Managing Mental Health At Work (The Role Of Sales Leadership)

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On this episode of the Sales Leadership Show Tim and Marin share who’s responsibility our teams mental health at work is and the best way to both approach this subject and help support our colleagues.

Tim Clarke is a senior director at Salesforce and Marin Nelson is a regional vice president at Salesforce too.

We discuss:

  • Who’s responsibility it is to look after our teams mental health
  • “For myself as a leader, I have a responsibility to my team to lead vulnerably and authentically, to make it a safe space for them to also show up in the same way.” – Marin
  • Soberforce
  • “I would highly recommend check out Mental Health America’s a recent research. They said three in five employees are not receiving adequate support from their managers to help manage stress.” – Tim
  • How to talk about difficult issues without over stepping boundaries
  • Using emotion intelligence to work out when things aren’t quite right
  • Building your own personal board of directors
  • How to deepen the relationship you have with your team
  • “I read this McKinsey research last week, which talked about that 80% of employees report that there’s a mental health stigma in the workplace.” – Tim
  • Why you should lead with humanity

Resources:

Transcript:

Will:

Marin and Tim, welcome to the sales leadership show.

Marin:

Thanks for having us. Happy to be here.

Will:

Glad to have you both on. Okay, so we’re going to dive into a topic today that I will straight up say I don’t have much experience in, especially from a leadership perspective, and so I’m going to really lean on both of you guys to pull out some resources, how we deal with things, and what’s the appropriate way to respond to some of this stuff on this episode of the show. We’re going to look at mental health at work, and I’ll start things up by giving us, I guess, some data points to go on as opposed to us having more of a conversational approach to this. The TUC say, “Every two minutes, a UK worker is made ill through stress at work,” and they go on to say, “Research shows that our lack of managerial support is one of the most commonly cited factors in stress, anxiety and depression.”

Will:

With all that said, and we’ll start with you, yourself Marin, in here, do we have a responsibility to have conversations to impact our teams and to help support them if they may be facing some of these issues? Is it our responsibility to bring the conversation forward here?

Marin:

Yeah. It’s a big question to start with. I like that you’re just heavy hitter question right out of the gate. That’s one of the most thought provoking questions. I’d say, for myself as a leader, I feel, to my own self and my own values, a responsibility to my team to lead vulnerably and authentically myself, to make that a safe space for them to also show up in the same way. I don’t know that I have a legal obligation or, you know what I mean? I can speak for my own journey, and I think that that’s just what it comes down to is each individual has to answer for themselves, how they show up in this world. For me, how I show up at work is how I show up outside of work. I am the same person everywhere and I can’t make my team take care of themselves, but I can make it a safe space for my own actions and leading in the way I lead my life and the stories I share with them, to make it okay for them to do the same at work and to express if they need help. Then that’s as far as I can take anyone else. I can only do it myself and then make it okay for others.

Will:

Do you think this is common? Because what you just described seems like you’d be a great boss to work for. Is this common in the workplace, what you’re describing?

Marin:

I have my own life experience to go off of and I’ve had a lot of amazing leaders. It’s a great question. Statistically, I have no idea, but I think that there is a movement towards it. Brené Brown is one of my favourites, and in her Dare to Lead, she talks a lot about vulnerability and authenticity, but appropriate boundaries around that too. Not just oversharing or things that are inappropriate at the workplace, but there is a thoughtful way to do it. I share a lot of similarities with Brené. I’ve been in recovery myself in a 12 step community or coming up next, actually this week is 16 years sober, so it’s just really who I am as a person and my foundation to life.

Marin:

I’ve had a lot of great leaders that show up authentically and vulnerably, but is it common? I have no idea. I’d love to see the data. I don’t know. But I think it’s becoming more common and I think that, that, I can say at Salesforce, it’s something that I see and I am encouraged to be as a leader myself, more and more. There seems to be a bigger focus on it. I think it’s a movement. I think it’s a shift though. It is not, when I entered the workforce, how corporate worlds worked in my experience. I think this is a shift that we’re in right now.

Will:

For sure. We’ll come onto SOBERforce in a second. I want to touch on boundaries. I love that word. I think there’s multiple things that we can pull from that. Tim, let me get your thoughts on this mate, because I’ve worked for some terrible sales managers and sales leaders over the year. What’s your kind of anecdotally experience of this? Is working for people like Marin, who’s experienced at this, who seemingly has a positive outlook on this that can help the team that she works with, is that somewhat common anecdotally for yourself?

