Elevating the Mental Health of Leaders: Optimizing their Unlimited Worth

Elevating the Mental Health of Leaders: Optimizing their Unlimited Worth



Shockingly, research is finding that 60% of leaders are feeling burned out at the end of every day, and the depression rate of CEOs is 20%, double the national average. Leaders are feeling their impact is limited and are left questioning their worth in their roles. Poor mental health not only affects leaders’ decision-making and workplace relationships, but it is also leading to increased leadership turnover, all of which can be devastating to the momentum, productivity, and growth of an organization.

In this session, we help HR professionals understand the current state of leaders’ mental wellness, why it is so important to prioritize mental health, and how to identify important signs that leaders might be struggling. We leave the audience with simple, yet powerful, directions on what they can do to help their leaders move from struggling below their potential to thriving.

Attendees will learn

  • How to identify the current state of leaders’ mental health
  • How to understand the neurological consequences of trauma and stress on leaders
  • The signs that your executives may be struggling mentally
  • How to gain clarity on how leaders’ mental health affects the organization and the people they lead
  • How to elevate leaders’ mental health so they can optimize their unlimited worth.


Ryan Gottfredson, Ph.D. is a cutting-edge leadership development author, researcher, and consultant. He helps organizations vertically develop their leaders primarily through a focus on mindsets. Ryan is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author of Success Mindsets: The Key to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, & Leadership. And, he is the author of the upcoming book, The Elevated Leader: Leveling Up Your Leadership Through Vertical Development. He is also a leadership professor at the College of Business and Economics at California State University-Fullerton.

Connect with Ryan: LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and ryangottfredson.com

Mike Skrypnek is a catalyst that ignites your passion to help you make a cosmic ripple. His role as a multiplier of entrepreneurial success extends through generations.  Mike is an international bestseller of nine books, including his most important and soon-to-be available, UNLimited WORTH. He is a keynote speaker and sought-after business strategist who has shared his insights and wisdom with thousands of passionate purpose-driven entrepreneurs, business leaders, and executives. His coaching focuses on purpose at the intersection of personal, professional, and philanthropic development.

Mike lives, loves, and adventures with his wife and their two young adult children in the beautiful Sea-to-Sky corridor of British Columbia, Canada. Please welcome the CEO of Grow Get Give Coaching and Founder of The UNLimited WORTH Project.

Connect with Mike: LinkedInFacebook, and mikeskypnek.com


Elevating the Mental Health of Leaders: Optimizing their Unlimited Worth
Special Offer!

RyanGottfredson.com is pleased to offer a special discount for HRDQ-U webinar viewers who wish to explore the concepts of mental wellness for leaders further.

Burnout and depression among leaders are having major effects on organizations everywhere. When leaders are unwell, companies falter. Ryan Gottfredson and Mike Skrypnek can deliver their proprietary leadership workshop, Elevate the Mental Wellness of Your Leaders, directly to you.

