The Wedding Industry thrives on innovation, and Couples getting married are now breaking away more than ever from tradition, instead seeking to have it “their way”. And power to them I say!
Alongside that comes a need that needs to be fulfilled. And the people to fill that need, are Wedding Suppliers!
Over the years I’ve seen so many daring individuals try new things in the Wedding Industry – it’s possibly one of the most daringly creative places for art. Whilst there is a bed of well tested, timeless ideas and ideology informing what is readily available, there is also a thriving underground of surprise and delight that continues to push the envelope for those who are actively looking.
Some of these creative ideas burn out as “one offs”, or experiments that don’t attract enough audience to become a mainstay.
James Pearson Hello, welcome to Cast of Creatives, the series dedicated to exploring creative work and the impact that this has on mental health and well being, I’m James Pearson founder of Wedding Industry Mental Health and Wedding Espresso, and I’m delighted today to be joined by Linda Sage, from Successful Mindset. Linda, how does today find you?
Linda Sage Hi James, thank you so much for inviting me. Yes, it’s been great because I’ve been travelling for the very first time in 20 months, I’ve just literally got back.
James Pearson And how does that feel?
Linda Sage Actually, you don’t realise how much you need it until you’re doing it. Before I went, I was still asking is it the right time? But Nana duties called, so that’s why I went.
James Pearson I think I’ve been in a similar situation although I haven’t been on a plane yet. I have driven long distance to have a mini break up in Scotland, and just that feeling of driving somewhere else. Bliss, so wonderful. So share with everybody a little bit about your career up to this point and what led you to be working in the mental health space.
I’ve spent a great deal of time working with, and just chatting with, Wedding Suppliers, all over the world.
And when you spend so much focussed energy on one group of people, you do tend to notice similarities, recurring themes and pervasive thought patterns. It helps too that Wedding Suppliers are also Creatives – and that’s a language I speak pretty much natively.
So after years of building and developing relationships with creative Wedding Suppliers, I’ve come to value three pillars of creative output which I believe inform most, if not all of our thoughts, feelings and emotions towards our work. At the very least, they are at the core of what drives us and enables our creative output to be delivered.
The three pillars are “Drive”, “Confidence” and “Satisfaction”.
We may possess an abundance of Drive, but no Confidence.
Or have boundless Satisfaction, and no Drive!
So you can start to see how important it becomes to have these three pillars in balance.
The first of these influential pillars is “Drive”, without which, well… we wouldn’t get anywhere!
Have you heard the story of the 5 frogs, sitting on a log?
And no, this isn’t the nursery rhyme!
It goes a little something like this…
The sun is shining, the birds are tweeting in the trees, the gentle ripple of a country stream flows past you as you sit comfortably on the warm grass.
As you relax, you notice 5 frogs, sitting in a line across a single log.
That’s interesting, you say quietly to yourself.
Suddenly, and without warning, 3 of the frogs decide to jump into the stream.
How many frogs are left on the log?
Got a number?
OK good! Are you thinking that there might be 2 frogs left on that log?
Well actually there are still 5!
How come, you might ask! Some sort of trickery or details obscured?
Well here’s the rub! It’s all about language and our internal dialogue. The inner voice that constantly translates our day to day experience into thoughts, feelings and emotions. Making snap judgements without due care or consideration.
Well that’s a bold question! And one that I don’t actually have the answer to!
Expecting more? Good, because I do actually have something more to say on the topic!
I don’t have a single pervasive answer because that question is entirely contextual. What constitutes good mental health for one person, will be completely different for another. Take for example cultures that focus on the individual, and other cultures that focus on the community. Is good mental health Deontological (abiding by a set of informed and generally agreed upon principals) or Utilitarian (aiming to be of the greatest benefit to the greater number of people)? See, it’s complicated!
You will undoubtably have your own idea of what good mental health means to you. And that’s perfect! Don’t assume that your idea of good mental health will be the same as the person sat across from you, or standing next to you. They are unlikely to share your exact perspectives, experiences, thoughts, hopes and dreams. We’re all unique, and that’s wonderful! There’s no reason to want to change it!