Tim:

Yeah. I can say it’s not common at all. I would highly recommend check out Mental Health America’s a recent research. It’s called Mind the Workplace 2021, and they said three in five employees are not receiving adequate support from their managers to help manage stress. Another big one, only 5% of employees strongly agreed that their employer provides a safe environment for employees who live with mental illness. I think it’s so important to call out and recently UNCrushed and Sales Health Alliance have been conducting a research survey, mental health in the sales industry. We’re going to be putting out that data over the next few weeks. We had just short 800 respondents, and so many people don’t feel comfortable coming forwards and speaking about some of the challenges, just based on the data.

Tim:

I had a great conversation with someone yesterday. We’ve been doing some clubhouse rooms for UNcrushed, and someone said that they’re applying for a job right now, and what was really compelling for them was that the recruiter that they were talking to actively, proactively spoke about some of the mental health resources and benefits that they had available. They proactively talked about, with the sales manager, how they would have these sort of conversations. I think, in short, it’s not the norm. I think it’s also clear, with data, that is not just as easy as an employer saying, “We care about mental health.” There’s a responsibility, both on the employer, on the manager, and then also on the individual. If you don’t ask the support, you don’t get the support. I think it’s really a multilevel conversation.

Tim:

Going back to your question around boundaries, sometimes it doesn’t have to be like, if we look at the US for example, there’s certain information that’s protected, it’s under this law called HIPAA protection, so I don’t have to go to my manager and say, “Hey, I’m struggling with ABCD.” But even just saying, “Hey, I’m struggling,” and then let’s look at this from a manager’s point of view, “How are you doing?” Not just stopping there, “How are you really doing?” Because I think it’s such a common response to a question, “I’m fine. Yeah, it’s okay. Everything’s fine,” so actually just drilling down. An easy way that I’ve seen some managers at Salesforce, they use the traffic light system where you are at red, amber, green, and not necessarily checking into the deep details, but find people that you can go to that level of detail with.

Will:

Last time Tim and I chatted, I think we chatted, this is before we could record, but I’m sure Tim won’t mind me sharing, Tim asked me, he’s like, “Will, how are you doing?” I was like, “Well, there’s this, this, this, and I’ve got this on the go and everything’s great and the businesses is going…” Tim was looking at me with this blank face going, “That’s not what asked you.” What Tim asked me was, “How’s it going for you personally?”

Marin:

Great. Really great.

Will:

Yeah.

Marin:

Yeah.

Will:

Is there a way of, and this is subtle here, how do we ask that question without overstepping our boundary as a leader? Whether this be legally what we can ask, what we can’t ask, what data we can’t collect, what we can collect, how do we appropriately ask that question? If we see someone who’s struggling and we know perhaps we can help them out, is it as simple as saying, “Hey…” I can even frame up a way of asking that question. How would you guys go about that perhaps?

Marin:

Well, for me, again it’s like you can lead by example and you can speak about your own self and your own truth, that shows to your team, not tells, shows to your team that it is safe to talk about it. For example, for me, my mom passed away last August. It was really hard. It was the biggest grief, it is the biggest grief I have ever experienced and am continuing to live with. There were moments where the unexpected tears came, and that talking about, for me, there’s stigma against, I think there has been stigma against emotion in the workplace, especially as a female leader to show emotion. Because often with misogyny, there’s a feeling, I’d say, when you’re in female leadership, that you really need to lock the emotions down to prove that you’re not, quote, unquote, too emotional, and so I had to be brave and vulnerable in just going, “All right, well, I guess I’m crying because that’s grief. If anyone’s had a grief, you don’t really get to plan when it pops up, it just pops up.”

Marin:

MY team met me with so much love and compassion, and I think that that did make it safe for them to come to me about the things that they were struggling with because this has been a hard year for everyone. Whether their own loss or their own just exhaustion of having kids at home who were in school, but again, I can’t make anyone feel safe sharing, so it’s also, I don’t think, my place to force someone to say how they’re really doing. I think a lot of times people don’t even know. I think it’s a skillset to even know for yourself, how you are actually doing. For me, it’s taken a lot of sobriety and a lot of therapy, and a lot of just growing up to really know my truth.

