Just a week before American alt-rockers Linkin Park were to embark on a 29-date North American tour, the tragic news spread like wildfire: Chester Bennington – the band’s 41-year-old lead singer and whom Rolling Stone called “an honest voice of pain and anger for a generation” – was found dead of suicide by hanging in his California home on July 20. Barely two months before, Bennington sang a poignant rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic, “Hallelujah,” at the memorial service for his close friend Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, who also took his own life by hanging. Motivational speaker and author Jeff Yalden is also a suicide prevention expert. He has grieved with enough families to know that the issue is worsening. He spoke at length about Chris Cornell in a previous blog post, and sadly, in this episode of The BOOM Podcast, he spoke from the heart about Chad Bennington and suicide. He said that speaking about suicide is never easy, and he always wants to be very careful about his words. “I don’t want to add more pain, and I don’t want to sensationalize anything,” he said, adding that he wanted to send his thoughts and prayers and pay incredible respect to Bennington’s ex-wives – the mothers of his six children. He also said that he is very concerned about Bennington’s millions of fans and what the possible fallout could be. This message is about mental health, as it was in the post about Chris Cornell. Many people think they can deal with their issues by throwing themselves into their work – compartmentalizing emotions and bottling things up along the way – dealing with these issues by not dealing with them. Yalden is a huge advocate of mental health and cognitive behavioral therapy. “It’s about being honest with yourself – with the man in the mirror – talking to your doctor, getting on the right prescription and just being your own best advocate,” he said. But Yalden also believes that a struggling person’s close network of friends and family need to support and encourage them as well. In many cases, the person dealing with mental health issues is not right in their thinking enough to be able to make the appropriate decisions. It is always a better plan for a friend or family member to make sure that this person gets professional help. “If you are a spouse, coach or friend, you have an incredible responsibility to go to the mental health professionals – to call 911 – to call the police. Sometimes you need to think clearly for this person.” Bennington was an amazing talent, to be sure, and he dove into his career like many people do, but Yalden warned that not dealing with core issues and instead putting yourself out there for your audience can be a slippery slope. “All of a sudden, it’s the applause – it’s the music – it’s the putting those emotions into your work that kind of releases you from having to deal with real life. When you are a celebrity, a professional athlete, an actor, a rock star – all that fame and all of that money kind of fulfills your heart. In a way, I kind of understand. I am not a celebrity like any of these guys by all means. I have been a motivational speaker for 25 years. You get standing ovations, you get applause, you get hugs – ‘sign this, Jeff. Sign that’ – and people love you.” But the audience isn’t there when you go home. “You’ve got to put the kids to bed, mow the lawn – take out the trash. You have to feed the dogs, empty the dishwasher, vacuum the carpet – so the bottom line is this: You are getting all of this applause. You are put on a pedestal. Then you go home and you have to deal with life, and you begin to have this big void.” Yalden said many celebrities – and for that matter many other people – look to fill this void with gratuitous sex, drinking and doing drugs. The casualties from these behaviors continue to grow daily. “You can look at many of the celebrities whose lives ended because they were not taking care of what’s important – and they all have one thing in common: They weren’t taking care of themselves first,” he said. Yalden himself struggles with mental illness, and is diagnosed with major depression, bipolar II disorder and PTSD. He talked about behavioral and situational clues that were red flags long before Bennington made what Yalden calls the forever decision. The debut of Hybrid Theory in 2000 put Linkin Park on the map, and was the start that brought in millions of fans that adored Chester Bennington. “If you listen to the album and you know a little bit about them, Chester Bennington helped many young people with their struggles – with being alienated, bullied – or struggles with mental illness. In a way, he gave people permission to understand and so say to themselves, ‘it’s OK,’ because he talked about his own struggles. This resonated with his audience because ‘he gets it. He understands because he is going through it.” Yalden said he is really concerned about the aftermath. “As great of a man as Chester Bennington was to his millions of adoring fans and how he helped so many people with their struggles with mental health – I am sad that he didn’t see the responsibility that he had to the millions of people. He should have taken care of himself while taking care of those fans. From a mental health standpoint, that breaks my heart. So many people looked up to him – so many people struggling mental illness. They needed someone to go to. And millions of people are afraid to go to a mental health professional. They are afraid to go to the doctor, so they seek the answers and they seek the respect from someone that they trusted. This was Chester Bennington – but many knew that he was a man who struggled with mental illness himself, and people should have been somewhat concerned for him.” For more information about Jeff Yalden, click HERE.
