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Nick Elston is one of the highest-profile and leading Inspirational Speakers on the Lived Experience of Mental Health.
In life, we can either let our adversities, our challenges, define us negatively for the rest of our lives…or…we can choose for it to forge something beautiful, something powerful – something that never would have existed without you going through your ‘stuff’ in the first place.
Described as a ‘BIG man, BIG heart, BIG story & BRUTAL honesty!’, ‘Utterly inspirational, absolutely engaging!’ and ’10/10 –a Speaking Masterclass!’ – Nick shares his experiences of Mental Illness, Mental Ill-Health & Breakdown worldwide –through his powerful, inspiring, engaging & emotional talks.
Most importantly, Nick shares his ‘Lived Experience’ through insights, tools, tips and techniques on how to manage Anxiety in Life, in Business – to implement immediately.
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[00:00:00] Scott: Hi, I'm Scott Fulton, the host of the Rebel Diaries podcast. This show will help you learn how to make work better for you, your colleagues and the organization you work for. I believe the modern workplace is broken for too many people with leaders and their teams, drowning in corporate complexity, information overload, and unnecessary levels of stress.
[00:00:18] Scott: Having spent over 20 years leading disruptive high-performing teams who have won international awards for their impact. I've now dedicated my career to helping coach and train leaders and teams to deliver more value and impact at work whilst reducing the risk of burnout, overload, and wasted effort.
[00:00:34] Scott: This podcast is dedicated to you and thousands like you who know work can and should be better.
[00:00:39] Scott: You'll get tips and insights from me as well as the amazing guests I invite to be the show, many of them have disrupted their industries and are thought leaders, speakers, and authors who have fascinating stories and advice to share.
[00:00:50] Scott: Thank you for listening. I'm Scott Fulton and welcome to the Rebel Diaries show.
[00:00:55] Nick: Now for a lot of people in the professional world, given your question about the workplace, we thrive on that. We thrive on knowing what the career path looks like and what the plans for growth are. And if we've been forced back into survival mode, There's a real challenge,
[00:01:07] Nick: So I think now more than ever, it needs to be about human to human conversations, especially in the workplace. If you lead a team of 10 people, you're gonna have 10 different experiences of life and business right now so no more can we generalize. It needs to be human to human, but actually quite simply and quite humanly, it needs to be led by compassion.
[00:01:24] Nick: Very early on. The people pleasing was a fantastically effective mechanism, utterly destructive, but fantastically effective to be everything to everyone.
[00:01:33] Scott: Nick Elston is one of the highest profile and leading inspirational speakers on the lived experience of mental health.
[00:01:38] Scott: Nick shares his experience of mental illness, mental ill health, and breakdown, worldwide and inspiring and emotional talks. He has helped clients like the BBC. American Express the NHS Deloitte and many more. I hope you enjoy this episode. And if you are suffering, please do reach out for help. I've put some links in the show notes.
[00:01:56] Scott: On with the show.
[00:01:58] Scott: Hi, Nick. Welcome to the Rebel Diaries Podcast.
[00:02:01] Nick: Wow. Thank you very much. I love the name, by the way. It's very cool.
[00:02:04] Scott: Thank you, So you've got a journey to share. You right if we start there and just just see how the conversation goes. ?
[00:02:11] Nick: I'll give you more of a nutshell version cause usually it's now a keynote,
[00:02:14] Scott: Okay.
[00:02:15] Nick: We'll go. The nutshell version I had mental illness in my childhood in kind of young adulthood as well. So in, in the form of obsessive compulsive disorder or ocd, which I guess is much commonly known but much trivialized you to things like channel fours, o c d cleaners.
[00:02:30] Nick: I'm a little bit OCD or doesn't of work that way. It's a very painful, frustrating condition and. I'm 44 now. Don't judge I've had a hard life . Now I'm also a Bristol Rover fan, which which really doesn't help out as in gray and a beard. But the treatment back in the day for OCD was very different.
[00:02:45] Nick: So it wasn't dealt with a way that it would be. Now it's important to say. So as I got older, it morphed into something called generalized anxiety disorder or g a d, which is statistically more common, but less commonly known. Essentially it's obsessive compulsive anxiety so that you're constantly running it.
