00:00:00 You're listening to the speed of presence, psychological health and safety podcast. Today, I'm joined by my family to give you an overview of how to create psychological health and safety in a family. And also what our experience is in workplaces that are filled with stress, anxiety, and trauma, and how to actually deal with those types of places. Hi everybody.
00:00:21 My name is trace Hobson and after 25 years of working in the corporate world and trying to hide anxiety, unresolved trauma, and the mental health problems that me and my family were going through. I've become convinced of three things. The first one is that I'm not alone and I never was, even though I felt that way because of stigma or ignorance. The second is that vulnerability is a super power.
00:00:47 And when I take the time to be present and share honestly, and openly with people at home and at work, it transforms my relationships and my mental health. And the third is that we can turn the mental health crisis around in our country and our world by learning how to create safe spaces in our workplaces, so that people feel important, valued, included,
00:01:12 and psychologically healthy and say, we're here to help our workplaces and our families heal from anxiety, unresolved trauma and the mental health crisis that's going on in our country and around the world by using psychological health and safety coaching, we believe that when organizations put their people's mental health and wellbeing, first through support, training and intervention, we will see lives, families and communities transform.
00:01:39 And while it's true that the economical impact of having psychological health and safety is incredibly powerful and positive. That's not the reason why we're doing this. The reason why we're doing this is because when you put the psychological health and safety of your people, first, it's the most practical way do the right thing. Because every human being that you work with represents families,
00:02:04 partners, children, parents, and a huge opportunity for us to support each other as human beings. This is the speed of presence, psychological health and safety podcast. Enjoy the show. Hello, ladies and gentlemen, this is trace Hobson here. Thank you so much for tuning into another episode here on the speed of presence podcast today is a very special episode.
00:02:27 Why? Because we have just wrapped up an interview with my family, my dad, Joe, my mom, Carol, and my sister, Kimberly. Now we do things just a little bit differently on this podcast because we'd want to make sure that we're not just talking in theory, but that we're also talking in practicalities. We also want to make sure that we're not just talking about things,
00:02:47 but that we're actually experiencing them and embodying them so that we can actually change our lives and our work and what I've seen in a lot of people's lives. And my own is that sometimes it's easier to talk about something than to actually experience it. I learned this, especially in health and safety and some of the most robust health and safety programs in the world.
00:03:09 There's often a tendency to talk about safety, but to not actually experience psychological health and safety in the workplace. So in this first episode, we dive right into what we've been able to do as a family to create psychological health and safety in our meetings. And for me and my family, that has been a real process to be able to deal with the stress,
00:03:31 the anxiety and the trauma that we've experienced throughout the years. Now, this is also kicking off our series where we're going to apply the 13 psychosocial factors of psychological health and safety. These factors come from the Canadian standard on psychological health and safety. That is widely being used in healthcare, education and business to learn how to create safe spaces for people at work.
00:03:54 But I believe this standard is also something that we can adopt at home as well. In fact, we talk about in this episode, how workplaces from our perspective could be incredible support system for people that are struggling in silence with stress, anxiety, and trauma. Just imagine a workplace where people could learn how to navigate those things so that they could start to thrive at work.
00:04:17 And then they could also take those tools and skills home to transform their family life as well. This has been my experience because after trying to survive on my own in silence with PTSD anxiety and mental health challenges, that me and my founder were going through to do something different and see practical healing and freedom in my own life, in my family's life and in my work.
