Lindsay Harle-Kadatz, Sandler client and author of Depression Constipation, joins us for a special conversation about mental health in sales and entrepreneurship. Lindsay talks about how journaling and small actions helped her to get unblocked and moving again.
Learn how to succeed at getting unblocked!
Mike Montague: Welcome to The How To Succeed Podcast. The show that helps you get to the top and stay. This is How to Succeed at Getting Unblocked. The show is brought to you by Sandler Training, the worldwide leader in sales management and customer service training. I'm your host Mike Montague, Director of Content Marketing at Sandler, and my guest this week is Lindsay Harle-Kadatz. She is brand messaging and content strategist at The Write Harle, and author of Depression Constipation. It's going to be interesting. We're going to be finding out how to succeed at getting unblocked.
All right Lindsay, welcome to the show, tell me a little bit about the book and how small movements and making some progress can help get you unblocked? And kind of how you came up with this idea for this book in the first place?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: A little bit about Depression Constipation, I am a depression survivor, I suppose, moving through my own depression and I wrote 'Depression Constipation' simply as a way to help remove the stigma that often comes with mental health. Also, just to really highlight that sometimes the best way to move forward, and move through difficult situations is just baby steps. Small little steps towards bigger growth. It's focusing on what little things do you need to do in your life to be able to move forward. For me, it was finding humor in everyday life, hence the title, which can be a little offsetting, but that's the main purpose.
Mike Montague: Yeah, I can appreciate that, and that's what we're going to be talking about today. Whether you're in management, sales, or customer service, what are some of these small things that can help get you unblocked and can help get you back on the right track? So whether it's writer's block, or something else, what is holding you back and how you can take tiny movements to get yourself unblocked, right?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: That's right.
Mike Montague: Let's dive into it and talk about attitude. Why is attitude a key component? You mentioned depression already, that's obviously not a helpful attitude, what are some things that we can do to get ourselves back in a right mindset?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: Mm-hmm (affirmative). One of the biggest things that has helped me in my life, especially during those depression moments, when I was at my worst was just setting very small goals. For instance, the days when I was just stuck in my house, I had to very consciously make an effort to make a goal, and those goals were as simple as, "Today I'm going to shower. Today I'm going to go out of my apartment for five minutes." It was by setting those small little itty-bitty goals that I was able to then start going out of my house for 15 minutes at a time, or an hour. Those teeny little goals are what set me up to start moving forward and pull myself out of this depressive state and start onto a better mental health path. That was one thing, is just having the attitude of, "Okay, yep, I'm in a not great situation, but what little thing can I actually control in this situation." Getting up and having a shower, that's a good goal to have.
Now one thing as I've grown as I've started my own business, and started moving forward as well, you run into these barriers that can hurt your attitude and send you back into that negative mind frame, that negative spiral of, "I am not enough. I'm not good enough. I'm never going to succeed." One thing that has helped me time and again is, every night, I write a grateful journal. I sit down, and before I go to sleep, I make sure I go through my day, even if they're incredibly bad days, because we all have bad days, and I think, "What is it that I'm grateful for? What is it in this bad day that I'm grateful for? Was there a lesson with a client leaving? Was there a lesson in me having a bad walk with my dog, for instance?" It's what are the lessons I'm grateful for that I can go to sleep thinking, "Today, even if it was bad, there are things to be grateful for," and it's changed my attitude.
One thing I've really noticed is, when I stop doing the grateful journal, which I had done for about a year in 2015, I just stopped it, I noticed a significant decline in my own mental health and my own attitude towards every day. It was when I started to reflect and think, "Why am I going back into this negative spiral?" A big part of it was because I wasn't doing my own behavior of writing a grateful journal every night. My attitude going to sleep and waking up was quite poor because I wasn't actually reflecting upon what was good in the bad. That's huge.
