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I felt like a fraud!

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 13/05/2020 12:15:00 PM

PEPTALK is a new magazine for Kiwis aimed at addressing and tackling mental health issues. Here, Nadine Hickman, founder and publisher at PEPTALK Media, outlines the challenges she faced in setting up the publication. Many of the thoughts below will be familiar to New Zealand’s entrepreneurs and leaders. This article first appeared on the PEPTALK Media website.  

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| Nadine: 

I have a confession to make, the last week I’ve been struggling. My thoughts and emotions are all over the place.

It feels like everything that was exciting got whisked away, and in a blink there was a totally different picture.

Each day is like a rollercoaster, I start off fresh and recommitted to feeling good, but then things go downhill from there, by mid afternoon I've spiralled all the way down to feeling completely miserable and hopeless.

It’s hard to admit that I feel this way. How dare I! When everyone else is facing similar disappointments, and many are facing much much worse.

As I sit on my bed (my new office) and write this, every five minutes or so, another child comes in to tell me something, show me something, ask me something... with each interruption my patience wears a little thinner, I take deep breaths, I try to relax… but there are times, like now, that I can’t help but snap at one of them, and then comes the guilt and the thoughts of self criticism, ‘I’m a terrible mother, I should be more patient, I shouldn’t be working, I should just give up on all of this, who am I kidding, I should forget everything else and be a wife and a mum….’ And on and on it goes.

But hold on, I’m the one who’s supposed to be giving the pep talks! I’m supposed to uplift and inspire, I'm supposed to focus on the good, and express gratitude all of the time.

What a fraud!

| Or maybe not…

It occurred to me this rainy Sunday afternoon, while pondering my Monday morning PEPTALK, the only thing that could make me a fraud is pretending that I don’t think negative thoughts and feel awful sometimes, or often.

I didn’t start this business called PEPTALK because I was the perfect picture of positivity. I didn’t start it because I feel happy all of the time. I didn’t start it because I always do the right things by myself and others. I didn’t start it because I’m some sort of perfect presence of calm and composure.

I started PEPTALK because I am the opposite. I’m imperfect and I struggle, A LOT, to keep myself feeling good mentally.

I started PEPTALK because I’m prone to depression, I’m prone to feeling sorry for myself, I’m prone to lacking confidence, I’m prone to anxiety, I’m prone to negative self talk, I’m prone to worrying what others think of me, I’m prone to reacting, I’m prone to beating up on myself...

I started PEPTALK because I’m prone to all of these things… but I learnt strategies that helped me, and I worked to consistently apply them, and when I applied them I felt better and better, more and more of the time, and that felt amazing and empowering. I then learnt more strategies that were backed by science, that didn’t just work for me, but worked for people universally the whole world over, and I felt a strong calling to share these strategies with others.

I started PEPTALK because even though I now know strategies that work, even though I know I should do the things like: focus on the good, practice gratitude, and engage my strengths… it’s not easy for me to always apply these strategies and I’m sure there are other people like me, who also need constant reminders, encouragement, and PEPTALKS!

I started PEPTALK because I find it damn hard to constantly, proactively build my mental wellbeing, but I discovered that when I do, it’s sooooooo sooooo worth it! It’s so worth it to feel great, to manage stress well, to be full of energy, vitality and enthusiasm for life; to feel confident and self assured; to have patience and to treat those around me with love and kindness; to laugh and have fun with them; to engage in my passion and live with purpose; to be creative and productive… these are some of the many payoffs I get from working hard on my mental health every day, and it’s so worth it.

This is why I’m passionate about and super proud of the inaugural issue of PEPTALK magazine… the brakes may have been put on our big launch, but I won't put the brakes on getting this magazine out to those who it can help, especially right now.

It's worth it to learn the skills that work and apply them, it's worth it to feel good, great, or bloody fantastic, even in times when it's hard to. It's worth it to know the empowering truth that, no matter how deep the hole or how gloomy the outlook, you can climb your way out, and enjoy it while you do. This is as much a reminder to me, as it is to you.

If you would like to receive a free copy of PEPTALK Magazine you can sign up online here. If you would like to receive 10+ free copies of the magazine to share around your team or office, you only need to cover the courier cost. You can contact Nadine at: nadine@peptalkmedia.com

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Topics: Startup, Leadership, Business Strategy & Planning, HR & Employment, Growth, Coronavirus