EP 61: Mental Health and Entrepreneurship: Confronting the Stigmas with Jason Van Orden

Uncategorized Sep 16, 2022


Quick-fix solutions abound for mental health challenges. 

As leaders, we’re fed the same advice over and over again. Generic one-size-fits-all “thought work” designed to alleviate our gloom and get us back on the road to success.

But that generic advice comes up short. And much of it further stigmatizes mental health struggles, failure, and doubt to the point where people fake it until they make it and then end up face down in a serious mental health crisis. 

We as leaders and business owners have a responsibility to offer something other than quick fixes or bandaids. We have to do the work to create spaces for the nuances of life to show up. 

We need to make mental health a priority in our businesses. How we all approach mental well-being can shift the stigmas around struggle while honoring the whole person with as much care as our bottom line. 

Today’s guest joins me for an important and nuanced conversation about the intersection of entrepreneurship and mental well-being, from his perspective as a long-time entrepreneur and someone who has had to reclaim his relationship with his mental health.

Jason Van Orden helps authors, academics, and speakers turn their “intellectual equity” into new streams of scalable income and a business model that amplifies their work. As a consultant, trainer, and strategist, he draws from more than sixteen years of experience, including creating multiple successful brands, launching over 60 online courses, teaching more than 10,000 entrepreneurs, earning seven figures in online course sales, and generating 8 million downloads of his podcasts. His mission is to help visionaries with impactful ideas to connect with the people they serve best and the problems they can most uniquely solve.



Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • What Jason discovered when decided to get vulnerable about his struggles with mental health after ten years of hiding it
  • What he realized staying silent was actually costing him in his life and relationships
  • Why it’s important to acknowledge that mental health is a journey, with no magic bullet solutions
  • How the emphasis on mindset and positivity in entrepreneurship spaces negatively impacts mental wellbeing


Learn more about Jason Van Orden:


Learn more about Rebecca:



Scroll Down for The Full Episode Transcript:

Jason Van Orden: I have an ability to help, maybe, change those stigmas as somebody with an online platform that can share their own story and maybe share, like, look, if you think that I’m an okay human being who also struggles with these things, hopefully that can make you feel like you might be an okay human being as well. I just made a decision at that point, you know, I’m gonna start being more open about sharing my story of mental health.

[Inspirational Intro Music]

Rebecca Ching: Several years ago, I started seeing a pattern in my clinical work. Powerful, strong, capable leaders were coming in my office face down, burdened with anxiety and self-doubt. What stood out to me, with many of the leaders coming in and seeing me and was the catalyst to me getting into the coaching space, was the common connection with the inciting incident that led to their collective face-down moments. What so many of the people I’ve worked with over the years had in common was the deep shame for not being fixed quickly and feeling like a complete failure ‘cause they could not keep up the appearances of praying more and manifesting more their way out of their pain. I kept hearing again and again from my clients the need to reprogram their brains and release, eradicate, and level up their mindset. Then, they knew they’d feel better except no amount of reprogramming or mindset work made them feel better.

I'm Rebecca Ching, and you're listening to The Unburdened Leader, the show that goes deep with leaders whose burdens have inspired their life's work.  Our goal is to learn how they’ve addressed these burdens, how they rise from them and become better and more impactful leaders of themselves and others.


Quick-fix solutions abound for mental health challenges, and they're part of a long and glorious/not-so-glorious history of mental health hacks like Think and Grow Rich or The Power of Positive Thinking, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and, more recently, The Big Leap and The War of Art. As leaders, we’re fed the same advice over and over again. The leaders I saw in my practice had tried all of that, of course. They’d done the one-size-fits-all thought work designed to alleviate their gloom and get them back on the road to success, but all of that generic advice had come up short. There was no regard for their unique nervous system. No acknowledgement that family of origin and difficult life experiences and systemic oppression can continue to have echoes and impact us in the present. They shared with me the belief they were doing things wrong and were broken because they did not experience the results promised to them.

Now, these claims make little sense to me as someone who is a specialist in working with those healing from trauma, anxiety, shame, and food and body struggles for two decades. So I started to do some research and check out the sources of these learnings and found people and programs and organizations using this kind of prosperity and overcoming language without any regard to the spectrum of mental health and wellbeing. Now, there seems to be this unfortunate wall up on how we approach mental wellbeing, and I believe a lot of harm happens when we offer quick-fix promises to shame, discomfort, and struggle. The message was consistent, especially in these entrepreneurial and leadership spaces, that anything that was not positive and forward-thinking was weak, and any failings were the personal responsibility of the individual. They were simply struggling because their mental fortitude was weak.


Oof, and this is where I call BS emphatically. When I see whip smart innovators trying to hack mental health and wellbeing, I mean, I get why they're doing this. I mean, hacking health is clearly big business in a burdened mental healthcare system, and, oh, my goodness, the mental health field needs to be shaken up in how we train, license, and deliver services, but instead of trying to overcome mental health, I believe we need to look at what we’re doing in our own lives and in the spaces we lead and in how we are cultivating mental health, not just trying to overcome it because many of the offerings further stigmatize mental health struggles, failure, doubt to the point where people fake it ‘til they make it and then end up face down in a serious mental health crisis.

The overly-positive approaches offer no room for real, human experiences in life and business. I believe we, as leaders and business owners, have a responsibility to offer something other than quick fixes or Band-Aids that don't really fix, but instead to do the work to create spaces for the nuances of life to show up. When you choose to care more about wellbeing than results, you cultivate a space that values wellbeing in ways that do not sacrifice your values or your profit, but to really live this out takes a deeper commitment than just messaging. It involves a commitment to ongoing personal work so you have the capacity to hold space for the real and messy. It also involves normalizing mental health struggles and how we talk about our struggles to create common humanity, not just a marketing funnel.

There have been a lot of changes in how we work, and there are forecasts that show entrepreneur work is going to continue to grow.


I see this as an opportunity for so many to do meaningful work in ways that meet their needs financially but also support their emotional wellbeing along with those who work with them. We need to make mental health a priority in our businesses. How we approach mental wellbeing can shift the stigmas around struggle while honoring the whole person with as much care as our bottom line. I am so excited for you to hear from today’s Unburdened Leader guest who can speak to this important and nuanced conversation about the intersection of entrepreneurship and mental wellbeing as a long-time entrepreneur and also someone who’s had to reclaim his relationship with his mental health.

Jason Van Orden is the owner of Van Orden Marketing and helps authors, academics, and speakers turn their intellectual equity into new streams of scalable income and a business model that amplifies their work. As a consultant, trainer, and strategist, he draws from more than 16 years of experience, including creating multiple successful brands, launching over 60 online courses, teaching more than 10,000 entrepreneurs and earning 7 figures in online course sales while generating 8 million downloads of his podcast. His mission is to help visionaries with impactful ideas to connect with the people they serve best and the problems they can most uniquely solve.

