Waiting for me to explode

“My business provides agricultural services to farmers. My clients are completely reliant on me and my kit, especially at harvest time. Last year during harvest time, I was with my team when our expensive new kit broke down. They stood back waiting for me to explode. But I didn’t. They burst out in nervous laughter.’

Mark taught me to listen to my brain and body. It never occurred to me that panic attacks and explosive rages, were messages to be listened to. Once I knew this, I was able to tune in to what I was saying to myself. And what I was saying to myself was: get help.

(Important details have been changed to remove identifying information.)

A chance conversation

It was a chance conversation with a client, someone I know pretty well, that changed things. He noticed I was in a bad way when on a site visit to his farm. I will never forget how kind he was to me that day. For the first time I genuinely connected with someone who knew what I was going through. He told me about his own struggles with mental health and how he had gone to see Mark at Conversations With Impact. So I picked up the phone and the rest is history.

Two days before I saw Mark for the first time, I had completely lost it in the cab of one of my vans. I quite literally smashed it up. This was how bad things had become. I remember driving over to see Mark thinking that I couldn’t spare the time while knowing that I had to find the time.

Therapy that made absolute sense

From the start, Mark made me feel I was in the right place. His type of therapy, called the Human Givens, made absolute sense. It talked about how good or bad mental health is linked to how well we meet our emotional needs and make use of our own resources. In our first session we worked through an Emotional Needs Audit. My Audit revealed that none of my emotional needs were being well met. I knew I was in crisis and this explained why.

Stability in my mental health and my business

Mark’s approach was to stabilise my mental health by giving me ways to stop my panic attacks and rages. He never lost sight of my need to focus on my business because everything else depended on this running well. One approach he used was called pattern interruption, which was amazingly effective at switching off panic attacks and rages before they got out of control. Feeling more stable allowed me to work through my layers of grief, anger and self-harm. Therapy gave me the chance to talk about my parent’s divorce and the subsequent suicide of my mother, which I had never really spoken to anyone about.

Making connections

What was so helpful about Mark’s therapy was how he stayed slightly detached from what I was saying. Initially, I saw this as disinterest, but now I know otherwise. His detachment was not disinterest at all. Rather it meant he was able to see connections that I was blind to. In one session, he connected my perfectionism and relentless need for business expansion to the death of my mother. I felt I had lost her whole estate to people who shall remain nameless, and saw my whole life as being about getting it back. This was just one example that brought so much clarity to my life.

Personal and business impact of therapy

Therapy has made a huge difference to my personal life and business. Mark never distinguished between the two because he knew that positive changes in one would lead to positive changes in the other. Positive thinking is now the norm in my company. My Quantity Surveyor was in a right state over a job the other day. I took him to one side and told him how I saw things. The next day he was on it.

Business growth

I also understand leadership now. Before I owned my business, whereas now I lead it. My communication has come on a lot. I’m more open with my partner and my employees, which has improved my decision making and planning. Before I had no way of prioritising and this was resulting in me being constantly overwhelmed and in paralysis. Now I know how to make decisions.

My perfectionism, now understandable to me, has been replaced by a much more realistic mindset. Before, if my business wasn’t expanding, I was failing. The other day, I said to myself I’d done enough and went home. This never would have happened before. You’re a failure, you don’t deserve to go home, I’d say to myself. With less panic and anger, I have more control and much greater trust in myself and my team. They know what they are doing, but I always had to be there telling them what to do. Now they come to me when they need to. They’re much happier – apparently.

Therapy: A great business investment

The other day I looked around – my building, my kit – and thought this is all right whereas before I could never see the value I had created. Wellbeing is now a core part of my business. I’d never even heard of wellbeing, now I have a policy on it. Nuts. Two of my staff have since come to me and said they are struggling with their mental health. It feels good to know how to help. Aside from being the right thing to do, just makes business sense. I know how many days I took off sick. I can’t afford for them to be off as well. I used not to want to wake up each morning and now I do. I told Mark a session or two ago that I had felt genuinely happy for the first time since I was at school and my mother was alive.

Therapy with Mark has been to borrow his phrase life changing and lifesaving. It’s also been a great business investment.

Getting support

We hope you are inspired by our client’s story. At Conversations With Impact we have worked with many business owners and helped them to improve both their wellbeing and their businesses.

If you are interested in what we can do for you and your business, then please get in touch.