Years ago I heard about self-development, life coaching, Positive Mental Attitude and all those things that American’s did in films; “I didn’t need to do any of that” I thought, “I’m doing fine as I am”.
Then through meeting a life and business mentor, and being a guinea pig in The Sun’s diet plan with professional psychological, training and nutrition advice, I experienced thought-provoking conversations and realised that my behaviour in certain situations was illogical and self-defeating. Not only this, I was being told that I could change that. Really?
Looking back, I’m surprised that I was so surprised. For the past 7 years I had been building a business in change behaviour; but more specifically in mental health. Being the computer scientist of the business, which guides people to the right psychological therapist, I spent my time organising information about therapy and making it useful, rather than actually learning too much about the end service that our clients were seeking.
So I decided to learn more about myself, more about human psychology, why we do what we do, how our evolution as creatures means we have deeply embedded natural tendencies; yet a unique point of humans is that we have the ability to think, to over-ride our habits, and to make the choice to do something different.
I’m fortunate that unlike 1 in 4 people each year, I don’t have a diagnosable mental health condition. But I take the view that we are all on a mental wellbeing spectrum, anywhere from being mentally very well, to having a severe mental health issue. In any given week it’s likely most of us will experience some form or stress, depression or anxiety, however mild. So I’ve thrown myself into being proactive rather than reactive about my own mental state and it’s had a massive effect on my private and business life over the past couple of years. I’ve been learning about emotional intelligence, empathy, spending time on myself, not burning out, delayed gratification and more, and feel that I’m just uncovering the tip of the iceberg.
There’s a great quote “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”; please give it some thought for 5 minutes (seriously, actually take 5 minutes). When was the last time you had a heated disagreement with someone at home or at work? How many times has the outcome been positive? Did you win the argument? Do you have any regrets? What if you had handled the situation differently?
As the quote in “The E Myth” book reads, consider “working ON your business, instead of just IN your business”; I would say it’s crucial to apply the same to yourself. YOU (and your employees/colleagues) are your business’s most important asset, and it really is worth spending time focusing on yourself, on your mental wellbeing and on growing your effectiveness in all aspects of your life.
We don’t need to be mentally unwell, to strive to become mentally fitter.