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On-Demand Webinar Recording
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Hi, everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, Elevating the Mental Health Of Leaders: Optimizing Their Unlimited Worth, hosted By HRDQ-U and presented by Ryan Gottfredson and Mike Skrypnek.
My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions or comments, please type them into the question area on your GoToWebinar control panel, and we’ll answer as many questions as we can today during our session.
And today’s webinar is brought to you in partnership by HRDQstore and RyanGottfredson.com and MikeSkrypnek.com.
Ryan Gottfredson is a cutting-edge leadership development author, researcher, and consultant. He helps organizations vertically develop their leadership, their leaders, primarily through a focus on mindsets. Ryan is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, a best-selling author of Success Mindset sets, the key to unlocking greater success in your life, work, and leadership. He is also a leadership professor at the College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton.
And Mike Skrypnek is a catalyst that ignites your past passion to help you make a cosmic rebel. His role as a multiplier of entrepreneurial success extends through generations. Mike is an international bestseller of nine books, including his most important, and soon to be available, Unlimited Worth. He is a keynote speaker and sought after business strategist who has shared his insights and wisdom with thousands of passionate, purpose driven entrepreneurs, business leaders, and executives. His coaching focuses on purpose at the intersection of personal, professional, and philanthropic developments.
Mike loves and lives the adventures of his wife and their two young adult children and the beautiful (unknown) corner of British Columbia, Canada. Thank you both for joining us today.
Yes, thank you so much, Sarah. It’s great to be with you with HRDQ and with all of you who are listening in. So, so, welcome in. Um, couple of logistic things is one is we want this to be interactive, so you could chat if you want to chat in, ask any questions, please do that in the question box. In fact, I’m going to be asking you some questions here shortly and would love to get your responses there. So, the question box is the place to do that.
But also before we get going, just to kinda give you a heads up where tag-teaming this today. So I’m going to start off, and then I’ll cover about the first half of the material, Then I’ll pass it over to Mike, who will cover roughly the second half. And then I’ll just wrap it up towards the end. So I want you to hear from Mike before I get going. So, Mike, anything you want to say to the group?
Ryan, so happy to be here and glad we have an opportunity. And the audience has an opportunity to dig into something that’s critically important in today’s leadership training executives and our world in general.
Awesome. Great.
So you’ll hear from Mike here in a little bit to get us into this. I don’t know if you’ve heard this saying, but the saying, yeah, it goes that.
There’s two last great frontiers one of those being space.
And today we have the honor of diving into that frontier.
And I think Mike and I both consider it an honor to be playing in this space, and to be introducing some of these contexts and information to you, because, whether you realize it or not, the next phase in leadership development work, is going to be a focus on the mind.
We’re going to step into that today. So I hope that that’s something that you’re excited about and to kind of set us up with our purpose for today. Really, our purposes, we’ve thought through this and what we want to present is to help you better understand how you can help your leaders move up the thriving scheme.
Now, over the last three years roughly kind of covert pandemic ties, one of the things that’s been interesting to me is I’ve worked with a variety of executive teams and executives is that executives generally think they’re at least one stage, if not two stages, higher on this scale than what they really are.
I, what I find is it’s just even leaders who are struggling, they usually say they’re, they’re surviving are thriving because they’re somewhat dealing with it, but maybe not very effectively, and it’s hard for them to pick that out.
So, what we want to present is how you and how we can help you elevate your leaders so that we’re operating more in that thriving mode.
And this, in order to get there, it’s going to involve a focus on mental wellness.
And it’s also going to involve topics of a heavier nature.
I mean, we’re going to be talking about trauma today, but I think what you’ll also, and this is what I hope you really come away with, is that, you’ll see that this could be really beautiful, because really, it’s a story about trauma and healing.
So, to get into this, I’ve got some statistics that I want to go through. We’re gonna start with some leader mental health statistics in the last year.
I’ve also got some, in a couple of slides, some leadership effectiveness statistics, that I want to walk through, And we’re going to connect the dots here. So what I’ve got here on the left is four different percentages.
I’m going to bring up four different statements.
I want you in the question box, to chat in which percentage goes with which statement OK, so let’s start with this first one.
So the first one is, what percentage of senior executives suffered from at least one symptom associated with poor mental health in the last year?
What would you say? Chat in the question box, 30%, 26, 77 or 34?
Lot of 77, most of you are saying 77 or the next highest 34.
There’s a pretty big gap there, but I I think you’re onto something.
Here’s the next one, what percent of senior executives have suffered from insomnia and disturbed sleep in the last year?
Go ahead.
Draw on those percentages in the chat box.
What percentage of senior executives have reported struggling with anger and impatience in the last year?
77% keep coming up, but now we’re starting to get a little bit lower, 30%.
What percentage of senior executives have reported struggling with depression in the last year?
Now I don’t know about you, but I think all of these percentages are higher than what we would like them to be and here’s the actual percentages.
77% of senior executives suffer from at least one symptom associated with poor mental health that includes insomnia, disturbed sleep, anger and impatience, and depression.
And let me give you one, that, just, I mean, it’s just, it’s a heartbreaking statistic, honestly.
And the statistic is, 7% of senior executives have considered self harm in the last year, up 1% from the prior year, and that’s what people are willing to admit, right?
It could very well be higher.
So I don’t know about you, but this is not painting a great picture of the mental health of our leaders and executives today, But just slightly shift gears and then like I said, Well, we’ll connect the dots. Let me give you some more statistics, here, We’re gonna do the same thing. So I’ve got percentages here on the left, and I’m gonna throw these up one at a time again.
So let’s start with the first one here. This is revolving around leadership effectiveness. What percent of employees report that their direct lieder damages, their self esteem?
What would you say? Put it in the chat box, Is that 80 to 60, 65, or 75?
All right, we’re a little bit more spread here. I think of winning would probably be the 60 or the 65. Again, you’re probably thinking, Man, all those percentages are really high, which we all should.
