Episode 2

Let's Talk About How Running A Business Impacts Your Mental Health

Published on: 8th June, 2021
"We're all dealing with it [...] we do need to stop looking at it as mental illness and recognize that mental health is like any other kind of health. Start looking it as different settings that everyone has."

The mental health of you and members of your business is just as important to the overall success of your business as your profit margin. It's the elephant in the room affecting productivity, profit, and partnerships; yet we often gloss over it with entrepreneur "success and hustle". In this episode, the UFMB crew looks the elephant in the face; sharing personal struggles along with ways to safely express, manage, and seek help when our mental health is disrupted.

**If you are in crisis, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 800-273-8255. Press 1 for the Veterans Helpline.

You could also get help by texting “HEAL” to the Crisis Text Line at 741741**

In this episode: Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins, Danielle Laura, Heather Parbst, Christy Gulledge, Robyn Sayles

Big thanks to the amazing woman that contributed their expertise to this episode Danielle Laura, Heather Parbst, and Christy Gulledge. More info on how to connect with them coming soon.

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Below is a rough transcript for your convenience. It’s not perfect because we want to spend our time unfucking your business, not unfucking this transcript.

Transcript
Intro:

Hi everyone. This is Roger Kerlin co-founder of the Pinellas Independent Hospitality Forum. You're listening to Unf*ck My Business. Hey, did you guys just mute me? Cut it out anyway. Get ready for no bull *** advice for business owners who want to be resilient as *** ... again, with the mute button. Come on guys. What kind of *** is this we aren't on some lame censored ***crap, ***poor jading. Okay. Kids get ready for the land of UFMB where the host will take your *** and make it shine.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

And welcome to another episode of Unfuck My Business. And honestly, this is, I think probably going to be one of the most impactful episodes that we've produced to date. It's a topic that's very near and dear to my heart.

We're going to talk today about mental health and business and, and it's something that has been a huge sort of elephant in the room, I think for a long time,. There's a big hustle and grind mentality. There's an expectation that we're always on top of things and we're always showing our best face forward.

But for me personally, I was diagnosed at 31 with manic depression and bipolar syndrome or disorder as it's called now. And I felt always that I had to hide that. And because of that, it was a something that I, I fought with basically. And in solitude, I was alone with it for a long time and more than being alone with it.

It meant that I couldn't sort of justify the phases that I was in and why I was, you know, so moody or so "up" for one week, and so "down" for the next week, all the things that come along with that. People appreciated the magic of the mania, but they never appreciated the downside when that came in afterwards, and you know, that that affected people's perception of me and the business space and all the rest of that. And as I started digging into it for myself, I found that some interesting things.

In art and business, both of those sort of industry verticals, there is a much higher than normal representation of a lot of common mental illnesses.

We really are out there in force. In fact, we're driving a lot of these things in some really meaningful ways. And so I wanted to, to facilitate a conversation today, not just with your normal unfuck, my business crew, we do have Robin and Shay here in the mix, but we also wanted to bring in some, some healthcare professionals to sort of contribute to the conversation and maybe facilitate, ways that you know, we can all cope with these situations better and how we can sort of have a coming out of sorts to make this not quite such a stigma to talk about, make it not so taboo and, really help business owners, entrepreneurs, and creatives of all stripes seek the community and the support that they need to be as healthy as they can.

And and to thrive in this space. So, first off, I'm going to introduce our guests today. We have Danielle, can you just pop in and tell us who you are and what you do. Hey there.

Danielle Laura:

Yes, I'm Danielle Laura. I am a former medical executive clinician and therapist turned entrepreneur, and I now guide conscious thought leaders and companies in mastering themselves.

So they can master their mission.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Beautiful, Heather.

Heather Parbst:

Hi there I am a former psychotherapist turned CEO and business owner turned executive coach and consultant. And I work with entrepreneurs and business owners to scale their organizations and address leadership challenges and all other sorts of things that come with that.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Fantastic. And Christie.

Christine Cole:

I am I practicing psychotherapist and I am. I have a virtual practice, a hundred percent virtual practice. I'm a licensed in Georgia, South Carolina and Maryland. So I can spread the love for three states.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Fantastic. Well, we're certainly glad to have all three of you here. I want to start off with Christie cause you are a practicing psychotherapist right now. Do you treat business owners frequently? Is, are entrepreneurs represented commonly in your practice?

Christine Cole:

Oh, absolutely. I work a lot with the military community and with that and because the, the transient lifestyle, I work with a lot of military spouses, male and female who end up being entrepreneurs that, that kind of same entrepreneurial spirit seems to be helpful with the I guess the, the ups and downs that go along with the military as well. So that that's something that happens shows up pretty frequently. I think.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

One of the things that, you know, we know about mental illness or disorders, or I don't even know what the best term to use for that. I know that mental illness, as a phrase, kind of has some, some stigma attached to it still. And maybe there's a better thing to call that how we talk about being neurodivergent quite a bit. And I think that's a, probably a more common description these days. Stress aggravates, the symptoms of those things. And being an entrepreneur is inherently a stressful lifestyle to choose. What are some of the kinds of things that you see, you know, business owners, for instance, or the entrepreneurial type mindsets dealing with and how does stress impact that?