Now, listen for how Jason realized how the stigmas around his mental health struggles kept him from showing up and sharing this part of his life with his friends, colleagues, and clients. Pay attention to what Jason realized was costing him by staying silent about his journey with mental health, and notice what Jason experienced when he leaned into boundary authenticity and started sharing more about his struggle with mental health. Now, please welcome Jason Van Orden to The Unburdened Leader podcast.


Jason, welcome to The Unburdened Leader podcast.

Jason Van Orden: Hi, Rebecca. Yeah, it’s my pleasure to be here.

Rebecca Ching: I’m really looking forward to this conversation, and I’d love to go back in time as we kick off our conversation and go back to when you were 25 years old and your father revealed some information about himself and your family that helped you connect the dots on how you were experiencing life.

Jason Van Orden: Right. 

Rebecca Ching: I’d love for you to share what your father shared with you that day and also what you were thinking as this news sunk in.

Jason Van Orden: Yeah, I love this question. It’s a topic, as you know, that’s near and dear to my heart. Yeah, he said, “You know, there’s something you should know about our family that may be insightful for you,” and he revealed that he had been struggling with some anxiety and depression and started taking medication, I think, a couple of years before that, and that he’d found it quite helpful. He said, “Yeah, you know, your grandpa, he struggled with this as well and had taken medication for a little while,” and that I had an aunt and uncle and other family members as well that had struggled. So it was in the family, culture, DNA, whatever that these mental health challenges had been showing up. And so, it occurred to him that, perhaps, that was something that would show up for me as well which I appreciated him bringing up ‘cause who knows how long it might have taken to go, “Gosh, what’s going on here, and I’m not sure what,” because the moment he said that, it made sense. He was like, “You know, you might realize that you're reacting -- overreacting --,” (I don't know. He didn't want to use the word overreact), -- “Just reacting in a way that doesn't feel like you or that sometimes things just trigger you in ways that you wouldn't normally or otherwise want to respond to them, and so, if any of that’s going on for you, you might want to talk to a health professional about it.

So I decided to go ahead and talk to a family doctor about it, at the time, and I, for the first time in my life, was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and started taking medication.


Rebecca Ching: So, for over a decade, you kept your experiences with anxiety private and didn't share about these struggles with anyone outside of your immediate family and your partner. I’m curious what was going through your mind as you decided to keep that information close to your heart. 

Jason Van Orden: I mean, thankfully, the medication made it so I was, for the most part, doing better, and so, just kinda going on and living my life and having some of the usual still ups and downs that sometimes we have, but, yeah, I didn't share with anybody that I was on medication in order to be the person that I was, to be a little more, I guess, even-keeled, if you want to say. It just felt very vulnerable to reveal that to anybody. I have come to realize that’s tied up in so much of the stigma -- so many of the stigmas that we have out there about mental health that can make you feel like you're flawed, something’s wrong with you. People can have assumptions about -- that’s always been a huge trigger for me, if somebody makes an assumption about me based on inadequate information. So that’s exactly what I did not want to happen, so I opted to just not share that information even with the business partner of mine, at the time, that I’d been working with for years. As somebody who had an online profile, I didn't want that affecting how people saw me or potential clients who might work with me so I just decided to keep it close to the vest, at the time, is ultimately what I ended up doing for, yeah, over a decade. 

Rebecca Ching: What did you discover when you started to talk about your mental health struggles in your professional circles?

Jason Van Orden: Yeah, so, the first time that I decided to really reveal what was going on was in the context of some close colleagues that we were in a mastermind together.


I know that, you know, you and I were in a mastermind for a while too, and I think, actually, I’d started sharing it with you all as well. So it was with you and a couple other friends of ours that we were in a mastermind for business, and then I went on a trip to another one, and I was just really struggling at the time. Like, things had just been descending to a darker, darker place that was just harder to find motivation on a daily basis. Come to find out later, my medication had stopped working and there were other situational things going on as well, and so, I decided, as I was going on this trip (because it was in another state) this meetup with this group of other entrepreneurs, you know, I thought I was going there to have my usual conversations about, hey, here’s what I’m thinking about doing in my business. What do you guys think? Anything I’m not seeing? What ideas do you have for me? That kind of logistical business stuff.

When I got there and, thankfully, a couple of other people showed that example of being very vulnerable in front of the group, (which just makes those things a lot more beneficial to everyone where everyone’s willing to be real, right?) and when I saw the great response that these couple of other individuals got about some really tough struggles that they were going through and insecurities and fears that they were dealing with, I was like, okay, clearly this is what I need to talk about as well.

And so, I did. I remember being really nervous before I brought it up, but, yeah, the support that was expressed, that was so helpful, and out of ten people, three of us have all been on medication at some point and dealt with mental health challenges which entrepreneurs do at a higher degree than the general population. Whether that’s a chicken or egg thing, I don't know if the research is showing that or not yet.

And so, I immediately just felt this huge weight lift from my shoulders because I expressed this stuff, and I didn't immediately die which is exactly what my psyche thought was gonna happen.


You will be ostracized, rejected, therefore, death, right? That’s what the evolutionary brain is telling us. “Do not share this information! It’s going to be bad news,” and that’s not what happened. It was so supportive, a weight lifted. Brené Brown, who I know you studied a lot as well, talks about shame and silence, right? Silence is what feeds shame, and so, that shame started shrinking, and over the next few months, I thought, you know -- I just started rethinking why have I been so silent about this because, clearly, the stigmas have kept me quiet, so, well, I have an ability to help, maybe, change those stigmas as somebody with an online platform that can share their own story and, maybe, share, like, look, if you think that I’m an okay human being who also struggles with these things, hopefully, that can make you feel like you might be an okay human being as well, right?

And so, I just made a decision at that point. You know, I’m gonna start being more open about sharing my story of mental health. It felt freeing to not be -- yeah, to not have that as such an isolated thing anymore, and it further dissolved the shame that I had around having dealt with anxiety and depression.

Rebecca Ching: Thank you for sharing that story. I really appreciate it, and I suspect there might be folks listening going, “Wow, Jason. Very cool. Very courageous, but I’m not sure. I’m not sure I could do that.”

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: Can I get a little more granular about that moment?

Jason Van Orden: Sure.

Rebecca Ching: With your ten colleague friends group -- and you're seeing this vulnerability -- it’s kind of shifting to not just business talk but real, human, whole-person talk, not just the business side, right?

