Look what happened…

By now my use of pop-punk and ska titles and lyrics must be getting tiring. I swear it’s (not) the last time…

Breaking the Stigma…

Last week was World Mental Health Day and commemorated the 12 month anniversary of when I gave my first Breaking the Stigma talk.

Last week I was working with Squire Patton Boggs and presented Breaking the Stigma four times across two offices to both internal and external audiences.

It was great!

Across all sessions there was probably around 300 people who voluntarily came along to hear ‘just another guy‘ say some pretty uncomfortable things. I’d spent a lot of time preparing and working on the humour in the talk, despite how much I’ll tell you otherwise. It definitely paid off! I genuinely believe these talks were the best versions I have ever delivered.

Here are a few of my observations across all the sessions;

  1. The audiences were diverse. There was no majority across gender, age, race or role. Everyone came and everyone listened.
  2. Only those who knew me that attended really appreciated the All My Best Friends Are Metal Heads opening on all the levels I did. The words spoken are so important as they highlight all the various stigmas we’ve overcome as a species before and that mental health really should be no different!
  3. Very few people spotted that I had replaced the traditional Squire Patton Boggs branding with a bunch of memes. Those that did notice loved it! You can buy ‘Meme Collage’ prints and more over in the shop if you’re interested.
  4. Joking about a ‘golf racket’ was a necessary evil of a dad joke to get people to know it’s okay to laugh about sad things.
  5. With regards to the humour, I believe I hit the tone perfectly. People wanted to laugh and often couldn’t help themselves, but there was an unease about it. If you objectively take what I say out of the presentation, it is deeply emotional and very upsetting. The humour is a necessity, but also helps people realise just how real the situation is. If I’m laughing and smiling, it’s okay for you to laugh and smile as well.
  6. As well as laughter, there were definitely tears. I saw you. I’m sorry for bringing you to tears. There is a very sharp pivot from lots of humour to me talking about depression and suicide. It’s intentional. I include warnings ahead of time but nothing can really prepare you for the experience; much like when you start on your downward spiral. I hope for those that felt the emotions I did, that I could show you a way through it.
  7. It’s a stolen joke from a great film, but that’s not important right now. I had to back solve that entire section to weave this in. I’m glad I did as it went down very well.
  8. Page 183 was a succes. I spent a lot of time trying to find the best way to demonstrate that life really is too short and that people should focus on happiness now, rather than happiness in the future. Yes, that was an intentional typo. Did you spot it?
  9. The three key messages at the end worked well, but I need to work on them more. The other points throughout don’t really align with them, so there’s still work to be done!
  10. Even though not every audience applauded or celebrated (thank fuck that’s over!), they were all incredibly engaged. The questions at the end showed it.

I would like to take some time to just say thank you to everyone who has reached out to me personally. I didn’t really expect this. To you who found me on various social platforms, connected with me and messaged me saying all the things you said. Thank you.

I don’t do any of this for fame or fortune, nor scars or stories. I do this for anyone out there who is still wearing their mask to work; who still says ‘It’s okay.’ when really it isn’t. As long as I am able to give these talks and write matter on this subject, I will do so!

Squire Patton Boggs were excellent hosts and are clearly supportive of building a mentally healthy culture for their staff and those they work with. There’s always a level of scepticism, it comes from working with Private Equity remember, but I can truly say that these are the good guys (and gals) and they genuinely want to do right by their staff.

I look forward to working with you again on the lead up to Time to Talk day in Birmingham and London next February.

Life is a Four-Letter Word…

If you haven’t seen the social media on it; why aren’t you following me? You don’t need to follow me. It’s really boring. It’s pretty much just pictures of Pika and other rubbish from my life!

Anyway.

We have a front cover!

LOVE is a Four-Letter Word as the title for my second book?

It’s exactly what I wanted. The title itself (without the surrounding tiles) just makes me smile every time I read it. I still can’t believe I’ve written a book and it’s launching next year! The addition of the (affectionately called) SHT_UCK tiles allows me the introduction I had written for the book. It also adds a great puzzle that no one has provided me with a solution to yet!

You’ve been dealt your hand of seven random tiles. How are you going to play them of LIFE? Sure; there’s the obvious. Life is unfair and so am I. I’ve shown you what I want you to see, but can you make more of it? of LIFE? There are ways you can play all seven tiles and score the bonus 50 points for emptying you hand. Are you going to spend the time searching or just give up and do what is expected of you? The choice is yours!

I’m now entering a period of editing, type setting and proof reading where the manuscript will start taking shape. I am hopeful that by Time to Talk day in February next year we’ll have a book ready to print!

Just another year…

I started this about a year ago. A year is a pretty long time although seems to pass ever quicker the older we get.

Sucks.

This year has been unlike any other for me.

This year has been about me and me alone. It’s been a selfish year. Not in a bad way though. Just in a way where I’ve put what I care about first. I’ve prioritised my happiness.

I’ve spent a lot of time working on making myself more comfortable in my own skin. I’ve stopped worrying about what other people think, or say, and started building a life that I want to live, rather than one that I just wanted to end.

To those who have stood by me as I found my selfish selfless path that I have chosen to walk along now; thank you. I couldn’t have done any of this without you and I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today without you being a part of my life.

Know that every good thing that comes from the work I do with my talks and my book is yours to cherish as well.

The odds and ends…

There’s a lot going on at present. Not only do I have all my work with dscvr, the book, the talks and this website; I’m also doing a few other things!

To name a few;

  1. Creating the documentation behind a full seminar series based on all my work in ‘Breaking the Stigma‘ and ‘Life is a Four-Letter Word‘. Each seminar will essentially be a ‘deep dive’ into topics I can only touch upon in my other works. I’m excited for these, but there’s a lot to go into all of them!
  2. Developing a series of YouTube content to run alongside the ‘Life is a Four-Letter Word‘ and to help introduce Andy (me) and Indy (inner critic of me) and do some sketches around how our we interact with our inner critics. This needs a lot of thought, but is something I’m excited to try!
  3. Designing another set of imagery for my next series of tattoos. This time I am focusing on ‘the present’. Something to ground me and remind me that whatever is happening; I am who I need to be and exactly where I need to be at that point in time.
  4. Trying to teach myself how to read sheet music and compose songs. I’m doing this is possibly the most ‘me way’ possible. I’m using a GameBoy and a program called LSDJ. For now I’m trying to recreate songs I know and love. I’m calling this project LsTJ as I’m starting on some songs by Less Than Jake.

As always, I think a lot of these are aspiration. I don’t know if I’ll ever complete them or achieve them, but it’s something I’m working on. As I say in ‘Breaking the Stigma‘; don’t spend all day working for someone else on something that isn’t yours only to go home and not work on your own dreams and on something just for you.

Thanks

Andy

just another guy