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The Fragility of Mental Health & How Embracing Vulnerability Is A Strength


The Fragility of Mental Health & How Embracing Vulnerability Is A Strength

Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.

My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia in both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.

Good morning, Adam. Thank you so much for joining me here on the Wellness Warriors podcast.

This morning, it’s my absolute great pleasure to introduce Adam Bowcutt who’s joining me for the Wellness Warriors podcast.

Adam, you’ve had an amazingly interesting career pathway, but I’d like to start by discussing where your journey started way back when you were working in the area of very engaged in extreme sports, most specifically with snowboarding in your youth. At what age of your life were you starting to get really involved in that kind of sporting area?

Adam Bowcutt: Thanks again for the opportunity here. And it’s interesting, you say, starting from the extreme sports arena, because I’ve recently had some surgery on my elbow. So I’ve got pretty much just had it in the last couple of weeks, elbow reconstruction and I’m healing up well. I’m a wellness warrior as well. So I’m building that back up. So what we’ll bring that back into the story. As I said, where it did begin was from young age. Probably about 11 or 12, I was a skateboarder. I dream, breathe, dream about skateboarding, and I would do it night and day from when I was about 11 until about 14-15. So that was my passion and my obsession.

And that progressed into snowboarding and my love of extreme sports, specifically the action sports of snowboarding. I had an opportunity to go to Canada, to train to become a snowboard instructors. So that I could merge making an income with actually snowboarding and being in the mountains every single day and sharing my passion with other people, teaching them.

So that came about from a catalyst- was a deep, dark depression where I was actually hospitalised for about a month in a psychiatric ward in England. I was in my teenage years. So that’s where it began and that’s where it leads me up to today, from there to now.

But that that’s my introduction to snowboarding and absolutely loved it. I did it for about seven years back to back winters from New Zealand to Canada and New Zealand to Canada. I had one summer in seven years, so I absolutely loved it. I ended up competing. So going from an instructor to a trainer, to snowboard coach. A pedagogue, I was coaching coaches, how to coach.

And then I ended up wanting to become as good as I can, compete at a very high level. So I ended up doing open invitations, open at events when I started. It’s in the Olympics now, It wasn’t at my time. But I was doing amazing, awesome events, get out of my comfort zone, get massive air, do jumps.

So that is where my extreme sports began.

Felicity Cohen: I think it’s fascinating that skateboarding is now also an Olympic sport.

Adam Bowcutt: Yes. Amazing. I would never have thought that. It amazing. And an Australian got gold, I believe. Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. So I think the progression from then to now, the Olympics. Even when I went snowboarding weren’t into the Olympics, I thought that was amazing.

Great progression for the sport. Open it up to so many more people and then skateboarding now as well. So yeah perfect.

Felicity Cohen: Do you think that you were someone who obviously achieving at such a high level in sport, did you place a lot of pressure on yourself to perform, to achieve, to excel? And was that in some way connected to constantly pushing yourself to be better, do better?

Was that linked in some way to then sinking into this really deep dark depression?

Adam Bowcutt: Yeah. Great question. It is linked in a way that internally how my mind worked. I didn’t know at the time, however, in hindsight, I’ve more, I have more of an awareness and understanding of how my individual brain works.

So it definitely was a part of it. The benefit, the positives and negatives. For example the positives were that I put a healthy amount of pressure on myself to improve so that I would be better and improve every single day. I would try. I would learn more. I would put pressure on myself. Sometimes it would go past the extreme of being too much pressure and it’s good in a way physically and learning.

But at the same time, it was stretching my mind past the point of where it was healthy and well. So previously I didn’t have that awareness, now in hindsight, now I do. So it’s definitely linked. So now I’ve got more of an awareness and I can take action and have strategies to balance it. So it’s healthy.

But definitely in the past it was, it got to the stage where it was too much. I was getting injured. I was taking too many risks, even though extreme sports and action sports and snowballing you do take calculated risks.

Felicity Cohen: I think we’re far more in tune now with the need to provide mental health coaching services, to those who are competing at elite sport level. Whether it’s a psychologist, a coach, or someone who’s connected to that pathway to support them and to manage the mental health equation that is so significant. And I think often maybe we forgot in the past that was a need for people performing. It’s such an elite level. So hopefully now where we are a lot more capable of providing that level of service, do you think we’ve come a long way to support our elite sports people?

Adam Bowcutt: Massive massive way. Like it’s like night and day in the past, for example, as you, you touched on, Felicity. That either it’s skateboarding and snowboarding in the Olympics, and know when in my time, many years ago that the thought of having a coach for snowboarding or skateboarding, or even a psychologist, or performance coach, it was unheard of.

However, now, it’s the norm. It would be weird to not have one. So, with regards to mental health, growth mindset, having, having a specific coach, having someone or a mentor or someone that can be that catalyst to help you, is massively important.

