For decades, terms like 'employee wellness', 'employee assistance', and 'mental health discussion' were simply checkmarks on a yearly assessment; items to make sure supervisors mentioned in the course of conversations with their team, often covered with sarcasm or humour to disguise the discomfort of skating to the edge of what these concepts really meant.
Stigma. Substance use. Increased sick time. Being broken. Mockery. Being shunted to the far recesses of the office.
I don't think anyone can argue that those concepts are no longer reasonable; a more viable argument is that those points of view are now negligent.
But acknowledging that these checkmarks were wrong isn't enough. It's now time for today's leaders, no matter the workplace, to begin building the foundation of their leadership style on the premise that the mental health of their team is paramount. Everything else should flow from how you treat the health, wellness, and balance of your team.
In 2018, I wrote and released a book called '"Career Suicide is Overrated" And Other Lessons For Leaders About Honouring Mental Health Where You Work, Live, And Play.' In the years since then, I've been lucky enough to speak with dozens of thought leaders in the worlds of mental health, leadership, psychology, medicine, and media. So much so that I've been able to take those experiences, plus lessons from COVID, and re-release the book in a shiny new edition, now called 'Career Suicide is Overrated - Equipping Leaders With Mental Health Strategies For Their Teams And Themselves.'
Here's a sample from the section on not taking on the world alone:
"A huge part of Leadership includes recognizing when you can’t do it all yourself. You will seldom find a true Leader who says that they reached the position they have on their own. They will talk about their mentors and teachers; leaders who both formed them AND provided them with really good bad examples."
And another from the chapter on self-reflection and looking in the mirror:
"Capital-L Leaders are naturally given to self-reflection and self-discovery. These are how Leaders grow. If you’re not currently engaging in these practices, I urge you to start. What you find out about yourself after careful and deliberate thought can be incredibly beneficial and lead to massive growth.
However, be prepared – this kind of introspection can be very painful. If you’re honest with yourself, you will not only consider your accomplishments, but your non-successes (I hate the word failure!) as well. To do otherwise is to do yourself a disservice as a Leader."
There are another thirty or so short chapters, all designed to help navigate the blend of mental health and Leadership present in the modern workplace.
The new book launches worldwide on September 9th with a virtual event. If you're intrigued with what you read (or simply want to upgrade your old copy!), I would love it if you would consider two different ways to get involved with the new release:
1) If you would like to pre-order a copy and are willing to provide a review, you can become part of the Career Suicide is Overrated VIP Launch team, which includes a private FB group, freebies, and prizes during the book launch event. This Youtube link is to a two-minute video that explains how to join the team:
and the new book can be found here:
2) If you would like to buy the book and help support an amazing organization that is helping military veterans and frontline responders, please order a copy on the day of release, September 9th. A portion of all first-day book sales go to support V-EH! Veterans and Everyday Heroes (v-eh.ca), an organization who assists everyday heroes with acts of kindness big and small, including contributing to providing service dogs to those in need. You will also be invited to join the FB livestream of the book launch event.
If you would like a signed copy or more information, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
For many years, I was trapped in my PTSD. I was arrogant, selfish, and cut off from the friends and family who most could have helped me. This book, and sharing my story to help others not follow the same trail as me, is my way of giving back and saying thank you to those who supported and inspired me when I was at my lowest.
See you on the 9th!