Sport is Finally Catching Up

By Suki Thompson, Founder and CEO, Let’s Reset

Simone Biles’ very public decision to withdraw from the Olympics this week follows Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open Tennis Championships recently. Whilst my heart goes out to both of them for how they must both be feeling, their decisions represent a significant moment in the daily battle to put mental wellbeing at the top of everyone’s agenda. Like most sectors, frankly, Sport has done an excellent job of papering over the cracks of this issue. Mental health has a stigma tied to weakness, which is absolutely the antithesis of what most sporting professionals want to portray.

This is why it’s such a significant moment. Simone Biles has rightly been praised for speaking openly about the importance of looking after her mental health amid a call for people facing “perfect storms” of pressure to be supported, whether in daily life or top-level sport. Her decision has been described as “brave” by a mental health charity, and a specialist sports performance academic said her openness is “admirable”, I say “at last, it’s ok to not always be ok and to win a gold, you need to focus on your own wellbeing as well as your performance”

Why does this matter for us mere non-Olympic mortals? Well, it matters because many companies globally are also papering over the cracks of our mental health crisis. We are in the eye of the wellbeing storm, and people and businesses need help. So, these sporting decisions are a great reminder that to be open about your struggles and to ask for support is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. We should all learn from the example of these incredible sportswomen and prioritise our mental health as much as our physical health. And, as leaders, we should remind ourselves every day that our people are our greatest asset, and they need to be supported.

So, my advice? Well, next time you ask someone how they are on a call or in the office, ask again but this time, really listen to the answer. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes. Make wellbeing a strategic priority. If Olympic Gold Medal winners can do it, there isn’t a CEO in the land that shouldn’t be placing it at the heart of their business strategy. And finally, find out how your people are feeling and put plans in to support their journey and, most importantly, measure the impact. We all know that we only treasure what we measure.

For our part, here at Let’s Reset, we have partnered with Advertising Week to create Power Up. A platform designed to provide inspiration, support and advice to anyone interested in how wellbeing can drive performance. Because we know that it’s only by investing time, energy and money in wellbeing that you can really make a difference and win a GOLD. For that reason, we have a weekly RESET podcast, events, workshops and one to one training, all designed to give leaders and their teams the wellbeing tools they need to make a difference to themselves and their bottom line. Find out more here or calculate your own wellbeing and performance score by completing the Let’s Reset 7 needs of wellbeing and performance test on Lets Reset+  click join