And yeah, we definitely come a long way and that is great to see.

Felicity Cohen: I think so too. And I think it’s such a significant leap in terms of where we’re at now, how we accept the need to engage with psychologists and how they can support our mental health across all areas of life. So, yeah big, big leaps of progress there.

And then at what stage did you decide that you wanted to take up studying psychology and sociology? When did that become a passion for you?

Adam Bowcutt: Yeah, so it actually happens previously before the action sports, extreme sports, snowboarding, and before I had my episodes of deep dark depression, and multiple hospitalisations.

So I graduated 2001 from the university of Southampton in combined joint honors in sociology and psychology. And that, that came from my deep initial fascination with human beings and how they behave. And in the past, when I was younger, I was fascinated and I didn’t understand why myself and other people and how human society worked and how people interacted with each other.

I was fascinated. I didn’t understand. I really wanted to learn and understand at a higher level, why people did acted the way they do. So that’s what drew me to. When I studied and I found the combination between sociology and psychology, a beautiful combination because I found the myths, the methodical side of, statistics and methods in psychology, which are really important to improve the scientific nature and social science of psychology.

However, I found that a little bit off-putting in a sense. I wouldn’t use the word boring, but compared to sociology and social psychology, it didn’t have that draw that I really needed and wanted. So the combination was perfect. So I really went into sports, psychology, social psychology, and it really energised me to learn more about that.

And what I did in the end, I did my dissertation and my main area was martial arts and the influence of aggression. So I found all that fascinating, and that’s where it started. That’s where the journey began. I say to people who were thinking about going to university or studying; it’s once you do the university degree or that level, once you got that, it’s just the beginning.

And it opens up so much more to study and learn and apply most importantly.

Felicity Cohen: Did it help you with your own recovery through those deepest, darkest depression states that you were dealing with?

Adam Bowcutt: It did and it didn’t. Again, it’s balancing it up because it helped in a sense where I had a certain level of knowledge to help me at the same time because of how mentally ill and unhealthy my mind and brain was.

It was as if the information and knowledge I had was working against my recovery to a certain extent. It was almost as if I was picking all the bad parts to focus on because of how my understanding of depression and with regards to what I was experiencing. Yeah, it did. On a certain part of the recovery, it didn’t help.

But then when I got to a certain level of healing, it really helped because then I was had more awareness, conscious knowledge and expertise and understanding of how I could help myself. So it’s two ways; it’s having that balance of support where self-awareness and a catalyst, and other people, a support team and doctors helping.

Felicity Cohen: Was there a specific event or a moment in time that you can really pinpoint that was the catalyst for that depression that you experienced and how did that kind of roll out over time? I know that you have experienced many episodes of hospitalisation to drive your recovery. And until you got there that happened for you many, many times. Can you talk us through that?

Adam Bowcutt: Definitely. I had a realisation fairly recently, actually within the last three months. Which is again, anywhere, anytime with learning, developing, healing, science, social sciences new -knowledge comes in and it helps to transition and improve learning. So a few months ago, I’ve seen my regular psychologist, a relatively new regular psychologist in Brisbane.

Absolutely amazing. And realised after doing an intensive fact finding with my history, discovered that instead of or in addition to, instead of the diagnosis of clinical depression and major depression, which caused hospitalisation 4 times, he’s actually discovered that I’ve got bipolar.

I did not even know that. And it made complete sense. I didn’t even put the two things together. It’s that lack of sleep causing, insomania, depression, like complete mood discrepancies. So that has caused a massive shift in viewing my past. Labels can be good, then they can be bad as well.

But at the same time, this was a healthy label after the realisation that, oh, if the doctors didn’t miss that diagnosis my trajectory of progression could have changed quite a lot. But at the same time I’ve accepted it is in the past. So now that has definitely been a being a catalyst to where I am now.

At the same time, I have taken on that knowledge from studying, from other people helping, from psychologists, from my family, from support, and even me writing my own book. It’s almost like catharsis, helping other people to be able to improve my own journey. And in turn, leading others to take their own health into their own hands as well, to have that sense of agency in addition to other people helping.

So it’s all connected and I’m so grateful now that I’ve been able to turn those 4 episodes, which would have been so, so dark, so close to, to take my own life. Absolutely almost tragic, to turn it now to having so much energy, getting up every morning, doing podcasts and interviews and creating, writing a second book and helping others. It’s absolutely amazing.

Felicity Cohen: It’s incredibly powerful when you’ve been there yourself, you’ve dealt and you’ve gone through this terrible phase of your life, but you able to use that to empower you personally, to take that to a stage where you are able to then help so many other people. And I think at this point in where we’re at in the universe right now there’s many, many more people than ever before who do need mental health support.

