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Father and son fist bumping the air wearing superhero outfits; international men's day; men's mental health

International Men's Day 2022: The importance of a safe space

​"The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection." - Thomas Paine

International Men’s Day is a chance for us to celebrate every man & boy in their own unique diversity. This International Men's Day I want to highlight how recently becoming a father has given me an even greater appreciation of the male role models in my life and why having a supportive work environment is vital for a positive mindset and well-being.​

A big change

At 6.42 am on the morning of 15th June 2022, I was filled with an overwhelming influx of emotions. The type of which I had never encountered before in my 34 years on planet earth.

Joy, excitement, pride, relief, worry, stress, anxiety.

But when I looked into the eyes of my son all of that paused in an instant. I stared deeply for what felt like hours, even if it was only a few seconds.

Time stood still. I finally understood what that saying meant.

This was the happiest moment of my life, but still, there were flutters of negativity entrenched inside me even in this most joyful of moments.

After some soul-searching over the next few sleep-deprived weeks, it became clear that the stress and worry came from future external factors. Which I was never going to be able to control. Like, how do I prepare my boy for that big bad world?

Positive role models for the future generations

I know I will never fix all of the world’s problems, but I am a firm believer that I should be passing on the tools and knowledge of what I have learned to future generations. I want to be a positive role model for my son and teach him to utilise the support networks around him.

I am very fortunate in that I have had a number of positive male role models in my life who did this for me.

From my grandpa teaching me how to treat people well, to my father teaching me about work ethic and valuable financial lessons, to my uncles teaching me about competition and how to win & lose gracefully.

And the male influences don’t stop with family. They have continued into my professional life and work.


Re-joining Ambition

Like most people there have been ups and downs in my mental well-being throughout my life, in fact – when I first met with Ambition in 2021 to consider re-joining the business, I was at what was probably the lowest point in my mental health due to an array of life factors.

When I met with the MD at Ambition it wasn’t an interview, it was “just a chat”. I’d heard this before in other interviews however this one was different. I came away from that meeting feeling like this person genuinely cared about me and my well-being. We didn’t really talk shop. It was just a chat.

One of the main points that I took away from this was that Ambition was not the business that I left in 2017. It had changed in a lot of ways. There was a leadership team I could learn from and it was a company that put a lot of importance on how to support its employees to succeed, both personally and professionally.

After becoming a father earlier this year my priorities have changed and having the time to be a positive role model for my son is high on that list. Ambition has provided me with the flexibility to be there for the important things in my son's life.

A business that isn’t hard to leave, it’s great to stay

For men, finding someone to talk to about mental health with can be challenging and that is a societal issue that has to change. We all have our struggles and having a safe space in which to instigate these conversations is vital.

Mental health and well-being are taken seriously at Ambition. As a business, we strive to promote a happy healthy workplace and I believe that this has contributed to our recent success.

There is a lot said in the market these days about ‘work/life balance’, ‘flexible working’ etc… buzz words essentially. But Ambition genuinely lives by them.

We have a breathwork expert come in at least once a quarter to teach us several breathing techniques, we have CSR days where we help the local community, and we have company-wide exercise classes including pilates, boxing, etc… all of which keep us healthy and brings us closer together.

During the height of Covid, we were even given a 4-day working week whilst still being paid for 5. On the condition that we use the day off to look after ourselves. To get out in the sun or to have a “me day”.

Above all that, though the directive which has meant the most to me is the change in our paternity leave policy meaning that I got to spend extra time with my son in the early months which I would never have had the chance to do before.

Happy employees = Happy, successful people

When you work for a business that supports you, it allows you to focus on the things that matter. Working with people that you care about makes you want to do the best you can. I still experience stress and anxiety but it is now there for a different reason. It’s a pressure put on myself to be the best I can be as a role model for my son as he makes his first (literal) steps in the world.

Having role models around from both sexes is vital to his development.

I just hope that he is as lucky as I have been to have as many male role models to learn from in his life as I have had in mine.

Our global team is taking part in 'Movemeber' this year to help raise funds to support mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men.

If you'd like to find out more click on our post below or find out more here:

Should you find you need any support or are looking to support charities that have a focus on men’s mental health this International Men’s Day

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