We all know how necessary physical fitness is. So, when did it become clear that mental fitness is equally important?
In 2015, after losing six mates in 6 months to 6 mental health related deaths, we recognised that, like taking care of your physical fitness, mental fitness is just as essential; I’d even argue that it should come before physical fitness. When most people hear the concept of physical fitness, they instinctively know that physical fitness is something you have to earn, right?
Mental Fitness is the ability to stay above the mental health line and avoid issues like burnout, anxiety, relationship breakdowns and depression. Just like physical fitness, if you stop working your mental muscle, you become mentally unfit, which we can all avoid.
Explain this idea of a Mental Fitness Facilitator. What do you think it takes to become a Mental Fitness Facilitator? Tell us about your journey to get there.
First things first, to be a Mental Fitness Facilitator, you have to care.
Any skill can be taught, and we teach skills that make you mentally fit.
Kyle, my best mate and fellow Co-Founder of Evocativ, was an engineer in his past life, so you can imagine his analytical brain. In Grade 8, he was taught inversion theory, stating if you trying to find a solution to a problem, first find what the exact opposite is.
He thought about our friends that had passed, his own experiences and his research to recognise three key themes – being mentally unfit meant having no sense of purpose; no reason for being. Abandoning or neglecting any form of meaningful connection or relationship and doing absolutely nothing to change it. In contrast; to be mentally fit would mean having a clearly defined purpose, an understanding and appreciation for yourself and others and doing everything in your power to continually improve and pursue the things you are truly passionate about. It was from here, we created the Evocativ system, where we walk with our clients, hand in hand, to equip them with tools and frameworks that improve relationships, inspiration, direction and resilience.
Over recent years, how have you seen awareness and approaches to mental health change? What have you noticed?
It’s a great question, I think where I land with awareness is that knowing isn’t enough, it’s what you do with the knowledge that is the real power.
I do wonder why mental health has two meanings thought. To me health is good, it’s positive, and you would be considered “fit” if you are healthy. And the opposite for unhealthy, ill, or sick means you would be “unfit”. Right?
So we have made it clear. The mental health line is in the middle, it’s where an average mindset is. Being mentally unfit means you are below the mental health line, whilst being mentally fit, you navigate life above the mental health line.
In organisations, it’s clear that the future of HR and leadership has to be different from what we have previously experienced. We, as employers have an obligation to ensure our staff are happy and healthy. As a community, we must look at ourselves in the mirror and ask, what can I do today to make the earth a better place than yesterday. There are a lot of incredible people and organisations doing great things for this topic however, I believe we have to get a clear standard before we can get better.
What is one of the most common mental-health-related difficulties individuals and organisations turn to you for?
Getting staff to feel inspired and purposeful at work. We help individuals inside the organisation identify the things that make them tick. Being the best parents for their children, aspirations to travel the globe, or change the way the world views people with disabilities. Whatever it is, we bridge the gap between that vision and what they do every single day at work.
What are some mental health difficulties unique to leaders and employees today?
Future anxiety is a big issue. We all have so much going on, deadlines, work conferences, and travel, to name a few. Then add the fact we have family, friends and personal time we want to invest in. It is important to get clear on priorities, how much time you currently spend doing them, and how much time you need to invest. As I mentioned earlier, knowing isn’t enough, so we implement our PPP system to help staff be present and focused, whether at work or home.
Stress. 50% of workplace stress leads to voluntary turnover. We have found that the biggest contributor to stress is having difficult conversations. Feeling heard and validated. Listening is such a powerful tool and shows that you care while empowering others’ opinions. We introduce several effective communication frameworks that lead with vulnerability. And finding the workplace improves stress levels, staff retention, positivity and relationships.
What’s some advice you can share for anyone who is struggling with their mental health?
It’s a really tough question to answer because everyone navigates life with a different mental health line. Something that has come up a lot for me lately is people sharing trauma-related stories and saying “I know I should probably go see someone, but”… My suggestion would be to treat mental health like hunger pains. If your stomach is growling, telling you to eat, you do everything you can to address that, you order food, tell the people around, and you may even start searching for it on socials. My suggestion is to do the same for your mental well-being. If your mind is ticking over, saying “this feels yucky, I should do something about this, I’m struggling” then it’s a signal to do something about it. Research it, share how you’re feeling, and ask for help because I’m sure you will receive it.
A little bit more about you….
How long have you been working at WOTSO? What made your decision to choose WOTSO?
I have been at WOTSO for four months now. Funnily enough, I was settling in Gold Coast after touring Australia in my van, and the thought of wifi, snack bars and showers made perfect sense to me. Now settled in my own place I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
You recently facilitated an entrepreneur group with other WOTSO members. Tell us more about this. The reasoning behind it, how did it go?
It was such an incredible success. I always recap my wins for the weeks with my partners, and the entrepreneur group topped that week. It started with a conversation Brenden and I had after bouncing business ideas and struggles between one another over a matter of weeks. We recognised entrepreneurs all have similar problems; finding support, learning about/implementing systems and accountability. We asked a few people we had met in our short time at WOTSO if they wanted to get together to support one another. The response was positive.
Firstly we got intentional by checking in on how we were really going before sharing our business with the group. Learning more about each other business has made me think broader and lean on our group for support and advice. We are doing it fortnightly at this stage and ironing out an effective structure before inviting others.
How does being surround by other entrepreneurs support your business growth?
I know setting an accountability appointment with another human increases the likelihood of achieving that goal by up to 95%. Besides that, it’s having a different lens to look at things I’m doing in our business. Asking Carol to read over a product proposal or Jaime to look at a pitch deck before sending it out has meant I get instant industry feedback. Outside of the group, it’s nice to have social connections. When I need to vent or share a win it’s so nice to spin my chair around and be supported and validated by new friends. This means my energy remains positive, and that’s what you need for business growth.