We impress people with our strengths, but we connect Through our weaknesses.

By Monique Landman

Never has there been so much media attention for our mental health. And there is a reason for it.

I often start my keynotes with the bold statement: “We are all currently running on empty”
Many of us are at the end of our resources and our stretch for flexibility and adaptability is no longer endless. This leads directly to short fuses and less tolerance. We are hyper, digitally, connected but simultaneously very disconnected. We have lost the connection with our hearts, our feelings, with our community and from living in the moment.

There is so much loneliness, anxiety and depression amongst us. And we don’t even know. The stigma on mental health does not contribute to speaking up either. We don’t know about the silent battles we all fight. Especially women in business. Known for just keeping on going and pulling it through regardless. Believe me, I know. In my life I have suffered two serious depressions and worked so hard to overcome them. It was heartbreaking.
For the past two and half years, many people have been operating on survival mode. On constant fight and flight modus. Best compared to being an impala on the open Kalahari Vlei. Constantly looking for danger. Our brains are wired to look for danger and threat.

Being in a state where our fear and feelings control our behavior instead of being more in control of our responses.

If we learn to become more aware of our triggers and our habitual patterns, we also learn to control them better.

If we can acknowledge what we feel when somebody triggers a reaction in us, we can use the magic of the pause. The pause between reaction and how we respond. In that moment, understanding what you are going through, is such a powerful skill. If you can emphasize that maybe that conflict is more about their internal struggle and maybe not about you, you can learn grace and kindness.

Monique Landman is Chief Empathy Officer and the founder of Unchain People & Change.

It is her purpose to bring heart into the boardroom and unchain humanity in organizations. Her motivational talks and empathetic leadership programs take her to clients around the world. Monique loves to play golf and many of her clients in South Africa are examples of golf industry excellence. She and her husband have shared a passion for South Africa since 1999.