Mental illness and new beginnings

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Andy Hall is a mentoring advisor at Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub.

Biggest fuck up?

I realised at the age of 39 that I had been aiming for the wrong career goal. This lesson came when I finally accepted that I had developed severe depression, anxiety, and paranoia following a serious mental and physical breakdown.

I had worked in insurance since the age of 16 and had always aimed for the next step of the ladder and retained the belief that more money and status were an indication of success.

My first promotion was at 19, and this started an addiction to more promotions. This continued throughout my career in insurance without really thinking if this was how I wanted to spend my life. The goal was to be the Head of Sales and Service at an insurance company owned by a bank before the age of 40.

When the recession hit, the bank made cutbacks, and the goal was no longer achievable. But I didn’t accept this, so I redoubled my efforts to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. This led to a series of breakdowns, each causing psychological damage to the point of wanting to end my life.

Accepting that I was mentally ill and the goals I had set were wrong for me. I decide to seek medical help and then leave my job to pursue my interest in business, which had started as a teenager.

So I started up on my own. Despite several setbacks, loss of all our money and increasing debts (plus both parents and 3 franchises), I slowly began growing my confidence back. I started giving back and became a business mentor.

Lightbulb moment

Meeting Steve Carr at Business Rocks and talking about our “higher purpose”. So many overused but relevant quotes spring to mind. The point is; I realised what I wanted to be known for and remembered as. I aimed to be of value to others every day for the rest of my life. Money lost its value as currency and was replaced by creating a legacy.

Useful advice

Enjoy today! Tomorrow may never happen, so focus on enjoying your own journey. AND Don’t set stupid goals!


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