Join us when we speak with Ryan Johansen. Ryan is customer success leader based in Boston who has been an IC, Manager and Director of CS.
In this episode, Ryan is going to talk to us about mental health as it relates to CSM’s and their workloads.
Guest: Ryan Johansen - Senior Customer Success Manager
As a first time manager at a startup, Ryan ended up in a hospital because of a mental breakdown caused by workplace stress. After going to a dark place with mental health, he discovered putting your mental health first can actually have major career benefits.
Driven by a desire to help people avoid what happened to him, he started doing presentations on managing stress as a csm. This quickly took off and he has helped thousands of individuals at dozens of companies. He provides live training programs on how to manage stress, improve productivity, and change work for the better.
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Jason Noble: Welcome everyone, a very warm welcome to our first podcast episode of 2023 and our first guest Ryan Hansen.
Ryan is a customer success leader based in Boston, who’s, He’s gone through the full customer success journey. So Ryan started off as an individual contributor. As a C S M. He’s moved up to a manager, to a director and then some more leadership roles. And as a first time manager at a startup in customer success, Ryan actually ended up in hospital because of a mental breakdown caused by workplace stress.
And after this, what he did was he put a renewed focus on mental health and really found that by putting your mental health. Can actually have some fundamental career benefits for you. So we’re really excited to have Ryan here today to talk about this and the impact of mental wellbeing, a burnout of workload stress here, and Ryan’s [00:01:00] what he is done.
Since then, he is been driven by the desire to help people avoid this situation, and he started doing some presentations around how he stress as a csm, but found that this took off really quickly and he’s gone on to. I think you said Ryan, it’s thousands of customer, people, of individuals literally dozens, yeah, if not hundreds of organizations.
And you now help provide training programs on how to manage stress, improve productivity, and really change work in the workplace for the better. So a big, a huge undertaking. And today, Ryan’s gonna share some of his story with us today that I think starting 2023, we know there are some challenge.
There’s a lot of organizations going through huge layoffs. Now we know there are economic challenges still, so I think it’s gonna be a really cool conversation. Welcome, Ryan. We’re really excited to have you with us.
Ryan: Yeah, thanks for having me. I love talking about this topic and I’m super excited to dive in today.
Jason Noble: Ryan look I’ve given a brief intro there, but I’m sure you can do a better job there, so please go ahead. Tell us a bit about your own journeys that brought you into customer. Then what got you down [00:02:00] the road you’re in now and what you’re doing now and what your plans off 2023?
Ryan: Yeah, definitely I got started out in my career in sales in the pharmaceutical industry interestingly enough, and ended up moving into tech about 11 years ago. And from there, like mostly was a sales guy and ended up getting in a customer success. I was working at a company called RapidMiner, where a data science machine learning platform, and got really interested in some of the use cases we were solving.
It was, the forefront of AI a couple years ago. and I loved talking with our customers and figuring out like how they were using it, how they were changing their business. I’ve always been a really curious guy. So I ended up making the switch over to CS and haven’t looked back. It’s worked out very well for me.
I always did fairly well at sales, but I feel like I felt my calling and always someone that. Really wanted to, grow and work hard. And that’s something that I definitely grew up with. And from there, I worked really hard to get a management job at that company and, did whatever it takes, worked the long hours, [00:03:00] as we all know.
And from there, got that management position. My, my CEO came up to me and I think it was February, 2018, he said, Hey you’re doing a great job. We want you to lead the team and I feel like I had made it. It was a great experience for myself. And the thing no one tells you when you become a manager is that everyone else’s problems are now your problems.
And it was just this sudden heap of responsibility. It’s a small company. I tend to take, I, at that time, tended to take things very personally, have a lot of passion, but definitely brought a lot of that home with me. And about six to eight months in, started to really struggle with things like, things don’t always go your way in management or in general in life.
And from there I started working even longer hours that we had some really high goals to the point where, I’m starting to get really negative about things. I am having trouble sleeping and really all of these typical signs that you should probably take the foot off the gas and set back a little bit just made me kept pushing harder and harder.