[00:03:01] Nick: High levels of anxiety as in hyper levels of anxiety, high nervous energy. But the thing is, you can be very successful, driven by high anxiety, and we both see that in the spaces that we operate in as well, don't we? And it's one of those things, especially in the uk, I deliver my stuff globally and it's, especially in the uk we've got this real challenge with things like self-care.
[00:03:19] Nick: We of feel that it's selfish and we don't put ourselves before anything or anyone. We run and get a little weaker tomorrow. So in a lot of ways, Praise, high anx anxiety. We reward high anxiety, but through education, which can be brutal environment for young adult with mental illness. My way of dealing with that was to be everything to everyone.
[00:03:37] Nick: I very on early on. The people pleasing was a fantastically effective mechanism, utterly destructive, but fantastically effective to be everything to everyone. And I think really those formative years set the blueprint for my professional career because, All the challenges I've experienced in adult life, I can trace back to that time not just about high anxiety, but being big because you would appreciate this right now, being on the session We are, but it's, I'm six foot, 3 24 stone lad.
[00:04:02] Nick: Everyone expect me cause I work in wellbeing. I should look like Joe Wicks, but I got a Fat Joe Wicks, I'll go with that But there's conditioning elements behind that as well. And that's of what I go into as well. But also I talk about my relationship with alcohol as well. The whole element is that in the corporate life, that's what I took in that kind of blueprint that worked so well.
[00:04:23] Nick: Education, so of masking behavior running at high levels of burnout. And finally in 2012, after decades of mental illness and burnout I had a breakdown. Outside of a Premier Inn in Somerset. Classy guy. Choose your breakdown as well. If I knew I was talking about this stuff for a living, I would go with Hilton or more exclusive, but it is what it is. But, and it was at that point actually that I learned that were two things really. I think that without getting too dark about this, but it's absolutely crucial to say that this was gonna be something that consumed me or I had to let it out. And for me, that was the clear decision and thankfully I went with letting it out and that was where speaking really came into its own for me.
[00:05:00] Nick: Not the way that I do now. I just decided to turn up at the same event. I had a breakdown at two weeks before and tell people actually the truth about what had happened about mental illness. It was cheap therapy, like literally it's 15 quid, including breakfast. It was premier, so it was cheap therapy. But what I found then was speaking, became my therapy.
[00:05:17] Nick: And then by people hearing the truth, especially in 2012, I think people hearing the unfiltered version of mental illness and stuff, people started sharing their stuff with me, and that's where I saw the gap. I never wanted to be solution focused. I'm far too empathic for that. I'll be a rubbish counselor.
[00:05:33] Nick: However, the gap for me is engagement. Why are all of us struggling with stuff or we don't feel worthy? Educated enough, empowered enough, or inspired enough, reach out for help when we need it. And that's what I started to do. I started to share my experiences, my, what they now call lived experiences as a kind of a sector, as a way to help other people reach out for help.
[00:05:52] Nick: And the room's got bigger, the audience has got bigger, and the rest, as they say is history. And along the way, I've picked up a few more caps of the 95 that I own. I also lecture on the lived experience of mental health and education to crisis teams, police forces. I also work in the prison system. I coach public speaking as a transformational tool.
[00:06:11] Nick: I work in education. Parents will get this prisons far easier than schools. You get back up in prisons , but lots of different sectors. It was all happened by accident and I think there's something about that for all of us that if all these things that happen to us in life, We always say that I'm done.
[00:06:25] Nick: I'm done with this. I'm done with him, I'm done with her, I'm done with that. I'm done with all this. And you're never really done. You just don't know what the way forward looks like. And I think that if I was trying to define this at a conference I was speaking at this week about, So what do we bring?
[00:06:38] Nick: What do we need to bring as humans if we're not solution focused, if we're not medical professionals? For me it's hope or the hope of something better. That's what drives every one of us. When we have that's when we can start to forge ahead. And that's why I call my business forging people.
[00:06:52] Nick: And that's why I'm here today. So thank you for inviting me on the show,
[00:06:55] Scott: Thanks for sharing that story. That's really interesting. So you said when you started talking about it, that was your therapy. Did you find that you, have you overcome it completely or is it still always there? It's just under control. How's it kind of manifest for you?
[00:07:11] Nick: it is a great question because there is this perception of looking at, especially if I do the big stage stuff, so like conference or stadium kind of events where there's thousands of people, there's this perception that hallelujah this guy's cured. Like absolutely not. I manage my crap daily to varying degrees of success like everybody else does.
