The Untold Battle Between Mental Anguish & Workaholism
Never in my wildest dreams would I think that reaching “success” would equate to mental anguish and a numbing depression.
I’ve been a goal-chaser for the past 10 years and in truth I was on a hamster wheel of chasing dopamine hits while seeking external validation subconsciously.
Hi, my name is Sam Kabert and I’m a recovering workaholic. With the utmost respect to the meaning behind addiction; I’d like to share why I think it’s imperative that we acknowledge workaholism and the toll it may take on one’s mental well-being.
I’ll Go First…
My workaholism, as documented in my recent book SOUL/Life Balance, stemmed from receiving a DUI 12 years ago at the age of 22 back in 2010. I thought my life was over and I was a failure. After months of adjusting and accepting I came to realize that my life wasn’t over and in fact I’d prove to myself and others that it wasn’t over. That was the chip on my shoulder I needed to get that burning desire in my gut that author Napoleon Hill speaks of when one is on a mission to manifest their dream reality.
I’ll spare all the details but let you know that I did achieve some massive successes (which is all relative of course) but to me this all culminated 5-7 years after that DUI when I had built my company to be a million dollar business while working less than 4 hours a day. But it wasn’t enough, so I got into content creation and started outlining more milestones to prove I wasn’t a failure. Soon thereafter, I launched a media network, wrote my first 3 books in less than a year and was featured as one of 40 of Silicon Valley’s most influential people under the age of 40. AND this is when the mental anguish and numbing depression set in. Ever since the Spring of 2019 I’ve been a humble student of how workaholics (like myself) could go from stress and overwhelm to freedom.
How to Improve Your Mental Well-Being
I believe the practice of SOUL/Life Balance is the ticket to improving one’s own mental well-being and it starts with awareness. It begins and ends with asking yourself what do you need, what lights you up and where are you lying to yourself in your life. If we can make the space to slow down and truly ask ourselves how we feel, we’ll begin to be on the path to feeling more fulfilled. Speaking from experience here, it works.
In this article, I’m going over my top strategies to address your own mental well-being and in doing so bringing more awareness, accountability and tools to increase the mental well-being of your organization.
The Untold Current Crisis
I recently came across this disturbing statistic and that is that 9.2% of people will experience suicidal ideation in their lifetime. That’s 1 in 10 people! Think about your family, your closest friends, your colleagues in business and the everyday people you see in your neighborhood, local grocery stores and cars driving by.
Now, I already knew that online research to support one’s own mental well-being went up by 500% since 2020 and that a suicide occurs every 40 seconds and that suicide is at all time highs increasing 35% in the last 20 years.
Shall I go on?
The point that it’s time we truly address this issue and not just talk about it can’t be stressed enough. So, for the sake of transforming to a fulfilled life; let’s go on to talk about how we can course correct from this path of mental anguish.
Pausing for Stillness
Most of us, especially in the business world, have resistance to things like meditation. At the same time, meditation has been making its way into the world of business as the lines of personal development and professional development have been blurred in recent years.
So, what does this really mean?
Well, how I see it is we have the ability to tap into business activities easier than ever before. I don’t need to remind you about the simplicity of opening your email late at night or sending just one more business text/email during your kids Saturday morning soccer game.
The lines are blurred.
We are living one life – the narrative of a personal and professional life is factually inaccurate. Not allowing the space to disconnect from work takes what may feel like an insurmountable toll on one’s own mental well-being.
However, there is a way forward.
I’m not going to go into the specifics of how to pause due to keeping this article to the point, for best tactics to slow down you can read this FREE guide I put together. I will say this though, you don’t need a free guide to tell you how to slow down … to pause … and to listen.
The importance of slowing down cannot be overstated enough. If you resonate with the feeling of being a workaholic, chances are you often feel like you’re going a million miles a minute. The cliche saying over slowing down to speed up has so much truth to it. From a productivity point of view, we in fact become more productive when we slow down. This is a result of being more intentional and making fewer mistakes as our efforts become more focused and thorough. Not to mention the positive mental and physiological effects of slowing down.
