How I learned to be a candid leader while being mindful of my mental health


A collection of thoughts exploring how to be candid about leading while being mindful of your mental health

According to the World Health Organization, one in four people on the planet has, or will be, affected by mental disorder issues. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

Yet we stigmatize these diseases. Too often, we are punitive to the people that are suffering instead of supporting them. Over the next few months, we are going to be candid about leading while being mindful of your mental health.

My entire life I have coped with bipolar disorder and the anxiety that it can create. At the same time, I have launched five companies (all but one continue to be successful), launched a statewide non-profit, and turned a regional chamber around.

Today, I serve in a high stress, community facing role for a reputable international company. According to society at large, I shouldn’t be able to do any of these things because of an illness and a cloud of shame that should plague me and all of my endeavors.

Before I go too much further, let me state clearly, I am not a doctor. This is not medical advice. If you are suffering, talk to your friends and family and seek medical attention immediately.

The purpose here is to add a face to the chorus of people who have to be extra mindful of their mental health.

Let’s start by talking about how we can all maintain our mental health and specifically what I do to keep my bipolar under control.


Meditation has been shown to improve memory and sharpen your thinking. Taking 10 minutes a day has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve physical ailments, and help on chronic issues. This can be done any time of day and during the highest high or lowest low. Regardless, it has immense benefits.

Group Exercise

Personally, distance running has become my go-to group exercise. The way I look at it, run next to someone for an hour or two at a time and that person will become your friend, your coach, your advocate, your therapist, and everything else in between. Whether it is running, walking, cross-fit — find your group and find your release.

Knowing Your Identity

I am bipolar. I am not my disease. There is a strong separation. On days when the mania or the depression flare up, it is important to know that with the right people, medicine, or action, they will subside. That I do not become the disease and the disease is not my identity. Instead, I identify as a runner, movie lover, entrepreneur, community member, and so much more. I encourage you to write your personal mission statement or find a way to create affirmations or encouragements long term.


This is one I was skeptical of for a long time. I now begin and end my day with three gratitudes. The act of giving specific gratitudes is been shown to benefit your mental health and your leadership skills. The simple act of acknowledging what you are grateful for, even if you don’t write it down, made individuals more generous, less stressed, and more devoted to a cause or charity.

These are some of the actions you can take to help your own well-being. But, how do we fight the stigma of mental illness from a social perspective?

Here are ways we can all fight stigma.

  1. Talk openly about mental health
  2. Educate yourself and others on mental health solutions
  3. Be conscious of the words you and others use (and call out the bad stuff)
  4. Treat physical and mental health as separate sides of the same coin
  5. Be honest about your needs
  6. Fight self-stigmatization and empower others instead of shaming them

Developing mental strength is like working out a muscle. At first it’ gets stressed with little action and takes a lot of time and energy. As you get stronger, and with time, it becomes more about maintenance.

We are all in this together. The odds are someone you are close to is either currently affected by mental health issues or knows someone who is going through something. We can all create the safety net for each other. As a person who has, and will, struggle with long-term mental health issues, the more we work together, are honest about needs and is comfortable with these crucial conversations, the better we all are.

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.



Matt Glazer
Blue Sky Partners: Mental Health & Entrepreneurship

Partner and CSO at Blue Sky Partner, affiliate Consultant at Mission Capital, Former Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Trinity University. Views are mine alone.