And especially when we’re looking at things like suicide prevention, it is a really important subject to raise awareness of to have more conversations. And to have more people who have the ability and the skillset like you do to be there, to reach out and to help so many more people. I think it’s an incredible body of work that you’re exposed to now that you’re involved with. And this is your now your career pathway to support and help others. I think it’s such a massive need and congratulations for taking this on. That’s a big thing to do.

I get the cathartic kind of equation as well. You know that you’re able to use this now and leverage your own personal experience. I also think the diagnostic issue is a big one. For so many people that it’s a big puzzle when you’ve got the professional healthcare workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, to actually pinpoint when it comes to mental health.

And that diagnostic issue is sometimes quite, there’s a lot of gray areas. And so once you’ve actually got that point, they really know exactly what it is, and I’m sure they probably went through a number of definitions and labels before getting to we actually think it’s bipolar. You can be treated even though that there’s a treatment, there are options.

There are solutions and it does give you such a huge move forward approach right?

Adam Bowcutt: Definitely. I agree. So again, it’s all for learning. You can only do what you can with what you’ve got and the information at the time. That was the best there was. It’s all improving every single day. Even matching it to where we talked about skateboarding and progression to two Olympics, you can match that to development of a diagnostic tools and things like that as well.

So it’s all progressive and it’s all good in a sense where if the awareness is there and you use the tools well, and in a way that matches with the end goal of healing, wellness, becoming a wellness warrior, stronger every single day, it’s all beneficial.

Felicity Cohen: Amazing. What did your network of support look like apart from your professional health care workers, those in a hospital setting, your psychologists, psychiatrists, what was your other network? What did that look like for you and how did that help you with the healing process?

Adam Bowcutt: Yeah, that’s a really great question.

So, my initial network, in addition to the medical support was my old university friends, absolute amazing rock of seven friends. And also a huge support was my family, specifically my sister who was based in Sydney. The support was my sister. She flew from Sydney to be with me in Brisbane. So that physical proximity and support was super important because the family connection was there. And even though it was wasn’t mentally healthy, I could sit, I could still feel and sense the power of that love in a sense and it’s beautiful.

That root was so helpful. And again, with my friends, I’m in Australia, my friends are in various areas in England, they gave so much support over the phone, through messages. The power, and it’s such a great question, to see the power of your network. And of your support system outside of, and in addition to your immediate medical support network, is so critical and it can save lives.

It can change your life, save your life. And it is a huge catalyst and it’s so important, cannot do this alone. And that’s why I feel and believe that is a huge part of the problem is trying to do it alone. It’s almost impossible.

Felicity Cohen: Loneliness is a huge problem. And I think also if you’re someone out there who is dealing with whether it’s anxiety or depression, or even suicidal tendencies, if you’re alone, I think it’s so important to share the message that you need to reach out that your network is vast, more vast than you possibly can imagine.

Even if it’s just one person that you can connect with you also lucky having those close networks of family and friendship, and fortunately for you, you were able to confidently reach out to them, to engage with them, talk to them and to have them support you at your most vulnerable and when you really needed it. I hope that more people will learn from you that it is okay to speak up and it’s okay to reach out and to connect.

And if you’re someone out there who’s lonely and feeling isolated, I’d be happy to be that person to reach out to, as I’m sure you would be too. It’s a problem for some people who are so isolated and we want to find more networks that people should engage with.

Adam Bowcutt: Yeah, I completely agree. And one point to bring up as well, which is important and in my opinion, is that as well as it being absolutely amazing and it definitely a good thing for you to be able to reach out yourself and be confident enough to do that. And with a network or close family members or friends, when you’re in that position of ill mental health, it’s very difficult to do that.

And even if you do, I’ve got to the stage where you you’re healing and you feel like you want to do that. It’s still very difficult. So this is why I’m an advocate for and promote what you suggested, just to have someone have someone be your buddy, be your mental health buddy, be an offer to do that volunteer. Because it takes two or more people to help healing and prevent a suicide, prevent this tragic preventable things that can happen at the moment.

As you said, in this moment in time, wherever there’s lots of people remote working, they’re home, lockdowns that arrive, it’s so, so important. In addition to be able to potentially have that confidence to reach out and ask for help, also to always have someone that will check in on you, whether you ask for it or not.

Felicity Cohen: A hundred percent. At what point Adam, do you feel like you had gone through that transition of feeling as though you had healed that your healing process was complete?

Was there a moment in time where you felt like I can move on now?

Adam Bowcutt: Good question. However, for me, it’s a continuous progress. I don’t ever think or feel I will get that stage where it’s healed, completed, done, tick. Alright, carry on. In a sense, I understand what you’re saying, where there’s definitely a point where it’s a crescendo where it’s alright, this is an acceptable standard, the highest standard I will accept of my healing. And then there’s awareness of, I don’t ever want it to go down too low but don’t go too high. I want to find that balance for me, it’s continued progression every single day. And it’s important to realise that there’s always that continual progress.

