Abigail helps companies, executives and individuals enhance their performance and personal productivity.
She has developed a unique 360 degree approach that combines the world of business and wellness to boost concentration, focus, energy and performance both in work and in life.
To find out more about Abigail’s work visit her website www.abigailireland.com
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m a high performance consultant who focuses on how three key aspects – business productivity, psychology and physiology – combine to optimise individual and team performance in the workplace. I run my own business, offering corporate workshops, training, tailored programmes and coaching for companies who are looking to create high performing teams. My goal is to enable executives and teams to achieve results with more focus, more energy and, fundamentally, less stress.
My previous career was in banking, working in the Sydney and London markets. I took the leap into starting my own business a few years ago and it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done.
I love the business side of what I do and how small changes in the way we work can have a huge impact on our productivity. I’m also a qualified Personal Trainer, Pilates instructor and a certified Precision Nutrition Coach so I really draw on the importance of optimal physical and mental wellbeing in the pursuit of high performance.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
To an extent but my plan has evolved over time. I’ve always had a vision of what I want to achieve in my life and how I want to feel from my work. Essentially, I want my career to enhance my lifestyle and vice versa.
I don’t like to limit myself and I love the adventure that comes with creating my unique path to success. I’ve learned that keeping your eyes open for windows of opportunities is so important. If you fixate on one path, you can miss so much along the way. I love to explore new avenues and business opportunities as it keeps me in a state of constant growth and personal development.
Since I was a child, I’ve loved business and entrepreneurship. My career in banking was brilliant for this as I was able to learn so much about business through my roles in private equity, acquisition finance and strategy.
It was when I was living in Australia that I decided to take the plunge from corporate life. It was the right time for me. My dad also passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly, and this was a massive catalyst. He had always encouraged me to do anything I wanted to do and he always believed in me. My philosophy is that if I’m suddenly no longer here, I know that I gave life my best shot and have no regrets about the “should haves” and “could haves”. It’s up to me to create my best life.
Have you faced any challenges along the way? How did you deal with them?
To be honest, my biggest challenge has been self-belief – imposter syndrome and not speaking up or confidently expressing my thoughts and opinions (even when I know I’m right!). Over the years, I’ve learned that so many obstacles can get in the way of your success BUT it comes down to you to get those obstacles out of your way – and often, our biggest blockers come from within. If you can get your mindset in the right place, these challenges become exciting problems for you to solve rather than a frustration. Now I embrace challenges, fears and failure. These things don’t faze me anymore.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you ever had a mentor or do you mentor anyone?
I am passionate about mentoring and I believe in giving back. It is so valuable to have good mentors in your life and so rewarding to mentor others too. I’ve mentored people formally and informally throughout my career. However, the relationship shouldn’t be forced or it just doesn’t work – I’ve seen this a lot in the corporate world. I have a few amazing role models in my life and they are all brilliant in their own way. We don’t have a formal mentoring relationship but they’re the people I go to as a sounding board. For me, it’s about observing how they approach things and taking that on board.
If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?
This would be the representation of women in meaningful jobs at a senior level – especially in industries such as banking, where a lot of good work is being done to turn this around. I would also like to see more senior women take the time to mentor and support junior women through their career journeys – helping them to rise up the ranks. I think many women can fall into the trap of focusing so intently on pushing through their own glass ceiling that they forget to look down and give other women a hand up too.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement has definitely been starting my own business – taking the leap from the corporate world and jumping into a whole new way of looking at work and life. This has been liberating and exciting for me, enabling me to push through so many limiting beliefs and grow in a way I never thought possible. At the same time, I’ve been able to find my calling and build a business and lifestyle that energises me. Being able to make that break from “safety” with courage and conviction makes me feel like anything is possible with determination and a vision. I constantly push myself out of my comfort zone these days, to keep stretching my limits.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I always have a million ideas in mind that I want to turn into reality, but this year is really about drilling deeper into fewer areas. With my business, I’m focused on developing an online course and writing a book so I can reach and help more people. In the near future, I’m running an urban retreat in Surrey and I have some other exciting projects and events in the pipeline. Watch this space!