WHY EUSTRESSIN'?: BRANDON MILLER
It's amazing how social media connects like minds. A little over a year ago I set up a time to meet with Brandon to simply link up and learn more about what we each do. Long story short, you witness a lot of things we have put in place since that day as a result of truly becoming like brothers. With so many things going on, I was able to get him to sit down for second and learn how he incorporates eustress in his life.
HEY BRANDON, WHY EUSTRESSIN’?
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING/ HOW LONG?
From nine to five, I'm an information technology implementations consultant for a boutique consulting firm where I work to implement enterprise solutions for a life science and consumer products companies; there, I also serve as the company's Diversity Council Chair. I've been with this company for almost three years.
In addition, I started my own Graphic Design company that I've owned and managed for the past four years, Co-founded a non-profit, The Black Burdell, that focuses on promoting, supporting, and cultivating young, black entrepreneurs for a little over two years. Recently, I launched an online platform with two others to provide perspective, insight, and clarity to workplace diversity called The 2020 Vue.
DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IN YOUR PROFESSION?
I think about it all of the time to be honest, as a consultant, I’m always on the road, on a flight, in a hotel, interacting with clients, and no two weeks are ever the same for me. Although I love to travel, it is taxing and oftentimes stressful. Working in the IT field presents a number of challenges and unknowns as well. I’m always trying to find ways to be most efficient with my energy and “protect my peace” as some of my friends call it.
As an entrepreneur, more specifically one that is passionate about helping others build their brands and businesses, feel the need to advocate for protecting your mental health since I’ve learned about its importance first hand. For entrepreneurs, creatives, and innovators being mindful and managing stress is crucial to not only your happiness but the success and longevity of your ventures.
WHAT UNIQUE CHALLENGES DO YOU ENCOUNTER SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR JOB THAT HAS AN IMPACT ON YOUR MENTAL HEALTH THAT OTHERS MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT?
One of the biggest stressors for me is travel, most of the time people overlook how stressful traveling is when you do it on a weekly basis. We are only four weeks into 2017 and I've already been on 46 flights! But outside of the time packing, getting to the airport, dealing with impatient work travelers (like myself), there is also added stress with coordinating rental cars, hotels, and "fun travel." Though this is definitely a "first world problem" it definitely does take a toll.
Outside of travel, I talk to a lot of different individuals on a daily basis; whether it is brainstorming ideas, coaching them in branding or business, or managing my own entrepreneurial ventures. Even though I try to always be positive and helpful, managing time, energy, and relationships on a consistent basis always have an effect on my mental health.
WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU SHOULD ALSO CONSIDER YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WHEN TAKING ON DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES?
Without really understanding the depth of what all fell into the “mental health umbrella” when I was in college but I did understand the consequences of not taking care of your mental health. At Georgia Tech I was involved in numerous campus and city organizations, I was interning and working a couple campus jobs, all while pursuing one of the toughest majors accompanied with a minor – it was the most overwhelmed I think I ever been. I had a pretty bad breakdown as a result of giving so much of my time and energy to others and none for myself. I was anxious, I wasn’t sleeping, and was overloaded with tons of stress.
Through surrounding myself with others that understand the importance of mental health and don’t shy away from talking about what they do to take care of themselves, it’s forced me to always be mindful of the day to day activities I take on. I think surrounding yourself with others that not only motivate you but have your best interest at heart is fundamental in promoting eustress in your life.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE STRESSORS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
Over time, I've started to develop a routine that helps me manage daily stressors. Most mornings I try and do something for myself before I start thinking about the work day, this can be anything from quick cardio to utilizing the Headspace app for meditation or reading through the Bible verse of the day I get on my phone.
In the evenings, after my full-time job and before the side hustle work, I make sure I go to the gym since I always have my phone on me I try and keep my phone on "do not disturb" for the first hour so I can really clear my head.
I also journal, draw, and color from time to time, it really just depends on the mood and what is needed at that given point of time.
HOW DOES BEING MENTALLY HEALTHY HELP IN YOUR FIELD OF WORK OR ON THE JOB?
People tell me this all the time, honestly... all the time, "you can't pour into others from an empty glass." I think this quote is applicable in a lot of facets of life, especially in consulting. In consulting, on a daily basis I am interacting with clients and working with to improve their business
In my entrepreneurial ventures, as discussed before, I'm often on the phone talking to other entrepreneurs, planning events with my teams, traveling from state to state hosting events, marketing apparel, or creating content to share on my blog or social media. I recently realized how much of myself I put out there and I pour into others to help them pursue their passions - being mentally healthy is imperative for me to best serve others but to also be the best version of myself.
WHAT DOES EUSTRESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU AT WORK? AT HOME/AWAY FROM WORK?
At work, I really enjoy problem-solving especially when it comes to helping organizations or individual make their dreams a reality. At my nine to five, I find the most joy in brainstorm ways to improve corporate culture and workplace diversity – whether that is through initiatives, programming, or conversation. In my other ventures, I love to help ideate strategies for both business brands and personal brands.
At home, I love fitness, outdoor activities, and eating chipotle. If I’m doing any of the aforementioned activities you know I’m happy! I also really enjoy philanthropy and giving back to the community that’s why some of my entrepreneurial ventures, namely The Black Burdell and Too Fly Fundraiser, don’t actually feel like work for me.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WOULD TELL SOMEONE JUST STARTING IN YOUR PROFESSION OR A YOUNG PERSON WHO ASPIRES TO BE THE PROFESSIONAL THAT YOU ARE?
The first thing I would say is to let go of anything you're not passionate about, when you're not passionate about your job or commitments then you won't be engaged, and when you're not engaged to work is an uphill battle and that takes a huge toll on your mental health. The second thing I would say would be to make sure you find balance, you can't work 24/7 so identify what your hobbies are, what makes you happy, and when you are most relax and be sure to work that in your schedule - work life balance is a thing! Lastly, I would say talk to others, whether they are those in your field or those you look up to, there is no need in reinventing the wheel or making the same mistakes other's made. You can learn so much about your industry, hell, life as a whole, just by talking to others.
HOW CAN PEOPLE CONTACT YOU FOR MORE INFORMATION?