76. How Do You Create a Culture of Compassion and Inclusivity? Michelle E. Dickinson Teaches How Leaders Can Build Mental Resilience Within the Workplace


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Our guest, Michelle E. Dickinson, is a Wellbeing Strategist and passionate mental health advocate. She is also a TEDx speaker and a published author of a memoir entitled Breaking Into My Life: Growing Up with a Bipolar Parent and My Battle to Reclaim Myself.

Michelle goes first and sees herself as the bridge that helps people get comfortable with their mental health so that they reach out and get the support they need before they hit a crisis. She makes it okay to not be okay and thrives on making a real difference in the lives of others – especially around their wellbeing.

After years of playing the role of child caregiver, Michelle embarked on her own healing journey of self-discovery. She went on to spend years working to eradicate the mental health stigma within her own workplace by elevating empathy and compassion, causing more open conversations, and leading real change in how mental illness is understood. She also knows first-hand what it feels like to struggle with a mental illness after experiencing depression due to challenging life events. And this has provided her with a rich perspective.

Michelle is out to do her part to eliminate the stigma by normalizing the mental wellbeing conversation within the workplace and beyond. She partners with innovative leaders to bring them her Psychological Resilience programs and mental health strategies to recenter employees and cultivate cultures of compassion. Her signature Resilience webinar has made a positive impact on thousands of employees during COVID-19.

Share this episode with those who are feeling overwhelmed by their work or life circumstances.


Mental health awareness: Mental health is a topic so many of us are uncomfortable talking about. We have to turn up the volume about brain health and normalize the conversation.

Courage: Some real courageous athletes and celebrities make mental health cool by admitting their own challenges and that it's okay to be human and talk about it.

Compassion: “Are you okay” can make all the difference for someone. Check in with people who are suffering and talk to them as they suffer in isolation and silence.

Inclusivity: Be truly inclusive of people with all abilities so that they can be 100% themselves and accepted for what they are. Mental illness is no different than a physical illness.

Heart-centered leadership: It's important for leaders to cultivate trust that if they ask if someone is okay, they're getting the real story. You don’t have to fix it, you simply have to extend your heart to another human being.

Game face: Let your guard down at work and take off that game face for a second.

Stress-management: Your mental well being should be your priority. If you feel the imbalance, get the support you need. Do what you need to do to nourish yourself.

Authenticity: Our culture does not want us to be authentic. Find a culture that is supportive of anything you need.

Culture: Investigate the cultures of organizations. Look at how they're leading through their example and talk to other employees in terms of its authenticity.

Mental health bias: We all come to the table with our own biases. It has to do with self-awareness and educating people so they can lead from a place of compassion.

Empathy: Extend yourself without fear and give people the benefit of the doubt.

Journey: Look in the mirror and heal some of those pains and past experiences to become a better version of you.

Unconditional love: Learn to separate the person from the illness. You can hate the illness, but don't hate the person.

Conversation: One in three Americans in the U.S. either have anxiety or depression. Then why are we not talking about it?

Be proactive: As employers, think about how you can keep your employees healthy instead of just watching your disability costs go up? Help them build psychological resilience.

Endurance: It's a marathon, not a sprint. People don't take care of their well being and they hit burnout because they're not constantly nourishing themselves along the journey.

Loyalty: Breed loyalty in a time when it's so difficult for people and give them what they need so that they can stay focused and engaged.

Leverage: There are so many people who have major depressive disorder who are killing it for their company. It's possible for you to be diagnosed and get the care you need. There's no shame. Leverage the talent you have!

Links to continue to learn from Michelle

Follow and connect with Michelle Dickinson:

Continue to listen to An Interview With Melissa Llarena podcast episodes

Continue To Explore My Other Binge-Worthy Episodes

Books mentioned

Breaking Into My Life: Growing Up with a Bipolar Parent and My Battle to Reclaim Myself by Michelle Dickinson

Want to continue the conversation?

Find me on Instagram! You can read my daily mini-blogs centered on the same three topics that my podcast features: creativity, courage, and curiosity. I believe that without all three it would be impossible to solve the challenges we were each uniquely made to solve. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m easy to find on Instagram @careeroutcomesmatter

Rather keep it professional?

Let’s connect on LinkedIn. I encourage every single podcast listener to connect with me.

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