The next one is, What percentage of employees don’t trust their direct leader to tell the truth, 82, 60, 65, 7.
All right, I’m seeing more 75 here.
What percentage of employees would prefer to have a different direct leader compared to more pay?
Me think, here.
All right, Since 60, 75, here’s the last one: What percentage of employees say that their direct leader is the worst and most stressful part of their job?
Here’s where the eighty two’s come flying in awe that makes me sad.
Um, again, these are probably pretty surprising, here’s the actual statistics. 60% of employees report that their direct leader damages, their self-esteem. I don’t know a leader that intentionally does this. We’ll kinda get into that.
But it happens, 82% of employees don’t trust the direct leader to tell the truth, 65% would prefer to have a different direct leader compared to more pain, and 75% say that their leader is the worst and most stressful part of their job.
I’m curious, did, did any of you get all of these right? I’m curious, just give me a yes or no in the question box. And Catherine asked a question, Can you please repeat the source?
So, this comes from a variety of sources, And I’m happy to share those. I just don’t have them currently listed here on the slide.
Somebody got the first floor, but not the second floor. Right?
So, I think these are rather surprising, But, do you think that these are related? Give me a yes or no. In the question box that leader’s mental wellness is related to leader effectiveness.
Alright, I think we get this right. That if, if a leader’s mental wellness goes down, their leadership effectiveness will go down, or vice versa. If leader, mental wellness goes up, leader effectiveness will go up.
But do we really practice the belief that we have around us?
I don’t know if my perception and every organization, every, every context is a little bit different. But I think too, often, when we focus on leadership development, we focused on things like expertise, knowledge, skills, the people around the leaders helping them develop a clear strategy, or giving them resources.
We emphasize those a lot more than lieder mental wellness. Would you agree with me?
I don’t know. Give me a yes, or kinda, or no.
In the question box, Would you agree that we, we don’t give, this may be enough?
Somebody that most of you are saying, yes, or definitely, somebody says, Those things are used to excuse, bad behavior, I think, is what I said.
Yeah, I think those things are used to Excuse bad behavior.
Yeah, lipservice is given to mental health. Great.
I agree.
But here’s, here’s what I think is the reality is that this is what it looks like. Leaders, mental wellness influences our ability to make the most of these things.
Right, The greater the mental wellness, the more are the better. We’ll be able to use our expertise, knowledge, and skills. The better we’ll be able to work with others to think a higher level strategy, and to properly use our resources.
So this really is a foundational element.
This is why I said at the outset, this is the next frontier in leadership development, and we’re beginning to realize this more and more.
Um, and in fact, what I did, or I did a search of all of the academic articles throughout time, all of time that have used the word neuroscience.
And there has been more published that is use the word neuroscience in the last 15 years.
Then all of time before that bye, bye an exponential margin.
And we have learned In other words, we have learned more about the mind in the last 15 years than all the time before that, but where does most of our leadership development philosophes come from?
They usually come from before 2005.
That means that most of our philosophies that we rely upon are overlooking the mine and now we’re starting to be able to have the understanding to be able to dive into this. So, that’s what we’re gonna do today.
The first part of this, and what I’ll cover, is I’ll dive into the neuroscience behind mental wellness and leadership effects.
Then I’ll pass it over to Mike to tell, have, have you learned from his leadership journey, which is a very powerful story, and then I’ll cover it back up, when talking about the necessity and power of helping leaders to step into mental health.
So, that’s where we’re headed.
That sounds good. Give me a Give me a good sounds good, or a yes in the chat box, if you’re still with me.
Or you could also say, No, this is terrible. Right? That’s fine, too.
All right. Great.
So let’s let’s dive into this.
In order for us to fully appreciate what is going on in this model that’s presented here, what we need to understand is both for us, as well as for the leaders that we work with, 90% of our thinking feeling judging enacting is driven by our non conscious automatic process.
And the quality of our non conscious automatic processing is founded in our mental wellness. Now, let me let me give you an example that I think you’ll enjoy here. In fact, we’re going to bring up a poll here. So, Sarah, if you have the poll, that would be great. But what color do you see? You’ve probably seen this dress before, but what color is the dress to you?
All right. And we have the poll live now.
Yeah, a few seconds here.
Their answer, I see the votes streaming in.
10 more seconds if you haven’t voted.
Here, we’ve got 65% of voted. It’s about a 50, 50 split here between gold and blue.
Now, we’re going to have Those are the results up on the screen.
Alright. Perfect. So we got 49% say goal, and 51% say blue. This is what they call a one photographs. Because of this, is that of roughly half of the population, see the dress of one color?
Black and blue, the other half see this dress as being white and gold.
one of the things that’s really fascinating about this is I just learned the research behind why this is.
What the research has found is that people who have traditionally spent more time indoors their mind automatically interprets this lighting in the background as being indoor lighting, and their mind, non consciously turns off, seeing the yellow cues in the dress, therefore, they’re left seeing black and blue, But people who have traditionally spent more time outdoors.
They interpret this lighting as being outdoor lighting and their mind, non consciously turns off the blue hues, which causes them to see White, and bull.
And that is something that is occurring below the level of our consciousness, but it’s going to influence everything, right? If I was to then say, OK, what she would you select? Would it be shoe A, or would it be should be, well, if you saw a white and gold, you would probably pick A, if you saw black and blue, you would probably be.
But here’s the rub. The dress is actually white, and gold.
So, if you selected B, based upon your perception that it’s black and blue, well, you might look a little bit funny showing up in blue shoes, right.
It just wasn’t the best decision based upon how our mind, non consciously made meaning of this picture.
So, what we’re trying to get at is that leaders, all of us, we interpret certain things in certain ways, because of our non conscious automatic processing.
And leadership effectiveness really is predicated on how we non consciously process, things like failure.
How do you see failure, or how does a leader see failure? Do you see failure as an indication that you are a failure?
Or do you see and make meaning of failure as an opportunity to learn and grow?
What about disagreement? Does your mind automatically make meaning of disagreement as a threat?
