Each September in Australia we have R U OK? Day The mission of RU OK? is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and start a conversation with anyone who may be struggling with life. The initiative does a fabulous job raising awareness around mental health and helping people understand that you don’t need to be an expert to reach out – just a good friend and a great listener.
I am a huge supporter of R U OK? day.
I am also a huge supporter of helping people learn how to put on their own oxygen mask on first so that they protect themselves from moving into the orange or red zones of the Mental Health Continuum.
In the world of business today, we are experiencing unprecedented amounts of change and volatility. It is abundantly clear that the skills and mindsets that ‘got us here’ as employees, will not ‘get us there’.
We must sense and learn our way through complex, adaptive challenges. We must work as part of agile, connected, diverse teams. We must have the courage to genuinely care about our colleagues. We must trust others and be open to continual learning from many sources. We must bring our whole selves to work and harness the wisdom in our head, heart and gut.
In addition to these external challenges, our internal world is also incredibly challenged.
The human brain is not designed for today’s fast-paced, always-on business environment. Only a few short decades ago, we were able to leave our typewriters and desk phones in the office – today many us take them to bed with us. Our brains register looming deadlines or unread emails as serious ‘threats’ – triggering our fight-or-flight mode, a biological response to imminent danger. This takes a huge toll on our immune systems, blood pressure and nervous system. Even when we are at home, our mind is tricked into believing we are actually at work every time we check our work phone or laptop. The combination of the immense challenges we face, and the blurring of work/life boundaries has the potential to significantly undermine our wellbeing.
Depression is now the number one cause of disability across the world. A recent study by Beyond Blue found that whilst 91% of employees believe it’s important to work in a mentally healthy workplace, only 52% agree their workplace fits that description.
There is much work to be done to design and sustain thriving workscapes.
I believe that a key success factor in the creation of a thriving workscape is visibly thriving people who can role-model self-care and sustainable work practices.
You might think this is the action for the formal leaders of organisations. However, this is something any motivated individual who wants to make change, can take a lead in. It’s an opportunity to put self-care first without apology, and promote that it is no longer desirable to talk about being “stressed and busy” as a badge of self-importance.
Often we know what we should be doing in order to thrive, and we are great at giving other people advice on what they need to do to improve their wellbeing. However, when it comes to actually doing what we need to do in order to stay well, we can often drift off course.
Why is that?
Often our desired behaviours are sabotaged by limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in patterns of behaviour that work against our desire to thrive.
Often our beliefs operate below our level of conscious awareness, so, one of the most powerful things you do for your well-being, is to begin to notice the self-limiting beliefs that keep you stuck in unhealthy patterns of behaviour. In my experience, working on behavioural changes without understanding and reprogramming limiting beliefs, is like trying to build a house on quicksand.
Some of the limiting beliefs that I have encountered as a coach that undermine clients well-being have included:
- No matter what I do, I could do better
- I have to always be available
- If I want a job done well, I have to do it myself
- My value is completely attached to what I do (as opposed to who I am)
- I am not worthy of this job and any day now they will figure out I have no idea what I am doing
It is easy to feel ‘stuck’, however creating awareness around your primary limiting belief in the first step. From this place of awareness, you can begin to reprogram this belief and design and embed new beliefs that support your desire to thrive.
Creating a strong and healthy core belief system that is fully aligned with your well-being goals, provides a rock-solid foundation for behaviour change.
Happiness and well-being are not magical traits that some are blessed with and others are not – they’re a way of living and working that we can nurture and grow.
~ Arianna Huffington
Cassandra Goodman is a mindful leader driven by a strong sense of purpose and a deep commitment to the creation of workplaces that inspire heart-count. Cassandra has enjoyed a long corporate and has held a range of senior executive roles in Australia and overseas. She has spent over two decades working and leading others in large multi-national organisations, including GE and Bupa where she held the role of Global Director of Employee Engagement & Wellbeing and was responsible for the activation of Bupa’s purpose “Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives” for 86,000 employees around the globe. Today Cassandra’s work spans a portfolio of consulting, coaching, speaking and coaching/facilitation for Thrive Global, an founded and led by Arianna Huffington to end the epidemic of burnout.
Visit www.CassandraGoodman.com to learn more about Cassandra’s work.