Mental fitness in the workplace


Genevieve Matthews is the CEO and founder of The Art of Extraordinary, a coaching business focused on effective leadership. Last year, at Form1, she facilitated Mental Fitness for Leaders, a program developed to help build mental fitness at work.

The Art of Extraordinary founder, Genevieve Matthews, is passionate about mental health. With two young children and a coaching business focused on positive leadership she spends time exploring new ways to help her clients, her family, and herself gain greater mental fitness.

Our thinking is impacted by the enormous stresses and pressures going on around us. This past year has certainly had its challenges, and they continue,” she says.

“Whilst we may not be able to control what is going on, we certainly have the opportunity to adjust how we respond and react.”

Having experienced her own mental health challenges whilst in senior leadership roles, Genevieve is passionate about sharing and educating others.

“I will never forget sitting with the doctor after I was diagnosed with antenatal depression. The doctor looked at me and said, ‘You’ve probably been depressed for most of your 20’s and 30’s. You just did lots of exercise to compensate,” recalls Genevieve.

Like many health-conscious professionals, Genevieve made time for daily exercise – running, cycling and swimming – to feel good and get the endorphins (chemicals produced by the body to relieve stress and pain) going.

“But here’s the thing,” she says. “Physical fitness is only part of the answer to maintaining mental health. If you’re not physically fit, you might feel stress climbing a steep hill. If you’re not mentally fit, you might feel anxiety, frustration, or unhappiness, as you handle work and relationship challenges. Particularly exacerbated if in high-intensity and fast-paced leadership roles.”

Unfortunately, 80% of people score below the minimum level of mental fitness required for peak performance, sustained productivity and happiness.

What’s a PQ Rep?   

Last year, during the Covid pandemic, Genevieve discovered Shirzad Charmaine, author of the New York Times bestseller, Positive Intelligence.

“According to Shirzad mental fitness is a measure of the strength of your positive mental muscles (which he calls sage), versus the negative (saboteur). The measure of your mental fitness is called PQ (Positive Intelligence Quotient).

Whilst we may not be able to control what is going on, we certainly have the opportunity to adjust how we respond and react.” – Genevieve Matthews, CEO, The Art of Extraordinary

“Shirzad teaches PQ reps to help individuals recover from stressful situations quicker. His approach fascinated me and it worked,” she explains.

After training with Shirzad, The Art of Extraordinary now offers Mental Fitness for Leaders, an eight-week course to help teams develop their mental fitness in the workplace.

“Neuroscience is showing us we can increase the grey matter in the positive emotional area of the brain,” explains Genevieve.

“This significantly impacts our productivity, performance, health and wellbeing and the quality of our relationships.”

A Happy Mind

A Happy Mind

Globally, health and wellness is a $4.5 trillion industry and it’s only getting bigger. In 2018 fitness and mind-body accounted for $595 billion. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) now predicts the physical activity economy will surpass $1.1 trillion by 2023 and the mindful movement will be the #1 growth sector (12 percent annually from 2018–2023).

“The great news is, with breakthroughs in neuroscience and technology, you can improve your mental fitness, within eight weeks, with consistent and dedicated practice,” says Genevieve.

“As a result you can cultivate a calm, clear and happier mind.”

With courses such as Mental Fitness for Leaders, The Art of Extraordinary helps people handle stress, deal with adversity and lead with focus and purpose.

“I’m on a mission to reduce disengagement in the workplace, by encouraging leaders and teams to focus on working in their genius zone and bringing out the full potential of individuals and the business,” says Genevieve.

To learn more about The Art of Extraordinary click here.

Have you heard about our new initiative to empower memorable conversations? Click here to learn about Cards For Connection.