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, and you're feeling like, “Oh,” this sense of, “I need to, I want to share.” Can you bring us back to that kind of internal rumble where you were like, “Do I share? Do I not share,” and what contributed to you stepping into your courage just to show up and really be seen in this part of your life?


Jason Van Orden: I knew that something that I did when I would get really caught up in the mental health challenges and they were really raging was I was isolating myself, and part of that was shame. Part of that was just feeling like I don't want to burden anybody else with my problem. You know, so all those things that go through your mind, but I had also, thankfully, read enough along the way to know that that’s the very thing that, then, just makes it worse, and anxiety plays all these tricks on your brain and starts making you feel like, “Yeah, see? Nobody wants to associate with you,” even though it’s this just self-fulfilling thing of, like, “Well, I’m not gonna associate with anyone because of my anxiety,” or whatever, and so, that was one thing that was in my mind was, like, I need to reverse that. I need to stop isolating, which is one reason why I decided to go to this mastermind. I thought, “Okay, yeah, I’m getting out,” but then also in the sharing, too, that was also breaking the isolation.

So I had seen this spiral that I’d been in and I was ready to do anything to try something to reverse that spiral. Like I said, I don't if I would have had it not been for, thankfully, a couple other people who had shared their vulnerabilities first, right? One of the fastest ways I think to earn other people’s trust is that you trust them first, and so, thankfully, somebody in the group had done that first and set that example. So that was another contributing factor. It’s like, oh, they were vulnerable. Nobody ostracized them or made fun of them or whatever our brains might be tricking us that might happen.


So it was just taking those little steps and feeling a little more comfortable in being open and vulnerable in that way that led to finally being like, you know what? I can do a podcast interview about this. I can write articles on LinkedIn about this. In fact, I want to. I can send email newsletters out to my list about this, but I had to start small first.

Rebecca Ching: I really appreciate you sharing that and kind of reverse engineering that. Obviously because of our work during that time, you know being in the mastermind, I have a little insight that this group that you went to, of ten, you know, one of your best friends was in that group.

Jason Van Orden: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: You had strong relationships, and it wasn't online. This wasn't broadcast live.

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: This was a container that was private. Boundaries were set about what’s okay to share and not share outside of this cohort of experiences. So I think that’s just something to keep reminding -- that you started small, you started with folks you trusted.

I’m hearing, too, from you, Jason, that there was a readiness. There was enough of, what I sense, self-energy. There was enough self-leadership in a sense of going we’re protecting with isolating to the point where it’s not protecting, it’s hurting. There was enough inner negotiation to step into some safe containers, and then once you sat with, wow, that felt good. That felt healing. That felt free, and there was spaciousness, there was almost this sense of I want to share more, not because of any other agenda than this feels important. Not for your wellbeing, but as a contribution. You wanted others to experience that, too. Am I recalling that correctly?

Jason Van Orden: Absolutely, and so, when I realized how -- ‘cause I really do feel like that moment was -- you know, I still had an uphill climb, and I went and saw a psychiatrist and got more help there and took other steps forward in therapy and so forth, but it was a moment of kind of, like, reversing that spiral was so helpful for me.


And so, yeah, I figured, hey, if something about my story can help somebody take that one little step in the right direction, then isn’t that worth whatever quote, unquote “risk of sharing,” which now I just don't feel like is really a risk or a cost for me anymore or anything that might happen from sharing openly, but that it was worth it to put that out there for the benefit of anybody out there who might hear it and gain something from hearing my story.

Rebecca Ching: That’s a really interesting point that it doesn't feel as vulnerable. I’m sure it’s still vulnerable sharing who you are, but the risk and cost does not feel as great as it used to just sharing this is a part of you and this is a part of your story. What shifted there? What shifted where the cost didn't feel as great as it did initially?

Jason Van Orden: Well, for one thing, I have learned quite a bit over the last few years that one of the things that was costing me was a lack of authenticity. I’m not talking about just in not sharing my mental health, but not allowing myself to show up as myself in all kinds of micro and macro ways in my life and relationships. And so, this was one more way that I could reverse that and do that, and so, I realized it’s a greater risk not to share this part of myself. To get to the end of your life and not just have shown who you are to the world for whatever benefit that can be just suddenly that cost seemed bigger to me, for one.

Rebecca Ching: Wow.

Jason Van Orden: Now, I talk about little by little testing out, sharing, and, of course, when the bad thing doesn't happen that your brain convinced you is gonna happen, well, then it feels a little safer next time.


So, just like a toddler going a little farther away from their mom at the playground the next time, and then they come back to their mom, and then they go a little farther away, and then they come back. And so, bit by bit you start feeling safer, like, okay the bad things aren't happening. Then, I just also starting realizing, look, anybody who is going to have any kind of adverse reaction to this or decide they don't want to work with me which I’ll probably never be aware of, for one, but number two, in the end, do I want to attract friends, relationships, an online audience, clients, colleagues, whatever based on a false facade or do I want the people who really appreciate who I am? I preach every day to my clients, “Show up as you really are,” and that can mean a lot of things, right? Again, everyone has to decide what feels safe to them, but this was an area that I was not doing what I was preaching to my clients. It’s like these things, your values and who you are and your unique perspective and the struggled you’ve been through -- and I work with a lot of people who have the message to share online and they want to stand out in the world and rise above the noise, and I tell them, “The best way you have to do that is to be (what I call) resonant - somebody vibes with who you are, how you make them feel, how you think, how you help them think, the stories you tell, the commonalities they see in who you are and who they are, the shared meaning that you have.”

And so, I was like, okay, I need to put more of that into my brand. That’s just gonna be a lot more meaningful, and I think, as I got into my 40s, I started thinking more about big-vision stuff, and I’m like, yeah, you know, I like what I do as a business strategist, but I also want to make contributions to bigger things and, absolutely, mental health is one of them. And so, being silent is not a good way to do that anymore.


Rebecca Ching: Part of Brené Brown’s tenants of shame resilience is speaking your shame story to those who’ve earned the right to hear it.

