Updated: Feb 10
February 3rd was Time to Talk day. If you aren’t familiar with Time to Talk, it’s a national anti-stigma campaign in collaboration with the mental health charities MIND and Rethink. Its aim is to get more people “normalizing” talking about mental health, often with an additional focus on workplace well-being.
As a workplace (or interested individual) I highly recommend signing up to their mailing list and exploring the website. As there are loads of resources that can easily be utilised within your organization, for yourself or your community.
Having positive conversations about mental health is an important step for individual and collective well-being. We have come a long way, and yet there is still a sense of discomfort and stigma when it comes to openly conveying our mental health experiences with others.
In a workplace (read also family or community here) with an inclusive well-being culture. Conversations about mental health are likely to be happening organically and fairly freely. This indicates some level of psychological safety in your organization or at least your team.
A culture of openness, trust and inclusivity – at some level.
(If Psychological Safety is also something new to you here is a brief definition “Psychological safety is the belief that you won't be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. ... “When you have psychological safety in the workplace, people feel comfortable being themselves”)
Talking, or rather communicating forms the backbone of a positive culture.
Communication is one of the leading factors to people’s mental health and well-being in the workplace.
When I coach clients in a workplace setting, it’s not long until some sort of story or scenario comes up surrounding ineffective communication – that is at the root of an issue like stress, depression, anxiety or loneliness.
These “conversations” (or lack of) might be systems, relationships, team dynamics, change management. Usually enabled to ‘become an issue’ by a lack of direct, honest and engaging conversations.
Talking and communicating really can benefit us (and our business dynamic) in a number of ways.
But it’s by no means a standalone.
And as campaigns like Time to Talk come and go. I ask myself. And I ask you too:
Whatever stage your business well-being is at. I invite you to explore the four cornerstones in this blog. Be curious about how you keep momentum going with your well-being culture. What opportunities do you have to “tweak”
Time to Observe
Observation is a little under-rated in managing change and culture. Observing is not just looking, it’s seeing and noticing what’s going on. And coming up with a conclusion about what it is you observe.
Observing isn’t just something done with the eyes.
It’s a whole senses process.
Best done at a range of perspectives or with a broad spectrum of stakeholders.
Observation is inner and outer. Checking in with your own well-being and working from that inside out.
Floating above to the bigger picture, then swooping down to the finer detail.
Listening is observing too. Actively listening, which means carefully receiving information, being mindful to clarify intention and meaning. With self-awareness of your own filters, and the filtering of meaning that happens collectively too.
Write down 3-5 questions you would like to discover the answers to through observation.
This might be something like am I ok? How did people engage in time to talk? How many people are currently off sick with stress? Are our new working patterns effective? How are we listening to each other?
Your intuition will guide you to the questions you need to ask right now.
Time to Be
What do you want to be VS what are you Being? The really ‘coachy’ way of looking at this could include phrases like ‘How am I showing up?’ or ‘what do we/I stand for’
When it comes to mental health and well-being there is often a juxtaposition between intention and reality.
Being is about purpose and meaning. Sharing a vision and aligning values.
Being in alignment is not to be under-estimated when it comes to our well-being. Ensuring our ‘core self’ and ‘purpose’ is, for the most of our hours and days, attuned in someway to our inner being.
Write down 3-5 things you want to Be:
As an individual
As a leader
As an organization
How would you rate each of these in terms of “being” 1-5 (five = mastering, 1= floundering)?
Time to do
We’ve all probably said it or heard someone else say it.
Action speaks louder than words.
What are you and your colleagues doing to keep the momentum of the well-being culture?
How is that happening at an individual, team and organizational level?
Moving, doing, creating, action: an essential part of beginning ‘A movement’ (aka a culture)
What does that action look like? Remember, actions are best developed from the inside outwards. What actions do you lead on for your own well-being, how motivated are your team to match their words and actions? What is the benefit of doing this for your collective?
How can your actions change the world?
Imagine that each action is a ball of energy. Fueling and nourishing. Actions should be energizing, not debilitating. (Though some may be uncomfortable as you stride into your movement).
Write down 3-5 actions you can take to create positive change for your individual and collective well-being.
At where the mind grows, we believe that well-being works best as an ongoing and evolving part of your business.
A living system.
Just think how many of your systems and processes require careful consideration, implementation, evaluation and ongoing investment.
Well-being cultures are not a destination. They are an evolution. Becoming comfortable with that, can be most freeing.
So how will you cultivate?
A note from nature:
When it comes to talking and communication nature certainly has evolved some amazing strategies to enhance its collective communication.
Did you know that a woodland has an underground network of fungi called the Mycelium Network? This network is like the internet of the forest world, the ‘wood wide web’. It enables trees to communicate with each other, as a team. Helping the ecosystem of the forest collaborate on their individual and overall wellness.
Trees from the same team (species) will pass nutrients to each other through the network of roots and fungi through something called Kin Recognition.
The mother tree (leader) ensures that younger trees in the team, have the right nutrients to grow and thrive.
Trees build resilience through use of the network connection. In the event of danger, disease or trauma a tree uses the process called Allelopathy to produce chemical signals through the network that warn other trees of the need to protect themselves.
Just like the internet the system can be “hacked” by species who are working for their own survival and not that of the team. Or interrupt the flow of growth and communication, through their actions.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT: How might you apply the strategies of the mycelium network in your business and well-being culture?
Observe and interact
Work from yourself outwards
Know that everything is connected
Sarah Spencer’s – Think Like a Tree (Natural Principles) **
Picture Unsplash - Stephen Kamenar