At times that can make it difficult to see eye to eye, that’s for sure! But at the same time, it is our differences that challenge our beliefs and self worth. It is the clash against our expected norms that challenge us to change, and with change, comes fresh perspective. And with fresh perspective, comes understanding. So I’m all for it! Go forth and diversify!
This is however one universal truth which I keep coming back to. And that is that good mental health, whatever your perspective on what that means, is, is achievable through repeated practice and work. It’s a bit like exercise!
Here’s the thing! Not everyone is ready to talk about their problems.
That’s totally OK! Because getting help, even just talking to someone, is actually a process you have to progress through. And at any given time, everyone will find themselves in a slightly different place along their own personal journey.
Let’s look at those steps right now! You may find yourself identifying wholly with one or more of these steps, or you might feel that you’re nestled somewhere in-between two. Again, that’s totally OK. Establishing where you feel you are right now is actually an important aspect of developing the skills necessary to effect personal change. So power to you!
Before we discuss anything however I would like to point out that you are the driving force. Whilst a skilled Helper will guide and hold space for you, it is up to you to define the particulars of what “better” means to you. You will find no judgement, agenda or opinion within our work together.
It all begins with pre-contemplation. This is the step where you’re beginning to think about accessing the support that may be available to you, but you’re not convinced that it can or will help you. You might not even feel you need it! You may have a hundred questions or feel completely unprepared to begin, unsure what to say, unsure as to how it works or what will happen. These are all perfectly natural thoughts, as with anything new or unfamiliar, we have reservations.
It’s good to be busy, right? There’s no better feeling for us Wedding Suppliers than casting our eyes over a full diary of amazing Wedding commissions.
But the Wedding Industry is a demanding place to work. Outside of actually supplying our craft, there remains the need for all other Business activity. Such as Social Media, Blogging, Wedding Fairs, Client Meetings, Personal Development, and so on, the list is extraordinarily long!
And all that frantic creation of media and the ever pressing need to be “on it” does have a tendency to invade other areas of our lives. Namely, our free time!
Now as Creatives, we’re always on a mission to create something amazing, and more often than not, our passions lead us elsewhere to push the limits of our creative understanding and cravings. We enjoy other creative hobbies, and lots of them!
The benefit of having hobbies outside of the Wedding Industry is of course, perspective and inspiration. Great work is often inspired by things outside of the normal purview of the actual task. That’s why walking, running, fresh air type activities are so great to clear the head and give us room to collect our thoughts and centre our souls.
So I’m going to champion the fact that these extra curricular hobbies should be cherished and guarded as absolutely necessary for our day to day functioning. It is far too easy to become bogged down with the “doing” and to lose sight of where we’re trying to get to, or what we’re pushing to achieve.
Gracie Pritchard Hello and welcome to the very first episode of the Wedding Hour podcast where we talk about anything and everything weddings, and we’re so excited to finally get this up and off the ground, it’s been in the works for a while, and who doesn’t love a podcast and we thought why not make a Wedding Hour one, and today we are joined by none other than James Pearson. Thank you so much for joining us.
James Pearson My absolute pleasure Gracie, I’m glad to be here.
Gracie Pritchard And so, James, you are the founder of Wedding Industry Mental Health, and the owner of Wedding Espresso. So I thought today, we would talk about mental health as it is such an important topic and it’s talked about a lot, but nowhere near enough, and especially how I know in the wedding industry, it’s supposed to be such a happy time. Nobody thinks about the behind the scenes of things do they? And so we’d love to know really, a little bit about your business and how that works.
James Pearson Cool, yeah. So let me take you back over a decade. It’s a long winding story so I’ll give you the highlights. I was just wrapping up doing a computing degree at uni, when my brother jumped on the phone and said to me, James, I’m photographing a wedding, the videographer has let the client down. Can you film a wedding. You like movies. And so I thought about, I thought well, yeah, I do like movies actually and I thought well, okay, I’ll give it a go.