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(VIDEO) It’s OK to Not Be OK! How To Make Mental Health A Priority with Jan Mühlfeit and Lisa Christen

Simone Biles withdrew from the Olympics. Bella Hadid posted her daily tears on Instagram. Prince Harry left the British royal family.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month – and to celebrate, we’re normalizing mental health as a priority topic!

On the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever we need to talk about mental health. Yet for most people, the topic is still taboo. Will I be judged? Is something wrong with me if I have mental health issues? Where would I even begin to seek help?

Jan Mühlfeit, retired Chairman of Microsoft Europe & Olympic mental coach, can relate — he spent months in a mental hospital after a mental and physical health breakdown that completely transformed his life.

Joining Jan is top-rated CEO / Executive Coach Lisa Christen, together sharing best practices for maintaining your mental strength & mental health.

It’s ok not to be ok.


For the full transcript:

Jan Muhlfeit 00:02
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends Good evening.

Lisa Christen 00:05
Hi everyone.

Jan Muhlfeit 00:08
Just to tell you we are okay, but it’s okay not to be okay

Lisa Christen 00:14
such a good introduction for today. There are times when we’re okay. And there are times that we are definitely not okay,

Jan Muhlfeit 00:20
exactly. And so if you can be so calm because we are bro adcasting again on YouTube and LinkedIn, if you can put in the comment line that you can hear us and you can see us that will be great. Okay, sir. Yeah. Good evening from Finland. Wim Hof is the answer.

Lisa Christen 00:40
The answer to everything?

Jan Muhlfeit 00:43
Absolutely. Yeah. Miko absolutely true. I’ll just check the LinkedIn on my phone.

Lisa Christen 00:51
Yes. Since we’re having a mental health check in and it’s okay to not be okay. I can also admit to people, I’m tired tonight. We know we broadcast at 8pm. Right. So we’ve had this full week going up to Thursdays, I’m usually quite tired during these sessions. And everyone tells me, you’re so full of energy. And I’m like, if only you knew what was happening on the inside. That’s what today is all about. Right? All the stuff that’s going on in the background in the inside of our brains? And then how do we actually bring that out? How do we share that with each other so that we know it’s normal?

Jan Muhlfeit 01:26
Guys, I can see people on LinkedIn. So if you can put on in the comments that you can hear us and see us, you know, I can see that, you know,

Lisa Christen 01:38
yeah, me, Karl Rove both are working. There’s no time to lose. Let’s go. All right. Okay.

Jan Muhlfeit 01:44
So you may do the intro, and then we’ll start.

Lisa Christen 01:48
Well, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it’s so important more than ever, at least now through COVID. And on the back end, people have been having the discussion, it’s okay to not be okay. Mental health is important. And yet, sometimes we get really conflicting signals, because we say, but you have to be tough at work. Oh, let’s talk about over resilience. Let’s talk about mental strength so that you are okay, again, let’s go for toxic positivity, like any American would do, right? And we want to really just take the time and space here to say and explore. It’s okay to not be okay, where are we with mental health? Where are other people what our experiences Jan has, obviously a very moving experience around it. And we we just want to have this community conversation, how to, how to accept not being okay, how to work with not being okay, not trying to hide it not trying to unnecessarily fight it not being over resilient. Working with it, and learning from it. Yeah, I think you’re a much better spokesperson for this than I could ever be. I mean,

Jan Muhlfeit 02:50
yeah, so yeah, I, as much as the, you know, mental health is concerned, I learned a lot during that time, when I was, you know, performing very well. In fact, you know, my team was four times in the row best performing team in Microsoft from all regions, but then I’ve got the, you know, deep depression 10 years ago, and I recovered, but it took full six months, you know, I was half of the year out of my job, I will talk about it, you know, later, like what happened, but I have a real experience and, and what I need to say now, I see specially after the COVID there is a lot of companies and a lot of individuals having a problem like returning me back after the COVID because they like got out of the teams and out of the, you know, buildings and everything. So there’s a lot of people have a burnouts, actually, you know, right. And, like, I don’t I don’t have a number for the whole year, but I know the numbers for my country, Depression during the COVID, you know, increased 300% It’s a huge jump in. And I think it’s more or less the same everywhere. Right. And, and, you know, the issue I see is really, I mean, in general, I’m technologist by profession. We have technologies of the 21st century and depression of the 21st century. But we still have a brain from like, many 1000 years ago. And you know, we don’t know enough about our brain. If you know that self awareness, you know, how brain works, how emotion work, you know, I think people would be much much better off by we are still teaching people what is around them. You see, I have a nice t shirt. Be nice.

Lisa Christen 04:47
I like that one.