And for me, that point came when I was writing my book, my first book. It’s a realisation, oh, I’m actually doing this.

I’m helping others. I’m energised. I’m being creative. I feel amazing. I’m getting enough sleep. I’m eating healthily. I’ve got my mission, my vision. That is when it hit me, where it was I realised that I am healed. However, I cannot become complacent about it because it’s so easy to fall down.

You don’t sleep very well for a couple of days. I understand more how my brain and mind, my chemistry works now, if I don’t get enough sleep, I can fall down from essentially healed place to very unhealthy. So it’s really important to have that awareness and have those daily habits and really focus on your mental health, physical health, sleeping regularly, sleeping really well.

Everything is all connected. At the same time, it’s important to realise it’s a process. It’s a daily progress every single day. Wake up in the morning, sun comes up, beautiful Brisbane morning. I write down three gratitudes every single morning. I’ve been doing it for about three years.

It’s these small habits the can build up exponentially over time to really help strengthen your healing. And am I healing and make sure that I never get to that fifth, fifth time episode. Even though I understand that there is a probability that that could happen because of the labels put on me. At the same time, it’s under my agency and control with network and myself, to be able to reduce that risk. At the same time, building my wealth, my strength and wellness as well, and helping others in the process.

Felicity Cohen: I absolutely get that. It’s so important not to ever become complacent. And once you build those set of techniques or those behavior styles that help to keep you balanced that they’re important to practice every day. What are some of the things that you’ve put into place? If you talk about writing down those three gratitude statements, what other elements are really important to you?

And if you changed your diet. I’m really interested in things like food and mood and how that can change how you feel as well.

Adam Bowcutt: Yeah definitely, great question there. So in addition to the writing, the three gratitudes, I also have a ritual in the morning. It doesn’t really change.

I get up pretty early, 4-4.30 in the morning. I get up, make my coffee. It’s like a ritual. I grind the beans, put it in that first step I do before I put on any social media or devices. I sip that beautiful cup of coffee in the morning and get in the moment.

Breathe. I meditate as well every single morning. That’s massive, super important. I’m a massive advocate of daily meditation, whether it’s for 30 seconds, one minute, five minutes. So that’s what I do as well. Also, after I had my shower in the morning, I’ll do, depending if it’s in winter or all summer, I’ll do a 30 seconds freesing cold shower at the end or a few seconds, nine seconds at the moment for winter change.

So it’s quite specific. Then also I make sure I get enough exercise. I exercise three times a week as a habit, and that’s the minimum standard to keep my physical health, mental health- it’s so connected.

And also with regards to diet as well, hugely important, massive massively important. It’s all connected, holistic health. I take vitamins supplements, specifically the help with that with mental health, for me and potentially other people, I would definitely recommend people to look into it. Zinc and magnesium are huge. It helped me whether it’s a placebo or not. It helps my biochemistry. Zinc and magnesium have been huge for me. I also do take flaxseed as well. It’s a chemical I’ve been taken for years now. It works for me. I’ve been reducing it as well. So the other actions that I take and behaviors is if really finely tuned listening to my mind and my body.

So for example, I may or may not realise in the morning and I’ve had a good night’s sleep. I realised with two things. If I haven’t, I start to get a little bit grumpy, a little bit touchy with things that I shouldn’t, and I’m aware of that. If I miss that me, my beautiful partner will keep me accountable.

She’s part of my amazing network. She’ll keep me accountable. You’re being a bit techy, what’s up and I’m like, oh, that’s annoying, but thank you. So, that growth, so those are the sorts of things that definitely helped.

And then I’ll put things in place where, right okay, I know my priority is sleep is so important for my mental health and physical health. I will make sure I have a 10 minutes nap, 20 minutes nap, half an hour. And it’s so important because I know sleep’s important. I’ll have a nap. I am a massive advocate of day, daytime naps.

If you’re an entrepreneur or remote working work from home, your productivity will improve so much. If you’re feeling a bit tired, didn’t have a good night’s sleep the night before. Have a 10, 20 minute nap, it will raise your mental health, your spirits, your energy levels so much. So there’s a few of the things that I do in the morning.

Generally, I read as well. I read every single morning. So it’s feeding, putting the input. The analogy of using of your brain or mind as a computer, when you input in quality stuff, output will be quality. So if instead of social media scrolling, addiction to that TV, I replace it with good quality, I prefer nonfiction books.

So I read at least a couple of chapters every single morning of a book and then I do some creativity as well. So I do a bit of writing, a bit of journaling. So much balance things that I do that nourishes me, gives me energy, helps my creativity helps to improve my mental health daily. Daily habits, so important.

