Mental Wealth – A Journey Not a Destination with Brad Kane

me&my health up podcast episode #72 – Transcript

Anthony Hartcher 0:00
Welcome to another insightful episode of me&my health up. I’m your host Anthony Hartcher, a clinical nutritionist, and lifestyle medicine specialist. The purpose of this podcast is to enhance and enlighten your well-being, and I’m very excited today to be introducing a special guest, Brad Kane.

Brad Kane is a lived example of building resilience through the life stages, and that is the topic of today’s podcast is how to build resilience through our life stages. Brad, I met doing a banksia project growth room, and I was the facilitator and Brad was a participant, and Brad, I watched grow into an extraordinary man over the course of doing the facilitation of the growth room, and today, he’s out there actively a strong advocate for men’s mental health in rural Australia.

He has recently facilitated a large growth room where he shared education about mental health with other people in the orange area, with a large community of about 100 people who attended, I’m so proud of Brad and his achievements in terms of overcoming huge adversity in his own life, hitting rock bottom, and rising above it, to then give to the rest of society, his strength and his belief that, yes, men can have a much stronger mental health and we can reduce the likelihood of the men suicide rates reduced the likelihood and risk of depression and anxiety within our men today.

I need to, I guess, preempt that I must acknowledge that this may bring up undue feelings in someone or uncomfortable feelings and just to be aware that there is certainly a lot of support out there, and if it does bring up any and you know, untoward feelings about your mental health or your own circumstances, please reach out to the lifeline, which is in the show notes, their contact details are Beyond Blue, or Black Dog Institute, one of these fantastic mental health organizations that can really help you through your struggles, but this is a lived example of Brad’s story.

So welcome, Brad, how are you today?

Brad Kane 2:25
Anthony, good day. I very well, might, it’s nice and sunny, here in Orange, and it’s above zero degrees. So it’s always a good day when it’s the sun shining, it’s a little bit warm,

Anthony Hartcher 2:36
Has it snowed recently out there?

Brad Kane 2:38
Yeah we got a big dump a couple of weeks ago we got the best fall in about 40 years, I think in our place, we had about 40 centimeters. So it was um, it was a big, beautiful, actually,

Anthony Hartcher 2:50
The kids would love to write, they’re making snowmen and snow fights

Brad Kane 2:55
And school was actually called off because the Buses couldn’t work. It was that this was that deep the roads were closed. So they were happy about that as well.

Anthony Hartcher 3:04
Yeah and you’re just mentioning to me before that it’s been five years since we met essentially, and certainly five years ago, when I met you, I must say it was I guess Brad Kane looked very different, and it was certainly the demeanor you’re showing now on the podcast is incredible. You know, it’s a man that’s glowing, very confident and, and on top of life, essentially, but certainly it didn’t wasn’t that way five years ago.

Would you agree?

Brad Kane 3:40
Yeah, I would Anthony. Stepping into that, that growth room the first day, that growth room. I tell anyone who’s joined the men’s groups, any of the men’s groups that were involved with was probably one of the most terrifying experiences in my life and it was at a point in time in my life where I absolutely needed something.

You know, things hadn’t gone well, for me, I lost two businesses or in the process of losing a second one, ad work. I was full-time employed as well and work wasn’t going as well as I had hoped or certainly expected and so that had all sorts of impact on me.

We’ve got some ill health and some chronic illness in my family as well, and so the pressure of being the sole provider in the family, balancing that never-ending wave of focusing 100% on work, focusing on family, and getting it wrong on both ends. Certainly taken its toll after a period of time.

Anthony Hartcher 4:46
Yeah, I just I certainly, you know, through the men’s group and those conversations we had I really well I felt like I went along on the journey with you certainly in those early years. Obviously, in the latter years, you know, you’ve, you’ve gone more into leading other men through their mental health challenges, and, but I’m really keen to, for you to share, I guess what it was like in the low point or, you know, they say rock bottom, in terms of what was going on how you’re feeling your outlook on life? And then if you could share what really was there a light bulb switch for you? Or was it just something you just kept chipping, chipping away with in terms of making incremental improvements.

I remember the conversations we’re having back then was, you know, you’re reading a lot of books, a lot of self-help books, and you’re really, you know, getting really getting into that content and, and helping other guys even though probably in some circum situations, you’re probably struggling more than the other guys, but you were always able to shed some light for these other guys, which probably helped you in that situation, because, you know, you were helping others and getting out of, I guess your situation.