Therefore, we get defensive, or do we see it as an opportunity to find truth and think optimal?
And then embrace it?
What about risk? How does your mind make meaning of risk?
The risk is something to be avoided to protect us, Or is it something that’s necessary for us to reach our goals?
The reality is, in the work that I’ve done with, with leaders and executives over the last five plus years, what I found is that most leaders have non conscious processing.
That is such that they don’t see these things in the most positive way, because they don’t want to fail, They avoid trying new things because they don’t like disagreement. They shut down other’s ideas, because they’re fearful of taking risks.
They end up doing what save, but not necessarily what might be most effective. And that’s all driven by their non conscious automatic processing.
And what neuroscience has found is the root of what causes people to see the same thing, but interpret it differently.
And I’ll be honest with you.
Learning about this was surprising for me.
That the root of this is trauma.
Now, we need to define trauma here, because it’s not trauma is not the experiences that occur to us, maybe traumatic experience that occur. Trauma is not that trauma, as you will see, is actually the impact that situations have on our body’s nervous system.
And so in order for us to understand what trauma is, we just need to recognize our body. It has a stress response system. It is a very complex system.
But it is designed to help us to take on stress and navigate that effectively despite the stress that we feel.
So that’s what is designed to do that.
So let me, let’s play through some ways to do this.
Give me a yes or no in the chat box if you’ve ever been burnt on a stove like this before.
All right, so we’re getting a bunch of yeses in the chatbox, all right. So I want you to step into the times that you are burnt by the stope.
I imagine if you’re anything like me, your memory of that instance comes very vividly to you.
Is that accurate? Give me a yes or no if that’s accurate. Does this your memory of this? is that really vivid?
For most, it is, and that’s because our body’s stress response system in this moment, this is a very stressful experience, is that it imprinted that memory in our brain.
And the reason why an imprint so vividly, as it’s designed to protect us from ever having that occur again, right, that makes sense.
What about this, what happens? And you can chat in, in the question box. What happens to your body when you have to make it. Public speech.
Does anything happened to your body there?
Alright, sweat, nervous, sweaty?
I don’t have sweaty armpits, I promise.
Uh, stomach gets upset. I get excited, good.
What about when you get in a car accident?
What happens in your body?
You’re tense heart racing. good. Lot of tents.
What about this? This is my most favorite high that I’ve ever done. It’s Angels landing in Zion National Park. And there’s this part of this height where you have to rock walker processed, fairly narrow ledge, and sheer Cliff on either side for thousands of feet.
Somebody says, Oh, **** no.
Scream gets sick tense, right?
Like, our heart starts pounding.
Our muscles grow tensor, why does that do this?
Well, our stress response system is kicking in to protect us.
So our stress response system is really helpful.
So, and again.
Well, and what we need to recognize is that our stress response system has a capacity, are taking on stress.
Everybody’s stress response system has a different capacity, so, for example, whoever said, oh, **** mode to seeing this picture of angels landing, right? Maybe your capacity in that moment is just a little bit less than mine, because I actually enjoy kinda pipes that that gives me a thrill.
But, I know that there’s other people that, that, that’s really fearful for them, and that’s OK. Right, Nothing wrong with that, but it does say something about our body’s stress response system.
Alright. All that being said, now we could, I think, better understand what trauma is. So trauma, as I mentioned, is not an event. Trauma occurs when the stress of a particular situation exceeds our capacity to deal with that stress.
And when we are in those moments, our body has to take drastic measures to limit the pain and the suffering.
And so what trauma is, is the lasting consequences of these drastic measures.
On our body’s stress response system.
I’m going to walk you through those drastic measures here in just a little bit, but there’s a couple of other things to mention mentioned before we. We’ve talked about these drastic measures, which I call the four dominoes of trauma.
What we know is that there’s kind of three broad categories of trauma that these types of situations where the stress exceeds our body’s capacity to deal with them.
And they are prenatal trauma.
So, trauma that occurred when we were in the womb of our mothers, big T trauma’s, such as single big events, as well as little T trauma, which are continuous, unpredictable stress.
Now, trauma can occur at any age in our lives.
But what we also know is that trauma, at younger ages plays a role in how we operate as adults.
Little bit about my story is, if you would have asked me two years ago, if I had trauma in my background, I would have said no. like. I had a good upbringing. My parents stayed married, They went to every basketball game I ever attended.
But in the last couple of years, what I’ve discovered and with the help of a trauma therapist is that as a child, I was rather emotionally neglected.
There were incidences that occurred that I just did not get any support from my parents, when it would be normal for my parents to provide that support, such as when my brother-in-law passed away.
So, so that, for me, I experienced neglect that is a little T trauma and it honestly, it shows up every day of my life.
Because I was left alone emotionally as a child.
I’m a really independent person.
I also have a hard time trusting other people.
And that plays out everywhere and all, most of us, I won’t say all of us, most of us, the vast majority of us, have experiences, instances in our past. that affect how we think and process today.
Particularly around things like failure, disagreement, and risk.
And to kinda play this out, I want to This is a heavy topic. I want to bring some light to this. I want to show you a video here. This is Taylor Thomas Tomlinson.
She’s a comedian and I think she talks about this in in a accurate but also a little bit more of a comedic way. So, let me, let me bring that up, and we’ll, we’ll watch Taylor.
All right. Here we go.
Like most of us with childhood trauma should be pretty much everyone in here. If you’re sitting here tonight going, I don’t think I have any great parents.
I had a good childhood and this comedy show, it’s not that fun for me.
I hope this is the worst night of your whole life, because it sounds like it’s been smooth sailing.
And you might need some perspective.
Most of us did have some childhood trauma and when you get to be an adult, you’re like, woo made, it never have to think about that. Again, look at all my keys, the world is my oyster. You just start pushing all that dark stuff. That happened to you as a kid down down down so you don’t even think about it anymore.
And that works for a long time.
Until one day you stub your toe really hard on the curb and you just start weeping probably in the street. And you’re like, OK, this is about something else. I was giving all my trauma that jostled it and now it’s everywhere.
Hmm, Hmm.