Marin:

I think that, again, I think whether you’re a sales leader or not, just being a person in the world, and the best thing you can do is show up authentically yourself, save space, hold space for others to share how they’re doing, and then just accept if they’re not willing to go there. There are other things you can do as a leader, if someone’s not or doesn’t feel safe because of the dynamic of I’m the, quote, unquote, boss. I guess I’m the actual boss, not quote unquote, it’s just weird to say, that don’t fell I’m [crosstalk [00:10:11].

Will:

I am the boss.

Marin:

It doesn’t feel like hierarchy to me, I just feel like I’m one of many, but anyways.

Will:

Yeah. Sure.

Marin:

I can then point people to resources and I can make sure that they know where to go for those resources, from the benefits office, from the employee success office, because I also accept that there could be an uncomfortability with sharing with me no matter how I show up, just in the fact that I’m their boss, so that I make sure my team knows where to go for help.

Will:

How do we do this, Tim? Hey, so I’m sick of talking about remote work and I’m sick of talking about remote sales and remote this and that, but Marin, as you described that, I feel like I’ve got a level of emotional intelligence. I certainly didn’t have 10 years ago. I was an idiot then, I’m probably an idiot now, but I don’t realise it yet. I’ll look back at the 45 and go, “You’re still an idiot right now.” But I feel like I’ve got a level of emotional intelligence where if I sat in a room with one of our team, internally over at salesman.org, everyone’s remote just for context. If I sat in the room with them, I probably suss out that there’s something not quite right.

Will:

It could be totally irrelevant to your workplace performance or anything like that, I could probably have a conversation with them, but how do we do this remotely? How do you do this over a Skype meeting? Because it’s very easy, from someone like myself, who shows was very little emotion, and I’ve been criticised by sales managers and sales leadership in the past for not being more open and clear with what I want and didn’t want from my sales roles, how do we, as a sales leader, get this out with people remotely when it’s very easy to look happy, content and motivated on a zoom call for 20 minutes when we’re checking in with our team?

Tim:

Yeah. It’s a challenge. I think first of all, when people are in person, one of the things that I’ve seen, for example, if Will, if you were there and I was crying, I’m going to guess that you would probably put your hand on my back and kind of pat me, like there, there, it’s going to be okay.

Will:

I’d give you a hug Tim.

Tim:

Yeah. I appreciate that. But sometimes it’s a human trait that we don’t feel comfortable with these emotions, and so we’re like, “Okay, can you stop? Because this is making me feel a little bit awkward.” Thankfully, in some regards we don’t have that issue, at least from the physical perspective. For me, I definitely resonate with everything that Marin said and I think it’s like leading with being human. One thing I try and do with all the different messaging platforms that are out there, the ways that I communicate with other coworkers, I always start off with, “How is your day going today, and is there anything that I can offer to support you today?”

Tim:

I also try, and this is the thing I’ve been doing for the last few months, I just try and have a 30 minute conversation with a coworker, either every day or every week, and not actually speak about work, because you may not feel safe with me will, even though we’ve done this gig a few times now, you may not be able to relate to me, you may be able to relate to Marin a lot more, and that’s why I think it’s so important to find a community of people that you do feel safe with.

Tim:

Janelle Cronk, who’s one of the founders of UNcrushed, she talks about building your own personal board of directors. People that you can go to. There is responsibility on the manager, I believe, to have these conversations, however, recognise the employer may not want to have those conversations with you, and that’s not a personal attack, but making sure they are speaking to someone.

Will:

Okay. Let’s get very real here. Marine, can you tell us a little bit about SOBERforce, where it came about? I don’t usually ask these open-ended questions, I try and keep these conversations straight and narrow, but I think it’s valuable for the audience to hear a little bit, perhaps, of your story and how you’re using that positively to affect the community of people who have in Salesforce around you.

Marin:

I would love to share about SOBERforce because it just brings me so much joy. I’m so excited about the work that Tim and I are doing at Salesforce with SOBERforce. Last fall, one of our co-founders, Chris Anthony, posted on LinkedIn that he was celebrating 15 years of sobriety, and it was his coming out. He had never shared about his sobriety in a workplace setting or in a workplace community like LinkedIn is. He posted that and I got connected to him through another sales leader at Salesforce, Randy Riemersma, and four of us, Andrew [inaudible [00:14:38] is the other co-founder, got on a phone call just to say, “Hey, we should meet,” because I hadn’t met any of these guys. We’re all sales leaders at Salesforce, but we’re in different areas of the business and we hadn’t crossed paths before at least I had it with any of them, and so we had a phone call and it was just a really lovely connection of other sales leaders, leading in a pandemic who were also long-term sober.