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: And that’s really what you're modeling. So, tell me, when you decide to share, now that there’s more spaciousness and it’s also more aligned for you to share about mental health, how do you discern where you're sharing personal stuff versus what’s private and sacred and not for the public eye? What is your process there because that’s still something a lot of people are struggling with. [Laughs]

Jason Van Orden: Yeah, totally. First of all, I think there’s a key element of time and space, and so, what I mean by that is I’m probably not gonna write on LinkedIn about some big struggle I just had yesterday or something I’m still wrestling with or figuring out or some new realization about myself and the way I want to improve. Whereas I feel better sharing stuff that’s like, okay, I’ve sat with this for a while. I’ve done journaling, talking to friends, my partner, whatever, and worked through this to where now I can feel confident that I have some level of clarity and truth to what I am realizing here about myself or the world or mental health in general, as opposed to, “Hey, here’s just some hot-of-the-presses thing,” or that I‘m in the middle of right now because what I don't want to do is use my platforms to be self-indulgent either, right, and be like, “Hey, I’m just gonna use this to, like, I don't know, feel better about myself.” I’m not saying I don't -- I do feel good about myself when I share these things, but you know what I mean? I don't want it to be about me, primarily, and so, one of the biggest things, I think is just that time and space.

Certainly, if it involves anybody else, I always consider them, and do I need to get their permission or anonymize it or whatever might be appropriate there, but anything’s that’s more in that history -- like you started with that, “Hey, when you were 25…,” and that’s a story I have published to LinkedIn.


I’m fine telling it in my newsletter. I’ve had 20 years plus of processing and learning about anxiety and taking medication and going on and off of it at times. So that’s all stuff I’ve been through and processed and experienced and learned about through experience and reading and whatever, and so, I just feel more comfortable sharing that stuff.

Rebecca Ching: You said something that I think a lot of folks might rumble with, too, and that is you don't want it to be all about you or to be self-indulgent, and I wonder -- you probably hear this from the clients you work with, too. You're like, “Share your story,” and they're like, “Oh, no. I don't want to seem self-absorbed.” Especially for most folks who have been on lockdown and really are keeping the pearls of their heart private, when folks would benefit hearing and learning from them, what have you said to yourself in the past when you’ve wrestled with -- or how do you negotiate is this self-indulgent? You touched on it a little bit, but I just want to circle back to that a little bit more because I think so many people still stay silent for fear of airing in that area. So, maybe, what would you say to those folks?

Jason Van Orden: I mean, I guess one of the first things I’d say is imagine when you were in the midst of wrestling with this stuff. What do you wish somebody might have said to you? What would have given you permission? What would have given you, I don't know, just normalizing or feeling validated or seeing -- or think of a time when that has happened for you. I mean, going back to, I think, other things that helped me finally start sharing is I think I started realizing, wow, when people are open with me, it’s super helpful, so now I want to do -- right? So I think that’s one thing I would say is, like, “Well, imagine if or when -- and imagine now if even for one person or two or three or five --,” you just never know.


Sometimes it’ll be weeks, months, even years later I’ll hear from somebody, and it’s like, “Yeah, that thing you said is super helpful and has always stuck in my mind.”

And so, you know, I think we all have this inner need or want or desire to make a contribution to the world to leave it a better place, so to speak right? One of the best ways we can do that, I think, is to just share who we are and our story for whatever it can do to benefit others. Then, at the same time, say, look, if you're not ready, you're not ready, but those are things to consider and try to paint a bigger vision of, look, this is a huge issue in our modern day, and we’re just starting to see how big of an issue mental health is, and massive change is needed. The only way that that’s gonna happen is just more people talking and showing up and keeping it top of mind. So those are the things I would say.

Rebecca Ching: I think another piece that’s tricky, if folks are thinking about sharing just their own journey with mental health, is it ebbs and flows, right? Isn't this thing that, oh, wow, I have this diagnosis or this way that my brain works, and then, I address it with treatment, medication, whatever the thing is, and then I live the rest of my life, when, in fact, it really is more of an ebb and flow with the impact of treatment, with accessibility of treatment and care. 

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: I’d love for you to share and just walk me through what you felt and did when your anxiety and depression treatments stopped working.

Jason Van Orden: Yeah, so, okay, there are a couple times -- so, at first, I did just start taking medication (we talked about that when I was 25), and for the next decade, I just took it.


In fact, I’m sorry, I had one summer, and I don't remember why -- oh, I think I had moved temporarily somewhere, had to get the prescription renewed, and so, I was like, “Okay, maybe I’ll try going off for a bit.” It did not go well. [Laughs] It did not go well. So that was a big wake up call, like, okay, you don't just go willy nilly with this stuff, and, clearly, still this is helping me. So I went back on it. Still, many, many years went by.

Here’s the hard thing is it’s so weird. Sometimes you realize when it finally -- you realize something’s changed and is off and is not right, and then you think back, and it’s like, “Oh, my gosh. It’s been, like, a year now, and I just haven't --,” I don't know. Maybe that’s just me, and I haven't noticed or I haven't or whatever. I had to reach a certain threshold. I think I would usually go through a period of, like, I don't know, second-guessing myself. “Maybe this is just circumstantial. Maybe it’s not. Whatever,” and then, finally, I get to the point where it’s like, okay, maybe I at least need to check in with a professional here just to get their input. And so, that’s always good to have their validation ‘cause they’ll ask you good questions. If somebody is a good professional and knows what they're doing, they’ll ask you good questions and kind of tell you, “Yeah, we might need to try something different here,” or whatever.

So when it comes to medication and therapy, there was always kind of this on-again and off-again kind of depending on what was going on, but then as I got to this point where I guess I would just call it -- some people would call it a mid-life crisis, (there’s a great book that calls it the middle passage) but just, like, we reach this point in life where you start looking at life differently. Maybe it was having my kid. I don't know, but I started looking into it more, and I was like I’m not gonna just keep taking medication and it’s just gonna be fine the rest of my life. There’s more to deal with, here.


I always kind of knew even during that whole decade that eventually I'm gonna have to dig deeper. This isn't the end of this story.

Now, the next few years I feel like I was on this search for, like, well, there’s one key thing out there for me, and if I can just find it, I’ll finally solve this, right? I learned about IFS from you which is great! It is one great tool, Internal Family Systems and parts and all that. That’s been one great tool, a framework, a thing that -- I’ve gone to that kind of therapy, and it’s helped me at times. I think I probably was like, “Oh, this is finally it, right?” It did make its contribution, and then since then, there have been -- you know, I’ve learned more about self-compassion that’s been key. I was finally just listening to some book at a time, and I’m sure this isn't the first time I had heard this, and it just finally sunk in. There’s not one solution. It’s different for everybody. You've got to find the combination that’s right for you, so keep on experimenting and don't give up, and it’s gonna be an ongoing journey. Basically, that was the summation of the chapter, and I’m like, okay, all right. So stop looking for the magic bullet. Go in for the journey and experience it.