Christine Cole:

So a lot of us are, are falling into that typing sort of category. That is a benefit, but it's also a detriment so that the perfectionistic tendencies, the, the world is a dumpster fire at the moment. Anyway, you know, politically and. Pandemic. And so everybody's baseline is just sort of elevated anyway. So then you throw all of that on top of it, the anxiety, the unknowns, that, so that seems to be compounded. So just that, that low threshold seems to be pretty prevalent.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Heather and Danielle, both of you have done a consulting and you're working with business owners on a regular basis, Danielle first, you know, what are the kinds of things that, that you see in, in coaching? You know, that, and, and what. Like, what sort of advice are you offering to people who are having some of these issues?

Danielle Laura:

Yeah. Some of the things that I see oftentimes are one like physical illness, like people will start getting physically ill, whether that's something as quote unquote simple as just a migraine or oh, being overcome with a disease, like a stress-related disease that they can't really function. So all, all of our stress gets internalized and then it comes out physically.

Emotional dysregulation. So kind of feeling out of sorts, feeling like you're like lashing out, you are kind of disconnected from yourself because you haven't been connecting to yourself. You've been going, going, going as well as just a lack of lack of happiness or fulfillment that actually is overcoming you to the point where it's beyond just everyday normal stressors, but it's not the point where sometimes you're thinking about just completely shifting your entire life around, that's moving across the country, quitting your business, starting something like very life altering types of situations as well. Start then kind of going through your mind. So I would say those are the three main things that I see a lot of.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

And Heather, I know that you specifically work a lot in, in operations and, and providing operational guidance. Have you worked with business owners in the past who were dealing with mental health issues and how do you help a business adjust around that from an operational perspective to keep it rolling and keep it profitable.

Heather Parbst:

I mean, I think that the big thing really is to work through the, the, the business owner and the entrepreneur and getting them to a point where they're really able to, you know, even own that it's a, it's an issue in a lot of it, it comes down to them feeling such pressure to keep a facade up of. You know, perfection and we've got it all together.

Whether that's internally with their team, you know, where they have to be the rock they have to, you know, always be in control and making the decisions or whether that's externally to the public or to investors or whatever. So I think really a lot of it comes down to working with the owner to recognize how.

That it doesn't have to be that way and how their efforts at maintaining that are actually not just negatively impacting themselves, which to Daniel's point. I mean, you know, many of them are so stressed, but it's actually negatively impacting their organization too. So just helping them gain a little bit of insight and it, and it often is such a relief once they see that, oh, somebody gets it.

Somebody understands this isn't, I'm not alone here anymore. I'm feeling heard. And then it's just like, you know, it all the flood gates open and, you know, immediately there's, there are some, I think some healing that happens just in being heard, but then they become much more open to implementing some strategies and things like that to help them manage themselves so they can show up better in their work.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

A lot for me to get to the point where I felt comfortable enough or, and really to be operating in a place of privilege, to be able to have these conversations because I got past, you know, oh God, I'm going to get fired or something. You know, once, once you're an established entrepreneur, that's no longer the concern.

But it is a concern when, you know, you're taking hits to profitability or the organization is worried. I mean, there's an organizational anxiety that can occur sort of as an ephemeral underground. Everybody feels it, but nobody talks about it, you know? Ooh, what's the boss going to do? And I've worked for some, you know, borderline personality disorder, CEOs and such who we, you know, it, you are just traumatized by the experience because you know, they're going to love bomb you one day, and then the next day they're going to be telling you you're the most worthless piece of shit ever. And, you know, All were over some minor trivial mistake that shouldn't be having this, this sort of impact. Those kinds of things are very difficult to manage.

And I think part of having a healthy business, despite maybe having some, some mental illness challenges or being neurodivergent is being willing to like, take that on being in a place where you're seeking treatment or you're seeking to manage your symptoms better.

And obviously with some disorders that's, you know, more likely, I mean, I think a lot of us in the bipolar space, the folks that I talked to in my support groups and such. They all honestly want to main manage their symptoms and to improve and have a better quality of life. Whereas we don't necessarily see that. And I'm certainly not casting aspersions here. So please don't take this personally, but I don't see that as, as much in maybe the BPD group or the NPD groups or, you know, where those folks are really just kind of struggling to even sort of accept culpability for their behavior at all.

But I found something super interesting about the pandemic this last year. Obviously isolation is not healthy for people dealing with mental illnesses frequently that you start to see some destructive behavior come out and depression increases and things along that line. So I'm certainly not encouraging loneliness, but with the big move to remote work for a lot of companies, what we have seen is the ability for people to be a little bit more flexible in their workspace and in their work schedule and all the rest of that. And I think to me, that's been sort of a positive, a benefit because if you are neurodivergent and you're not following the same sleep schedules, or, you know, you're on a manic run now, and maybe you need a couple of days to recharge after that, when you're hitting a low... REmote work, I think facilitates that in some ways that really almost nothing else does Christie, what are your thoughts on, on like, The future of remote work for potentially neurodivergent people.