00:04:40 Now, if I'm really honest, the reason that I kept everything so bottle up inside is because I didn't even know how to articulate what was happening. And every time I would try, I would be overwhelmed by anxiety, panic and an emotional paralysis that made it impossible for me to speak. Sometimes now it's not anybody's fault, but when somebody is in that kind of a state and they can't communicate for themselves,
00:05:03 people jumped to their own conclusions. There's a tendency for people to actually think it's a moral issue or it's a character issue, or that person is just not a good fit in one role or another at work. So I learned really quickly to bottle this stuff up to survive. But of course the only problem with that is that when you squeeze everything inside,
00:05:22 eventually a lot of negative consequences begin to spill out. This is so much more common than a lot of people understand. And what ends up happening is that people's lives get devastated by addiction, mental illness, family breakdown. And in some cases, even go on disability because of something that can be elusive and difficult, but is treatable and transformable. So what I'm here to tell you is that if you have any experience personally,
00:05:49 with what I'm sharing with you here, you're not alone. I'm here to tell you, you never have to be alone again. So if you're struggling with PTSD, anxiety or trauma, you don't have to get through it by yourself. There are resources and help that you may not even know exist. And I'm hoping that this podcast becomes one of those resources as well.
00:06:12 Now you may not have that experience in any way, and you might not be able to relate to what it is that I'm sharing, but that's totally okay as well because this podcast is definitely for you too, because I guarantee that if you are an employee, a manager, a supervisor, or you work in any kind of workplace in Canada or the world for that matter,
00:06:32 the effects of stress, anxiety, and trauma are absolutely touching your life as well. In fact, the Canadian mental health association says that in any given week one in five Canadians will personally experience a mental health problem or illness and that the projected economic cost of mental illness for us in Canada in 2021 is actually going to hit $79 billion with approximately 25 billion of that being directly related to employers and workplaces because of disability claims,
00:07:03 absenteeism and presenteeism. So what all of that is saying is that in this country and all over the world, there are people in workplaces and homes that are suffering in silence, just like I did. Maybe you're one of those people, or maybe you work with someone like that. My intention with this podcast is to end that suffering by teaching people, how to use what I call psychological health and safety coaching at work and at home.
00:07:30 In fact, me and my family really believes that workplaces can play a key role in training their people to thrive at work. And then those same people can take those skills and tools home to their families that has been our experience and what has helped us to overcome so much that we thought was going to be impossible for our family to overcome. Now I'm so proud of my family for the way that we've been able to learn how to create a psychologically healthy and safe space.
00:07:57 And I'm also proud of our country for creating a Canadian standard on psychological health and safety, which is now being used as a reference all over the world. So in this episode, we discuss everything that I just shared with you, but we also cover one of the 13 psychosocial factors of psychological health and safety in the series. There are 13 factors in all.
00:08:18 And so today we're going to cover the first one. And then each week we're going to cover an additional one where my family will talk about the factor and how to apply it practically. Now, without further ado, let's get to the interview. I think back to when we went on holidays and dad, you didn't even feel like you could actually relax because you had your boss chasing you all the way down the Oregon coast with phone call after phone call,
00:08:44 after phone call. I mean, did you feel psychologically safe in your job? I don't think so. I felt that I was being used like terrible. So, and I wasn't getting On that holiday that you speak of. Finally, we were left with Joe was supposed to come home right then and we had to stop or holiday and get home or there wouldn't be a job.
00:09:13 So both Joe and I talked about it and we decided, no, that's not acceptable. We're going to finish our holiday. So we finished the holiday, but it was anxious because we didn't know what we're coming home to. It was when, when, when my dad died, like mom had died in less than six months later, dad died too.
00:09:41 And we all went out to Squamish and, and Jerry was being the executor all by herself and, and we were cleaning out the place and whatnot, and we needed an, I needed with the family to take another day. So I took the Monday, we wrote, we went to go over the weekend. I did the Monday game back and was pulled up on the carpet Rover,
00:10:06 having the audacity that I could miss work for an extra day after both, my parents had died in six months, that was really bad to do such a thing. And I was on the bridge of agreeing it wasn't long after that. I left that place, but somewhere else. So I can imagine like what a horrible experience, God, that's a lot of internal pressure.