And if you don’t deal with that stuff, it’s gonna keep affecting you in ways you are not even conscious.
I realized in therapy that because my mom died, young, I, of this rational belief that I am also going to die young. So, I’ve been living in a very intense, unhealthy way, my entire adult life, where I’m like, I can’t take a break. You’re going to be working all the time. I have to hit these goals and achievements. Otherwise, I’m nothing. I got engaged a few years ago, because I was like, I gotta get married before I’m dead, which is a super hot way to propose to somebody. I call it the walk to remember, it’s kinda my move.
All right, so I think we’re back. Hey, I got a couple of chats in that. That maybe you didn’t see the video, or maybe there was one that didn’t hear it, so my apologies if there was any, any difficulties there.
But one of the things that I have seen as I coach executives, let me give you two things that have popped up, is that it is not uncommon for me to hear executives say to me, I try not to let anyone know this, but deep down I’m a very insecure person.
That’s a signal that trauma has occurred in their path, and that shows up and how they lead. They have a tendency to micromanage to be a command and control leader. We’ll talk a little bit more about that. Here’s another thing that I’ve observed.
When I work coach executives, I take them through what’s called a vertical development exercise.
As a part of the exercise, we get to a point where we kinda get it, get into a block that they have, and I’ll ask them, what fear is going on here for you?
For about 15% of leaders, they say to me, I don’t have any fear, so I’m not driven by fear.
Not always leads me scratching my head thinking, well, do you not have fear, or are you just not in touch with you?
I happen to think that everybody has.
And that’s another signal of leaders who have been impacted by trauma. And we’ll be able to better understand that as we dive into the four dominoes of trauma.
So when somebody experiences these situations where the stress of that situation exceeds our body’s capacity to deal with it, then the first domino that falls is what’s called disassociation.
Dissociation is when we disconnect our brain from our body and it is a self protection mechanism that allows us to survive that particular situation.
This is oftentimes experienced as numbing.
It’s not the only way that we experience but it’s oftentimes that way.
But this is an immediate neurological alteration that has long term effects.
The more trauma was these experiences, the more disassociated they become, and literally the less self, though the reduced capacity for self-awareness.
These are the leaders who say, I don’t have any fears. I’m not driven by fear.
That is a signal of disassociation.
So that’s the first dominant.
The second domino is what’s called disintegration. In order to understand disintegration, we need to understand that our mind has three regions are reptilian mammalian and human brains.
And these regions are connected by long range neuro connections that are designed to help these brain regions work effectively together.
But when somebody experiences trauma, these long range neural connections become negatively affect it, are affected.
And what happens is that the reptilian brain, and the mammalian brain have a tendency to operate on Overdrive.
And the human brain has a reduced capacity to step in and regulate that situation.
Let me give you an example.
My wife had a couple of really mean older brothers when she was little, and when she was three, her older brothers made her watch the movie.
To this day, my wife is deathly afraid of clowns even seeing pictures of clowns Like, she will break out in the sweats. If she sees a picture of a cloud that is because of a reptilian and our mammalian brain are operating in overdrive and our human brain has a harder time stepping in and saying, Look, you don’t need to freak out here. It is simply a picture.
She can get there. It just takes them longer than most people.
That’s a signal that disintegration has occurred.
All right? So hopefully that makes sense to you, using that analogy.
When our mind is this integrated it then topples. The next two dominoes next domino is called mrs. encoding.
You see when our body’s stress response system is working well and it’s healthy.
It tells us accurately when dangerous things are dangerous and safe things are safe.
When our stress response system is not very healthy or not working well, it’s off kilter immature. It has a tendency to see. Tell us that safe things are dangerous.
Like, trying new things. Trying a new food, failure, constructive criticism, disagreement.
Those are all relatively safe things. We will survive if we get if any of those things happen.
But oftentimes, our mind might tell that, Tell us that they are dangerous.
Also, our mind might tell us that dangerous things are safe, such as drug use, alcohol, abuse, et cetera.
Right? That is that those things are signals that our stress response system is off kilter.
Then, the fourth domino is what’s called having a narrow window of tolerance.
All right? That means that small slights have a tendency to be perceived as big threats and that sends us into fight, flight, or freeze mode.
When we understand these four dominoes of trauma, then how this plays out as one with dissociation is when we have a hard time intersecting and connecting with our body.
That means we have a lower degree of self-awareness, when our mind is disintegrated, we’re overly sensitive to threats to ourselves and we have a hard time focusing on the needs of others.
In other words, we have low other awareness.
When we have either of these two things, how that plays out is lower emotional intelligence.
This is why we value emotional intelligence so much, but also it’s, I think it’s oftentimes not talked about through the space of mental well-being and wellness.
And so, when we have any negative leadership behavior, it is usually connected back to the neurological deficiencies rooted in trauma.
Think about micromanagement Command and Control Leadership outcome orientation as opposed to purpose orientation and short-term orientation as opposed to long term orientation.
These are all the byproducts.
A stress response system that is off kilter That isn’t working as effectively as we need it to, and if we can understand this, then here’s the beauty of, right.
Which is, if we want to help our leaders elevate to get to that space of thriving, We’ve got to help them heal from their past trauma. Whatever that might happen.
So that is, as hopefully kind of the, a little bit more of the academic and research background, that is connecting mental wellness to leadership effectiveness.
Alright, and we will see these poor leader mental health statistics.
And as we go into the leader effectiveness statistics, hopefully, you can now better see why Lieder mental wellness is connected to leadership.
This, Is this making sense to you, and are there any questions that are coming up right now? We’re going to be, we’re in a transition point, I’m gonna pass it over to Mike here in a minute, but give me a yes or no, if this is, yes, kinda, or no, if this is making sense.
Then if there’s any questions, we can maybe take 1 or 2 questions here, and, of course what, we’ll try to say some time towards the end, here. Alright, so most of you are seeing it. Some thing, it’s making sense. Good, Catherine says, this is wonderful. I’m glad you agree. I’m biased though.
Charles asked, how can you even begin to approach this subject with your leaders? Very good question. That’s one of the things we’ll kind of bring up at the end Mike, and I would love to help you in that journey.
