• Steve

We need to talk more about the realities of mental pressure

Speaking to friends recently who are all extremely talented individuals who work hard to pay the bills and provide for their families, one theme that seemed to emerge the more I asked around is that almost everyone is struggling in one way or another but nobody is talking about it.

The mental pressures to conform to the instagram or PR spun definition of success is creating undue pressure on the every day person that doesn’t help anyone. It is seriously bad for our mental health and it needs to stop!

After my consultancy launch last week, some people might think I am new to running my own business, when I actually started my first business in 2008 and ran it for 5 years. After the 2008 recession I was on an academic scholarship of £13,300 a year and began doing photography to help pay the bills. It was a way to combine things I loved and provide the one thing I definitely needed at the time, money.

Remembering back to a conversation when bumping into a school friend who was commenting on their Police salary (of circa £30k), and it crushed me as they were earning 2.5x more than I was. In the moment I ignored all of the things I was learning, and the life I was living, based on jealousy.

Being honest, I was probably ashamed and felt deep down that I was underperforming. A teacher friend also made a similar comment, thinking that as I was doing some teaching at a prestigious university I would be earning much more than her, when in fact I was struggling and too proud to say anything.

Little did I know then how much I was learning and how my graft to make that next rent payment actually taught me.

Fast forward 11 years and I can see how far I’ve come, but also how in the tough times you learn to make do with absolutely nothing.

It is also due to this that, with age, you realise a lot of these pressures are internal. It is the battle inside your head that is the only one that matters, so in this post and opening up about the topic, I am keen to share that it is not just you and there are hundreds of kindred spirits in exactly the same boat of following a dream and finding it tough.

A recent media storm over a former EastEnders actress working in B&M between acting jobs caused a storm because she was shamed for seeking employment to pay her bills.

Although there was mass condemnation and support shown from other celebrities who shared their stories on how they paid their bills; it really made the news because we knew it was true. People can be cruel, but the truth is they are taking this view to make themselves feel better and it actually has nothing to do with you.

In coming to a conclusion on this post, the truth is that if you’re making your way in the world to chase your dream and provide for your family, however you choose to do it, fuck what anyone else thinks. In my eyes you are a genuine rockstar for even trying!

Before going public on deciding to do my own thing, I had all of the tools to succeed and no real reason not to, but I was second guessing myself because it is scary not knowing where the next pay cheque is coming from. The one thing which helped me take the leap, as well as some good advice from friends, was the fact that I would prefer to be someone who was brave enough to try and fail, than be someone who was too scared even try.

In being brave enough to take whatever path you choose you are already in the elite.

Nobody knows what will come next, but however you do decide to take your next steps know that you can always change course, pivot your direction, or supplement your income using the skills you have because the only thing that matters is your own personal happiness.

We need to talk more about the realities of mental pressures, and this article was my first step...