So, then, I started trying more things, right? I did some EMDR, and that was helpful. I’ve done some somatic stuff, and that’s been helpful. I’ve done self-compassion work which has been really helpful. Right now, I ‘m taking a deep dive into people-pleasing and where all my people-pleasing habits that I didn't realize were so deep come from in my family history. I’m like, “Oh, boundaries!” So it’s like a whole gamut of tools and realizations and mindset shifts, but anyway, the big point there is I just had to try a lot of different things and know it’s gonna be different for me so I might as well find out what’s gonna work for me.

Rebecca Ching: I think this is really important ‘cause I think a lot of people want to find the thing, be, quote, “fixed,” and move on.

Jason Van Orden: Right.


Rebecca Ching: There’s that kind of cultural message that that’s kind of what you do, and if you're not fixed, then you're doing something wrong, you're not trying.

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: You were saying a mindset shifts, and I thought you were gonna say mindset shit, [Laughs] you know ‘cause sometimes -- 

Jason Van Orden: Both. Both apply. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] I’m wondering, too, even just with that said in entrepreneur, start-up, bootstrap culture, there are kind of some narratives in some of these subcultures that I think have permeated even into corporate culture, too, but I’m curious about how those cultures have impacted the decisions you've made on how you've cared for your mental health. I’d love for you to maybe get a little granular or maybe, specifically, what are some of the assumptions or judgments you’ve heard in those spaces that have impacted how you card for yourself?

Jason Van Orden: One is from religious upbringing that was just this idea that it’s like, okay, you need to do this, this, this, this (and then, usually, it’s a long list that’s probably impossible to keep up with) in order to be worthy to have the blessings, right? So I spent years before my dad said anything just thinking when I would feel down or anxious or, like, “Ahh,” it’s like, oh, okay, I’m just not praying enough. I’m not whatever, you know, insert religious right in there. And so, then, that just carried forward even after I’d extracted myself from the religion, the religious thinking was still -- and I would still get caught in this, dangit, I’m still waking up every morning with anxiety in my chest. Clearly, I’m not exercising enough. My diet’s still crap. I don't know, to some degree, those things might still be true, but in the same way I was looking for the magic bullet, I kept assuming there’s some key thing I’m just not doing enough. Not enough, not enough, not, not, not, not, not enough,  and, therefore, I haven't merited yet any kind of healing. that was just kind of a really -- and I’m still extracting myself from that, but I can talk about it here and realize, yeah, that’s one I’m definitely trying to leave behind.


Another thing that I picked up from religion was this idea that it’s like whatever you naturally want or are right now is wrong. There’s probably something else you're supposed to be being, and religion and God, whatever insert, is gonna tell you what that thing is that you should -- and so, what was that doing? All it was doing was cutting me off from my own intuition. When I finally figured out about somatics and checking in with my body and tapping back into that stuff, and, like, oh, wait a second. Maybe if my body is creating X, that might be a part of the thing -- rest, a nap, or whatever -- that that might be the thing that is needed rather than going, oh, well, no. If I’m naturally -- it was like I was being lazy or inadequate by just going in a direction that felt like a natural pull to where I wanted to go, and, yes, sometimes you have to do things that are hard or uncomfortable or that challenge you or go beyond what you're used to doing, right? It was like no, unless it’s hurting, it doesn't count, and it’s not gonna be enough to get me better, right? Those are a couple of the conditioning things that I have had to really wrestle with and overcome.

Rebecca Ching: Unless it’s hurting it doesn't count.

Jason Van Orden: Doesn't count, right.

Rebecca Ching: I have a feeling a lot of people are gonna relate to that ‘cause there’s this sense of people kind of misunderstanding the difference between ease and easy, right? Also, if you're moving out of the one-thing-to-fix-it-all versus, “Wow, I’m gonna befriend my anxiety and go, wow, I’m waking up. I’m anxious. Okay, let me check in. Hungry? Did I get good sleep?” What do I need right now versus, “Oh, if you're feeling bad, you're doing something wrong. You're wrong. You're bad.” I think that’s something a lot of people get stuck in.

Jason Van Orden: Right. Totally. Absolutely, yeah, and, of course, there’s the whole just being cut off from feelings and things like that that comes from societal -- that’s in religion, that’s in misogyny, that’s in all kinds of things, right?


Being brought up as a white, male in America, it was like, “Oh, don't feel your feelings too much 'cause that’s dangerous,” and so, that was a thing that I had to work hard to overcome, too.

Rebecca Ching: More than dangerous, it would risk your belonging, right?

Jason Van Orden: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: It’d be like, “Who do you think you are as a leader, as a business owner, as someone I can trust?” I’m curious, then, too, with kind of that feelings-are-bad, misogyny, toxic masculinity, supremacy culture in general, how has that shown up in the entrepreneurial start-up spaces that you’ve been in, gosh, for well over a decade now. We’re gonna be coming up on two decades for you. How has that impacted how you cared for your mental health? Any specific narratives from that space that have impacted how you’ve cared for your mental health?

Jason Van Orden: Narratives from the entrepreneurial space? 

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Jason Van Orden: Yeah, I mean, here’s one thing. In the entrepreneurial space there’s so much -- I mean, I’ve used the term mindset a couple times already, and there’s a lot of talk about mindset, your mindset, your mindset. So, like, beliefs about money and beliefs about -- and these are the things that, like, yes, I had to repattern beliefs about money. I had to repattern beliefs about what risk in life looks like. I had to repattern my employee beliefs in order to go a different route. All those things are true, and I would call that mindset. The problem was that you hear that so much I think I really just started picking up -- it’s all in my mind. It’s all my thoughts, and it’s all my beliefs, and that’s a part of the equation.

Rebecca Ching: Yes.

Jason Van Orden: This is, again, where the body keeps the score of the book, right? Somatics, and it’s like, oh, wait, there’s this whole other part that doesn't get talked about in entrepreneurial circles that is even more key when it comes to how you respond to things and what your triggers are and the things that might derail you when things get tough as an entrepreneur, whatever, right?


And so, all the things that an entrepreneur wants to be, like be more resilient and push themselves to new heights it’s like, well, if all we’re  doing is talking about mindset, we’re missing a huge part of the equation.

Then, because I’m in a lot of coaching circles as well, you start brushing up against what a lot of people refer to as toxic positivity. Like, ooh, it’s you're just manifesting more of what you don't want! It’s like hmm, nah.

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]

Jason Van Orden: Okay, there’s something there sometimes, but it’s missing a bigger picture, right?

Rebecca Ching: Well, it seemed to be a trend as I started getting into this space, and when we were in the mastermind, I started seeing this trend that if I was going through any doubt or if anyone was going through any doubt or struggle, you had a mindset issue and you just needed to fix it.

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: And there was this correlation, almost, between this toxic theology, too. There’s this correlation of just pray it away or just mindset it away.