Jan Muhlfeit 04:51
Anyway, let’s go back to the mental health and the end. That’s the real issue. We teach people what is around them Do people really skilled in in everything? Well, we don’t teach people what is inside them and how to work, we teach people how to have physical rest, how to, you know, sleep, have a physical rest and so on, we don’t teach how to have a mental rest. And mental rest is not like, Hey, I go for the running by during the run, I call, you know, everybody, I do want to once whatever, you know, I was coaching some executive recently he said, Look I’m using really even if in me the forest, I still do the course. And I said, that’s not good, you may, you know, run it for some time, but then you will be exhausted, you know, you should understand, as I mean, people really understand that the physical energy is finite, and you need to have a rest. But your mental energy is also finite, your, you know, ability to be, you know, tough to make decisions goes down in the afternoon, in fact, you know, your ability to make good decision goes down, this is it, you know, right, that’s why we need to have less. And the other issue is, while in the past, the rest was pretty much acute, like our predecessor, David like hunting heaven arrest hunting him in arrest, right? Today, we are like hunting all the time, you don’t have any rest. And then there is a burn out or you know, even depression. So, and the pressure is tremendous. Your brain, I think I said last time, your brain in one week, needs to process as much as information as you know, in one week as our predecessor 100 years ago for the whole life, you know, right. And the our, our you know, our ability to handle, you know, stress is more or less the same. Okay. And that’s, that’s one point. The other point is that, mainly today, stress is driven by something they call in psychology, football, we talked about that last time, right about fear of other people opinion in the because in the past, when people were living in the group, and they were like hunters and, you know, getters, you know, be the, if somebody made some mistake, he or she was pushed out of the group that that meant that, you know, right, there’s basically this is it. And that’s what is in our subconsciousness we think we are afraid of the refusal. That’s why we are like demonizing mistakes, and people are learning the best from the from the mistakes, right? So we are demonizing mistakes, and we are, you know, nervous. And that this is the this is the real, you know, issue, right? We don’t have enough first we don’t understand how brain works, you know, and we still demonizing you know, mistakes even in the company. So like, you know, there’s a lot of companies, they do a lot of like, post mortem, but only like, hey, where we fuck up, not necessarily what we’ve done, you know, when it’s good to do like, hey, we learn from our mistakes. But Miss, you know, if you think about this, what I will say, if everybody talks about when we need to build a learning environment, right, shell did this study, and they figured out that the only long term competitive advantage for more organization is your ability to learn fast, okay? And human beings as much as the organization’s are learning fastest through their own mistakes. This is it, you know, right? That’s, that’s what we know, from the neuroscience, we are still punishing big time, you know, mistakes. You should not, you know, do the same mistake twice, that’s for sure. But if you do new mistakes, I mean, if you try something new mistakes are quite, you know, right. And, and because of, you know, such society, and it starts in the school kids are, you know, write it and I have nothing against, like, you know, if if that feedback is, you know, written, that’s perfect. And if it goes like, Hey, this is you’re good. And this, you need to improve that stuff like that. That’s the real feedback, okay. But if it’s like, in my country, gifts are getting like one is the best and five is the one five is fail, basically. Right? But if you if you’re getting like I can imagine if I’m the coach of the Czech national football team, and I would say okay, goalkeeper, you know, one minus, you know, the rest like three, defense was like for, you know, how can we play next time better? There is no way and we still do it with the kids, you know, right. And I think that’s that’s another issue. Why we are like scourer that What are you know, basic of the you know, if we refuse all right, and this is though those are like, you know, couple of issues I think we have and that’s what Why. And last but not least, ICT Now obviously, the mental health is really getting priority for many organizations, which is good. That’s good. You know, right. On the other hand, I mean, it is good to do like seminar with Jan who was in the mental hospital, right? Everybody is like asking you do this seminar, that’s fine. But let’s create rich even better to create an environment where people can really like have a meditation, you know, have a good rest, and really, you know, follow up with them. And let’s create an environment. Where is this really learning culture, we learn from our mistakes, but it starts with the leadership, right? I as leader, I was like, able, when I was 32 years old, I realized, hey, when I will animate my own mistakes, the other people will open, and they will talk openly about our mistakes. And that’s why we were successful. Absolutely. So this is.

Lisa Christen 10:55
I mean, this is a perfect intro, there are so many key points that we need to talk about. I want to make the distinction also, because mental health has become really a topic for everybody. So whereas in the past, we thought of mental health as someone who had like a mental illness who had a diagnosable something or other and we thought, but that’s not me, and actually, so many people have finally figured out Oh, my God, I never knew I had anxiety. I just thought that was the normal way to react. But now we’re talking about it. And people have much more awareness. Everybody is affected on mental health. This is not a topic that is for you know, those people over there, but not for me. It’s for everybody. And from my perspective, when I’m working with so you know, Jan, and I work with Ultra top performers, he’s a lot of times with athletes, I work a lot with business executives. And we talked about how do we get to that next level of performance? Well, for me, the next level of peak performance, it’s not learning a new skill, you already know how to do that. It’s not you know, finding out the right business market to get into, you’re smart enough, you know how to do that. The key is that mental game, that’s the make or break difference between the people who can be the next Elon Musk or Bill Gates or the next Jan. It’s the mental game that makes the difference for them. And for me, there’s one piece of the mental game that is so important that almost nobody does and almost nobody knows about. So for me, if you want to really help with your mental game and your mental health, you have to start working with your emotions. So most of us try to mental strength our way over emotions, right? We say, Okay, I don’t want to feel emotions. I’m not scared. No, just do it. Keep going, you know, we got this, I’m not gonna quit, I’m not gonna cry, I got this doesn’t work. It’s exhausting for the body. This is where burnout comes from. Because you’ve done too much resilience for too long without listening and need arrest. Once you can work with your emotions, by the way, the reason most people have anxiety and then because they have so much anxiety it then you know, you physically can’t handle it. So you drop into a depression and you have a cycle of anxiety and depression is because people often run from their negative emotions. And the most common one in the world today is uncertainty. So if there’s uncertainty in the world, and I don’t know what to do, I’m in a state of stress, and I try to control it and uh, if you can learn how to handle uncertainty to be okay with it, well, I’m noticing that I’m feeling uncertain. And you can be in that moment, you won’t have so much of the adrenaline so much of the cortisol so much of the stress and you won’t have the subsequent crash. So part of the key of being able to manage the waves of what’s physically causing you and then by the way, physical and emotional go hand in hand is to start to say how can I be in touch with my emotions notice when I’m feeling okay, I’m uncertain okay? I’m feeling overwhelmed. Okay, I’m feeling scared my reputation fear of other people’s opinions. I’m feeling scared because people are going to think I’m stupid. How do I be okay with that? How do I come into a place where I can just sit with that emotion instead of letting it and I have to run from it? If you do that alone and nothing else, you will cure at least half of the mental health problems that most people in the modern workplace face. So yeah, and what’s going through your mind I think you’re taking notes as I’m talking Yeah,

