Founder of Grow Together Now - Changing The Way We See Mental Health in Workplaces
The ‘Answers to Thriving' is an interview series that takes a look at the women who have created a life of self-success. We uncover key moments, lessons and habits that have influenced the life they lead today.
You can’t start the day without:
A pot of green tea with rose. Yum!
A favourite quote is:
“For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.” - Viktor Frankl
One wellness ritual you do regularly:
Having a bath with no distractions. It is one of the greatest things I can do for my mind!
A recommended read for personal growth:
Oh my! I have so many books I can recommended for someone looking into personal growth. For me, as someone who has learned to recover from severe generalised anxiety and bouts of depression, you cannot go past the book "Lost Connections" By Johann Hari. One of the greatest books of all time about how we are losing connection with ourselves, with others and with the greater world around us. It weaves beautiful storytelling to create a really human book. I highly recommend it!
How do you go about self development?
This one is interesting for me as I think the concept of self development has changed a lot for me over the past few years. The story of self development for me goes into the deep and raw cracks of who I am, where I am today, and how I got here. In 2016, for anyone who doesn't know my story, I was hit with an absolute avalanche in my mental health, being diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. In this time, self development was keeping myself healthy and, quite frankly, keeping myself alive. It took a lot of strength and courage to get through 2016 and 2017 for me and, by the end of it, I was exhausted and I was over this idea of 'self development'. I didn't want to think about it, I didn't want to talk about it, I was tired of spending each time "trying to be the best version of myself".
In 2018, I decided to take some time out for myself and spent a year discovering what the hell my life meant to me with no intention of trying to develop myself in any particular way. I tried a host of new careers, I changed jobs numerous times, I got hired, I got fired, I moved along each day trying to figure out what the next one may entail. In the end, I didn't really know what I was doing half the time. I felt lost most of the year and it wasn't until the end of this period that a lot of the clarity I was looking for came at me without any rhyme or reason. To me, this year was one of the biggest self development periods of time that I totally didn't intentionally expect it to be.
I think we spend a lot of time in the world right now talking about self development, self empowerment, and being your best self...and I think it is too easily given almost as a process or as a step-by-step concept, but it isn't this at all. I went through self development by relinquishing control of my life, letting the world decide it for me, and, most importantly, not expecting myself to be wonder woman by tomorrow. This taught me a world of self development that I could never have learned any other way.
So, for me, self development is throwing yourself at what scares you the most and letting the world help you figure out what it should mean. Self development is ensuring you challenge yourself, but to no end goal other than to see what you are capable of. Self development is about being honest to yourself and letting yourself be OK with that.
In summary self development is a by-product of trying something new and allowing your self-awareness to learn from that.
Self development is ensuring you challenge yourself, but to no end goal other than to see what you are capable of.
Which business or person inspires you right now and why?
As I've spoken to in most of my answers, I haven't had the easiest run in the past few years, and when I felt like the world knocked me over, I indeed had to get t myself back up. But, this description of how I got back up isn't so accurate.
To explain, in the book that I am currently writing, I talk about how mental health introduced itself to me in 2016. In the first chapter, I compare it to a scenario of when you might fall over on a pedestrian pathway. It wasn’t like a cute, but slightly embarrassing, stumble in the street on the two segments of cement that don’t quite line up, where you can giggle and blush your way out of it. This, of course, is the scenario that I would have liked it for it to resemble. Instead, it was more like walking along a pathway to your favourite ice cream store to only find out someone decided to create enormous manhole that is painted the same colour as the pathway. So, really, your only option is no option at all, but to simply fall down the 10-metre vertical tunnel that is now directly below you; and once you reach the bottom, all you can see in return are the little heads of people looking down the manhole asking if you are okay.
Now, the important part of this analogy is those little heads that are peering over the manhole down at you. These little heads don't peer over and walk away. These little heads call for more help, who then have people that have ropes to throw down the manhole. These little heads grab the loudest speakers they can find to yell to you "it is going to be OK".
Those people were my best friend, Stacey, my partner, John, and my dad, Colin. These three people kept me alive and have kept me going beyond that. They inspire me everyday to continue to grow into the person that they all know I will be.