Youth motivational speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden is a big believer in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT] because he can attest to its positive results in his own life. Yalden has long been transparent about his own struggles with mental illness and dealing with major depression, bipolar II disorder and PTSD. He has been through major spinal cord fusion and recently became free of diabetes as a result of a lifestyle change following gastric sleeve surgery. “I’m down 85 pounds and I’m feeling great,” he said, adding that he still goes through the peaks and valleys in life, just like everybody else. In this episode of The BOOM Podcast, Yalden drills down on the topic of success – and specifically the question of how to measure success. One of the takeaways from his counseling was that he was really dependent on being a numbers guy – calculating his success based on a spreadsheet: Was he losing a pound a week or two pounds a week or saving ten percent of his income – issues that everybody struggles with at times. “If I would fail or not come close in one category, then it was like I just let go of everything else,” he said. His therapist went to work with him on lessening his dependence on playing the numbers game with his progress. The proving ground for the elimination of numbers-based tracking is at his fitness boot camp at iSi Elite Training in Garden City, South Carolina – not far from his home in Murrells Inlet. He simplified his approach by taking a much less rigid view of his progress there. “My goal is to work out – to show up, to just be committed to doing my best – and to be consistent. That specifically was by goal back in January,” he said. Many people in the gym wear a heart rate monitor, including Jeff. After every workout, he receives an email with his ranking for the day. To be blunt, Yalden works his ass off at iSi – sometimes burning up to 1000 calories per hour class and easily twice as much as anybody else – but he noticed that he is always in last place. “I gave it that 10 percent – I pushed a little bit harder today. I was sweating like crazy, my heart rate was up and I felt great. I still came in last place.” But when he got home and saw the results, the realization hit him: Who cares? “I am not competing and I think this is one of the messages that I want to share with you: Are you measuring your success in life in comparison to somebody else? Are you measuring your success by who lives in a bigger home – who drives a nicer car – who makes more money – who’s got a bigger boat?” Are you measuring your success by who goes on a nicer vacation? Are you measuring your success based on who is a better parent? “When you get caught up in that game and you get caught up in that cycle of keeping up with the Joneses, it’s hard to break out of it.” We discover newfound freedom when we realize that we’re not competing against anybody else in our journey and that everybody’s journey is different. “I came in last place today. I came in last place every day, but I am not competing against anybody. I am competing against being my healthiest. Competing against being a better person today than I was yesterday,” he said. According to Yalden, sometimes we stress ourselves out by trying to be who we may never be – or by trying to be somebody that we are not. Listen – sometimes we stress ourselves out – with trying to be who we may never be. Sometimes we stress ourselves out with trying to be somebody that we are not. No matter what age we are, it’s really important to get to know who you are and to become comfortable with who you are not. “I am not one of the top fitness competitors in my gym,” he said. “That’s OK. I don’t need to be. My goal is to show up every day, be consistent, do the best I can – and to cheer, support and encourage other people in their workouts.” Because he pushed a bit harder in today’s workout, Yalden said he got an epic feeling of fulfillment and joy – and plenty of energy to tackle his day. Coming in last on a graph made absolutely no difference. He cited good friend and fellow author Richie Contartesi and his theory about the three percent. “You grind every day. You give it your best – you get up early – you really push towards those goals – you are part of that three percent. Anybody can be part of that three percent. You make less excuses and you get the job done. That’s kind of like the BOOM.” As Yalden wrote about in his Amazon bestseller, BOOM! One Word to Instantly Inspire Action, Deliver Rewards, and Positively Affect Your Life Every Day, the BOOM is a factor and an effect. The BOOM factor would be getting up in the morning and going to work out even if you don’t feel like it – and the BOOM effect would be the rewarding feeling of having done it and given it your best. “BOOM! One word changes everything,” he said. How do you measure success every day? Are you measuring it by comparing yourself to others or are you measuring your success based on the plan you are exercising every day? “Set a plan. Make sure the plan is clear. Take action. Let’s not complicate the big picture. Let’s simplify it – and I think you will be greatly successful.” To find out more about Jeff Yalden, go HERE. Subscribe to The BOOM Podcast HERE. LISTEN to this episode of The BOOM Podcast. GRAB your copy of BOOM! JOIN the BOOM Nation Facebook group and share your BOOM moments.