By Dominic Monckton
The first time I spoke for batyr was right when I emerged from the darkest and most chaotic years of my life. I’d suffered a traumatic brain injury and the resulting shockwaves had left me a terrified young man – struggling to re-establish my identity but unable to ask for help. I felt confused, guilty, depressed and anxious.
I didn’t embark on the Being Herd program because I was fully recovered. Speaking about emotions is not something that comes naturally to me. It feels prickly confessing your breakdowns, your struggles or any other moments of weakness for that matter. That’s true for everyone, I think.
However, I cannot describe the unexpected rewards of opening myself up to moments of public vulnerability. Ironically enough, the process of sharing my struggles was vital in overcoming them.
Being open, being honest and being flawed makes for a story more powerful for both the audience, and the speaker themselves.
It has allowed me to practice courage, to be resilient. Fear is something we all experience. Freely admitting to my hardships stretches me. Attempting to express my personal failures and mistakes was outright terrifying. Being candid in this way requires strength and being resilient requires practice.
To this day, after sharing my story hundreds of times, I still feel challenged when speaking about my experiences. However, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences and the talk absorbs me completely. It requires 10-15 minutes of intense focus. A unification of awareness and action. A loss of fear, of self-criticism.
In every talk, I’m working just above my comfort zone and this added push enables me to move past any obstacles. It’s an opportunity to thrive, to silence the noise of day-to-day life and work at my optimum.
The vulnerability I face when sharing my story is fundamental in helping me show up for the rest of my life.
Then there are the students. This is where the real magic happens. The feedback is instant and raw. You can see and feel a shift in the room as they listen to you opening up to them about the good and the bad.
I’ve been lucky enough to speak with thousands of young Australians. Their empathy, enthusiasm, candour and thanks, humbles and motivates me. The students create environments that positively enforce my belief that it’s not weak to speak.
I’ve had 17-year- old men, with tears in their eyes, in front of their mates come and ask for a hug. I’ve received countless handwritten notes of thanks, with students telling me they found the strength to ask for help after hearing about my trials and tribulations.
These stories are helping build a community of emotional resilience. Creating connections founded in hope, in wisdom and the realisation that we have the strength to help others.