Exeleon Magazine

Zane Landin: Facilitating Conversations on Mental Health Through Storytelling

Zane Landin_Exeleon Magazine_PositiveVibes Magazine

Since the advent of time, storytelling has had a powerful presence in our lives across every culture. Stories have helped shape our identity and our beliefs. It has helped us inspire, immerse, and imagine. It has made us connect and embrace.

Zane Landin is one thought leader who understands the value of storytelling and is determined to leverage its power to bring forth a change in the mental health space. 

A transformational leader in every right, Zane Landin through his publication PositiveVibes Magazine aims to facilitate conversations related to mental health by sharing personal stories and experiences.

In this exclusive interview with Exeleon Magazine, Zane Landin talks about mental health, storytelling, and much more.

What according to you makes one a transformational leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?

I define transformational leadership as proactively learning and being empathetic towards your team members and the environment you create. Transformational leadership inspires people to be the best versions of themselves in any capacity. This is something I am always considering, especially with PositiveVibes Magazine. We are always advocating for transformational positivity, which I believe is the optimistic attitude to being a transformational leader.

Transformational positivity is about using your past experiences and creating a better life for yourself by embracing uncertainty and supporting others around you. This is very different from toxic positivity because I am not saying people always need to be happy and joyful because that is impossible to achieve. Life is always going to change and evolve. Sometimes, we encounter tough times. Unfortunately, these circumstances are inevitable. People who recognize this will be better prepared to support themselves and manage their emotions. 

Once someone can harness the power of transformational positivity and authenticity, they can begin to be a transformational leader. Since they understand what it is like to experience rejection, negativity, and hard times, they can inspire those around them. They can do this by opening up the space for them to be their authentic selves, empathize with what is going on in their life, and focus on bettering their strengths.

Talk to us about your growing up years and the influence storytelling has had in your life.

I believe people think of storytelling as something that drives you towards an emotional experience. This may be a considerable aspect of storytelling. Still, we forget storytelling is constantly around us, whether on television, an email you read, or a book that moved you to tears. The way we speak, people using American Sign Language, the video game designer, the artist who creates different universes with nothing but paint, and even the person making a sales call are communicating and crafting a story for someone to be moved by. Without storytelling or communication, we wouldn’t have civilization. We are all storytellers.

Like everyone, many movies, commercials, and books have impacted my life. The story of Kingdom Hearts is something I can say has positively shaped my life through adventure, characters, and music. I have experimented with many different forms of storytelling like drawing, writing, singing, and creating videos. I have been creating digital art lately, but my true identity is being a writer. Funny enough, I wasn’t good at writing at all growing up. Through my sessions with my psychologist, I was advised to write about my experiences. They told me it would help me understand my emotions and be able to revisit them. I didn’t appreciate writing until I explored poetry. 

It was the first time in my life that I didn’t feel chained to a specific writing style. I felt free being able to write about anything I wanted to. In my senior year of high school, I would write daily and carry a journal for when I would have ‘word or phrase’ moments. I think the Jane Schaffer method for writing essays trumped my creativity and stifled my interest in this art form. Poetry allowed me to be myself on paper. Imagination is a magical journey, and writing makes sense of everything. Writing helps you reach your destination.  

What led you to start the PositiveVibes Magazine? What is the vision through this magazine?

I was a student at Cal Poly Pomona when the world was hit with COVID-19. During the time, I was taking a copyediting class for my degree requirement. For our final project, I was tasked to create my own digital publication. I decided to frame the assignment around mental health and positivity. I thought mental health was something people were experiencing across the board because of the dire effects of COVID-19 with the isolation. 

The mainstream media had the opportunity to tell the stories of mental health during the pandemic. I was disappointed they failed to do so. Even today, there isn’t a massive push for mental health awareness. Once the media openly discusses mental health, the attention will drive change. We started the digital magazine in May 2020 with an Instagram account. 

The vision of the magazine was to write about different mental health topics. That all changed around two months in when someone reached out with interest in sharing their story. I never thought we would feature people. Their interest changed the entire trajectory of the magazine. Our primary focus has been on featuring everyday people with inspiring stories. Everyone has a powerful story with enriched history. We want readers to take away from these people and apply it to their lives. It is all about advocating for transformational positivity.

How are you planning to leverage the power of storytelling to transform conversations related to mental health?

It is what I do daily with the magazine and in my life. I always try to be vulnerable so other people can feel comfortable sharing their stories. We all have the power to open up the conversation and create a safe space for people to be their unapologetic selves. It only takes one person to dramatically shift the world. I am also interested in starting my own podcast series openly talking about mental health with other people with different experiences.

Mention some of the other initiatives that you are a part of that is making a difference in the mental health space.

I have been involved in several mental health initiatives at university, including Active Minds, Sources of Strength, NASPA’s BACCHUS, and different system-wide and university-wide committees. I am currently involved in Speaks 2 Inspire, Letters to Strangers, Stability Network, and Best Buddies. Recently, I was invited to the White House for the first-ever Mental Health Youth Action Forum, which came from MTV. 30 young advocates were chosen for this opportunity. The forum was held back on May 16-18. Through the program, I became a more vigorous advocate and met Dr. Biden, Dr. Murthy, Selena Gomez, and President Biden. It was an experience I will truly never forget. 

Looking at your journey, what would you have done different when starting out?

I am always in a dilemma when I am asked this question. I appreciate who I am today, and that person wouldn’t exist without my decisions. While there are many things I would have done differently, I believe in the power of the journey. While I wouldn’t change too much, I would change spending more time with my mother. She passed away last January, and I wish I had more time with her. I know she is there for me in spirit and proud of my work because she was my biggest supporter and advocate.

What would be your advice for emerging leaders who want to contribute to the mental health space?

There are so many organizations making a difference in the mental health community. I advise finding an organization that aligns with what you are passionate about. These organizations are always looking for volunteers. This is a great way to take the first step in the mental health space. 

Finally, what does the future look like for you and PositiveVibes Magazine?

I am not a fortune teller, so I never know what the future holds. I am open to anything that comes my way. I believe in shaping our own destinies, but I also tell myself to be available to the different things’ life may throw my way. I try to always appreciate what I have. I want to keep sharing amazing stories through the magazine because that is where my passion lies. I am excited about the future because we never know where it will lead us. We all should be open to everything and genuinely show up.

Read Digital Version of the Magazine.

Visit PositveVibes Magazine Website

Contact Zane Landin on Linkedin.



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