I was born in 1975 in Sydney, Australia. Throughout my formative years, my dad suffered terribly from work-related stress.
My dad’s experience at work, and the impact that experience had on our family is the ‘why’ behind my deep commitment to the creation of workplaces where people and performance can thrive.
My fathers work-related stress was of course highly contagious. His suffering had a profound impact on me and our family.
For me, the stress in our home manifested in a low sense of self-worth and an accompanying “high achiever” identity.
Achieving was the only the way I knew how to believe that I had value in the world.
Of course, being a high achiever had its advantages, however if my quieter moments I knew something was not right. My life felt like a roller-coaster ride that was getting faster and faster. I wanted to get off the ride, but I did not know how. The constant chasing of a sense of worthiness and the striving and proving that went with that was exhausting.
At a certain moment in my early 30’s it became clear to me that this way of being was not sustainable, and was incompatible with thriving and long-term performance.
Participating in a leadership retreat was a pivotal experience for me. At the retreat I realised how many other high-performing leaders were secretly struggling with the same dark shadow. This shadow was the feeling that they were not enough. That they were not worthy. I understood for the first time that I was not alone and that I had an important role to play.
“If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”Queensland Aboriginal Activist Group