In both our work and personal realities, life presents each of us with various challenges, from physical disabilities and mental health struggles to maintaining overall wellness. We all face hardship and adversity in our lives.
During a panel session at ChannelCon 2023, a group of inspiring individuals came together to share their unique experiences and real-life stories about persevering and thriving despite life’s hurdles. Here’s a look at what they had to say.
Building a Community of Trusted Peers
When faced with physical or mental health challenges, first and foremost, one should always consult with a licensed medical professional and seek the care they need. But alongside medical care, finding ways to cope with your individual challenges on a day-to-day basis is also important.
Whether that includes finding support from your peers, getting outside and staying active or setting healthy boundaries, something all the panelists agreed on is that we are much stronger as a community than we are on our own.
“The more open we are with other people about the things that are going on in our life, the less power those things have over us,” said Richard Tubb, IT business growth expert, Tubblog.
“Everything that I do and everything that I feel I have to see it from other people’s perspective because I don’t trust myself. I don’t see myself the way others see me. So when you ask me, ‘how do you deal with this stuff on a daily basis?’ For me, it’s the network, it’s the community, it’s a family I’ve built around me, which is why I’ll never leave the [IT] channel,” said Desraie Thomas, channel community leader.
“I find [vulnerability] so powerful. And it is powerful for other people too, based off of the feedback I get. If you can share what is going on in your life with other people, then that’s a weight that you don’t have to carry by yourself. We are much, much stronger as a community than we are on our own,” Thomas said.
For anyone struggling with mental or physical health challenges, know that you don’t have to face them alone. Whether it be a coworker, a spouse, your manager or a group you seek out, there is support available.
“There are great groups out there, there are local groups, there are groups in the UK, Andy’s Man Club, [for example], there are so many resources out there today, as opposed to thirty years ago, that can be used to your advantage and the advantage of others to make a difference in people’s lives and how you care about them,” said Scott Scrogin, strategic initiatives director, ConnectWise.
Comparison and Setting Boundaries
As humans, it is natural to compare ourselves to others. And with the popularity of social media, this is an even larger issue among people of all ages, genders, backgrounds and upbringings. Social media can be a wonderful tool when used for things such as marketing, networking and keeping up with friends and family, but it also makes it very easy to compare your real-life struggles to someone else’s curated highlight reel.
“The people you hang out with [in person] are super, super important. But the people you hang out with online as well are just as important,” Tubb said.
And while many MSPs go to various social media platforms to network with others in the industry, discerning when and where to spend time online and setting your own boundaries can ensure your social media usage doesn’t contribute to and exacerbate existing challenges.
Boundaries are not only important in your online life, but in all aspects, whether it be work, or personal, setting healthy boundaries is critical to any person’s overall well-being.
Don’t Underestimate the Difference You Can Make
Whether you’re a busy business owner, cybersecurity professional or help desk technician, it can be easy to forget that our coworkers, managers and clients are humans first, and that every one of them faces their own challenges, both personally and professionally.
“People don’t walk into our offices with red, yellow and green blinking lights on their heads. And you can’t just look at them and say, ‘wow, this person is really having a bad day, or this person is really struggling,’” Scrogin said.
We all have the power to make a difference in someone else's life. Whether it be by reaching out to someone you haven’t talked to in while, lending a listening ear to a colleague or giving a friend or coworker a safe place to open up and be vulnerable, our actions can make a positive impact on those around us.
“There really is no substitute for listening and there really is no substitute for knowing somebody at a deeper level so that you can tell when things aren’t right with them,” Scrogin said.
Give Yourself Some Grace
Being there for and caring for others is incredibly important, but to be able to show up for and support our friends, family members and co-workers, we also must take care of ourselves.
We all have bad days, “and journaling has been really, really helpful for me. So, every morning I write down three things that I am grateful for and three things that went well,” Tubb said. “As human beings we are predisposed to seek out the negative. So, by journaling and looking for the positive and writing it down every day and rewiring your brain to say, ‘when I’m in that low mood and my negative brain is saying to me, ‘you’re not enough,’’ I give a look at the journal, and it reminds me of all of the awesome things that have happened and all of the brilliant people that I’m surrounded with.”
Finding ways that help you focus on the positive in your life is incredibly important, but so is treating yourself with as much respect as you’d treat someone else.
“Give yourself some grace. I looked at people around me and realized the friends, the people I really love, the people I only kind of like, how I treat them, I need to treat myself with the same respect,” Thomas said. “So, when things are really hard, give yourself some grace, breathe and understand that you are a person who deserves love, and you are loved.”