And that sort of helped you along your journey, but yeah, please, I want to, I guess, for the listener’s sake to, for them to realize where you’ve come from back in those days, five years ago, to where you are today, and what’s really helped you along that journey.

Brad Kane 6:30
Yeah, just on that, on that last point, um, one of the things that I have found to be most helpful is, is seeking meaning greater than yourself, than myself, and so I’ll follow through with it with story at the start, but just on that point, finding some meaning and finding a way of helping others has has meant that there’s been some meaning in the suffering and certainly took the pressure off me, I guess, and I certainly there was periods of time where I was just sick of hearing my own story, even in my own head.

So being able to sit and listen to other people’s stories and stories and chipping, chipping, where I could was certainly quite therapeutic for me as well. So five years ago, at that point in time, things were getting pretty close to rock bottom, they got a little bit worse before they got better.

From a, you know, a financial situation, a career perspective, certainly my expectations versus the reality that was happening at the time, you know, there was a massive delta, and impact that that had on me personally. Was, was pretty, pretty extensive. Like, it impacted me physically and impacted me emotionally. I was I’m a reasonably Heart on Sleeve sort of guy.

Anyway, and so from upset, people didn’t really know if I’m happy people didn’t really know that. So as a result of that, as a result of the financial pressure and an ongoing imbalance between home and work, you know, my relationship with my wife was struggling, my relationship with my kids was struggling, and I was starting to question my worth who I was, I felt a tremendous amount of shame.

You know, I always saw myself I was head boy, at my school, I was a successful sportsman, you know, to a point I was physically fit, I always thought that my kids would be happy. I always thought that I could certainly extend to better than my parents and all that sort of stuff and so those expectations on myself more than anyone else’s.

When I wasn’t achieving those. It was hard and, and to the point where I essentially froze for a few years, I just always thought I could dig myself out of it, and actually, what I was doing was digging a deeper hole, and the impact that had on me was huge, and You’re right, I had I have for a long time read self-help.

I was actually a life coach for a period of time. So I armed myself with some skills, but sort of made it worse in a way because I knew all the theory, but I was it was still impacting on me and I couldn’t fix myself.

So that was there were all these nice things at the same time. For me, I was wearing a mask or saying, you know, Brad Kanes All right, he’s this persona that I was projecting out there and hopefully, everyone was buying it. I hadn’t what I hadn’t realized was the amount of energy that was taking out of me as well just to pretend that everything was okay.

So, for me helping others came very naturally and so that the men’s group The Round Table peer to peer Round Table format worked well because I could share, hopefully, show a bit of leadership through my vulnerability, but then also and give some meaning to that vulnerability, but then also, I wasn’t broken to the point where I couldn’t listen and recognize where other people are at, as well.

So that certainly helped me a lot and for me, you talked about whether there was a sort of a light bulb moment or not, I don’t think so. Certainly in the growth room, so we had the men’s groups there was, there was some sort of epiphanies, if you like, recognizing, I felt a lot of shame, and I actually felt worthless, was a massive awareness. For me, I hadn’t realized that until I talked it out with the guys and after through that awareness, and then when I started to go, well, that’s not a good place to be.

How can I how can I start to give back to myself, and actually, you know, I know, there’s a lot of people who actually enjoy my company, I’ve got, you know, I do have a loving wife and kids and sisters, and mothers and fathers and friends and some people had reached out and shown some real kindness during that time, which was wonderful.

So, so that was important. I think the other thing was that the one, I had identified that if I could take control of one thing in my life, no matter how small, and do that, you know, almost daily, then that will help for me that was going to the gym. It sort of worked for me at that time. So I used to lift a lot of weights when I was playing rugby. So I got back into that I had a Crookback, and so trying to get that fixed, and doing that in a good way was a very positive thing, I could look back at the end of the day and go Alright, well, I spent an hour and a half, doing X or doing Y in the gym.

So that was one thing I could control. I made some massive decisions, but what actually happened during the talking it out and building up a little bit of resilience. I must admit the sharing with guys, and the commonality in the sacred space that we created during those early years, yes, five, three to about three years ago, built up a level of resilience so that I felt like I could have, I could build up the courage to take some of the tough decisions I had to make, I sort of painted myself into a corner. So I made those decisions, and I’m actually feeling now that the release that those decisions gave me was immense, within reason, then transferred into a bit of energy to then go and take another step to take another step, and so for me that initial hitting rock bottom, when someone says that the best thing of hitting rock bottom is it’s a fairly solid launchpad to go to launch yourself off.

