Colm Dolan of Publift: 5 Ways That Businesses Can Help Promote The Mental Wellness Of Their Employees
Make it one of your business values — We got everyone in our business to identify our core values. One of which was “Healthy Headspace” which basically means keeping attention to your mental health. We address this in our recruitment process and team evaluation.
As a part of my series about the “5 Ways That Businesses Can Help Promote The Mental Wellness Of Their Employees” I had the pleasure of interviewing Colm Dolan.
Colm is a former Googler and founder of Publift — an adtech business that helps online publishers build sustainable revenue streams. He is an ad ops veteran and sports fanatic with a passion for self-improvement and creating better life situations for all.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive into our discussion, 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?
I started off my career working at Google in sales and account management. I spotted a problem that website owners lacked the resources and expertise to make changes to their websites that would have a direct impact on revenue. This really annoyed me so I started a business, Publift, to help these website owners.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
I moved to San Francisco to work with Google and the first client meeting involved going to a Japanese restaurant in LA. They were a big client and I was a bit insecure so wanted to impress. I was presented with chopsticks but never used them before in my life. After struggling for about 20 minutes, I finally asked for a fork and laughed it off as being from “little old Ireland”. It was highly embarrassing at the time.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
Find balance in your life. Ensure you are getting enough sleep, time to meditate/exercise and time with family.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Lead by example. Whatever you do, others will follow. Empower the whole business to live and breath culture. Revisit culture every few years as the business grows. Involve everyone in creating values and the reason the business exists.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Work Smarter, not Harder”. This was a quote taken from my English teacher at school. I am a big believer in efficiency so this quote has been part of my mantra for a long time. In university, my friends and I would get exam papers for the last 5 years. We spotted a pattern to how questions came up so we mostly correctly anticipated the questions being asked. We would then learn off the answers to these questions instead of studying the whole curriculum. This meant we had more time to party!
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. As you know, the collective mental health of our country is facing extreme pressure. In recent years many companies have begun offering mental health programs for their employees. For the sake of inspiring others, we would love to hear about five steps or initiatives that companies have taken to help improve or optimize their employees mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each?
1. Make it one of your business values — We got everyone in our business to identify our core values. One of which was “Healthy Headspace” which basically means keeping attention to your mental health. We address this in our recruitment process and team evaluation.
2. Review in each 1 on 1 to see if they are looking after themselves
3. Yoga/Meditation regularly with the team involved — We conduct bi-weekly Yoga sessions on the balcony. We’ve run meditation sessions within the business.
4. Speak openly about being vulnerable — In our team meeting we’ll sometimes focus on one value and share a story about this.
5. Sponsor charity related to mental health — In coordination with Utld we sponsored a surf event in Manly dedicated to this.
These ideas are wonderful, but sadly they are not yet commonplace. What strategies would you suggest to raise awareness about the importance of supporting the mental wellness of employees?
I would ensure that the leadership team within your organization are trained to support team members. Creating an environment where people are happy to discuss their feelings with each other is crucial in this.
From your experience or research, what are different steps that each of us as individuals, as a community and as a society, can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling stressed, depressed, anxious and having other mental health issues ? Can you explain?
- Look inward — Before helping others it’s important to make sure you are balanced.
- Create an environment where stress is kept to a minimum
- Get deep with a person when you speak, instead of just asking “how was the weekend”. Ask, “what is your purpose in life?”, “what does fun mean to you?’
- Be vulnerable — tell someone of an experience where you felt overwhelmed by stress
- Make people accountable to have balance in their lives
Habits can play a huge role in mental wellness. What are the best strategies you would suggest to develop good healthy habits for optimal mental wellness that can replace any poor habits?
- Wake up early at sunrise
- Move instead of looking at your phone first thing
- Do some exercise
- Spend time in nature
- Watch less TV & news
- Remove Social Media from your phone
Do you use any meditation, breathing or mind-calming practices that promote your mental wellbeing? We’d love to hear about all of them. How have they impacted your own life?
Yes, I’ve been meditating for nearly 7 years now. I started around the same time I started working for myself. It’s been crucial to keep me sane during the rollercoaster ride of running a startup to global business. I started off when a friend introduced me to his own guided meditation. I then downloaded the Headspace app, interminably doing this. I noticed that it really calmed me down, I then started reading some personal development books allied with spiritual teaching like “The Power of Now”. This one consciousness really resonated with me. From there I was interested in learning more about meditation, origins and benefits. I’ve now completed a few courses on https://www.bigshakti.com/ and have a guru that I speak with every 2 weeks. I am a very self aware person because of all of these teachings and keep a really healthy headspace. I’m also really interested in breathing exercises pioneering by Wim Hof and have gone to one of his courses in Sydney. I take a cold shower every day too to get out of my comfort zone!
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?
“The Power of Now”. The basic concept is that there is no other time but now. 99% of the world lives their life consumed by their mind including me! Basically we live our life thinking about the future or the past. We are basically run by our subconscious mind instead of our conscious. But when you take time to reflect and notice that the mind is just a tool, that helps us plan, compute, organise, strategise etc. But its not you, you are not your mind. You are always constant, your mind is always doing something or changing.
When I start to observe my thoughts and feelings instead of experience them it makes sense. So, there is actually a deep serenity around experiencing the now and silencing your mind & thought process. I’ve tried it & got there many times but its so difficult to stay there. It needs a lot of practice. There is an instant peace and tranquility about experiencing the deep now. I can certainly see how living a life of this would mean no worry, stress, anxiety. It takes discipline but I do certainly think this is the key to life.
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. :-)
It would definitely be a movement around presence and consciousness, where we spread love instead of hate. Using the power of positivity and laws of attraction to live a healthier, fuller life. My purpose I’m figuring out is to spread consciousness through entrepreneurism.
What is the best way our readers can further follow your work online?
Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!