Felicity Cohen: I love that you’re putting so many different things into practice, to all work together. And it’s like a big puzzle of all these different pieces, different elements that can put together to achieve balance and good health and feeling. So you’re on top of everything, lots of things there that really resonate with me.

I think it’s actually quite unusual in our society to hear of men who are doing so much of what you’re doing, the journaling, the meditation, all of those mindfulness behavior practices. How do you feel that other men connect with how you put into practice all of this behavior style to achieve good health?

Adam Bowcutt: Yeah, that’s important because in the past it was never really a thing because in England and different cultures, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, it was almost in the past there was a stigma attached to not being strong or manly enough or masculine enough to talk about these things, talk about your feelings.

Now there’s been a great shift because of what’s happening in society and for the people leading the way. For example, me myself, being vulnerable, writing a book about it, getting out there, doing podcasts like this and talking about in real, authentic terms. What actually happens to what happened, the reality of it and how I dealt with it and being able to share that to help other people.

So the shift has been amazing and I really welcome it. So, more practically be going out and building a network. So reaching out there’s lots of apps at them at the moment. For example, there’s a, there’s a new one called Greg. There’s a one giant mind meditation. There’s so many tools available now, which is great.

All it takes is just a recommendation of sharing it or even inviting someone to have a look at the technology and to connect people. It’s so easy. It’s a lot easier now to just send a text message or a tweet or request someone to become an online friend. And it can go from there to actually meet up in person. Having built a network in Brisbane locally, for example or also, if there’s nothing available at the time, definitely recommend creating it.

What’s to stop you from creating a group that aligns with you, that you’re interested in. So for example, unless on this Greg app, I’ve created a skateboarding dads group. Because it wasn’t there so I thought it was quite a cool idea. And people, oh, that’s amazing. There’s so many dads out there that don’t get to skateboard anymore.

They’ve got lots of responsibilities. It’s like, cool, let’s do this. So it’s really important to embrace that agency and embrace being mentally healthy. And using your mind and your actual actions and activities and, and lead yourself to enable to help others.

So it’s really important to create the environment of groups of men bonding, getting together and re-imagining what it is to be a man and just share who you are. It doesn’t matter if you’re male, female human, you are this beautiful entity, DNA of who you are and sharing it to the world.

I really embrace that. And I am an advocate for that as well. Great question, by the way.

Felicity Cohen: So possibly, the two hour operation that you recently injured because of that beautiful injury in that brace that you’re proudly wearing, does that have something to do with getting out with this dad group and being a little bit, maybe too adventurous on your skateboard? Tell us about how that happened.

Adam Bowcutt: Well, how it happened was, initially it was about probably 15 to 20 years ago, is the initial start of why I had this surgery. It was in a competition actually, in a snowboarding competition, open competition in Canada. So I was in a group of other snowboarders, the men’s section.

I was doing the practice run, going over some, some big jumps and doing some trips on some rails there was this last section, which was quite tough. And it was essentially you’d snowboard and go up a rail, slide up a rail. And that was quite a large gap onto a down ramp, which was actually wooden and slippy.

So what happened is I land, this was about long time ago, I landed, slipped out and damaged my elbow. And ever since then, I have essentially has been loose. So it’s dislocated to the looseness of a weakness of my elbow physically. Six months ago I was putting my shoes on quickly and it dislocated my elbow.

So it was that week where I thought, right, I need to get some surgery. So I managed to get the surgery booked in. And this has been two weeks. I’ve got an appointment today actually to see the surgeon. So that’s where it came from is probably taken a little bit too many risks.

They weren’t calculated, but at that time, it just the risk outweigh the reward of that time because I had an injury. Which many years later caused me to think, in the future I need to fix this. Otherwise I’ll get, when I’m older, arthritis. it’s going to be an issue.

So practically, I thought, let’s get this fixed. So it’s essentially healing now. It’s a lot stronger. So that’s where we are today with my elbow.

Felicity Cohen: So if you’re worried about arthritis in the future, maybe add to the zinc and magnesium, some turmeric that might help with inflmmation.

Adam Bowcutt: Oh, tumeric. I need to use that. I love that. I love adding that to a stir fry. Turmeric has a nice colour and the flavors. Yeah. Good idea. After I’m going to, I’m going to take on a bit more turmeric. I add cinnamon to my coffee as well. I’m not sure if that helps

Felicity Cohen: That has good anti-inflammatory properties as well. But great use of turmeric for anti-inflammatory or anything that’s good in an anti-inflammatory type diet as you get older. And also great for prevention of things like dementia and Alzheimer’s

Adam Bowcutt: Beautiful. Excellent. Definitely.

Felicity Cohen: So walk me through your professional career and how you’re actually impacting and empowering people across a whole range of sectors, really through the work that you’re doing now.

But where did your professional career start?

Adam Bowcutt: Yeah, professional career, it’s been quite tumultuous. It’s been quite varied. So initially I was a snowboard coach and pedagogue for multiple years. Then I moved to Brisbane and I ended up working for one of the major banks in finance.