It may seem counterintuitive, but your action is to put time in your calendar today (or tomorrow) to do nothing – to have no actions and to sit in stillness however that may look for you.
My friend and fellow keynote speaker, Sterling Hawkins, recently wrote a book entitled Hunting Discomfort. In it, he speaks about how embracing and hunting discomfort will transform your life through orienting us in the world.
A recent Yale study showed that humans only learn when there is uncertainty. In other words, if we want to expand our perspective we can do so through challenging ourselves by not always taking the easy path.
Entrepreneurs and workaholics, I’m speaking to you when I say this … THIS DOES NOT mean to apply this advice to the world of work and business. How can you change your routine or even just do something for a day to experience something outside of your comfort zone to support your well-being?
This does not mean to start a podcast because that idea has been scary to you.
This does mean to go on a solo adventure because that idea has been scary to you.
As Sterling would say, “used effectively it becomes a divining rod to where we can find the breakthroughs we’re looking for”. Check out this podcast episode I did with Sterling Hawkins to hear more about how you can hunt discomfort to improve your mental well-being.
Work/Life Balance is a myth, it will not improve one’s mental well-being and the reason is it’s viewed as a destination. It’s something we talk about “one day” achieving this state of work/life balance. This puts us in a future state position as opposed to presently being aware of how we are in the moment or at minimum how we’re doing today.
Furthermore, work/life balance prioritizes your business obligations before your life. This is a problem and as my Grandfather, whom I never had the chance to meet would say to my Dad and as he has passed to me – “We work to live, we don’t live to work”. Meaning that, we should prioritize ourselves and what we need before we do our businesses.
The practice of SOUL/Life Balance is exactly that – it’s a practice. It’s a daily awareness check-in to see how you’re doing and to understanding and being okay with each day being different than the previous day.
Sometimes we’ll feel like we’re clicking on all cylinders, in flow and riding the wave while other days we will be feeling like there’s a cloud raining to dump a hail storm all over our aspirations. It’s part of life and it’s part of this human experience and to not get lost in the storm we must find ways to check-in with ourselves to fully feel what we’re experiencing within our body and our mind. We can do this through daily maintenance.
Daily maintenance can be as simple as asking yourself “What do I need today / in this moment?” or it could be expanded by building in your new routines to increase your self care on a daily basis. You’ll need to make this decision and my best piece of advice is to realize that it’s the small shifts that lead to massive transformation so let your daily maintenance represent those small shifts.
When’s the last time you laughed so hard it hurt, you truly danced like no one’s watching or just spent a few hours with a toddler?
Play can mean so many different things to different people and to me play does not mean take part in sports. I love basketball and don’t get me wrong whether it’s surfing, basketball or throwing the football on the beach with some friends – any and all of these things are play in a sense. But, what I’m talking about goes so much deeper than that…
I’m speaking to the play that brings in that childlike wonder and awe. Think of our lesson on embracing discomfort. The type of play that allows you to feel so free that you’re truly present in the moment.
For some of us, play will mean to just simply get out and start playing a sport and that is awesome! But for others of us, we may have that as part of our routine already so we’ll need to dig deeper. If you resonate with digging deeper, then this message is for you…
Put the shovel down.
Oftentimes, we work so hard to find meaning and especially when it comes to play this is counterintuitive. All you need to do to bring more play into your life is to release the judgement of what you think others may perceive you as and let go to allow yourself to fully express your inner child.
These are just a few suggestions to help relieve yourself from the internal and external pressures you may be facing. If you’re feeling uncertain or resistant to any of this, then that is a good indicator that this message is specifically for you.
It’s not easy to overcome these emotions, so allow yourself the space and the grace to sit with the emotions rising to the surface. Maybe journal about your experience or perhaps go on a walk without technology.
Your mental health is the #1 important thing to focus on. There’s nothing of more importance than your own well-being. It’s time to make yourself a priority.
Improving your mental well-being is more attainable than it may seem. To learn more about how I can help in your quest of addressing the Mental Health Crisis, check out my website SamKabert.com.
To a More Fulfilling Life,
P.S. For more, check out this FREE guide with the 3 Undeniably Simple Tactics to Practice SOUL/Life Balance.