I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Nick Elston, a motivational speaker and coach, who helps people voice their issues, and make sure they're heard.
He shared his personal journey with mental health and how speaking has helped him heal and connect with others. And now he’s doing the same too, for those he works with.
Article was written by Claudia Lee, Founder and CEO of NEXUS. Speaking with Nick Elston, motivational speaker and coach, and host of The Nick Elston Show.
Nick started speaking about his experiences as a way to cope with a breakdown he had in 2012, and soon found that sharing his truth with vulnerability encouraged others to do the same.
"Speaking started then initially as a therapy, the rooms got bigger, then the audiences got bigger. And the rest, as they say, is history. And now it's what I do as a job which is not so we think of it just as a show.
There's this excitement in the chaos, right?"
He emphasized to me, the importance of authenticity and finding your own way, rather than conforming to societal expectations or norms, especially when it comes to mental health and well-being.
He mentioned to me that people with experiences of mental illness or adversity can fall into the trap of becoming a "wounded healer" who gives and gives until they drop, and that it's important to find balance.
"I think there's two extremes when I turn up as a speaker, especially in corporate environments, wherever they think I'm going to be dry, heavy and boring and try and fix everyone, not me, I'll make a rubbish counsellor doesn't agree with everybody.
Or that I’m going to light a bonfire outside, run around naked with a stick in my mouth…”
For something like mental health to be an integral part, of our overall well-being, really isn’t helpful to be viewed as wishy-washy or unimportant. It’s how we think, feel, and behave, that impacts our relationships, work, and overall quality of life.
It's fine to be successful and driven etc, but if there’s no foundational support to your motivation and hustle, then they’ll crumble. In my opinion, that is.
Finding The Balance
Nick stresses that engagement is key in bringing about change, and that mental health should not be seen as either "fluffy" or "dry." He encourages people to focus on their own race their running, and be true to themselves, rather than getting wrapped up in how they should do things or comparing themselves to others.
"Don't worry about everything else. They try to be everybody else. Just carry on in your own race...it's about doing you essentially it's about...authenticity is true."
From what I felt in Nick’s message, is that it’s one of hope, resilience, and self-acceptance.
He reminds me that everyone is "winging it" to some extent and that success is defined differently for each person. By speaking his truth and encouraging others to do the same, he is helping to break down barriers and create a more compassionate, understanding world.
Storytelling: Doing it right. Doing it wrong.
Emotional storytelling is key to delivering a powerful message.
It's not about what you say, but rather how you make people feel.
We joked speaking doesn't hold the power, the way you speak does. We shared notes on how disingenuous some can be when public speaking and how that can cause people to lose interest. Mainly laughing at a couple of presidents that have gone by.
Speaking is not just about standing on stage; it's about communication in all aspects of life, from business to education to personal relationships.
He mentioned his quarterly event, called Find Your Voice, where he coaches people on speaking skills and that speaking can be a transformational tool, as it helps people develop their narrative and overcome negative thought patterns that can lead to anxiety and depression.
How He Copes With Speaking
Nick admits to being an introvert and notes that he still gets anxious before speaking engagements. He has developed a playbook to manage his anxiety, which includes music, breathing exercises, and blocking off conversations half an hour before speaking.
In his mind, speaking is a sort of survival tool that can help individuals say no, say yes, and be heard in a variety of environments.
Your speaking ability gives you your voice. And your voice dictates what road you go down.
The more powerful that voice, the stronger the experience down that road, and the more you can learn and harness.
The Bigger Picture, And How Nick Sees It
We both discussed how the world is waking up to trauma, and more importantly the response to it.
"There's a global consciousness going on at the moment on two levels, I think. The first level is understanding how much fear is affecting all of our decisions on a global level.”
We touched on the fact trauma is individual, its not a case of what you experienced, but how you experienced it.
“I have clients in Ukraine who are dealing with it very effectively, very well with the conflict going on outside their door. I have clients in Poland who are not dealing with it as well because of the threat of invasion.
That's an interesting one. Because that means that we very often the anxiety is created about the fear of doing something or the fear of something happening, not the actual thing happening because we can deal with what's in front of us."
I found this a profound point, and it was something I’d considered before when fighting my own battles and putting my own things to bed.
The sheer fact of the apprehension is harder to bare, than the shock itself. It's essentially an emotionally driven jump scare. The only reason it has an impact is that you’ve wound up to it.
His Podcast: The Nick Elston Show
Nick touched on his other work, although I’m sure he doesn’t see it as that, his podcast.
"So, first episode was to start a lockdown. And like everybody, all of my stuff, pretty much 2020 was done in person and I never had anything online never did anything virtually pretty much. So in March 2020, my business almost died."
It was the beginning of a new way, of having a conversation for Nick, and how he was able to have in-depth conversations without having to travel.
"So as my approach to this because, as you said, obviously vulnerable, I got people onto my podcast talking about this and actually have an open conversation. I think that's the way that we have healthy conversations about stuff.
We just because we ask questions, doesn't mean to say we're being anti-something. It's about we need to find out more information."
We spoke about cancel culture, and this desperate need to not be offended.
"I think it's creating division, sadly. And I think that's a lot of the reason why people are afraid to reach out and when they do reach out or if they do share the challenges that we're experiencing at the moment we're not always catching people with the solution."
It's so important to make sure, we have discussions about things that aren't easy to speak about at first. That’s the point, and I feel people have missed that.
"So I got people onto the show just talking about their own journeys and over the six seasons now it's now evolved into we basically take the personal journey of the person behind the brand.”
🧢 Final Thoughts From Claudia
"I wanted to just to build a platform to talk to people that weren't like me, I was fed up with the kind of hearing echo chambers all over the place.
And for me, the way that you spend yourself mentally, physically, spiritually is by listening to other people that have different views."
In the same way, I have, Nick has built a platform for people to share other areas of the story, that wouldn't be touched upon, by simply just looking in on a business, and instead, delving into the person. He's been able to catalyse his experience and ideas to help others as well as himself, on his own journey.
Thank you so much to Nick, for speaking with me. It was an absolute pleasure.
If you’d like to reach out to him and find your voice, links will be below.
Contact Nick, click here.
Nick's Website: https://nickelston.com/