In this week’s episode, Geoff chats with David Titeu, was a finalist of the National Protective Services Safety and Wellbeing in the Workplace Award and a finalist in the First National Leadership Award in the 2023 Victorian7NEWS Young Achiever Awards. He is a mental health advocate and social entrepreneur, devoted to creating solutions that promote holistic well-being. Also, a speaker, coach, and founder with a passion for empowering humans to embrace their unique voices and redefine vulnerability as a strength.
David Titeu is the founder of Linkmate, a social enterprise devoted to proactive emotional support. David and his team implement initiatives which foster a psychologically safe environment at work. These include displaying radical candour and vulnerability for deep collaboration; learning and development initiatives co-designed with leading experts to explore intersections of mental health; and an interconnected network of peer support, breeding empathy and companionship – or “Mateship”.a tangible difference in the lives of others and strengthening the sense of community.
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My guest today is an extraordinary speaker coach, and he is the founder of blink made. Pretty significant contribution to mental health advocacy. David tittel was awarded the National protective Services, safety and well-being in the workplace category. In a twenty twenty three seven years young achiever Awards Typekit. It’s so wonderful to have you on the podcast today. How are you going?
I’m grateful Firstly, to be on this podcast and join the ranks of other amazing award winners and finalists and adjust. I always see you speaking on stage at these Awards, Jeff and you have such a warm and inviting energy, so I’m, it’s rubbing off on me. So Thank you for making this a reality.
Well, thanks so much. That’s very kind. Certainly love what I do and I love what you do to make a difference that can be no more rewarding outcome in life. So Thank you for all you do as well. It’s just such a privilege to be able to acknowledge people like yourself, who are amazing, who really inspire US to, for all of US, to continue in our life to do whatever it is we can do to make a difference. And David, you’ve achieved so much for so many. Congratulations for that. What led you down the path of founding link mine and all the work you do?
Yeah, Firstly, just Thank you for Sharing those kind Words. It means
a lot from you and from the whole Awards, Australia, community. And so the seed,
all link made was really planted after I experienced my first battle with mental health. After finishing year twelve,
my parents broke the news to me that they were getting
a divorce. Which shook me. It devastated me. I really didn’t feel as
though I had the right supports in place at the time to process it
I’d moved in to call themselves living on campus studying performance
at uni and I just felt so afraid of,
of Social connection. I was incredibly anxious. I spent the better part of two years holed up in my room,
trying to come to terms with what had happened and just craving and mourning. That
loss. I think it meant, oh, I had
a particularly profound impact on me because I’m an only child. I didn’t have
siblings to turn to for solidarity and
What I guess compounded those feelings of anxiety and stress was not getting the
results I had hoped for at uni. So I was intending to finish five minutes and study
medicine. And upon reflection,
now I don’t really know if I truly wanted that, I think for a lot of our parents,
I think for a lot of listeners out there, the who might be able to relate to this.
your parents may or may not have guided you down
a specific path when it came to your career. And I felt like I had very
high expectations and standards set for me by my parents to become
a doctor. I’m sure I’m not the only one and that put
a lot of pressure on me. And when I didn’t get in and I failed. My mom my
interview to get into medicine. That just yeah, I mean, broke me. I feel like
a complete and utter failure. I feel like that failure defined to me like my entire
self-worth was wrapped up in achieving these study goals and mocks and Career targets,
which now I look back on and I think that’s just part of learning and Learning to
find self-worth and otherwise.
But I also had already felt like you failed in terms
of your parents breakup, and probably had the thoughts of what should I do?
? What did I do wrong, that, you know, precipitated this or contributed to that. You know,
probably already having those negative thoughts about your own ability and statements
such to point to absolutely like, yeah,
it’s so easy to fall into that trap of self-doubt and spiraling and wondering,
you know, where do I go wrong?
Yeah. So it’s, it’s difficult and not many people know this, but you know,
my parents wanted, or there was a discussion of getting
a divorce when I was around aged three. But my parents decided to stay together for
fifteen years until I finished school to, you know,
potentially protect my mental health in some ways. And so it may not interfere with
my studies or something like that. So I mean, one can only imagine,
appreciate the potential tension that may have brewed over a decade and a half and you know,
trying to keep it all together for the sake of the child. So in any case, it was a very,
very depressing time for me. I didn’t really know where to start. I felt lost
directionless in my career. I picked up
a few jobs but never really found my feet in the workforce. I worked in predominantly sales and fitness pharmaceuticals,
health Care and all throughout I was subjected to
a lot of what some might call toxic workplace cultures who I just didn’t feel comfortable I felt abused,
And Whilst I was processing all of this and, you know, still struggling to find my feet in
a career that I felt was right for me. My dad attempted
suicide and I didn’t know about it. I didn’t know about it until
I opened up to him about all the challenges I was facing. And that was really hard
things for me to do because I perceived my dad to be quite
a stalwart role model, growing up, you know,
he would keep his emotions quite close to his chest and perhaps for fear that it might be seen as
a weakness. So I grew up with that mentality and I grew up with the narrative that
if you’re going through a tough time, put up,
shut up and move on. And those Words like still ring echoing like this. But I know that that’s not
a healthy coping mechanism.
But really know what to expect. So when I opened up to that,
I thought he would just tell me to put up shut
up and get on with it. But I didn’t
really know who else to turn to. I had a few friends,
but I still felt uncomfortable Sharing everything regarding the divorce, the, the academic failures, the career failures,
and something really special happened when I shared all this with dad, you know,
instead of telling me to move on,
he actually listened. He validated what I was going through and then almost as if
he now felt he had permission and he felt comfortable to do so as well. The
floodgates were open and he poured his heart out to me for the very first time and
told me about all of the trauma he faced migrating to Australia, from Romania,
the discrimination. He faced the journey through refugee camps sleeping on park
benches. The divorce and the emotional turmoil that he went through and the attempts to end his life. And
it sounds confronting, and it was, it was incredibly confronting. But I’m really grateful for it because it actually
brought US a lot closer together. You know, we both knew what it was like to feel
a sense of despair To lose hope.