Marin:

From there we said, “You know what? People are really struggling.” We started talking about how many people are struggling, how many people are relapsing, the opioid overdose crisis, so many more people are dying from their addiction right now, and the statistics that one of the guys shared was at 12.7% of people in North America have an addiction. If you just apply that to any company, to just use a rough order of magnitude, then that would imply that thousands of people within our own workplace could have an addiction. Given the fact that none of us had interacted before around our sobriety, we’re like, “I bet there’s a lot more people at Salesforce who are sober and would benefit from a community like we are right now in this call between the four of us.”

Marin:

Even beyond that, and where we’re really focused is I bet there’s a lot of people who are struggling, who don’t know how to get help, where to go for help. Even though we have amazing benefits and offerings from our benefits team at Salesforce, when you’re in crisis and with addiction, it’s hard to take any action, to know where to start, to where to go. We said, “How do we make this easier? How do we extend our hand out as a community, to de-stigmatise addiction in the workplace for one, and de-stigmatise living in recovery?” because there’s lots of virtual wine tastings happening right now, there’s lots of awkward sorry, can’t attend because I’m not going to sit there and watch you guys drink wine or whiskey. That’s not fun for me. Not safe for me is more like it. Not only not fun, it’s not safe for me. Even though I’ve been sober for coming up on 16 years, it’s still not a safe thing for me to do, so I just don’t go to those things.

Marin:

But what about the person who’s 30 days sober and doesn’t know how to say no? Let’s facilitate and create a community where we can authentically and vulnerably share our stories of recovery to normalise it, that you can be in sales leadership, or any leadership position, and also be an alcoholic in recovery How do we also create a community where people who are struggling feel safe reaching out? Whether through the community or directly to someone who’s participating in the community, for a one-to-one conversation. We can then help be that almost stop-gap or middle layer between the employee success team and the benefits team, and the individual who’s struggling, who maybe wants to talk to another employee first around their own experience, strength and hope before going for official help.

Marin:

We stood it up in November as, at that point, was a chatter group, now it’s on Slack, so now we have a Slack channel called #SOBERforce for Salesforce employees, and it’s a public group, so we’re cognizant of the fact that there’s probably people who are actively in addiction, who don’t yet feel safe or comfortable joining the group officially, and so we keep it public for that reason. Or even people who are in recovery who hold their anonymity really close to their vest, and I appreciate that, and don’t want to be associated with it.

Marin:

But to that end, we encourage allies to join us because we don’t want the assumption to be that everyone who’s in the group is also active in recovery. We want it to be a place of education and awareness, so that maybe the next time there’s a wine tasting, as opposed to just sending the box of wine, you ask people, “Would you like a BiteSquad gift card or would you like a box of wine?” And not make the assumption that your customers and your employees all drink because they don’t. There’s sober people in your customer base too, and are you potentially making them really uncomfortable? How do you do it in a way that’s inclusive to all and safe for everyone? And it’s been amazing. Tim’s now part of the leadership team of SOBERforce and we’ve got close to 300 members, and we just started this thing in November, so it’s great. It’s super exciting. Well,

Will:

Well, congratulations. I have never had any issues of addiction or anything like that, but I was sober for five years when I first started salesman.org because, this is my opinion. No one else’s opinion, drinking, most of the time, is just stupid, is a waste of energy and money, and just especially when you’re young and you’re going out drinking and partying. I stayed sober for five years to just make sure that I had a good chance of getting this company off the ground, and it was an overlap to my sales job and then starting the business on the side, and hustling there. I was finding it super awkward of every national sales meeting, regional sales meeting. It was spend half an hour in some crappy hotel I then go out and get bladdered and essentially do team building in bars and clubs. I find it super awkward. I know going out and then [inaudible [00:19:34], it’s one o’clock, I’m sober, everyone’s drunk, the place stinks of sweat, this place is disgusting, and then going home early and being ridiculed for it. I’ve been there from perhaps a slightly different perspective.

Will:

Is it a sales leader’s responsibility then, this is somewhat rhetorical in the question, is our responsibility to ask these somewhat simple questions of, Hey… Or let me phrase it another way. How do we know what is and what isn’t appropriate when perhaps we don’t have the personal life experience of yourself or what we’ve recorded with Tim on previous shows in the past? If I am someone who hasn’t suffered with addiction, how do I know what I should and shouldn’t be looking out for? Is this common sense or is there a framework that we should be following here?

