Episode 19

Emma Hossacks returns to share her battle with anxiety and how she turned it into a superpower!

Episode Notes

Emma Hossack returns as a guest on this special podcast episode with Roksana Hussein! Let’s listen intently as they talk about Emma’s personal journey with Anxiety. Emma shares her battle with anxiety, and how she coped up with this condition. Something that most of us can definitely relate to! Emma used her experience with anxiety and turned into a super power since she is now able to identify with young people who need her expertise as an experiences coach. Be inspired with today’s episode, enjoy!

In this episode, you’ll learn:

• About anxiety and depression, and why these conditions can be difficult to cure

• Why new mothers are prone to having anxiety and panic disorder

• That depression has a mask and cannot be detected easily

• That young people are vulnerable, and parents need to play close attention to the signs

Emma Hossack, the founder of ‘Transforming Young Minds’. Having had a very successful career, she took the decision to leave her job and concentrate on raising her daughters. Little did she know that being a full-time mum would be the hardest job of all. The birth of her second child made her realise how lack of control, fear of failure and the need to be ‘perfect’ had ruled her life and all came crumbling down when she couldn’t be. The strive for perfection caught up with her and she became low, self-critical and found it hard to see the positives in anything in her life.

She discovered NLP, a life changing course for me. She realised that she had never allowed herself to ‘fail’ and spent her life trying to please others, be liked but none of this made her truly happy. She thought about the world we live in and how it’s changing so fast. With the pressure of school, social media and the decline in mental health amongst young people, what better gift than the gift of NLP. To teach them that there is no such thing as failure, to get rid of negative thoughts and to not limit the belief in themselves. Maybe if she had discovered NLP as a child, she may not have spent many years striving for ‘perfection’.

She set up Transforming Young Minds to give young people the chance to overcome barriers that are holding them back, and to teach them the tools that will last them a lifetime.

You can find Emma Hossack on…

Website http://transformingyoungminds.co.uk/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/transformingyoungmindstherapy/


[Roksana] My guest on today’s show returns. She is the founder of Transforming Young Minds. She’s a coach for kids, teens and adults. She calls herself an anxiety survivor, a party lover, and mum to two girls. Today she shares her personal journey with anxiety. Welcome back, Emma!

[Emma]  Thank you, thanks for having me.

[Roksana]  So the last time you came on you talked about success and satisfaction, and I really wanted to delve deeper into how you became the Emma that you are today and somebody who kind of went for it and created her own Transforming Young Minds company. Tell us where you started, tell me a bit about your back story.

[Emma] I’m born a Londoner, moved to St Albans very young in 2003 so I’ve actually been here a long time. I’ve been here half of my life which is kind of crazy how time flies. I was born in an Irish family, a big family. I grew up in West London, I have three other sisters, I have 55 cousins. I went to school in London and I had quite a different school environment to what my children experience. It was very urban, quite rough and ready and I had to really work very hard to achieve what I did. My family were very working class so but what they had is absolute drive for their children they wanted to break the mould. So I was given all the opportunities that were available to me so what always came true from the very beginning was that I had drive. There was an inner drive. I always felt like I wanted to have opportunity and I used to often watch my mum and dad struggle for money and I just never wanted that for myself, so I worked extremely hard in school. I wouldn’t say it was natural straight away, I had to work really hard, and I was really into history and politics and still on my dream one day would be go into politics which I will one day but I was already into that. What made me happy was actually studying and learning and just having the absolute vision that I was going to move out of home, have a degree and have a lovely life and actually I’ve always visualised, when I look back, without realising it. So yeah I’ve always had that drive and I and you know and I think that’s never the really left me but what I would say is I do remember from a very young age having that drive and really finding failing and not getting things right a massive problem. And I’ll go into that and that’s kind of where it led me, that fear of failure, but we’ll talk about that because that’s actually really driven my life and where I am right now but we’ll talk about that.

[Roksana] That’s amazing that’s amazing, and I think you know very similar to me. I saw my parents struggle and it became a little almost a rebellious thought to begin with that I just didn’t want that life for me. And I remember saying it to them and being quite rude about their life but it did define me it did take me into a completely different life and the life I have now kind of led to from, stemmed from my environment growing up.