Because I thought that, hey, [00:04:00] maybe I’ll come out of this and I’m sure we can all deal with it. And as you. Feel that pressure. You want to keep pushing yourself, and that’s something that I really identified. Because it’s it was really your fight or flight, which is really the whole key of stress.
So I, I kept pushing myself and the last thing I wanted to tell is how I was doing to anyone especially my leaders, because they had taken a chance on me. I wanted to make them look good. I wanted to make myself look good, but then it started to affect my health. I started having panic attacks all the time.
I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m really irritable. I withdraw from a lot of my, social activities, things that I actually like doing because I was so afraid of failing. So I keep pushing myself. , and then it hits about the 11 month mark and it’s our q4. We have some, a couple big renewals coming in really close to the target.
And then I walked in and it was like almost an out-of-body experience. I walk into the office and I feel my whole body start to almost break down. I’m having a massive panic attack as soon as [00:05:00] I walked into the threshold. So I just grabbed my boss. I told him what was going on. And what he, something amazing happened, he said he’s listen, take as much time as you need.
There’s nothing more important than you feeling better cuz you’re very important to this company. So that gave me a little permission. And from there I had no idea what to do. There’s not a standard playbook for this. When you’re struggling with mental health things, You tend to feel all alone and that you’re the only one dealing with it, but and you don’t know how to deal with it you’re probably your least resourceful when you’re going through something like this.
So what I ended up doing was called my therapist that I wasn’t seeing anymore because I was so busy with work. And he said, why don’t you potentially check yourself into a hospital that could be a good option for you. At least it’s somewhere safe. I thought it was a little bit much, but I didn’t know what else to do, so I decided to go that route.
Which when I get there that, that felt like a complete low point. I thought that my life was over and, there’s obviously a lot of shame that comes with something like that and there’s some stigmas and, it definitely felt like a low point, but it ended up being something that was very helpful.
and at least, if anything, it gave me a breakaway from life [00:06:00] for just a few days. But before that, I was actually looking at like meditation retreats. But I figured I’d go at the end of the year, but that didn’t work out. But after that, I end up, taking care of myself and, I have this realization in there and there’s a guy following me around who was another patient, and he thought I was in the cia.
A, he thought I was a. And that was something that I, clearly isn’t true. And then it just made me click in my head that, okay if his brain’s telling him this, maybe some of the stuff my brain’s been telling me isn’t completely accurate either. So that opened the door for me to start looking at some of the thought patterns that I had going on and starting to do a lot of work.
So even in the hospital, I started just cracking whatever books they had so I could learn. What was going on being, that’s, I think that’s why I’ve done so good in CS is very naturally curious. I wanna learn. And from there I also saw a poster of people like Abraham Lincoln and JK Rowling and people that have overcome mental health challenges.
And it made me think, okay. If they can do it, why can’t I, that competitive spirit kind of kicks in under me. [00:07:00] And from there, I just spent really all of my waking hours I had to go back to work. I’m not independently wealthy, so I, within a week I’m back at work. I have to take the foot off the gas, but like my main focus was just feeling better and getting through the day.
And that was a rough road. It wasn’t like I got outta the hospital and everything was perfect. But I started working on what are some tangible coping skills that I can use? How can I think of a better way to work more efficiently by, learning things like if I take more time off or actually rest, then I’ll be more effective at work.
So made all these big changes. . A lot of them were uncomfortable at first, and they’re all different. But it, I came to the point where everything I was wor doing wasn’t really working that well. So I end up, things are going fairly well and at one point my career started to really take off after that.
because I was putting my mental health first. I could show up to more difficult situations. I could have more challenging conversations just by putting my mental health first. And I have this realization that, hey, I wish [00:08:00] someone had told me some of these things and I, I probably could have avoided what happened to me.
So I have this wild idea to throw a webinar together to see if anyone else cares about this topic. And I pitched you to turn zero who we were. We were working with, and it was their number two webinar of the year. So like more it was beyond my wildest expectations. And from there, like this thing took off fairly organically where a lot of people reached out to me.
After that. I’ve had a lot of different conversations. I’ve made, pretty close relationships with people who were going through the same things. What I’m trying to do here is make this conversation happen. I think it’s something that like we all acknowledge that, you should take care of your mental health, but just a little bit more than paying it lip service.