Christine Cole:

I think it shifted the mindset already because it was sort of a stigma associated with, I think if we think about like online education, it kind of started out as like, oh no. Or online dating, even for that matter. I mean, when we were in a date myself, but back in, you know, high school or that too long after high school, like that was like, you never wanted to tell anybody you met somebody online. So things have started to shift. And so that's that I think is where the remote work can come in, in handy with that, just this showing maybe more rigid. Employers that, that it is possible. And maybe even more productive too, to have that as an option.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Do you think that it should be the case for people who are neurodivergent that, that flexibility and scheduling and all the rest of that? I mean, I don't know what the requirements are for like an ADA accommodation, but. Is the future of work, something that is more amenable to neurodivergence.

Christine Cole:

Oh, absolutely. I mean, I guess it depends on what type of career path that you have chosen and that's going to kind of make a difference. But it definitely is more amenable to just mental health issues across the board. If you want to be real, like every, all of us have mental health related issues, it doesn't somebody who comes to me. Doesn't have to come to me for severe and persistent mental illness. That's great. And I can absolutely help with that, but it could be just transitional sort of issues, life stressors, pandemic, like we're all going through it. So, you know, let's figure this out. Everybody's baseline is just elevated. And if you're career minded, you know, that, that type of A sort of behavior, which I happened to fall into that particular category, your anxiety level is just already. Yes, you're, you're off the charts already. So then you have just the existing in a pandemic, you know, it's creating less and less space for you to function.

So, so if you're able to mitigate some of that by altering your, your, how often do we, people with mental health related concerns, call in sick to work in. A lot of it is just because it's so difficult to get up and leave the house. The anxiety just becomes overwhelming, but if you can just log in from home work, when you feel your best, whatever that looks like for that particular day, week, month it can be life-changing. And it foster self esteem. So if you start to think of like that, continue to call into work, I'm worthless. You know, that's the narrative that often runs, unfortunately you can still find validity and worth within yourself a little bit easier than if you had to try to drag yourself into the office,

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

I know that, you know, when I, I started a course of medication in 2006, when I was in a health care company at the time, and the side effects of that medication just made it very difficult for me to deal with people, sometimes tracking conversations and things would be challenging.

And so I was able at the time to get an accommodation to work from home while I was adjusting to that medication, and that was a game changer for me, you know, but at the time still there was that stigma that if you're working from home, you're not part of the, the main sort of core of the business you're outside of it.

You know, there, there, there was that whole perspective of you were sort of a second class employee. Whereas I think now, especially after the last year we, we don't see that being the case very much. Danielle I've, I've talked to some of the people that you've worked with as a coach who, you know, talk about you helping them unlock their potential and sort of creating some organizational systems around, you know, how they approach their day, their schedule, their week, whatever the case may be. I don't know how often you've dealt with somebody who, you know, has some sort of a specific mental health issue, but what are the kinds of things that you recommend when you're helping to sort of get people unfucked to use our terminology?

Danielle Laura:

I find routine to be helpful for pretty much anybody, at least to some degree. So having certain days where you're doing certain things in your business is great. Maybe you have client-facing days, then you have administrative days can be creative days, depending on what type of business you're in, to where you can really harness your energy and your mental health for that particular day. You know, if that day you're working with clients, your mental place is going to be maybe a little bit different than if you have a day where you just get to do administrative stuff and you know, you don't have to, you don't have to "people" that day or whatever. Right. So that's a big thing having routine, then having really strict boundaries around those routines and the things that you need to especially protect your energy as well. If you were, you know, in business and you work with people and you're in a service-based business, you taking on energy from other people all the time can also really drastically affect your own mental health.

Because sometimes we're like, I don't even know if this is mine. Or if this is what I'm feeling, you know, empathically because you know, my client is going through this or whatever. So understanding kind of what's yours and what's not, and putting really strong boundaries in place to support your mental health.

So having cutoff times, for example, in your work day, let's say you finished at a certain time each day, or maybe you have certain days you have late days. And then certain days that you're earlier to really help balance out that, that kind of, that work-life harmony. I don't really even like the word balance, because it looks so different for everybody, but I like the word harmony. What feels like it's in harmony for you and coming to that conclusion, I think is really important.

Another thing that really helps with mental health, I see is having a creative outlet. So something that allows you to center your energy and get you back re-invigorated, whatever that is. Some people that might be meditation, some people it's like, you know, drawing or painting. Maybe some people that's going for a hike or working out.

It doesn't have to look the same for everybody, but having some sort of creative outlet that takes you out of your head and back into your heart or into your body and just, lets you be one with yourself. That's going to be really important for you to have on a daily basis, even if it's just 10 minutes, but having that every single day.

