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How To Navigate The Mental Health Epidemic As A Business Leader

Written by: Holly Jackson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


As we continue to navigate the pandemic we are in, we face a new challenge. The mental health epidemic we are facing is real and daunting.

This is coming to head 2 years into the pandemic. The pandemic has forced us into isolation.

Isolation has a significant impact on our health. Loneliness is often associated with depression, anxiety and suicide. Social isolation is also associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke.

The statistics show that isolation significantly increases our chances for premature death. What it boils down to is that we need each other. We can’t go it alone. Because we won’t survive if we do.

How do we navigate this as leaders?

I’ve had so many companies come to me with this question over the past several months. They say, “Holly, I know my team is struggling but I don’t know what to do.”

I believe that the answer requires us to tap into heart-centered leadership. It requires us as leaders walking the talk of what we want our employees to embody. It means we need to learn how to hold and maintain neutral space at home and in the workplace.

It means it’s time for you to step up. Are you ready?

What is Heart-Centered Leadership?

I define heart-centered leadership as someone who leads from the heart. This means they are deeply tuned into their own personal values. They know what their mission in life is. They have defined success on their own terms. They have hyper-awareness around how they show up in the world.

Heart-centered leaders are students for life. They know they aren’t perfect but they continue to explore how they can grow. And they use their lessons, experiences, and insights to help others do the same.

They become experts at holding neutral space.

Neutral space means we hold space for people. We don’t have an agenda. We don’t have expectations. And we don’t judge.

We live in a world where it’s very difficult to hold neutral space. But it's a huge part of what we all need for healing. Without neutral space, we are never able to remove our masks. We are never able to show up authentically and with vulnerability.

And authenticity and vulnerability are where healing begins.

And if you’d really like to learn even more about this topic, it’s something we discuss in great detail on my podcast, Inspiration Contagion. Episodes 1, 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 32, 37, 41, 44, 45, 52, 55, 57, and 60 are all interviews with heart-centered leaders across several industries and roles.

Heart-centered leaders know how to tune into their values and their skills. They know how to build an action plan that works. Here are three specific strategies that will help you lead from the heart. And with great success.

3 Strategies You Can Use to Lead Your Company Through This Epidemic

Strategy One: Create Opportunities for Connection

One of the most fundamental needs we have as humans is to be seen and heard. When’s the last time you really stopped and took the time to check on your leadership team?

Reach out to your team members and ask them to join you for an in person or virtual java. Show up with the mindset of curiosity and care. Your only goal is to really hear and see what’s going on with your team.

Make sure you are really present. Don’t let your phone distract you. Be present with the person you are connecting with. Be genuine and authentic.

Ask them questions that allow them to feel safe to share and open up. For example, “Bob, we haven’t had much 1 on 1 time. I wanted to take this time to spend some time with you. How are things going in your world?”

You can also amplify your impact by creating group activities that foster connection. Get your creative juices flowing. Have your team visit a rock climbing gym for a new challenge and team building. Create an online water cooler chat room. Build a connection challenge for your company. Poll your employees on what they want.

When we cultivate community and connection our employees are happier and more successful.

Strategy Two: Step Back and Listen

As leaders sometimes we take the easy route. Maybe we think we have the answer or the solution. And yet, we don’t stop and check-in with the people we are serving. This is a big mistake.

Making assumptions will never get you far. They will bring you trouble.

Consider asking your team for their ideas. Build a survey to check on the health and happiness of your employees.

Ask them for their feedback on what’s missing from the company culture. Ask them what ideas they have for building more connection and community.

You’d be amazed at the ideas that come from groups of people. When we pool our collective ideas we reach our full potential. When we go it alone, we box ourselves into a corner.

Have meetings or town halls with your employees. Ask them what’s going well. Ask them where the gaps are. How you can show up better.

When given permission, people want to be seen and heard. They want to share their opinions and ideas.

Give them a platform to share and they will be part of the solution. They will also define what the problems are faster and more clearly.

Take the guesswork out of this. Go straight to the source for answers.

Strategy Three: Bring in an Expert

There’s no guidebook on how to do this work. And the best leaders know when to lean on others. Because we can’t have all the answers. But we can bring in people who have expertise in areas where we need help.

Over the past month, I’ve had over 20 inquiries from companies and leaders about the state of their employees. They want to support their employees during the epidemic. They have teams that are performing well and are high achievers. They want to protect them and make sure they feel fully supported.

They reach out to me because I wrote a book that speaks to navigating challenges ranging from stress and anxiety to chronic pain. In my book Inspiration Contagion, Health Secrets for Raving Success, I provide the reader with a trail map to help them maximize their health.

I talk about our negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs. I share how to identify these and shift them.

Now I work with companies in retreats and workshops to build community, connection and cultures that thrive. In this work, we do a deep dive on values, self-talk, stress management and self-care.

Without your health, you will never have the foundation to build anything.

Let’s spread inspiration, health, and happiness like a contagion together. If you and your team need help, I’m at your service.

I want you and your team to not only survive this but to thrive.

Together, we can build your inevitable success. It’s just around the corner.

Cheers to building your trail map to healthy, thriving success in life and business.

Follow Holly on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram. You can also visit her website to learn more. Read more from Holly!


Holly Jackson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Holly Jackson is a certified Holistic Business Coach. Through Holistic Business Coaching, Holly helps holistic entrepreneurs and business owners start, build or scale their business without burning out. Holly’s clients learn how to cope with stress, define their life priorities, and rediscover their passion for business. She helps them see blind spots that often cost them exposure, clients, and income. Having undertaken a thriving career as an executive in Silicon Valley, Holly chose the road less traveled. She decided to leave the corporate world. She has dedicated her life to helping individuals design the life and business of their dreams. For over 12 years, Holly has provided insights, strategies, and fresh perspectives across multiple industries. Holly states, “My clients can expect accountability, growth, and an individualized step-by-step game plan for success. I believe every professional must develop their internal compass and decide what their legacy will be. Holistic coaching goes beyond helping your business and helps the whole person.”



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