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Transcript: The Centred Tradie | Mental Health at Workplace (EP82)


Intro (with music): Welcome to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. This is a podcast where we talk all things, culture, leadership and teamwork across business and sport.

Voiceover: To all of our loyal listeners, The Culture of Things podcast will now also have specific episodes produced for Youtube. To ensure you don’t miss out on this exclusive Youtube content, head on over to Youtube, click the subscribe button and hit the notification bell. Now, let’s get into the episode…

Brendan: This is my conversation with Daniel Gaebler. Daniel’s an author, keynote speaker, business owner, plumber, husband, father, and by his own admission, a much calmer person than what he was.

The Daniel of old was like a firecracker of anger. Any small thing would light his fuse. It took him sometime to realize he was struggling with his mental health and needed help.

Unfortunately, statistics show people suffering from mental health related issues is increasing. If you are struggling, please reach out to Lifeline or their equivalent in your country and speak to someone who can help.

A massive part of Daniel’s healing process was writing his book, The Centred Tradie. A link to buy his book is in the description below.

During the interview you’ll learn how he’s experienced at least 6 of the 10 factors that can cause mental health problems. You’ll also learn the five key things he’s done to improve his mental health. Although he didn’t know it at the time, it aligns with what the research says works. Daniel’s story is real, relatable, and he speaks from the heart.

At the end of the interview, I share my three key takeaways. Let me know your thoughts on the interview. Good, bad or ugly, we love your feedback. This is The Culture of Things podcast. I’m Brendan Rogers. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Daniel.

Why is it that you think talking about mental health is so important?

Daniel: It's sort of been a bit taboo, hasn't it? No one really likes to bring their problems. It's the same old story. Guys don't like going to the doctor for things that they know they probably should, and it really is the silent killer. No one really likes to put their hand up and say that I've got an issue.

I guess if, for lack of a better term, trailblazers like myself put our hands up and say, well, I've got a problem, and I damn sure know you do so here's my book, have a listen, and get that relatable story through. I think it creates that comfort piece for people to be able to actually talk up.

Brendan: What were those problems? You used the term problems. What were those mental health problems that you saw in yourself?

Daniel: It's very much about learning to experience. For me, how I dealt with the world was very much through frustration and anger. Off the back of that, came anxiety, depression, and a whole lot.

A bit of a snowball effect. It is a problem because you feel that it is a problem. There's no solution. The only solution being is talking up and getting some advice, some help or direction about where to turn, and get a solution to your problem. There is a solution.

Brendan: What is it?

Daniel: It's a journey. It's about putting down some baggage. I don't want to go into too much about it too much, but I don't think the easy pill necessarily is the right answer. It's about going to the depths of yourself—understanding yourself.

For instance, myself, I really think I'm diagnosed with ADD. Rather than people, I guess, using that as a crutch, what are the huge benefits you get from that? Really understanding how I think, how I work, brings huge benefits to my business to those around me. It also allows me to understand my weaknesses to basically get help in those areas. I know that I'm not a detail-oriented person, but I've been able to employ a girl in the office who really is.

Together, the team works right there. I don't think anybody is fantastic at one thing. They're great at one thing, but you can't be great at multiple. You can be okay. As a business owner, you have to wear certain hats for a while, but it can only take you so far.

Brendan: Yeah. You've written this book, The Centred Tradie, mate. You got a copy there?

Daniel: I do. It's right here.

Brendan:  Beautiful. Great book. I've read it myself. One of the things, when you and I spoke on the phone a little while ago, was just the relatability. I know I could relate to so many stories in your book, either directly. Some were really interesting, which we'll maybe go into a little bit later.

What were the earliest signs for you? Was it a situation? Was it a moment when you started to think, shit, you know what, I've got a problem, I'm identifying something here and I may need to do something about it, I'm not quite sure about it?

Daniel: For me, I've always known that I was sort of a bit different in the way that I think even through school. As I said in my book, I never felt exactly fit anywhere. I was always friendly and friends with everybody, but I never felt like I fit. That really came out in primary school. I sort of started to think that I was a bit different in the sense that there were subjects that I really didn't understand and didn't gel with, but there were subjects I was absolutely brilliant at.