And that’s really powerful. And that was
a safer link. Because I realized in that moment that we both navigated the mental
health Care system with challenges. We found it difficult to connect meaningfully
with a psychologist for the counselor. You know, I’m grateful now that I have
a psychologist who I feel comfortable opening up to who asks me, you know,
really thought provoking questions and empowers me. But it was really difficult.
And for those listening, you might be on this journey right now.
And who might be,
you know, perhaps you or someone you know,
is trying to access support and between costs waiting lists distance the Sony
barracks, the people run up against. And what I learned is that it’s, yes,
it’s so tough. I see it as
a game of trial and error in some ways because it does take time to find who you
truly resonate with. But this whole interaction with done showed to me that when we
can actually find someone who shares those same feelings as US, it creates a space of trust,
solidarity. And for both of US, it was living proof that we felt more comfortable opening up to one another,
potentially even saving our lives in the process as well. So that spawned the idea
for link back, which was really to bring together people in
a space virtually since we’re all tech savvy humans these days.
I think the numbers
are somewhat, some of the numbers. Yeah, that’s right. But you know,
the Luddites out there as well. This is an approach that works even better
in person and for everyone really, this whole notion of peer support,
which is what dad and I did know what we were doing at the time,
but it was the practice itself. An approach which is evidence based has a lot of support behind it,
and really hinges on people. Sharing their own lived experiences of mental health challenges in a purposeful by listening,
holding space for the other person. Displaying empathy and Sharing their own
lessons learned and framing it in a way that builds hope, I guess for the future.
What doesn’t get more important when did you start?
? So when did all this come about when doodling might Come to be?
This was towards the end of twenty nineteen so covid actually was
A blessing in some ways occurs in other Words, but certainly
a blessing in the sense that it gave me the time to reflect
on was it worth spending all my time in a job that didn’t fill me with
You know, that I wasn’t enjoying that,
didn’t fulfill me Ultimately. And as all of this happened and the idea came to me
and I enjoyed working on it, it just naturally gave more way to to making it a reality,
I suppose. And using the time in covid to chip away at it,
I don’t want to move on without saying that,
that discussion between you and your dad was clearly critical to both of you. And Empowering and on
a stress the importance as you have of just talking to someone finding someone and
you never when it could be the person least expect that will be the most willing to listen. So yeah,
it’s just so important for everybody. We all have stressors, that we might not even realize at
a building and just to chat. One of the things that I love most in life is
my Saturday morning tennis and which precipitates
a coffee catch up with the team mates and we just chat and that to
me is so powerful and important. So take time, just to share, share yourself, share your journey,
share what’s going on in your week. And it’s an opportunity for others then to also
talk about what’s concerning troubling, good as well. Talk about the good things. Because they are really important. And
don’t just focus on things that are wrong,
but to get that chance and have that chance for the Okay.
And for you,
that was Empowering has led you to link. Right? So,
and there are plenty of people out there probably think who really came to know how
that journey started and what was the Key behind the success of that happening. So
what were the Key aims and purposes of link man, and how did you strategize that?
? You talked about getting it right. How did that all come to be and what steps did
you take to ensure that was going to happen?
Yeah, look, first thing before I ask that Jeff, I just want to acknowledge what you said before. Firstly,
I love the fact that you carve out time with good nights to play tennis, to have
a coffee and then to have those conversations. I think that’s just such a wonderful way to you know,
promote healthy conversation. I think in some ways a lot of people prefer doing an activity whether it’s going for
a walk or kicking the footy or you know, whatever it might be, having
a coffee and that, and brings people together. It’s sort of like
a ritual or an activity that naturally brings people together and you know, conversations can, can,
can spark and meaningful conversations can spark. So I just want to Thank you for
bringing that up because it is such an important reminder to, to,
to use those opportunities as ways to connect deeply. Do you find that
by having those hits of the tennis ball and having
a coffee it is easier to to then go deeper with it with your friends and find out
more about, you know, I guess some of the emotions that they’re experiencing.
Yeah. One hundred percent,
you know, we talk about the highs and lows of how I guess in a group can be
a little bit more difficult to be personal. But certainly as we grow to know each
other, it does become easier to share issues and problems. And generally more on a work basis I guess,
but because we all know each other’s families quite so well. But I think, you know, in that regard,
if you sense that there is an issue that’s when it’s really important to talk to
that individual. On a more personal basis, I was not sure if everything’s okay. You mentioned this and I am,
I have been nothing, but I’m just, you know,
I want you to know I’m here for you when you need,
if you need. And that can be any situation, work in your personal life.
If you say my,
my team often tongue in cheek,
I think I think sometimes rib me and say you’re so embarrassing because you talk to
everybody. And I do have a smile that everybody, some people might think, you know,
that’s a bit weird, but you know, I really don’t care because I’ve had people to turn around and said,
you just met my day. Just that smile was really important to me right up this
minute. I talked to people in the elevator, I asked them how they’re doing. You know,
what are you doing in Hobart or Sydney or what are you doing on holidays you’re
working. You have a great day, I think says whatever it is you’re going to be doing at
a restaurant. It doesn’t matter when I traffic lights,
but Mark checked, people that you know, going up to and people say, oh,
I think I’m in. You know what if they do that’s, that’s on them,
but I make someone’s day at centre and then that federal bonus
you’re a gym, human Jeff, we need to enable people like you, I think that’s, that’s really such
a wonderful thing to go on. And because you never really know what someone is going
through and that, that chance encounter that smile,
that complement that check in and asking how the date is going. That that really
can just turn their entire mood around and potentially life around as well. If
they’re, if they’re really struggling. So Thank you for Sharing that.
you know, I think the role modelling some just amazing, wonderful behaviours.
