Interviews with purpose-driven business leaders who have dedicated their work to helping others and are making a positive impact in the world.
TELL US, WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
My name is Lindsay Recknell and I am passionate about supporting employees with their mental health in the workplace. I do this in two ways – one, with my monthly digital subscription called Mental Health in Minutes, done-for-you presentations designed to increase wellness at work, and second, through my work as an expert in hope, where I share the science of hope with organizations through workshops and customized mental health programming, increasing employees levels of hope which also raises the hope levels of the organization.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
I came to this work from a very personal place – as the wife of a recovering alcoholic, I was so lucky to be supported by great leaders at my organization when I came to them during the darkest part of my journey at home. I didn’t realize I’d lost my hope until the day I’d realized I’d got it back and from there, I learned everything I could about how to use the seemingly “fluffy” emotion of hope in a practical and motivational way by leveraging the strategies found within the science of hope, a field of study within positive psychology. My leaders supported my mental health at work, giving me the time and space I needed to heal while still being productive at my job, which was instrumental in my own recovery journey.
WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? WHY IS THIS WORK IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I have two rallying cries:
- Hope without action is just a wish
- If it matters to you, it matters.
The first is about taking action to make your future better than today. Hope is different from optimism, which is more passive. Optimistic people tend to just believe something is all going to work out; hopeful people take action towards ensuring that it will. Optimistic people wish for a positive future; hopeful people employ their agency and creativity to find solutions and take steps towards that positive future. Optimistic people wish to win the lotto; hopeful people buy a ticket 😉
The second is connected to my story and how at times I felt that what I was going through wasn’t big enough in the grand scheme of things to matter, that I should just pull up my big girl panties and get on with it. But the thing I truly believe is that if it matters to us, it matters. Full stop. We get to feel those feelings and are impacted in both big and small ways by going through hard things and that matters. We get to feel supported and validated, no matter how dire the scenario because it’s our own personal journey. The beauty of going through hard things is that we get to go through them, and the resiliency that’s built as we come out on the other side is precious and important.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
I know I’m making an impact on the people I’m serving. I could share stories of how people in my community have changed their relationship with hope and are thriving in bigger ways because of the confidence hope has given them to do hard things. I could share a story of someone who comes to my monthly virtual Hope Chats and tells me that time of social connection is the “Hope Booster” he needs to get through another month. Or I could share the number of times people have brought me into conversation with tears and overwhelm and left with smiles and a plan to take action over the things they previously felt they had no control over. My work is super fulfilling and I love how positive and wide-reaching the impact seems to be.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
My husband inspires me to do this work. In the midst of our family journey, he looked at me and said, “You should write a book.” Shaking my head in disbelief, I asked why. He replied, “Because other people should hear and hopefully learn from our story so they don’t have to go through what we have. And I’m never going to write a book so you should.” And while I haven’t (yet!) written a book, I was touched and inspired by his sentiment. I feel like so many people have stories similar to ours that are still hidden away. Fear is louder in the dark so I’ve tried to bring these stories and struggles into the light so others can also feel lighter.
I’m also inspired by one of my current leaders. She was the one who was there at the office when I was in my state of burnout and through her support, I felt heard and supported and loved. Even though the setting is a professional one, she treated me like a person she cared about and I, in turn, feel an appreciation and loyalty to her as my leader and now as my friend. Mental Health in Minutes is a product of her support because every employee deserves to work at a place where they feel safe and supported to be themselves and share their heart in an open and non-judgmental environment. But that takes education and support for leaders and employees alike and Mental Health in Minutes aims to be that support.
WHAT’S YOUR VISION, YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
I would love for more people to understand the power of Hope in their lives. I would also love for more people to feel like their workplace is a safe place to show up as themselves, to innovate and get creative and show respectful dissent and suggest alternative solutions to issues facing their organizations. If people felt as safe mentally as many do physically in their workplace, I would consider that an incredible win. I want leaders to feel supported as well and to know that having mental health conversations in the workplace is important and not just a check-the-box activity. That consistently providing mental health training doesn’t have to be time-consuming and yet another thing on the to-do list. It can be fulfilling and valuable with little admin effort on their part and instead be as soul-filling for them as leaders as it is for the employees they’re supporting.
I want people to know that when we take care of the lives of our employees, they’ll take care of the life of the company and that can’t be emphasized enough. Especially right now, our employees need leaders more than ever and leaders need help to provide this support. I would love Mental Health in Minutes and my company, Expert in Hope, to be that support, changing lives by opening doors to important conversations and education that changes hearts.
WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING?
Discussions around mental health are hard. They’re uncomfortable and many leaders and organizations shy away from doing anything for fear that even doing a small something will put them into uncomfortable scenarios they don’t know how to handle or open them up to a liability they don’t want to deal with.
But the truth is that it’s easier than we think. Our employees are people with the same hopes and dreams that we have and the net positive impact of this work in the workplace is exponentially better than the risk of negativity. Our employees are going through their human experiences regardless if we support them through them or not and if we take an intelligent, evidence-based, and compassionate approach to support them, we are well prepared to handle any negativity that might result. But truly, the positive impact on our organization, let alone our employees, far outweighs the risk.
WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT THE WORK YOU’RE DOING?
That conversations about mental health in the workplace are easier than they think and the positive impact is exponentially greater than the fear. People want to have these conversations and learn to increase their wellness and since we spend so much of our time at work, why can’t work be the place to support them? Leaders can benefit from this work as much as their employees and that increases hope levels all the way around. Take care of the lives of your people and they’ll take care of the life of your organization.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE QUOTE OR WORDS OF INSPIRATION TO SHARE?
I have two which I also mentioned a few times above because I think they’re important words to share.
- Hope without action is just a wish.
- If you take care of the lives of your people, they’ll take care of the life of your organization.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Open the doors to important mental health conversations at home and in the workplace so people can step into the light. Knowledge and education are so important and lead to compassion – and compassion has the power to change the world. We don’t know what we don’t know about mental health and wellness and I believe that education is the only way we’ll be better and healthier as a culture and as role models for others.
So please bring Mental Health in Minutes to your organization and share the power of hope with your friends, your family, your organization, and your community. It really is a game-changer.
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