Was that I could feel myself incrementally approved, and it wasn’t a straight line, vertical journey, it certainly had its ups and downs, but it was an opportunity to find two things, one was recalibrated my expectations of myself.

Build some resilience and in doing so build some energy and then take constructive steps that fed me. So getting out of the city was a big one getting off the rat race. Changing jobs, eventually, which was a little bit wasn’t was sort of taken out of my hands, but something I took control of finding more time for myself, giving myself permission to step off the career rat race and heal over some time, because I you know, there was a trauma is potentially overused, but I heard some comments the other day on a podcast about microtrauma and the build-up of microtrauma and what they can do and that doesn’t have to be a massive car accident or death, it can just be, you know, a loss of, you know, something that leads to a bit of a loss of identity or a loss of a job or changing circumstances or a fight or whatever.

So I felt like I’d had a bit of a snowballing effect with these micro-events that were fairly negative and so in building up myself worse, building up a level of resistance, I was able to then find things and then it was wonderful having these focus on men’s mental health because I was able to transition in moving from Sydney to orange to in just from just being a member of the group to actually leading one and, and that was amazing for the first group two and a half years ago, to actually go live in us for me to have men come into the group and one guy walk in said I’ve been looking for this for two years.

That was like, I can actually achieve something I can put my mind to a plan and achieve something. So it was a, it was a massive, and for me, it was a small amount in the grand scheme of things, maybe a small thing, but for me, it was felt like a really significant achievement.

Anthony Hartcher 15:14
In that journey, there’s obviously there’s a whole support base or cheerleaders around you that really, you know, come in for a period of time, they might not be there for the whole five years, they might be just there for maybe, you know, someone to share, you know, some hardship with or it may be someone that provides that gem of guidance or insight, like you, mentioned that you weren’t aware of the self-worth issue, and you became more aware of that through talking about it, just, you know, share with us, like the key support people and who they were, you know, don’t have to put names to them, but it’s just sort of understanding that, you know, these support people are all around us, and we need to, I guess, you know, acknowledge and give some gratitude, and thanks for them, you know, in helping us through these sort of hardships. so keen to

Brad Kane 16:12
Now it’s a very good point in making Anthony that it’s been a number of people during that over the last five or so years and longer that have been massive in my life. There’s the mental and emotional, mental health and emotional support but then there’s also some practical support.

Fortunately, I was able to reach out to a couple of people that gave some real practical support that took the pressure off for a little bit of time and something that I was never I would never have before asked for and when I went out and reached out in desperation, literally as the last minute resort, I was blown away by their generosity.

Anthony Hartcher 16:49
And on with friends from school?

Brad Kane 16:51
Yes sort of a friend of friends really, you know, it was sort of, I remember the conversation that we’d had at a dinner party, and they became good friends for a period of time, and then we moved away from where they lived, but I’m just saying, you know, and this was financial support, and he was he’s an extremely well off person, but, you know, you’re saying, you know, what’s a few dollars between friends if someone’s struggling and, and that all had always stuck with me, because that’s the way I would have, if I ever won a lottery, I’d love to be doing the same.

It took me probably six months to pluck up the courage to go knock on his door and say, Mate, I’m in, I’m in, I’m actually in the shit, and can you help me out? And, and he did that. He didn’t solve it all but he, he did enough, just to take that pressure off. So that was one.

Anthony Hartcher 17:45
That was a shock, like, because you mentioned before, and sorry to interrupt, but I just remember before you you had your set, you said you had this persona and that, you know, it was the image or the Brad Kane avatar that people saw and they had no idea in terms of what was going on inside or you know, in your life because you know, this persona was always put forward to the world. Did this particular guy have the Brad Kane avatar? And so was he really shocked when you knocked on his door? Or it? Could he actually see through the avatar?

Brad Kane 18:20
No, he probably, we’d been out of contact for a bit, to be fair to him, but um, I think everyone would, I think everyone was shocked a bit, I think then people knew that you know, I wasn’t the highest earner in the world and all that sort of stuff, but, you know, we were a little comfortable, and we, you know, we had good solid, I had a good solid job and had a business at the time was, at one point in time was going reasonably well.

