Depression can be GREAT! In a world that is so very connected with technology, transport and fast/instant solutions, you would think we have more time, energy and space to enjoy our lives and the people in it.
Well, it turns out most of us don’t and we are feeling even more alone and isolated than ever before.
What is going on in the world?
Depression rates are climbing, suicide numbers are increasing, the number of marriages and families staying together that should be enduring normal life challenges are rapidly decreasing and this is happening in most parts of the world… going outside, talking to strangers and doing group activities is actively discouraged!
I believe the fundamental element of trust in humankind is missing for many people all over the world. Similarly, trust in ourselves has gone out the window and social and emotional isolation is climbing rapidly.
It has been suggested in a number of papers I’ve read recently that social and emotional isolation is killing more people each year than obesity. Now that’s saying something as the western world in particular, on average, are seriously overweight!
Go talk to anyone over 75 years of age today and they will tell you about the ‘old days’ when there wasn’t television, there were community dances, people wrote letters to each other and they talked with each other face to face.
The family stuck together, the community banded together and accepted everyone into the community, even if they were different, disagreed or a bit odd. The key to being successful was working with others and building teams around you.
It was also about taking the focus off yourself and being of service to the people you loved and the people that mattered most in your life and business. There was more hard work to do and less interruptions.
It was a world that incorporated the values of honour and respecting other people. It was a time where who you were being as a person was valued and your relationships with others was an asset.
Today we honour technology and innovation and we respect and expect instant gratification. What you know, how fast you can get it and your ‘skill’ with information is deemed valuable.
Where are people and relationships in our current world? With faces buried in mobiles, tablets, iPads and laptops, how can relationships be built when no one is paying attention?
How can people ask for and receive support when a conversation is less important than watching an episode on TV or sending a text?
People today are working long hours in their jobs or even harder and longer in their own business.
That action alone for many people, see many dealing with only one or two people closely, personally and openly in their office or place of work knowing who they really are and what they think about life.
Only 1-2 people feel safe to ask for support. Everywhere else in their lives they find themselves saying polite hellos and having shallow interactions.
When travelling to and from their place of work, if it’s not driving their own car alone, is met by other tired, exhausted fellow commuters who are staring down at their phones, listening to music or a podcast with their earphones in or looking out of the window so they don’t have to talk.
So when they finally do get home, many people come home to an empty house because, almost 50 percent of the western world population… live alone. Can you believe that?
With all this isolation and disconnection from others it’s no wonder depression is a massive problem for our society.
Depression: a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason. Taken from www.dictionary.com.
Depression affects how people feel about themselves. They may lose interest in work, hobbies and doing things they normally enjoy. They may lack energy, have difficulty sleeping or sleep more than usual.
Some people feel irritable and some find it hard to concentrate. Depression makes life more difficult to manage from day to day. (www.beyondblue.com.au)
I’ve been coaching small business owners and leaders for over 17 years now and many of them have been experiencing depression. Some of them knew it as they had been clinically diagnosed and others didn’t.
They struggled through their life pushing through, being unnaturally slow in making decisions and taking action, withdrawing from responsibility because it was too overwhelming and being anxious, nervous and excessively worrying about their decision making.
They were having an extremely difficult time living their life and doing their job. There are many reasons why people experience depression and as I’m not a psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor, I won’t got into that here in this article.
However, what I will explore with you is this… out of the 1100 business owners and leaders I have coached and worked with and of those whom were struggling with depression of some form, their world got easier and many of them much better when they started to build a circle of support for themselves.
Depression, by its very nature creates social and emotional isolation. People dealing with depression will be feeling alone, hopeless and isolated in their lives, their family, community and workplace.
What’s needed is to embrace and implement The Greatness Principle®. This principle simply states:
“No-one ever becomes great and stays great by themselves!”
To shift out of social and emotional isolation, a person must engage with people they trust and be with people whom they can share their vulnerabilities and feel safe when making decisions.
There are 8 key relationships that must be established and maintained for a person’s life to change for the better, for the drama to reduce and eventually stop and the raw loneliness and hopelessness to subside.
The Great8® roles are:
1 Enthusiast – someone who thinks you’re great, even when you don’t think you are!
2 Sage – they know you without the mask you put on for the world. A witness to all of your life as it happens.
3 Motivator – someone who believes in your goals as much as you and provides accountability to achieve them.
4 Bystander – someone that’s independent from your world who you find interesting and gives you a completely different perspective on life
5 Anchor – this person believes in your future potential deeply. They hang on tight to you as a possibility.
6 Grounder – they tell you the cold hard facts of reality about your choices, decisions and circumstances.
7 Catalyst – someone or something that causes you to grow rapidly as a Could be a positive or negative influence, the result is the same.
8 Scholar – they love thinking through ideas and creating plans with you to work out the best option for any choices and decisions you want to make.
In my own personal experience, people dealing with depression are ‘hard work’ for the people who love and support them.
However, when the person understands The Greatness Principle® and has their Great8® people engaged and investing in their lives with enthusiasm & energy. wisdom, encouragement, pride, clarity & strategies, incite and ideas, depression symptoms can reduce over time.
I think that happens because the person doesn’t feel as alone and isolated. It’s also because they can define the relationships around them and give them a purpose and context.
It also means that their ‘supporters’ are sharing the burden of support, so they don’t get burned and worn down like they would have if they were the one or two supporters that a depressed person has, as described earlier.
Finally, they have a circle of support causing them to be the greatest version of themselves they can be. I truly believe that everyone can have a great life and be great in their life. With the right support, and acceptance of that support, anyone’s world can change and flourish.
Excerpt From Jen’s Book
Being a lone wolf, surviving life and scavenging around for just enough is exhausting, frustrating and incredibly limiting. In a world that is so ‘technically connected’ and geographically connected than ever before, we must still connect in person.
We must touch, talk and engage others with all the senses and BE with each other. Looking another human being in the eye gets to the heart of any matter in moments.
People need to be heard, appreciated and ‘gotten’, and the only way to do that is through personal connection-in relationship, not in isolation.
It’s time to stop doing the ME, ME, ME game and start BEING GREAT with and for others.
When we go for greatness, we choose:
- to love our life fully;
- to love and appreciate the people around us;
- to accept the change and continual challenges in our life; and
- to realise our full potential.
When you have your Great8® wheel full, you get a new sense of power, confidence and possibility that didn’t exist before. It’s happened to me a lot and I’ve seen it happen with all of my clients.
They get more confidence, and in turn get more support. They start making better choices and that creates more consistency.
They then get more certainty, which creates more balance, and then when the Great8® wheel gets filled with the last investor, they suddenly turbo-charge into their life and things are working. It’s like they are IO feet tall and bulletproof.
They are on a mission to fulfill their vision, they have committed supporters and nothing is going to stop them. That is what creates success.That is what causes the greats to be great and what’s exciting is that anyone can do it.
When you’ve got your Great8® wheel full, you are balanced and you are centered.
When you are centered you can listen.
When you listen, you can hear the sounds of life. When you hear the sounds of life, you can feel love.
When you feel love, you are loved and …
Everything is you And you are everything.
Go be GREAT, because you can!
Jen Harwood – Community Builder