one of the ways that I do it, and Mike also has some approaches, one of the ways that I do it is I couch it under the topic of vertical development.
Now I want to help leaders to vertically develop and this is a part of a vertical development journey, vertical development, meaning in upgrading our internal operating systems, which differs from our traditional horizontal development of improving knowledge and skills.
Um, awesome revelation how to overcome this. Well, we’ll get into that a little bit. We don’t have this, we could talk about this all day. So this is good.
Let me see, yeah, especially top leaders are suffering from trauma themselves, they too have blind spots, That’s a good way to talk about this blind spots or evidence that healing is needed, alright, good.
All right, how does the sounding to you, Mike, and anything you want to add to any of that?
I think it’s great, Ryan, and, and I know there’s a lot of color in there in the questions, and I think we can answer some of those and it just by demonstrate, just by going through what we’re going to talk about next.
It’s a great thing to understand that there are tandems, like what Ryan and are doing today, that can create the introduction, give the space, and give the logic behind all of this. Because these concepts, as a number of you have already noted, they’re not easy to walk into the C suite and say, this is what we need to talk about as leaders.
But, statistically, there’s a portion of the C suite that’s struggling inside, and someone wasn’t wrong by saying, what happens if the leader is struggling themselves?
There definitely is an approach that needs to be taken, and I’m going to share a little bit about my story.
And maybe that will be part of it, because I know once we start talking the channels open up and there’s openings when talked about plainspoken, Lee, and honestly.
So, we have to control their mic for you to switch the slides.
So, all right, let’s see, OK, it’s working.
one thing that’s great right now is and Ryan’s opened up this conversation and given you some background on how we respond to stress and negative experience in our lives. But it is that topic of mental wellness, isn’t it?
And mental wellness, health, mental illness, has emerged as a priority in public conversation, and there’s still obviously lots of stigma and a lack of real conversation outside of social media.
So, it might be a minor and it might be better to take a more health crisis approach if we’re going to move the needle, right.
So here’s some stats. Poor mental health really is making us sick.
In fact, it’s actually killing us and oh, there’s a delay on my screen, so forgive me on that one.
There we go, Alright, I’m going to jump through stats and you’re going to see them before I talk about this. Excellent, all right. So depression, here’s the reality.
Depression has risen above 30% above the normal depression rates since 19, OK? And one of the challenges, and most leadership, unfortunately, we’re still not completely equitable in terms of male, female, leadership. And in most leadership.
In most male population suicides are four out of five suicides are actually male.
And when you consider some of the stats, when we think of the health health crisis, is that suicide ranks eighth in the cause of death, but above that, there are seven other causes of death that are key, and that are hurting us in society today. That’s heart disease, heart attacks, cardiovascular, pulmonary disease, systemic diseases, and cancer.
And if we all consider what major causal factors are, those illnesses are: depression, anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, alcohol, or drug abuse.
We understand that there are all direct causes of those top seven.
So when we step back and consider, we can almost take a different approach, currently. And in fact, a good friend of mine, Jed Diamond, his name is a psychologist see me, he worked on this for 50 years. I thought my commentary was new, but he’s been doing this for decades. And he’s the founder of something called The Moonshot for Mankind.
And he suggested the mortality differential between men and women, that we could save in North America, up to 375,000 more lives, if we dressed, if we addressed trauma and mental health.
So implying, of course, that we might be smarter to think about a re-allocation of resources and energy to save more lives. Interesting way to think about it, isn’t it?
And here we are. Let’s see if the delay works. All right great.
So a big challenge of course is there is a lot of lack of conversation around the issue of mental wellness and stigma associated with it but the challenge is is whether we like it or not.
Mentally, unwell nus will surface trauma will surface and I’ll share my story and so know I’m a leader, a leader of leaders. I’ve had incredible successes in my career and incredible setbacks. As well and a repeated cycle look at and here I was in the pandemic where a business that was based on workshops, and speaking disintegrated at a moment. In one moment I went to 0. 18 months into it I was feeling those stress responses that Ryan spoke of earlier. And that is all the levels of cortisol and lack of dopamine and all these stresses began to pile on. And I was working with one contract that looked like it had legs for a lot, more, many months, and unceremoniously, a conversation with the CEO said, we’re just not going in that direction.
We’re not going to keep this project up, it’s done, and for me, that moment hit me like a ton of bricks.
I don’t know what it was, it was the cumulative effect, I guess, but I ended up dying, diving deep into a dark depression, in fact, I used to go for walks to clear my head, and this day, I actually went out for that walk, and I went beside river.
And the river that I saw was, you know, the river beside my house, and just, I think I pass by it.
And I decided, I’m going to chuck myself in today.
And that didn’t work out so well. It didn’t happen the way I thought it would. I didn’t throw myself in. I was challenged by such emotional strain of shame guilt, anger, fear, hopelessness. I just thought it would be time to end it. And then I thought about my family.
and my family, I didn’t have the right, I didn’t selfishly to take their lives and throw them into upheaval and create their own trauma. I kinda liked life a little bit and I love the adventure of life so that was keeping the nugget of optimism still in my life.
And I had this enormous fear of failure What if I didn’t succeed at killing myself?
I felt like such a failure in life at that moment and my hopelessness was over the top and if I failed at killing myself, I just couldn’t handle it.
And so when we think about it, one of the root causes, goodness.
they’re one of the root causes of limitations of leaders and their effectiveness is trauma.
Um, the re-emergence of trauma during times of duress, frustration, money issues, work issues and relationship issues.
Which are true for everyone and amplified for leaders who have the care of many, many thousands, maybe people in their employment or employ.
Then we must resolve these things in order to move forward.
I realized that I needed to resolve some things to stop repeating the patterns that basically repeated over and over and got me into this moment of desperation.