But he was shocked. He was like, I had no idea and, you know, here’s how I can help if, if that’s gonna work for you, and I just it was that was actually when you talk about before, in hindsight, for me, that was one of the key moments of shifting direction was actually going, you know, what, I can’t solve this, I’ve, I’ve tried to solve this myself. I’ve had to dig deep and I’ve had to ask someone for help and they’ve said yes, here’s how I can help.

For me, that was a magical moment in terms of, you know, talk of crossroads, and, and that sort of thing that helped me on a path. It was the first step in a long, longest journey, but it was certainly one of the first positive steps in getting myself sorted.

Anthony Hartcher 19:35
And that would have resulted in further encouragement to then think, well, you know, I hadn’t seen him for six months I was feeling a bit you know, anxious about having to ask him and once you know, you’re asked, he was responded in such a way as more than willing to help and, and you felt that generosity coming from him so I can imagine that would have then built up some more confidence to then seek help in other areas of your life?

Brad Kane 20:01
I certainly did. I did. I did. I was fortunate enough to I was in a sales role at the time, and I was fortunate enough to receive some excellent sales coaching, and it wasn’t the one on ones of how do you pitch and all that sort of stuff. It was more about being your authentic self and being true to yourself, and what is your own value proposition, not just the organization’s value proposition and so I’ve been able to confide in, in John quite a bit and he was, a he was a fan of Brad Feld and Brad Kane, and he said, so openly, which was, which was tremendous support night. That was very authentic. So it wasn’t just part of him being a coach.

So he, he absolutely, then, once I listened to him taking that next step, had that positive experience was then I able to believe it. I think part of the part of the challenge that I came out the others I had to come through was actually when people said, you know, I probably think you’re right, and you’re a decent bloke, actually believing that. Because, as I’d started, things started to go wrong, I’d started to lose self-belief, I talked about self-worth, and there was a lot of shame.

So, you know, hearing compliments, I could hear them, I couldn’t feel them and then to a certain extent, I didn’t believe them, which is, which is mad, and it’s doing those people a really big disservice. That is something now that having come out the other side of I realized that it’s so important when people take time out of their day to give you a compliment, or say positive things about you to actually take a moment and, you know, and recognize it for what it is.

Yeah, you’re right, it was It wasn’t challenging it. It just helped move things along in in the right direction.

Anthony Hartcher 21:51
And there’s there any others and can be that that person, the barista that you buy your coffee from that just, you know, just cheers up your day when you know, you’re at rock bottom, but you think, Oh, that smile, or that the way they cared for, you know, or the service they provide? You know, you know, there are those little things that when you’re in those hard times that can really you always look forward to that coffee moment because of that smile, or that that generosity. That’s yeah, so did you have any of those sorts of moments? I looked at that period,

Brad Kane 22:22
There’s been countless of those. I’ve my whole life. I think, here is where I am now. It’s amazing. What comes back, what I’ve been finding is being part of ending unashamedly part of a big push around, lifting stigma around men’s mental health, being able to advocate and have sort of vulnerable conversations.

One of the great things about that is I’m getting people coming up to me and saying lovely things, or I’m getting a smile, or I’m, um, you know, some people will, you know, initiate something that it means a lot to me and so that, I find that always happens now on a daily basis, which is fantastic.

I think when I was at my darkest days, I didn’t recognize all of those signs, necessarily. I really looked forward to our chats with Anthony with you and Tony and, and the guys and in some of the lighter moments in the room, not only just the profound ones, when we saw guys go through massive breakthroughs or take accountability or tackle a typical decision or whatever.

I think they were, they were, they were brilliant moments and certainly, you know, they helped fulfill things but think being out in nature for me, I climb, I try and climb Mount Kanopolis here, which is not a serious climb. It’s more a walk up a hill that’s being up in nature, seeing the birds coming out the other side of the drought, and seeing water running in places I haven’t seen before.

We’ve got to you know we’ve got a new lab Labrador that is just a joy to be around. And I never thought I’d say that because I’ve never been a big pet person. Yeah, there are just lots of little things in life that I’m having now reflecting on it. I’m starting to what I have been noticing for a lot longer now.