So it kind of went from being snowboarder to working in finance. So that’s where I sort of cut my teeth into the corporate world. And then I did some customer service themselves. I was building some skills, and then I really enjoyed the culture of joining a company like that.

And so that was great. And I ended up applying my, when I was mentally stronger, to a leadership development program. So I was so grateful to get on that. So I was building my skills, in my individual and professional skills within the corporate environment. But then I got to the stage, this is not resonating with me.

As modest, as proper as possible, I felt deeply this is not enough. I’m not going to be able to impact enough people in this role. So I went, I changed. I was changing my mindset from employee to I need to start a business. I need to be an entrepreneur. I need to have agency.

I don’t want to be an employee anymore. So I made that shift. I quit my job. I took the leap of faith, confidence in myself, and this was a few years back now. And I haven’t looked back. I’ve been learning. I’ve been building my business. I’ve had failures. I’ve learned from that.

So it got to the stage where I wanted to have my own agency in decisions, building entrepreneur, entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial skills so that I can impact more people. And I am currently building a system that can impact way more people. For example, I’ve started XN mental wealth, more from accent force to XN mental wealth.

So essentially that is my business I’m building now. Essentially I’ve got a goal of within the next two to three years to build up a system where it’s a startup. I call it the Canva of mental health. So I want to help impact businesses leaders within businesses so that they can use that. There are tools to be creative for their organisation, for their teams within that mental health space, because it more from me individually trying to help people one-on-one, or for example, individuals as well. I wrote my first book to help one-on-one individuals who’ve gone, going through a mental health challenges to help build their confidence and strength and power up after experiencing depression, to shifting to more workplace mental health, proactive workplace, mental health, and empowering leaders and organisations to help other people.

So it can scale. I want to scale my impact so that I can save and change and impact 500,000 lives beforeI’m a hundred. I’ve called it a mission 100, so before a hundred, I’m 42 now, I’ve got many years to complete that mission and I’m energised for it.

Felicity Cohen: Fabulous. I’m sure you’ll get there a hundred. That’s achievable and realistic when you look after your health every day. I come from a family with history of longevity. My grandmother was 95 and she was a pacer for the Olympic swimming team. So I’m a great believer in survival of the fittest. So definitely you’re on the way, you’re doing all the right things.

I think you touched on failure. I think failure is one of those pieces that is really critical to anyone who’s going to succeed. And you don’t learn that until you’ve been there, that you using that to actually drive your own success ,personally, in business as an entrepreneur, what do you see as being your greatest failure that’s helped drive success for you?

Adam Bowcutt: My greatest failure. I’ll see if I can think of the greatest one, however that I would say that there’s so many, and they’re all great because that’s the incremental learning process of failure. Failure, failure, learn, fail, learn, fail, learn. So, for me I like to embrace failure. It’s an encouragement as well.

Because it’s embracing that growth mindset. I have not created this level of impact yet. I have not learned how to scale this section of my business yet. It’s all these failures where I’ve tried something, didn’t work and then learn from it, for example.

So my greatest failure, I would say my greatest failure is not listening to myself sooner, not trusting myself sooner, not having self-awareness sooner. I’m intuitive. And I realise this now I am empath. I take on lots of emotions, more than other people, and I didn’t realise that growing up.

So my greatest failure, and it’s a good thing, is not doing that sooner. However, in hindsight, it was the right time for me to realise it because I was ready just to make that one decision now. Actually, Adam, you’re right. You are in control of your destiny. You are, for example, saying I am a leader.

I am awesome. I am confident. It’s really feeling it, not just hearing the words, really feeling it here. So my initial biggest failure, which is a good thing, in hindsight, is not listening to myself a hundred percent. I would about 50% I would. Now I feel or sense something. And I really tune in and really listen to myself to make those value driven and mission driven decisions.

And it’s a massive thing. So I’m a huge proponent of fail, forward, fail, forward, fail, progress, growth mindset, grow, grow, grow, but if you’re not failing, you need to be trying to call it a holiday and even push myself as well. Sometimes too much physically taking too many risks. But finding that balance at the same time, I embrace failure and failure is a great thing, and it’s a good thing.

And I like to change the word as well, because the words can be quite impactful, quite powerful, empowering and what not. So failure. Let’s re let’s recalibrate what failure means. How many times, I love that question. Let’s do. What’s your greatest failure? I love the combination of two; greatest, failure. Love it.

Felicity Cohen: I’m such a believer in failure being the one thing that can sometimes catapult us to success. And when you look back with hindsight, you reflect on all of those things that shape you, whether it’s the one failure or many of them that can really just leverage wherever you’re taking your pathway in life.