That started to create a ball of frustration for myself. There were experiences like, as I said in the book, I found a dead body when I was 15 years old in the surf. That really, I suppose, propelled me into adulthood quite quickly. Being exposed to something like that and especially, I was the one that found the guy's suicide note and that kind of stuff—I guess it was a combination of my learning experiences.

As I've spoken about in the book, many different forms of trauma, I guess, formed me who I was, my thinking. Then I got to a stage where I had a friend of mine tapped me on the shoulder and said, look, Dan, I think you should see this guy. I guess as a very strong willed 24, 25-year-old, you don't believe that you have a problem.

I knew deep down that I didn't want to feel the way that I felt, and that was explosive rage. I knew that wasn't really who I was. I knew that it was damaging people around me. But to put my hand up and say that I had a problem, I really struggled with that.

As I sort of alluded, for me and my experiences with multiple different suicides and suicide attempts with people around me, I never wanted to go down that path. For me, it was an escape. I definitely planned to go and start a new life under a new name in a new state.

It got to that day. For whatever reason, I picked up the phone and rang this guy and just thought, well, let's just give this a go before I potentially make what could be one of the biggest mistakes in my life. I think the hard part is guys that have no experience or training in emotional intelligence and how to check in with themselves, I don't think, know how to vocalize the fact that they think they might have a problem. It's probably the longest winded answer you probably could have got.

Brendan: Again, there's a bit to it as always. If you think about that, you used the term explosive rage, can you give our listeners and watchers a bit of a story around what that explosive rage looks like and how that impacted more the people around you at the time?

Daniel: I would go to bed at an 11 out of 10 to the point where I couldn't breathe. I was just so angry. Nighttime breath was okay, but I'd wake up at nine. It wouldn't take much for me to go to a 10 or 11 while driving to work, someone cut me off in traffic, and that would set me off. A builder's phone call would set me off.

It just wasn't a pleasant existence. I definitely was guilty of pushing people close to me away, especially my wife, parents. There was just no real deep connection with anybody. It was through no fault other than my own.

Brendan: How important has that deep connection been in the healing process for you, mate?

Daniel: Connection for me has always been so important. Even as a young child, I really love that deeper conversation. I've always been sort of more mature for my age than what most kids would have been. Yeah, those deeper conversations.

Even to the point while I was going through my stuff, I found that people did always find it very easy to open up and tell me things that they may never have spoken to anybody else about. I really thrive on deep connection. I absolutely love it.

For me, I was, I guess, lucky. If you believe in it, the universe had the path for me to show me a couple of people that have helped me on my healing journey that I've had really deep connections with. That's been really cool.

Brendan: Can I ask you to share a little bit about your deep connection with your pop? Because that's a fantastic story and evolving story in the book that resonated with me as well.

Daniel: Yeah. I referenced both of them. The very first part of my book, I referenced my grandfather. He's a World War II survivor, basically. He's probably had a fair bit more of an impact on my wife recently.

My pop, him and I were just absolutely best mates. Even to the point where I'm writing the chapter about him, I sat and cried. It was something that I'd never released before. We'd always had just this unbelievable connection. Through family events, we lost contacts probably between the ages of 12 and 18, which always really used to hurt me.

I got to speak to him on the phone from time to time, but it was never the same. I was 17. At 17 years old, I went on a school trip down to the south coast of New South Wales. I said to my now wife, she was my girlfriend at the time, I'm just going to pop in and see my grandparents. I turned up on his door and it was like two old friends that have seen each other every single day for their entire lives. Just that connection piece was straight there.

The two of us went out to lunch as a family with all my cousins and stuff, but I don't think he and I lost eye contact for the two hours or at the lunch. It was just one of those sliding door moments in life that I'm so unbelievably grateful that I did that. Because subsequently in the next couple of years, he passed on with melanoma. I got to be there for that process. I'm really unbelievably grateful about that.

Brendan: What gave you the impetus to take that step if you'd sort of been out of each other's lives, so to speak, for a period of time?

Daniel: I don't know that. I've always sort of worked on intuition. The other part of me is I've always felt like I'm the connector. I guess that part of my life has brought me a lot of frustration, because I am the one that picks up the phone and my mates constantly, how are you going, what's going on? At times, it frustrated me that I didn't get that reciprocated.