Jan Muhlfeit 14:36
I will. Let’s talk now because Lisa open very important topic emotions. Okay. Let’s talk a little bit guys how emotions are you know, created? Okay. A lot of people think that it somehow they’re our six or 10 emotions and this is it. Okay. That is a great you know, thought leader in that Lisa Feldman and the other lady, emotional variability,

Lisa Christen 15:04
it’s emotional agility and Susan David.

Jan Muhlfeit 15:07
And Lisa talks about variability. Susan talks about agility, but more or less, it’s very similar, you know, but what am I talking about that, you know, emotions are created basically. Now the question is how emotions are graded or basic emotions are created through our mind through our thoughts, because the first there’s a thought and emotion is basically when your thought is touching your body. Okay? If you have a positive emotion, you feel like positive energy, and you feel good because your brain works like chemical factory, it is all about you know, hormones, okay? Because if you feel like good, and if you do something you really love endorphin release, and you can do it forever, you know, right, because it’s like killing the pain that, you know, endorphin is 100 times you know, stronger than morphine and stuff like that. So it’s it is good to use it, but it’s still you know, good to follow where you’re, you’re emotionally standing, okay. But to figure out where your emotion is standing, you need to make sure you should not say for example, if we have on the other hand negative emotion, and we can say, hey, I’m fearful. If you say I’m fearful, that means that your amygdala will go and you are fearful or you feel Yeah, let’s say I observe my fear down means that your neocortex is observing your amygdala, you know, monkey, that there is something happening, hey, I’m fearful because there’s us and certainly there whatever is dangerous. And then you can obviously ask, When did this word this you know, thoughts started, right? Because your thoughts, your thoughts are not facts. Those are just thoughts. We believe in thoughts and I can tell you 99.9999% of the cases those thoughts can be absolutely irrelevant, you know, right. Absolutely not It’s not the fact right. It is absolutely irrelevant, but it’s still analyst when you will like give up to your thoughts you will say okay, it is dangerous whatever you know, I’m gonna do something with it which means like fight three or freeze that’s you know, stress is born and you are not using your full capacity whether it’s physical capacity, or your mental capacity if you will observe your mind and you will train like that. And then you know, you can really make a huge progress that’s why we are saying it is okay not to be okay. It’s absolutely fine to have negative emotions, you know, right. But you can have negative emotion for the half of the day or like for five minutes you know, right. Look, Nadal is playing now No, but Nadal is in fact in her own playing just riding with Shapovalov imagine the shadow of would go like two games like crazy okay by Nadal knows it’s not gonna to go for the whole match you know? Right. So he’ll he’ll do his best he’ll concentrate as you said be in the present moment concentrate on each and every ball in each and every you know moment and this is it this is what what is the best and then you will not have this up and down, but it will be like that you know, you will like smooth your way. But really if we will do what laser set with your you know breathing combine it with the like Hey, I observe my mind and we both have a saying that in order to be in the present moment with because only in present moment you can observe reality okay. If you observe reality you see that everything is changing, if you see everything is changing, you are not attached to the things that’s why you can you know, move on and you are not like suffering from the past you know, right. I mean, Buddha wanted to basically cut suffering but not from you know, around but from himself that was it you know, right. And, and for for you know, your ability to be in the present moment, you need to manage your mind basically to control your mind and to control your mind that means first you need to observe your mind figure out what is happening in, in your brain. And, and yeah, and this is it, this is the this is easy to and when you will start to follow your mind, you will less and less believe your thoughts. Those are just us I need this nothing bad with the thoughts, you know, right. But, you know, Lisa can tell me this is young, this study of a T shirt, you should never you know, alright, and it’s yeah, that’s opinion fine. You know, I have opinions, whatever, you know what I just the thought that’s number So it’s your fault. Number two, we automatically think that like, for example, if, if I would be like three years, you know, younger, I will think gangland Lisa and everybody else thinks in the same way like me, which is bullshit, you know, of the reality. And then then if the reality is different for everybody, does reality exist? You know, right? I mean, it’s different for everybody, right? Yes. And when you will start to think like that, you will, you will, you know, cool down your amygdala because your amygdala examinable, as I said, your amygdala works, if it’s uncertain, if it’s dangerous, or if it’s cold, or, you know, very new for you, right. And today, we are living in the age of uncertainty definite. And you need to make a lot of decisions like that, and your brain is not ready for those decisions, you know, right. And in the past, you know, our predecessors were still same, the same brain, our basis probably decided like three times, four times a day, for something now you decide probably, you know, 10 times in, in, you know, one hour, and if you if you have bigger responsibility, it’s even, you know, more, and again, if you make if you’re making some, you know, decisions, your mental power for those decisions are getting, you know, down during the day, so you’re not making super great decisions in the evening, you know, don’t don’t do any, like, live decisions in the evening when you are exhausted. The one thing, when I was in the mental hospital, by professor who is my friend, Sara ratio, he told me a couple of times young, now, you should not do any big investments, you know, don’t do anything while being in a mental hospital. Probably good advice. Yeah. Good advice.

