Australia's Patty Mills raises his bronze medal after the Boomers' victory over Slovenia.

The Olympics brings up important conversations about mental health

The 2020 Olympics conclude on Sunday and whew! Where do I start? These Games – played a year late, amid a continuing pandemic will probably be remembered as the pandemic Games.

Bronze is the new gold

Who knows how many positive changes people have made in the pandemic, one of them might be that we finally got over our all-consuming obsession with “winning gold”. Just consider the look of joy on the face of Patty Mills at the conclusion of the Australian basketball team’s third place finish – the first Olympic medal ever won by an Australian men’s basketball team. 

Yeah it’s not gold but that bronze medal means years of commitment and the effort they put in every game they’ve ever played.

The Tokyo Olympics this year has also put issues of athlete mental health front and centre. Simon Biles withdrew from the Gymnastics Team Event and said this at a press conference following the event

“I say put mental health first because if you don’t then you’re not gonna enjoy your sport and you’re not gonna succeed as much as you want to. So it’s ok sometimes to even sit out the big competition to focus on yourself because it shows how strong of a competitor and person that you are, rather than just battle through it.” 

Broker mental health under pressure

In fact, the issue is expanding into more sectors and professions in slightly different packaging. Mortgage brokers can relate to these athletes to a certain degree since their job involves working long hours and dealing with complex lending issues for clients. The tendency to devote ourselves to achieve more and glamourise long hours remains as pervasive as ever. 

It’s about time we address the lack of support mortgage brokers received as they struggled to cope with high demand this year. Which brings us to an important message to our industry: Don’t obsess over “winning gold”. Sometimes, bronze will more than suffice. 

Don’t give in to the overwork culture. We need to take care of our physical and mental health and reach out to those around us who are suffering from anxiety and stress as well.

It’s also forced us to see our work life in a whole new way. While technology solutions like Effi have made our job a lot easier by allocating more tasks to the platform, it can only go so far in easing the burden – it has to be up to us to prioritise our wellbeing, up to the industry bodies to give more support to finance professionals. If there was anytime to change the way we work, now is the time to do it.