It wasn't until a healer that I've seen recently said, Dan, you have to understand they don't have the ability to do that, you do. For me, inside my own family, the auntie is not speaking to the other auntie on the connector. My wife is speaking to whoever is on the connector. I'm actually becoming super grateful and even more so loving that role. I'm definitely embracing that side of myself.

Brendan: The book, The Centred Tradie. How much of a healing process was that for you in writing something like that documenting your journey?

Daniel: Unbelievably huge. As I referenced in the book, I've gone down a very spiritual path. Not that I stand on my soapbox and announce it to the world, but I've gone down a Reiki Master journey that was unbelievably fulfilling in my life. I started the book more as a journal.

I think the way my writing style is, it's very relatable. It's quite sort of conversational. It's very easy. I just sort of started to think there's a lot more to this. There's so much more I can do with this in the fact that it's super relatable to guys that think like myself, but also the wider community.

There's been stories through the book that you picked up the phone and went, Dan, wow, that's so relatable to me. It wasn't until I spoke to a friend of mine's publisher. He read the book and rang me back the next day and said, Dan, there are definitely legs to this, I want you to finish it. As I referenced earlier, I've sat there, I've laughed, I've cried, I've gone into deep thought. It's really helped me unpack my life a bit and understand a bit more about myself.

I really encourage people, if you don't want to get on with the whole publishing process, just sit down and write about yourself and go back. Start at primary school, work your way through, and you'll probably come to points in the road where you could have gone left and you should have gone right. Yeah, it's a completely cathartic experience.

Brendan: What was the pivotal point for you, that fork in the road and you took, I guess, we'll say the right path from where your life's at today?

Daniel: Definitely picking up the phone and calling Scott Franklin—that very pivotal moment. There've been many forks in the road for me, but that one culminated in the journey that I'm on now. It's very interesting.

My last name's German, Daniel Gaebler. Gaebler actually means a fork in the road in German. A gabel is a fork and the translation is basically a fork in the road. I know I'm very much living my purpose in that sense that I'm not only helping myself, but helping others to take the left or take the right, whichever fork they need to go there.

Brendan: Tell us a bit about what Scott's done for you.

Daniel: Yeah. Very early on in his business journey, he's basically got the framework that he needs around him now, but he did it at that time. It was like he took the weight of the world off my shoulders in a 45-minute session. But then, it was like I was in a free fall off a cliff with a bunch of airplane parts.

I went on a pretty big freefall because you start to question your old beliefs, your core values, who you are as a person. Any stories that you've picked up along the way, you start to question that. I'm so thankful, I guess, that I was a bit of a trailblazer for him to help him build the structures around him that allows people once they have their breakthrough, it's very important to set goals, where you want to go, who you are as a person.

He's got that framework now, which is absolutely unbelievable. It's definitely been a journey of 6–7years, but I'm so unbelievably thankful that I've been on it.

Brendan: The other thing I found really fascinating, lots of fascinating and relatable things in the book as we've said, but how much you love love languages, and the book, and learning about love languages. To set some context, yourself and your wife, you alluded to before, you go off and you got together quite young. You married quite young, had some challenges as a young married couple, and all those sorts of things. Tell us a bit how that book, Love Languages, and understanding that helped your relationship.

Daniel: I think there is so much more to it. But fundamentally, in that first moment, my first business coach blew my mind. It's something that, like a lot of things, were not taught in school. I think the major reason why we have so many mental health issues in the community is we're not prepared for life. I think part of that is around love for yourself and then how to love others.

You're just basically freefalling through the world, until you sort of come across a coach, a mentor, or somebody that can put a mirror up in front of you and go, Dan, this is you, and is this what you actually like, and who you want to be. I just found the love language thing was just so unbelievably simple yet relatable.

I guess it's like my book, in a sense, but I've been able to, since, used that on other guys. My wife's this, my wife's that. Yeah, but are you actually speaking to her in the way that she needs to be spoken to and vice versa? I think a lot of marriages caught off and would have survived, should they have put in the right work, I guess.

I referenced that, too. I was so unbelievably lucky to go to lunch last year or maybe the year before with a mate of mine and his rabbi. I just love learning. This rabbi was talking and my mate was talking about the challenges that he was having in his marriage at the time.

In the Jewish religion, they have what's called a mezuzah. It's a scroll above every door in a Jewish person's house. He stopped us and said, do you remember the story of the mezuzah? My ears pricked up on it, where's this guy going? It's just so insightful.