And then having, I say at least one day off where that your whole day is just you being able to recenter or do whatever it is for yourself, care, soul care, you know, whatever that looks like for you, but having those things in place. You know, just those few things as non-negotiables, I've seen be that 1% difference from those who are able to cope really well with thier mental health, versus those who kind of allow it to overcome them to a point where they need more significant help.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Beautiful. Heather, how do you mitigate unhealthy behavior when you see that in a business environment that you're in? I mean, you know, whether it's, you know we see obviously a lot of dependency issues with folks who are dealing with mental health issues and, and that leads to all the associated problems that come with that.

If you've got people, I've got a good friend who has very, very aggressive ADHD, and when they're not medicating aggressively, they have a hard time like meeting their requirements and getting work turned in on time and all the rest of that. From a, from a leadership perspective, how do you mitigate some of those things when you see them in your business?

Heather Parbst:

It's funny that you were bringing this up because I was just having a conversation with an HR leader around this and. You know, in that situation, there's, you're navigating laws and regulations and you know, you have to make sure all the I's are dotted. The T's are crossed, and I'm really grateful to see that a lot of leaders are really starting to recognize that while yes, you do have to do things to protect the business when things are happening like this there's a lot that can be done in just creating a compassionate space for people and having some candid conversations and.

And this isn't just like within with employees, but with leaders as well. Like there's a lot of times where it's just like, sometimes it's really the leader that's bringing the, you know, it's the entrepreneur that's bringing in the mental health challenges and they just aren't aware of how their settings are different than their employees' settings and they'll get caught up in, in this space of not being able to like, like they don't understand sometimes why. Not everybody wants to work 13 hours a day and why we can't just be kind of driving all of the time and those sorts of things. And so I'm really just working with them too. Step back and examine this as, you know just examine this subjectively and really put themselves in the other person's shoes.

We do a lot around where in the role I'm in now we do a lot around different behavior styles and teaching people to recognize those behavior styles and others. And of course, When you're bringing in mental health challenges and things like that, that can be compounded, but just being able to really relate to someone else and teaching people to do that, I think is a big part of this.

But the biggest thing I think really is you know, you're talking about how to mitigate it. I really, I mean, this is. I don't know if this is just my heart speaking, but I think a lot of that really does come down to compassionately, showing up for the other person and just making space for that and not stigmatizing their behavior, but really having a vulnerable and open conversation around what's happening, what, you know, what's driving this giving them the space and the support that they need to navigate whatever it is that's on their plate. I think you get a lot more out of him and I'm not just talking about from the human side of things, but even from a purely ROI perspective, hiring and firing is expensive as hell. Right? So if you can work with a good employee to help them navigate whatever challenge that they're having, they're going to be, they're going to be grateful. They're going to be more loyal to you and the organization, and that just works in everybody's best interest.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

I love that. And it, and it actually, it's a perfect transitional point because it's, I, I have often been, remarkably. And I'm not even sure why to this day. I think mostly it's just because I've proven that I'm willing to listen and that I pulled people's confidence as dear. I have often been the person that people go to when they're in crisis, you know, but I, at the same time have not always felt comfortable sharing when I'm in crisis.

And, and don't always feel necessarily like I've got a dedicated person to go to on that. Robin, you had a point to make before I fully transitioned. Sorry, go ahead.

Robyn Sayles:

No, no worries. No worries. I love what Heather brought up. And I was shaking my head so vehemently along with so many of the points she was making, when I was working with corporate sales teams, we had the concept of what we called the net negative.

The top performer on the team or the leader of the team might be hitting goal, but the wake of emotional upheaval left behind them because of their poor mental, you know, state or because of the way that they treated the mental issues that they were creating amongst the team. I don't care if you're a hundred percent over your goal, if no one else is going to reach their goal, because you make them feel like shit all the time, right. That is a net negative. And getting leadership to understand that the ROI is actually in your favor to remove that person from the environment rather than to let that net negative fester. And the flip side of that is to Heather's point of.

When we treat humans like humans and we have human conversations and we leave room for compassion next to the goals, you can get remarkable transformations. So in my banking days, we had this branch that was like, like guys, it's so sad. This branch was literally the butt of the jokes. This was literally the worst performing branch.

And it was just like a common thing. Like, oh, well, at least you're not Seminole. You know, like, like that was it. They were always the bottom. And I was regional sales manager for this organization, and I happened to just strike up a friendship with the woman who had recently taken over a group of branches, including that one.

Because she treated that branch manager, like a human and had human conversations with her and brought things to her attention that nobody had ever brought to her attention before she was able to literally take that branch from worst to first. Right. Anyone else would have gone in and quote unquote "cleaned house."

Like, "oh, this, these are the bottom. Obviously they don't know what they're doing. Let's just get rid of them and we'll start over." And instead she took the time to not just address it, but like help that person blossom. And they literally went from the bottom of the chart and the butt of jokes to like winning all the awards, crushing all the goals, becoming the branch to beat.