[Emma] Yeah it does and I think as well that you know same as you I just looked at that fear over money all the time, that fear of oh I haven’t got enough money, I need to get a job or I’ll be out of a job and then it’s a real trigger for me but that meant that I was absolutely gonna make sure that as far as I could control I wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t have that you know so yeah. I think what what is a challenge you can use to push forward and it’s just making sure that you keep that perspective as well.

[Roksana] So you mentioned before the last time you came on that you worked in corporate for awhile to take it back to the moment that triggered you to create Transforming Young Minds.

[Emma] Yeah so I actually I’ve had a very successful career I’ve worked in corporate life, I’ve worked for pharmaceutical companies. I’ve also run big teams in recruitment and sales, access so getting drugs to market which was really fulfilling but full on. And then I had my first daughter and I’m still working for a corporate pharmaceutical company, and that seemed to work OK, and then I have my second child and I realised that I just didn’t want to miss out on them. I feel working- hands off any mum that does corporate life, it is so full on with children and so you know I decided when I was pregnant with my second that I wasn’t going to back so I didn’t and that then really led me down and quite dark road so I had my second daughter she was tongue tied but we didn’t know, no-one told me. So I was unable to breastfeed her, she wasn’t really feeding milk, she wasn’t sleeping, she wasn’t eating, and I had a very difficult time. So all of my perfectionism, the thing that I had this first daughter did everything that was meant because I was an amazing baby trainer, but realised that when I had my second I couldn’t control anything it was all out of my control. So I went from corporate to having this sort textbook baby, managing it all, to having another who wasn’t doing everything that was she was meant to. I was actually not thriving and I was becoming more and more anxious so while I was off, I had I went through a real journey of post-natal depression. I had without realising it, I had anxiety to the point where I wasn’t able to drive a car on a motorway or go to an event. And all this kind of happened without me realising it. It just became life. I wasn’t sleeping, I was dark I don’t really remember those days being very happy, so while I turned down the job of going back to the promotion I got when I was pregnant, I then was at home with two small children unable to control anything, not sleeping. And I actually went to an event and I had a panic attack and I had to leave and then this lady that I don’t really know very well came up to me and said, “are you OK? Oh, my husband’s got anxiety and I can see you’re really struggling, have you thought about going to a doctor?” And it was at that moment I thought ohh my gosh, this has got to change. So I went in to see counselling, I had a counsellor, and then I went into CBT coach and then an NLP, and then I was on the roads and I discovered so much about myself. All these beliefs that I had which were all about control, and perfectionism and fear of failure, and it just opened my eyes to this massive world and I absolutely loved it. And so I got eight sessions and on my last session I knew, it was like an epiphany from God, I don’t know if you’re spiritual – I am – that I was meant to do this. And I decided on that day that I was gonna set up this brand. So that’s a whistle-stop tour of how it got me there, really.

[Roksana] Amazing. And isn’t it interesting that as a child you would so driven and you were aiming for so much and everything was going your way you know you were probably going- achieving everything in terms of qualifications and then you got all the great jobs and you’re moving up the career ladder in corporate land, and then it took you that moment where you had your second child. She wasn’t able to be that kind of perfect child that made you feel successful, but it’s through that, through that hardship, when you discovered and through having anxiety and panic attacks, you then discovered that there’s probably parts of you that you haven’t been able to explore.

[Emma] Absolutely. And actually what was interesting was I could see that I was doing that to my eldest daughter as well. Like you know, I’ll be doing reading with her, saying “oh, we’ve done this before”, and I realised I was imparting like my fear of failure onto her and again that was another trigger. I was like, I can’t- I’m not doing this to her because I don’t want her to feel like I felt. And I still remember you know crying at primary school, I couldn’t write an ‘S’, and losing it and not taking part in sport because I feel like if I’m not gonna be the best, then I don’t want to do it and everyone’s gonna laugh at me. And actually, my mum used to say to my teachers, don’t push her anymore because she does it to herself, so please don’t. And they’re not like that, and so the interesting part is sometimes it is who you are, but I also have this big belief that girls are treated very differently from boys, certainly in my generation of being perfect. It’s a language that you learn from a very early age which can shape your beliefs so, but that’s a whole other story. But absolutely you know, that kind of limited- limiting beliefs I put in myself which was actually causing physical reaction which was anxiety.