He said, Dan, a mezuzah is the scroll. And Back when the rabbi's got together to decide how it was going to sit on the wall, five rabbis wanted it put vertically, five rabbis wanted to put it horizontally. They came to the compromise, and every mezuzah sits on the 45 degree angle above the doors. Just something so unbelievably simple around compromise and how you both get a great outcome out of something was just so simple. I think these kinds of learnings have just consistently made the connection between me and my wife better.

Brendan: You also referenced, again, a part in the book where there was, I can't remember the detail, but your wife's health issue and there was that moment of connection, where you're really working towards something and it was a challenging situation for you. I don't necessarily want you to unpack that, again.

People can find the book on Amazon. It's a fantastic read, I've reviewed it. It's awesome. How important was the quality of your relationship with your partner, your wife, in this case, to your own mental health and that journey of improvement of your mental health?

Daniel: There's no way in the world I would be sitting here talking to you if it wasn't for her. I mean that in not so much a literal sense in the sense that I know I would be here in a body on this planet, but the successes that I've had in my business, the journey I've been on, and the support I've received, has really allowed me to not only heal myself, but allowed me to be out there to help others now, too I'd say, yeah, it's the keystone in my life.

Brendan: You've also referenced or alluded to a couple of times that suicide was never an option for you. Given that your mental health is such, I guess, an unknown factor really for so many of us, and we may have been through it or not, or it's really hard to understand, what's given you the confidence now and in that time to say that would never have been an option for you?

Daniel: I've seen what it's done time, and time, and time again, unfortunately. For me, I would have never wanted a 15-year-old kid to come across my body. I know that's extremely heavy to say, but I've lived it. It's not something that I would ever, ever dream of letting happen.

I know our emergency services do an amazing job, but there's only so much of a point that they can deal with that stuff too. Physically restraining my brother-in-law from an overpass definitely cemented that in my life as well. I was able to grab him just before he went over. That really made me think just about the impact that that could have had on the traffic below.

It's generational too. Looking at myself, I came across the body. That really, I guess, changed the trajectory of my life, and my mental state too, and the impact that I've had on those around me. Yeah, huge.

Brendan: A number of people go through various situations. Again, I found so many of your stories relatable. The crazy one was staph. Actually, I had golden staph that nearly lost my leg at about 19 years of age as well, which was just weird.

I went through a list of things that can detract, deteriorate people's mental health and trauma. These are the things I ticked off as far as the stories that you'd mentioned in your book, things related to trauma, isolation, bereavement, severe stress, health conditions, some injury stuff around your head, and losing a job and having an impact there.

You ticked so many boxes that helped deteriorate your mental health. In your experience, you've got real lived experiences that, I said, ticked some of those things. How many other people out there do you think are experiencing so many of these things and getting the help that they need?

Daniel: Mate, I reckon everybody. There are the simple ones. Trauma can be something so simple. When you're a five-year-old kid, if your parents allowed you and your older brother to have ice cream every night after dinner, and for whatever reason, he was nine and you were five, he gave himself two scoops of ice cream and you'd have one, that could be a trauma piece for a five-year-old kid.

Drag that through that person's life. How does that show up now? You might be having 10 scoops of ice cream after dinner, which impacts how healthy you are, which means you're probably not exercising, which probably means you're not having sex with your wife, your partner, whoever it might be. There's such a flow on effect to just such a simple story, that going back and breaking that chain can free you of your life.

It shows up in so many different aspects. It doesn't have to be finding a body, attending a really bad car accident, to be a trauma. It can just be what's related to that person at that time in that age group and how that shows up in your life now.

Brendan: Let's relate that to business, mate. Again, you talk through the book about the challenges of severe stress. I guess, let's use that term around her being a business owner, growing your business, reducing the size of the business, and now you're involved in two businesses. How did owning a business and the challenges of business and small business impact on you and your mental health?

Daniel: I think this is probably the pace that a lot of people relate to. You start out, you come out of high school, you literally have no idea about the world. You fall into a job that generally you've got some interest in, you become really, really good at it, so you become a great technician.

The next step is business ownership. Unfortunately, for business owners, the learnings that you have to go through come out of your back pocket. There are no ifs, no buts, no maybes.

Yes, there are people out there that started businesses later on in life or early on and found success very quickly, because they've had the systems and processes around them. But I think 80%-90% of the population, especially small business owners, the costs are huge.

