065 WiS Visibility and Mental Wellbeing

Hearing women talk not just about their work but their lives as surveyors brings a reality to what we do and I hope, inspires others. For Season 3 of the podcast, I’ve brought together groups of female surveyors just to chat about mental wellbeing and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

It was the first time Emma Snipp, Sana Gabriel and Stacey Price had been on a podcast and I am really proud of how they stepped up to be visible despite being nervous. With varied career backgrounds, we talked about everything from the day job, covid, and mental health and wellbeing.

Working Through COVID

Emma, Sana and Stacey reflect on the past 18 months and the experience of working under COVID. They talk about the struggles, new initiatives, as well as the lessons they have learned.

Stacey Price shared how she got involved with a working parents initiative in her company during covid. “I just reached out to other working parents in our company,” Stacey explains. “and now we have 80 followers on our Yammer group. We’re involved in our dynamic, flexible hybrid work and life after COVID. We’re involved in what makes a good day. These are simple things, but they make us work around us and around our kids, being able to drop them off at school and being able to return to the board meeting or workshop or whatever else you need to do on the same day. It’s changed my life.”

“It was a very polarized, difficult year for me personally, and trying to maintain a full-time job,” Sana says. “One thing that helped me was that I’m part of Mental Health First Aiders in the local authority. I probably hadn’t paid enough attention to it before this, how to really look after your mental health, because if you’re not well yourself, you just can’t be there for all the other people that depend on you. On a professional level, the work sped up in terms of output, whilst the whole world was falling down as well.”

“It was a rollercoaster,” Emma says. “I got to the point where I had to have a month and a half of sick leave with anxiety. I was just having these tremendous panic attacks. I was also in Mental Health First Aid. I was really enjoying supporting people, giving to people, but I found that I was giving everything to everyone else and not looking after me because I don’t have children.”

“One thing COVID has done,” she adds, “it’s made a lot of people say, ‘Hang on, what do I want, what is important to me, where do I want to be, what is success to me?’ So it’s reassessing the boundaries, reassessing what’s important.”

A Journey to Visibility

Emma, Sana and Stacey continue talking about visibility and whether they are comfortable with being visible. They also chart their journey to visibility.

“I have really tried to increase my visibility through LinkedIn and through sharing some conversations around COVID-19,” Stacey says. “and through being empowered with our working parents subcommittee to get up and stand up in front of people. It’s been nothing but a hugely positive. I had amazing support from everybody who I was delivering the presentations to and it has been phenomenal. I got up there and talked, I didn’t need to rehearse, I didn’t stumble. I was 100% behind it, and it was making a difference.”

“Last year,” Sana says, “has really pushed me out there a bit more, because I noticed that you can get stuck in a rut. If you want more, you really have to just take that risk. I’m finding that it does take a support network behind you, and you have to have an agenda. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to have that if you’re a day-to-day surveyor. So I’m finding different groups and different support networks and just trying to get myself out there, and build rapport with other people that have similar traits. I suffer from imposter syndrome a lot, and doing things like this is helping me build my confidence and get me over some of those issues.”

“Because of coaching and attracting clients, and using social media, you have to have an element of visibility,” Emma explains, “which is really tough and takes getting your head around it. I kind of describe myself as an extroverted introvert. I’ve always been the gobby one, the person in the middle of the circle, the person who pushes for everyone to do everything, but it’s a cover-up for the fact that I’m ridiculously shy. I’m one of those people, I attack first, you can’t attack me. That’s how I’ve always worked. But I think I learned quite young that you can inspire and lead people without even meaning to. The only thing you’ve got that no one else’s got is that you are you. You be you, and people are always attracted to authenticity.”

Taking Care of Your Mental Wellbeing

All the participants emphasize the importance of providing support and to continue taking care of yourself and your mental wellbeing.

“When I was a Mental Health First Aider,” Emma says, “that almost entirely consisted of going coffees with people. People don’t come up to you and say, ‘Hi, I’m having a mild mental health crisis, can you please help me?’ They come up to you and go, ‘I’m having a bit of a rubbish day, can we grab a coffee?’ And that’s pretty much the gist of being a Mental Health First Aider. Just grabbing coffee with your peers is huge.”

“One of the other things that has just changed my life as well over the last year is being coached,” she adds. “One of my best friends became a coach for moms last year. And I always thought that I didn’t need to be coached, and I didn’t ask for support. So her business is all about making admission to get moms out of survival mode and get them thriving. It’s just been life-changing,” she concludes.