00:10:37 And like, I, yeah, I couldn't imagine We had a screwed up family. There were reasons for it. So this speaks to some of the things that I think that it's easy to overlook within yourself and that I've overlooked for a long time. And when you look at Canada and what the stats are saying about this, we one in five human beings in Canada,
00:11:08 every single week end up in some sort of mental health care because of the kind of things work that we're talking about right now, addiction, trauma, stress, you name it, family issues, all of those things going on. And employers, I'd like to say that, you know, that would never happen. What you just described God again. But the truth is that most employers still don't see their role in the mental health and safety of the human beings that they have working with them.
00:11:48 And that's just, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Like they're not doing anything wrong. It's just more and not understanding the ways in which they could be supporting the people that work there. And so I look at that and I think man, you know, what we're discovering is that when you have a psychologically healthy and safe space at work, it naturally starts to flow into the household.
00:12:15 I mean, the fact is when I initially looked for help for me and my daughters, that immediately was something I applied at work more at the time it's a survival skill than anything else I did. Like it wasn't like I was trying to promote some health and safety plan. I was literally just trying to make it through another day. It was so stressful where I worked.
00:12:38 Right. And so I did it out of that, but it started to have an effect on me and on the people I worked with that was really positive for them and for me, but what really caught my heart was when those people went home and they said that their relationships at home were starting to change. And that's what we discovered too, because I started to bring that same stuff to you guys.
00:13:02 And we started to do this call together. Right. And so I don't know, I, I really feel like the idea that I have inside of me about this is that we can have a profound effect on people's lives when we create psychologically healthy and safe work environments and homes, and that we can actually do one by doing the other, like we can actually,
00:13:29 if we can do that at work, it's just going to flow into people's lives in their personal lives. And it's, it opens up a, another field that some employers, the more progressive ones are realizing is retention. The younger millennial won't stand for some of the stuff dad's talking about. They're out of there. And, and the workforce isn't as a baker,
00:14:01 as it used to be. So the employers has to have to change and look at retention of their employees. Well, 60% of, I believe it's as high as 60% of all disability claims are mental health related. While 23% of Canadian workers say they feel comfortable talking to their employer about their mental health and their family's mental health. So that number is hugely high on the one side,
00:14:34 all of the claims that we're paying for as Canadians and it's $51 billion a year, this is costing our economy. Only 23% of workers feel comfortable enough to actually do what that girl did that you just described, like to say, I need help. Right? Like most people going to work are not going to say right now, at least I need, I need help.
00:15:02 No, I think the thing that strikes me about this is there's several layers of target demographic here. Like you've got the organizations and I, I have this sentence for you in particular trace because you're such a natural teacher going into organizations and actually teaching them about the value of it is, is significant. It's like one of those untapped places in a really big way.
00:15:35 And then of course, you've got on the level of employee training and awareness for them in terms of mental health and being able to bridge that gap between employer and employee and then of course family. So there's these three major sections, Most workplaces would say, keep your damn family out of it and focus on your job. We don't want to mix family and work.
00:16:02 I mean, you know, but the truth is that it's already affecting those workplaces. So profoundly that in order for like mom, you said retention in order for absenteeism to go down and pre absenteeism to go down and retention and engagement to go up, it's, it's, it's gonna make sense. It just makes sense in the data that if you create a psychologically healthy and safe workplace,
00:16:31 that that is going to happen for the employer, but even more so it's the right thing to do to help people, you know, you wanna help your people thrive and be healthy and whole so that we can have the kind of workplace that we all want to have something that's filled with peace and harmony and success, Happy and healthier employer employee that any level going to home at the end of the day is going to treat you as family a whole lot different than the guy who can't wait to get home,
00:17:08 to get stone, to get forget at all. Yeah. I mean, It's not the truth that blame and symbol Well, and money, monetary waste too, as is the bottom line is everyone's going to be more productive. Yeah. Statistics have proven that actually, you know, when somebody is in the better state of mind, they're more productive. That's just how It's proven that the return on investment is massive.
