Every day has been a school day

Every day has been a school day

Since I founded Breaking the Silence in October of last year, I have been on a mission to build a brand that is associated with mental health, employee wellbeing and corporate culture. This has involved me having literally hundreds of meetings spread all over the UK and driving over 40,000 miles. I use a phrase that every day is a school day because I have learnt so much during that time about mental fatigue in the workplace, corporate culture and even more about myself. It has already been an inspirational journey and I thought I would summarise my top ten key learnings to date.

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  1. The most inspirational people are those who are prepared to show their vulnerability proving it’s okay not to be okay.
  2. The number of people who will suffer some sort of mental fatigue every year is 1 in 1 dispelling the popular view that it is as low as 1 in 4.
  3. If businesses are serious about changing culture and creating stigma free environments, the tone must be set from the very top. When senior executives talk about mental health it makes it much easier for everyone to talk about it.
  4. The education of line managers is critical as most do not deliberately stigmatise and their discrimination is borne out of ignorance.
  5. The stigma is the ‘silence’ so the answer lies in having a little more conversation.
  6. The stigma associated with mental health is still ‘alive and kicking’ and is going to take many years to be defeated. I am given horrendous examples almost every day of good people being forced to leave their employment due to bullying and ignorance.
  7. Giving out tins of baked beans may cost me a lot of money but is encouraging more people to talk about mental wellbeing for the week after I have delivered one of my masterclasses.
  8. I continue to see evidence throughout my travels that men find it so much more difficult to talk openly about their true wellbeing. Therefore, we must work harder at creating cultures where they will not feel judged when feeling mentally unwell.
  9. There is no such thing as ‘normal’ and everybody has their own story to tell. If only we all knew this as we would be so much more empathic and tolerant of each other.
  10. If you invest in employee wellbeing you will see a significant return on your investment as there is a direct correlation between employee energy and productivity.

I recently met someone in Cheshire that I had been struggling to appoint for several months. We agreed to meet in a Costa Coffee in Holmes Chapel and he arrived punctually at 2pm. It was gone twenty past two and we had drunk most of our coffee before I realised that I was sitting with a stranger. My guy was sitting a few tables away and was about to exit the building due to my ‘no show’. To make sure you are meeting with the right person maybe my biggest learning of all but I chose not to put it in my Top Ten!!

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