Lisa Christen 22:02
And here’s something so you and I often talk about this, like physical, mental, emotional, spiritual connection, because we both know how important the physical is. For someone who’s listening now, maybe there’s even something more that you’ve never thought about in terms of mental health, which is to say, we know from the research that mental health is also affected by when you feel a loss of autonomy, a loss of freedom. Exactly. So I’m the American I’m always going to talk about freedom, right. And so when you feel there’s too much happening to me, work is happening to me, I don’t have control, I don’t make plans, I don’t make my day I’m stuck in my life, in my job in my whatever I am, the victim is when mental health starts to decline. So the big question you need to start asking yourself is where are the areas where you’re feeling like it’s happening to you, instead of you can create or make something happen. Because this is where you have a loss of autonomy, a loss of your freedom, your ability to make your own decisions. And if you feel that, let’s talk about how you can design your life to change it, because what often happens is people feel stuck. And then they go into a spiral of stuckness. And then they tell themselves the story, as Jan said, we make up our reality. And we believe that that’s truth. But it’s not truth, you have this freedom to design. So for example, for tui after two years in COVID, and I was in Switzerland, so I love Switzerland. But it’s very small for me, right? I grew up outside of New York City, Switzerland, very small, two years, no traveling here. And I said, I can’t do it. So I designed my life. I listened to that I feel stuck. I feel I haven’t had enough creative input. I didn’t run away from the feelings and say, no, no, Switzerland’s Perfect answer sounds great. And oh, look at how grateful I am that Switzerland has nice mountains. All true. And I’m still feeling restless. So I listened to that emotion. I say, Okay, how do I design to get past that? Not that I feel that I’m stuck. I’m had things are happening to me, which so often is what we felt in COVID. Right? We had no control over this disease that was spreading. We just had to stay home and be uncertain. How do you take back control? How do you create a life or lifestyle, a job, whatever it is, where you feel excited and energized about again, and don’t let things happen to you, but you be the creator. And by the way, Viktor Frankl said this so nicely, because it doesn’t actually matter. Some of you might be thinking, Yeah, but Lisa, if you knew my circumstances, you would understand why I can’t move. No, Viktor Frankl was in a concentration camp and even see, he said the last of the human freedoms is to choose where you put your mind, where are you? Where are you find purpose. So no matter what is happening around you, you still have freedom, reconnect with that, find that within yourself. And that will be like a mental health blockade. Good things will come when you can be in that opportunity space and have your freedom of choice.

Jan Muhlfeit 25:29
Yeah, the what? Let’s talk about this, like, you know, autonomy very often. And it’s like happening to us. Very often, when we change the job, we are promoted, maybe we have some people responsibility. It’s driven by you know, micromanagement, because micromanagement is bad for your mental health. But you are not, you know, teaching new skills to your team, right. And usually people I mean, typically, if they’re assigned, like new executive, I’m like coaching those people. Typically, they will tell me hey, and I’m so overwhelmed. There’s so many things. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t have time to do it. Well, as you said, it’s happening to me, okay. And if I’m, and then then I’m okay. What what do you do, like, with your time show me like, What do you do during the day, and it’s like, but this shouldn’t be done by our people. But that person is telling me, hey, you know, I can do it faster than I could do it better. That’s, that’s maybe true. If you will wait for each and every person, you will not develop your organization, you are killing yourself. So you need like to be micromanager. And again, we go back to the you know, allowing your people to fail. Basically, this is it, you need to, you need to like allow yourself to fail. And you need to allow your people because if they are learning new skills, if they will do new tasks, they will fail at some point. And Bill Gates was always telling me young, if you don’t know whether you should do it or not just do it, you can always ask for forgiveness. And this is the right, you know, way how to handle you know, new mistakes, obviously, right. But I but I think we really do. I mean, I was also micromanager, to be fair when I started to be manager, but after some time, I realized this is bad for me. And it’s even worse for the organization. Because because I’m not developing new readers, you know, right. And you need to like create succession plan, stuff like that, you know, right. And then it’s, it’s, you know, too, too much to me, I mean, there’s something you mentioned, Viktor Frankl, so it is a freedom of choice, there are things happening to you. But it’s up to you how you will react, you can I mean, if you have a lot of things to do, and you have your team, let’s delegate, let’s train them, let’s develop organization, so that we have a more time for strategic thinking, visionary staff, and so on. Otherwise, you know, it’s not going to happen, and you will end up you know, with depression or burnout, that’s for sure, you know, right. Because it’s, it is you can’t do everything this is it. And, and, I mean, if somebody is saying, Hey, I would like to do that strategic stuff, rather, I mean, come on, I spend probably 60% of my job, you know, was like developing other people, even like, I was always traveling with somebody, and that person would shadow me. And I was changing those people. I was, you know, having speechwriter, not from Microsoft, it was always like for six to 12 Somebody from iSeq International, which is the biggest student organization, they do, like, student exchange, okay. And those people are like, wow, this is a great experience. And if I see today, they are on some, you know, executive after 10 years, they are on some executive, you know, post already in some good companies, right. So, this is how you how you develop and, and obviously, I made a lot of, you know, mistakes, for sure. But, you know, unless you will really like develop your organization and delegate, forget it. And it’s, I mean, people are saying, Oh, it’s I have too much work, whatever, you know, right. They are blaming companies, but you know, you should blame yourself. I’m blaming me, it’s not yourself. I blame yarn that I was only in the mental hospital for six months depressed, because Microsoft never pushed me to do it. I mean, I tell you what happened to me it was not necessarily that I would do stuff I didn’t like but I liked it so much. I did not have enough mental rest simply and after because if you are all the time in the flow, it’s very intensive endorphin, you know, adrenaline obs and stuff like that. But then it’s really like Not acute stress, but it’s this chronic stress. Step by step, and it’s growing, right? And if you don’t have enough, you know, what else is growing? And it’s, it’s summed up, and you know, it started, like, in my stomach, I had a problem in my bag, and then I was a good collapse, right? But it has nothing to do with Microsoft. Microsoft never pushed me to do such things, right. I mean, I, in fact, remember my boss, John Philip couta with Microsoft president, he was always telling me, yeah, you should slow down, you should, you know, have rest also some time because he saw me like running in the morning, and then the whole, you know, day whatever. That time I thought, hey, is, you know, friend, he’s probably not very stupid, you know, right. And then he wrote me, I must say, you know, he wrote me a nice letter by hand when I was in middle school. I never, you know, forget that is a great, you know, either, right. But, yeah, this is a I think it’s everybody should hey, if if there is some, you know, toxic environment, some huge pressure, whatever, then let’s switch the job. But if you like, what do you do, it is up to you how you will, you know, allocate your, you know, energy or time, right, because we are blaming organizations, I mean, organizations or organizations, but it’s up to you to decide, hey, I’ll take it. And if, as I said, it is about freedom, I had enough freedom in Microsoft. In fact, they gallop tested me once. And you know, Jim Clifton, Gallup CEO said the and you are much more intrapreneur, as opposed to the manager. And I said, that’s very, I mean, because my mind was half every quarter, I was enterpreneur. And he allowed me to be intrapreneur. In you know, large organization. I mean, you’re right, yes, you can have both, you know, characteristics. And this, but it is your decision. They think it’s a it’s exactly what Viktor Frankl is saying, you cannot influencing what is happening, what you can influence. It’s your reaction, what is happening?

