Psychologist Fiona Murden shares tips on ‘How to Thrive at Life’

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Chartered Psychologist Fiona Murden has just written her first book, which aims to unravel the often complicated world of analysis and self-reflection, making it easier to understand and ultimately achieve. Here, she reveals more about her new tome ‘Defining You’ – and how it can help everyone.

After growing up in Tunbridge Wells and going to school here – Kent College, then Tunbridge Wells Girls’ Grammar – I went to Warwick University to study psychology, followed by a business Masters.

I worked as a business consultant for four years, then returned to university to pursue my passion, completing an MSc in Occupational Psychology.

Since then, I have spent the past 16 years working with multinational companies, business leaders and prominent people from other fields. I moved back 12 years ago, having collected a lot of life experiences along the way.

My day job – which I’m privileged to also call my vocation – involves profiling senior leaders to assess if they are fit for roles, what the potential risks may be involved in hiring them and how best they can be supported in order to be successful. My job has seen me travel all over the world.

I also coach senior leaders and high-profile individuals from across different walks of life – from CEOs and board members of FTSE 100 companies to professors and surgeons – on how to understand themselves better. I help them to realise how to harness their strengths and passions, how to navigate politics and relationships, how to read others’ behaviour and how to improve their leadership.

I feel incredibly honoured to have heard the stories of many amazing people, but that isn’t my bigger aim as I look to the future. I’ve developed a new aspiration – making psychological tools accessible to all. Not the ad-hoc picking up of things that may or may not work, but the sharing of evidence-based techniques that can help people in day-to-day life.

Even senior leaders I work with have a lot to learn when it comes to behaviour – who hasn’t thought about how their leadership could do things better? And this often is despite the fact they’ve usually had huge sums invested in their personal and professional development.

But what about the rest of us? Well, I believe that a better understanding of behaviour across society could not only enable us to live happier and more fulfilled lives as individuals, but at a collective level it could also go a long way to resolving a huge number of societal issues.

My first book, Defining You, is for me a starting point to enabling this bigger objective. I wanted to start by writing something that opened up some of the tools and methodologies I use as professional psychologist to a wider audience.

Since its publication at the end of April, I’ve been lucky enough to have received some really positive feedback from a broad range of people, from established leaders to university students, mums who haven’t worked for a while and people looking for a career change.

I’ve also had the opportunity of talking about it in the online magazine The Pool, in July’s issue of Psychologies Magazine and now in my local paper!

Like any book, it’s not for everyone, but it will hopefully provide a starting point or a reminder for anyone who’s interested in human behaviour, and in particular fulfilling their own potential.

I’ve included a range of techniques with references to the original work for people who want to explore things in more depth.

There’s also access to a personalised psychometric – a tool used by psychologists to get more insight into who someone is and how they approach things from a cognitive perspective.

When this is carried out online, it provides every reader with a detailed personality report about their preferences, tendencies and how they operate at their best.

Isn’t that something we all want to achieve?

Available from all good bookshops priced £16.99

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