[00:07:27] Nick: I think it's really important to say, This stuff doesn't go in its sense. I think there's two things to this. Mental health we all have, whether it's good or bad, it's we all have that and for me it's like a muscle so that we can exercise and nurture and nourish and care for, to give ourselves the best chance of thriving.
[00:07:44] Nick: But for those who had experience of mental illness and the vast majority of cases, for me, especially, that it never truly goes. If I feel tired enough, stressed enough, run down enough, then absolutely I can fall back onto those tracks. I visualize them as like Indiana Jones' mining cart tracks.
[00:08:01] Nick: They're dusty and cobwebd, but you could be shunted back on them at points where you feel quite low. So for me it's purely about managing your energy and everything else falls in, but fully accepting. It's a self-awareness piece, that fully accepting that this could arise again for me. It's how we come back from that.
[00:08:18] Nick: It's not about stopping stuff, it's about how we come back when we get to those points.
[00:08:21] Scott: Yeah. And you hear, people feel that there's this like place they can get to where everything's fine. And actually that if you can take the mindset that life is a continual journey of improvement and understanding and evolution. That's much more realistic and achievable, isn't it, than a goal that's probably never gonna happen.
[00:08:39] Scott: And then you just, almost give up cuz it seems too hard to reach.
[00:08:42] Nick: Right, absolutely. And this is quite controversial in the wellbeing space that I operate in because for me, the pursuit of happiness is really damaging. And now hear me out on this before you start cutting me off.
[00:08:53] Scott: No, I get it. Keep going.
[00:08:55] Nick: For me, I think driven by popular and social media, and it's a reason why I'm not on social media other than LinkedIn and YouTube actually I'm not on the popular social media kinda sites, but for.
[00:09:04] Nick: Happiness is assumed to be our zero point. So if we're not feeling happy, we feel that we're doing something wrong. Because very often people post for inspiration or desperation. Very rarely the truth. We hear the spun version of the truth. But for me, my zero point after a decades of mental illness is peace of mind.
[00:09:23] Nick: It's being okay if I wake up tomorrow. Okay. Not a lot to worry about then that's a great start. Do you know what I mean? I really appreciate the happy stuff. I deal with the bad stuff a lot more effectively, and I think there's something to be said for that. But if you do wake up not in a good place, or if life throws you a curve ball or you get knocked off your feet and all those kind of different things that come along, it's not about stopping that stuff happening to you is about how do you come back from it.
[00:09:47] Nick: And I think therein lies a challenge. And one of my first mentors just said to me, one line, which has always stuck with. Is in any given situation, no matter how brutal, whether it's been through my divorce or through employment stuff, or it's always been, what does this make possible? So if you look at the longer picture of my journey, actually, I wouldn't be doing the most exciting things I've ever done today without going through the adversity to start with.
[00:10:11] Nick: But I wouldn't have seen it at the time, and this is the thing we need of focus on. You won't see it right now, but something better could be right around the corner. We just don't see.
[00:10:18] Scott: Yeah. I'm trying to think. You will get through it. Nothing lasts forever.
[00:10:22] Nick: Cause the opposite is you just, you feel overwhelmed. And when we feel overwhelmed, we get disconnected. And when we get disconnected, we cut off everything. We cut off opportunities, we build a future based on fear.
[00:10:30] Scott: Yeah, what you said there reminded me of a quote from one of my heroes, Bruce Lee. I don't remind me sharing it. It says, do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.
[00:10:40] Nick: Love that. Really cool. Nice. Yeah. Yeah. I should do some reading up on Bruce Lee. I've only ever since been beat people up,
[00:10:47] Scott: yeah, I know there's a whole book of quotes. Really inspirational.
[00:10:49] Scott: Yeah.
[00:10:50] Nick: like that.
[00:10:51] Scott: So you obviously talked about the link to work and you help corporate teams. So what are the kind of challenges that you're seeing in that space at the moment and maybe in the past? I don't wanna make assumptions that it's worse now than it used to be, cuz of Covid, but, what's the kind of stuff that you're seeing?
[00:11:05] Nick: I think for me you mentioned Covid and obviously that is the huge massive rampaging elephant in the room is that it's something, I was speaking at a tech conference this week around this very subject about its around flexible work and the pandemic and the homework and its effect has had.