I actually love also those ‘I am’ statements and maybe adding to those three gratitude statements, whether it’s journaling, but it’s empowering. If you take a moment to have a bit of visualisation around who you are and saying, I am. I am capable of whatever it is. I think that’s a really beautiful thing to add in. And I love the way that you expressed that as well.

So I want to hear a little bit more about your book and what inspired the first book, what shapes the first book and how is that actually helping people here and now?

Adam Bowcutt: Definitely. What inspired that was using a vehicle of a book to reach more people.

Initially the story came and the action came and the decision from years ago attending a personal development event in Brisbane, actually. And it was a guy called Jerry Roberts if I’m not mistaken, he’s a publisher and a speaker. And he was, he was speaking at the event. And I always say, great public speaker, I really inspired by how people speak and because I’m doing, I would like to improve my skills there.

So I was inspired by this gentleman and he was saying the power of writing. The power of books is way closer, a lot closer than a lot of people think. Because in my mind, in the past, I thought, oh, I’d love to be an author. I’d love to write a book. And then that limiting belief would pop in and I’ll be aware of it.

Or no, you can’t, you’re not a writer, you’re not an author. But then when this gentleman was speaking, he said, it’s simple. There’s a process, there’s a formula to it and I can help you. So my ears perked up and I was listening to what you need to do is have this system, right? You have your subject, have your audience, have a format, there’s 10 sections. And it really made sense to me because I love that structure. How my mind works, I don’t have much structure in there. And I really appreciate the external structure that that gave me. I went to one of his boot camps. It was a two or three day weekend. And then after that, that started the process.

That was the catalyst for me writing the book. So I started the journey. I gave myself a ridiculous timeframe. Oh, let’s do it in three months in hindsight, that ridiculous. So I was the I’m going to run this. I’m going to get myself a goal three months, like the book ended up writing it. I’d wake up every morning daily and write in a little section of the structure.

It took me about probably 18 months or less, maybe about a year, 18 months to write it. So that was the that’s where it started. And it came from a place of wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone, build something, create something that will be able to help other people and then act as a vehicle.

You can get it digital format, audio book format, hardcover book copy. And it’s also, I’ve been able to leverage the content from there to help other people when they’re scrolling on their social media, to be able to use the content, to reach more people to draw them into the message of you can power up.

You can become confident after having depression. Because after my experience I had no job. I had no confidence. I felt weak, mentally and physically, horrible place to be. And I wanted to show and share people steps, and the process of one person can do it. You can do it. It’s empowering.

And I want to share that with other people and that’s what brought the book and a lot of books on. And I’m so glad that I did it because I’m getting people even now reaching out. I’ve read your book. It’s really helped me. And writing reviews on it and even now I forget sometimes. I forget about it because I’m working on all my second book. And now I’m having people on doing a talk on the R U OK day for a business next weekend.

And they said I was listening to your audio book and it’s real. Like they wrote capital R E A L. It is real. Thank you. And it’s really great to keep getting the feedback from how the book is being received and it’s always going to be there.

Fantastic. I actually enjoyed starting to listen to it myself. I was listening to it on, on Spotify. So congratulations on putting it out in audio book too. I think it’s really great. Sometimes when you don’t have enough time to read consistently, I love being able to listen to it and, and hearing you narrate it is a really great way of just engaging and hearing from you when you read it. It’s just awesome. I love it.

So something else that I’m really interested in Adam, I noticed that you’re engaging or involved with, or taking on some kind of a role with the Freemasons and it’s a fascinating secret code and the secret world. Tell me what drew you to the Freemasons and what can you share with us with that secret community?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked that because it does link gently to what we were talking about earlier with networking, building a network, having a trusted group of friends and male friends. That is a huge part of Freemasonry. And I’m so grateful and glad that I reached out and got involved with the Freemasons.

So in regards to secret, so just sharing that, you know, you’ve got the stigmas around secret societies, just wanting to put it out there now that Freemasons. We are not a secret society. We are a society with secrets. And I can share a few, not secrets, but at the same time, I can share the environment and the benefits of it as well.

So it came from me again, what we talked about wanting to reach out, build a network. Initially, this was my initial thought, and this is where it started was I wanted to build a network for my business. And I thought, oh, someone mentioned Freemasons. And I thought, oh, that sounds really cool.

Well, this is my immediate thoughts. Oh, the secret society, like you said. What’s all these handshakes and I was intrigued, this is initially intrigued. And then someone mentioned, oh, if you’ve heard about Freemason, I was like, yeah, I have. I’m quite intrigued about it. And then in my mind was like, this could be quite a good solution to be able to get out of my comfort zone, meet other men, meet other people who are who I thought were esteemed gentlemen in their own right.

That was my assumption. So I looked on the website, UGLQ website, which is the United Grand Lodge of Queensland, which is the body and Queensland website. I was so impressed. It had these quotes of Benjamin Franklin all these amazing human beings that have been men who were doing amazing.