Lisa Christen 32:08
And yeah, and I was just with a team, I was facilitating a team off site today. And they were exactly talking about this, we’re overwhelmed. We don’t know what to do. And they when we said, okay, so what are you going to do differently from Monday? How are you going to have time to do big picture? How are you going to do strategy? How are you going to prioritize ever like, but we were so busy, we couldn’t possibly change our agendas on Monday? What do you tell him? I said, Hold on, we just spent two days talking about how you want to do it, but then when you have to operationalize it, and we said,

Jan Muhlfeit 32:39
Stephen Covey talks about like, you can, you can, you know, try to cut the tree, you know, right, or you can, and it’s, you know, tough unless you will sharpen your soul. Sharpen your saw means, hey, don’t do any shit, this stuff, there’s no impact. You know, I mean, if people would realize your amygdala is telling you, everything is urgent, and everything is important. That’s what he’s doing. But you should do what is important, but not urgent, because that’s the way how to use your brain in the best way. Right. But

Lisa Christen 33:13
there are so many times that we overdo things, especially high performers, we want to be the best we want to take it on, we want to be great. And it’s like, hold on. So I want to talk to this team. I said, I want you to follow the lazy principal, how can I get this done to good quality in the laziest way possible? And they were like, Oh, my goodness, and we never thought about it. And at the end of the session, they were like, Okay, we have all these flip charts, and no, but we take pictures, and how do we organize this? And they looked at me and they said, You know what? We’re going to lazy principal, Lisa, we’re going to ask you to do it. And we’re not going to get involved, we’ll just assume you’re gonna organize and sort it. I said, I’m so glad to see you living that principle, instead of having to jump in and said, I’m gonna manage to make sure everything’s done. Here you go. Lisa delegated to you, we trust you, you’re good. I said, I’m so proud that you could make that small decision. Because if you do that over and over, you’re free. Guess what, as an executive coach, I used to take, I handwrite my notes, and then I would type up notes for every client. Right? And I thought that’s what you have to do. And then I just started telling clients, if you want that service, we’ll do it as an add on service. But for me, it takes a lot of time and a lot of energy and computer writing up notes who want to who wants to do that? Nobody cared. Nobody missed. It saves me hours a week I’m writing up notes. Why was I doing it? We have to question it right, putting myself under stress. I used to think a younger probably felt the same. I had to have an inbox zero every day. I have my own business. If a client dissuading me I have to write back immediately. Guess what? I started writing back a day later, two days later, nobody cares. us.

Jan Muhlfeit 35:01
You know what, it’s funny, you said that number. When I was in Microsoft, I said, Okay, I’ll never be have more than 20 You know, messages in my cannot be, you know, unread or you know on assault, you know right now, I mean, I’m getting much less emails are busy now but it’s like a day anyway, I really tried to reply in 24. But this is it, I mean that it’s like, you know, sometimes if you’re a high achiever, you try, hey, I need to reply immediately and you’re like switching from one thing to the other. And it goes to like 14 minutes to get on the same level of concentration, right? Hey, this this is you’re like, bombarded by the messages. And for your amygdala, everything is important, you know, right. It’s not it’s not the case. So maybe we can talk a bit about you know, some tools how to, you know, get a mental, mental health and stay mental health.

Lisa Christen 36:02
Yeah, so quit your job, divorce. No, I’m just kidding. These will not actually help your mental health. But sometimes we use these thoughts as well. That’s also true. Depends. Yeah, yeah, exactly. But this is the thing you need to check in with. I think, for me, the very first thing and you started this session today saying it, but I want to make it really clear self awareness. What do you need? Most people have no idea what they need. And it’s sometimes hard to know what you need is easier to actually stay with the inertia of doing everyday life and complaining about it, then actually pausing and say, but what would I like? What would make me happy? What would give me fulfillment? What would stop this constant anxiety I have about performance? Right? These are hard questions. If you can explore them, if you could start to figure out here’s what I need, then and only then can you start to ask people for it, can you start to quit your job if you find out that toxic culture that but you have to have that self awareness, nothing will change, nothing will come without self awareness. So for me, that’s the number one criteria if you do nothing else, self awareness and in that emotional awareness, by the way, but what are my needs? That will make me when do I feel okay, and good?

