Change is constant. For many, that comes along with adversity and difficulties. Nathan Andres has a principled methodology – REAL – he shares in his latest book to help people survive and thrive in times of change.
Listen to our latest interview with the incredible Nathan Andres, M.A., Coach, Well-being and LGBTQ activist, Business Leader and Author with 2-plus decades of experience in the HR space.
His book Your REAL Life: Get Authentic, Be Resilient & Make it Count provides a set of tools to find opportunity and growth within change and when facing adversity, to help build authenticity and resilience to serve you in living a healthy and joyful life.
Scroll down for a few of our favourite excerpts!
I am Nate Andres. I’ve got 20 plus years of HR. I’m now based in Singapore. I am an HR practitioner, wellbeing leader, coach, author, and global keynote speaker.
On wellbeing activism
Wellbeing activism is about bringing fact information into companies about wellbeing and mental health, and helping companies and leaders then lean into that discomfort about the realities of their own workforce, in order to drive positive change, as well as gains in employee wellbeing and higher productivity and engagement in the company.
We’ve seen a massive focus on workplace mental health and wellbeing as a result of suffering that people had and experienced during Covid.
The American Psychology Association stated 8 out of 10 employees are saying employer support for mental health and wellbeing is a major consideration for job opportunities. People are wanting to make sure that they go to a place that has mental health and wellbeing and support resources before they even choose the job. And similarly, 81% of employees are stating that it’s the employer’s responsibility to help employees manage their mental health.
If that’s not a wakeup call, I’m not sure what is.
I hate to see people suffer, and I, myself, have had a lot of personal suffering and a lot of life challenges throughout my life from a variety of different adversities.
The one constant thing in in life is change, right? From the time we’re born to the time we die, humans are always experiencing change. And this is a source of much of the adversity that people experience in their lifetime.
I define resilience in 2 key parts:
- First, taking back control of an adversity to solve, learn, and grow in your own unique and authentic way. That is based on your own life’s learnings and experiences.
- Second, using that growth to build capacity. And ultimately using that new capacity to bounce beyond the original adversity in order to take on the next, it’s a cycle.
A big part of the reason to write the book was to help create a tool for people to deal with adversity and change. When we learn resilience is ultimately about taking back the control from a hard thing or adversity, obstacle or difficult event, we can use what we know to then bounce beyond it.
I think the worst advice I had in my career was to “don’t ask, don’t tell”, about who I was (as a LGBTQ+ person). I wish I would’ve been more courageous. It was a different time in age – and that’s not so many years ago, to tell you the truth.
It is heavy — the mental health mantle — that we wear as LGBTQ people, particularly as we navigate through some of the interesting places that there are to work in the world…
What I discovered in that experience of balancing an “out” personal life and a closeted professional life was how important authenticity as a core value was to me.
My, what I call, “No Matter The Closet Open The Door Principle,” really applies to everyone. Everyone has a closet, it might be a gender closet, it might be a sexual orientation closet, it might be a disability closet, it could be a variety of adversity closets.
I encourage people to do the work and get super clear on who you are and what your values are and how those values help inform your life, mission and purpose. We can use those as a North Star to really guide us to do the things we need to do and help make the decisions we need to make in our life.
On managing others
The first place for leaders and managers to start is to listen. Listen to your people, hold that space and sometimes silence is the best approach to empathy.
We forget how to be human in the workplace. As things get more robotic, with ChatGPT3 and AI and so on, being human is going to be the strength.
We need to bring more empathy to the workplace, and we need to help managers and leaders to learn how to be more empathetic. Part of that is helping train them up and helping them with getting the right probing questions to ask their employees, but also not just jumping straight away to solve or get to solutions so quickly either.
Leaders, particularly at C-Suite level, need to look at how they’re building culture and what cultural elements are tied directly to wellbeing, mental health and workplace engagement.
If we start there and continue to evaluate culture and the health of the organization, then we’re going to see improved engagement. We’re going to see improved productivity, happier employees and hopefully more workplaces that move from survive to thrive.
On career advice
I wish I’d been more courageous in living my truth earlier in my career.
I also wish I would’ve found my coaches a bit earlier.
I was blessed with some great bosses along the way, but those who were who were coaches and who coached me and or those bosses who also encouraged me to employ a coach, were really what led to the biggest leaps and bounds in my own personal and professional growth.