Marin:

I could argue it’s common sense, but I don’t know that it’s part of our culture yet, which is why I think the reality is of the UK and North America, we are heavy drinking cultures. Probably globally, you could state that, but definitely, definitely in the UK, definitely in the United States, we are heavy drinking cultures. I think our default for connection is often centred around drinking. There are lots of people, we are not an anti drinking group, so let me be clear about that, we are not an anti drinking group, I’m married to someone who can drink safely, there is a time and place for drinking. However, to your point, being ridiculed, that’s not okay. Having whoever is in the leadership position being aware of and to set the culture of that, that that is not acceptable, and that if we have events that are like a wine tasting, that we don’t have an expectation that everyone joins, and that if there is a way for people to participate before the drinking part and they can leave for example, then we should try to do that.

Marin:

It meant a lot to me when a leader that I work with was sending wine as a thank you to his team, and he knew I was sober, and so he has a assistant reach out and say, “Hey, do you want BiteSquad or Uber Eats?” They sent me a really lovely gift card that I bought lots of dinners for my family, for many nights, as a result. Usually I just wouldn’t get the wine and I’d be fine with that, but it was a really lovely gesture to say, I recognise that you don’t drink, but I’m still celebrating you and thanking you, and so I’m going to send you a gift card for food instead.

Marin:

We’re not here to eliminate drinking, and I think the heavy drinking thing, it just is. I don’t know. Hopefully, at some point, people don’t feel the need to do that and we can awaken to our highest good collectively, but for this purpose of SOBERforce, it’s making it maybe easier for people to say, “Hey, I don’t feel safe joining the wine tasting,” or “I’m opting out,” and culturally, as a company, that’s okay. We don’t question it and we just say, “Cool. Totally fine.”

Will:

Sure. Tim, is this an opportunity mate, to deepen our relationships with our team, so that we all get along better, we all perform better as a team? Should we be framing it up like that as opposed to some sales leaders might be listening now and going, “Hey, this is another thing that I’ve got to be conscious of, and I’ve got to hit my own numbers and I’ve got my own stresses.” Should we be framing it up as hey, a little bit of extra thought, care here, emotional intelligence gives us an opportunity to do better?

Tim:

I think it ties back with Marin’s point around vulnerability and just the power of vulnerability and connection. I believe that I have much closer relationships with my coworkers because I’ve been so open. I also want to say thank you for sharing your experience of being sober for the first five years, because that is a prime example of what Marin and I were talking about in terms of leading with vulnerability. I think it’s a common misconception, when I say mental health, the first thought that normally comes to people’s heads is mental illness. When I say the word sobriety, the first thought that comes to someone’s mind is addiction. Actually, it’s something we’ve really been focusing on is saying we to hold a space for people that are not drinking. Could be that someone doesn’t drink for faith reasons, for health reasons, and also, when we talk about addiction, I’m a firm believer that everyone is an addict, and that could be to happiness, to anger, to food, to sex, to relationships, to nicotine. I’ve just stopped nicotine recently and it’s like ugh. But there’s something. It doesn’t have to be alcohol or drugs, and so for me, it really comes back to stigma.

Tim:

I read this McKinsey research last week, which talked about that 80% of employees report that there’s a mental health stigma in the workplace. The percentage related to substance use disorder stigma is even higher than talking about mental illness as well. There’s just a few things there. I would also say I think, again, there’s a responsibility on the individual. When I got sober, yeah, there were some consequences of my actions, but at the same time, if someone had told me, “Hey, you need to sober up,” I probably would have told them where to go. It needed to start with me. I needed to take that first step in order to make some changes in my life.

Tim:

I’m a firm believer that the reason I was able to take that first step was because I had seen someone else do it before me. It was interesting, I remember having this conversation, I don’t know, whatever year, 2016 and 17, this guy shared his story with me and I felt so awkward. It may have been the British aspect of me, I was like okay, this is way too much personal information. Please stop. But then when I got sober in 2017, it was like oh, now I know who to go to. I think it just comes back to community, and maybe I said this in the last podcast we did, if you want to watch any TED talk around this topic, I would highly recommend watching Johan Harry’s TED talk, Everything You Know About Addiction is Wrong. His famous saying is that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection. I feel so close with Marin. We’ve never met, but we have similar stories, and same with so many other people in the SOBERforce team or coworkers, because I’m connecting with vulnerability.