Anthony Hartcher 24:22
They’re the incredible thing I find with certain dogs. It’s probably the same with other animals. I just haven’t had much to do with them. Is that unconditional love no matter what you do, whether you rail on them, that they still love you unconditionally, and for who you are and they really accept us for who we are no matter what how we look or whether we’ve put on a couple of kilos or we’re feeling a bit down or whatever. They always giving that unconditional love and I think that’s probably what you’ll find that so engaging with the Labrador is that but they’re always there for you, aren’t they?

Brad Kane 25:03
They are, and I think one of the things in the learnings for me was willing to accept that. I think that you know, being once again worthy of even a dog’s love is probably something that I may have, in hindsight may have struggled with for a period of time, and so having said that, there is a certain I’m now a Labrador fan, and there are a certain way that Labradors interact with people. It’s just, we’ve had we had a small, we have a small poodle as well, and they’re a different dynamic, and I’m certainly a fan of the Labrador over the poodle.

Anthony Hartcher 25:38
They’re very cuddly and adorable. They just they look like they just look like a teddy bear to have a Yeah, just a live teddy bear. You certainly with Yeah, you could never not like a Labrador. I think the energy is always that. Yeah, so nature has been, you know, a great contributor to your resilience.

You mentioned exercise, you mentioned focusing on what you can control, reducing expectations. So not necessarily lose sight of the bigger picture, but probably just make that next goal a little bit closer, you know, like smaller steps, so to speak, as opposed to thinking you got to do you know, giant leaps within a short period of time?

Brad Kane 26:26
Yeah, I think that’s good I wouldn’t mind if you were talking about that one for a bit, because in today’s society, when everything has culturally, and particularly going through the 90s and early 2000s, with, you know, talking about the self-help and personal development tied up with rags to riches and Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and nothing wrong with Robert Kiyosaki, but that whole movement around anyone can get wealthy and anyone can achieve anything they want.

It’s very easy to feel like in complete and utter failure if you don’t achieve that, and what was for me, and that’s certainly what happened and, and so it was a vicious cycle of not achieving negative self-talk, going down the spiral, and even getting further away from any sort of level of success, because I was so attached to the outcome or so attached to the goals, I’d set myself which, in hindsight, pretty unrealistic, actually, and, and so I know, I know, I mentor people here now at work, and one of the things that I do work with them on of the work that I’ve done with myself is, is very much around.

It’s not so much the, it’s not so many expectations if you can move, remove expectations, but hold out intent for other people, or intent for a project or initiative that you’re working on and say this is the outcome I want, but I’m not emotionally attached to it. So if something goes out of my control, comes and undermines it, or we fail because of X Y, Zed.

I know we’ve tried hard, I know we’ve done that, but my whole identity in being is not tied up with the result of that, and, and that’s for my expectations is multilayered, it’s an expectation, I’ll succeed in whatever shape or form that is, whether it’s a relationship, work, a bank balance, a car, a house, whatever, and then if I don’t achieve that, my self worth is tied up in my identity is tied up with that, and so people will like me less, if I don’t achieve that, and I’ll like my less, I like myself less, as well and then it becomes a spiral.

Whereas for me now, I try not to have any expectations at all and that’s very hard and I’m certainly nowhere near that it’s more about outcomes and intent, and taking away the emotion from that outcome and intent. So there are books on the law of attachment and that sort of stuff around that and whilst some of it can get a bit out, too far fetched, there’s certainly some truth in shooting hard and working hard and being passionate about achieving something, but then there’s a nuance around if I don’t achieve that, that won’t take a chink out of my personal identity, or it won’t knock myself belief, or I’m not going to feel shame about that.

You know, I’m not going to be proud about what we actually achieved and so there’s a, there’s a real nuance, and for some people is like, if I don’t have an expectation, that means I don’t care and I was certainly in that boat. I think that’s a trap. We, it’s easy to fall into because if you care too much, you’re too emotionally attached, and inevitably when things don’t happen, then that can have a massive, massive emotional impact on on domain and can have it on others. I’ve seen it.

Anthony Hartcher 29:58
Yeah, I think you’ve hit a real key point. They’re around that self-identity and, you know, particularly in today’s world, like you have athletes in an early age, that identify themselves as a want to be Olympian, and they’re striving, you know, for that, and it’s an all or nothing scenario, from an early age.