It's the people that, I suppose, are willing to go to those depths and to also put their hands up and get the help they need are the ones that come out the other side. I think, for me, a couple of times there, it really could have gone either way. But my drive and desire to make it work got me to the point that I'm in now.

Brendan: What did you have to do with that drive and desire?

Daniel: Controlling it is the big one. The unbelievable drive and desire that was inside of me was also extremely erratic. Now being able to control that and being clear on a vision, for lack of a better term, drops off all the other bullshit that's not really important. It sees you propel your success a lot faster.

Brendan: How are you supporting your team nowadays in your plumbing business around mental health? Any challenges they might be having?

Daniel: Yeah. It's very much a two-pronged attack. Definitely by the leadership piece, and that's the guy that's actually seeing the difference in me. I've got a couple of guys that have been with me a fairly long time. One in particular, he's probably been with me around eight, nine years now. He's seen the unbelievable change between what was and what is.

The support piece for them is they always know that I'm happy to pay for them to go and see Scott at any time that they need, because that is also a two-pronged attack. I get the best out of an employee team member and I also get the best for them. I guess the third way I do that is through recognition, a story of weight.

A young guy working for me, I suspected of drug use. I couldn't prove it, unfortunately, until he slipped up. The recognition piece was that the drug use is a subset or a symptom of what was actually going on, so what's he actually hiding? I'm able to sort of break down what was holding him back and getting the help that he needs to see him flourish, I guess. It's all about perspective, too.

Brendan: It is. I guess let's not sell that story short, which I think you've done because I think from what you shared with me on the call a month or so ago, he'd slipped up by accidentally sending you a text message rather than his mate, I think. You sort of had him. That got your moment, I suppose, is what you said.

From there, you brought him in and you basically laid out two paths. There is a path I can sack you, and where does that lead to? Maybe jobless, homelessness, and all the other effects that can happen off the back of that addiction.

Daniel: Drug addiction?

Brendan: Exactly. And all those things related to not helping mental health. To cut the story short, I suppose, the other option was, I'm going to take you under your wing, you're going to get him some help, you're going to mentor him, and you're going to help him through this part of his life and see him out the other side, which is just a fantastic leadership moment 100%. How is that chap doing?

Daniel: He's doing better. I think he's heading for a little bit of a relapse, if I'm 100% honest. I'm definitely going to help him. However, the piece is, you can only help someone to a point. I know that by helping him, what I've done and what I will do, I guess, one or two more times, I'm happy to do that. But it does come to a point that that's that fine line between your business ownership and being, I guess, taken advantage of.

I'm happy to plant the seed for somebody. But in personal development, you cannot kick someone's door in. They'll do it when they're good and ready. The seeds have been planted. What he does with his life next is completely on him.

I know hand on heart that I know that I've done everything in my power to pass it off on the right path. Given him the tools that will be with him for life around how to pull himself out of a deep, dark place, the rest is now on him.

Brendan: As leaders in business, you're a leader in business, consider yourself a leader in business, what do the leaders in business need to do to move forward in a positive direction around mental health and supporting people in the organizations around mental health matters?

Daniel: It comes down to perspective. The way that you view something as a leader can be very different about how a team member views a situation. That comes through your own experiences, your own training. Take for example, myself and probably you. I'm only surmising here that you've spent a fair bit on personal development, coaching, and that kind of stuff.

There's no way in the world that you or I will see a situation the same way that somebody that hasn't spent time and money in a personal development space, to see a situation. There's no way. I guess you really have to remove yourself and your emotion from that situation, and your own triggers, and see the other side of it. That's my really big advice.

Brendan: What was seeing the other side of it look like for you in your journey?

Daniel: I've always been very empathetic as a person, but I guess it's understanding empathy deeper, going in and actually seeing it from their understanding and listening, asking the right questions to gauge the information, to see how this person is seeing something. As an example, one of my guys, I always felt like there was a huge disconnect in communication between the two of us. It wasn't until I really sat down with him and understood how he thinks, acts, works, that we were able to communicate on a level that we both get a great outcome.

He works really well off lists. For me to ring him and bombard him with, hey, I need you to do this, this, this, this, and this, he creates an unbelievable well of anxiety in him. Whereas if I send him a text, hey, mate, this is the list of stuff that I'd like you to get done today, it gets done, he's happy, and the both of us are communicating on a level that we both understand.