I think it’s, what I’ve identified is. , it can be very helpful even if you don’t have any, diagnosable mental health condition to learn some of the skills to, to deal with life and how things go wrong. Especially right now in the economy where, things are really taking a nose dive and there’s a lot of challenging situations.
We’re having a lot of negative thoughts, things like that can really help people [00:09:00] get through tough times. So that’s a super long-winded answer, but that’s my story
Jason Noble: Ryan? That is, I think that the look on both of our faces I and the silence here, that’s a very personal story.
Jason Noble: Thank you for sharing that. It’s difficult to do things like that, but an incredible one to see the ultimate transformation and journey you’ve gone on and what, it’s something I think in Cs we. Are a big part of is the community and giving back. I and I don’t think there’s a better example of giving back than what you’ve just talked through now.
Doing and how you’re doing it. It’s I’m, it’s an incredible story, Ryan. It really is. Thank you. That really is a very personal story as well,
Jason Whitehead: and I think a lot of people have some sort of way they can relate to that in their own work lives, whether they’re in CS or other things too, of the stress.
Having the skills to handle those and cope with those and I think people get where they need to go different ways. But I’d love to hear more about how you’re helping people now with the work that you’ve been doing. Cuz it sounds like you’ve had quite an impact [00:10:00] on also taking it, on, being willing to share such personal stories.
So what else are you doing now?
Ryan: Yeah, so that’s a great question. And it was I don’t wanna sugarcoat it. It wa it was very difficult to be open about something like this. . But the reason that I decided to do this and get into this is one thing that really helped me out when I was feeling it my lowest was other regular people who shared their story.
Some, there were some celebrities there that I would read, but like hearing other people who have dealt with the same thing and gotten through it. I had a couple friends that I knew who had some challenges that I’ve talked. I think that’s something that, that was very important to me. So like I, I felt like I was at a point where my mental health is, fairly well right now.
I’m, feeling much more confident about myself and all that other good stuff. And, it, the amazing thing is I was afraid of what people might say or anything like that, but the outpouring of support has been really wild. And what’s been interesting is that, I’ve learned that one in four.
Deal with something like this. So like the odds are if you’re not affected by it [00:11:00] yourself, you probably know someone in your life that is that was one thing that like, I felt super alone, but the specific ways that I’m helping people with it is, what I really got started off with is that building out webinars for people, so what I’m doing right now is it’s mainly training programs where like I’ll sit down with a company and I start out with a stress test to identify which I’ve built out to identify like what are the biggest challenges that people are facing. Stress can go in a million different ways.
We are all experiencing different things. Some things might bother one person more than another, but like really trying to find what are the skills that this team needs to build in order to work at an optimal level. So things you might find are like, especially in cs, like they’re handling a lot of conflict and the people aren’t really ready for that or having difficult conversations.
That’s another thing that like you have to get comfortable with is cs. So that’s been a very popular thing that I’ll do a lot of lessons. And then also I do a fair amount of coaching, and that’s something where like I’ll, obviously hop on a call with someone and identify what are some of the challenges that they’re [00:12:00] having, talking through some things like that.
Then I also, I think one of my favorite things to do is I run a newsletter every week that’s obviously free to sign up for that. And just sharing in what’s been really helpful is I write it to myself a few years. And it, what, it’s obviously helpful for a lot of people that I’ve heard.
But it, it keeps me in check too of, I, I wanna stay on this path. And, that’s another thing that I’ve heard is if you want to take care of your own mental health it’s very important to like, help other people. Cuz that takes the focus away from your own challenges. So that’s been important for me.
Jason Whitehead: Oh, I like that.
Jason Noble: Yeah. I love what you said, Ryan, about the, when you were in hospital and that the other patient that was there. Thinking you were from the cia, I mean that how that then became a kind of a turning trigger point for you. Yeah. How did you go about then, once you, that moment had happened, what did you actually do?
What are some of the steps you took to say, actually that’s made me rethink and I need to now question the way I am thinking? What’s the process there?