[00:11:20] Nick: And I think for me the biggest. Negative that's come from this cause there's been so many positives and actually a lot better practices in that way and a lot more focus on stuff that needs to have focus. But the biggest negative for me is how it's affected our ability to aspire the way that we used to set goals the way we used to, to project positively the way that we used to because we've been forced back into that kind of survival mode.
[00:11:44] Nick: Of only thinking so far ahead now for a lot of people in the professional world, given your question about the workplace, we thrive on that. We thrive on knowing what the career path looks like and what the plans for growth are. We thrive on all that stuff. And if we've been forced back into survival mode, There's a real challenge, and I think it, for me, it's actually one of the things that can be put down to narrative and to terminology that mental health is always using a negative.
[00:12:07] Nick: To the extent that people will say to you, Scott, I have mental health. Of course you do. A hundred percent of us do. And I think change is the same problem. So we've been bombarded with constant change. The quote I like to use at the end of every talk that I deliver is, every storm runs out of rain.
[00:12:23] Nick: And I said, at this conference, I said, I was hoping to retire that phrase at the end of last year because I of thought we're gonna step out into 2022. We're gonna create this new normal, we've got a blank canvas, we can do all these amazing, all our craps behind us, and we've got all of this to come.
[00:12:37] Nick: And then 2022 actually happened, like 15 prime ministers, a change of monarch global conflict. All this stuff is bombarded our way. But the conditioning impact of that is it forces us back into survival mode. We're only thinking about right now. For me, it, again, it's that hope or hope of something better on a personal and professional level.
[00:12:55] Nick: So very often people just feel lost. Now I think they just feel they're not sure what the future looks like, the way that we used to know what the future looks like.
[00:13:04] Scott: What kind of behavior are you seeing that driving in corporates? Are, Are people just shutting down? Are they disengaging with work? Are they
[00:13:12] Nick: I think.
[00:13:12] Scott: What's going on?
[00:13:13] Nick: I think there's certainly, there's a lethargy. This is a generalism of course, but there is certainly a lethargy or again, that lack of hope or aspiration, and I think people just become quite, and it's the same with home working. I guess if you look at. This is a big subject, but without going too much down the rabbit hole, if you look at like the conditioning impact of stay home, save lives, which was obviously what we were told for the best part of two years, and I was shielded through a lot of that as well.
[00:13:37] Nick: So that kind of impact of that the, even though that was done to protect us and to do, to put things in place to protect everything and all that kind stuff. The politics isn't the point, but the conditioning impact is stay home, saved lives by default. People start thinking inside is safe and outside isn't safe..
[00:13:54] Nick: That's what we're left with in that sense. So even though I work in the space all the time, I surround myself with fantastic solution focused professionals, psychologists, GPs within my network, my own coaches that in October last year when I first went and flew to an event for the first time in a long time.
[00:14:09] Nick: I felt petrified and knowing this stuff is very different because it has a conditioning impact. And I think for me, that's the impact is the conditioning element of where we are, and I think that's why we live in a very passive aggressive society right now. There's a lot of strong opinions, a lot of platforms to share those opinions on.
[00:14:27] Nick: So I think now more than ever, it needs to be about human to human conversations, especially in the workplace. If you lead a team of 10 people, you're gonna have 10 different experiences of life and business. Right now that's so no more can we generalize. It needs to be human to human, but actually quite simply and quite humanly, it needs to be led by compassion.
[00:14:44] Nick: We don't have to take a competitive approach into conversations with people. We don't have to enforce our beliefs onto people or. To convince somebody to agree with our view of the world, we can listen to people and understand without having to win that conversation. Does that make sense?
[00:14:59] Scott: it does. Yeah. And there's also people are gonna be dealing with a lot more than they would've before. There, there's talk of a. Mental health crisis isn't there in terms of the outcomes of covid, the impact it's had on people and the isolation and that's gonna affect how people perform at work.
[00:15:13] Scott: And it's gonna be reliant on leaders and managers understanding that people aren't always gonna be, you know, they've got stuff going on they may not know about.
[00:15:21] Nick: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that there still needs to be those kind of. It. There's a piece that I've been doing, I write a lot for the HR community as well, like people like C I P D and HR own and stuff, and I've been doing a lot of articles around the use of vulnerability, but also who looks after the people, who looks after people, but actually where are the battle lines when it comes to supporting people and not supporting people.