Because she went in and she treated them like human beings, not like things that needed to get out of the way so we can reach our goals. Right. And so I think having a, a human approach and, and trying to understand where behavior is coming from when we are experiencing these moments. And that's externally with people on our team above and below us.

But I think that's internally, too. You know, that's internally to, where is this behavior that I'm exhibiting right now coming from? And I was so thankful when Christy earlier opened it up to the fact of mental health issues is not just people with a clinical diagnosis, right? Whether we feel the acute impacts of it or not, we're all going through a mental health issue right now with the global pandemic. And it's affecting us in different ways. And you know, I'm watching children struggle with virtual learning. You know, I'm, I'm watching people who needed to get out of the house every day and now can't get out of the house every day come to reckon what that means for themselves and how do I get alone time, you know, for my own wellbeing when I'm literally never alone anymore. Working from home, isn't a beautiful gift for a lot of people out there. It's a nightmare and they can't wait for the office to open back up again. And so I think it's, it's a much broader than just,, having a diagnosed mental issue. And, and this is part of breaking the stigma. You don't have to be clinically depressed to experience depression. You don't have to suffer from anxiety to experience anxiety. And we can all experience that the toll and the impact of these incredible forces that we're all dealing with right now. And so having you on here to, to help us with the validation. And the tips and tricks to get through it, I think is it's impactful on me even just now. So, but I wanted to touch on those two points before we got any further down the rabbit hole.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

And, and good because it's, I'm, I'm definitely serving up a huge transition here.

So I'm glad we were able to get that point in. You know, one of the things I think a lot of people don't realize is. You know, it's not like you're just born with some mental health diagnosis or anything along that line. I mean, it's, you know, all sorts of pathologies can manifest at any point in time in your life based on trauma, based on stress, based on the things that you're going through.

And a lot of people will be perfectly fine with some latent mental, mental illness that they've never had to deal with has never like manifested in any significant way. And then suddenly go through a high stress phase and have that trigger. I mean, I I've read some literature about, you know, folks suddenly manifesting as schizophrenic later in life and needing heavy treatment know heavy medicinal treatment to be able to manage that well, because they went through some major trauma or something along that line that just sort of triggered that and set that off.

I know that, you know, for me personally, when I, when I've sort of dipped my toes into getting some social or community support, one of the things that I do is sort of spread that out. You know, I talked to some people about some things and some people about other things, but I rarely talked to one person about everything "cause then it maybe seems all like too much and I'm not trying to like, You know, I don't want them going, oh God, you know, somebody go lock him up or for his own good" or something, you know? And it all seems super huge in your head, but over the last 12 months, you know, we've lost a couple of friends who hit some point that they just felt like they couldn't get past. And I think that there are a lot more people out there who were sort of on the edge of that than we might even realize right now. And despite all of the you know, Hey, come together and, and, you know, "call me if you need me" kind of posts that we see on social media. Generally when, when people hit that level of crisis, they're not really thinking, let me go reach out to that person who made that post on Facebook.

You know what I mean? That that's not what's happening in the moment. And, and I think without placing blame or responsibility, I do think that it's kind of on us collectively to keep an eye out. On our friends and our partners and all the rest of that to sort of, notice when people are going into crisis.

And so what I'd like to do is round table this a little bit and starting with Christie as, as the practicing psychotherapist, what are some clear signs that everyone should be on the lookout for that somebody is actually in crisis, whether or not they're really talking about that.

Christine Cole:

Just deviations standard patterns of behavior or anything that kind of stands out as atypical for that particular person, I think is something that we can all just kind of focus on as, as red flags.

It true suicidal ideations are going to be something that is everything that you think of them saying goodbye, giving up their belongings, those sorts of things. I think it's looking different these days. It's I I've noticed a shift just since the pandemic started with people who are experiencing depressive symptoms.

In that they just feel overwhelmed and don't know what to do. And it's not so much that they want to die. They just want this to end. And they don't see hope at the... a light at the end of the tunnel. With the vaccinations being more prevalent, I'm noticing that people's outlook is as, as shifted, but it's something as simple as like Robin mentioned that kids are struggling with this online.

Schooling. I mean, it's hard for adults to focus on online school and much less kids who their attention span is shorter. They don't have the stimulation. And I've worked with teachers who are having a hard time with it. They're already at their max and not even they're seeing kids struggle, but don't have the mental bandwidth to even help the kids to rally, like get it together.

They're seeing they're just, if it was in a classroom, they might physically pull them aside and talk to them about what's going on. But they don't, they don't even have the mental fortitude to be able to do that. So just anything that's kind of shifting from what would be their, their, their baseline, you know, if they're a dedicated teacher and now all of a sudden this dedicated teachers doesn't have the bandwidth to even support their students, then that's something to watch out for.

It's just because everybody's candles burning at both ends when we're talking about the, the stressors that are going to get you to the place where you're actually thinking of that. I just, I just don't want it. "I don't want to do this anymore." It's not that they want to die necessarily, but that's, they just want it to stop.

And I think that's what is at the core of anybody who's considering that it's just, "I don't know what else to do, and I want this to stop and this is the only way I can think out to get it, to stop."