I can only try and I think the Key David is not to not to
think you need to be perfect to be outgoing or to share or just to, you know,
whatever it is with people to engage because no one is supposed to stop worrying
about trying to be perfect and be worrying forever because we’re never going to get
there. And people just need to accept you for who you are if you want to. If
a comment is not spot on or people take it wrongly,
then of course you just need to open through what you meant. But it’s so important
as to be there for people and engage and you never know when someone may need you
in a moment. So yeah, Thank you
So with your, with link mate, how did you, I guess, strategized that,
that was going to be impactful and appropriate and, you know, be helpful to people.
I had no experience prior to launching any adventure or business or project or sort of impact project.
So I immediately asked myself the question, where can I get help?
And I think one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned from my journey and
certainly hinges on the entire lincolnite model is always, always ask for help. So there are
a number of things I did. One I reached out to every role model.
successful driven change maker found a leader in the field in the field of entrepreneurship in the field of mental
health that I could find. And I asked for their help whether it was a cold. I mean,
most of them were just cold messages on LinkedIn. I’m working with
a number of coaching clients at the moment as well, who have benefited from this because no,
not. I don’t see too many people doing that and it can be really valuable when you
position what you’re doing. And coming from a place of admiration for the other person,
for what they’ve achieved and accomplished. And then just asking for their help.
You know, if someone comes to you for help, how does that feel right?
You feel needed. You feel You feel like you’re valuable. And it’s, it’s really, it’s really helped me
a lot. So I got to speak to some really amazing inspiring people.
a part of that led me to asking for more help through different competitions,
incubators, accelerators, which really taught the fundamentals of building a business from the ground up. Because I didn’t know that,
right. Like I could watch motivational video after motivational video on YouTube. And I did,
but it wasn’t really Helping me move the needle forward On, on link my it. So I’m, I’m,
I first applied to an innovation competition that the National Society of high
School scholars was running. So that’s an organization in the States founded by the
Nobel prize family. And they invited me to be
a part of the community after I expressed an interest in studying abroad in,
in the States. Whilst I decided not to do that in the end,
they still extended an invite to this innovation competition. And this was around
the same time when I think it was starting to take
shape. And I applied and we won, we won ten thousand US dollars, which was incredible. I mean,
I was just in awe and incredibly tired. I was sort of pitching at like two
AM our time. And the only Aussie out of a sea of American students.
But you know,
it just taught me that we have something here, you know,
people believe in the mission and they can see the value in this,
in this approach in this, in this, you know,
philosophy about product and that seed money was just exactly what you know
what we really benefited from to start spreading the word to, to, to build out
a team. And to continue doing that, I still didn’t have all the answers,
but I applied to other incubators, like Melbourne accelerator program,
run operating accelerator. Again, you know, if you’re in this journey now, he’ll listen and I want to start
a business. Not sure where to begin. Now. Highly encourage you to reach out to
people on LinkedIn. Like I did to coaches, to mentors, and to incubators,
accelerators. These are wonderful initiatives. Designed to support early stage founders and the velocity program was such
a memorable experience for me. This was still during covid. So we were for the most part,
doing it virtually. But I got to meet other people like myself who had an idea and
they wanted to make it real and they want to bring it to market. When you bring
together a community of like minded You know, really driven people like that. It’s just build so much accountability and,
and inspiration and motivation and discipline. And I learned so much from the others. I learned so much from the,
the mentors and the leaders that ran different sessions for US on business models and you know, customer discovery,
product market fit and all the rest. And so that really not only helped me get
You know, learn the fundamentals of, of building this out and making it a commercial reality,
but also managing to the pitch and win more funds to, to grow it. So that’s, that’s,
that’s what I would say are just the most helpful helpful
things that I did to just start and gain some early momentum and I would boil it
down to asking for help more than anything else.
Well, I think that’s great advice for listeners who are looking to go on
a journey of support and making a difference in whatever field,
whether it be mental health or any area of Community support or even the business
that you say great, great ideas and great,
great great help. So that’s the beginning of the journey for me. How many
people do you feel that you impacted and have impacted over the journey with their mental health?
Thousands and Thousands. And you know what, what I would want to add as well, you know, this,
the thing is about like when, when starting off,
especially if you feel like you’re lacking in a specific skill set, you know,
whether it’s sales, whether it’s marketing, software development, whatever it might be,
go out and find people that can complement that skillset or that you know, fill, fill that gap in your,
in your fill that gap where you might be lacking. So I think so for me
initially I thought, you know, I have to try and do it all myself. And I think
a lot of people get stuck in that mentality. So I wanted to share this
because it’s, it’s an important reminder that What you know,
what I’ve learned is when I play to my strengths and I found others to address my
weaknesses and let them play to their strengths. You know, we gained
a lot of momentum and for me that was Warren,
I’m really grateful for him. He and I worked at the same company
in the early stages of LinkedIn. And he is a software developer by trade. So when I, you know,
I created an app I, you know,
I’m grateful to have met him and helped to work with him and leverage his skill
set and talents to make it a reality. Because I wouldn’t touch codes with
a ten foot pole. And I still probably wouldn’t so yeah,
I wanted to share that because it can be tempting to try and be the hero. Right.
And do it on your own. But I learned that there’s this power and in asking for help.
I think sometimes we’re afraid to ask of help for help. Not only because maybe we
feel that we’re not good enough or people will see weakness. But also we’re afraid
to ask for help because we don’t want to burden people. And we want to put our own
problems on the people, but I think you touched on it. David,
there are people who are waiting and wanting to help because it empowers them,
Gives them joy in knowing that they’re contributing to something or someone
or both. Now you may think marriage really quite stretched across the globe, hasn’t it? What are some of the,
how far reaching is linked linked link made and what are some of the achievements
or the regions that you’ve been able to obtain? I’m proud of. Yeah.