The elephant for me in the room was childhood sexual abuse at 11 years old, and that’s something about that big T trauma that somehow was linked. I didn’t know how. And most of my life for 40 years, I didn’t understand how it was. But what I learned shortly as I began to emerge from this and seek help, was it was deeply embedded into my psyche, and these patterns were the reasons why I got into this moment. So in order to fix it, I had dead yet.
Now, let me ask the audience, or let me ask you: Anyone get terribly lost like driving, navigating by a hunch?
Anyone want to put that in there?
Anyone, Anyone are, you know, you’re on that car trip, of course, and, you know, you’re part of the partner who’s driving, doesn’t know the way, but they don’t wanna ask for directions.
All right, we have that person.
Often, in business and life, anyone here that we should trust our instincts?
No, you don’t put a yes in there.
If you’ve heard that statement, or, if you’ve ever said someone, just go with your gut, right?
Hear that a lot, Right?
Competence, know, how effective is this if we don’t know what our instincts are?
Or how they’re framed, or if they’re wired incorrectly, but if that reptilian brain is operating at a level, we can’t tell where it came from, or how it can act and we trust them.
Because our instincts are subconscious, and clearly, in my life and work, my instincts weren’t always right.
See, one thing about emotions, and this is where we believe, somehow that hour, our instincts are, right? is that our emotions are tangible, they’re positive or negative, and they respond and drive our decision making to circumstances, and how we behave, in many cases. We’re aware of the conscious cues, and can see how we move in our environment. Like, look at this apartment, you have, you have control over the furniture. You have control over the pillows. You can re-arrange them, you can create an environment that is good for you, right? But sometimes what we don’t see is the underlying patterns that set our limits.
In fact, we’re not even aware of these behaviors are where we shipped in the world, and thus, when put into motion, we’re not able to understand where they’re coming. And our emotions might take us in the wrong direction.
They’re so deeply connected.
They’re driven, and they drive us to take protective action.
So what was my pattern?
Sure, I dig in and say I’ve got to deal with this emotional trauma this trauma experienced at 11, which was horrific.
And the trauma created an emotional response of wired some instincts, and me never to trusted good men.
Right? The pillar of the community was the person who abused me. The Air Force hero. The husband of my elementary school teacher, choir leader.
That is just the man, the charismatic leader everyone trusted with the care of their points. And ultimately, he betrayed that trust. And it drove my actions You see.
My free will was perseverance, determination, and pursuit of knowledge and skills and resilience, but what was out of my control was this deep seated protection mechanism that kept me from trusting good men.
And if you can think about how that would affect the person in business and finance, which has spent 22 years, than, you can imagine that it’s not very positive.
What would protect me in the, in a daily threatening life threatening environment wasn’t very helpful in an environment of a typical day in the business world.
Uh, ultimately, the, by, the rappelling, whatever it was that was sent out, as messages to push away, good man, while attracting or working with people where you could see their daggers, you know, if they were flawed, I would be happy to work with them, because I can see it coming, right. I can see the danger coming, and I could navigate it. Well, the truth is you can’t navigate people shortcomings and in the markets that I was involved in their very volatile.
So greed and and and and travesty happen And those flaws get amplified and in.
So doing, I was able. And unfortunately, there for the implosions, for the peripheral activity, that happened when these great people I was doing business with a relied on my bosses or by my partners fell apart.
And so, how do we do that? Like, how do we navigate this world?
When what we think is our free, Will, isn’t, because of these underlying embedded traumas, and I often imagined being that young, loving, trusting, 11 year old version of myself that Mike, whoops, Mike Script, nick?
No, and I wonder, OK, I see that …, I don’t know anyone have that. They did. It’s one of those things, right? I put the shell neck was a great haircut. That’s all I could say.
Wasn’t chachi, but I imagine being that kid, and what would I tell him, I was full of optimism. I wanted to be a doctor, and at that age, the world was at my disposal. I could be anything.
But, what if I thought, what about the 25 year old Me? Or the 35? I was 51.
When this finally surfaced, Right.
What would I tell those versions, those older versions of myself, and what I share with men who are in crisis right now, where maybe, just lose your position in HR?
What would I tell people that we can get to when things seem normal?
And if there’s trauma in your past, as you heard, and you’ve learned, particularly unresolved childhood trauma, doesn’t have to be so extreme. I mean, from neglect to abuse, right.
What we do know is there’s a connection, a deep connection, and until we deal with it, we’re not able to function above it, rise above it, we will live with limits.
The next of course, is that we have to acknowledge what that might be and identify it. I knew there was this one course secret that I kept from everybody in my life for 40 years, that possibly could have been it.
I just never shared it.
Next, of course, is to disclose to a circle of trust, and that is identifying the people in your life, that you love true cost, care, and trust, and that one person in that family, or maybe extended reach of yours.
It’s not always your family, and a professional see two people, and talk to them about it.
Next, of course, you must share, find this professional and then commit to a process.
And that process, when I say commit to the process, it isn’t just saying, yeah, let’s just go to the treatment. It’s commit to the fact that it’s going to be a difficult period of time that when you’re in that moment, chances are you’re struggling to either pay your bills or keep relationships, or keep something afloat you’re going to need some help and you’re going to commit to healing before you worry about other things.
Next up courses, the process isn’t easy but big gains can be made quickly. If you wait until a crisis, you’re not going to necessarily be able to focus on everything.
And you have to disconnect and move forward.
And what I mean with regards to disconnecting it’s the treatment A treatment called EMDR is one of the treatment’s. I’m not gonna go into detail on it today, but it does disconnect. The patterns from the emotions.
When we can see those patterns and we don’t get anxiety from our emotions, we’re able to then work through them. And for me, unfortunately became a laughable how obvious my patterns were Once I removed the emotional anxiety and stress that were caused by that moment, right By the thought, by the trauma.
So what’s my experience of healing?
An interesting thing through the process of my treatment is that midway through, I felt amazing, I felt spectacular. I had all previous three months until I was at that moment. I felt like I wanted to cry every day, but here, I was midway through treatment, and I felt amazing.
And what was amazing about that is this: energy.
This energy that just started to emanate my shoulders, drop the world, look different, and somehow people gravitated to it and wanted to connect.
And, what that led is to this intangible universal engagement.