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Danielle?

Danielle Laura:

I definitely agree with Christie, the the dysregulation in one's emotions and the things that they normally would love to do that now they're not doing or are typical.

You know, the personality might be one way most of the time. And now all of a sudden it's suddenly different. Right? All of a sudden they're experiencing a lot of emotions that are kind of more heavy things like rage. Projection, even thoughts of not wanting to be here to association things like that, extreme burnout to where their whole persona just kind of becomes different, like very lackluster, very withdrawn.

That's another really big thing. Those are the most prevalent ones that I see. Right off the top of my head.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

And Heather?

Heather Parbst:

so this, it actually affects me personally because I lost a family member to suicide. And I remember as we're talking about this conversation, thinking back to some of the things that I noticed during that time, and yes, all of that is true about the change in behavior, but he went quiet on us, like just kind of just stopped engaging.

And as we're having this conversation, I'm thinking about that and how particularly in this remote working world, You know, we run such a risk of losing connection with our team members and not knowing who, you know, we just don't know. And I forget who said earlier, I think Robin, you were talking about how sometimes it's helping at home, right?

So, you know, for many people work is an escape and now they are surrounded by some of the very things that might trigger them most. And, and we as their team members or their employers or employees can't see that. So I think, I think everything that Danielle and Christie said, and also, I think employers.

It's it's important to, especially during this time when we are more at home look for ways to keep your people in your team, engaged with you. So you can kind of just, you know, make, keep an eye on it. It helps with employee engagement across the board, but also I think it's another way of kind of having a checks and balances around.

This sort of thing. And then I also, you know, we're talking a lot about, you know, signs and symptoms and things like that. And I think too, I know you have a lot of entrepreneurs that listen to this program. And I think for them, there is this, again, we're back to that conversation about that need to kind of have that appearance up and be going all of the time. And I think as Danielle was talking about burnout, I think we are as entrepreneurs and me, you know, being, being one, we have a tendency to just go, go, go and not look for those symptoms in ourselves. And. Maybe even a self sacrifice a lot.

We see this maybe even a little bit more with women. And I think being, you know, checking in with yourself and being aware of that and recognizing that you bring, this is to all the entrepreneurs out there, you bring one of the things that you bring to this world is this gift of building organizations and creating jobs and those sorts of things, but it is only one and it is not worth throwing yourself, sacrificing yourself for that. There are so many other things that we bring to this world. And I think entrepreneurs have a tendency sometimes to get caught up in the, all of the things that come with being an entrepreneur. And we forget. That that is only one piece of our identity.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

That's true. Super important. And it's funny cause I hear withdrawal. That's my go-to tactic when I'm overwhelmed. It's, you know, everyone expects to see me on social media frequently and I'll disappear for a little bit, stop participating in groups that I actively participate in all the time, things along that line, it's hard to be in pain in public. And so we tend to withdraw from that and working from home... If I don't have to go to the office and see people, I can continue functioning in a meaningful way without people noticing that I'm kind of nosediving, and that's, that is kind of dangerous in the mix to some degree... and of course, we go through those same things, you know, hearing about burnout, you know, and, and like looking at the future and going, "oh God, what am I even doing here?" is there some place where this starts to change? And for those of us who are prone to dependency type behavior. That's also when the drinking ramps up and all the rest of that and to the point where it, it becomes destructive and , those are all like super challenging places to be.

So, so I know that I deal with a lot of my issues with humor frequently. Usually by the time I'm posting something on Facebook about it, I'm already past the moment of crisis, nd that's when I'll get all the, are you okay? Messages and all the rest of that, it's like, yeah, I'm fine. Now, you know, it was when I wasn't posting last week that I was going through this rotten place.

Robyn Sayles:

I just wanted to take a moment to say, you know, we've talked a lot about symptoms to look out for and things to recognize in ourselves and in others. And I would like to add as someone who has had to make the call. That if you see those things, please pick up the phone, please make the call. You know, my best friend had a very rough day and was sending me all sorts of scary messages. And then I got a text message that said, thank you for everything that you've ever done for me. And then she stopped answering my text messages and my phone calls. And so I had to do the thing that I never thought I'd have to do, which is called the suicide hotline and say, what do I do? And they said, you need to send the police for a well checkup, a visit, you know, a wellness check.

And they went and the 911 operator stayed on the phone with me until the police physically saw her and saw that she was okay. And then the, the policeman called me and said, I can't tell you where we're taking her, but we are taking her somewhere where she can get help. And the incredible, conflicted emotions that you will feel during that process will have your brain screaming at you that you've made a mistake or you've done the wrong thing, or you've blown this out of proportion. And the whole time I thought, well, she's either going to hate me and never going to talk to me again, or she's going to thank me. And luckily she thanked me and every year around that time, she'll post about how I saved her life.

And, and I don't care about that. I care that when I text her, she's still there and she answers, I care that we still get to have these conversations because I made that phone call, you know, and I don't know what would have happened if I didn't make that phone call.