Jan Muhlfeit 37:25
Yeah, the if you go to the history, our, you know, predecessors, they got like, you know, connection between the mind and the body like 100% Harmony, okay? Because, to be honest, they didn’t think about but there was a stress for sure. But stress was like once in two weeks, they were like hunting one in two weeks, whatever, you know, right. But today, it’s tougher, but like that connection, you know, body mind, and your breathing is very important. Okay? There is a one tool I’m using, like Ben personally to cool down and have a rest and the same with the with my athletes or executives. It’s called Yoga Nidra it has nothing to do with yoga, okay, you’re in traditional yoga, you like lay down and you can get it on YouTube for free or there’s application on on Android or Apple you you lay down and basically that is like guided meditation was like you like Breathing in breathing out here you go like you know me then feeds you know release you know right and and you go through all your body so and you’re concentrated because of the wise your body is getting like release you know stress whatever you know right in the breath is like cooling down your you know amygdala or you feel very good and even I use it when the people got the problem to sleep being in the new time zone for example, with the tennis players and so on. So we use it and it’s really good. It’s called Yoga Nidra and Id are i Okay, so yoga yoga nidra is you know one there is another one in case you have like some you know fear some uncertainty whatever which is used by seal operation which is the toughest you know unit from US Navy. It’s called mental jingo basically and it combines your body your breathing and some mantra okay. What it what do we know that if you’re if you stay you know, straight and like that, you know, your testosterone goes up after half to one minute. By 20% up your cortisol which is stress hormone goes 25% down and your ability to read Is is 33% Higher, that just like uncertainity is like lowering. So their body okay, now why breathing because you know if we are stress, okay? Stress is activating. Same particles the nervous system here and you go like you breathing like that, and it’s basically blocking your diaphragm, your diaphragm is muscle and it needs to go up and down, up and down, you know, right? It’s like cooling down again. And it’s like massaging your gut, you know, right or your digestion system. So, if you know you are stressed, usually you’re you know, this path simply is blocked diaphragm, okay? When you go, couple of times, breathe in, breathe out, you will move again data frame and that means for your Amiga, hey, the lions and tigers are gone, there is no more danger. And you are, you know, fine. Okay. And then then, you know, if you do some mantra, you can have only one thought at the same time. So what do you do they go before they go to the action, they go like that? I make it. I make it. I make it. Okay, so it is it is basically the body breath and the mantra. Right. And it’s called, it’s called mental jhingo. They are basically cutting the fear through this, right? So that’s another you know, peace. What do you can do? Like, I mean, it’s good for the mental toughness, but whenever you feel some fear or whatever, what do we know from the, from the brain science basically, from neuroscience, that when people do when you are afraid, and you are able to do like, three, four steps, you lover off your, you know, cortisol and adrenaline goes down by 40%, you know, right? Because the laser said, one important thing that your brain doesn’t like, like new decision, new stuff, and so on. But if we are able to get some input some action, hey, we are a movie. What are braids means? Okay, it’s always danger. I do something. Okay. And I do so much. Yeah. For me,

Lisa Christen 42:16
it’s so important. And we haven’t talked about yet. And I love that we’re talking about tools and how to practically solve for this. One of the biggest mental health epidemics that we’re having right now is loneliness. Again, COVID-19 was not a helper for that. But anyway, that that was that was already on track because of social media. So for me, there are two things that are really important about loneliness. One is having connection with friends with family, having a group, we talked a little bit about FOMO. We talked about it last time, but really that fear of other people’s judgments, you need to be surrounded by friends and family who you don’t feel scared of who you feel love you sort of unconditionally will be there for you, no matter what, you need a safety net. And you need to have people in your life who are that safety net, if you don’t have that, make that a top priority. Go find people who will love you, who you connect with, who can have fun with who you can be with. Because when we’re lonely when we’re disconnected from other humans, it literally people are dying of loneliness. So that’s one aspect. The other thing that I need you to know is even if you’re not physically with anybody, you need to know that you’re never alone. Yeah. So first of all, this is actually what religion and spirituality do where we always say, okay, no matter what God’s with me, what, who, whatever, whoever God looks like. So for some people that will work if you’re not particularly religious or spiritual, we can talk on another day. But one other thing that I really need people to know that you’re not alone is if you’re feeling I’m scared, I’m overwhelmed. I feel like a failure. I have impostor syndrome. I cannot tell you how many people I coach who say, I feel like someone’s gonna find out I’m not really that smart. And I’m like, Oh, you didn’t know 100% of people. I’ve coached have impostor syndrome. And they’re like, No, it’s not just me know, whatever you are going through right now. You’re depressed, you’re lonely. You’ve been divorced. You’ve been dumped. You had a shit presentation, whatever you’re going through right now. You are not the first you are not the last. And at this moment, in times, probably 500 people across the world are feeling exactly what you’re feeling. You are a social creature, you are connected to other people. So you are never alone. Even if it feels scary or lonely, whatever you’re going through. Once you start to admit a little bit more about what you’re feeling, how you’re feeling how you feel like an impostor, that’s when other people start to open up to you. And that’s when you actually feel Deal and realize that other people feel exactly the same way. We, as coaches, we hear it all the time. It’s our norm to know, everyone feels like a stupid failure, like half the time. But for most other people, they don’t know that. So very important on this loneliness, also, the research tells us that loneliness is one of the key challenges with mental health, please get off of Instagram, please get off of LinkedIn, please get off of Facebook, please get off of anything, where you’re comparing yourself to someone else, that external version that they’ve created in their branding, and then you come back and think I’m not good enough. Look at how great they are. No, they’re just like you. You’re both the same. Not lonely.

