Meet Former AFL super star, now founder and CEO of Outside The Locker Room – Jake Edwards. Part of the new game changers forging a path for transparency, conversation and a sense of community that’s required around Mental Health.
On this episode Jake shares his journey from Hero to Zero then back again. Battling the scars that aren’t visible to others, how to build resilience, the new bro-code and why it’s essential to take the first step in asking for help.
When you come from a long line of professional footballers, the stakes are high for you to follow in the shoes of your father and family. Jakes story was no different. What he didn’t expect was the deep emotional impact the pressure would have on him personally and the subconscious “not good enough” negative self talk that was slowly pulling him further into a point of no return.
This wasn’t the landscape to voice any of that – so keeping up appearances and pushing what was then undiagnosed depression away – out of sight was the only coping mechanism Jake knew at that point.
That choice and shame around feeling unworthy and created a series of set backs and poor decisions that ultimately led Jake to a forced decision from his entire’s life goals and purpose at pro football and finally an attempt on his own life.
2. a regrettable or unfortunate situation or action.
“what a shame Ellie won’t be here”
synonyms: pity, misfortune, crying shame, cause for regret, source of regret, sad thing, unfortunate thing;
a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour.
“she was hot with shame”
synonyms: humiliation, mortification, chagrin, ignominy, loss of face, shamefacedness, embarrassment, indignity, abashment, discomfort, discomfiture, discomposure
2. make (someone) feel ashamed.
“I tried to shame him into giving some away”
synonyms: humiliate, mortify, make someone feel ashamed, chagrin, embarrass, abash, chasten, humble, put someone in their place, take down a peg or two, cut down to size, show up;
The Shame Game
Dealing with depression, addiction and not coping created such a level of shame, guilt and fear it was only at rock bottom after rehab that there was a point he could discuss this with family.
That kitchen table discussion changed the course of Jakes relationship with his parents, his father and started with the ability to change the relationship with himself. Once the conversation was out there – he surprisingly learnt it wasn’t so foreign after all.
Here are Jakes steps and tools to regain a sense of perspective, personal self worth and clarity to move forward with purpose when you are rebuilding your life dealing with a darker voice, a disruptive past to build a new future.
1. Owning The Truth
It’s can be confronting but at the same time totally liberating when you can stand in your truth. No one can knock you over from that.
Understanding exactly where you stand and owning this with those closest is a solid foundation from which to work on yourself, your game plan and also build a dream team around you.
2. Bro Code & Asking For Help
Your good mates accept you as you are, they don’t need to have all the answers but the authentic ones will rally around you and create a bond that ensures you feel supported. Friendships are essential and it’s human nature to want to pull back and hibernate when you’re not in your best self.
Usually guys talk best side by side, so go do something where conversation has enough time to come freely.
If one of your mates comes to you and says “i’m not OK” then remember all you need to do is ensure they know you’ve heard them, you’re there for them – then ask if it’s OK you reach out to an expert or trusted source for more support and advice.
3. Mindfulness, Health and Wellbeing
Ensuring healthy food, exercise and simple things like a positive routine where you have quality time for yourself, space to work on things you love and outlets of creativity for “meditation” and mindfulness are crucial parts of healing.
Being an athlete in life takes self discipline, it means doing the work, knowing your limits and having good quality coaches/a support system around you who you really trust. Ensure you take advice from people who walk their talk.
This also means planning your week, not just work but ALL elements. Winning weeks never fail and have you feeling more in control and less overwhelmed.
Anyone who has high goals and sets high standards puts an enormous amount of personal pressure on themselves to achieve, to stay strong, to show fortitude and not give up.
Yet every now and again the armour falls off and the cracks fall through. We all know this, we have all been through it. It’s not a once off. It’s a journey and you can find yourself back in that place again. Self doubt, the negative talk, the deep sense of foreboding.
For those dealing with depression or extreme anxiety it’s not as simple as bouncing back. It’s not a visible scar or a broken arm where people can see you are hurt and need care and attention. It lies deep within. It’s not rational and it’s never too far from the surface.
That’s why the tools above that Jake speaks off are so vital. Not only as daily habits for success but for some it’s pure survival
Recapping Bro Code, Self Discipline and Asking For Help
Taking ownership of how you feel is one thing. Having a strong, positive and understanding inner circle is another:
- Being there for others, keeping busy, contributing and giving back is essential when you start to have your own oxygen mask fitted on nicely.
- Health and wellbeing, diet, exercise, routine, purpose and healthy habits are essential ingredients for brain space, chemical balances and energy levels.
- Knowing who and how to ask for help.
- Knowing you don’t need to have all the answers.
- Knowing you must surround yourself with the right people – by default you are only as good as the 6 people you spend the most time with.
- knowing you are not alone, you are not the first and you won’t be the last to feel the enormous pressure the world can place on our shoulders.
- Be present, be purposeful and be open with those you trust. When you start operating from this space a whole other world opens up and as Jake proves daily – its actions that speak louder than words.
Jake Edwards The CEO
Turning purpose into a profession.
Out of all of this Jake founded Outside The Locker Room. A foundation and a program for players involved in sporting clubs, focusing on education and support in relation to their daily challenges. This is a one-of-a-kind program for local clubs to have their players mentored by our team in a 12 month commitment to your sporting club. This program also reaches out now to communities and companies with an integrated mobile phone app to assist with momentum and connection.
Outside The Locker Room Foundation is a non-for profit organisation that is dedicated to supporting sporting clubs, schools and work places for their welfare and education requirements across Australia.
Focusing on areas such as mental health, drugs, alcohol, gambling and domestic violence our program educates and brings awareness to these topics.
Our passion is to not only educate but to also provide a safe, secure and private welfare platforms for individuals to access 24/7 in a time of need.
For more on Jake and the foundation head over to OTLR. You can support the charity in various ways from donation to running one of their workshops with your club or team.
Be The Change
On a final note: don’t be the reason someone feels they don’t fit in. Choose your words and actions carefully. We are all leaders in life and all have a certain degree of influence and impact on others. There is a ripple effect.
So remember you are not responsible for another persons happiness, but your actions and words can certainly contribute to someones state of mind and their ability to navigate their way through life.
Everyone has a story – yours evolves and it grows with you if you’re willing to lean in, give back, get focused and do the work to stay strong in today’s cluttered world.
PLEASE REACH OUT:
If you or anyone you know is struggling at the moment please reach out to us, send us a message or contact your local support group such as Beyond Blue, Movember, RUOK, Lifeline, One Wave Is All it Takes, your local sports club, school, company HR, best friend, spouse even someone you admire and know – the most important element is you put your hand up and let the next step take care of itself.
Special thanks to Jake Edwards, Outside the Locker Room, I’m Just A Man and Valles Accountants.
OTL Contact email@example.com
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