Ryan: Yeah, that’s a great point too. I think what really got me going there is obviously that was. [00:13:00] A more extreme example of thinking that someone’s in the cia which I guess you never know.
But I can confirm I’m not in the CIA . But so he says yes, exactly. Yeah. I don’t have that much room on my plate. I got enough going on. But with, with something like that it made me think that like maybe my thought patterns aren’t right, and I looked. A book on cognitive behavioral therapy.
And that’s something where you’re typically talking through or thinking through how your thoughts get distorted and how to think of it in a more helpful way. Because, the interesting thing that I found out is that, your thoughts aren’t necessarily true or false.
It’s more helpful to think of your thoughts as helpful or hurtful. So it’s one of those things where like you can just get a better understanding of them by asking a few different questions which can be very helpful. Trying to bring objectivity to it is something that’s very helpful.
My, my standard answer for a lot of stuff is like just reading multiple different sources on it and learning as much as I can. And then you. You tend to get conflicting reports, so you have to figure it out for yourself too.
Jason Noble: I think it [00:14:00] is it’s that wide experience and knowledge you’re taking in. I think, like you say, one, one of the skills that I think we’re very privileged to have in customer success, and I think more so than other fields, is that curiosity. . And we want to know about people, we wanna know about situations. And it does I’m a big avid reader. It is, there’s so much more you can learn again, phenomenal story there.
Jason Whitehead: Yeah. I’m curious as well too having the experience that you did and also working in cs, where do you think CS leaders could be more attentive to their team or help with their own development? Because, I remember when I was a first time manager and trying to figure it out, like there’s a lot on your plate of, okay, I, I need to be an expert in my subject matter, but now I’ve got this team that I’m responsible for and I’ve never done this before.
So I think a lot of first time managers struggle with the role. Getting their sea legs under them kind of thing. But I’m curious though, for cs, since it is a stressful job in dealing with stress dot clients as well too where do you think more leaders should be and how should they help their teams?
Ryan: Yeah that’s a great question. And I think I mightily struggled as a first time manager and that, that was probably half of the equation that ended up [00:15:00] creating that story that I told you. And I think that’s one thing that, Companies, don’t probably provide enough training for people to get up and running.
A lot of it you’re gonna learn, but it’s not just the nuts and bolts of managing a team. It’s you’re going from, if you’re an individual contributor and you get promoted, you tend to be very good at your job, and then you change into a brand new position that you’re doing for the first time. So that mental adjustment can be very challenging for a lot of people.
So that’s one thing that like, I think. I’ve done a, I actually teach a first time manager training course through with a company called Electives, and that’s been pretty helpful too. and what I did for that is the same thing. Like what’s everything I wish I learned a few years ago , and think thinking of things like that.
And I think one of the most helpful things that will be really useful for people is changing a lot of the belief patterns of you need to be more comfortable with failure. And that’s something that like as I got closer to our CEO and other leaders at the. They shared a lot of experiences [00:16:00] where they’ve made mistakes, but they’ve learned from it.
So I think just relationship with failure as a leader is something that like, you really want to unpack and understand that we all know the story of Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team and Colonel Sanders try to sell his recipe like 8,000 times, but when it’s yourself, it feels a lot more uncomfortable.
So really working on that belief and making sure that’s something that you can get a little bit more comfortable with and trying new. And I think with, first time managers, it’s a big change. But if you’re trying to lead a team, I think one thing that really helped me is, it starts at home.
If you are a really stressed out and angry parent, it, sometimes that will rub off on your children. And I think it’s the same thing with management. If you are not taking care, if you’re, running around. Stressed out, miserable. That’s gonna rub off on your team. So I think you set the tone as a leader.
I had to do ton of work on myself, but it was really great the. First person I ever managed. We, could butt heads occasionally as we were first we were both she was new in the position. I was new to a leadership role, but like after about a year after I’d gone through the transition for a few [00:17:00] months of, really taking care of myself.
She was like you’ve done such an amazing job and you’ve gotten a lot better. So that was like one of the more rewarding parts of my career. So I’d say like a, work on yourself. I think that’s probably the most important part. But b like just, give your team that space and identify how your team ticks.
I think like understanding like different personality types is another thing that I’ll make a plug for as.