You know, this thing that kind of happens when you just are no longer hiding this course secrets, and you gain a sense of belonging.
And for leaders, you need to exude energy that attracts people, right?
We need to not only encourage a sense of belonging bolivia’s, and suddenly you feel you’re in the moment you feel like you’re no longer an outsider, or have a secret, or misunderstood.
And leadership attraction begins to happen, because you’re willing to have deep and meaningful conversations and go there quickly.
Then you can always talk about whether in sports some other time, right?
Next, of course, you find community, and you find that your perceived risks suddenly were just that they were perceived.
Then you’re you’d be a pariah, or you’d have a lack of confidence, weakness, You’d show weakness and people would take your things or compete with you directly. There’s actually strengthened vulnerability and attractiveness inauthenticity.
And what we’ve found is, once you share and heal, you’re more loved.
Our biggest fears are that we won’t be lobby, won’t be heard, and lose our things, or lose our place in this world, but you’d never do.
And so I wanted to share, that the critical piece of the puzzle is, there’s an other side, and it’s achievable and simple.
And we, as human resources professionals, leadership training, traders have an obligation to say this. just might be connected. That, which you lived through, maybe connected what you’re living through today.
And it mail will definitely direct how you behave.
So that’s my story in a very brief way.
And I wanted to share that with you today to show that it is possible to have discussions that disarm and open up a conversation.
Man, Mike.
Wow, thanks for sharing. I think this, this is the moment where I really want to be doing this live, because that deserves just a huge round of applause.
And for people who have commented in, I don’t know, have you seen a mic that, just telling you thank you for sharing and being so open with your, with your story.
I don’t know if you can tell this, but I think, I didn’t know Mike before, but I think I envisioned might being a very different person now than it was then.
Clearly, he’s very open, is much more vulnerable to that point, is I, I see that energy, that he, I like, how I would be a different energy.
So there’s willingness to step into the messiness of our lives.
I think we’re observing Mike to be.
It’s life changing. I would say the the the same thing with my journey.
So, appreciate you sharing their mic.
I think, hopefully, you kinda get a go ahead. Sorry. I’m very happy to do so.
And if the, no, there’s a lot of questions about whether, how this works, in terms of, how did we get this across?
And how we get this across, is having a simple conversation, in a, in an informal to formal scenario. Just sharing.
Where someone, you know, no one expected that I was ever struggling. No one ever would have guessed with the successes I had had. and the public figure I was down. But, they didn’t suspect that anything was up. It was a shock to everyone who started to learn about this journey.
And, what was wrong?
Absolutely refreshing was it was simple, it was way more simple and direct, and none of the fears and the risks I ever perceived bore out, they were not accurate, I was more love, more accepted, and more engaged now than ever before. So, it’s, it’s just an amazing thing.
Well said. And I would agree with all of that.
And just as a heads up, I’ll show you the slide later. Mike has just recently launched a book a few weeks ago where he dives into this, so if you want to dive into that further. I’ve also recently launched the book, which also dives into this. It shows this perspective. So we’ll give you, give you some resources here as, as we close out.
So, again, the purpose of this is to help understand how you can help your leaders move up the thriving scale.
We told you at the beginning, it was going to involve a focus on mental wellness topic of a heavier nature.
But, as I also said, it can be incredibly deep.
It’s a story of trauma and healing, and I think we all need that.
And what to do, what Mike said is, we gotta create conversations around. So we’ve got to start planting the seeds, and that’s ultimately where we can start.
If we want to help leaders transformation, elevating their leadership, we’ve got to help them upgrade their body’s stress response system.
That means helping them strengthen their mind body connection, becoming less disintegrated and more integrated, we haven’t needed to help them encode more accurately and widen their window of tolerance.
If we can do that, we can help elevate our leaders. Satya Nadella said, We think about productivity through collaboration and output metrics. But well-being is one of the most important pieces of productivity.
We know what stress does to work.
And even stepping deeper and potentially further back is trauma, right?
So, Mike and I would love to help bring this focus to you and your organization if it makes sense to do so.
Um, I think I see you as being a potential champion of transformation. Transforming the leaders in your organization, and thereby your organization.
So, as kind of a thank you for joining, and we want to offer up a really special offer to you.
You can snap a picture with your phone on this QR code, but we’ve got a few options that we would be willing to do it. Honestly a discounted rate than what we normally charge, and there’s some options around doing virtual workshops, as well as in person workshops.
We want to expand, you know, it potentially expand what we’re focused on here, and also, create it in such a way that it will best connect with your leaders or audience, whoever that might be.
So, if we could be of support in any way, and how it’s helping you start the conversations around mental well-being in your organization, we surely want to do so.
Now, I’m going to bring this slide back up in just a second, but let me just point out a couple of the books that have recently come out in the last month.
You want to dive into this further on your own.
Here are a couple of books and resources, as well as our contact information, which we would both be happy to continue to connect with and interact with you.
So, that, and I believe we’ll be sharing these slides out, and I’ll bring this back up if you in case you want to snap a picture here.
But I think we’re at the top of the hour. So, let me thank you for joining us.
Thank you for creating a space for Mike, and I just share a little bit about our journey, and some of the things that we’ve learned, and we just hope it.
It helps you personally, as well as empowers you to be a positive influence on your organization. So, with that said, let me pass it back over to Sarah, and I’ll let let you close us out however you’d like to. Sarah.
Yes. Well, thank you, both Ryan and Mike, for such a powerful session today. There was a lot of information jam-packed into the hour, and we can definitely see the appreciation coming through from the audience. And again, make sure you scan that QR code. You can find out more information about the workshops, Will also be following up with some information via e-mail after today’s session as well. I just want to give it, extend another, thank you to make and, Ryan. Thank you both so much for your time today.
You’re welcome. Glad to be here.
For sure. Thanks.
Thanks for the opportunity, and thank you all for participating in today’s webinar. I look forward to seeing you all next week. Thanks.

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