07949 533737

Soul – searching – here’s the evidence that I’ve found it!

The response to my post last week across the social media platforms I use has been amazing, especially on LinkedIn. The commentary and feedback both in public and privately gave me both hope for the future and concern for the here and now.

After my breakdown in 2017 I decided that I had an opportunity and, I felt, a responsibility to address what I regarded as a mental health crisis in the sport and activity sector. I knew it was there because I was told by my psychotherapist that I’d had 5 years of vicarious trauma from dealing with performance athletes. My work in DOCIAsport has made me equally aware that there is also an undercurrent of poor mental health or illness in coaches and administrators too. Arguably the decline in the number of people who volunteer in sport and activity (its lifeblood) is declining too and I’m convinced the unforeseen stress that many are put under is a critical factor in this when many volunteered in the first place to help their personal wellbeing. The sector could obviously do so much more to ‘look after the people looking after the people’ and if it doesn’t we are guilty as charged for undermining the sustainable impact that sport and activity can have on local communities and wider society.

More people are talking more openly now about their wellbeing rather than keeping it internalised which is obviously a good thing, and this is helping to reduce the stigma associated with this condition – mental illness – that nobody can see. Every time I have the opportunity to speak either in public or privately I find that showing and sharing my own vulnerability gives people ‘permission’ to speak more openly too because I have their trust, I shall keep on keeping on.

And that leads me to the next step on my virtual, spiritual journey. I’ve certainly felt vulnerable; this Northern boy from a working-class fishing port talking about soul searching – which I found on the Isle of Man, by the way. But that’s another story!

It has been rich, deep, profound, and certainly life changing for me, and the journey continues as it does for all of us. I hope you might find an hour to listen to this edition of the ‘Untapped Potential’ podcast with me in conversation with the talented, kind and gentle Richard Husseiny and take some time out afterwards to reflect and think where you are in life. Contact me via ian@dociasport.co.uk or via my LinkedIn page if you want to talk further.

Take and give care.