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To be at the top of your game, you have to advocate for yourself

Professional athletes see the highest highs and the lowest lows through their careers. One mistake, one injury, and one bad game can completely change your life. With hard work and a little bit of luck, you could achieve greatness. Imagine the feeling: the name on the back of your jersey engraved in history. The climb is difficult and the way down from the top can be treacherous. The worst part? These professionals make it look easy.

In November 2021, one of Canada’s most popular athletes made a bold statement. Carey Price, the decorated goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, announced that he needed help. After reaching the Stanley Cup finals in the 2021 season, he joined the NHL Player’s Assistance Program months later for substance use and mental health issues.

When rumours started to surface that he would be returning, he took that time to put out a message regarding his mental health. He was open, honest, and transparent. Though the National Hockey League has made efforts to be a league of inclusion, there are still many issues with toxicity and inequality. In our day-to-day lives, mental health and substance abuse issues are still stigmatized.

Carey Price’s statement went against the societal norms. He brought his demons out of the shadow and into the light. He was no longer suffering alone, everyone was now a part of his journey. His message was applauded across the league. You didn’t have to be a fan to appreciate his strength and courage.

Though there have been strides towards more awareness and acceptance of mental health issues, it is still seen as a brave act to admit that you need help. It can be tough; you worry that it makes you seem weak, you feel like you’re letting people down, and you worry about people judging you.

Let’s stop right there and clarify a few things. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. We all need help at some point, and it is truly an act of strength to address that. Asking for help is a gesture of strength.

Carey Price’s story was the catalyst for a much bigger discussion within our team. Botree aims to disrupt and evolve our client’s traditional processes. We pride ourselves on creating a positive company culture where our team members feel comfortable speaking up. Despite that, doubt and fear of judgement can still stop us from asking for help when we need it.

In the spirit of Carey Price’s statement, we asked our team members to think about a time where they advocated for themselves. For the sake of transparency and modelling effective workplace communication, we wanted to share the times that we spoke up for our own wellness. We hope that you can feel comfortable expressing your needs and that your needs are met with support.

"What a lesson it has been."

“As a mother of 3, entrepreneur, founder of a Not For Profit Organization and in the midst of establishing another new business, you can imagine my personality…. Yes feeling the need and desire to be everything to everyone, and spiralling when I cannot be everything to everyone! I have recently had to reach out to my mom for help (basic house help, gardening, etc). This may be hard to believe, but as little of an ask as that may seem to others, it has been a mountain hurdle for me. Not only the ask, but then my negative self talk about how “I should be able to do such basic tasks”. Not only has it been a relief to get that help; but I also realized how much it has meant to my mom for me to ask her for help. What a lesson it has been. “

-Teena Sauve, Founder and Senior Advisor

"It was challenging to be vulnerable but rewarding far beyond what I could have imagined."

"My usual go-to move is to put my head down and steamroll through difficult mental health weeks. The Botree team has grown to have a culture where we are open, supportive and connected and I have seen self-advocacy modelled regularly on the team. When I decided to share at the weekly huddle that I had a difficult week and was feeling overwhelmed, I was met with team acceptance and empathy. There was even a leadership-initiated call to action for us to invest in self-care the following week. We laughed and we breathed a sigh of relief. We started the next week's team huddle sharing how we were investing in self-care, alongside our to-do list. It was challenging to be vulnerable but rewarding far beyond what I could have imagined."

-Jordann Bone, Director of Instructional Design

"Sometimes those bigger feelings are hard to carry alone, it helps to have someone else lifting with you."

“I find myself taking anything and everything to heart. The world is so connected now through digital media. This is a really great thing, but it also means we are more aware of every single catastrophic event or climate disaster. I can get myself into “Doom Scrolling” situations, unable to look away from the tragedies happening. I always feel like I’m letting someone down when I’m not informed and empathetic. My climate anxiety has been particularly bad lately, which I suppose is not shocking. Usually, when I feel myself getting overwhelmed and that heaviness in my neck and shoulders sinks in, I keep it inside and wait for it to sort itself out. I realized this method wasn’t working, and reached out to my dad for support. His simple reminder that things are tough, I can do what I can to help, and to continue to be a good person helped to ease my worries. Sometimes those bigger feelings are hard to carry alone, it helps to have someone else lifting with you.”

-Heather Price-Jones, Client Relations Specialist

"I challenge my own mindset and advocate for myself"

“As a female in a male-dominated undergraduate program, it isn't uncommon for my opinions to go unheard in group discussions. In these situations, I am immediately tempted to let others lead the discussion; however, I challenge my own mindset and advocate for myself by not letting imposter syndrome negatively impact my learning and participation! I make an active effort to engage in group settings while ensuring that everyone's opinions are heard, which fosters a more accepting environment. “

-Sylvie Carr, Virtual Facilitator



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