Breaks are essential for your mental health. Sometimes you need to unplug and really step away from all of your pending workplace issues. This gives you time to reset but also think and enjoy life.
I had the pleasure to interview Bradley Thompson. Bradley is a digital marketer, content creator, marketing professor and Team Canada Athlete from Toronto, Canada. He is dedicated to educating and inspiring people through his very Canadian lifestyle blog, “Living The Canadian Dream“, podcast “Living the Canadian Dream Podcast” and his Youtube videos, “Bradley Thompson Vlogs“.
Furthermore, Bradley was nominated as a finalist for the 2017 CAMP Student Marketer of the Year award for his work in digital marketing with his lifestyle blog, Living the Canadian Dream.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Growing up it was always one of my dreams to be on Team Canada. I was always athletic and highly competitive in sports like Hockey until I had a life-changing concussion that stopped my hockey career prematurely.
Years later, I stumbled upon multi-sports and decided to take my long-time love for running and cycling to the next level. Through intense training and dedication, I qualified for a spot on Age Group Team Canada for the 2020 ITU Multisport World Championships held in Almere, Netherlands for the Sprint Duathlon in my first year of competing in the sport! I plan to take my training to the next level and truly make a name for myself in the world of multisport!
Aside from being a part-time athlete, I spend my time working on my podcast & blog called, “Living the Canadian Dream”, working as a digital marketing professional at a fast-growing marketing agency called, “DigiHype Media Inc.” and teaching Marketing at an incredible Canadian College. Life is busy but I am doing what I love and it has been an incredibly fulfilling journey so far and I look forward to the future.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I’m going to give you an example from my racing journey as this is a big part of my life and personal brand. In terms of being a Duathlete the most interesting story would be the fact that I qualified for Age Group Team Canada in my first year of competition. It was always one of my dreams to be on Team Canada but I never thought it would come in the sport of Duathlon especially not in my first year of competition. Life is crazy sometimes and you never know what opportunities your hard work will give you!
Additionally, being a part-time athlete means just that, I have a life outside of training and balancing my training and work schedule is extremely tricky sometimes!
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
One of the most brutal mistakes I made recently in my life was competing in a local sprint duathlon, I was doing fantastic in the race and missed a turnaround point in the course. This was a costly mistake because I ended up losing about 20 positions and running an extra couple of kilometers because of this mental lapse! So one of the things I learnt from this mistake was to always review the racecourse beforehand and pay attention to the road ahead. This mistake was preventable and it only happened because I wasn’t focussing on the road ahead!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Iam truly grateful for my awesome parents. They taught me hard work, the value of a dollar, and the importance of working towards a goal. I learnt the “art of work ethic” at a very young age and I am forever grateful for that. I started delivering newspapers at 8 years old with my parents (yes, they helped me slug papers) and I haven’t stopped working hard since then. By helping me with my paper route at a young age it showed me that they believed in the lesson of work ethic and that they were willing to help me along the way.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
When it comes to working hard and growing in an industry it is important to stay fresh and steer clear from burnout. I used to get burnt out back in the day while I was trying to manage school, work and my personal projects. But I have learnt a lot about the art or avoiding burnout and this is what you need to do.
Take breaks — Breaks are key, I’m not just talking about 5-minute breaks, I’m talking about taking a rest day once and a while. This will make a HUGE difference when it comes to consistency.
Get a hobby- Even if you love what you do, that can’t be your entire life. Get a hobby to give yourself something to look forward to outside of the office.
Workout- If you want to avoid burn out then you need to start living a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy and work out regularly as this will not only help you physically but also mentally. There is no excuse to not take care of your body and mind.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
When it comes to work culture there are many things that matter from relationships, work fulfillment and opportunity for growth. But besides the obvious, there are two essentials of great work culture. The first element is “positivity”, if the work environment is not filled with positivity and optimism, people won’t be happy. The second element is ”freedom”.
Are you micromanaging your employees? Do they have the opportunity to be creative? Can they take proper vacations?
