious thought, your being knows what is needed. It is fluidity without need to pause
  • Pro-athletes such as ice hockey players must remain in flow. Pace of their game is too quick to allow thinking to trip them up
  • In flow I can collaborate, communicate, execute, negotiate, and all at a pace quicker than my thinking mind
  • My instinct is driving me forward and I feel empowered and able to leap over largest hurdle
  • When an athlete or a business exec brings their personal problems onto field of play they begin to inhibit their flow state
  • Flow can be a trained state, accessible when needed
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About the Speakers:

Simon Haigh is a business, leadership, brand & personal growth strategist as well as a certified leadership coach, consultant, trainer, lecturer mentor, author, speaker and media host. Simon is also a tri-qualified commercial lawyer and entrepreneur and has built and sold a number of technology, luxury items and travel companies. 

He is also the author of three business books.

Justin Caffrey is a coach with over 20 years business experience. Justin has trained in Psychotherapy with an Indian Psychiatrist to help his clients learn how to use Eastern modalities to remedy Western problems.  He is also a master meditator and an Ireland Business Allstar for Personal Development. 

In addition to being a Certified Investment Fund Director, who has built and solid multiple regulated organisations, he has sat on the board of specialist tax and investment firms. 


Justin is currently studying for a Masters in Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy at the University College Dublin School of Psychology.

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