[00:15:44] Nick: And very often there's extremes of what we consider mental health and wellbeing to be in the workplace. People are either gonna think it's gonna be dry, heavy, boring, that I'm gonna go in and try and fix them. That's not me at all. Or they think I'm gonna light a bonfire outside, run around naked with a jostick
[00:16:00] Nick: I'm up for anything by the way but somewhere in the middle is the truth. So we ever think it's really fluffy or we think it's really dry and therefore it's really hard to engage in that stuff. The other extreme is that if we are a leader, especially a people leader in any way, shape, or form, We have two main reactions to people struggling in front of us.
[00:16:16] Nick: I would try and fix them, which ethically and morally isn't our place to do including myself into that equation, by the way. Or we keep them at arms length because it just seems quite intense to deal with, especially if somebody is at a point of crisis and again, somewhere in the middle to truth.
[00:16:29] Nick: It is important to know how we can support people, but for me the most important question for you is how can you support people? Is giving people the terms of engagement when it comes to this stuff. So I have a playbook of a conversation that, that people can use to safeguard themselves, safeguard the other person, but make sure that they're sign posted to help, that can support them.
[00:16:49] Nick: And I think when we take that approach, that self-protection first approach. We then start to have more conversations with more people, but we're not good at being selfish in the uk and that's the problem.
[00:16:59] Scott: Yeah. It's that being able to speak up isn't it? Is one of the, your journey has shared, you said that turning point for you is actually being able to tell people about it and obviously people feeling that they're on their own, feeling that there's no help, there's no support. So they're stuck in this kind of challenge, aren't they?
[00:17:16] Scott: They're probably lacking the confidence and think there isn't help out there for them. So what advice do you give to people to, to try and overcome that and take that scary step?
[00:17:26] Nick: it is a scary step. I think for me is kind of of having a look around it. , who do you know who will support you, but support you on your terms? Very often the kind of the default setting to people that struggle with their mental health and myself included, we can become people pleasers. We become more subservient, more dominant people, dominant situations.
[00:17:44] Nick: So therefore, very often people can take advantage of that. So it's working out the people that actually do support you and more listen to you objectively and challenge you. Absolut. But challenge you to thrive on your terms. People that you can have the confidence and trust to do that if you haven't got that, is working out what's available.
[00:18:01] Nick: If you work for a large organization, for example, your fastest route to help is through the organization by firmly being remembered, being told when I was gonna growing up, don't trust work with your personal stuff. So that's a conditioning element. That's a family thing that you get told not to trust work.
[00:18:16] Nick: So people of my generation in the forties actually really struggle to engage this, not exclusively men, but especially men as well, have a real challenge to engage in solution focused stuff. So I think it's finding out what's available around you and having this stuff well in advance before you even need it.
[00:18:32] Nick: It has to be said for me if you are not showing the world your true self, how do you expect the world to engage with you on your terms? And I think there's. if you need that. Con, there's an inspirational element too that you need to have that, that pushover of the line and the sand in that sense that if you are not living a life, having a career, having an education, running a business on your terms, whose terms are you doing this on?
[00:18:53] Nick: And that thought's enough to scare me. They to keep developing and keep pushing, but it has to be said, that's the truth. Just take reincarnation off a table. If we get one go round at this, we wanna make sure it's our go round. But the first thing we sacrifice when we struggle with our mental health generally is choice.
[00:19:07] Nick: How we choose to go into each and every day fully accepting we don't live in a Disney movie. You're gonna get blindsided, stuff's gonna happen, which isn't great for me. The secret is not about eradicating stress, it's being able to have a playbook to bounce back as soon as you can to dust yourself down.
[00:19:24] Nick: And if you go in through a position, challenge in any shape or form where it's highly emotional. There's this tool that I love a develop called cold processes. So if you look at the subjects of through my experiences with divorce, it's a good example that you have an emotional track to these things.
[00:19:40] Nick: You have the emotions of whatever's tied into that kind of stuff. Then you have the process. Now the more that we can shift the process along, The faster everything moves, but the emotion very of very often distracts us from dealing with the actual challenge in front of us. And I think if we apply that logic, if we stick to whatever's gonna move this long as fast as possible, the emotion moves along faster as well.
