Are you okay?

Such simple words can have so much meaning.

Meet Omar de Silva, an entrepreneur that cares about mental wellbeing.

“First and foremost, everybody has mental health. Mental health is a thing that is not good or bad. Everyone has their mental health, just like physical health and emotional health. We all got a baseline of mental health”

Omar also talks about: – how self-awareness is critical for mental wellbeing – running his various small business and education startup – and more about mentally healthy.

Whatever you, go and check-in with yourself or with a colleague and ask them: “RUOK? How are you?”


Omar:  Omar is my name. I do a few different things. I’m in the position where right now, I own a number of small businesses and I’m actively working on a startup as well.

My day to day is making sure that the existing small businesses are doing the things that they need to do, and then really spending the most of my energy on trying to grow this education startup.

The education startup, we’re working with big brand industry partners to really try and close the gap between formal education outcomes and the needs of industry.

So we work with these big brand industry partners to create educational content and educational products, which we then license to universities so they can deliver to their students courses, which get them academically qualified as well as industry certified.

I’ve also got a charity which I established, which is focused on men’s mental health and wellbeing. So yeah, a few different things. Look, now that I’ve got quite a lot of self-awareness … and maybe some people out there would say that I don’t, but I think my self-awareness is pretty good.

Some of the advisory work I do, particularly around leadership is around the two parts to self-awareness.

You’ve got internal self-awareness, how am I doing? How is that affecting myself?

But then there’s also this external lens, how am I doing? And how is that affecting the people around me?

I think self-awareness is a critical skill when it comes to getting the most out of yourself first and foremost, and then getting the most out of other people around you.

For me, it became a bit of a non-negotiable because I got to a place where I wasn’t well and I don’t want to get there again. I’ve seen what happens when people do get there, and really self-awareness is one of the critical things to be proactively do everything you can to stay at your peak performance. I suppose if you’ve got big ambitions and big goals, you’ve got to be at peak performance as much as you can.

Okay. So first and foremost, everybody has mental health. Mental health is a thing that is not good and it is not bad. Everybody has their mental health the same way they’ve got their physical health, the same way they’ve got their emotional health.

We’ve all got our baseline mental health. Every single day, a number of things will happen which will challenge our mental health. Whether that be getting stuck in traffic, whether that be given an unreasonably late request, whether it be needing to do something which you don’t want to do. All of those little things challenge our mental health, and they … if we had a … picture a video game, if I had a little health bar, you’d have dropped down a little bit.

And so being mentally or having mental wellbeing is about having the skills, the tools, the community, the awareness, the education to be able to deal with each of those challenges to our mental health so if our little bar drops, we get it back to our baseline.

To be mentally healthy, self-awareness is really critical. I think you need to surround yourself with fantastic people. So staying mentally well and staying healthy overall, connection is critical.

My dad always said to me as a kid, “If you want to soar with the Eagles, you cannot hang around with the turkeys.” So being surrounded by those people in your life that inspire you and get the most out of you, absolutely critical.

One of the reasons why I love CreativeCubes so much is for that very reason. They’re just a bunch of amazing people doing fantastic stuff and you get to spend time with each and every day. But the thing that I legitimately, I mean, and I believe in, I tell everybody, particularly in this location … and I spend most of my time here, so I’ve only got sort of qualification to make this comment on this.

The people here are awesome, both the staff and the members, and there is no pretentiousness in the whole place. Nobody thinks that they’re better than anybody else. Everybody wants to support each other. Everybody’s connected. Everybody says hello. And there’s this genuine sense of community, which I love. And I tell everybody, I’ve been in a lot of the other coworking spaces around, some of the people I think wreck the vibe.

The other major bit is with all of the various business interests that I’ve got, there is somebody in this space who I’ve been able to get some help from, get some advice from in all facets of all of my different business involvements. And so that legitimate opportunity to find value through the community here is a real thing, it’s not just words on a page. It’s coworking, and community, and helping each other out.

Without that, we end in an icky sense of obligation that you have to give your business to somebody else and they have to give their business to you. It’s like, no. If we can help each other, great. No return expectations.

Author Tobi Skovron

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