Mental Illness has emerged into a global issue. More than 300 million people, 4.4% of the world population, suffer from mental health issues. Almost half the number of individuals with a clinical-level mental problem reported, do not seek professional help. Mental illness if left untreated can escalate to serious problems- tendency of self-harm and suicides are the common effects. 90% of suicides stem from unaddressed mental illness. Moreover, the pandemic took a sever toll on mental health.
I Got Mind Inc is a company that focuses on helping workplace teams create healthier and more productive cultures. Founded in 2008, they have developed programs that focus on social and emotional development. The team of facilitators at IGM Inc consists of former professionals as well as healthcare professionals. This is a vital component of changing and improving behavioural patterns.
Bob Wilkie, Founder and President of I Got Mind Inc, understands first-hand the devastating consequences of having mental health issues. His struggle began at an early age and was triggered by a traumatic event at age 17 when a tragic bus accident took the lives of four of his team members while playing Junior Hockey in Canada. He struggled with depression and anxiety, which led him to alcohol and drug abuse issues. He has spent over two decades healing, learning, and developing programs to assist teams and individuals understand themselves better which allows them to be more productive and healthier teammates. Bob Wilkie sat with the CEOViews team for an interview to share detailed insights into his entrepreneurial journey.
CEOViews: What inspired you to develop the idea of your business? What was your mission at the outset?
Bob Wilkie: The idea was an unexpected one to be honest. I was working on healing myself from the trauma I had suffered and the illnesses I was dealing with. As I began to piece myself together, I was coaching a group of young men and saw the issues beginning with them. I thought, I need to teach these young men the skills I now understand, and that is how I Got Mind began.
CEOViews: How was your journey so far? What has been your greatest accomplishment?
Bob Wilkie: It has been both rewarding and challenging since I began this journey in 2008. I had to develop content, a method of selling and delivering, and customer personas. I love entrepreneurship, so it has helped me grow and learn more than I ever expected.
The people I have met and supported have been amazing. The systems that needed to be developed, the ever-changing content, delivery methods and tracking of the effectiveness of the programs has been a huge challenge. There have been thousands of hours learning and perfecting the best way to teach people about themselves so they can live a fulfilled life.
I am proud to say all of the hard work is showing amazing results in the individuals and teams that I Got Mind supports.
There was many a time that I thought I should quit, but practicing what I Got Mind teaches everyday has led me to a place I never imagined. As a person, I have never felt better, more confident patient, peaceful and happy.
CEOViews: What kind of programs does your firm provide? Can you explicate them in brief?
Bob Wilkie: The programs were developed to be simple to understand and implement. I found on my journey that many of the books and programs were filled with content but I did not have the skills to implement them into my own life. That is what separates IGM programs from the rest, it is not only easy to comprehend but also to implement.
It is a unique model of delivery. A combination of self-directed learning with our online courses and guided facilitations to support what they learned in the online courses. We have topics that cover everything from mental health to team performance. Courses like Communication is Foundational, Functioning in the Dysfunction and The Power of Attitude, Understanding Stress and more. We have developed and created many more to help all demographics learn this valuable information.
The most effective portion of the program is how long it takes. We make the learning sessions short, so it is easy to manage for anyone with a busy lifestyle. We space the learning over an extended period of time. The biggest failure of learning programs is not spacing it out. Time is the greatest asset to learning to change behaviour.
CEOViews: How do the learning programs help individuals achieve their full potential, and overcome wellness issues?
Bob Wilkie: What we have seen from our clients in the corporate world is heart-warming. Watching people come together, discuss openly what they are feeling is empowering. They take control of the environment in a healthy way and learn to manage themselves better, which allows for a healthy and productive culture. They are more confident, courageous, balanced and happy.
CEOViews: How has the pandemic impacted your operations?
Bob Wilkie: Covid was not all bad, it showed people how we can be more productive with our most valuable asset, time. Being able to meet with teams and individuals via Zoom or Teams has proven to be extremely productive and impacting. The ability to have online courses and Learning Systems to show the progress and learning of the individuals is a tribute to using technology to better ourselves and the teams we work with.
CEOViews: What distinguishes I Got Mind from the competition?
Bob Wilkie: We are a group of individuals that know the frustration, the pain, the helplessness, and our goal is to share valuable, relatable content to help all participants find what will help them live a more fulfilled life.
CEOViews: What challenges did you have to overcome while starting the business?
Bob Wilkie: As an entrepreneur, there have been plenty of challenges. Not having enough clients to feed the family, wondering if what I was developing and passionate about was really helping, and questioning myself every time something did not go according to plan. I have learned in my life that nothing worthwhile happens without going through the struggle to achieve the success we desire. The only way to get where we want to be, is to face every challenge put in front of us.
CEOViews: What type of plans do you have for expanding your company’s growth more efficiently? What type of future vision do you have for your company?
Bob Wilkie: I remind myself of the story of the tortoise and the hare. I have tried the hare’s way, it ended badly. Slow and steady wins the race. The plan is to help thousands of individuals every year. Our program is spaced over time and patience is essential. We will grow, that is inevitable. Our main concern is that the program remains impactful and effective. It is about our clients. It is not about the money or becoming global, it is about being a difference maker.