Jason Noble: Absolutely that thing about stress outside of work as well. We are, many of us are parents, I’ve got two teenagers. You’ve got to try and balance it all as well. We’re much more than just our jobs and our position and work, but everything impacts each other and it’s really important.
And I think there’s a really, having seen my two children as well, you can see how I think the pressures today are bigger on them than they were on. Things like social media devices. It’s just the being as public as they are, and I think it, it’s really important that we, a lot of the lessons that you’re sharing here, I think apply [00:18:00] well outside the workplace and just to, to people growing up and I’m encouraged that you see lots of kind of schools and education systems.
Teaching kids about this, and like you say, failure’s, good failure’s, okay? , Talking you through the lessons there and everything, and it’s really encouraging to see them coming through and learning that.
Jason Whitehead: Yeah. And I I love what you’re saying about taking care of yourself first.
I think as like the airplane, you gotta put the mac, the air mask before you put on great example. If you don’t have the any juice in the tank here, you know you’re not gonna be any good to anyone. I found. In my journey. A while ago, I started to prioritize as well, putting aside time every day that I can go for a swim or I can go and read a book or do whatever I wanna do.
And at first I felt very guilty oh, I should be, this is not productive time. I should be working. And I’ve come to realize that on the days when I do take care of myself first, whether that’s exercise or something else I’m more relaxed and I have better ideas and I’m more effective going through.
So I actually now prioritize the time and I have a blocked out on my calendar every day for an hour and a half. This is my time. What practical tips do you have for [00:19:00] CSMs either frontline folks or leaders of how they can be more attentive to their mental health on a daily basis? What are some little things that, that they could do that would make a big difference?
Ryan: Yeah I’m big on blocking off time for yourself. That’s a very important thing if you think. Think of your brain like a muscle. If you’re constantly, if it’s constantly in use, it gets fatigued, and then that’s why at the end of the day, after you’ve been on your tent zoom call of the day and you’re nonstop, that you just, your brain feels like mashed potatoes.
But as far as more practical things that you can do, my biggest one that I recommend to anyone is to not start the day on email. That’s something that I tried as an experiment that I still go with. And I think it’s, there’s a couple reasons why. And when you check your email first thing in the morning it sets you up for a distraction right away.
It also can make can immediately be miserable cuz you can get bad news as soon as the day starts and like before you’re out of bed you can be in a bad news and like that. I was just, I was constantly holding onto my phone all the time and just checking it and usually. The reason we go to email is we’re [00:20:00] looking for a dopamine release.
So we’re hoping for good news. , and you throw up that phone and then if it’s bad news, then it’s even more disappointing because you were hoping for a certain expectation and that can make you check your phone even more. So what I advise people to do is at the end my, I have this shutdown routine.
I write out the top three things that I wanna accomplish in the morning. Could just be one, but just, a, what are a couple actionable things that even if the rest of the day blow up, I would still feel like I’ve accomplished something or moved something important to me forward, especially in cs, you have to work with so many other customers and counterparts within the org, but write out those three things and then I start my day on those three things instead.
So I don’t check my email for the first hour of the day. I tend to start a little bit earlier. I’ll get a workout in and. I’ll do those three things, and then immediately, instead of just feeling like I am behind the eight ball as soon as I wake up, which news slash you’re never gonna be on top of your email.
That email’s always gonna come . So that’s one thing that you’re chasing the dragon that you’re never gonna get. But as soon as you get [00:21:00] that email as soon as you get those things taken care of, you’re in a more positive mood. You feel more accomplished, and you’ve actually gotten some work done.
And from there, like I told, and people are very hesitant to try that out, but I read a book called Deep Work and they had talked about something similar about that, and that’s one that I highly recommend. But I told my boss and I wa wanted to do an experiment and I was like, Hey, and the way I framed it, I’m not gonna be available for the first hour.
Everyone that needs me has my phone number. They can call me, but I want to try this out to see if I can be more productive. So any probably rational human is gonna say, okay, go for it. And, the rest is sort of history. Wow.
Jason Noble: E email. Absolutely. But over the last couple of years particularly, we’ve seen things like Slack teams.