If you aren’t happy with what you are doing, don’t do it! Your work takes up a large portion of your life and it should be fulfilling, exciting and enjoyable; if not try to make the most of it. Having a positive attitude will change your life and perspective and it will even rub off on the people you interact with. If you are positive and optimistic it will change the energy in the workplace and show others that you enjoy your work and that you are optimistic about the future.
Furthermore, I don’t believe in micromanaging, I believe in providing detailed instructions and then detailed feedback when the task is complete. If you are trying to micromanage someone especially when they are working on a task, you will limit their creativity, make them unhappy and not allow them to expand the project beyond your vision. If you want employees to do great work then you need to give them creative and challenging tasks along with the freedom to complete the tasks and some detailed feedback along the way (not micromanaging).
In addition, although I have always been a believer in working hard, I also believe in taking a break. You can’t sustain hard work without taking breaks and that is why vacations are very important when it comes to curbing burnout.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.
Ifyou are trying to improve your mental wellness, here are 5 things you need to do. I have been able to experiment over the years from living a ridiculously busy schedule and experiencing work burnout and this is what truly works for me.
- Take A break- Breaks are essential for your mental health. Sometimes you need to unplug and really step away from all of your pending workplace issues. This gives you time to reset but also think and enjoy life.
- Workout & eat health — Living a healthy lifestyle is essential for mental wellness optimization. If you want to be physically and mentally optimal you need to take care of your body. Workout daily and eat healthy because this will change your life in the long run and allow you to be consistent.
- Hobbies- Hobbies are one of the most beneficial past times of a busy person. These take your mind off of workplace stressors and give you something to work towards whether it is skill development or a fun activity.
- Grow as a person- Make goals for yourself that are work-related, have a list of things you want to learn and read as much as you can. When it comes to growing as a person learning is essential whether you are reading books, taking classes or working on side projects. This will truly change your life.
- Set goals- Set SMART goals for yourself in all aspects of your life such as work, fitness and personal projects! This will keep you focussed but break them down so they are more manageable. Don’t just focus on the 10km run, focus on getting to the next kilometer!
Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement? Please share a story or an example for each.
Although I am not retired, I have had the opportunity to watch my grandpa excel in retirement. He is over 80 years old and still works out multiple times a week and is crushing it. I have noticed that when it comes to mental wellness and overall health his workout routine has been essential. He doesn’t just lift weights, he does a lot of cardio such as cycling which keeps him in shape. This physical health relates directly to mental health because when you feel healthy and the doctors agree, that takes a lot of mental stress off of you especially when you are an older individual.
How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?
Ifyou are a younger individual mental health is extremely important especially since you spend so much time on social media and your phone. When I was younger I always had a busy schedule which helped me grow, stay fulfilled and live a healthy lifestyle. For example, I was always working part-time while in school, playing competitive sports, playing music in a band and heavily involved in school clubs.
- Get involved in school — This will help you meet people, learn and grow. So join a sports team, club or association and it will give you something to look forward to!
- Get active (health and sports)- Stay healthy and be positive because taking care of yourself will make a huge difference on your mental and physical health.
- Learn Something- What are you passionate about? Learn on your own time or take a class to learn a new skill? Do you want to learn how to play the guitar? Take a class!
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
Can’t hurt me by David Goggins is probably my favorite book of all time.
I read this book a year ago and it honestly changed my life. This book will kick your ass and help you get your shit together, or it will just push you to work as hard as you can and be grateful for your life. So if you need some motivation or a kick in the butt then this book is for you.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Take ownership of your life.
Don’t be lazy and don’t make excuses, it’s time to take control of your mental and physical health. I want people to set goals, learn more about the things they are passionate about, invest in themselves, don’t be selfish and live a healthy lifestyle.
Lebron James spends millions of dollars a year on maintaining his health which allows him to perform at his best, so what if you don’t have a million dollars? A ten-dollar gym membership can change your life. So invest in yourself and follow through with it.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
One of my favorite quotes of all time was from Steve Jobs. He said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” This has been one of my guiding principles since high school and I can honestly say that at this stage in my life I truly love what I do in all aspects of my life from hobbies to work; life is incredible.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
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Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!