[Roksana] That’s amazing. I think it’s so common as well I know I went through the very same thing. My daughter was- my first born was the perfect text baby, and then the second was tongue-tied and he couldn’t latch on. And I went through- when you were talking, I thought “oh my gosh I’m reliving those months again”. And I did also spiral into a really really dark time in my life, and I did have panic attacks I remember but I thought it was something else. I thought it was just because I wasn’t getting out and being physical.

[Emma] I think it’s all of those things. We know that anxiety is triggered through high levels of cortisol and if you’re tired, you’re not sleeping and you’re not moving and you’re out control, your stress levels are high. It’s natural, you know, your body is actually doing what it meant to which is what anxiety is. It’s like a superpower you know it’s there to warn you and tell you that something is wrong and so it’s like your Power Pack. You know it’s not a surprise that us mums that got these new babies that can’t speak to us do go through that and I don’t think people talk about it enough.

[Roksana] Absolutely, absolutely. And I think so much post-natal depression goes undiagnosed, undetected anyway.

[Emma] Honestly. Yeah, I used to volunteer for a women’s group that was- was based around new mums. And every mum that came in I would say, “are you sleeping? No? Okay.” You know if you’re not sleeping, then naturally your body is under stress anyway and it’s a really tough time and you know I think we all need to be bit kinder to new mums and be honest with them as well. People aren’t always as honest with you, with what is the truth.

[Roksana] That is the truth. So, you set up Transforming Young Minds and you were kind of in this cloud of- or you had this epiphany, and you knew that this was the thing that you wanted to do. Now I was just thinking about something as you were talking, and I know that as a child you had this kind of perfectionist drive to be the best things and you just touched upon that again a minute ago. And I wonder if part of that was your motivation for setting up a service primarily for children.

[Emma] Yeah 100%. I mean like when I was in my CBT and then NLP, same thing. You know, fear of failure an absolute trigger. They would ask me questions like you know, so tell me about you as a mum, and I was like they never get processed food, I make everything from fresh, and this woman was looking at me like “you must be exhausted” and that was exactly it. I was like, I do not want any child to feel that failure is wrong. I want young people to change their narrative and we all know that the school system’s so full on and academic, you know what I find is that they very little time to explore feelings in school. In fact, there’s none. So actually it was always going to be about young people because it starts with them. What I then discovered, naively, was actually also families- you have to work with the family because what we think is what we become, what we see is what we model so, you know when I have a call from a parent they’ll say, “my child is really anxious/a perfectionist” and I’ll say, “can I talk to you about your values?” and they’ll always pretty much come up that they are the same. So if you spot it, you’ve got it, and so the work- I started with working just (I say just) with children and teenagers, and then my work has really grown to families and parents. I probably have an equal, now, amount. And often a child will start with me and then I’ll see the parents anyway because it will open up that reality that you know what you see is what I’ve got and that’s the modelling of that kind of language and then behaviour and so you know I’m really passionate about family work and also young people because you know they are the future. And actually wouldn’t it be amazing if we have this next generation of resilient, positive, accepting generation of people that are really open to talking about their feelings as well. Which I think we’re going to get to, things have definitely changed.

[Roksana] We will. We will with people like you in the world, that’s for sure Emma/ So when you were setting up Transforming Young Minds, did you come- did you experience any of your own limiting beliefs and in that process of setting up and establishing yourself in that first six months to a year?

[Emma] Yeah. I mean my first client, I was absolutely terrified. I was physically shaking, breathing, telling myself I could do it. I spent start the first year always asking myself like, am I enough? Am I good enough? But I think because there are so many- mental health is so big on the agenda now, is that you know for me, I had to remember my husband saying, “Will you stop saying ‘am I good enough’? You know, like you are making a difference. Whatever you do is making a difference, like the fact that they’re coming to you and then leaving with techniques and parents are telling you”-  it was that- honestly that Impostor Syndrome, you know “Am I doing the right thing?” “Am I enough? Am I good enough?” I spent like a year doing that but to be honest I still do that, because that’s part of me always wanting to grow myself. And again that kind of fear and you know, what if they criticise me? What I’m not doing well enough? So I was still always going back to that but I think that how I think that also drives me just to keep improving. But I think you’ve got to do this for a while to sort of see the results and then get the evidence together and I think the first year or two running a company whatever you do is challenging because what you want is the truth and the evidence that you’re doing a good job, and that can take time, you know?

