I was inspired by Mark Christie’s post here, Mental Health in Consultancy. I would like to thank Mark for his honest and inspirational sharing of his story. I’d also like to thank Kenneth Fisher for writing Missing those we’ve lost. With this in mind, I wanted to chat about these harder topics.
Here’s my thoughts: Let your light shine out. Success is doing what you want to do, and living your life as you want. Plenty will poke your nose in to tell you that you are doing things wrong, if you let them. But if you need someone, reach out.
You do You.
Mark talked eloquently about the pressures of being a consultant. Like him, I have chosen this life for myself. I have travelled the world to the point where I wasn’t sure which language I should be speaking (I learned some Swedish and Italian in my twenties, as well as French as part of my postgrad AI degree, but the Swedish and Italian have disappeared from my skill set).
I have very little support around me and I tend to pay for the support that I do have. So, I am a divorced single parent who happens to have chosen to be in front of a crowd rather than in a crowd. So, in the past few weeks, I have been selected to be one of the top Analytics influencers in 2018, and now I have been selected as one of the Top Data Science influencers. To it seems as if life has been good to me.
In fact, quite the opposite. I have been poor, a single parent, a victim/survivor, and bullied, and I have been spectacularly gaslit. And a successful consultant. So how did I move forward?
So here’s my secrets, randomly stated:
Get rid of people around you who are not good to you, or good for you. You don’t have to be uncivil.
Have faith in other people, but also be accepting. They are not stupid. If people aren’t being good to you, believe that others will see it eventually.
Face Forward. When I look back, I am not sure how I survived but I think that the secret is not to look back. You can do that by living meaningfully.
Live meaningfully. I get a kick out of working as a data science volunteer for charities. I meet likeminded people and I have company for a while. I’ve also learned something technical. I’ve also helped people that I haven’t met. Which brings me to my next point.
The people who like you, and who spend time with you, are not your friends. Some of the people who have been a real friend to me are people whom I do not know. So when I needed people around me, many people stepped back.
Success is like a video game. The closer you get to the goal, or the more successful you seem to be, the more haters (or game ‘baddies’) appear. They might be throwing things at you, but they are still behind you. So you need to accept haters and people who plagiarize your ideas as their own. You can just ignore them and strive to be the better person. Disassociate yourself from them. All you can do is say ‘I don’t know that person, I don’t know where they get their information from’ if they are talking about you. Let them rock on. They won’t change or learn.
Think about the war, not the battles. I have found some solace in the Buddhist journey. It has helped me to see over and above the daily battles. I also find this quote from the Bhagavad Gita speaks to my soul:
O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
Bhagavad Gita 2.14,
Be the person you’d like someone else to be for you. It’s hard, and I’ve had to swallow a lot of bile; it has to go somewhere. But the best revenge is success, and if you are having a hard time, just go for it.
Try to be the better person. Don’t react; people will only continue to throw things, and they will reveal their hate.
Oh, and eat well. I like Udo’s Choice oil for balancing out the need for sugar, which can lead to highs and lows in blood sugar, thereby making the world appear darker than it is. Consulting can lead to bad food choices: eating on the go. So try and think about that, and how you can eat better.
Good luck, and like Mark said, please ping me if you’d like to talk. We have to look after other people; it makes us stronger. And I don’t mean silly things like ‘help with a CV’ or ‘let off steam about something trivial’. I mean proper talk about mental health. Kenneth points out to some good ideas and resources.