00:17:36 If the company puts in the time and effort to be, to do this work. Right. So I think that there's something you're in a big way. Yeah. But how many programs are out there and many ready, available, you know, programs that is, can integrate to any business or any structure are really out there? Well, I think that there's,
00:18:01 well, I think that there is a lot of training, but this is the, this is the differentiator that I have that I believe is more important and I'm a practically applied person. So I love to have training that isn't just us talking about something, but that we're actually experiencing what it means to feel psychologically healthy and safe. And here's the problem with a lot of treatment at,
00:18:27 I see health and safety overall, occupational health and safety and psychological health and safety is that we talk about the psychosocial factors of psychological health and safety and all that stuff. But how often do we actually talk about it and experience it in the training? That's what we, that's what I have to offer in transformational presence, coaching and tier. And that mix that I'm using is that we're going to talk about this and we're going to,
00:19:00 it's going to make sense. It's going to be evidence based material, but it's also going to be experiential so that people can embody it, feel it, and then pick up skills and tools that they can actually apply. Sounds like a good introduction to a government. You wouldn't go to work for. Exactly. Exactly. So the first factor that I'm looking at my screen here,
00:19:24 there's just, you know, there's, there's 13 in total, so we we've got, you know, we're just going to talk about one, I'll just do a little introduction of what the factor is. And then what they say is, if you can state this about your organization and I'm adding family, then you have, what's felt like what feels like a win in this factor,
00:19:49 but also the beginnings of a psychologically healthy and safe environment. So the first factor is called organizational culture, the culture of the organization or the family, the organizational culture is a mix of norms, values, beliefs, meetings, and expectations. That group members hold in common and use as behavioral and problem solving cues, organizational culture could enhance the psychological safety and health of the workplace and the workforce when it is characterized by trust,
00:20:25 honesty, respect, civility, and fairness, the statements for each factor are provided to help people think about the current state of their own workplace or in this case, family. And the more strongly that people agree with the statements, the more likely that they have psychologically safe and workplaces, as you read each statement, answer either yes or no, or sometimes can you state that in your organization,
00:20:57 team, family, that one, all people are held accountable for their actions or take responsibility for their actions. Yes, no. Sometimes do people show sincere respect for other's ideas, values and beliefs? Yes, no. Or sometimes are difficult situations addressed effectively. Do people feel that they're part of a community and the last one is, do people trust each other no matter what role or position that they hold.
00:21:37 So based on your answers, the total yeses, the total knows the sometimes then you can start to get a sense of is this first factor something that we have, there's a couple of things in here that we can talk about, but first things first, do you, what do you notice about and discover as you're with this particular factor, what are you learning about the culture of this meeting or this family?
00:22:07 I had to go through all six of those. The first one I'll talk about, but most of it is mostly yes, no. Or maybe it's time. Yeah. Is mostly, it is in effect or at least it has over the last few years become, so people being called to be accountable. I think that's there. I don't really recall any,
00:22:45 yeah. Maybe there's been the odd time, but I don't know that there's been a whole lot of need for it, even though, because we're all pretty honest. Well, one of the things that I noticed that's really powerful about this meeting that we've had in our family is the fact, and this kind of holds up the, my theory, what my theory is,
00:23:04 is that when you create a psychologically healthy and safe space, that there are some natural things that happen. I would say that we don't really hold each other accountable. Oftentimes we hold ourselves accountable. That's a better answer. Yeah, No, we actually say, you know, we like we communicate when we've done something or said something or something, maybe it has hurt us or we didn't agree with,
00:23:34 or he didn't like, and if there has been some sort of a need to, to take responsibility for something I've seen all four of us at times take responsibility for those, for that, for the, the way we showed up. Right. I think the one trust each other, it undergirds everything else because respect and trust you. We have created that between us.