Jan Muhlfeit 45:51
Absolutely. Couple of points what Lisa said, you know, once you will, and that whatever is your group, once you will show your vulnerability, you know, show vulnerability won’t be the thing. Hey, it’s, it’s, you know, I should not show my weakness. No, it’s not true. You if you say that means you open for the other people, and they will open for you, and you will feel Hey, you know, we are all in the same game for sure. That’s number one. Number two, by definition, everybody ever unless, I mean, everybody who’s like mentally, you know, healthy, okay? Ever, ever. If you are like crazy, then maybe you like overestimate yourself, but everybody mentally healthy, thinks that he is he or she is less than he is or she is because your amygdala, your amygdala is trying to figure out what are your like weaknesses, and not showing you that much, you know, your strengths, where you are really able to make some breakthroughs, right? This is it, you know, right? So you are really more than you think you are everybody everybody is more than he or she thinks, right? One, you know, one interesting tool, which I started to use specially with my athletes now, you know, right? If they do something, well, they should not say hey, it’s good, but they should say it’s excellent. I’m great. All right. So you should basically what you should do, because I mean, I tell you, it’s not like, you know, bullshitting your brain by your brain works like five to 10 times faster, it’s your negative part of the brain, amygdala. And your logical part of the brain is quite slow. That’s why you need to help your logical battle brain. So you should exaggerate what is good with you, like exaggerate, Hey, um, it’s not good. It’s, you know, great, or it’s excellent exam. Selfie. Anyway, it works like that. And now listen, if there is some negative or you make some mistake, let’s, you know, don’t make any negative comments, but make neutral comments like, hey, that that’s a that’s a learning, I need to do it better next time. But it’s a good, you know, learning. And that’s the way how, you know, switch, you know, from that fixed mindset, hey, I screwed it up. Or, you know, you have an impostor syndrome, which is kind of the, you know, you have everything or you have nothing, you know, right, if you have a fixed mindset, you go to the growth mindset, like, I am, like, actually better version of me every day, even though I made some mistakes today, I’m still learning from those mistakes. And, um, you know, moving on, that’s exactly, I mean, you, I just was coaching some of the best, you know, football players from this country, and he was not having a good last match, you know, right. Let’s put it this way. And, and I said, Come on, you know, right. You had like, two seasons, he played all you know, matches, you got two seasons. Excellent. There was one match. Okay, that match was not good. So let’s look at it from the like, helicopter, you know, right. I mean, everybody’s making some mistake, learn from those mistakes, and move on, you know, right. So, yeah.

Lisa Christen 49:09
And there’s a really great tool. Yeah, um, you said we we talked about how do we get specific, a lot of folks who come to me who say I have this perfectionist mindset, I have impostor syndrome, or I’d have the amygdala running the show too much, and I don’t know how to change it. We give a few tips. Here’s a breathing, you know, you can always bring yourself back to the present by just touching your two fingers together. But actually, my company we’ve put people through a program called Positive Intelligence. So there’s a website I don’t own the material it was by a Stanford professor who created it and positive and you can go and take an assessment and just figure out what is the saboteur voice in my head. Now the saboteur voice is the voice in French is trying to sabotage you. It’s trying to tell you this is the monkey you’re not good enough. Here’s why you’re not good enough. Here’s what you’re gonna mess up. Here’s what. And once you can start to have the self awareness to be assessments for free. Once you have the self awareness, what is that voice in my head that’s always bringing me down. Right? It’s standing in the way of me accepting and giving myself these compliments. That self awareness may already be enough to help you to say, Hold on, when I noticed that that’s coming, that perfectionist is coming. I now have my space to choose. And there’s a whole six week program that you can do if you want to really sort of go deep. But again, we want to talk about oh, no, your dragons is also a good one.

Jan Muhlfeit 50:35
Yeah, there is a there is one like free of charge test from Danielle Arman. He is a famous psychiatric in the United States. He got like 40 scans of human brains. And basically when he tried to examine people, he talks to them, and he looks also to the you know, those scans, okay. And he created some special test, it’s called Know your dragons. And that test will show you because everybody is influenced by some, you know, bad programs from our childhood, you know what I mean? Sometimes people would not have it, but majority of the people would have somebody 30 There’s like 13 different programs you can have in your brain. And that test will reveal for you what are those programs because very often, we are influenced because you know, we are absolute like you think hey, I’m person I’m screwed personally to I’m great personality because of me. It’s all bullshit, you know, your personality was created by your parents, by the school, whatever, it can be changed partially because of the neuroplasticity, right? But your talents because those are jeans, they are they are there. But this will help you to really understand more, if there are some dragons and how to work on those. Okay. They’ll tell you what, I did that test and I’m you know, to responsible, okay? What does it mean? If you are responsible, you really have like you, you try to overdo the things you try to overanalyze over control. And that was the reason you know, I went to the mental hospital basically, right? Because I wanted to have, you know, control and do all the stuff and, and everything. But yeah.