Wonderful question. And you know, Firstly again, I think, you know, you brought up something really important, Geoff, around that,
that feeling of burdening others. And I can relate to that because I used to do,
I used to feel like Sharing my feelings with others would be a burden.
If, if someone feels burdened, but if someone felt burdened by my feelings,
then I would give them this space. And I would try again with
someone else. Ultimately, you know, we can’t always be expected to,
to hold space for others. We all have our own challenges. But more often than not,
I do believe that there is good in each of US and that we do want to be of service
in some way, shape or form. So no one ever has said to me, you’re
a burden. Something I can’t you know,
I can’t talk to you. I think we often suffer more in our imagination
Than in reality. That’s. That’s not a my quote, but it is
a great quote by someone. And yet in response to your question, Geoff,
What I, one of the things I’m most proud of is the research that we were able to generate
and put together that supported link mice approach. So, you know,
one of my dearest friends Freya works as a, as a, as a, a tutor,
a lecturer at rmit. And she is another gem of a human,
a passionate about mental health and teaches that to the students and
the various intersections around gender as well. And when I came to her with the
idea, she said, we’ve got to do some research around it as, as a you know, passionate academic would,
will likely say.
And I was so grateful for that because when we did, we got together Sort of
a pool of students. Some were trained to provide peer
support and others access the app for support. And we found that
Those participants in the study felt closer to others. More confident tackling that,
tackling their problems and more optimistic about the future as well after using
the app. And that, that is something I’m particularly proud of because it,
it just demonstrated the impact that we can have and solidified it, I guess,
through research. Beyond and above and Beyond that just being able to expand
it to universities. So we worked with you know,
we’ve worked with Key guilds for supporting students at the Queensland University
of technology. Because I know what it’s like to to, to struggle at uni. In fact,
that was when I experienced the heaviest and darkest struggles,
so that targeting and supporting and serving this particular segment was really
important to me and to our team. So being able to do that is something I’m
certainly proud of working with, with corporates as well and running emotion resilience workshops. And I remember
one specific One specific workshop that we ran
on how to support colleagues in the workplace at the end of the workshop. One of
the senior partners at the firm stood up and bravely
shared his own struggles with mental health and how it impacted him and his family
and his work in front of a sea of you know,
superiors and peers and direct reports in front of the entire time in the workplace,
I’ve never seen that ever in my life and the fact that we were able to do that and
say, you know this, this leader role model, really just amazing qualities of,
of courage strength and authenticity was beautiful. And I’m really, I’m still really touched by that and proud of it.
Yeah, I think I think what that showcases also, David is that, I mean,
must understand that people, if people react to something, it might be for
a reason, something that we’re not aware of, you know, everybody in
a workplace personally has their own associated problems. They may have
something that has not gone well before them got to work and we don’t know about
that. So we just need to understand that a reaction from someone is not
a personal thing on US. And I think we need to look internally and
be happy with what makes US happy. We were able to make others happy. So don’t take
things personally from someone. Just look internally for what’s,
how we feel about ourselves and then be happy with that. And if we do that,
I think in part that’s kind of say, well, okay,
well maybe I’m not taking it personally. It’s probably something that’s happening
with them that we maybe can help in. So rather than being taken in front of
insulted or thinking negatively about that person, we could say well in another moment, how you doing is,
I think is good. Just trying to subtly check on their well-being and not make
it a personal thing on their well-being.
That probably doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I think, you know,
we look outwardly and worry about what other people are thinking and now they’re
treating US rather than inwardly matter how we feel. If we’re happy then we can
treat other people well and not take things personally and react to this really.
Okay. I know I didn’t do that very well, but hopefully it makes some sense.
No, it did. And I think this is really important because almost every single person I
talk to has, has suffered or struggled with this. You know,
this idea and this worry and the rumination about what does this person think of me?
And I’ve been there as well, right?
And it’s, I think it’s, it’s common, I believe it’s a product of our ego,
potentially trying to protect US in some way. What I’ve learned though,
is everyone’s having these thoughts. And it’s called the spotlight effect where, you know, you walk into
a room at an event and you’re worried about what everyone’s thinking of you. But more often than not,
everyone’s thinking the exact same thing. So and think about when you think of
someone, you know, you might only just think about them for
a moment or two. And then you start thinking right back to, you know, you know,
your worries, the stresses or your wins losses,
whatever it is. And there’s this great quote, I’m not sure who said it,
it’s what you think of me is none of my business. And I
love it. And it’s helped me.
It’s helped liberate me from any
worries about what other people think along with that sort of spotlight
effect philosophy where know we’re all we’re all thinking the same so yeah, just focus on yourself.
Well, I think you’re right, it’s none of your business,
but also it doesn’t matter. As long as I’m living. Well, being me,
that should be enough. And I guess to the point you might have had your work in the
roof and the room and everybody’s feeling the same. You’re quite right. So if we do
not think about US and we give that smile that we would normally do,
then it’s probably going to ease twenty other people that say it and then they’re
going to be relaxed. And so it might have
a multiplying effect to is and common room rather than being put in
with an old person and thinking, oh, you know,
I’m worried about what everybody’s thinking and what to say. So I’m just going to
look nervous and worried and compounds. The problem and the site and think that
everybody else is thinking and you said, and I think that is
a real valuable comment that you made. So be said I’ll be outward and if people don’t like it,
it’s not my business. And it doesn’t matter because I’m just being me and that to
me is enough. I’m thinking that way.
Yeah. And just what I would add to that as well,
Jeff is what has helped me and is what I think you do really well from what you
said earlier is focusing on others focusing on how you can serve others. Right?