Will:

For sure. Okay. The community element of this keeps coming up. How can I, over at salesman.org, I won’t put you too much on the spot to give me advice here, but see if we can brainstorm it together. We’ve got, I think there’s 11 people in the team, we’re hiring salespeople now, so there’s going to be three or four salespeople in the next few months. How can I, without the tens of thousands of employees of a Salesforce or an organisation that big, how can I build out some kind of system, some kind of routine, some kind of check-in process, for any small business sales leadership who are listening right now, so I can implement some of this as part of a routine, as opposed to being able to somewhat rely on having enough people within a community, within a large organisation, that’s some of this organically?

Marin:

Yeah. I think there’s some principles that you can replicate in any environment. One thing I do with my team that is outside of SOBERforce, it’s just my sales team that I lead, is we start each weekly call with a five minute gratitude practise. I don’t require anyone to share what their gratitude extension is or where it’s going, in what form, whether in work, outside of work, but it’s just the principle of taking time to get grounded in gratitude before we start talking about numbers and deals. I think that’s one. Then when people are willing to share, it’s really lovely to hear what it is that they’re extending gratitude for, and to whom.

Marin:

I think another one is doing team volunteer events. That’s another great way to build, to share values, to take action that’s of service to others. I think, also, just facilitating team building activities that aren’t centred around drinking, so we’ve been doing personal chef cooking classes. We’ve been in a virtual world, that I have a personal chef who we do three hours, people bring their families, their kids, we all set up our laptops in our kitchen and we cook a meal together. I think there’s lots of ways that you can facilitate connection and a service and shared values of gratitude, that then support having those conversations more authentically.

Will:

Amazing. Tim, anything to add to that mate?

Tim:

I think just, again, leading with humanity. One of the other things that I’ve really been cognizant over the last year is I don’t have any kids, but I’ve seen many of my coworkers who do have kids and are homeschooling, and so not being awkward about it and being like oh, I need to focus just on work, asking them or maybe communicating with the kid on Zoom, and saying like, “Hey. How are you?” It’s just I think that is what differentiates between a leader and a good leader, because you being human and just recognising right now, going back to your question earlier on around virtual engagements, people have life going on. Life isn’t session, and let’s just recognise that and hold space for that.

Will:

Tim. There’s no answer this question, but I’m going to throw it at you anyway mate. Does this become easier or more difficult working remotely from the perspective of what we thought was a work-life balance at some point is now this big garbled, grey mix in the middle? When we’re talking about helping our team if there are mental health issues, if the aren’t mental health issues, if we’re just trying to build this more authentic relationship with them, should we see this as an opportunity to reach out when there are kids running around? I’ve just got a golden retriever puppy, is this the opportunity to ask more questions like that and is it more appropriate to ask questions like this in the remote world that we’re living in?

Tim:

Yeah. I think people are struggling right now. I’m going to throw out another resource. Just Google the word languishing, and there is this great New York Times article that came out a few weeks ago and they’ve clearly done a great job on SEO because it’s the first search result. There are so many people right now that are languishing. If you don’t relate on saying that you’re having depression or burnout or addiction, maybe you’re just languishing. Maybe every single day is just feeling the same right now, and so I do think it’s a good opportunity right now to just disrupt the standard day. The same, oh, the taking out the bins again and it’s like ah, it’s Thursday again, it’s Friday again. Every day feels the same.

Tim:

Let me give you another example that we’ve done at Salesforce. We have a number of coworkers who have had baby showers, and we’ve done that on zoom. We’ve come up with a number of, I think pretty innovative ways of celebrating the individual, whether it’s doing like a Kudoboard card with different memes and celebrating them, through to a gift card to help them with their upcoming baby. Last week we all sent in our baby photos and did a guess who, recognising who we were. It was half an hour of the day. The old me would it being like this is 30 minutes which I can’t afford to give up because I’ve got to work, I’ve got so much to achieve, instead, by giving up that 30 minutes, I got the rest of my day back.

Tim:

I’m also in a 12 step recovery programme, and I heard if I put one hour in, I get 23 hours back. Just thinking about well, what’s one fun thing you’re going to do today, either for yourself or with other people? It actually doesn’t take away from the day, it’s probably going to help you with your focus and help you move away from that languishing state.