00:24:06 Yeah. I think for the most part on that one also stood out to me, mom, in terms of, I felt like trust has been kind of developed through vulnerability and risk and maybe working through historical trust issues. And, and by taking those risks of vulnerability, it's allowed that trust to build. Whereas before maybe there was fear in terms of,
00:24:38 oh, am I really an important member of this family? Do I have something to contribute? Is it important to the other members of the family that I contribute? Those kinds of questions, internal questions and dialogue that I had has been healed because I've been willing to say, yeah, I'm feeling kind of insecure or, you know, or sharing my vulnerability or risking the possibility that somebody may disagree or whatever.
00:25:06 Right. So I think trust that one in particular is really important, but it's also a process. Yeah. What do you notice about the reality that we didn't actually dredge anything up to, to quote a dress and quote from the past, like I look back at our calls over the last two years and even further, and I don't remember us sort of saying,
00:25:34 okay, this meeting's going to be about this event or this thing, those things just seem to naturally kind of come to the forefront as it was time to process them and to be with them. So that trust could be sort of rebuilt or because there was a lot of things to be distrustful of each other around. I know for me there was like looking back,
00:26:02 you know, some of the things that happened, I, I was distrustful of the whole world, especially my family. And so vulnerability was definitely a huge one for me and taking the risk. And also I think the, the exercise that I used over and over again for me, was acknowledging in other words, recognizing what happened, but not having to do anything with it,
00:26:27 just acknowledging it and then appreciating all of the ways that I've survived, that thing, whatever that was, and then accepting that it happened. And the way it happened was the way it happened. And it's actually complete, it's no longer here now it's, it's ex you know, accepting that I can let go of it and then allowing something new to happen in the relationship space between me and my family,
00:26:58 each member of my family. So for me, I'm putting words on it. I don't know that I could have articulated that a couple of years ago. I probably, I don't think I could have, but for me, that's kind of what has built trust and a culture of trust without having to dredge up the past. I think a big part of that,
00:27:18 and you're absolutely right, is that it didn't, this, isn't the kind of thing that happens overnight. It took a, took a while and it took each one of us at different times to pick up the ownership of whatever that might've been. You know, whether it's blind spots or out note your park in the event, my part in the event,
00:27:55 and that you were willing to step up, There's like such a, a cultural safety that comes from feeling like your perspective of what happened. It's been validated and it's important to the other members. Like even if it's not from their perception, even accurate, it doesn't matter, but your experience is validated and important. And each individual does their own work with that.
00:28:27 And what, what needs to happen. Right. Kind of what dad's saying. It's a practice of trust as well. It's not a perfect sort of fix the problem kind of thing. It's a, it's a practice of stepping into the responsibility that I have for my part, from my role and understanding that just because I'm stepping into that, that doesn't mean that now I'm going to be rejected or punished or judged in a way that's con condemning.
00:29:03 It means that I'm stepping into a rightful space of responsibility and that I can take responsibility for my part, knowing that then I can show up and be the best that I can be going forward as well. It's a form of growth as opposed to condemnation Feeling very, very vulnerable. I think a lot of people, especially my age, they built up so many,
00:29:39 so many defenses, the idea that they, they have to show up is pretty scary. And I don't think they even know how, and, and my family has taught me little by little, I I'm, I'm standing in my place. And so I'm, I'm sitting here wondering why I feel so vulnerable. I've I have a family that loves me.
00:30:12 It's it's really strange. And I think I wouldn't be alone in, in family situations. I think there would be a lot of people that were be, be there. So I'm going to have to go away and ponder why I feel so far with, I was just gonna say, thanks for sharing that long, because I do, I feel about to,
00:30:38 to some degree, there's a certain degree when you start talking about it, you're just, you feel a little exposed, but something that came up as you were talking that I feel like has been really, really important is that each individual gets their own pace at this. Like they, there's no pressure to be somewhere you're not, and it's okay to like take whatever time you need to.
