So why do I run these sessions on Wellbeing and resilience in the work place?
So, for starters I have been to that place where I was physically being sick every morning, ending up in tears in the office, not sleeping and not being able to face people.
Did I see this coming, did others see this coming - no. Could it happen again?
Maybe, I have learnt a lot about myself since then and I would like to think I have improved my resilience in some areas. However, it is something that you have to keep working on in this world of high demands and constant pressure.
At the time I did not shy away from sharing this with my team, but I did not tell the world.
My decision to share my story further afield was due to one of my former managers asking me to speak to the management team about mental health and wellbeing. The trigger for this hardened Kiwi bloke was that his son had been having some challenges and he had been talking to me as he worked through this with his son.
Not everyone thought it was a good idea. Some close mentors and friends thought it would harm my career by exposing what they would consider a weakness. I mulled that over a lot.
The other trigger was a family member who was a corporate warrior who never showed signs of not coping with stress or life attempting to end it in his mid 50’s.
Despite the fact that I thought I was pretty aware of people and their emotions I did not see this coming.
Taking that phone call, rushing around and heading to the hospital with him and then spending every day visiting him in the mental health ward for weeks was extremely challenging. I can tell you that you do not want to end up in there.
The mental health system is fundamentally broken and not made to accommodate those who the challenges of life have just become too much.
I spoke to that management team. They sat and listened, even those who rarely listen, hearing a story first hand story made them sit back and think about how it was dealt with in the workplace.
For mental health week in 2017 I shared my story with the NZ business.
The reaction was massive. I had many emails thanking me for sharing my story. There were people who were struggling, people who has family that was struggling and those who just appreciated an open discussion on it.
Some people confided in me happy to have someone to talk. Others decided to take the step of talking to their manager about their struggles.
I was just happy if it made a difference to one person’s life.
I picked up running the resilience training for the smaller offices and some of our clients and partners. The company really only ran it for ‘Leaders’. In every session we had great conversations and I could feel that many people gained something from it.
Companies have finance managers, marketing managers, health and safety managers and all types of other roles. Ironically, they do not have wellbeing managers, despite the fact that the wellbeing of your people the heart of every business.
Do we equip our people with what they need as their career grows to deal with their own resilience and that of their teams and colleagues? Typically, it’s a baptism by fire.
Read my personal story here.