Tune Up: Protecting your Mental Health

SuicideWorking for nothing is what all consultants do in-between real jobs. And what harm? It’s cheaper than psychiatry.

Hard Times: Recently, I had a conversation with a person who happens to be working through a really tough personal issue. It’s not resolved and there’s no easy fix in sight. She said: “I feel like I want to run away from my life. Just disappear and hide from everyone and everything I know. Does that sound crazy?”

It didn’t sound crazy at all.  Mental health is fragile. We all hit life’s speed bumps and have the ability (generally) to drive over these without too much damage.  But, sometimes, we move into car crash territory.  Big impact stuff. When this happens, and it does happen, you need to talk to someone to help you to figure it out, understand your role in the show, someone to provide a sense of perspective or even outline the going forward possibilities. The central point is not to be so proud (or macho) to flinch from seeking help.

Ultimate Step: If you’ve ever been up close to suicide, you’ll understand all too well how devastating this can be. We tend to associate suicide predominantly with young people, teenage angst, sometimes with alcohol or drugs in the mix, inflicting the most violent form of self-harm.  But, less high profile is the growing number of adult suicides. Some executives and entrepreneurs also self-harm; a minority take their own life. It can seem like a simple way to stop the merry-go-round of grief. Less often it’s a way to demonstrate control, a violent act of aggression aimed at deliberately leaving a residue of guilt.  Whatever the motivation, it’s always terribly, terribly sad.

In the coaching professions there is an absolute rule with regard to people expressing suicidal thoughts. They need to be referred to a medical practitioner pronto. If you feel that you personally need help, shout loud. We all need support at times. Don’t be too proud to ask. Just don’t wait until the car breaks down. Do some proactive maintenance and tune-up to protect your mental health. Don’t be mean about spending money on yourself.


PS: Lighter Note: On the Subject of ageing (from who else? The one and only ….Kevin Griffin)

Have you ever been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking, surely I can’t look that old? Well, my name is Patricia and I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. I noticed his DDS diploma on the wall, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 40-odd years ago.  Could he be the same guy that I had a secret crush on, way back then? Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought.

This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate. After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended White Bear Lake High School.

Yes, yes, I did. “I’m a bear,” he gleamed with pride.

“When did you graduate?” I asked.

He answered, “In 1975. Why do you ask?”

“You were in my class!”, I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely. Then, that ugly, old, balding, wrinkled faced, fat-assed, gray-haired, decrepit, miserable, son-of-a-bitch asked…

“What did you teach”?

Check our website http://www.tandemconsulting.ie or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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