From the Desk of Brad Smart: How a CEO Successfully Navigated Through Incredibly Tough Mental Health Challenges

Topgrading supporter and Scaling Up coach, Kevin Lawrence, sent us an interview he did with a CEO who, with pandemic challenges mounting, discussed how he was able to transition through the lowest of mental health lows successfully. Click here for the full interview.  If you want to jump to the solutions that worked for him (start the day with one thing you are grateful for and keep a journal) scroll forward to the 20-minute mark.

We all know suicide rates shot up during the pandemic but we didn’t hear much about CEOs so “down” that they took, or considered taking, their own life. Even as a PhD psychologist I haven’t read or heard very much about how successful executives have coped with mounting stresses. One reason is that Topgraders surround themselves with A Players so resourceful that they attack challenges positively, without whining or complaining. Many blogs highlight their business successes despite market collapses (Marine Max, Culligan, etc.). A team of A Players does wonders to focus on positive solutions. Really!

On a personal level, for at least the past 15 years, my wife and I have started each day with a) grabbing a tea/coffee, b) reading three inspirational quotes, and c) jumping in the hot tub to discuss the day … AFTER identifying several things to be grateful for. Honestly, I get up early, read four newspapers, and start the day with the latest evidence that the world is going to hell fast. Mary has been great at institutionalizing the ‘grateful start’ to each day.

Thank you Mary! Really!

Dr. Brad Smart is Founder and CEO of Topgrading, Inc. Topgrading is dedicated to helping companies of all sizes maximize the hiring of high performers. Topgrading assesses candidates for senior positions (where the costs of mis-hires are high) and trains all managers to create teams of almost all high performers.

Brad has seven published books on hiring; the most recent three (the first, second, and third editions of Topgrading) were all best sellers. Brad, and President Chris Mursau’s new book, Foolproof Hiring (Forbes Books), is available for purchase by clicking here.

Brad can be reached at

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