This took me a little while to understand, but some people like to verbalize it. I might have had a 10-minute phone call with one of my guys. It feels like he's relaying everything back to me.

That used to frustrate me, because I used to get in, get it done, get it out. Whereas if I take that extra five minutes to listen to this guy, relay everything that I've said back, he understands that I get a better outcome, the clients happy, we move on, we don't have callbacks. It's very much about being a leader and understanding your people.

Brendan: What do you do everyday, mate, that helps you continue that mindset of always considering perspective? Because it's something you need to be consciously aware of.

Daniel: Yeah, definitely the meditation piece. I can't say hand on heart that it happens every single day, but practicing gratitude is huge too. Even last night, I volunteered at one of McDonald Houses. There was me and a couple of my guys. There were a couple of my guys in and there were a couple of NRL players. We cooked dinner for the 60 families that are staying in the hospice at the moment. Mate, that creates perspective.

The gratitude I have for my 18-month-old daughter. We've gone through the whole reflux and all that kind, but mate, it's nothing in comparison to see. Driving home last night, I had tears in my eyes. To see the kids, they're sitting there with tubes in their noses and in their mouths, feeding oxygen, and all that, that drives perspective in your life and real gratitude.

I think practicing gratitude is huge. I don't necessarily do it in the sense that I'm writing it in a book every day. But there's definitely moments in every single day that I turn and just go, I really appreciate that, that's unbelievable, or what that looks like.

Brendan: What else do you do to look after yourself, your physical side of things?

Daniel: I'm back. I had a bit of a slip in health around Easter. But for whatever reason, I had a spike in Epstein-Barr virus. That leveled me for a few months around my training. But to me, the exercise piece is huge. I love getting in the water, sweating kilometers, mountain bike riding, weights, gym, rowing, and all that kind of stuff. I really fed off the training piece.

Just around Christmas, I started the 75 Hard program, in which I lost 12 kilos. I think, everyone when they have a newborn baby, they're probably guilty of putting on a bit too much punch. But I'm back down at 82 kilos. I'm feeling really good and fit, back in the pool. It's really about showing up yourself and doing those kinds of things.

Brendan: What is it about tradies and mustaches, mate? You're showing off a pretty cool one.

Daniel: Yeah. I don't know. It just runs in the family. My old man had been for like 30 years. I don't know. It just sort of came about. Every time I shave it off, the boys get stuck in me about it. It's back and I hope it will stay.

Brendan: It's just part of you now.

Daniel: It is. It has its own persona. It's all good.

Brendan: You shave it off for Movember, do you or you go the other way?

Daniel: No, but I've had some pretty cracking mustaches for Movember over the years. A big chopper and all that kind of stuff. It's all fun.

Brendan: I can't wait to see some pictures into the future, mate. What's the impact you want to have with your book, The Centred Tradie?

Daniel: I really want to drive the message. I guess I do talk about the two-pronged attack a lot. For me, the book is just really about connecting with the individual, but it's also allowing me to get my voice out there to change the thinking within leadership in business. I think the book shows that. It's about really giving me my voice to drive change.

Small business in Australia is the biggest employer nationwide. I think if we can start to change the thinking of employers, it will start to change the mental health of employees. We're guilty as small business owners of not having the time, the budgets, like corporations do to spend on the mental health side of things, but it doesn't have to cost a lot. It's just about making slight simple changes that make a huge difference.

Brendan: What would you say is an obvious or an easy, slight simple change to make?

Daniel: I think how you go about connecting with your employees. If you're a heavy D on the DISC profile, which I'm sure a lot of people understand, if you're a real dominant, somebody that's completely opposite to you, that will create a huge amount of anxiety to somebody. Again, it's understanding who you are as a person and how to connect with others. That's the first simple way to go about things to change the culture within your business, the culture within your guys, which also creates a better culture for your employees at home.

They're not coming home anxious, they're not coming home stressed, and they're not coming home depressed. That gives them the opportunity to connect with their wives, their kids, their husbands, whoever it might be. It's such a flow on effect from you changing you.