Mike Montague: I think that makes a lot of sense even if you're not struggling with depression. We should probably put in our mental health disclaimer here that we're not going to fix mental health problems in a podcast over 20 minutes, and neither one of us are trained professionals. If you're struggling with depression or something else serious like that, you should seek support from a qualified professional. But, that being said, the lessons here apply to everybody and everything you're doing. So whether you're out in sales, a business person, or you're struggling with any kind of blockage in your life, that reframing some of these things and realizing that small wins can build your attitude, which then helps you be more successful in other venture, is really the key point there. That sometimes we set that bar so high in our own life that we forget that all of the progress that we made, is really success along the journey, right?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: Yeah, absolutely.
Mike Montague: Any other behaviors come to mind? I know you mentioned journaling daily, which is just an awesome behavior for everything, but is there anything else specific that we can do when we feel ourself getting stuck or stuck in creative avoidance of something that we know we should be doing?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: Since joining Sandler, one of the biggest lessons that I've learned is, the only thing you can control in your life is your behavior, is the actions that you take. It's then setting up your own week, whatever that may look like to you, and going and doing the behaviors that you've set out. For me, I know when I work best with sending out emails, doing prospecting, or when my own mental strength is high enough to start getting rejections. I know that that is not at two o'clock in the afternoon, so I'm not going to do prospecting calls at two in the afternoon when I'm at my lowest energy. By understanding that, you set up these great behaviors, you then need to do then. It's getting, like that Sandler term, getting your cookbook in place and you have to follow it, and tweak it as life changes. That's probably my biggest thing with the behavior, is set the behaviors, then do the behaviors, and do them at a time that works best for you and when you know you can be your best at that specific behavior.
Mike Montague: I think that's awesome, and obviously it's right in line with the Sandler success principles. I really appreciate you sharing this, and especially writing the book about some mental health issues and other things. Especially for entrepreneurs, because I think entrepreneurs and sales people, a lot of times are out there on an island. Other people sometimes, even in your own family don't know the challenges and stuff that you're going through with the business. Or if you're out as a traveling salesperson, and you're flying around the country staying in hotel rooms. There's not a lot of people to lean on there. Do you have any recommendations for that, and what people should do when they're blocked and they're by themselves?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: Yeah, you're absolutely right in that it can be quite lonely, and it can be quite an island. Even if I am alone, I make sure that I've built specific relationships with people, because of my spouse, he has no bloody clue what the heck I do. He doesn't understand it, good on him, that's fine. He doesn't understand that it's a lonely world and I feel like I may have the weight of the world on my shoulders because I am the sole person in my business. What I've had to do though is reach out to partners, and reach out to other people who may be in a similar situation as me. They're running their own business; they're by themselves, their spouse, they're not in the business, they may not understand it. It's really setting up those relationships with other people that you give each other permission to reach out, whether it be text, or phone call, or just an email of, "Bah, I am, this is what's going on. Help. What the heck. I feel alone."
If you have that support system in place, it becomes less lonely, because then there are those people that you can talk through things. If you're not comfortable talking with some people or setting up a relationship where there are those types of conversations, that's okay. It took me a while to start opening up to others, as well and to start saying, "Here's the reality of my situation, and everything is not fine." Again, it goes back to journaling.
One thing that, I'll back up very quickly, and I did indicate that I do a grateful journal every night, and that's only for the positives, and that's for reframing and all that. I also have another one where I just spew everything out into, and I keep that separate from the grateful journal for a reason. That's because this is where all the negative thoughts that I have, I write them out, I get them out of my head, I stop them percolating in my brain, so then put them down on paper, so that that way they're out of my head. And then, if I really want to, I can go back and look at these negative thoughts later, and start to look at it and say, "What is the actual story that's happening here? How can I reframe it? Is all this negative real? Is it in my head?" 99% of the time, a lot of the stuff that comes out is just, "That's really harsh. That is not the reality of the situation." It's just debriefing what's going on in your own body, in your own mind, and being more objective about it. Once you've got all the negativity, all the spiraling in your own head down on paper, you can look at the spiral and think, "This isn't real. This isn't the real story. There might be some truths throughout, but what is the actual truth," and it's not all the negative.
Mike Montague: I think that's one of the best things about keeping the journal. Whether it's a sales AB journal, or it's just a, like you said, a blank sheet of paper where you write everything down. If you go back to that a couple of days later, you're like, "What was I so worked up about? Man, I needed a cookie or something." Because you've disconnected from that, and it's no longer a part of you, you're not emotionally involved, and you can see that more objectively. That's really cool.