[00:20:01] Nick: Does that makes sense? I think I tried to verbalize it. Yeah. . Yeah. So I think there's something to be said for that. I think it's just a case knowing what's around you. Because I know in the Southwest where I live. It's a three month waiting list for CBT assessment, not therapy assessment for therapy.
[00:20:16] Nick: Whereas through an organization, if you work with a big organization, you can get help today. So for me, the big question for people out there is why don't people engage in our stuff?
[00:20:27] Scott: Yeah. And do you think part of this is tied into people's mindsets? Whether, you hear about growth mindsets and fixed mindsets. Do you know people are just gonna shut down? Or some people, for you it was clearly that trigger point you said, I've got a choice to make. And you made the, the positive choice
[00:20:43] Nick: Yeah. Yeah, not, I don't recommend anybody get to that point in time. Not sure. Disclaimer for the show, , I don't recommend it, but it is liberating. So actually for the first time ever to be able to feel that you could say something without that fear of judgment. That's what drives us all. The thing that drives everything around our decisions is the fear of rejection.
[00:21:01] Nick: It's the home of imposter syndrome. I've never met anybody who struggles with imposter syndrome, who actually isn't very, isn't successful, but their self-belief cannot keep up the reality of their success. It's a self belief or confidence issue. It's a home of procrastination cuz when we keep something close to us, it's safe and nobody can poke and prod and critique and criticize it.
[00:21:23] Nick: But when we let it go, it's there to be rejected. And I think that's, public speaking according to Harvard, public speaking is a greater fear than death. We feel ridiculous more than we do dying. That's the conditioning we're fighting against. But again, in my eight years of coaching people to speak publicly, to share their stories..
[00:21:39] Nick: Like nobody is scared of public speaking in itself. They're afraid of rejection. How are people gonna resonate with this? Am I gonna get heckled or judged? Dismissed? Rejected. But I think what we need to understand is that fear is false evidence appearing real. It's just us talking ourselves into a losing game.
[00:21:57] Nick: I think the mindset shift that you mentioned comes from starting to listen to how you talk to yourself, starting to use that in your favor.
[00:22:03] Scott: And a lot of that goes down to, yeah, as you said, our conditioning over the years, how, how we've been brought up, the environment we've been in. And do you think work has a bearing on that as well in terms of the culture of the organizations you maybe worked in before or are stuck in now?
[00:22:17] Nick: Yeah. I think for me, culture is important obviously, but it's not necessarily like we have a lot of you see this a lot that you oh we got great culture. We've got a table, tennis table,
[00:22:28] Scott: Yeah, and the beer fridge
[00:22:30] Nick: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. For me, culture is about culture is about passion to support people.
[00:22:35] Nick: I think if I had to of put it into a line, that's it. It doesn't mean it's a, it is a type of office, it's a type of layout. It's a type of leadership as a type of structure. For example, the, I work with the MOD and the civil service, the structure is very different to private businesses.
[00:22:50] Nick: But so therefore, happiness for one of a better word, or success, looks very different in a tiered structure as it does in a more flexible business. So it depends on the person. It's the same. In the self-employed of freelance world that actually nine to five isn't always the best thing that we, some people love to, to work at night and have the day off, or, I think it comes back to that kind of line that there's no one fix all for anybody.
[00:23:13] Nick: And the same with culture, that it's about finding the right culture for you. You may find yourself in the culture that's not. Not part of you anymore. It may have changed, but that comes down to choice. But there is no one rule book for me on what looks like a good culture or not. The one thing I've noticed is a commonality people that, especially in the mental health world, people and organizations that use mental health as a tick box exercise, as opposed to having passion, passionate advocates within your organization.
[00:23:42] Nick: You can tell the difference in
[00:23:43] Scott: Yeah. Hey, we'd launched the load of corporate stuff on the internet about mental health and then that's job done
[00:23:49] Nick: Yeah, exactly. Yeah,
[00:23:50] Scott: So you mentioned earlier your height and size and maybe some people have perceptions around that. You said you're a fat Joe Wicks, which is just not fair for yourself,
[00:23:59] Nick: I'll take that a lot.
[00:24:02] Scott: so how does that affect your work?