Brendan: Let's say I don't have to be a fellow tradie, but I could be a tradie, I could be working in another service type environment and I'm noticing something different about one of my work colleagues. What would a scenario look like, where, hey, you know what, I think they may be having some challenges from a mental health perspective? What should I be aware of so that I can help others if those situations arise?

Daniel: I think it's those subtle slight changes that you can start to pick up on. If you have somebody that's generally a very punctual person and they start to slip, they're turning up for work late, you might notice they're in the same clothes as the day before. They might generally be a very healthy person, bring their lunches, and all of a sudden, they're now not. Those really subtle little things that start the snowball effect. If you can recognize that as a leader and just ask the question, is everything all right? That may stop somebody going into a really deep dark spiral.

Brendan: As you said earlier, it's about continuing to look for a perspective or to put things in perspective.

Daniel: Yup.

Brendan: I think about a month or so ago, if LinkedIn is correct, you did your first Keynote.

Daniel: I did.

Brendan: How did it go?

Daniel: Unbelievably well. A funny story around that, I had a blocked sinus ear from the flight. I had some cold and flu tablets to try and dry it up. I forgot that they were the ones that had pseudoephedrine in them. I got up on stage and I started my talk. I looked down at my heart rate monitor and it was something stupid, like 152 beats a minute.

That was all about controlling that situation, just slowing down how I talked, trying to bring my heart rate down. It was so unbelievably impactful. I got off the stage and I had a line of people waiting to speak to me and asking me to sign books. Mate, that was just a world that I've never known or experienced.

It wasn't until that night, because it was a couple of days seminar, but also on the last day, I had a guy probably mid 50s come up. He basically broke down in tears in front of me and told me his story that he really needed to go and do something about the stuff that he's hanging on to. I started this journey to help change one person's life. I feel in that moment, I achieved my outcome, but really cemented that I've only just begun.

Brendan: What's the new impact you want to have?

Daniel: I want to change the government. I want to change the way we all think, see, feel, and how we perceive mental health.

Brendan: In regards to mental health, what are we talking about that we should be?

Daniel: I think we should be talking about it full stop. I don't want to go into politics, news, and stuff like that too much. We've spoken about it for such a long time about this Coronavirus and the deaths that occurred in Australia, but it's insurmountable compared to the unfortunate suicides that we've had in that same time. That doesn't take into account the attempts. It doesn't take into account the costs of people's marriages, businesses, and families. That for me is the real pandemic, and it just doesn't get a mention.

I was speaking to an advocate that works for Gotcha4Life. It's the charitable organization set up by Gus Worland. He mentioned the word suicide once on breakfast TV, and the flack that he copped for that was insurmountable. It just seems like it's this real taboo topic that nobody should be talking about, but it is the thing that we should be talking about. The amount of money that it costs a business, the amount of heartache ache, pain that it causes not only that individual, but families, it can all be prevented the more we talk about it.

Brendan: Let's do this crystal ball stuff. Let's just go five years, Daniel Gaebler in five years. What do you hope is happening?

Daniel: For one, I guess, if I am going to go down the Keynote speaking path, probably not be at the 3:00 day three of the seminars. That was a hard one, especially having a talk after Kurt Fearnley, so that was a good one.

Wow, that is a big question. What do I want to see in five years? That's like one of those sliding door moment questions, isn't it? I don't think anyone's ever asked me something like that. I would love that the suicide rate in Australia is zero. I know that is an unbelievably huge statement, but I think at some stage, it definitely is achievable to start to wind the numbers back.

I still don't think one is acceptable, but definitely would love to see those numbers at zero. I guess that's my longer term goal. Is it achievable in five years? I'd like to say yes, but I'm not 100% sure. That's probably the best answer I can give to that  question without being a little bit going away and really sitting with that. It's a huge, unbelievable question. It's probably the best one I've ever been asked, Brendan.

Brendan: Thank you, mate. I love the answer you've given because it's just such a visionary approach and something that people can thrive can strive to, which is what leadership is about as well. What do I need to do starting now to help achieve that vision?

Daniel: I think you're doing it, really. You're speaking to the right people. You're allowing me on your podcast to have a voice to hopefully impact not only your listeners, but there may be somebody out there that is going to listen to this podcast to think, you know what, I can help Dan in his quest in X, Y, Z.

That's sort of how it really unfolds. It's not so much. I think what you're doing is absolutely unbelievable. It's giving people a voice.