And as you know, you know, you see time and time again, these Olympic races can be won by, you know, a fingertip or, you know, it can just not be your day or whatever, and, and to tie your whole identity and your self worth to such a goal can be soul-destroying, if it’s not achieved, and, and as you said, it’s much better for to focus on that, because there are so many things on that pathway that are out of your control like your competitors are out of your control and you can only really focus on yourself and what you can do, but at the end of the day, you know, there’s genetics and things like that and, you know, certain body types are better for certain sports, and you know, you’ve played rugby and stuff like that.

So what I’m hearing from you is, you know, very much keeping your identity tied to things you can control, as opposed to putting it out there that, you know, I’m going to make a million dollars and such and such a timeframe. Well, there’s so many variables.

Brad Kane 31:26
Yeah, yeah, no, no, no, it can be anyone, it doesn’t even have to be Olympic athlete, it can be, can be someone who’s working and gets made redundant, and their whole identity working for 20 years in the same job and they also get very redundant, or it could be someone who sees themselves as a social runner and runs 20 Km’s or a day or a week or whatever, and then has a catastrophic injury and they can no longer do that, you know, there’s, there’s all sorts of incremental things where our identity, our identity is tied up with probably the things we do more so than the who we are.

Which is, which is challenging, you know, and, you know, it’s good to be proud of what we do and what we’re good at. I think those expectations, though, can when they don’t go well can be damaging.

Anthony Hartcher 32:14
Yeah, absolutely. What else is really, you know, being fundamental to your resilience?

Brad Kane 32:22
Yeah, I think serving others for me or finding something to be that’s bigger than yourself, be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself, and I used to hear that and go, Yeah, okay. I’m not, I’m not so sure exactly what that means, but, particularly in the last two and a half, three years, I’ve really come to understand at least my version of what that what that looks like and so being, I guess, a leader or facilitator, with a mental health group, men’s mental health group, we’ve just managed to, it is a, it’s an enormous and humbling moment, holder, an education or an event here locally at the local rugby club, in orange, where we’ve had over 100 people attend.

We’ve had lots of 13, with a massive community support over 13 service providers come we had the mayor of orange come we had a local member of parliament come and mix range of ages, all the here, men share their the story and, and talk about, you know, similar sort of stuff that we’re talking about today, you know, the layers of sharing the conversations that men don’t have around, how are they really feeling No, no, how they, really, truly feeling, not the, not the facade, not the mask we put on and, and it was, I was blown away, I was humbled and, you know, it’s, it’s been difficult to even find it difficult now, but I started that I led the charge for that and, and I had so much support, and so many passionate people around me that It would never have happened without them.

And yet, I can say now, with integrity and authenticity that I made that happen and that’s, for me, that’s a out of a context, it sounds a bit arrogant, and maybe not so humble, but it’s a big deal for me in terms of my where I can be as a leader and sort of what I can contribute to others and sort of in that one too many categories where if I can set up multiple Men’s Health Group groups here in Central West if I can run events where you’re impacting and touching 100 people at a time.

For me, that’s immensely rewarding and builds a ton of resilience and a real purpose for actually being an existing and, and finding true North or my higher purpose. So call it what you want, but that’s been amazing and to actually make it happen, see it happen.

See the impact it’s had on others. You know that and it’s every step in between that it’s the fact that during COVID, we kept our mental health group growing, we started walking up Mount Kanopolis for sunrise walks, something I just suggested, just in case anyone, like I didn’t think anyone is interested in that, was jumped on, and we’ve done it every week since the weather has held us back a few times but we do it reasonably regularly.

The men’s group is still going, we’re still having conversations, seeing guys grow through that, knowing that you’re part of that and everyone is contributing to everyone’s well-being and growth. You know, those sorts of things, noticing, having feedback from my family that I’ve changed, or not so much changed as a person, but you know, I’m not as angry or as snappy as I used to be, I’m more enjoyable to be around. I’m a gentler, kinder, kinder person, which is sort of how I picture myself when I picture myself as an angry, angry old man or an angry young man, as I once was certainly picturing myself as someone approachable that people can that will listen, that will, is empathetic, and hearing the sort of feedback that I’m, I’m closer to that person now than I was just just a little, little energy fuel cells that just enable me to sort of, okay, Brad, yeah, I think you’re on the right path.

Anthony Hartcher 36:33
So it’s really, as you mentioned earlier, that authenticity, and being, being who you are, and being happy and accepting who you are, for all, you know, you could say faults or whatever faults, and what warts and all those sorts of things but just being content with that, and allowing the world to embrace, you know, who Brad Kane truly is, because I can imagine your kids experience the avatar than the nontrue Brad and I over this course of time they’ve, they’ve now you know, seeing the true Brad and the connection, the relationship is deeper than ever before.