Like when you say, are you going to the barista who serves you coffee or you know,
you smile at a stranger as you pass them by on the street. You know, you’re,
you’re wrapped up in making someone else’s day special. You’re focused on serving
and that’s where your attention and your energy is,
is going and flowing. So there’s no reason to get wrapped up in what other people
think and your own ruminations when all you want to do is just be of service.
So, you know, I think that’s helped me
a lot in terms of dealing with social anxiety and having those worries and thoughts.
And I think Alison has yet to learn a lot from your approach, Jeff. Because I think it’s really Yeah,
it’s really Noble.
Well, I think selfishly too David, is that in return you get
a great satisfaction of Helping someone. So it’s giving but it’s also taking that
person does say Thank you you just made my day. Gives you the greatest joy to carry
you through the day and into weeks and months and years ahead. Knowing that you
impact that someone.
So it’s the giving that is the taking and the getting back,
the happiness and joy that you get of doing that. And and how it goes into
social impact impact plays a big part in linked by doesn’t it had
a social impact on mental health in entwined Mhm.
Yeah, that’s a that’s an awesome question.
I am, I believe in many ways that mental health is
a social justice issue. You know, everyone has the right to
To having good mental health and having access to supports which bolster and maintain good mental health. And if there
are barriers, If there are challenges, costs That interfere with someone’s ability to uphold their
rights to good mental health, then I think that becomes a social justice issue and it becomes
a social impact opportunity. So I think that’s, that’s where the intersection is. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a social issue,
I believe, and certainly impacts everyone on the planet. Because at some point in everyone’s life,
they will experience some concern, some challenge that will impact their mental health that will impact the social and
emotional health. I
mean, touched on it earlier when you talked about the work you do in the workplace, and it’s
a big part of why you won your award. Is the work that you do in the workplace?
And you do. And you have collaborated with experts to implement initiatives to
foster a psychologically safe environment at work. Can you tell US a little bit about that impact?
Yeah, absolutely. So yeah, Firstly, I want to preface this by saying that I’ve had no I’ve had
no teaching education certification in mental health. I only have my limited experience. So in order to put together these
programs in order to put together this research to run workshops,
I could not have done it without you know, amazing time. You know,
we had an advisory board of people with the requisite qualifications
in psychology and counseling. I want to shout out the name,
there is one of the leading one of the leaders in the mental health field right now.
And I’m really blessed to have had him as
a learning and development advisor to really steer the direction of these
initiatives to make sure that they’re evidence based and up to date
and our entire workshop facilitation. I am comprised of, of Collier and Nicole, Grace Adam and Liv.
So everyone has had their own lived experience and they’ve also done work in peer support and they’ve,
they’ve had the training and the education to create impact. So being able to
go into the workplace and run these workshops and help colleagues, employers,
employees alike, learn how to comfortably ask for help, confidently support their peers and future proof. Their mental health through
healthy conversation was, was our aim was always our intention and it, it meant that I think it was
a data point. So over, so not over ninety four percent of our workshop participants felt confident or,
or very confident reaching out for help. After attending the workshop and I think
a big part of that is due to the fact that we really
normalised the conversation about mental health and presented it in
a way that made people feel like they could relate to it. Because Ultimately,
I think one of the most powerful things that anyone can do to
help someone else feel comfortable opening up is just to relate to what they’re
going through. When you relate to someone,
they feel like you get it.
They feel less alone. They feel more deeply connected
to you and they’re likely to open up and to liberate that burden.
And so train. You also do a lot of self-empowerment coaching for young professionals and budding founders and business owners.
Yes, yeah, that’s right. You know, as you know, as we’ve talked about so far, Jeff, I’ve just got,
I’ve learned so much on this journey with length,
but more so than I have in any degree in any job that I’ve ever been
or that I’ve studied. So I feel, I don’t know,
I just feel called to give back because I know that there are a lot of you know,
young working professionals that struggle with self-confidence that struggle with those, you know,
worries about what other people think that we talked about You know,
may not have healthy habits in place to bolster their mental health
because I know what it’s like to go through that and I know how damaging it can be,
especially when you have, you know, ambitions and goals like starting
a business like like making an impact in some way. And so what I’m doing at the
moment is really working with these young professionals, budding founders, even early stage entrepreneurs to help them develop mindfulness. Firstly,
which I really value strengthen their self-discipline, build their self-confidence in themselves, self-confidence in themselves. And,
and get a clear step by step, plan and direction on launching their business and understanding what,
where to direct their energy to get you know, the first clients and to make an impact as well,
to change lives depending on what business they’re in.
And I will ask you in a little while, how people can get in touch with you,
should they want to share your story with their teams, their workplace. But you also started transgender Wellness
workshops and retreats. Can you tell US about those?
Yes, yeah, that’s right. So trans India is the pivot of,
of link made based on challenges in resource thinking. We’ve
had to try to pivot and I’m quite excited by it because what we’re
doing is really tackling what’s constantly my,
my partner and I as being the core challenges at work. First is a tension, like we are living in
a Destruction epidemic right now. Officially we have a less, we have
a shorter attention span than goldfish which is eight seconds
you talking about me? Yeah,
everyone. Not just
But, but yeah, I mean it’s, it’s a real issue, right. Like, thanks to things like social media it’s,
it’s only made our Destruction run even more rampant and in the workplace that
leads to a huge cost you know, continuous interruptions, distractions actually,
you know, not only leads to loss of productivity, but it leads to a loss of lo,
in your work, now when you, when you’re in flow and you make progress that leads to fulfillment,
so people aren’t feeling fulfilled. Destruction is
a big part of that. What’s more is well-being in the same way that we addressed
well-being in the workplace through late by the challenges of stress burnout.