[Roksana] Absolutely. Absolutely. And then with that evidence you can feed your fears the right information and say actually I can do this and obviously there’s going to be the odd client that you have who doesn’t respond well to what you what- you’re offering but that isn’t that part of anything in terms of consumption or anything that we take on. Not everything’s going to be- all people aren’t always ready as well I think that’s the other thing.

[Emma] Yeah it’s got to come- you are you know you’re part of the vehicle to get them some your clients somewhere but ultimately they’ve got to have that motivation that intrinsic motivation to do that and some like you say aren’t ready and some are really up for it. Whatever you do.

[Roksana] I still think that’s a really good mantra to have.

[Emma] Yeah absolutely.

[Roksana] So I’d love you to sort of tell us a little bit about what you love most about your life now. So you’ve been it you’ve had Transforming Young Minds, did you say it was three years old now?

[Emma] Yeah just over three years old.

[Roksana] Three years old, and you’re working with almost as many adults that you are children.

[Emma] Yeah that’s right. So I’m also working with companies now as well.

[Roksana] Tell us about that.

[Emma] Just because I mean where – and Roksana, you live in St Albans so you’ll get this – it’s a really small environment, you know place and what happens is I end up seeing families that parents work at a company saying, “oh my gosh, my company’s really missing some of this” so you know resilience, and we don’t really know what our values are and so actually that’s open doors for the clients so actually I’m working with what I would just beginning to work with clients now and helping them look at where they are with their resilience so I’m actually something called Raw Index Training which is assessing resilience and where you are at, and then setting goals to improve that resilience. So there’s some really exciting work I’ve got coming up with some companies at the moment and I also doesn’t really great now COVID 19 scenario at the minute for companies that are feeling anxious. So I’ve done some really great webinars and also Zoom workshops with clients to help them through that and setting- giving them tools and techniques to help him through this period of time. So you know it’s all opening up I think Roksana you’ll probably know this that when you start working one thing it kind of leads to another and then before you know it you’re doing all sorts of exciting things which you then take in to all the other clients as well. So it’s just- that’s one of the things I actually love is just that a variety of what you end up doing is so interesting.

[Roksana] Yeah, and that sort of evolution of yourself as well, sort of  getting really comfortable working with one group of people then morphing into supporting the adults and now you are working with corporates and companies and I think that variety as you just said is so important to you as well as an individual, to again be creating new evidence for your mind to say I can do this too.

[Emma] And I mean look, I’ve got 3 core values. One of them is trust and loyalty and the other is always pushing outside of my comfort zone. I’ve never- my life has always been like that, whatever I where I am I’m like, what can I do next, how can I push myself forward. So again you know the company stuff is taking me back to where I was three years ago, terrified in some respects. but it’s important for me to grow and so you know I’ve always wanna step out of my comfort zone which is why I just love that evolution. Moving myself forward all the time and it’s something I was asked you know I say to my clients like if you were to take a leap, what does that look like? Take the leap, you know, do it! You know, what we know as fear is, I call it False Evidence Appearing Real. What truth have you got that you can’t, what if you did, what if that was even better? So you know always challenging myself and moving forward which is what I’ve always loved about this it start is something but it’s involving and that’s that’s life. I think life’s all about change and stretch.

[Roksana] You’re such an inspiration. What would you say to my listeners who have a dream or a desire, but they don’t know that they have what it takes? They’re on the fence?

[Emma] Yeah I would say life is so short, take the leap. You know the end of the day when you look back and I’ve always- it’s sometimes a bit depressing but I always think, in my last few hours of life what do I wanna reflect on? What do I want to see has happened? And you know life is about grabbing it and regret is something you can’t change, it is probably one of the worst feelings, so take the leap. So what if it goes wrong? What if it’s that’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you? You know my anxiety has led me to this amazing life. Don’t get me wrong I have challenges you know it’s exhausting, it can very emotional. I work late but to me t’s  worth it and actually I’m really fulfilled. If you’ve got an idea, you know plan it. Control what you can control. Take the leap and know that whatever happens is taking you to where you’re meant to be. Trust in the universe, visualise when you want something think about what it looks like, think about what it feels like and ask the universe for it. And when I say that, especially to teenage boys, they look at me like I’m completely mad but when they’ve done it and it happens, it’s works. So visualise take the leap, and know that you can. Just ask yourself, “if I wasn’t to do this would I regret it?” If you have that thought that you will regret it, just do it anyway. So I know I will need to feel the fear and just do it anyway. That’s my mantra.