Because it’s probably who they first met. You know, I don’t know, when the Avatar came into existence. But why? Yeah, well, I can imagine that, you know, for your wife, she would have certainly seen through the avatar and connected to who Brad truly is, but then had to grow to live with the avatar, and now probably is loving the transition back to who Brad truly is, and that relationships probably, you know, going on that journey, you know, as I just described, but, you know, yeah,

Brad Kane 37:53
Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s an interesting one because I think, in any given moment, we can be the good version of ourselves, the bad version of ourselves, the avatar version of ourselves, and I think certainly the kids, you know, they’re highly perceptive, and they, they sniff out authenticity, whether they can put a label on it or not, they can certainly know when things aren’t right or out of kilter, and that that was very true.

You know, and I think, I think one of the sad things for me is I’ve seen the impact of my circumstances and how that’s impacted the kids and, and so now we’re working on rebuilding that as well, and that’s, and that’s just, you know, it’s one of life’s challenges at the moment that we’re certainly not alone on, you know, the good thing about having deeper conversations with men is you get to, you get to have those conversations that things aren’t necessarily great with everyone, and everyone’s going through their trials and tribulations, whether it’s health, whether it’s mental health, whether it’s relationship issues, whether it’s children trying to find their feet in this ever-changing world full of social media and Digital Influence, and that sort of stuff.

It’s it’s challenging. I think I think for me, you know, you talk about authenticity. Ironically, that was always very important to me. I just hadn’t realized how far off-kilter I’d got and coming to that realization, and was massive in getting back, I guess, my integrity to a certain extent and feeling that you know what this is, this is me, this is a real me. You know, it’s hard to sometimes define what that means, but I can certainly tell you, it feels right.

Anthony Hartcher 39:47
Yeah, and there’s not a single cell that resonates with arrogance within you and I certainly have seen that since day one since I first met you five years ago. You’ve always, you know, though, I guess our conversations in the growth room was always you were looking out for the other guys constantly, and I could see that leadership growing within you as we went through the growth room over that two year period, and that was the thing that stood out for me was, This guy’s a true leader in terms of helping others, and helping others through their mental health challenges. I

f you look at where you have, then grow, and since that growth room, as you said, you have now got the whole orange community, the rural community, they’re bringing them together and helping tackle this huge, you know, area of mental health that is, is been really troubling, rural New South Wales, rural Australia from for decades and you’re now I guess, approaching the subject, you’re engaging others in the subject, and you’re helping them through their journey.

So I can really see, you know, this, this, this spreads just growing over the years to really become such a prominent leader in men’s mental health, particularly in rural areas where, where you find yourself very connected, and it feels like home being back in the country.

Brad Kane 41:21
Very kind Anthony, very kind of you to say so and I know I’ve actually come to a reasonable distance in the journey so far, because I practice what I’m preaching, now I’m accepting the compliment, I’m feeling it, and I actually feel very comfortable in that role.

There was a period of time where I would have just shrunk away from it, but as I say, I’m leaning into it now, and it feels, it feels good, it feels right. I’m a country boy at heart. Never really enjoyed the city, I enjoy some of the things about it, but quite happy to spend my days either in an orange or rural community like it.

I think, I think rural communities are crying out, you know, it’s almost biblical here at the moment, I said the other day within between fire, flood, drought, now we’ve got the mouse plagues, it’s, it’s hitting the communities very hard and we’re seeing way too many men, young, middle-aged and all taking their lives out here, and, you know, it’s tragic, and the impact that has on the communities is devastating.

So if we can band together and work together, collaborate, which is a massive theme of mine, and cross-pollination of services, build a community around it. One of the big themes on the night we had the other day was around reaching in when you’re totally, I was fortunate to have some skills and knowledge before the growth room to know what I needed in order to reach out for services and bring that in, but not many people have that knowledge or have that luxury or have the luxury of those services being available for a start, and so we’re trying to build a real groundswell of a community that educated enough to maybe hold the space for someone when they’re in trouble and to feel comfortable with share where they’re really at.