Right. And they’re on the rise as well. You know, I think working from home arrangements and trying to,
to make them work and opting for flexible arrangements and seeing
how not as many people are in the office like it’s just, it’s really, it’s really being and,
and certainly the culture as well. Right. Like the culture that we
experienced perhaps that you experienced For those listening before covid is
potentially quite different. Very different to what you’re experiencing now. So what we’re doing at transcend yeah, is running talks,
workshops of retreats Designed to enhance concentration. Firstly, to block out Destruction through some evidence based practices and protocols to
improve well-being through a series of mindfulness techniques,
strategies as well as peer support to bring together and unify tribes to
be able to have the same experience that you know, that senior partner created. But by Sharing his,
his journey with mental health, so, so bravely. Because when teams can do that,
when people can actually share their personal challenges and share any concerns at
work without fear of being judged without fear of being treated differently. That
builds a whole New level of trust, which leads to collaboration,
which leads to fun like work should be fun. I believe in,
in many ways since we spend so much of our time doing work,
we want to make it fun. And I think when you have great friendships and meaningful relationships that work,
then you can trust each other and you can depend on each other. You operate from
a really strong foundation and that’s what we’re hoping to to achieve through transcend yeah,
we’re running retreats at the moment and expanding into the workplace.
So any size business could be involved in workshops and retreats. Are there particular
locations you go to for your retreats that I set or is that flexible?
So it is flexible. That’s a, it’s a good question. We’ve run an urban Retreat. We had our first one
a couple of months ago here in Melbourne. We have our next one in beautiful bull
Gola, which is in the northern beaches of New South Wales and you know,
as we grow we’ll move to some exotic relaxing, rejuvenating locations overseas, no doubt as well. And yes,
it’s not so open to businesses of any size that are, you know,
willing and open to to, you know, improving the productivity, the wellbeing and the culture.
I’ll ask you again a walk away on the subject where a lot of people get
a hold of you. What’s the best thing about to hold a workshop or a Retreat?
Retreat. Amazing. Where would someone get hold of you most easily?
So my email address is, is a good a good place to start. So that’s David at
D and T dot care already.
So Dame, TMI initials, David Michael to tell US the personal coaching Service
that I offer at the moment can be found at the Dante experience. Dot com that I do.
And for those who are feeling interested or open to exploring what
a workshop or retreats might look like for that business transfer can be accessed at transcend Beyond dot A. You
Right? Well, hopefully you get lots of interest because it sounds amazing and really important
more and more importantly, important. Just heading in a slightly different direction for
a moment. Going back to the seven years young achiever Awards gala presentation
dinner, which was earlier this year and hosted by Mike Moore from seven news,
the weekend presenter.
What was the Key takeaway for you from the event? What inspired or what
a memory you have of the event.
The conversations with the other nominees, finalists, winners. Those really stood out to me because
It, Well Firstly, it made me feel less alone in my journey because this,
this journey of going out on your own and doing your own thing can be quite
isolating. It has been for me. So to have those conversations and to meet others who are You know,
trying their hand at building out a project or a venture or initiative and creating impact with it was amazing,
you know, inspired me. As I said, it made me feel less alone. And it sort of just
opened a lot of doors for a collaboration in the future. And I got to learn about what
drives people and, and I think what stood out to me and it’s,
it’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s a cliche for
a reason. And it’s something that every single person I spoke to said,
which was chasing your passion. Right. I think everyone has something that they’re
really deeply interested in and in love with an activity or a hobby,
or an interest or an idea. But for whatever reason,
they may not choose to pursue it. That was me for
a while. But hearing from the attendees at the gala
event and seeing how they have pursued that passion and you know,
come alive Whilst doing it was just very reaffirming for the path that I’m on very inspiring and energizing.
You hear that? I hear that
a lot actually from people saying one of the Key things. Key takeaways is to know
that you’re not alone in your journey. Any journey can be really tough. You’re trying to create something,
trying to achieve really important outcomes for,
for issues that are big and real. And you can feel isolated as you said,
and lonely in that journey because it’s tough. But to know there are others out
there, striving to achieve something special is, is really important and Empowering. So yeah, that is something that I hear
a lot that is important.
And it must have been great validation for your work too,
to have to be acknowledged in that way.
Absolutely. Yeah. Look, um, recognition was always really special for sure.
And I think those, those conversations are valuable and thanks for, you know,
just acknowledging that just because you were saying before you’ve been doing,
you know, running these Awards for thirty five years. And that’s some, that’s
a journey in and of itself. And I wonder,
I’m wondering if you’re open to Sharing as well, like what, what sort of,
what would you say inspired you to take the life and what’s sort of kept you going for this?
This is like the time as well.
Yeah, well that’s a good question right back at me. Well, I think initially, I’ve always been passionate about making
a difference and trying to help people. Right from
a young age. I remember I was nearly twenty one. I was in Kmart in
Adelaide, in our local area. Was close to Christmas. I had to buy
a present know the pain. So I’m running around looking for this present,
worrying about the worries of the world that are on my shoulders,
which were quite small and in the scheme of things when you think back. But I was
that day at the chick check out.
And the bottom was quite long and you know,
we all get frustrated that personal problems and having to wait ten minutes in
a line and a defining moment of my life, this particular checkout person,
the young girl. I don’t remember particularly how old but young looked like she had
the worries of the world and this person in front of me was complaining about how
long I had to wait and nothing was right. And this particular product was not good
and look the, you know, the covers damage and I wanted a discount and blah, blah,
blah. That’s again, first of all, problems and this particularly young lady was looking very stressed and emotionally
drained and well, when she came to me,
She looked like she was ready to crack. I don’t exactly remember the conversation.
I stopped and I thought, yeah, my problems has zero. So I just said to her,
you had that so beautiful. You have a great smile and you know your customer service is exceptional and yeah,
she helped here and said Thank you so much. I was just and you know,
we just spoke from a moment of the other people were queuing,
but at that moment I thought my life has to be about Helping
people. And I’m at that moment decided that I was going to try to pay five
compliments every day of my life. Find five people to say something Positive to nice to whatever it was.