So. If anything in your gut is like, "oh, I don't like the tone of that." "oh, it's weird that they're not answering." Take action. Go knock on the door, send the police, make the phone call, do whatever you have to do, because it could literally be a matter of life and death with that person on the other side of that.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Yeah. And that's, that's, that's a huge thing. So, I mean, for, for those of us who are entrepreneurs who are experiencing that point of crisis, what should we be doing? You know, what, what is, if you know for yourself right now, you are struggling and you're in a bad place. I mean, what's, what is the next step to do? And I'll open that up to whoever wants to unmute. Christie go ahead.

Christine Cole:

I mean, at the very least reach out so that the national suicide prevention hotline is there 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. You do not have to call if you are actively ready to take your life. You can just be, you have a day where you're overwhelmed.

-:

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

verbally,

Christine Cole:

something like that.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

And I know Heather, you had a point that you wanted to add there as well.

Heather Parbst:

I was just, when you were talking about your experience Jinx, I was thinking about, cause I follow you on social media and I love how you are able to be vulnerable and put out there your thoughts on all of these things and I think that that's incredibly helpful. And I think having this podcast is another great example of that, but in thinking through this topic in general, I feel like. Part of it really is just understanding that we're all dealing with it. And entrepreneurs in particular like, cause I think about when, so my issue has always been around anxiety, depression many, many years ago, but you know, definitely anxiety, especially when I was heading up a company and there was such a pressure on me to not show that, to not speak it.

And it's just in it's tragic because I remember sitting at a conference- or at a table with about three or four other women entrepreneurs. And we were, we were kind of skirting, like you could tell, like, like everybody just seemed to be so stressed and, you know, overwhelmed and overburdened and nobody would really speak it.

And then we just started talking about it and it was. Just set. Like, again, it was like the flood gates open and people are like, oh, I didn't know. You've struggled with all of the stress around whether or not you're going to be able to pay your employees. And they didn't know you've had to not be able to take a paycheck.

And I didn't know that you've been struggling with insomnia and I, you know, all of these sorts of things just started coming out and I think we just eat. Somebody may appear perfect, but they're not. They're struggling with this stuff too. And I think it's particularly when it comes to when you're dealing with things like HR and things like that, we.

We, we do need to stop looking at it as mental illness and recognize that it's mental health is just like any other kind of health. Right. It's very convenient for the medical world for health insurance companies to label things as illness. But if we look at it as just different settings that everybody has on continuums that manifest in different ways, I think we can just look at everybody with a little bit more compassion. And I think speaking this stuff and being there are, you know, yes, you don't want to throw everything out there. And, you know, I mean, I understand that that there's hesitancy there in fear of being judgment or being judged. But I think the more that we just recognize and speak to the fact that, yeah, I deal with this and you deal with that and we're all in this together and there is no reason to label or separate or make someone an other because they're struggling with something around their mental wellbeing, I think that that is going to really start transforming the landscape of all.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Well, and we do have this thing where, you know, part of being an entrepreneur is always broadcasting success and control and calm, cool collected leadership, and all the rest of that, because it affects your bottom line.

People aren't going to come hire your company if they think that you're unstable or out of control and all the rest of those things. The expectation is that if you're dealing with some mental health issue, then you're probably not a good bet, so to speak where, you know, some of these issues are lifelong issues. Of course we know how to manage them and do our business around them. We've been training for this for decade. Especially when it's later in life and people who've dealt with chronic depression for decades. They know how to manage their life around that to some degree, assuming that they're in a reasonably healthy place, but I've also found that, you know, even when you do talk about some of these things publicly, sometimes it's still just a point of humor.

All things considered. I made a post the other day about how I slept 90 minutes. The night before. And I had gotten another 90 minute nap in like 24 hours later. And I was up wide awake, watching a gold mining shows on discovery. And, you know, I mean, I was absolutely at a manic peak at that point, anxiety was driving my brain nonstop. I was in that constant mental spiral of just looping over the same issues over and over and over again. I could not... even trying to do like some sort of guided meditation or whatever. I just couldn't do it because instead of the cool creek in my head and the trickling water sounds, it was just like paisley and cats, you know, like just wild sort of mental hallucinations. It's very disordered thought. And so, you know, I post about that on social media and then it's like, everybody's like laugh, react and hahaha funny that is, but you know, at the moment it really wasn't actually that funny.

I was very much in crisis at that point in time. I just wanted some damn sleep.

I think it, it, it's still a very difficult conversation to have in a meaningful way in any sort of a public fashion, because some of these topics are sort of inherently funny in our comedy sort of a culture, you know, I mean the crazy person, right. That's, that's always been you know, sort of the punchline, so to speak. And, and just looking at how we treat, you know, mental illness in the homeless and in vets and all the rest of that and how little real understanding there is of ,listen, this person could very much be on the edge of a breakdown with significant negative consequences.

