“I do something called devotion for my wellbeing. The equivalent to this that is most easily understood would be meditation, but meditating with the Bible, and having the source of what you’re being present with as God. I go on my Bible app and go through different plans of life stages. It usually takes me about 20 minutes and I take notes! Devotions in part help me realize that there are bigger things out there to be concerned about, and learn to make the best out of any situation with perspective.”
“Living on my own in a new country (Germany) has taught me many things about myself and that I cannot do this completely on my own. I found it hard to ask for help and to open up about myself at the risk of being in a disadvantaged position. The uniqueness of who I am has helped to shape my art practice and what I want to share with the audience. I’ve been given great opportunities in various places to discuss how my Cochlear Implant has shaped my sonic identity and I’ve learned to embrace my individuality through my art practice. My deaf identity has allowed me creative freedom with sound art and the ability to reinterpret sound in my own way.”
” I actually feel that most companies that stay close to consumers are actively working to bring purpose into their brands. This may be a differentiator now, but with the changemaker generation coming of age, they realize that without purpose they will simply slide into irrelevance. In this context, however, it is pretty hard to differentiate between real change and impact narratives. Without taking anything away from Patagonia – which remains an awesome, awesome company – it is relatively easy to bring impact at the fore-front of products that are premium, and that address educated, high-income market segments. It is a completely different story to do that in cut-throat, price-sensitive categories such as mass retail or FMCG. This is why I am personally very excited to see impact reflected at the level of mass-focused, low margin businesses. Often done quietly. I love it when I go into big retailers and notice that even the private labels signal purpose and virtue (locally sourced, organic, fair trade etc.). This is both a sign and an enabler of the mass-going revolution we all need. Patagonia and the likes have showed the way, now we need the Walmarts and the Costcos to follow.”
What are some sources or tools that you believe have impacted your wellbeing?
“I do believe that today’s educational institutions are built to support conversations amongst youths about mental health and inclusivity. There are far more resources for students than when I was in school at the time. In one of my classes I recall spending the first half of the sessions discussing mental health and university outlets for the students if they needed any. I think credit should be given to this generation for that change. They have been at the forefront of mental health and more accepting of the concept than their older cohorts. As for the faculty, there are mandatory training courses for Diversity and Inclusivity for Professors and Directors. We have to take these courses and be “certified” every year before the school semester begins. This is all geared to be of better service to the student body. With that being said, I don’t think there is enough mental health support for the faculty. That is something that can be improved.”
“I have a weird relationship with food, and it’s an issue that I’m working on improving. It’s something I’ve struggled with since high school and I can admit, I have good days and bad days. Even now. I didn’t really talk about it with anyone at first; it was a little shameful you know? I mean, I still don’t really, but working on it and it’s helped. At the time, because I wasn’t eating, I was getting into a lot of fights with my family, becoming anti-social and overall, just unhappy with everything. I didn’t go out at all, didn’t see friends, and if I did, I would really beat myself up the next day about it. Opening up about my issue the first time really helped… I think talking about it made it real, and forced me to acknowledge and reflect on what was I doing to myself.”
I believe mental health comes first and foremost. Ensuring that I am maintaining my sanity while running all of my different ventures is essential. Mindful breathing is the most important tool employ on a constant basis. Breathing in and out and just slowing my brain does wonders. Given the number of different organizations and individuals I’m responsible for, the best skill I have developed is delegation: discerning the critical tasks I must accomplish and then identifying the right person to fulfill every other responsibility. Lastly, despite all my sleepless nights, I’d say I average about eight hours of sleep a night. When I miss a night or two (which happens more than I’d like), I’ll try to catch up when I get a chance. This is totally unscientific but it works for me…
I have a professional coach (which is Silicon Valley’s rebranding of “therapist”) who helps me manage my expectations for myself and responsibilities. Whether it’s a coach or shrink, it’s vital to have someone that keeps you accountable, without an emotional connection.
“I was really depressed. I couldn’t get out of bed, except for parties and so I would go on these crazy benders and then I would get in bed for a week and then leave to party again and I just started to feel like my partying was out of control. I realized I hadn’t experienced happiness without the help of drugs and alcohol in a really long time, maybe ever, and I just hit my limit. I told my therapist about all the drugs that I was doing and she suggested that I needed help.”