So yeah, it’s something that I have daily from there and at nearly twenty one. As you can
imagine, it was a very long time ago and I’ve tried to live by that philosophy of trying to
pay five compliments every day. And I do try that every single day to,
to be Positive and to help people in that way. So that took me on, on
a journey thing. This particular job advertised I thought, Ah, this is it,
this is going to be something that I can really contribute in
a bigger way. So yeah, thirty five years later here I am still inspired to make
a difference. I was in a judging process and we talked off affair
a little while ago yesterday and as to
a lot love getting around the country and hearing the stories of people making a difference organisations,
individuals through the young achiever Awards time that I guess it helps me to keep
going, knowing that there are so many good stories because you do get
a little bit worn by all the negativity in the world and the
small amount of people who are doing not so good things. But there are so many doing great
that are being constantly reminded by that is really important.
Just Thank you for showing my love that really means a lot especially, you know,
hearing that what sounds like was
a huge breakthrough in that moment when you comforted the the woman at the checkout.
And that’s I just think such a really profound and selfless right to you
know, to lead your life, to lift yourself and to help others,
making that your mission every day is inspiring. I love that.
But I can’t know how that impacted her at that time. But I know it impacted my side,
and that’s where the selfishness comes in, you know, the giving,
but also the taking. I get reward from Helping others. That makes me feel king of the mountain for
a period of time. And I think that’s really critical for me. That’s the thing with
making me happy makes others happy.
And you know, you’re right there is a lot of negativity in the world and I think there’s
a news New cycles can, can propagate. A lot of that negativity,
but the way I look at it like this achievement Awards that you’ve cultivated is basically like
a news station that only shares goodness but only shares really, you know, Positive, uplifting, Empowering news,
and elevating those stories. So I think, yeah,
I think what you’re doing is really amazing. I’m glad to be a part of it.
And we, we partnered with seven and seven news and you know,
they have to tell stories that people want to hear and they’re not always Positive. But at the same time,
to allow listeners don’t trust them because they are making
a difference as well. They see the value of telling the good stories. And I have
partnered with this they giving so a lot of air time,
a lot of promotional opportunity to reach people. Because I do say that community
impact is critical. So they are making the difference that we’re able to achieve through the Awards,
which were extremely grateful for. And nominations actually are currently open for the seven news,
young achiever Awards around the country. And why do you think it’s important to nominate someone diamond?
It could be the thing that it could be one simple act which Gives them
a boost of confidence to pursue their passion and completely change their life for the better for me,
it was applying to that pitch competition which helped US secure funding.
And that gave me the confidence to know that, you know, There is something,
there is something here. And it’s something that’s worth pursuing. And people believe in it, especially since
a lot of people might not believe in them in themselves by nominating someone else,
you know, not only showing that you believe in them,
which I think is really important. But you’re also giving them the opportunity to
To Yeah, have, have a platform to, to showcase the amazing work that they’re doing and to get
a boost that they might need from the recognition to, to build their own momentum moving forward and Ultimately
learn that they can build their own self confidence from within
I think that’s something that
a lot of people struggle with and I certainly did as well when I got started,
I think getting some accomplishments under my belt really helped me generate that
sense of self-worth and self-confidence. So just knowing that you can always tap
into that is important, a nomination can go a really long way as well.
Yeah, Thank you. And if anybody wants to find out how to nominate someone or more about
the nomination category, head to Awards, Australia dot com. I W,
I do yes. Awards Australia dot com. Look at the young achiever Awards page. And
you and your stage will show you what categories are open. And if you want to know
more, can also email me at jft, double F, g, F at Awards,
Australia dot com. I’ll be happy to help.
And if you like to know about award
category sponsorship opportunities and what your business you know, or your business would be interested, also drop me
a line at Geoff at Awards Australia dot com. Now David, what’s something we might not know about you?
? It could be a fun fact. A funny fact,
or something more serious. What’s something that we might that’s putting you on the spot? I know,
but what’s something we might not know about David that would would be of interest to US.
Yeah. Look, I am I was going to keep this under wraps. But I think
I think this is
a really good opportunity to vocalize this vision that I have Is not what I do so you know,
then everyone can hold me accountable. And
listen carefully everyone. So
most people know that I’m a huge fan and lover of Shrek and the you know,
not only the very entertaining franchise and series of movies,
but just the lovable character himself. Shrek, I think he embodies
a lot of really Noble qualities of strength and courage, honor,
You know, respect and love. And for, for one of my,
for my thirtieth. And my vision is to organize a, an experience at Shrek, stomp,
Shrek swamp is currently available to rent out as an
Airbnb in Scotland. It’s a real thing. You can look into it, feel free to email me,
and I can provide you with more details. But I tossed it around and as an
idea, and I just, you know, I like
like link my, when I tell people about it, I was like, okay, now I’m going to make this thing
a reality. So I’m telling you all, because I want to make this a reality. And you know,
I’d love to see their email me with any suggestions that you have for how we can
make it even more Shrek tastic.
And you know, I’m looking forward to making this, this thing happen.
I got to take people on a journey to Shrek swamp. Was it?
Yes. The swamp with Shrek live actually has the,
the cottage laid out as it is in all the movies. You’ve said Chuck and
Jeff. Yeah, well Yes, course. That’s right. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
Yeah. So, so yeah, it’s got the same layout and it’s,
it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be memorable. Yeah. What do you love more? I’m not sure.
That’s amazing. So Scotland is the next journey for David’s fifth,
fifteenth thirtieth. Don’t make any older than you need to be thirty, so anybody interested? Tell me friends,
sounds like something to look forward to that David will give you all the detail
can work together on making it bigger and bigger. Ben-Hur.
I love that. Yeah, Thank you.
When they decide what
sounds awesome, what’s next for? For David.