[Roksana] That’s amazing, that’s amazing. And that is so you know even through the language that you use as you as you share your little message for my listeners, I think that there’s so much positive in that. It’s about moving forward, it’s about doing what you can, controlling what you can, and then just going through it because you’re not going to be able to control every single miniature detail in life and we never have been and we never will be able to but there are certain things that we can control and I think… if you can control your mind, you can visualise, if you can meditate on your ideas and your thoughts I I agree with you I think we can manifest pretty much anything into our life.

[Emma] 100%. Visualisation is so important and if you’re not a visual mind then saying those words, writing them down, going to that thing that you want, and actually you know something I encourage all my clients to do.

[Roksana] Well I say to my clients, Emma, and I don’t know if this is similar to yours is we’re visualising all the time anyway. Every time we think about our fear and think Oh well this might happen, that’s you visualising, but this visualisation is where you are the director and you’re directing a desired outcome. It’s just that kind of slight tweak in how we visualise that determines success or not.

[Emma] Yeah, 100%. Controlling the controllables is so important… looking round and then knowing what you can do what can you do to make a difference in this moment and letting the universe do everything else.

[Roksana] Amazing. Emma, what took you the longest to learn to accept or love about yourself.

[Emma] That I can make mistakes. That’s been something that’s taken up til about I was 38, so it takes a long time… When I say mistakes, maybe the word mistakes isn’t right, but things can go wrong and that’s OK… what you learn from that is the thing that counts. So it’s all about that choice again so let’s link it back to me when I had that baby that wasn’t sleeping and wasn’t doing this, but I did take that choice to have some downtime to elevate myself. So making mistakes is really important I just love it when my kids say, “I don’t need to be perfect, there is no such thing, I can make mistakes”, I’m like brilliant! So I love that you know when I see you my kids do… I think if you can feel like that now and you can keep with that then that is really going to push you forward and that is resilience for me.

[Roksana] That’s amazing. Isn’t it amazing when you hear your kids say the things that you’ve battled with for 38 years.

[Emma] 100%. And also be compassionate to stuff like, one of the things that all my clients say right but by the first session, we talk about values and I’ll say okay I’m gonna give you 2 minutes on the timer we need to write down as much as you like, as many things and that you love about yourself. And that compassion is key and when you’re compassionate it releases oxytocin. Oxytocin helps you feel calm and well, and actually it’s a really important chemical and compassion and kindness to yourself and others is key and what I love about- certainly in my kids- you know you know I really love that about myself and I’ve been really kind and I think whereas when I was younger, I thought ‘why are you being so bigheaded about yourself?’ You weren’t allowed to accept a compliment so again I would say I’ve learned to be kind about myself and you know praise myself I think it’s really important and I love it when my kids do the same.

[Roksana] If you could go back to the little Emma, go back in time and whisper a little life lesson or an affirmation, what would you say to her?

[Emma] It’s OK to get things wrong right? It’s OK when things don’t go to plan. It’s OK to let go of control. Those three things. In fact, what’s happening now is leading you to where you’re meant to go, that’s what I would say. I remember so many situations like crying and Brownies cause I can do something not taking part in netball, didn’t go on a PGL trip coz I thought what if I can’t absail- just do it! It’s alright just do it. And now I’m actually learning to cartwheel. Ine of my big goals over summer while we’re in lockdown is I’m going to cartwheel I’m doing all of the things that I didn’t do as a child so I’m doing it later on- it’s never too late.

[Roksana] I can’t wait to see you cartwheeling around the park! Amazing. Emma, I could talk to you all afternoon.

[Emma] And you!

[Roksana] If my listeners want to find out a bit more about Transforming Young Minds or follow you, just keep in touch with your journey and how you’re growing, where’s the best place for them to go?

[Emma] Yeah so I’ve got a Facebook page Transforming Young Minds, Instagram @transformingyoungminds, I have got a website www.transformingyoungminds, I’ve also got a new brand coming which is Transforming Minds For Business which again is on LinkedIn, so I’m on all of those social media platforms. And if you wanted to email me it’s [email protected].

[Roksana] Amazing. And for all my listeners I will make sure that the social media handles are on the show notes so scroll down in the podcast library and you’ll be able to find Emma.

[Emma] Thank you.

[Roksana] Thank you so much for your time Emma, it’s been amazing.