We may have gotten into some of the techniques here already with the journals and how you do that, but do you have any specific techniques or things that would make those journals better? Or are these baby steps more effective?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: All my journals, I have all these journals. One thing, there are so many different types of journaling, and the grateful one is just, what are my things I'm grateful for, put that aside. With this negative journal, with this spew journal for lack of a better word, that's just free flow, don't edit, just get it out, don't judge yourself while you're doing it. On mornings when I'm like, "Okay, I need focus. I need to be able to do my behaviors today, but I need to know how to do that effectively. And I need to make sure I start myself off on the right foot."
What was introduced to me by my own Sandler trainer was the concept of BAGEL journals. And that's where I sit down in the morning before I start my day really, and I go through what are the behaviors that I need to accomplish today. Cross-referencing that with my own cookbook of, what are the behaviors I'm doing for this specific day. What are the attitudes I need to have to meet these specific behaviors? And I get a little more future focused with, what are my goals. That's all fine and dandy, but what's really effective by flying within the bagel is, the E's, the evaluation. And evaluating what I did the day before, to know, "Okay, where was I awesome? Where did I maybe slack a little bit? How can I improve that?" That goes nicely into the L's, with "What are the lessons I'm taking from my previous day, that I'm going to be implementing today?" That really helps to get my mind ready to go and take on the day fresh. It doesn't just have you write out your lessons, but with the S, so bagels, is that success is, "What are the successes I had yesterday?" They're a lot easier just to pull, "Oh here are my successes," because the night before I'd already done my grateful journal.
I know it sounds like I'm saying, "You just need to journal your way through life," but in reality, my bagels can take maybe five minutes in the morning. And it sets me up to get going, to not feel so alone, because I am being proactive and how am I starting my day. How am I moving my own business forward, and how I am moving my own mental health forward because they're essentially one and the same sometimes. Especially for those of us who are still opening orders, or are business owners, or run sales teams. It can be a lonely place, but if you're having those conversations with yourself as well, in journal format, it's just a technique that makes sure you get your behaviors in place, but then make sure your attitude can follow.
Mike Montague: Sure. And this might be a difficult question, but I know you and I are both writers, what about people that are just not writers. That are worried about spelling mistakes, so they just prefer talking it out with things. Can audio journals do the same thing, or what's a minimum viable alternative if you're just looking to get started with anything?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: Truth be told, while I'm a writer and my business, I was never a journaler. My biggest thing is well, with journaling, is don't correct your spelling, don't correct your grammar. Just go for it. But yeah, absolutely, is talk it out, in working with a lot of my clients, a lot of them aren't writers, hence why they're hiring me, but they can talk about their business. They can talk about what it is they want to do and get everything that's in their head out. And then it's just matter of having somebody go in and format it. But from a journaling perspective, absolutely, talk it out.
There's something so cathartic about getting everything you want to say, or that's in your head out. Whether that be on a piece of paper, or an audio file, or to have a journal friend essentially. Again, and that's having that relationship where I just need to call you and talk out what's going on in my head. I don't need solutions. I just need to get it out so that it's not in my head anymore. That's the biggest thing, we just let everything percolate in our head, and go, and go, and go, and that's when we go into spirals. But, if you can get it out, whether on a piece of paper, on an audio recording, on a phone call, just get it out, that's the biggest thing.
Mike Montague: I like it. Now we figure to where you got the title for your book, right?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: Yes, yeah.
Mike Montague: Let's get to know you a little bit more, we mentioned you are the brand, messaging and content strategist at The Write Harle, which is your company, and it's www.thewriteharle.com. How do define success for yourself these days?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: This is actually a tricky question. It's not a typical or a traditional definition of success, but me, success is growth. Am I growing and am I learning. Even if I've set a goal, and I've met it, it's not necessarily the meeting of the goal that was the success, but the lessons I learned along the way that helped me to grow towards my goal and that indicates whether or not something has been a success.
