Humans of TradeMutt is a celebration of our community, shining a light on the incredible and relatable individuals who are leading by example and paving the way for others like them to feel supported to talk about the tough stuff. Since launching TradeMutt in 2018, Ed and I have learnt an incredible amount about both business and start-ups as well as the mental health space. Our goal with TradeMutt was, and still is, to put as many foot soldiers out into the world that were open to having real and genuine conversations with anyone who needed it. Creating authentic human connection is why we exist. However, something that started to become clear early on is that we had plenty of supporters who were out there representing the cause and doing an incredible job of it, but many of these same people were not prioritising their own mental health. One thing that we learned from the time we spent with Victorian based psychological therapist, Nick Sutherland, is that we all individually need to be making ourselves our own priority. Once we make our own mental health our number one priority, only then can we really look out for others. “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” - Buddha
This is Rachel Maloney
Hi, my name is Rachy and I’m a TradeMutt Addict.
I have so many good things to say about the shirts, the people and of course the symbolism.
But there is one thing that stood out for me the first time I ordered. I read a message that said ‘make sure YOU feel able to have conversations before you put the shirt on’. That has really stuck with me.
Funny thing is, the first time I put one on, I felt a little like I’d put on a superhero cape. My energy lifted. I wanted to talk to people. I did talk to people. Complete strangers. I interacted in a genuine (and fun) way with people I never would normally. And it felt good. Like making a difference didn’t have to always be about big things.
But do you ever talk with someone and when you hear yourself say things out loud, it’s like you just slapped yourself in the face and think ‘you idiot’!
Here I was, talking about the power of open conversations and I realised the ones I was having with myself, in my mind, were shit! They weren’t open or honest or uplifting. No one is harder on me than I am so my inner voice can be a right ass.
So, I started a rule. A habit. If I’m putting my shirt on, the very first conversation I have is with myself. No, I’m not crazy (well I am but only in a good way). I have a coffee and I actually have a GOOD conversation with myself and it’s amazing how much this helps me and makes me better able to help others. It’s become a source of strength. And it clears some mind noise.
I guess what I’m saying is the greatest gift I got from this gear is that yes, every conversation you have is important and can make a difference. But please, don’t forget to have those same great chats with yourself.
Today, someone important to me needed a chat. She wasn’t feeling strong or together. She was tired and stressed. Struggling. So, I put on my shirt and made her a cup of coffee. Today, that conversation mattered. It made a difference.
What Rachel identified is an extremely powerful insight. In fact, this is quite possibly the most profound insight that we would hope that everyone in the Trademutt community can resonate with.
Life is full of distractions and can feel like it is so fast-paced.
We are an animal that has become accustomed to being entertained almost every waking minute, to the point where we feel like if we are not constantly stimulated then something must be wrong. My gut tells me that most of us become caught up in what everyone else is doing and therefore we feel like we have to be busy as well or else we will somehow get left behind.
Sometimes it can be hard having those difficult conversations with yourself. Self-reflection can be an incredibly scary and confronting process.
One of the easiest ways to avoid having to look in the mirror is to look out the window instead and focus on everyone else outside. The same way we shake a rattle in front of a baby to distract it from what it is feeling and why it is upset, many of us do the exact same thing with ourselves.
However unlike babies, we adults have the emotional capacity to look introspectively and practice self-care, we just need to stop finding distractions. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, make the time each day to do it. As long as it doesn’t include drinking 10 schooners every night, you should be right.