So I think I’ve done amazing things. And I thought why not, let’s dive in. And so dove in and it’s been about maybe about four years and it’s one of my top three things I do that I’m a part of. I contribute to helps my personal growth, helps my leadership journey, helps my spiritual journey.

And it’s absolutely amazing. So when I initially joined, it’s quite a process. To give you a bit of information, it starts with, basically, you can’t recruit. You’re not suppose to. You don’t recruit. You have to actually reach out and I reached out. So it takes, for example, I’ll give you a few pointers here and we’re mindful of not sharing too much, but at the same time, so you have to have three Freemasons come and join me for a meeting, just to make sure the values aligned.

Great, beautiful, amazing people.Then I’ll have to do a police check. I had to have 4 referees making sure my character was good. And then they’ve got the whole group spread into lodges. So the lodges are essentially groups of men, seven or more men but seven or you can go up to 50 or a hundred and there’s about over 300 lodges.

Groups of lodges in Queensland. There’s around about 7 million Freemasons in the world. Anyway, it got to the stage where I went through all the process. It took about six months to a year. And I was accepted, as balloted for. Everyone has to vote and make sure that they accept everyone.

Everyone is, they call it, on the level, which means that every human being, soul, person is equal to one another. So, and that is hugely important. Whether you’re a cleaner, which is an amazing contribution to society or a high-level CEO, you are all on the, this is the belief. It all on the level, you all have an equal vote in who joins, who comes in, who contributes.

So this is just to share how important Freemasonry is to me in my life. One of the top three. When I did the initiation, it’s a beautiful, beautiful ceremony, to initiate a brother into Freemasonry. My top experiences in life, my son, he’s seven now, being born. Beautiful, amazing. Cried my eyes out, just so much love.

The second thing was me being initiated into Freemasonry. So that’s how powerful it is and was, and continues to be. So those are the secrets I got and it’s less for a reason. That is a sacred space that’s shared by initiates of Freemasonry. Beautiful, beautiful.

And there’s lots of different aspects to it. I could talk for a long time about Freemasonry. Yeah. It’s beautiful. That’s the amazing thing as well. This is huge that doesn’t get talked enough about. I agree it needs to be more. The around about probably 33% of Freemasonry is this charitable work. Amazing.

And I’m involved in that as well. Having said that I’m doing a run, the bridge to Brisbane for the Freemasons Queensland group. We did a charity group for charity for R U OK? actually. I’m grateful that it’s been postponed, the event because of COVID, so I’ll be able to run for that.

So I’m doing that. That’s with the Freemasons Queensland routes. So lots for charity, we raise millions for charity every year. And just the leadership, public speaking, the stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s almost like, my sister in Sydney, she’s part of a woman’s circle. I see it’s like, this is men’s circle.

This is a type of men circle, which is so beautiful and strong and that the fraternity and the brotherly love, it just transcends external career environment, mental health stuff. It’s just a beautiful environment. I’m glad you asked that question because it’s a huge part of my life and it’s probably one of the top three things.

One last thing I’ve learned from. This is what I think about daily. This is encouraged by Freemasonry as well. Number one should be your, is your family. I agree. Number two, work life’s work. What you do for work for a living. Number three, Freemasonry, it’s always got to be after those two important things.

Felicity Cohen: I think it really highlights the sense of community and how we are rebuilding, re-engaging ,and understanding that need for our network of support around us and engaging with communities, which I absolutely love. We have our own very spectacular weight loss warriors community, which is really important to me because it’s all about creating a space that is somewhere where people feel safe, where they’re able to speak their mind and connect with like-minded others.

So I, I really love that and I respect that there’s a need for that. I could talk forever and I think possibly we’re going to have to do a second episode of this podcast.

But I’d love to finish off with a question that I ask all of my podcast guests. And with you I actually feel like I know the answer. But I’d love to know from you, what does wellness mean to you?

Adam Bowcutt: Wellness to me means loving yourself and helping others to love themselves cells in a beautiful cycle of love and strength and health and mental health, physical health. It’s all connected for me. Wellness is a continual cycle severe of strength and energy and beauty and love and all those good things. Well, be well be well be well, wellness is all around us.

It’s in every single one of us. And once you empower yourself to help yourself, in [01:00:00] turn help others. This strength can only be improved,scaled, built, and shared

Felicity Cohen: Beautiful. Adam Bowcutt. Thank you so much for joining me on the Wellness Warriors podcast. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you today.

Adam Bowcutt: You’re so welcome. It has been absolutely great. Thanks so much for listening.

Felicity Cohen: Thank you for joining the Wellness Warriors podcast. It’s been a pleasure to have you online with us. If you enjoyed the series, please leave you a review, subscribe and follow it. And we look forward to sharing many more stories with you in the future.

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