Brendan: That's awesome, mate. We'll certainly keep doing it on this show. I have to correct you. I don't see it as me allowing you to come on the show. I see it as an absolute privilege having you on the show, mate. Thank you for spending time with us.

Let's wrap this up around leadership impact. You may have mentioned who, you may have mentioned what through the episode, but let's sum it up. Who or what has had the greatest impact on your leadership journey?

Daniel: I'll probably credit that to about five people, really. Scott, obviously, my first huge breakthrough and some real understanding about myself. As I mentioned earlier, I had done a Reiki Master course, so Abel took me on that journey.

I've done some spiral training with a lady by the name of Sandra Mew. She is up in Noosa, for anyone that wants to go down that path. Absolutely unbelievable.

I definitely reference her in my book as well. Fiona is a hypnotherapist here in Sutherland Shire of New South Wales. She was the one that really drove me to understanding a little bit more about myself. She brought the Aboriginal teachings to me. That was really, really cool.

My first and second business coaches, they've had an unbelievable impact in my life. My wife and my first apprenticeship boss, who I'm really, really good mates with still. Probably those guys, I really lay credit to where I am now.

Brendan: I guess we can think back to that phrase, it takes a village to raise a family. It takes a village to help someone like yourself and those deep connections to get through those barriers of mental health and the things we refer to today, mate. I just want to say again, it's an absolute pleasure having you on the show.

One of the things I did again in preparation for the show was just go through some of the research and some of the things that help people through mental health from a research perspective. This is what's been proven by the research.

The five tips were: (1) Connect with people will tick what you did there, (2) Be active will tick what you did there, (3) Learn new skills will tick what you did there, (4) Give to others. Again, you referenced the story, even just the recent one last night or a couple of days ago. And then (5) Be present in mindfulness.

The five things that the research is saying that helps people through mental health challenges. You've done every one of them in spades, so well done. Mate, keep leading, keep having an impact. I know that in the next five years, if you don't get there, you'll go damn close, mate. Keep it up. Thanks for being a great guest on The Culture of Things podcast.

Daniel: Thank you so unbelievably much.

Brendan: Pleasure, buddy.

“If you've ever felt lost, trapped, or in a dark place, this book is an incredible and vulnerable deep dive into the way out.” That was a customer review of Daniel’s book on Amazon and it defines the book perfectly. It takes guts to share your real story with all the emotions and with the level of vulnerability needed to connect with people.

Personally, I’ve been fortunate to not have to deal with some of the challenges Daniel shares. Although, I can relate to many of the stories and it made me think how things could have turned out differently. Stay connected with people, be active, learn new skills, give to others and be present. These are the top 5 things you can do to maintain your mental wellbeing.

What will you do to maintain your own mental wellbeing?

These were my 3 key takeaways from my conversation with Daniel.

My first key takeaway, Leaders know the power of connection. Outside of writing The Centred Tradie, Daniel’s connection with people is what was super important for his mental wellness, whether it’s personal connections or professional connections. The power of connection is a foundation for mental wellness, for leading yourself and for leading others.

My second key takeaway, Leaders have the courage to share their challenges. Daniel’s courage comes through every page of his book. Although writing it became a big part of his healing, he didn’t do it for that. He did it to help others and to drive change. There’s no better way to start than having the courage to share your own challenges.

My third key takeaway, Leaders drive impactful change. To drive impactful change, you need a BHAG. A BHAG is a ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ made famous by Jim Collins in his book Built to Last. Daniel’s BHAG is ‘zero suicides’. It’s compelling, needs no explanation, and people can connect to it straight away. The best leaders use a BHAG to drive impactful change.

In summary, my three key takeaways were, Leaders know the power of connection, Leaders have the courage to share their challenges, Leaders drive impactful change.

What were your key takeaways from the interview? Let me know at www.thecultureofthings.com, on YouTube, or via our socials.

If you’re struggling with mental health, please reach out to Lifeline or their equivalent in your country and speak to someone who can help.

Thanks for joining me. Remember, the best outcome is on the other side of a genuine conversation.

Outtro (music): Thank you for listening to The Culture of Things podcast with Brendan Rogers. Please visit thecultureofleadership.com to access the show notes. If you love The Culture of Things podcast, please subscribe, rate and give a review on Apple podcasts and remember a healthy culture is your competitive advantage.