To be able to reach into their husband to a partner to their friends, when they see that maybe they’re not struggling and so, for me, that’s exciting, you know, to to be able to provide services, volunteer for me volunteering in this space, works, I don’t want commercials to be tied up, you know, I don’t want my living to be tied up in it, I want it to be clean, if you like and say well, this is something I’m giving, it just feels a lot truer, a lot more authentic, and so if we can generate enough interest enough education so that people are comfortable to say, are you okay, I’ve noticed this, this and this and it’s not unreasonable when people are doing this for them to be struggling a bit, and then to behold the space for someone and have a proper conversation or at least listen to someone no matter how uncomfortable that is. I think that’s an amazing gift that we can give to our community and we can give to each other.

Yeah, so that’s for me, that’s where I’m at at the moment Anthony and suddenly come I’m exceptionally passionate about and also I’m working on you know, things are going well and I’m enjoying work at the moment it’s a bit more low key than what I used to do but it’s exciting and I can use these skills to generate passion and interest with my team as well.

So you know, it’s things that you know, things are good I’m very happy and content with life and but I’m not stopping whilst I don’t have massive expectations. I still have outcomes and things that I want to do and achieve and it’s okay if it doesn’t happen to the full extent of those outcomes I’m still checking in with myself to see if that’s real, but I’m as close to feeling it as I ever have.

Anthony Hartcher 44:58
I can visually see it, and I can hear it and it’s Yeah, I would say, a new Brad Kane, certainly, you know, I have seen you through the transition, but, you know, I hadn’t seen you for quite quite a while actually and seeing you now is, is remarkable.

So, just, I’d love you to sort of concluding with some words, words of advice as to you know, what’s key around, you know, you mentioned in terms of reaching out for help and support you mentioned, you know, when someone’s connecting with you, when looks disturbed holding the space, just some key words around, like, it’s the topic of mental health and vulnerability and, and seeking help.

Brad Kane 45:49
For me at the moment, the theme is reaching in, I think that’s important and I think your expectation is too high, particularly on men who aren’t used to doing this anyway, is to reach out for help, you know, we’re fairly self-sufficient punctual, we’re supposed to be.

So for me, it’s around if you notice someone that is doing something different, they might be snappier than normal, might be drinking a bit more than normal, they might be a little bit unkept and the hair might be not done their suit might be a bit ruffled shoes might not be polished.

Just check in with them, and, and when you’re checking in with them, know that you may get something back that you’re not comfortable with, because if you do it properly, they’ll feel comfortable and I might say, you know, Anthony, I’m not okay.

I’ve actually thought three times about going up and, and finishing it all, you know, and what do you do in that space? Because the worst thing you can actually do is to go I don’t worry mate I’m sure you will be alright, I’m sure you’ll feel better next week because that that just totally disempowers them is actually quiet, the stats have shown that that can stop people from reaching out ever again.

Unknown Speaker 47:02
So for me, it’s around, finding some education, to be able to be comfortable in holding the space when you get an answer back that actually no, I’m not okay. I think that’s important is we as a community can start to find the ground, create a groundswell around skilling ourselves up is accidental counselor courses, there’s mental health first aid.

Unknown Speaker 47:25
Just been prepared to sit and listen, you don’t have to have the answers. Just holding him sometimes just holding space, letting someone cry, letting someone rant letting, someone just totally offload. If you can hold that space for them, while they’re in that vulnerable moment. It’s a privilege and it’s humbling to know that they trust you enough to give you to give to share that with you and I think that’s a tremendous gift we can give to each other.

Anthony Hartcher 47:52
Yeah, I really appreciate you putting aside the time today and you know, sharing how you share your story, your very personal life story and, and what’s been key into your, I guess, recovery or, you know, your you building resilience over time so that you can you know, better cope with life’s struggles.

Certainly, you know, it’s, we’re, you know, we’re not going to live a life for your struggle, they’ll certainly be times that come up, again, that comes out of left field that are out of our control, like the pandemic for example but you’ve now got yourself a toolkit that you’ve mentioned, you know, you got your exercise, you’ve got your support groups, you’ve got you I guess time in nature, you know, you’ve educated yourself and, and you’re now doing things more beyond Brad Kane, as you said, it’s now giving back and, and now it’s inspiring communities and, and helping them through while helping them become to come together and talk about mental health and you know, improve their resilience.

So, thanks so much, Brad. I really appreciate you sharing and I’m sure the listeners really got some, you know, words of wisdom and for the listeners. Stay tuned for more insightful episodes of me&my health up.

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