“Make sure you’re taking action every day to improve and guard your mental health.” – Chris McNeill in today’s Tip 1539
Do you invest in your mental health every day?
Join the conversation below and be sure to connect with Chris on LinkedIn!
Have feedback? Want to share a sales tip? Call or text the Sales Success Hotline: 512-777-1442 or Email: [email protected]
Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip comes from Chris McNeill. Chris is a long-time contributor to the Sales Success Community, has a decade of experience selling and leading teams, and is an intentional individual contributor who loves working with technical solutions and complex buyers. Here he is:
Chris McNeill: Hello again, Sales Success Community. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I thought it might be a good idea to talk about that today. It’s been reported that a third of all sales professionals are struggling with their mental health at any given time. I’ve definitely been part of that number a few times in my career.
I recently changed how I think about my mental health and taken some simple actions that have made a huge improvement for me. I’m going to share some of that today in the hopes that it might help someone else out there.
First, I used to joke that I would never go to the doctor unless I could see the bone. I looked at physical health as everything is fine until it isn’t, so I don’t really need to worry. I looked at my mental health much the same way. I always felt like if I was struggling, I could just put my head down and push on through anything that was bothering me or just get over it. That was true, right up until it wasn’t. It also represented a fundamental misunderstanding on my part of what health really is.
The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. I cite this definition because it changed my thinking in two ways. First, mental health is a fundamental component of health, period. Second, and more importantly, health is much more than just the absence of problems. That last part helped me realize that I needed to take action daily to invest in my mental health. I wear sunscreen, try to eat well, get a good amount of physical activity every day, hit the weights a couple times a week, try to keep my desk at standing height, and I make a conscious effort every day to do things that will keep me physically healthy.
However, until just a few months ago, I wasn’t really taking any intentional action on my mental health, which now that I think about it, was foolish. People lift weights to build muscle. People run a few miles to build endurance. I do some of those things, not to fix problems, but to stay healthy longer. Why wasn’t I doing the same thing for my mental health? Somehow I really missed that one. Hopefully, you’re not. If you are, here are a few things that I now do every day that have a huge impact on my mental health.
First and I think most importantly, I get good quality sleep. I’ve always been somebody who likes to go to bed early and wakes up early naturally on his own. But my sleep really suffered over the past couple of years. I’m back to a point where I get about between six and eight hours of good-quality sleep every night. I can tell the difference in a day if I have slept well the night before, everything works better versus a day where if I have crap sleep the night before, everything sucks.
Next, I like to start every single day with a quick meditation. I like to use the Headspace app, do about a 10-minute meditation every day, and it’s purely a focusing exercise. Meditation for me is really all about quieting my mind and training my ability to focus.
Next, every morning I try to get sunlight when the sun is coming up. Me, I’m always up before the sun. If you’re not, don’t necessarily change your routine to do this. But there’s scientific data out there that shows that morning sunlight is actually received and processed differently by our brain and helps fire up a lot of the biochemical processes in the body to get us moving. Also, I try to get a little bit of sunlight in the evening around sunset. Similarly, there’s scientific data that shows that actually helps prime our mental state, prime our body for going to sleep.
A couple of other items that I have built into my day. First and foremost, I have a strong morning routine that I just don’t allow myself to deviate from. If I wake up in the morning and I bounce out of bed, it’s not hard to execute that routine. But on the days where maybe I don’t get great sleep or I just wake up and I’m gotten up on the wrong side of the bed for whatever reason and I don’t feel like executing my routine, those are the days that the routine really serves me because my routine is designed to put me on the right path, put me in the right state of mind, and it absolutely does.
Also, throughout the day, I take a lot of breaks. There’s a lot of data that shows that it’s not possible for humans to focus on complex tasks for more than a range of 30 to about 120 minutes. It varies by person, and so you really have to take a minute to learn yourself, but just take constant breaks. Pay attention to the feeling of resistance or the urge to distract yourself with social media or something. When that comes up, it might just be your mind telling you, Hey, I need to take a break.
Then the last thing that I do every day, this is that mindfulness piece that I mentioned a little bit earlier. I have a few books that I read every single day that help put me in the right state of mind. But I also try to remind myself every day that I’m not always going to feel the same way. I might be in a great mood one day, or I might be in a bad mood another day. Moods are just emotions. They’re going to move past me. My mental health, my physical being is going to remain and things will change. Whatever I’m going through is always going to be transitory.
Now, none of these things are really groundbreaking, and they shouldn’t be surprising to anybody that listens to this or other sales-focused podcasts. What I found really interesting and fascinating is that we’re starting to understand and be able to quantify the positive impact that these practices have biochemically and neurologically on our brains and bodies. There’s scientific data that shows that having a strong routine, getting great sleep, meditating, getting sunlight, and taking breaks will help optimize your mental health, which has a net positive impact on your health overall.
If you want to talk more about that, ping me on LinkedIn. I’m happy to share sources and all that stuff.
So that’s today’s tip. Make sure you’re taking action every day to improve and guard your mental health. If you’re in a bad place, just know this, you’re not the only seller that’s having a hard time. Reach out to somebody in the Sales Success Community, and keep in mind that just about every health insurance plan out there, in the US at least, makes mental and behavioral health very accessible and confidential to everyone. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some help. But if you’re in a good place, make sure that you have positive, healthy routines designed to guard and improve your mental health long term.
Scott Ingram: For that link to connect with Chris on LinkedIn, just click over to DailySales.Tips/1539. Once you’ve done that, be sure to come back tomorrow for another great sales tip and make this show part of your daily routine. Thanks for listening!