Ryan: Oof. Yeah.
Jason Noble: How do you apply the same methodology to that?
Ryan: Yes. ? Yep. I don’t, Alerts on anything whether it be Slack teams, email, text I it’s almost a. It’s a situation where I’d rather be in control of my day. Because I think obviously you want to be responsive and [00:22:00] I still check things even probably more than I should, but I know that some people might recommend checking it twice in the day.
I don’t think that’s the most realistic thing. I’d love to get to a position in life where I could actually do that. I think my productivity would skyrocket. But one of the other things that, like I, I talk a lot. In some of the courses that I teach is about multitasking. That’s something where, that’s one of the biggest culprits that’s making us miserable as a working society because you have all of those device you’re having to manage multiple different.
Avenues like that and your brain’s being compartmentalized. Whereas if you just focus on one thing at a time, you’re gonna be a lot happier. You can be in more of a flow state and you get more accomplished. But I think with multitasking the numbers are that like, it can take you, if you’re doing like three things at a time, it can take you you get about 20% of the amount of the work done.
So like it reduces your productivity by 80%. It increases your stress levels by 40%. So it’s one of those things where if you can avoid it as much [00:23:00] as possible instead trying to do like that more focused work while you. That’s going to, that helped me get a lot more done and less time. And that’s one of the other things that I tried to solve for getting outta the hospital is like a, how can I feel better and get through the day and deal with some of those challenging thoughts, but b it was like the way I’m working is totally wrong.
So like, how can I make that more effective? So that’s one of the main things I solve for is like, how can I still be a top performer but work way less hours than still have. I
Jason Noble: think you’ve probably answered this question I’m gonna ask you now. With that comment there, but in the, when you’ve started doing this coaching, this teaching you’re doing more, you’ve still got your day job. Yeah. So I was gonna say how do you do it without it becoming too much workload again? But I think from what you’ve said there, you’ve learned to be more effective with each of those so you can pack more.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. And I’m definitely a good case study of my own I hate to eat my own dog food, stuff like that.
But It might seem a little bit more rigorous to, there’s very simple things that I follow. I schedule out my day as much as I can. And I know that like some things are [00:24:00] gonna blow up, but I have the appreciation that like, if I can get 60% of what I was hoping to do, done, instead of just walking through chaos all of my life it’s gonna make a big difference.
Focusing on what’s important, having some type of a schedule and I’ve, I. I feel like I’m never done with this too. I love learning about either how to be more productive or, more mentally sound. And I keep, this is something where I’m constantly figuring out new things.
So it’s creating content or lessons or anything like that is so easy because I’m constantly learning myself. That’s great. Yeah.
Jason Whitehead: Let me ask you for leaders of cst , what are some of the signs they should look for? That people on their teams are struggling in maybe Yeah.
Burnout or maybe need some help or need some other sort of interventions, but what people are you paying attention to?
Ryan: Yeah, it’s a great question that I, it, that always comes up and I think one of the things is any deviation from normal behav. And because all of us handle things differently.
If you have someone that’s fairly talkative and positive and all of a sudden they’re withdrawn and quiet or if you have someone that’s more reserved, that’s [00:25:00] suddenly, Really talkative and almost like nervous or something like that might be something you wanna look out for.
But the important thing is that like you can’t force it out of someone. So I think as a leader, I obviously have a, a much different experience where I’ve always tried to lead with my own vulnerability of Hey I’ve gone through it before. And that, that’s certainly been a good asset for.
To have people open up. But like you, you can’t expect people to always to, but like I think leading with your own vulnerabilities is very important, but if someone does open up to you, like really respecting that. And I think the other part too is if someone ever does open up to you you have to keep that between you and the other person too, because I think that’s one of the biggest concerns that anyone has is if I say something, Everyone else is gonna find out about it.
Everyone else might think of me in a different light. So if anyone ever does confide in you it’s so important to hold that confidentiality between you. And I’d say another thing that’s very important is really having an understanding for how’s your own stress level and looking at if I’m.
Really in a tough spot, and I know that my team’s been working really hard, doing something proactive can be very [00:26:00] helpful instead of waiting for it to get really bad or noticing that people are having challenges. So like addressing the elephant in the room and yeah. Doing things like that can be helpful.
