Becoming a Mental Wellbeing Champion

Today is World Mental Health Day and I’m here for it! I’m working on becoming a mental wellbeing champion because I can relate to dealing with work hurt during my career and still finding purpose in the everyday. Learning that another colleague had just resigned made me sad because I had seen their struggle. It also made me determined to do more. There is a lot of research on well-being and the power of positive psychology, however, my desire is to be a champion by being more vulnerable. So, I’ll start with sharing how I manage my own mental well-being.

First, the need for a sense of belonging is real and human. I satisfy this need by creating community at work. Whether it’s my work team or my BEST friends, or the extended network across the corporation developed over my 32 years with the company, I try to be intentional about getting to know people and letting them know me as a person. Not everyone that I’ve worked with has become a friend, but I can truly say that I’ve found a true friend with each assignment that I’ve had. We spend a lot of time at work and all you really need is just one person to make your work life fun.

Second, having a sense of purpose gives me perspective. I truly believe that that God has put me in each assignment and that the job is secondary to His purpose for me. Leadership is a high calling and I believe that you can lead from any seat at the table with authenticity and empathy. This perspective helps me to look at my work differently and to remember that nothing that happens to me is by chance. I look for the opportunity to serve through my daily work and that keeps me grounded.

Finally, I remember that things will generally work out in the end for my benefit without me worrying. Every time I’ve had a setback or difficult situation, I’ve learned from it and grown in ways that I couldn’t have imagined. I’ve been labeled “high potential” and I’ve been considered someone who “needs improvement” but I didn’t allow either of those perceptions of me to define me. My IQ didn’t change based on my performance assessment, neither did my work ethic or sense of personal accountability for doing my job. My self-worth is based on knowing who I am, my values, and my connection to a higher power.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending an award ceremony to celebrate with our two ExxonMobil finalists for the Ally Energy’s Annual Grit Awards. Ally defines GRIT as growth, resilience, innovation, and talent. Each of these is necessary for mental well-being. However, Angela Duckworth in her book, GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, says that grit is the ability to persevere in the face of setbacks and disappointments, and to strive to improve even amid success. One of the most powerful insights in the book is that grit can be learned, regardless of IQ or circumstances and that any effort you make ultimately counts twice towards achieving your goal. If your goal is to have a fulfilling career that allows you to work with amazing people and do some very interesting and valuable work, that can be done. It just takes grit!

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