Jason Van Orden: Mm-hmm. Right.

Rebecca Ching: There was almost this --and there wasn’t space, and there was a discomfort of sitting with the discomfort of someone else that you were leading or working with. So if it wasn't just let’s bypass it with toxic positivity, we’ll bypass it with work, with drugs, with alcohol, with sex, with spending. It was all this feel good stuff versus normalizing the true ebbs and flows of being a business owner, being a human today, too. I would say in some spaces in entrepreneurship there is this welcoming of discomfort, but I think in some of the spaces you were in -- 'cause you were kind of in a lot of the original spaces of online entrepreneur space that was riddled with, not only toxic positivity, but just misogyny and toxic masculinity. 

Jason Van Orden: Tons of misogyny, yeah. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And so, I suspect there was some of that that was part of your working through and really allowing yourself to be seen in that space, too.

Jason Van Orden: Sure. sure, yeah.


Rebecca Ching: I think you and I are in circles where we don't necessarily go in circles where that’s the norm anymore. [Laughs]

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: But it’s still out there ‘cause you and I probably are both working with folks that are still detoxing from that. I remember probably the most famous personal development coach -- we’ll leave his name out because this wasn't my story, but I was in a circle after an entrepreneur conference, and this guy who I was with was sharing his depression, and this very famous “coach,” we’ll call him,  pulled him over to his house, threw him in his freeze dunk tank, and basically kind of got in his personal space, was two inches from his face talking about how those negative thoughts aren’t gonna -- could take him over and he just needs to release them now, and I’m sitting here as somebody who’s worked with trauma for two decades, and I’m watching this guy going, “Oh, my gosh,” you know? This particular coach has a very physical presence too so there was like a power-over dynamic, and there was no welcoming, no curiosity, no compassion. It was we’re gonna power through and power over anything that isn't what I’ve deemed good, and that depression and anxiety is something that’s bad as opposed to it’s part of being human.

Jason Van Orden: Right, and there’s a real thing in entrepreneurship about not having a victim mentality, and, unfortunately, I think trauma responses can get conflated with, “Oh, you're having a victim mentality,” when it’s like, no, this is baked into your nervous system and really needs some attention if you want to shift it. It’s not just a stop-going-there kind of thing.

Rebecca Ching: Well, and let’s just have a moment for the victim mentality phrase that’s thrown out there because who’s saying what to whom.

Jason Van Orden: Right. Yeah!

Rebecca Ching: I want to call bullshit to that emphatically, and so, if you're in a place where you have been victimized, and you're in the place of recognizing it and healing it and you're down, we don't need to yell it away, push it away, exile it away.


It’s what do you need from this space? What do you need from this relationship? Where are you stuck? What resources do you need? Instead of, again, it’s that rugged individualism. Pull up your boot straps, push it through, and, again, I would see that, and people would come into my clinical office face down because they tried the three steps to break through your victim mentality, and it ended up making it worse. [Laughs]

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: And I’m like, yeah, because the body says, “Hell no. This is not helpful. This is making me feel worse.” That’s still very lucrative, Jason, as you well know. Those things are still very lucrative ‘cause even the best of us, right, are like, “Can I work this through in three steps? Maybe? I believe you, Rebecca, but maybe there’s this really good marketing out there that says maybe this will be different ‘cause if I don't have to go through this and I want to be done with it forever, maybe I’ll take the three-step try,” right?

Jason Van Orden: Right.

Rebecca Ching: It’s still out there.

Jason Van Orden: Mm-hmm. Yeah, and because in this entrepreneur expert space, (speaking of the profitability) it’s very profitable to have a definite answer to something. “Oh, do you have problem X? I’ve got the answer. This is the one that works. It worked for me,” and you have some inspiring story, and people are like, “Great, if it worked for you and you're so inspiring, and I want to be like you, it’s gonna work for me,” and then it doesn't, you think something’s wrong with you, and then everyone else or that person tells you, “Yeah, it might be you.” It’s like or maybe it’s just not right for you, right? Maybe it is a fine, good modality and it did work for them but it doesn't mean it’s automatically gonna work for you, but they want to be able to tell their inspiring story and have as many people buy into that as possible so they sell it as the one solution.


That can apply to everything from growing your business to your mental health to relationships or wealth or whatever you want, right? When I was more of a fledgling expert, I think I took on a lot more of that, like, “I’ve got the answer! This is what worked for me, and it’ll work for you,” and I want it to be inspiring like that, right? Now, I’ve got a lot more nuance now. I still teach principles. I still teach here’s what’s working, but I encapsulate it all in frameworks that leave room for that person to decide how to best apply it to their goals and their ends and their values, their strengths or circumstances, and whatever, right, and leave room for the fact that it just might not be the right fit for that person. Maybe they need a different solution.

Rebecca Ching: There is some growing body of research around entrepreneurs and kind of overall mental health and neurological differences, and there is a higher correlation -- or maybe connection is probably the better word -- a higher connection they’re discovering between entrepreneurship, neurodiversity, and mental wellbeing or mental health [Laughs] and the struggles with mental wellbeing. And so, we’ve got the qualities of an entrepreneur: obsessive focus, high risk tolerance, isolation to kind of hunker down, high achievers, to name a few, but a lot of these are correlated with depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar, and, again, they're not bad, but just that there’s definitely something going on in biology and also probably in someone’s trauma history. So you’ve got this culture saying -- like, these aspects of entrepreneur culture. It’s not everywhere anymore which I’m grateful for but, still, there are spaces in it. I think we’re all still detoxing from a lot of this toxic positivity, push through, rugged individualism, pathologizing, not being perfect all the time.

Jason Van Orden: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So you've got these qualities of people who are doing great things and putting great things out in the world, and on the other side, there’s like a double-edged sword between entrepreneur qualities and mental health. How do you experience these double-edged qualities specifically?


Jason Van Orden: This is a really important point, and this also goes back to that idea of, you know, “I kept thinking, oh, if I could just find the one answer and then get rid of all the da-da-da, then I’ll be fine,” and it’s like I finally came to the realization that’s like, oh, if I got rid of all these things that frustrate me, I would have to get rid of all these other traits and strengths that I depend on and my clients and other people who hire me depend on to get things done, and to see patterns, and to have intuitive hits, and whatever the case may be. It’s two sides of a coin, and learning more about neurodiversity has really helped with that. When I got diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, and I started learning about executive functions and understanding, oh, it’s like, okay, I can really shine in these areas, and it also means that [Laughs] maybe I don't shine in these other areas. What’s more important is not going, like, “Oh, I’ve got to get rid of something --,” it’s like okay, great. I can appreciate that they come as a package. I understand that these are -- we’ll call them weaknesses, I guess if you want or just deficiencies or whatever. I’ll just mitigate. I’ll set up systems or I’ll expect less of myself or I’ll communicate in different ways to help it not affect others as much. So I can work against the weaknesses, leverage the strengths, and that’s a huge understanding to come to. Then, also, yeah, I changed my perspective of the entire journey because now I’m not seeking to just completely rid myself of all executive function deficiency and anxiety and depression and stuff because, first of all, it’s just part of life, but also, second of all, yeah, okay, so I have some predispositions or whatever in my setup, and that’s just my package of stuff that I have in life to live with and make the most of.


