Congratulations to Tyson Fury for his TKO in the 7th round against Deontay Wilder. You are the Come Back Gypsy King!
I like Tyson Fury. Always have done. Waking up yesterday and hearing of his resounding win made me think and gave me the impetus for this article.
I also like boxing. As a lad, the boxers of my younger years, specifically Frank Bruno and Mike Tyson were always people I looked up to. I was also a fan of Rocky Balboa !! Sylvester Stallone I think did a huge amount for the sport of boxing.
I know how much effort and focus remaining physically fit requires so I look at boxers as being the masters of preparation and planning. All the months and years of training and lifestyle choices for perhaps one hour (or much less) of execution in the ring. Just one knock down or damaging punch can destroy a career forever. One poor decision about training, diet or weight can change everything.
Also, they are so often colourful characters. Usually with a sense of humour, snappy dressers and that certain something about them, they are often as entertaining in the ring as they are out of the ring.
So yes, I have a huge amount of respect for boxers.
Let me return to the hero of the hour. Tyson Fury. Maybe you watched the TV programme about him only this week that gave an open insight into his early life, the rise of his career, his wife and family and his struggles with mental health and fitness?
The more I get to know this great man, the more I like him. Not to mention his physicality and good looks, he’s the sort of chap that you’d be happy to have as your mate, to be able to pick up the phone and suggest that you meet up for beers at your local and have a laugh with. “Sorry, Tyson mate, it’s mineral water for you as you are in training!”
But the focus of this article relates to the emotional and mental challenges that this great man has had to face up to. So yes, we have a man who is an impressive physical specimen but also a sensitive and caring family man and husband who is also quite vulnerable and open about his fight with mental health and addiction issues. When he spoke about his fight just to keep himself alive, I was moved, willing him to keep fighting whilst being acutely aware of the fine balance between life and death.
It makes his recent achievement where he came back from the brink of suicide, addiction and the loss of 10 stone even more remarkable.
We are 1 week after the sad passing of Caroline Flack, another tragedy which I find truly saddening. Watching that TV programme about Tyson Fury made me think more about the numerous other celebrities and sports personalities that have died or publicly state that they are struggling with mental health issues.
When I take part in an amateur event, I often feel a moment of sadness next day that the tremendous high of competing has come to an end. Imaging this scaled up a million times in front of the world press and public. Then I get to imagine the scale of the issues our athletes and personalities face regularly.
And as often the case in my writing, I think back to my industry, the Software and Tech sector. Like boxing, our industry can be very lucrative. There are a few that go on to make the mega riches and fame like world class boxers do but most of us work dam hard putting in huge amounts of energy, focus and time to carve our niche in the industry and to hit the targets that are required of us.
Mental health has become a talking point area across all sectors and no different for the tech sector. I’ve seen it first-hand where people have broken down due to the stress of careers and career management whilst balancing the demands of family life.
Our industry is volatile. I think sometimes so volatile that the constant change can be at the detriment of good health. In the pursuit of corporate success, our employees and colleagues can sometimes be the casualty.
I’m not suggesting that I have a problem with the tech space, or I take issue with the pursuit of corporate success. But, leaders and individual contributors alike. Look around you. Is someone having a hard time? They may outwardly show no signs of distress, and in so many cases, may be hiding a dark struggle really well with an outgoing and positive disposition.
Is mental health at work considered to be a cost problem or an opportunity to improve the lives of everyone. After all, a happy and mentally healthy work force is a more productive workforce. When you consider that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health disorder each year, the scale of the issue becomes all too real and I think we can all play a part.
This article is not a blueprint of a solution, that’s just too big an answer for this short piece. But, if you are still reading at this point, maybe it resonates enough for you to make a little positive difference to someone in your life that could do with some kind words or a little help.
Maybe they are the next Tyson Fury or Bill Gates.
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