Jason Noble: How do you make sure that, a lot of these kind of tips, the coping skills of grit, but how do you make them become habit so it’s not. Someone might have a, an event today, tomorrow that makes ’em stressed out. They can’t cope. And then they go through what are your programs?
And they, and it’s all okay, but then how do you make it so if there’s the same situation in the future that they can learn from that and they can keep, so it becomes a skill. How do you make it so that it’s an unconscious skill that they’ve got that they just do and they need to do it?
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. And I think it, a lot of these things come down to practice because, Some of them are uncomfortable or different, or some of ’em so seem so simple that they won’t work. Or it’s like one of the things that I, Try and do that I think I do a fairly well job of is like doing after learnings with any sessions that I do.
So like just sending helpful tips to make people, keep following up and trying some of the things that we’ve talked about. But one helpful exercise that I [00:27:00] always. Try and get across that, that can be very helpful is at the end of the day, you need to participate in your own rescue mission.
So it comes down to some of your own practices and what you’re working on. But is a gratitude exercise where like that this is recommended by like the Mayo Clinic, which is one of, a lot of different actual hospital systems recommend this, but. A gratitude practice is something where like you just write down three things every day that you’re helpful for, which just sounds like the stupidest thing that’s just so simple that’s never gonna work.
Like the studies on that are actually phenomenal. And that’s something where I had to do that too, even though, I felt at the bottom of the barrel, like a real low point that I would try and I would start writing those things out. And it actually did make a difference. I think the other challenging thing is with a lot of these, We’re in a society where we expect, you put a LinkedIn statement out and you get the likes and you, it’s that immediate feedback loop where a lot of these things, it takes some time for things to work.
So I think my hand was forced because the alternative the alternative reality was so miserable that it made me try that out. But I think What [00:28:00] can be really helpful is like just sticking with something and giving it time until you see the benefits. Like things like meditation too. They do take time to work, but it can be a huge difference.
Jason Noble: I think that, like you say, when you had that episode at your organization and spoke to your, you manager himself, having that support at the organization. It is critical, and this is why this is such an important topic for every company, every individual to really, yeah, look at and consider.
Make sure that your friends, your colleagues, they’re okay. I, cause I think hate to think the situation, but if you don’t have that support at work, this could be a very different conversation if you hadn’t had that. And it is, I think we’ve gotta be thankful that a lot of organizations are, and individuals really are already thinking about.
Ryan: Yeah there’s companies doing a phenomenal job at this. I think it, it’s an area where this happened to me back in 2019 and it wasn’t really talked about as much there, there was some rumblings of it, but I think covid the, one of the helpful things is like that, that started this conversation and made it a lot more open for people.
Yep. But I think, with businesses like [00:29:00] it’s. It’s a big hairy elephant. It’s a tough thing to we don’t know where to start with how to help people or how to do things like that. And it’s, you’re not sure where, individual responsibility and company responsibility fall in.
But I would advise any company is, don’t be afraid to take a small step. Because you’re not gonna come out with this like world class mental health program. Tomorrow. Every, everyone’s figuring it out. But you can’t do nothing anymore. That’s because even though the economy’s getting a little bit tighter as people have options, especially people like high level talent will, can and will go other places, and I think your top performers are also very susceptible to burnout as well.
So that’s one thing. I’ve made decisions very much on any opportunity looking at us like, is this place somewhere that’s gonna I don’t want to be. And I think another thing that companies might, think of differently or people in a leadership position is The mental health thing isn’t about coddling.
It’s about making sure that like you can, understand people and let them be themselves, but to also help them build skills to handle difficult times. As opposed to just because one of the more popular ones that people [00:30:00] do is they’ll give people a couple days off a year or something like that to recuperate, and that’s one of these like things that is helpful.
But if you have to go back to the same. That is causing all the stress to begin with, then that’s not really gonna be the most impactful thing. So that’s why. I think what I’m doing is really gonna start growing even more because having people, you’re, instead of trimming the weeds, you’re actually pulling them out and helping people like really get to the core of the issue and get ahead of things.
