Amongst the myriad changes the last 18 months has introduced to global life, perhaps one of the more understated shifts has been the acceleration of conversations and changing attitudes surrounding mental fitness.
The landscape was already shifting, but the unique circumstances and climate of life since March 2020 (and even earlier, in some places) has thrown into even sharper relief the value and significance of mental health and mental fitness – especially as it pertains to work and business.
We spend so much time working on cognitive fitness, or physical fitness, but we have historically spent next to no time on mental fitness. In this day and age, and especially considering what we've been going through, mental health and mental fitness have become an increasingly big focus.
What does this mean, though, for you and your business?
The power of Positive Intelligence
We have a powerful partnership with an organisation called Positive Intelligence, and they apply the principles of mental fitness and positive intelligence to sales. They’ve developed a positive intelligence framework that acts like an operating system for mental fitness.
In much the same we have operating systems for phones and computers, our bodies have operating systems to keep us alive. We have the heart pumping blood, the lungs for breathing and oxygenating blood, and most importantly we have the brain calling all the shots.
Positive Intelligence acts as an upgraded operating system for how we approach real life problems and circumstances, which in turn serves as a radical overhaul for how we approach mental health.
Another way to think of it would be to view it like a fitness program for your brain. Just like dumbbell curls and deadlifts flex physical muscles to make them stronger, the Positive Intelligence framework flexes mental and emotional muscles for a stronger, healthier brain.
The impact of this in your business can’t be overstated. Think back over the last 18 months, and you’ll see that the businesses that are emerging out the other side in strong positions had workforces that were:
Agile and adaptable in changing circumstances
Resilient in times of adversity
Proactive problem solvers
Bought in to a culture of collaboration and co-dependency
These traits are indicators of people with strong mental fitness, and in your business, those are the people that will drive your success; healthy workforce, healthy revenue.
Connected people perform better
This concept of strong mental fitness goes beyond individual responsibility, however.
You might recall the famous story of anthropologist Margaret Mead who was asked what she believed to be the first signs of civilisation in a culture. She answered that a broken femur that had healed over was the first sign, indicating that someone had taken the time and effort and care to look after another person to ensure their survival.
Whilst there is some uncertainty about the genuine source of the quote, the underlying principle remains imperative; humans are social by nature and will always be at their strongest both physically and emotionally when they are rooted in social groups.
Again, the events of the last 18 months have shown that to be true, with people realising afresh the importance of family and friends and community. The same is true in the workplace, albeit in a slightly different context to family and friends.
The evidence in support of this is overwhelming.
People with strong social ties are likely to live longer and be happier than those with limited connections. Even in stressful situations that might arise during work or at home, stressed people are less likely to be depressed if they have strong social support.
The same goes for your work culture and employee happiness - people who feel more camaraderie with their colleagues, and more connection to the company itself, have better health and happiness and are less likely to burn out.
Having close friendships in the workplace increases employee satisfaction by 50 percent and people with a best friend in the office are seven times more likely to feel fully engaged in their work.
In work just as much as in everyday life, strong social connections are a critical driver of mental fitness, and the power of a mentally fit workforce has never been more visible and more necessary than it is right now.
As businesses continue to adapt and shift in response to the world around us, genuine success and true transformation remain centred around the three pillars, or levers as we call them, of people, process and technology.
A strong culture of mental fitness and an engaged, connected workforce will serve as the consistent undercurrent of successful businesses in the modern world. It is imperative for business leaders and team managers to make sure that fostering that culture one of their top priorities going forwards, especially when it comes to the hiring and onboarding process.
Mental fitness and neuroscience are some areas that I am very passionate about, especially in the world of sales and business – find out more about why I’m passionate about them by listening to my episode of our Sales Transformation Toolkit podcast.