So I work a lot with my clients in helping them find what I collectively refer to as unique genius which consists of a lot of things, and I think we all have it to some degree. It’s talents, perspectives, nature and nurture given to us, whatever. Pretty much, invariably, there’s always some other side of the coin, right? Maybe you’ve got this positivity strength that shows up amazing as a cheerleader for people in these times and they really appreciate it, and then at other times it’s annoying to people 'cause you're so positive, and you just have to learn, okay, when do I turn this strength up, and when do I maybe just not do it.

Rebecca Ching: It’s a dial.

Jason Van Orden: That was kind of a random example, but… and so, yeah, that’s been a key part of that realization.

Rebecca Ching: Mm, I appreciate you sharing that nuance, and I really hope that folks listening really take that part because there’s a vulnerability in being misunderstood. I think that’s where it comes over so we don't want to lose our belonging, our community, our reputation. We don't want to be misunderstood. Those things are huge, but if we lead from those fears, then we’re missing out on living in our authenticity. I know that’s a big word, but it’s just being honest. We’re not being honest, and I think that’s so important.

So I’m curious. I want to wrap up a little bit talking about success. I’m curious what your view of success now is. What does it look like for you today and how is it different from what you were taught?

Jason Van Orden: So I’m still, on a day-by-day basis, working on success feeling like it’s attached to tangible things like the monetary and providing and certain trappings of what success might look like, and that’s still an ongoing thing. Now, in a more broad sense, I’ve definitely learned -- as I’ve learned more about myself and tapped more into who I am and what makes me happy, I definitely put more time and effort and stock into my relationships and the time I spend with my daughter or am I pursuing my curiosity on a regular basis because I know that that feeds me and makes me happy?


One of the best things I’ve realized for my mental health in the last year is that pretty much every single night after my daughter’s in bed, I go into the backyard, and I look at the stars if it’s clear or I love watching videos on YouTube about physics and the Theory of Relativity and space. I mean, I’ve loved this stuff since I was a kid, and part of that is reconnecting like, wow, I always loved that when I was a kid. Why is that not a part -- and so, I’m bringing that back into my life, right? That’s a marker of success for me. It’s like is that going to immediately make me money or bring in opportunity or have some -- other than it really brings me a lot of joy to just go down the rabbit hole on black holes or whatever, and giving myself that, then, feeds my curiosity, feeds my awe, brings novelty into my life which, then, I think does bleed into other things even if not directly or obviously.

So, I guess, it’s realizing, okay, well, here are the things that really matter to me most and make me happy, and I’m making more time for those as opposed to thinking, well, unless I’ve worked eight hours today or unless I sold a certain amount this week or unless whatever, as a provider, I’ve done, then it feels like I haven't done anything, I have no worth or whatever which are the thoughts that creep up sometimes, unfortunately. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: For sure, well, this is our culture. So you're saying, Jason, not everything has to be monetized. That’s what I’m taking. [Laughs]

Jason Van Orden: Yeah, it’s hard because I love helping people monetize their ideas and expertise.

Rebecca Ching: I’m being sarcastic.

Jason Van Orden: Not everything needs to be monetized, [Laughs] exactly


Rebecca Ching: Awesome. I want to wrap up with some fun, quickfire questions, okay?

Jason Van Orden: Okay.

Rebecca Ching: So what are you reading right now?

Jason Van Orden: I am reading, actually, two books I’m listening to. One is called The Future of Humanity which is all about where we’re going and space and how we might actually get to Mars and beyond, eventually, so it’s just fascinating. It’s written by a theoretical physicist. Then, the other one is going in the opposite direction. It’s called Sapiens about where we’ve come as humans and how we evolved and how culture came about. There’s just so much interesting insight into culture today and humans and how we are the way we are. Both have been quite fascinating.

Rebecca Ching: Ooh, good ones to look into. What song are you playing on repeat?

Jason Van Orden: I never play songs on repeat. It drives me nuts to play songs on repeat. Sometimes my daughter will do it, and, like, “Okay, we really need to change it.” So it’ll be to the point where sometimes if I turn a wrong direction, I don't want to go back the same direction. I’ll find another way. Repetition has always been this thing that just hits my brain weird. My worst nightmare is the ice cream truck out here in the summer that played the same frickin’ song over and over so I have no answer for that question right now.

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] Oh, my gosh, I’ll take that. That’s awesome.

Jason Van Orden: I do like a lot of music, and I’ve actually been going back, in the last couple of weeks, to a lot of nostalgic ‘90s alternative, back to my college days.

Rebecca Ching: Best TV show or movie you’ve seen recently?

Jason Van Orden: Ooh, okay, let’s see. I just finished, last night, one called Particle Fever which is about the Large Hadron Collider in Europe. A huge physics experiment, and they finally discovered this thing called the Higgs. I’m not gonna go into the geeky science, but it’s this particle that’s a key part of how physics and our entire universe works, and it was theorized in the sixties, and, finally, in 2012, they turned this thing on, and they collected enough data that they proved its existence.


The man in his eighties who thought -- in his lifetime, he theorized that he would never see proof of his theory ever. In fact, he was mocked for it. He got to be there when they announced it, and he won the Nobel Prize for next year so it was pretty cool to watch that whole story of these people bringing about probably the biggest breakthrough in physics in our lifetime.

Rebecca Ching: That’s a story of sticking with something.

Jason Van Orden: Yeah, it’s called Particle Fever. You can watch it on YouTube for free, actually.

Rebecca Ching: What is your mantra right now?

Jason Van Orden: My mantra is I definitely remind myself a lot about self-compassion. [Laughs] I’m trying to notice even in just the micro-ways with my tone or a word choice that I throw myself under the bus or put myself down or am critical of my -- and just noticing that and trying to choose different words or just speak out loud to myself in a different way. So self-compassion’s been a big mantra lately.

Rebecca Ching: Nice. What is an unpopular opinion you hold?