Jason Noble: And almost that, that, that analogy there is brilliant. You almost wanna stop the weeds growing in the first place, don’t you? Yeah. Because it is, yes, I have two days out, but you go straight back. You’ve not learned anything. I, Ryan this has been a phenomenal conversation. What we always like to do is give our guests a bold challenge Question.
We, we had one in mind. And I’m still gonna ask the same one cause I think it’s still relevant. But what do you see as the kind of, what’s the number one thing or a bold action as we call them, that a practitioner in customer success can take either as an individual contributor or as a. To, to help them manage [00:31:00] stress, avoid burnout, and to manage situations like this.
So if you narrow it down to, it’s a big ask, what’s the number one thing that they can do?
Ryan: I usually go with what I talked about with email. I think that’s one thing that would be very helpful. But another one might be,
Learn more about yourself. So I think with that, everyone’s affected by stress differently. We all have different things that get us bothered. Different negative belief thoughts. So I would say pick up any book. I’m happy to recommend things, but Try and improve your emotional intelligence.
I think that’s one thing that like, that can have very large cascading effects, whether you’re a leader running a huge team or whether you are just an individual contributor. Because that can have positive effects if you can learn to [00:32:00] handle more challenging situations or build resilience or whatever you wanna work on.
And that’s like the one thing that I’m trying to get across to people is you have the. To build your own skills so you can look at any weaknesses there. There’s YouTube there’s there’s books. There’s really like limit. We live in an age of limitless information that’s freely available.
So work on one thing that you’re challenged with and that can have, like if you get angry really easily not only will working on that help out your career or handling more difficult situations, it’s gonna make your home life a lot. and that’s gonna make the life of the other people in your home better and the people that they interfere with and they interact with.
So just I’d say that the thing is like figuring out, a weakness or something that you’d wanna work on and dedicate 10 minutes of day to it. That you don’t have to do something this major overhaul or like a cleanse or a, a 10 month meditation trip or anything like that.
Just take a simple step and work on something.
Jason Noble: That awesome. 10 minutes a day. Brilliant. It is. Cause people, I think, see a lot of these things, there’s, I can’t do it. It requires me to do it, change it five, 10 minutes a day. Easy. We’ve all got that. . Brian, please, can you, could you give a [00:33:00] shameless plug for yourself what you’re doing, how people could reach you if they wanted help from you?
Just give a, an insight more into kind of the training and things that you do.
Ryan: Yeah for sure. So my, my website is ryan johansen.me. Hopefully you can link it in the episode, but, I would recommend if you’re, like I talked about taking that first step I is very important and just what I do is primarily like work with companies and put on trainings, either like a one-off program.
What the more, the most popular one I have is. Feel better, work better, perform better. So it’s a three-step training program where the first thing we talk about is how to manage stress. The second part is how to work in a more structured way that’s gonna actually make you a better performer but reduce some of your stress.
And then the third is perform better. So like things like building mental resilience, setting goals. It’s a really a step-by-step process to go from really overwhelmed and struggling to performing at a very high level. So if your. If you like the, I think the opportunity with a lot of companies right now is like, This is a, not only is like taking care of your team’s [00:34:00] mental health and teaching them things like this obviously a nice thing to do in a very, rewarding thing to do.
But it’s it also makes business sense. If you have people who are showing up in a good mind state every single day you’re gonna have a better performance at work. Have no doubt about that. So definitely reach out to me through that website and you schedule a call. I’m happy to talk through everyth.
Jason Noble: I’ve signed up for you newsletter this morning. Yeah. Thank you. I’m, I, this has been a thrill, really. I, a super just listening the conversation. I think it’s for me, this has been one of the best ones we’ve done. I’m really excited to what people are gonna say, and I’d really I’d love to have you back later on in the year to come back and talk more about how this has gone and what changes you’ve seen in things.
Ryan: Yeah, I love talking about this stuff. Yeah, I really appreciate you having me on and always good back, good to give back and talk to people about this. I’ll I’ll yell on the soapbox is for anyone who will have me. So thank you so much, .
Jason Whitehead: Thank you. Appreciate it.