[00:24:04] Nick: I think there's two elements that, that and actually this is, I think this is why we need to really harness our own brand in that sense and actually play to our strengths that there's two things to this. I think firstly, being a man and therefore by default, masculine energy into what is traditionally a feminine energy led space.
[00:24:20] Nick: That absolutely has been a big strength for me to be able to go along to organizations as I am now. Just me kind of thing. There's two reasons why I dress like this. The first one is that if I cannot be authentic, if I'm not dressed authentically. The second is if I'm gonna be self-employed for the first time ever, I'm gonna wear what the hell I want as a bloody minded element as well.
[00:24:38] Scott: And for, sorry. For the listeners, can you describe what you're wearing?
[00:24:41] Nick: Of course. Yeah. So I'm usually kind I've definitely got the cap, I've got the big little beard checked. Usually a check shirt and I've gotta jump on today cause it's freezing cost of living crisis going on. And jeans and trainers. But I walk into the worlds like leading law firms and stuff dressed like that and they kind of thing, who's this guy?
[00:24:55] Nick: So I think there's certainly a case that, the other element that I really played to is the fact that actually you don't need to. , I'm, I've been a bit harsh on Joe Weeks. You don't need to be a mega fit kind of person to start to think about this stuff or to work on this stuff. And I like to think about what's that one thing that drives you?
[00:25:12] Nick: To me, I call it my battery. Now, to some it's religion, to some it's faith, to some it's a universe to some it's science or being a Jedi, what's that one thing that gets you up and going every day that, that kind of core value in that sense, and I call it the battery. So if you are. If you have a battery, are you 10 outta 10 fully charged every day?
[00:25:31] Nick: Nor am I , because there's gonna be lots of nos going around everywhere. But actually, do you know what it's gonna take to get you to 10 outta 10 fully charged? What each of those bars mean to you to get to that point? I think that's the bit that we're not so great at actually is working on what gives you energy.
[00:25:46] Nick: And so I think there's some big questions around that. The five, I tend to focus. The first one very simply, what in your life, what parts of your life nourishes you? So what gives you energy? And the second one, what depletes you? What bits of your life take away your energy? We all have those. Who in your life gives you energy?
[00:26:01] Nick: What players in your life like nourish you in that sense? And who in your life depletes you? Who takes away your energy? And when anybody gets divorced following this take me off the billing I was never here. But the fifth thing is around emotional connection. I think that's the bit that is very human, but we all seem to miss out on, so we're so busy firefighting.
[00:26:20] Nick: The example I use is music. So if you look at music for example, music can lift you instantly. I love country music. It's my thing. It's not all about losing your dog and your misses, I promise. But it's about storytelling. And it just means something. I love spending time in Nashville and all these kinda different things that.
[00:26:35] Nick: The emotional connection for me is there. So before I go to speak on stage, before I deliver a workshop or an event, I'm always listening to music to get my state up, and then to manage it back down effectively afterwards. If you're into like wrestling or boxing, you have like walk on music and as a speaker, I have walk on music when I got into stage as well.
[00:26:52] Nick: So if you're like Morrissy of the Smiths, it can work the other way as well. But starting to pay attention to how things make you. what is good energy for you? We've all listened to a song and it's made you cry or made you laugh or made you angry, and I think those are the things. If you find something which makes you feel happy or energized, we can start to build our own playbook of what works.
[00:27:15] Nick: I think the most frustrating thing from a mental health or personal development angle and fans of that genre will know this. You probably have a hundred books you haven't read on your shelf right now that every single one of those books, if you read. They'll make you feel that if you don't do everything in this book, you're a rubbish human beings.
[00:27:30] Nick: Everybody wants you to do it their way. Now, for me, it could be a case of if one line from this podcast has really jumped out for you, take that line, put it in your own playbook, and build your own way of being able to manage your energy effectively. Because I know if your energy's high, your mental health's gonna be in a good place.
[00:27:46] Nick: Your emotional wellbeing's gonna be in a good place. Everything's gonna be in a good place to go into the day. And all of those things are available to you every single day. . The reason why we don't ask ourselves these questions sometimes is sometimes the truth, but quite uncomfortable. And sometimes that we have to feel we have to do certain things to be well or to always use the example of, I tried going to the gym every morning, five months ago.
