Suzy Nethercott-Watson – Mental and physical well-being for carers

Meet Suzy Nethercott-Watson

I am not sure I have a neat line between work and life to describe me. I do a lot of volunteer roles on the back of a paid professional career in many different sectors. I am deeply connected to our environment and am doing what I can in a time of unprecedented challenges for our natural world.

If I am not contributing to something I don’t see the point in existence. We are too interconnected and the world is too precious and fragile not to have some investment and attention put into it.

I share the uniqueness of my life with causes and creatures and people that are dear to me.

What business are you currently running?

It’s not a business and most of my time is investing in a charity called Two Green Threads. Two Green Threads is a nationally registered not-for-profit focused on supporting the people who are supporting injured and orphaned wildlife. Two Green Threads recognises that the 15,000 registered wildlife sector volunteers around Australia have little access to resources and information that can aid with the impact of their volunteer role on their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Two Green Threads is about building capacity in a voluntary sector that will be more heavily drawn on in the future as wildlife increasingly need our help. I am in the unique situation of propelling a charity that is about human health promotion in an animal focussed sector.

I’ve made the choice to do this role pro bono (my other paid work I use as a funding source for the charity). I have found this to be a comfort and a leveler. It takes ‘worth to me’ out of the situation and I can take comfort that even it only takes on person to find benefit and strength in the outputs from Two Green Threads for my measure of success to be ticked.

Assuming you are now in “Your Next Chapter”, what led you here? Was there an internal discontent or an external issue you felt strongly about that prompted a change in direction?

I would say I am in my next Chapter. Having said that I’ve had several chapters. My paid work-life has seen me contribute to a number of different sectors and industries. Each time starting again, quickly assimilating sector knowledge and building networks and connections with people and their work. I’ve learned that my skills and capabilities are transferable. After serving as a Logistics Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force I have undertaken C suite positions in the private, public, cultural and not-for-profit sectors. I’ve had a theme and am motivated by a value of service to others.

In amongst a professional career I have woven in the role as a wildlife volunteer for orphaned and injured wildlife. I am constantly reminded of how small I am in a complex world. The delight and privilege to be able to give wildlife a safe space, help them grow and recover, and then reconnect with nature are daunting, and at the same time very, very special.

For me caring for wildlife is a fundamental form of connection with nature. It grounds me, re-balances, and provides stillness in the frantic spinning of the human world.
2016 / 2017 were tough years and made me incredibly self-aware of the mental well-being of people, especially those with whom I share a connection. I cared for and tried to help a person who meant the world to me, as they fought an intense battle of mental instability and worth to this world. In the end, I lost this individual who meant the world to me, my Dad. This intensive life-changing experience spurned a sense of urgency to be more self-aware of my own mental strength and wellness and also those of others.

I started to notice what my fellow wildlife volunteers did to respect and care for their physical and mental wellbeing. I started to be aware that the factors of this service that placed my fellow volunteers at high risk were then further compounded because they ignored or didn’t care about their own mental and physical wellness. I started to consider how could our community become stronger, to help each other as we help wildlife?

The urgency to do something needed to translate into action and Two Green Threads was born. The people in this unrecognised sector give away so much of themselves. It’s time we had resources that enable us to keep doing this service, for longer, in a more healthy state.

What did you find most challenging about getting started/moving in a new direction?

I was never quite sure whether I was starting this as an escape to my grief or even if I was was this a valid state to be embarking on a concussing somewhat personal challenge.

It wasn’t just personal about why it started it was personal because all of the risk factors I could objectively see I was living with as a volunteer of the sector too.

Translating the ideas and vision to the practical outputs was a big step.

What have you found most fulfilling?

I’m not sure I’m ready to start claiming fulfillment. I’m in the upward curve.

It’s started, it’s underway and it’s making a difference but there is a long way to go.

Have you experienced self-doubt? What causes it to flare and how do you work through it when it hits?

Self-doubt is a constant and rather noisy companion. There is no blueprint and I do what sometimes feels like a muddle through of periods of great self-doubt.
One of the side benefits of working in a mental health promotion space is you get to learn, read, and invite others into the platform.By learning how I feel and react helps translate words and outputs into actions that might also help others.

How do you feel you have grown since you started?

Much of my core message is around the fundamental need to value self-sustainability.

I am a self-care work in progress! Ask me this again in a few year’s time.

Have you developed any particular habits/strategies that facilitate getting things done in your business?

I’ve had multiple opportunities to develop a highly developed set of translatable skills. It’s different when you are doing this for yourself. That you’ve birthed and are growing. Everything has an exquisite pleasure and plan element.

You are intimately focussed, perhaps obsessed about what is needed and right.

Why do you feel women in the 40’s and beyond make fabulous entrepreneurs?

Because we finally get more comfortable with our place in the world and are prepared to do something that’s been burning.

There is much to be said to be able to nurture something that you grow.

You get to an age where you can dispense with some of the superfluous and you get to focus on what’s real.

What would you say to other women who are standing on the edge of their own Next Chapter, not sure if they can take the leap?

No one is sure. I am not sure I ever consciously said lets go – lets do it. There was a particular circumstance that was offered to me which meant I needed to articulate what I had written and thought about into a website. This meant I tumbled into starting something publicly that for a long time had lived in my head.

There is a bracelet I bought for myself. The wording clearly indicates you were meant to be given by someone else I think.

I bought it because the words spoke to me and I repeat them each time self-doubt and overwhelm appear. ‘What if I fail…but oh my darling what if you fly?

What’s next for you? Share your vision with us!

To continue to build the opportunities offered through Two Green Threads. The people in this unrecognised sector give away so much of themselves.

It’s time we had resources that enable us to keep doing this service, for longer, in a more healthy state.

 

When I’m facing something new and challenging I…
go to the ground and teach me all that I can.

 

I know my greatest strengths are…
That I doubt my capacity and skills on most occasions and it motivates me to be prepared and to consider things from another point of view.

Some one-word answers: grit, empathy, intuition, capacity for work, to organise, to strategise.

 

Some of my favourite books are
I use to read for escape but have had little time for that beautiful pleasure for a number of years now. Having said that I read a lot.

I am a philomath I love to learn so I read and gain info and knowledge like I’m thirsty. I read a lot to constantly increase my knowledge.

 

You can connect with Elizabeth here.

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Angela Raspass

Mentoring women in their 40's and beyond to build sustainable businesses blending contribution, fulfilment and financial reward.

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