00:31:01 And, and everybody has different trust levels and that's okay. Like there isn't, there isn't this big expectation to be way over here and trust if you're overshared that's okay. What, what struck me about what you're saying that I can build on from Kim? What you're sharing about your own pace is that what makes me feel vulnerable, which is showing up in the fullness of who I am at any given moment,
00:31:28 even though I may may feel afraid about doing that is the one thing that gives me access to all of the things that I long for as well, which is sort of this juxtaposition, this dance back and forth between, you know, vulnerability and fully showing up and realizing that when I do that, I can be at home within myself and my own presence.
00:31:57 And that that's actually the best place for me to be. And it happens at the speed of my presence. It doesn't happen at the speed that other people think that it should happen at. And so one of the keys to having a culture like this, I think is having people around you that even though they may think, well, you know, I wished that person was going a little faster or a little slower that it's okay,
00:32:26 because we are all safe to be who we are, no matter what that means is that each one of us has the right and the responsibility to say, yay or nay on something. You know, we actually get to decide it's our decision. It's such a key component. What you're saying, you know, that I get to make the choice and that my choice is the right choice for me,
00:32:59 even though it may not be the right choice for you. And it, it struck me as you're talking to that, sometimes we, at least I do. I put this internal pressure on myself to be at a different pace. And it, it is the speed of my presence. And it's whether or not I'm willing to like, do my own internal acceptance and acknowledgement of what that piece looks like.
00:33:24 Maybe it's not what I would kind of expect it to be, or think it should be or whatever. And just being really mindful of the actual pacing that's going on inside of me and to like, love and respect that pace internally for myself. I don't know if you relate to that, mom, I understand that like perfectionistic, you know, I want to be over here.
00:33:50 We do that kind of to ourselves a little bit and trying not to, Well, I think everything that happens, you know, it's funny. And when you talk about organizations and what happens in, you know, management meetings or trainings, a lot of the time, this is why it is that it's easier to talk about things than to experience things.
00:34:15 Because when you talk about stuff, you don't actually need to be present to do that. You can actually talk theoretically and you can talk and have your phone out and looking at your text messages and thinking about all the other things you have to do today. But when you slow down and experience what we're talking about, and you experienced psychological safety, and you do that through your presence,
00:34:41 you do that when you are present. And that seems counter-intuitive for a lot of organizations, because I mean, we're way too busy for that right now. I mean, we can't, I have a hundred things to do. I can't take the time to breathe and slow down. Right? I can't take the time to actually just be present with you and experience a conversation with you.
00:35:06 And, you know, I have too much to do, you know, that that's usually what happens in those places. They feel that internal pressure to get shit done, get to the to-do list, get onto the next thing, you know, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up is kind of the stance that most people are in,
00:35:30 you know, Makes me think of this, the tier terminology around congruency, right? And just like being congruent with what's happening for you right now, versus like all of these perceptions, expectations, feelings, and all of this stuff that we kind of live peripherally behaviorally, right? Rather than our yearnings, those deep desires of being connected and acknowledged and validated and seen all of that stuff.
00:36:03 It does create once you get a taste of the, this experience, it creates a longing. So, which is good because if a person is entirely honest with themselves, that's what they want. So once people get a taste of it, they're hooked. Yeah. I know I was. So that's factor one organizational culture. And if you have a culture that feels psychologically safe and healthy,
00:36:44 then it's characterized by those things. And the things we've been talking about. The other thing I'll just say too about this, that I think is important. That strikes me as I hear you guys talking about this is that it is a practice. You know, we're not supposed to be perfect at this or even good at this. We're supposed to, or invite it into practicing it,
00:37:07 which is a big distinction. It's progress, not perfection. Yeah. It strikes me that like even the four A's or the, the eight, all of that process, sometimes that can happen in like five seconds. Sometimes it can happen in five months, right. Over a certain issues. So understanding that there's like, there is no timeline around what point you're at with something.
00:37:39 Not at all. Yeah. Or sometimes it could take five years Or 52. All right. Thank you everybody for tuning in. And I look forward to seeing you in next week's show.