SME business leverage with Mallory Peterson (Work & Wellbeing Coach)
I met Mallo through friends and I absolutely loved her energy and passion to support others to live their better self, in their personal life and work.
"I’m a Wisconsin raised gal who discovered her passion in a small ski town in Vermont. Those seven years in the humble northeast corner of North America were my most transformative years. I discovered an enthusiasm for the outdoors, a deeper understanding of what it means to truly be ‘well’, and work experiences that shaped my career. Throughout my journey it’s been yoga that has privileged me with my patient and empathetic approach to the work that I do. I’m one of the lucky ones where I have never questioned my career path and even through the challenges, know I’m doing exactly what I’m meant to do".
Why wellness, Mallo?
I’ve always been active, participating in any and all sports available to me growing up. In University I initially became fascinated with nutrition, but after about three years of studying, realised it was exactly the sort of career path I was after. A few meetings with my advisor and a couple of internships later I landed my degree in Exercise Science. I was fascinated by the human body. Fast forward just two days after graduating, I took my first job at an all women’s weight loss retreat in a small town in the Northeast of Vermont. Here, while I focused on exercise, I was exposed for the first time to a truly holistic approach to manage our wellbeing. It taught me it’s not just about nutrition or even exercise, but sleep, stress management, communication & mental wellbeing, time management, and so much more. From that point on I was hooked, and not only started walking the talk, but made some long term changes in my personal lifestyle as well.
What does a day in your life look like?
I used to be very rigid with my schedule, leaving no room for flexibility or spontaneity. Nowadays I’m all about non-negotiables and instead of letting the clock rule my day, let a handful of non-negotiables drive my schedule.
Each day I get movement - based on what I had done the day before or actually listening to what my body needs. It may be yoga, a walk, surfing, a trail run or some strength training. Getting outside is a must and I always hydrate before consuming anything else. Finally, greens, with every meal and making time to homecooked nourishing foods.
In between my non-negotiables you can find me in the yoga studio teaching classes, coaching clients 1:1 with lifestyle or personal training, and occasionally facilitating large groups on improving efficiency and effectiveness at work. Every day looks a little different so it keeps life interesting.
Why did you start your own business?
Starting my own business wasn’t the plan, but in my first few years out of University in a handful of different roles coaching or training clients I was confronted with individuals that were trying to undo the impact of corporate life. Stress, lack of time or flexibility with time, poor eating habits, and overall fatigue. I was trying to ‘undo’ the impact of my clients 9-5, so I most certainly wasn’t interested in jumping into it.
Nowadays the workforce is changing and I’m using my skills and experience to try to help as many people as possible. I no longer believe ‘corporate’ is the problem, but we spend nearly ⅓ of our life at work, so I certainly believe there are a lot of things we can do to help support employees' wellbeing when we are there.
What are the most common challenges your clients face?
Since we’re entering into a new way of working (more hybrid), people aren’t quite sure how to manage their time. The hybrid way of working is certainly a step in the right direction, but I’m finding a lot of my clients are needing to re-learn time management, prioritisation, and boundaries. Unfortunately, this has translated to additional stress on top of the workplace they already have. So many of my clients come to me not even realising how out of whack their nervous system is.
How do you support small business owners to overcome these challenges?
I use a 4 step approach working with clients or small groups. It starts with awareness (which for many people is non-existent). It’s awareness of sleep, movement, focus time, productive times, stress levels with certain activities, awareness of ability to manage time, and so much more. From there we go into the adjustment phase, which is all about longevity.
My clients and I are working together to build sustainable changes, which means making micro adjustments over a long period of time. We then layer these on as necessary. As we progress, we observe and make changes if and when necessary as our final step. This process, while sometimes implemented to larger groups, is carried out in a personalised way, and it truly works.
As a certified group coach, I apply the traditional ‘workshop’ format to relay the overarching concept or information, but then support each individual with regular check-ins to take that information and apply it to themselves.
How do you think your expertise impacts the success of small businesses?
My work with employees, small businesses, teams, etc. is about awareness and building a toolbox. Organisations can’t expect a one size fits all approach, so this work we do together builds not only a holistic approach to how they operate every day, but offers a reminder that we are all human. Not only that, but as teams do this work simultaneously, a universal language and understanding is established. While we don’t always directly discuss communication, it's a huge win for the groups I work with, and fosters an enormous amount of empathy.
What’s your point of difference in the current market?
I believe we often over complicate workplace wellbeing. There’s a well known quote from William Shakespeare… ”jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” I’ve always felt this way, but was wary of sharing it, as many people look at it as a negative trait. For me, I fully believe it’s my point of difference for the audience I work with.
With a vast array of experience from blue collar steel workers, international bankers, and low income families, I’ve armed myself with the knowledge to give my clients momentum to be able to start exactly where they are. One off workshops aren’t my style, I’m about teasing each individual’s challenges and offering a realistic solution over a period of time, to continue to support the team to build long lasting changes.
One thing that small business owners could do today to leverage their success in LinkedIn this year?
Be authentic and be curious. I’ve recently joined LinkedIn, but like so many other platforms it can be a space where professionals only share their ‘best’. If we can learn to be real, and vulnerable, I think we’ll see a lot of change building stronger, more resilient teams that are there because they want to, not just for the paycheck.
Something personal you’d like to share? Anything else you’d like to add?
Funny enough, I cried to my University advisor to not make me do a public speaking course. I was terrified. Amazing how that fear turns to excitement when you’re actually speaking to something you’re passionate about 🙂
How can people connect with you?
I love walking meetings or connecting over delicious food, so a message on LinkedIn, Instagram @swaywellness, or email email@example.com are probably the best ways to try to set that up.