Better out than in.
James Pickles is a mental health advocate, public speaker and professional performance coach.
Working with agencies, brands and individuals, he uses his own story and experiences of stress-induced burnout and breakdown to open a safe conversation, lift the stigma and encourage people to seek support.
His talks create a safe and confidential environment for open and frank questions and discussion. Afterwards, personal coaching enables attendees to find and safeguard their own confidence, clarity and control.
The Covid-19 pandemic and repeated lockdowns have acted as an extraordinary catalyst for burnout.
Pre-2020, we already knew that stress, social media and an ‘always-on’ culture were leading towards a mental health crisis in the workplace. The last 18 months have amplified and accelerated that. In the short time that I have been telling my story, I have found that – regardless of company size, maturity and efforts to support their employees – people are in desperate need of a confidential, judgement-free space to consider their own wellbeing.
I know first-hand the cost – both personally to the individual, and financially to their employer – of not seeking early help for workplace pressure and stress. My talks allow people to acknowledge and explore how they are really feeling, and encourage them to take the first step towards addressing that. For many, it’s the first time they have dared to pay attention.
To find out more about how I can help you, your people and your organisation, get in touch for a chat.
In early 2019, I was a Sales Director at an industry-leading survey technology and panel company. Over 10 years I had grown my part of the business from virtually zero to over £6 million in annual revenue. I headed up the leading sales team in Europe and had created lasting, highly profitable client relationships with household name brands. I was, by all accounts, very successful.
In March of that year, I suffered a completely unexpected and almost total mental and physical breakdown, following a severe and very public anxiety attack. I spent the remainder of the year on leave.
Through regular therapy, I began to recover and understand why this had happened at what seemed, at the time, the peak of my career. I also learned that I wasn’t the only one suffering a similar experience.
Had I not walked the path of mental breakdown and recovery, I wouldn’t have come to understand the significance of being given a space to speak freely and be listened to without judgement. Now, I seek out opportunities to work with organisations and help their employees better understand and make use of wellbeing programmes without fear of stigma, judgement and shame – all the things that prevented me from admitting earlier that I needed help.
If ever there was evidence that vulnerability is not weakness, James typifies that.