It's not a joke and, and trying to both normalize that conversation so that people are encouraged to have it while also balancing that public expectation of who are you and, and should I trust doing business with you? I think that, I really love the fact that that's all I've kind of brought up how broad mental health is as a topic and not just about pathologies, because there are so many people out there, especially after this pandemic, especially after the lockdown and the isolation and all the rest of that, that are potentially on the edge of that. And part of the reason why I always try to take the call even when it's inconvenient is because I don't know if it's, that's the time, if that's the day, if that's the person, you know, and I don't ever want to be the person who let that individual fall off the edge, you know, As we wrap up here. Cause we're, we're getting to the end. I would love to get some final thoughts from each of you. And I'm just going to go ahead and start with Danielle.

Danielle Laura:

You know, what's coming up for me right away is just this understanding of let's break the stigma of mental health in business. Let's start talking about it more or less start talking about the fact that we're not okay, or it's a tough day or anxiety is getting the best of us, you know, whatever the case may be and come to this place of vulnerability where it's not even just like, it's not awkward.

It's not like, oh no, something's wrong with you, but it's more of, oh yeah, of course, me too. And how can we get through this together? And how can I be there for you? So I think sharing this more, allowing for empathy, allowing for non-judgment to take place and for allowing people to really feel like they're okay to be fully expressed without having repercussions. Also when you really need help, make sure you get help. Let's break that stigma either. You're not, you're not a crazy person. We all need help. Great. So allow yourself to have the support system that you really need, because it's going to be crucial for you.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Fantastic. And Heather?

Heather Parbst:

Everything Danielle just said.

And that was, that was perfect. I think. Yes, it is our responsibilities as humans to care for ourselves to seek help when we need it, to not let a fear of other people's perceptions or misguided information influence us. It's our responsibilities to be more open to the individuals in our lives that we work with and not tie narratives to what we see them doing or how they're behaving, but actually be open to being vulnerable with them and conversing with them and not being scared of this because this doesn't have to be scary stuff.

We all have got something. We're either dealing with it personally, or we've got family members that are dealing with it and, and we just need to recognize the humanity in each other and welcome that in. And it's going to just be exponentially better.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

Absolutely Christy?

Christine Cole:

Again, I agree with everything that Danielle and Heather have, have stayed.

So I say I co-sign on all of that kind of piggybacking on what they said was too much as to normalize that mental health. Is mental health. There's no difference between physiological health, how that the mind body connection got separated. But somebody growing an idea, I have no idea your brain controls everything.

So if that's out, if something's off there, everything else is going to be off, the sleep, you know, it just elevates everything. And then changing the language in a way to help normalize everything. So as we change and grow... terms like idiot, moron, and imbecile were diagnostic terms way back when, so that has taken on a pejorative context. And so that is no longer being used, but changing how we say it now, instead of saying somebody committed suicide, it's died by suicide to help kind of de-stigmatize that. So I think that's just pieces of what we can do. This is a larger issue. We could have a whole hour devoted just to this, but that's a start and then worry about your own self care, self care, self care, self care, self care.

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins:

A hundred percent. I'm a big fan of that. And I'm just as a final thought. As we wrap up here, there are countless groups on social media, Facebook in particular and, and, and other social platforms where I have found, you know, I can come in and participate in conversation. I can commiserate. I can share, I can gather support from other folks as needed. If you're dealing with some specific issue, anxiety or any of the particular pathologies, find some of these support groups on there, join them. You don't even have to participate in the conversation. You can just lurk and read other people's experiences. It really is meaningful. And I think it allows you to be connected in some way. And in our show notes, we are absolutely going to provide some resources, some of the, for some of the things that we've talked about, But keep your head up out there. Folks. It's, it's tough for everybody. And, and mental health is something that we have to actively pay attention to.

And again, it's starting with ourselves, not just those around us, so cause if it doesn't start with me, then you know, I'm not going to be of any good then. Yeah. Nobody else. So with much love and, and support and encouragement from all of us here at the Unfuck My Businesses. community, that's our show today and we will see you next Tuesday. .

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About the Podcast

Unf*ck My Business
No bullshit advice for business owners who want to be resilient as fuck.
Welcome to the most valuable fucking show you’re gonna listen to all week. Unfiltered insights from experienced business owners and entrepreneurs. No egos. No bullshit. Just real, actionable advice for businesses that want to be resilient as fuck. New episodes released on Tuesdays.
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Unfuck My Business (UFMB) is brought to you by the intense motherfuckers who run the community formally known as CORE Leadership Collective. UFMB is a group of irreverent, down-to-earth business leaders delivering honest and actionable advice through conversations that are fun, engaging, and valuable. We’re going to call you out on your shit, hold you accountable, and be your fierce champions when you win.

About your hosts

Robyn Sayles

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HOST | SHOW RUNNER
Twitter + IG: @robynsayles

Kaplan Akincilar

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EDITOR | PRODUCER
IG: @kaplanakincilar

Chris 'Jinx' Jenkins

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HOST
Twitter: @immrdubious

Kathleen Seide

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HOST
IG: @geekmermaid