Exclusive Interview: Claudia de Llano – Founder of ‘The Awakened Journey’
Mental health and wellbeing have become vital topics of discussion, particularly in the workplace. Figures like Claudia de Llano are leading the holistic approach, which combines mental, physical and spiritual health to find ultimate peace. She frequently attends events to share her knowledge, teaching audiences how to protect their emotional wellbeing.
Learn Claudia’s empowering insight into mental wellbeing and workplace culture in our exclusive interview, below:
Q: How can business leaders create a positive workplace culture and support their employees’ mental health?
“When I think of creating a positive workplace, I have to speak first to my passion, which is: we cannot by any means exclude diversity.
“I think it’s an important element to creating a safe workplace culture. For a very long time, we had this dialogue about diversity being just the little margin we let in. In some ways, that perpetuated the idea that we were creating a little bit of space to justify, and that’s not what diversity is.
“I think of it as dimensional, so not just race, culture, gender, sexual orientation – though those things are really, really matter. Diversity also includes beliefs, it includes values, and it goes back to what you were talking about in terms of, maybe someone wants to be validated, not sympathised with? That is an element of, ‘so this is how you like to be communicated with, let me step into your world’.
“The next element is humanising the work culture, and that means deconstructing what we think of in terms of power and hierarchy inside an organisation. When we humanise it, we start to see that every person within the organisation supports some privilege that I’m enjoying in my personal life.
“And then, of course, it’s for the leaders to bring empathy, not just through workshops and all of that stuff, but by modelling it too. They need to put themselves through some of that emotional intelligence learning.
“It’s a big task to ask because we’re already asking them to lead and learn about leadership, we’re already asking them to do their jobs. And now we’re saying, ‘let’s up that with emotional quotient’. In the past, that wasn’t a consideration. The reason it’s relevant today is that we’re thinking of organisations more holistically, so it’s one more piece of the pie that matters to work culture.”
Q: What is the impact of stress in the workplace?
“When we think of mental health, it’s really important to think beyond the mind. Because mental health is our physical, emotional – it’s all those pieces. So, I think stress in the workplace really needs to be acknowledged, attended to, and revolutionised in some ways because what we look at is success within a company and what that means.
“Health will interfere with your ability to function. When it interferes with your ability to function in the workplace, everyone around you is impacted. Now, right now, we have a contagion [Covid-19] and people feel tense, and environments become toxic.”
Q: You talk on individual workplace contribution; how can businesses improve self-purpose in their team?
“One of the things we need to remember is that every single person within an organisation has their own dreams. So, they’re not just going to work to help whatever it is that the company is attempting to accomplish there, they’re going to work to fulfil their dreams – but they are not always aware of it.
“We get very fragmented. We go to work, and we go into survival mode, which is ‘I’m here to clock in my hours so I can get back to my life’. And that’s a very painful thing because that means we’re living so many of our hours missing out on self and purpose.
“It’s really important for organisations to create opportunities for all individuals across the organisation to have their own dreams, to acknowledge that they have their own lives and that they matter.
“When that happens, people are going to show up to work with a very different meaning about why they’re there. That doesn’t mean they can’t still have other career goals, but it means they understand the time that’s being spent there.
“Self-purpose needs to be cultivated, developed, valued at all levels of the organisation, because people will feel not only better about themselves, but they won’t feel that they have to hide who they really are after work. We want that congruence, fluidity and that purpose within every individual to be honoured.”
Q: What role does self-care and work/life balance play in corporate success?
“This all depends on how you define success, right? I think there are a lot of companies with great bottom lines and terrible work culture, so success depends on the self-care across the board of every individual, of all of the people supporting the business.
“Better health equals more presence. The more present you can be, the more productive you can be, the more productive you can be, the more creative, the more diligent.
“And the easier you are to work with and be around, because then you’re in a place of inspiration. That’s a great place to be.”
Q: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
“For me, it’s ‘trust your heart’.
“Your heart is so different from your mind in that you can’t negotiate with it. In your mind, you have a rationale that helps make choices, in your heart, you have instinct.
“I believe that instinct is our true north. It’s that compass that guides us in our lives to sometimes make difficult decisions, but ones that are aligned with who we are and the lives we really want to lead.
“I think that it would definitely be to trust my heart and to remember that it’s going to be okay.”