Lisa Christen 52:26
I just want to check in for anyone who’s watching live, if you want to share any comments, or ask any questions or whatever. Yeah, we always love to have it interactive. We have these last few minutes. I just really, I can’t reiterate enough. So many people now have been telling me in secret. I’m going to a therapist, and I’m like, Great screaming from the mountaintops. I don’t know why we all think if you broke your leg, you wouldn’t be like, Oh, just heal it at home, right? I’ll just, you know, bandage it up. No, you’d be like, Oh, I’m not a medical doctor. I don’t know how to set a caste, I have to go get a check. Did you know someone has to do an x ray, someone needs to, you would get help. Same for mental health, there should be no stigma, go and get the therapy. If you need medication to get you through a certain time. If you and your doctor say that could be a path. I know so many people who are very judgmental, oh, you need to go on medication. If you need it, please go for it. Medication can only help if you and your doctor decide it’s right for you. But I want people to stop putting limits on themselves about what kind of support and help they can get on mental health. That’s not for me, that’s for people who have a real illness. I don’t want to be someone who has a real illness. So I’m going to avoid it. Get the help you need. It’s okay. Lots and lots of people are in therapy. Lots of us people are on medications.

Jan Muhlfeit 53:59
Oh, I was I was stupid enough. I spent like three months at home, you know, right. And then the depression was getting worse and worse. You know, and I almost died after you know that I was three months at home three months into mental hospital, you know, right. So, I mean, try to prevent, try to have a good rest, whatever we talk about, but if you have like two or three weeks problem with your sleeping, you have a lot of negative thoughts. Visit you know, therapists or psychiatric this is it and Dale, you know, help you or I was on antidepressants for four years. I finished like six years ago or they didn’t. I’m like, I don’t have any because people thought hey, if you are online, on anti depressants, it needs to be for the whole life. It’s all bullshit. It’s very individual. And you know, I really started to do like meditation, yoga, tai chi, you know me guys saying about Wim Hof. I do him Hot, which is like the breathing and, and cold water, you know, right but, but if you have a problem, try to get, you know, help, like, you know, professional help, because you will not, especially with like depression and burnout, you will not be able to help yourself. I mean, I see people who are like burnout for two years, and it’s going up and down, they don’t want to go to the doctor. And it’s getting you know, better at some point, but then it’s getting you know, worse. And, you know, it is like, I think the the mental health because of the pressure we everywhere, it will be more and more important that that’s why we need to be very open about that, you know, discuss it, what you know, can happen and how we should what we should do. But it shouldn’t be really like, Hey, if you if you broke your you know, like, if you’re like is broken, you just visit doctor, you know, and yeah, yeah,

Lisa Christen 56:05
I think you know, for me whenever I’m in a place, so of course, I’m like you all there are moments when I have severe anxiety, right? I want to perform, or I’m gonna go do something big. I happen to be a very growth mindset person. So I’m constantly in places where I’m like, What am I doing here, I don’t belong here. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know how to do this. I’m constantly putting myself through anxiety moments, and I have then the crashes, the subsequent crashes of I did something amazing. And then, and it’s sort of over. So I also ride these waves. And the thing that helps me to get through that all besides the connection, besides the physical rest, and breathing and all that stuff, I just always reconnect to hope. Because I feel like when there’s depression, when those anxiety when you feel stuck, when you feel trapped, when you feel like there’s nothing I can do this is going to be hard for ever. That’s when I feel like, at my worst, when I say this is hard now very hard now feels impossible now. And there will be a time when it gets back. I have the hope I have the faith, I have the trust that we can always get it somewhere back good, then that is this thing that helps me to feel calm and reset that I can ride the wave. But it’s

Jan Muhlfeit 57:30
yeah, that is a this is definitely a very strong recommendation. And the other one if you guys will want to help me from like, I’m still Maximizer I still want you know, my athletes to weigh in the executives to be successful because it’s less about me, it’s more about that. If you coach people, right? But what helped me I really move from that fixed mindset to the growth mindset like every day, you know, move on. I mean, six years ago when I started to coach athletes, you know, people are telling me you are crazy. It’s absolutely different discipline, you will never succeed. today. I’m like mental culture, check Olympic top team. I coach Patrick Sheikh who is one of the best players in Bundesliga Ariella hitscan. My tennis player, you know, he moved in two years during the COVID from 650 79 He’s gonna to train he’s gonna to train with Nadal this Sunday you know, they they they will you know, train right so no this Sunday next Sunday before the before the French Open until the start but anyway, and I know you know, I know Look, we move in this particular case from 650 to 79. And I didn’t know how to do it but you learn as you go now I don’t know how to move I don’t know yet how to move him from 79 to the top 10 But I know he’s gonna learn as we go you know what I and if we don’t have all this growth mindset, they will get there because he’s talented however exam whatever you just need to you know, help him and step by step to move there you know, right?

Lisa Christen 59:06
Exactly. Have the whole path of faith be the creator find your autonomy, work with the body. And when you need help, ask for it tell people you need it be okay with being vulnerable, you’re never alone. Get the support you need. Prioritize your mental health.

Jan Muhlfeit 59:26
So this was this was called be okay. It’s okay. Not to be okay. So I will I will finish by saying it is okay to tell other people that you are not okay. Okay. This is basically paraphrasing what Bob Lazar said. So guys, thank you very much. It was great to be here with you and we are looking for unfortunately, I didn’t tell you at least I’m on vacation. So we need to did that week, you know afterwards, you know, right.

Lisa Christen 59:55
Okay, well find our way and we’ll put everything on LinkedIn and YouTube. for May is Mental Health Awareness Month be aware support those around you.

Jan Muhlfeit 1:00:06
Exactly. Exactly. And if you can if you can you know share this video that will be great and you can also Like subscribe the on the on the YouTube on LinkedIn and maybe invite the your you know friends thank you very much guys.

Lisa Christen 1:00:21
Thank you Thanks everyone

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