Today I am really happy to introduce another member of my Advisory Board, Lewis Wedlock. I have the privilege to share an office with Lewis these days over at OTR Bristol. However, I met him a few years ago during his work for the WellFest wellbeing festival for young people of Bristol. I really admire his honest and courageous take on diversity combines with solid academic work and coaching practice. I had many inspiring conversations with Lewis and I cannot wait to learn more from him here, at the Voxel Hub. I am so honoured to welcome him to my Advisory Board.
Please tell us a little bit about you – what do you do for a living and what is your current professional focus?
There are two aspects to what I do, which are separate entities but very much connected. On one hand, I am the social action lead for Project Zazi (Off The Record Bristol) and I develop programmes, resources and content for young BAME people in Bristol. I am also the creator of Pinpoint Academia – a personal development project for academic success. I coach students, advise teaching staff and develop bespoke programmes for university departments. The two projects are connected by the need to tackle barriers to access and dogma; with Zazi, I am tackling systemic and structural issues that have been embedded in British culture for generations. With Pinpoint I am tackling the narrow approach to learning and success that has been embedded in University culture for decades – the idea of employability being the sole focus of a degree experience. My professional focus is therefore change – I look at what is disadvantaging industries and society and shine very bright lights on these areas.
How important are digital technologies for your business?
Essential. With Zazi, we are creating a rapport with young people through digital technologies – whether that is a social media channel, online one to ones or webinar content. With Pinpoint, digital technologies are the bread and butter of our project – we provide online webinars, videos and have a heavy Instagram presence… Not to mention our website! Without digital tech, Pinpoint doesn’t exist!
What are your hobbies, activities beyond paid professional work?
I am an avid trainer and challenge my body (and mind!) through exercise. I am hugely into the comic book world as well (specifically DC… not so much Marvel). I think comic books are the epitome of realistic fantasy. Sure, it is not realistic to be able to shoot lasers out of your eyes or build a cave underground with technology unknown to man (or is it?..) but the character arcs are built from the human experience. You are connected to the person beneath the character they portray, which is a great parallel to life itself. I also love watches, I have far too many, yet still want more.
Beer or wine? Milkshake or a smoothie? A good steak or a superfood salad?
A good steak WITH a superfood salad! (why not enjoy both?… I know, I am indecisive with food…).
Are you a cat or a dog person?
I am a dog person! I feel like cats are intergalactic beings sent from another universe trapped in the body of a four-legged creature. They know something we don’t…
How do you manage work/life balance?
I am still figuring this out, but I feel learning how to say “no” or “this can wait for a while” is key… especially with digital projects. There always seems to be a “gap” somewhere, and you have to know what gaps are worth pursuing and which ones are okay to pass on. I have also recently implemented designated rest days! This has been a game-changer. It makes it easier for me to switch off and enjoy some time to myself.
How, in your professional opinion, are digital technologies impacting your life today? What is their impact on your wellbeing?
I feel like I have to constantly reflect on my use of tech. It is very easy to become a quantified self whereby all aspects of your life (social, psychosocial, health, nutrition, wellness, finance etc) become attached to the identity we project into the world. It is weird though! On one hand, tech keeps me alive…literally! I am a type 1 diabetic and have a blood glucose sensor inserted into my arm as a continuous monitor. In terms of my psychological wellbeing, if not managed correctly tech can be used as a social measuring stick as opposed to a positive tool for growth. As with anything, digital tech requires balance and it requires education on how to use it well… which is exactly why I am excited to join Voxel Hub!!
You are joining the Advisory Board of Voxel Hub at a time when most people embrace the remote work and digital technologies with astonishing speed. What trends and patterns do you see in our collective digital wellbeing at the moment?
I see a trend towards more digitalised workforces. Organisations before the pandemic were embracing of digital tech but still rooted in generational dogma that viewed this tech as something supplementary to the physicalised, localised workforce – from both a productivity and moral standpoint. I think people are seeing that they can still work just as well from home and still stay connected with colleagues, which is having a positive impact on the way in which organisations conduct themselves and manage their workforces.
I am also seeing a trend towards conscious tech usage. For the first time, I am seeing articles and resources in mainstream channels discussing the importance of taking breaks and monitoring usage of tech. I think this is very positive where wellbeing is concerned.
How are you taking care of yourself in those challenging times?
I am keeping to a routine (most of the time!). I think a large part of taking care of me during these times is the acceptance of a more fluid workday. Being in charge of myself, my work and my emotions towards my work has made me appreciate the importance of the unpredictable where long term productivity and happiness is concerned. Oh, and music! I have been exploring lots and lots of new music which has been great for my wellbeing (and bragging rights amongst friends!!).
What would be your top digital wellbeing tip at the moment for our blog readers?
MONITOR. CONTACT. WITH. NEWS. It is insane how easily my mood can be destroyed by what I see within the news. Stay connected with events, but not to the point in which it becomes a fixation/compulsion.