[00:28:12] Nick: Got up a 10 to six for three days . Then I realized I hated the gym. So taking your own advice is always the worst thing to do, right? The hardest thing to do. So I said to myself, whilst giving any advice to somebody else, what would I say? Emotional connection. What do you love to do? . I love going swimming.
[00:28:26] Nick: I used to love swimming. Why did I stop it? Quite honestly, you always get the truth from me, Scott. Body image. I didn't want to get this out semi naked in front of a room full of people. That was it. That was the blocker. And I was standing in my own way by and in one brave morning on the fourth morning, I turned right for the pool and had a left for the gym, took me kit off.
[00:28:43] Nick: Not all of it was decent. Jumped in the floor and nobody cared and made some great kind of kind of new friend work, friendships, connections, and like-minded people. It's been a really good exercise for me and and actually what I haven't done, I haven't done it this week due to work, but I miss it.
[00:28:58] Nick: And I think there's a sweet spot of something which is good for you, something that you choose to do, and something that doesn't feel like a chore. And in the middle of those three things is the thing that you should be doing. It's not about going out for a run necessarily If, unless that's your thing, it could be gaming.
[00:29:14] Nick: Gaming's another good one for me, or watching a movie on Netflix or walking a dog. Whatever's good for you. What gives you energy, that's what to do.
[00:29:20] Scott: Yeah. That's really powerful. Yeah. And there's like expectations and people bombarded with, you mentioned social media earlier , the whole Instagram doom scrolling and people putting out their best selves and saying, oh, I should look like that. And that pressure people put on themselves and then, as you say, do the things they don't wanna do, and then wonder why they give up.
[00:29:38] Scott: And then they probably go through a vicious cycle of being down on themselves for giving up when actually it was probably the wrong thing to start in the first place for the wrong reasons.
[00:29:48] Nick: And guilt plays such a huge part in all of this as well. Guilt and anxiety of walk hand in hand as a lot of people understand that. We end up ruminating a lot. We end up catastrophizing a lot. Guilt plays a huge part in this. I quite like the method that sports coaches use called marginal gains, like daily incremental, consistent changes to try to avoid the boom and bust element of any transformation.
[00:30:08] Nick: One of my lead coaches, Zoe she says that what's the smallest thing you can do tomorrow? to give yourself a bigger picture win. So the smallest thing, and as long as you've done that smallest thing, you are heading in the right direction. Doesn't matter what speed and how fast, but you're heading in the right direction.
[00:30:24] Nick: And I like that. I think Zoe's been on your show before hasn't she?
[00:30:26] Scott: She was, yeah. Yeah. It's taken that just doing something, isn't it? It's just take that little step every day rather than the mountain that you just, I'm never gonna start cuz it's too big.
[00:30:37] Nick: Because when we get overwhelmed, we disconnect. And when we disconnect, we don't do anything . So it's not good.
[00:30:42] Scott: Yeah. Brilliant. So one of the questions I ask all my guests is, if you could take one book with you to a desert island, what would it be?
[00:30:49] Nick: Oh, great question. I think it will have to be stop People Pleasing by Patrick King. It's a fascinating read and it's one of the few personal development books I've it's one of the few I've read recently, actually. I tend to listen to more now, but It just really connected with me, not just the theme fascinates me.
[00:31:08] Nick: Why? Why do we do that kind of thing? Why do we don't feel the worth in our lives to actually put ourselves first kind of thing. But the way he writes about it is it connects on quite a humorous level on quite a human level. It's not high level science kind of thing. So yeah. Stop People Pleasing by Patrick King.
[00:31:23] Scott: Brilliant. I'll get a link to that in the show notes. So if anyone wants to work with you how do they get hold of you?.
[00:31:29] Nick: Nice and simple, just like me. Is nickelston.com that's it. All of my links and stuff and content are through there.
[00:31:35] Scott: Perfect, and we'll get that linked in the show notes as well. Nick has been great chatting to you. Thanks for being on the show.
[00:31:40] Nick: Likewise. Thank you, Scott. Cheers everyone. Thanks.
[00:31:42] Scott: A big, thank you for listening to the Rebel Diaries show your time is precious, so it is appreciated. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to hit that subscribe button in your podcast app of choice so you don't miss the next one. There's a new episode every Monday morning, ideal for your commute to work or early morning walk.
[00:32:00] Scott: Until next time, take care be a rebel and deliver work with impact.