Jason Van Orden: Oh, my goodness. Well, I have this weird dichotomy in my beliefs. I’ll try to make this very brief. I’ve been all over the political spectrum. I told you I grew up religious. I was very rightwing. I’m much more what I think you’d call liberal in my viewpoints, now, these days. However, there’s this conflict in my brain about the fact that governments only exist by having a monopoly on violence which inherently feels immoral, right? Like, in the end, it’s through violence that we enforce, but as humans, we are incapable of living any other way so I’m not, like, “Hey, we should be an anarchy tomorrow with no government and some other form of thing,” because I don't think we would survive it as human beings, right? I don't know how to negotiate that in my brain. Certainly, when I bring that up, it twists people and then suddenly questions, like, “Well, what about this, what about schools, what about roads,” and I’m like, I don't know, some really smart people have tried to theorize about how we might do things differently.


I don't know. I’m just saying, philosophically, this is something that I contend with, and I don't think I’ll see the solution in my lifetime because we’re just not evolving fast enough for that, [Laughs] and it doesn't seem to jive with my actual politics of today, right? I also feel like we need to take care of each other and we need social safety and all these other things, and we need human rights, and we need -- so I don't know. There’s an unpopular, conflicting opinion. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: There we go. I appreciate that. I appreciate that. Who or what inspires you to be a better leader and human?

Jason Van Orden: Well, I mean, an easy answer I think would be Brené Brown because we’re both big fans of hers and she’s done such great research in this area, right, and written lots of good stuff. So I definitely look at, not only her work, but how she’s gone about it at a meta level as well is very inspiring for me.

I also am very inspired by scientists right now, and this is just because this is what I’ve been consuming a lot, right? I watch these shows and Einstein, for instance, he just had such a different way of thinking with these little thought experiments, and he suddenly made an intuitive leap that led to one of the biggest breakthroughs in all of our understanding of the universe. There are others like him, right? And so, I get really inspired because it’s non-conventional thinking being willing to go against what everyone else -- and even in the face of people saying, “That’s not how it works. That’s not how it --,” you know? Which, if we’re gonna solve all this mental health stuff, we’ve got to go against a lot of conventional thinking right now, right? Human progress is always going to be counter to a whole lot of conventional thinking that needs to go away. So I get inspired by scientists because they're doing that all the time in terms of just making mistakes and trying this and trying that, and then they're wrong and they're like, “Great, we’ll try that instead.”


And so, I think that’s really cool, and you can apply it to everything else in life, too, not just science.

Rebecca Ching: Not beholden to certainty, right? Staying curious and testing and staying the course with that. I appreciate that so much.

Jason, this has been a really great conversation and one that I’ve wanted to have since I launched the podcast. So I am so grateful you took the time to talk with me today. Where can people find you if they want to connect with you?

Jason Van Orden: Yeah, you can go to jasonvanorden.com. That’s my website if you want to check out my work and what I do or feel free to email me. I’ve written some articles on my site, but I’m always happy to chat about the mental health stuff or whatever thing that this inspired in you. You can email me: [email protected]. I’m most active on LinkedIn if somebody’s looking for a social media place to connect with me. So that’s where you would find me these days, not so much on Facebook or Instagram or TikTok or any of those right now.

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]

Jason Van Orden: For my mental health. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] For your mental health. 

Jason Van Orden: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: I support that. Thank you, again, Jason. This was a real pleasure.

Jason Van Orden: Yeah, this has been a great conversation. I appreciate it. Thank you so much, Rebecca. 

Rebecca Ching: I see, often, how many aspects of corporate and entrepreneurial cultures sell the results of overcoming messages and other hacks and programs that make no room for future struggles and lapses which are 100% common and, frankly, inevitable. So from this toxic mindset, it becomes a moral failing, instead of part of being human, when people struggle and lapse. Now, there are a lot of external constraints that also wear us down. It’s not just an individual issue, but I believe this inner work as an onramp to make the changes we want to see in the world is necessary, and I know many of you are wondering how to support those in your community in a meaningful way share with me that your fear of making space for feelings may overwhelm you or may not be, quote, “professional.”


Well, listen, making mental health a priority is key, and how you approach mental wellbeing can shift the stigmas around struggle while honoring the whole person with as much care as your bottom line. Jason taught us that by leaning into vulnerability and authenticity, and how that helped him foster the courage to speak up about his mental health struggles which resulted in a big impact on many who felt less alone and more open about reclaiming their own mental health story.

So I’m curious. What toxic beliefs or narratives from personal and professional development spaces kept you feeling ashamed from not being fixed quickly? What are some things you can do to reclaim your mental health story? What does support look like for you as you seek to cultivate mental health in the spaces you live and lead? When you prioritize mental wellbeing, you’re looking at how you work and your expectations of others. You don't glorify burnout and, instead, you want to prevent it. You don't pursue overcoming; instead you seek prevention, care, and flexibility, and this is the work of an unburdened leader.

[Inspirational Music]

Leading is hard, and leading is also, often, controversial as you navigate staying aligned to your values, your mission, your boundaries. Navigating the inevitable controversy can challenge your confidence, clarity, and calm, but I know you don’t mind making the hard decisions, but sometimes the stakes seem higher especially around mental health, and it can bring up echoes of old doubts and insecurities during times when you need to feel rock solid on your plan and action.

Finding a coach who gets the nuances of your business and leading in our complex and polarized world can help you identify the blocks that keep you playing at safe and small especially when you want to cultivate and normalize mental health struggles in the spaces that you lead and live.


Now, leading today is not a fancy title or fluffy bragging rights, it is brave and bold work to stay the course when the future is so unknown and the doubts and pains from the past keep showing up to shake things up. Internal emotional practices and systemic strategies are needed to keep the protector of cynicism at bay and foster a hope that is actionable and aligned.

When the stakes are high and you don't want to lose focus, when you want to navigate inevitable conflict between your ears and with those you lead, when time is of the essence and you want to make hard decisions with confidence and clarity, then Unburdened Leader Coaching is for you and where you deepen the capacity to tolerate the vulnerability of change, innovation, and doing things differently than the status quo, and that’s going to be needed as we start to really destigmatize and normalize and cultivate spaces that welcome mental health struggles without sacrificing profit.

To start your Unburdened Leader Coaching process with me go to www.rebeccaching.com and book a free connection call. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Thank you so much for joining me on this episode of The Unburdened Leader. You can find this episode, show notes, ways to sign up for the Unburdened weekly email, and find free Unburdened Leader resources, along with ways to work with me, at www.rebeccaching.com, and if you liked this episode and it was particularly impactful, please, I’d be so grateful for you to go leave a review, leave a testimonial, and, please, share this with those you think might benefit from it. Thank you so much.


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