Great question. What’s next? Is continuing to Coach and mentor You know, really driven and ambitious people who
have their own vision they could take could be an event
like this strike experience. It could be a business, a career,
its impact. And so I, what is next for me is Helping them make their, their vision
a reality. Helping them build the belief in themselves and their mindset and their and
a plan to make it happen. And continuing to grow,
transcend the art to be able to create more meaningful experiences. Bring teams together, deepen connection in the workplace,
normalize the conversation around mental health, and help people thrive, especially during
a time when you know it’s been difficult to do so.
Do you have any other Words of wisdom for our listeners?
Words of wisdom? What I would say? What has served me in my journey is understanding and
believing now that we are Ultimately just
a product of the stories that we tell ourselves. And you know, we, we have
a villain and we have a hero. You know, you know,
it depends what voice you want to listen to. Do we want to listen to the interview?
Do we want to listen to the coach that is Empowering and inspiring. Awesome. And really encouraging US to,
to work towards our goals and to believe in ourselves for a long time. You know,
I listened to the stories that other people told about me and, and, you know,
they were hurtful. And I believe those stories to be true. And
what I learned is that when you believe a story to be true,
you start acting as though it is and that becomes your reality. So
be very specific and conscious of what stories you tell yourselves and make them meaningful. Positive, uplifting. Empowering and
watch what happens. Because for me it really changed my life for the better.
It was Words if anybody would like to get involved in the Shrek experience, transcend the Camp David,
talk at their workplace or whatever it may be.
Please, please contact David and one of those contact details again, David.
Yes, Thank you Jeff. So my email address is David at the end
T dot care spelled C.A.R.E. You can learn more about my coaching and speaking services at the Dante experience,
dot com today. You and more about the workplace. Wellness
offerings retreats that we’re running at transphobia at transcend yard dot A year.
Fantastic. So much value so much to learn. Please contact David is awesome. And
a real superhero. David has been an absolute Pleasure to have you on the podcast.
You are a true inspiration and a powerhouse, and very worthy of people getting in the workplace or going on
a Retreat and Sharing some time with David. You will be so pleased
that you too. Thanks. Thanks so much for Sharing your story with US. I hope you’ve
enjoyed the experience as well.
I’ve loved Jeff and I really want to honour and
Thank you for Sharing more about your own journey as well. This is the first time
we’re meeting. I’m so turned to get the opportunity to learn more about what has
inspired you to build this amazing initiative that
lets people like mine with the support of seven news and making and spreading
a really uplifting news. You know, that’s, that’s really something that I’m just grateful for. Honoured to be
a part of. And yeah, hopefully we can have a hit of tennis and a coffee soon as well.
That sounds like a plan.
I mean, I mean, I can’t promise that the tennis will be of high standard,
but the coffee will be great.
I love that. I’ll meet you halfway.
Thanks Jeff. I have everybody else has
enjoyed listening to David’s story as much as I have. And until next week everyone,
please remember bekind because together we make a difference. Thanks David. Thanks Jeff. I can’t wait and keep in
let’s you know, when this is going to end, she did mention that you wanted to, you know,
to just have some control of when that went is I will do that. And so, but you know,
to stay in touch with regard to that when it’s actually ready to go live and then
you can chat too about when you feel that that would be appropriate.
I really appreciate you both. Thank you, Annette. Yeah, Thank you Jeff. Not on
the and that’s all she’s there online at the minute. All right, it’s on her. Hey her. What’s the word?
account. So what I saying. Sorry. Right. Sorry, dear, but I’ll pass on and you know, thanks to her.
Yeah, Thank you. Yeah, Thank you for extending my gratitude and just for being such
a wonderful host. You know, it’s it, it can be difficult in some cases, but you seem like
a natural and I really appreciated the questions that you asked. And also just being open to,
to Sharing and answering my questions too. And you know,
that may have been slightly different. So I just appreciate you doing that.
I think I’ve shared more about myself in this particular chat than in all of the other one
hundred and fifteen put together so far.
Well, that’s great. People need to hear about the man behind, you know,
Awards Australia just as much as those who are winning the Awards. I think what
you’re doing is really, really special. So yeah, Thank you for Sharing that. It’s a really beautiful story.
Thank you. My Pleasure. Very passionate about what we’re doing because it does make
a difference and talking with people like yourself inspires me and helps me to
continue the journey. So as I and we are
a family business and our son and it’s my wife and Josh
is general manager. So he’s the future of the company he’s takes after
his mum and his dad. He’s very passionate and a real people person, so
He’ll certainly into the future lead the way and hopefully continue continue the journey and continue our passion.
I love Josh. Yeah, I met him at the Awards,
he helped with just coordinating the tables and all of that at the front.
we had a chat and he’s such a lovely, approachable guy knows how to grow an absolutely wicked moustache,
which I’m jealous of silently. But yeah, just just a wonderful man,
a wonderful human to continue with his legacy of yours.
Yeah, we have two boys, Josh and REECE, both working in the business and yes, that’s a real family,
but we have ten staff, but they are very important contributors and continuous of our
work. So exciting future. Hopefully we can get through these couple of years of hardship and. Yeah,
I reckon Karen well into the future.
Yeah, no, I yeah, lots of faith in people and they’re sending in lots of um, you know, strength and,
and support during that time. Because yes, as I’ve said, yeah,
it can be difficult when you’re sort of teetering on the edge and just shock it’s
a lot so um, so I can relate and yeah,
I’m desperate and it’s not, it’s not easy change, but sometimes you have to make the right decisions,
and I’m sure you have made the right decision for yourself as well as for everyone
else and sounds like can you journey would be amazing.
Yeah, I appreciate that. Thank you Jeff. Thanks for your time as well. You know,
I know we went over what we did counted for. So just thanks for being gracious with your time. Pleasure.
You take care and keep in touch as I reach out,
if you need anything, we can help certainly do our best.
Thank you. Yes. Well, rest of the
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