Will:

For sure. This languishing, this is Adam Grant right? We’ve had him on the show in the past, to dive into a somewhat similar topic, but this wasn’t the research that he’d published at the time. I’ll link to that episode in the show notes of this over at salesleadership.org. But Adam Grant covered basically this idea of languishing back two years ago on the podcast, and this is exactly how I was feeling right at the beginning of the pandemic. I’ve talked very openly about this. As soon as all this stuff started kicking off, my regular listeners know my partner’s a doctor, so she’s coming back in for work saying, “All this is happening and this is happening,” and I literally just went into my shell for two weeks. Did nothing. Published nothing, recorded northing, cancelled interviews, created no new training content.

Will:

It was only maybe a month or two after, the two weeks was stuck, I just didn’t do anything, it was only a few months after that, I looked at the numbers and our product sales were skyrocketing because everyone now obviously wants to do sales training remotely, so I was like hey, why am I reacting to this? When the evidence around me, from a business perspective, from a relationship perspective of the team, because we’re not close to than we ever have been, there was no evidence that I should have been behaving in a certain way. I don’t know where I’m going with this point. I’m trying to be authentic and another layer to this, but yeah, that’s an experience I felt. I shared that publicly on the show as soon as I realised it happened, and I had tonnes of emails, tonnes of content on the back of it, and just opening myself up that little bit, which is not how I’m programmed at all. I don’t know whether it’s from… Well, it is from parenting and other things, of being more stoic.

Will:

I think last time me and Tim talked it was the metaphor of whatever it is, just screwing it up in a little ball and throwing it in the back of my brain to deal with some time later on in life. That’s how I’ve been wired, but I found massive benefits just opening up and sharing that because tonnes of small business owners reached out to me, loads of salespeople reached out, and just this idea of going, “Hey, does the evidence support how I’m feeling? If it doesn’t, what’s the real issue here? What’s really going on.” I thought that was really valuable. With that Marin, I want you to tell us where we can find out more about yourself, where we can find out more about SOBERforce, and then Tim we’ll come onto UNcrushed in a second.

Marin:

Yes. LinkedIn. You can find me, Marin Nelson. Look up Salesforce, Marin Nelson, I should pop right up. There’s some information about SOBERforce there, mostly through podcasts right now. We haven’t actually put anything out to the public in an official way, other than doing podcast interviews, because right now we’re focused on let’s get this thing going and really solid at Salesforce. Then my hope is that, and our hope is that other companies replicate it. I really hope that other people hear this. That’s why I’m doing these podcasts, is because I want other people to hear this and say, “How can I create this community in my own workplace? How do I make this? How do I de-stigmatise addiction in my workplace?”

Marin:

We’ll get more official later in the year. I think we need a year under our belt of doing it. We have a lot more exciting conversations happening internally with our employee success team and our benefits team, so it goes beyond community. It’ll go into how do we make sure benefits are highlighted, and people calling for help get the right help and go get the right direction? [inaudible [00:34:30] kind of endless. It’s super exciting and fun. Meanwhile, I’m doing my day job too. [crosstalk [00:34:35].

Will:

Amazing. Well, I will link to your episode on the UNcrushed podcast. I’ll link that in the show notes to this episode over at salesleadership.org, and Tim, with that, tell us about UNcrushed and where we can find out more about that as well.

Tim:

Yeah. UNcrushed is a non-profit helping raise awareness of mental health. I’ve been on the show a few times and I’m grateful for your support to speak about that. We’re in May right now, May is recognised as mental health awareness month, and so there’s a number of different initiatives. We just put out a post which talks about some of the different initiatives that we’re doing for, particularly in the sales and tech space, across the month of May. But just as SOBERforce, just as mental health awareness month, it should be every month, it should be every day, just as we should be speaking about so many other big issues that we’ve been talking about over the last year. We need to continue to talk about this every single day.

Tim:

People can connect with me on LinkedIn. Tim Clark, spelt the British way, not the American way. I’m always happy to connect with people.

Will:

Amazing stuff. Well, I’ll link to everything that we talked about in the show notes to this episode over at salesleadership.org. With that Marin, Tim, I appreciate your time. I’ll shout you both out here. I appreciate your efforts. Tim, I appreciate your podcast. I do regularly listen. There’s tonnes of good information on there and insightful. I think that the word I’m taking, two words I’m taking away from this conversation is being authentic and this idea of community. That’s something that I’m really going to have to think about internally over at salesman.org as well. With that guys, I want to thank you again for your time and joining us on the sales leadership show.

Marin:

Thank you so much for having us. This was really lovely.

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