Mike Montague: And what was the biggest lesson learned, or hurdle you had to get over in your career?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: A couple of things, but one of them was moving through my depression. There is a stigma with mental health, and I'll be completely honest in that I also had very stigmatized thoughts around mental health. So I didn't actually reach out until it came to a point where I actually had to get help because I could not get up. For me, my greatest success is the fact that I was able to move through it, and I've been able to start my business and see it grow for the past five years. Even though I've been dealing with things, such as depression and other issues, it's because of the lesson I learned about just baby teeny-tiny little goals; little successes are still wins. Internally, just knowing I'm a lot stronger person today, because I've gone through this depression, and I've moved through it, and it has taught me huge lessons and huge wins. And to be more me, for lack of a better word, that's my greatest success. It is just moving through it towards better things so that I can be more engaged and all in with other aspects of my life.
Mike Montague: What do you fall back on when you need to be successful? Do you have a super power or skill or something that separates you from everybody else when you need a win?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: Yes. There are a few different super powers that I have. One of them is my awesomeness with puns, but I don't think that really helps much with the audience here today. It's definitely, my super power is questions. And I've heard this a lot from different clients, as well. Yes, I write copy. Yes, I provide them copy, but the real value that I have, and the real superpower that I have is, that I can ask these questions that dig deeper into a person, and get to a deeper why, a deeper purpose. That's just something that I think is valuable is just asking great questions of people to figure out who they are and dig deeper.
Mike Montague: Yeah, I think absolutely. And that applies to anything in life where you can find out why you're in Sandler Training for sales and stuff there too is, having the ability to ask better questions, is way more powerful than having the right answer sometimes. That's a great one. What about your favorite Sandler rule?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: I'd probably say that the one that speaks most often to me is, the problem that the prospect brings you, is never the real problem. I love that, because a lot of the time people come to me, thinking that all they need is one blog, or they need to start a blog, or all they need is copy for something, and that's never what the issue is. The issue a lot of time has more to do with the fact that, they don't know who their business is. They don't know what they stand for as a business. It's in the question that I ask that we discover that the real problem isn't that they need copy, the real problem is that they need to figure out why they're in business, and why they're doing what they do, and how they do it differently than their competitors.
Mike Montague: Based on what we talked about today, and getting yourself unblocked, what's one attitude you would like people to have leaving the podcast?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: I want that to be that you're imperfectly perfect. You are enough, so long as you know that you can always keep growing and learning.
Mike Montague: Perfect, and what's one key behavior you would like people to do?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: Start that grateful journal. Honestly, just start that grateful journal. Look at your behaviors and follow them. Set them up and follow them.
Mike Montague: Then tomorrow you can be grateful that you did it yesterday.
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: Absolutely, that's right. It makes, you already have one thing off your grateful list then.
Mike Montague: And the best technique to use?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: To be honest, just start, well I talk about writing down and journaling, that's not everybody's forte or like, even. Just start in a fashion that makes sense to you, whether that be talking to your phone and recording it, or just talking to your dog, and just starting to get things out, that's the technique. As soon as you start and you start finding what works for you, then you'll start to build that into your habits. And you'll start to discover things as, "Okay, well maybe this BAGEL technique works really well for me, but this free flow thing, ugh, I hate that. I need an actual structure in my own journal." Or even if you're talking, what's the structure? Do you just free flow talk, or do you need specific questions that can guide you through your own thoughts?
Mike Montague: I like that. Anything else you want to add on getting yourself unblocked, mental health, or why people should pick up your book?
Lindsay Harle-Kadatz: You should pick up the book because it's hilarious, I've been told. But, the biggest thing that I want people to take away is schedule in your own mental health time. I can attest that if you don't, you can have all the successes in the world, but if you're not taking care of your mental health, in whatever capacity that looks like for you, you're not going to be engaged and enjoying your life. Why are we here, if were not enjoying and engaged in our life.
Mike Montague: Well Lindsay, thanks for being on the show. Once again, we were talking with Lindsay Harle-Kadatz, and for more information on her, you can find her at www.thewriteharle.com, or you can pick up the book Depression Constipation at Amazon.com. And as always, if you like the show, we could always use a review on iTunes, so hop over there and give us five stars. Thank you for listening, and remember, whatever you are, be a good one.
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