Mental Health Means More Profit – By Vanessa Bennett

When I ask people in our workshops “what springs to mind when we say mental health” – the response is usually depression, anxiety and other negative connotations. Wrong. Mental health is awesome – it’s what we should always aspire to have especially for anyone who wants to run a successful business.

So let’s first get clear on what mean by mental health and then we’ll discuss why it’s great for you, your staff, your clients and of course your profitability. Why settle for just ok?

What do we mean by mental health?

Let’s first talk about the mental health and ill-heath spectrum. Mental health is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as:

“a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

Notice how there is nothing in that definition that says you are positive and deluded no matter what life throws at you. Definitely not  – we are humans, not robots, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t tackle challenges head on and turn obstacles into opportunities.

At Next Evolution Performance we like to think about mental health as a helpful mindset. Call it what you like – the result is the same – it feels great and it’s more profitable.

Mental health to mental ill-health continuum

Going from mental health to mental ill-health doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a continuum which is easiest to visualise with a diagram.

Mental ill-health is where you have a diagnosis of something like depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and the list goes on. You’ll see that there are a few different feelings along the way. Just because you are “meh” or “not  great” doesn’t mean you have a problem, but when these start to occur more often, and last for longer, that’s not a great place to be. How can you expect your business to thrive if you are “meh”?

Many people ask “so what are the signs I may have a mental health problem?” This is basically translation for – “I won’t worry about my mental health until I see a problem”. That’s a risky approach if you are concerned about your profitability. Just like it’s easier to exercise when you are already fit, it’s way easier to work on your mental fitness when you already mentally fit.

So what is this link between mental health and profitability?

I’m glad you asked. So many facets to this but here are a few to get you excited……..

  1. You can charge higher fees. Mental health generally means you have a higher self-esteem and you know you are worthy of charging higher fees.
  2. You and your staff get more done in less time with less effort. With mental health you are more delightful to be around. When you or your staff are moving away from mental health, negative behaviour in one person leads to a contagion of negativity. Then it seems like all of your staff are complaining to each other instead of getting through more work in less time.
  3. You can potentially take on more ideal clients. When you achieve the previous point, you may choose to take on more clients. Of course you might also choose to take some more time off – what a great choice to have!
  4. You are more likely to see more profitable opportunities for your business. Sometimes work and life can throw the odd plot twist your way – Royal Commission, Covid, what’s next? Advisers enjoying mental health before these kind of situations happen, are better at seeing new client opportunities rather than obstacles.
  5. You can provide a better client experience. Mental health allows you to show more compassion instead of empathy with your clients. Empathy will burn you out, compassion will allow you to focus on ways to help them in a caring way without the emotional burnout.
  6. Mental health means better brain function to make better and quicker decisions. Mental health is linked with greater emotional regulation and cognitive function so again, more results with less energy spend. Feeling overwhelmed often leads to feeling paralysed instead of more profitable action.

Neuroplasticity – your best friend for mental health and profitability

Move over compound interest – neuroplasticity will earn you more money if you know what it is and how to use it.

So what is neuroplasticity? Well just like we used to think the world was flat, we used to think that the brain had a fixed number of brain cells, call neurons, which interacted with each other in fixed ways of thinking. We now know that the brain is malleable, kind of like a muscle. So choosing to think or behave a certain way, trains it to build stronger neural pathways, so you get even better at that way of thinking or behaving.

A caution – neuroplasticity isn’t always your friend – if you don’t know how to control it, you will usually be a victim of your environment, and it usually builds unhelpful neural pathways. However, the good news is that we can use what we call “self-directed neuroplasticity” where we actively choose the way we want to think and behaviour to build neural pathways to help us to achieve our goals – now that’s really cool!

So how do we use “self-directed neuroplasticity”?

It takes some training which is why it’s easier when you are already enjoying mental health. Just like physical exercise, there are plenty of types of exercise that will do the job. Assuming you are already in good mental health, here’s some food for thought to get you started.

  1. Get clear on a goal you are keen to accomplish – it might be to increase your fees.
  2. Be very mindful of your thoughts that come into your head throughout the day about this goal.
  3. For every thought related to that goal ask yourself if that thought is moving you towards or away from that goal. You might think no one will pay that fee which would be moving you away from your goal.
  4. If a thought is not supporting your goal look for evidence to prove that unhelpful thought wrong. Maybe people are paying those fees – just to someone else.
  5. Think about what would be some more helpful thoughts you could have around why people would pay your proposed fee. Think of your value proposition.

Mental health makes good business sense

Better mental health equals a more productive mindset with better self-esteem, and efficiencies to get more done. This allow you to service more clients, at higher fees in less time, and with less staff. This can save you potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars (possibly millions long term) in staffing costs, and free up more time to bring in more clients and higher fees – both revenues and expenses are winning.

If you aren’t doing everything you can to maintain and improve the mental health of you and your team, you may as well just throw away money.

Master your mindset and master your profit.

Vanessa Bennett, Performance Mastery Coach, Next Evolution Performance.

May 2020