What has been the most defining moment in your career to date?
This might sound like an obscure answer, but I don't think I've had that 'defining' moment in my career yet. I've done a lot of stuff, and stuff I am really proud of. I've worked in HR for a number of years, achieving goals that I look back on and feel like "Yeah! That was great!". I've started a business that I love and cherish. I've done talks on mental health which I've received some incredible feedback from. But, I don't feel as though any of these have been a defining moment for me yet.
My emphasis in this though is on the yet. I've only just started my journey on the path that I knew I should have been all along. I have a mission to change the way we see mental health, and I have finally got to that pathway. I can imagine defining moments happening where I reach some goals or impact enough people that I can say that I've done what I set out to achieve. I have no doubt that will happen, and when it does, I will be sure to come back and write that as my defining moment of my career!
A fear you've had to overcome to pursue your ambitions:
What a loaded question for a girl whose had severe anxiety before. Everything scares me, what part of the list should I start with?! Ha ha. One of the biggest fears that I have had to overcome, and still learning to, is a fear of failure. I've never been able to admit it much, and only recently have started to really look at this fear head on, and think "what am I really afraid of?". We all are scared of failing, of social judgement, of being embarrassed, of being an imposter to what we might succeed in. But, really, at the crux of all of these, are are scared that we might not be good enough.
A lot of my sentences always start with..."what if"
What if I fail in trying to do what I love?
What if people laugh at me because my business didn't work out?
What if someone is better than me and I am left in the dust?
What if I am just not good enough to do this?
What if... What if... What if...
You know what, the funny thing is those sentences can be flipped around.
What if I succeed?
What if I impact people's lives for the better?
What if I change someone's life to help them achieve something?
What if I am good enough?
A fear is only a fear because we let it be one. It is time to ask ourselves the big questions about what we fear and, at the end of day, if you can help someone in the process that you take, then that fear is only holding you back from helping that one person.
A fear is only a fear because we let it be one.
An achievement you're most proud of:
Most people might say their career, having a kid, buying a house, starting a business, you know, all the normal things that should be achievements to date. To me, as much as this might sound like a Hollywood line, being here today to type these very words is a massive achievement for me.
When I tell my mental health story, I try never to reminisce too much on how unwell I was. I try not to share too much because sometimes it can hurt me too feeling those things that I felt when I was at my worst. But, for me, knowing what I went through and how bad it got, the fact that I am still standing here today, doing a masters, owning a business, and kicking goals that I really never thought were going to be possible, is a massive thing.
Nobody can ever really understand how it feels to live through a severe mental health story and come out the other end unless you've been through it yourself, and even there, it such a personal journey that it is hard to see every moment from that person's heart. You cannot "see" the recovery. I don't have scars, or a lost limb, or an obvious physical ailments that I've had to overcome, but I was convinced at one point in my life that I wouldn't be here today. So, to be here, to tell my story, and to be able to impact others is something that I feel very proud of.
Life/career advice you wish you'd been given in your early 20s:
If I was to give advice to someone though in their 20's right now, it would be to tell them to trust the universe more. Stop trying to control everything, let go of your fears, and be present. You only get one beautiful life. Live by your values, find your purpose, and be OK with whatever that might look like.
For women who want to make a positive change in their life but don't know where to start, what advice would you give them?
Start out by giving yourself a break (if that means having a KitKat, then go for it, guilt-free!).
Take a moment to step back and just look at your life. Consider both the things that make you happy, and the things that maybe you see some room for improvement. Take little steps and don't expect your world to change over night. Be self-aware and just start small. No matter where you are in your journey, a step forward is a step in the right direction.
What does thriving mean to you?
Thriving to me means living life to your true self. It means having strong values and choosing to live your life aligned to them.
Looking to change your workplace in the space of mental health? Contact Camille here: Grow Together Now
If this interview triggered anything you would like to talk through with a trained mental health professional, please don't hesitate to reach out to Beyond Blue who are here to offer support day or night.
Call: 1300 22 4636 or Email
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