Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
Hey, everyone, welcome to my first episode of a proportional response podcast, my first guest is a great one. He's my uncle, Mike Walker. We sat down on Christmas morning and had a chat about a variety of things that will no doubt be very helpful to so many people in various ways. So I'm really glad you took the time to sit down and chat with me. You may be wondering what career path to take or unsure whether the career you're pursuing is indeed the right one for you.
Well, we talk about career changes Marker's undergone, how he has taken transferable skills from each job to complement and even enhance the ones he does now. We talk about stress coaching, an area of work that Mike is pursuing and looking to help young people around the age of 13 to early 20s was stress, anxiety and other challenges that come with modern life. On the back of this, we talk about social media and its impact on young people today before finally we explore self reflection, mindfulness and the importance of self evaluation before briefly covering the emasculation of activities such as yoga, which we both enjoy.
So this is a jam packed episode, which I hope you will enjoy because I had a blast interviewing him. He was very gracious to do this, particularly being the first one to do so. And I'm pleased how the conversation goes. And hopefully you get an essence of what makes me adore him so much. So without further ado, this is my conversation with Mike Walker. Okeydokey, thank you for joining me on, Cormark. Yes, pleasure.
So I'm just going to jump right in to some questions because, uh, when I think of you and I think of things that people can really learn from, what I know about you is that you've changed your careers quite often. You started as a pharmacist and you've gone through quite a few different professions which are well, I think you could say quite different from pharmacy. So I was just going to ask what this transition was like. When you go from something that you studied at university and you're classified as an expert into something that's fairly new and something that's different to what you studied, basically.
Yeah, it was it's been quite a long and winding path. And I started and I was working as a pharmacist over 20 years. And near the end of that time, I was starting to get a little bit bored partly. And also I I realized that I wanted to do something and that I felt was a bit more aligned to who I was. And that gave more of my talents. And I was using more of what I was good at.
Mm hmm. So I noticed I was always very good at talking to my customers and sort of empathizing with them and and rather than just dispensing medicines, which is mostly what we do as a pharmacist. I had the highlights were always when I was giving sort of advice or, you know, trying to help people with health issues was that I was I keepa when you studied at university that they or did they tend to focus on the more delivering of the right medication?
Did they focus on the interaction stage or is that something that came more naturally?
Yeah, I know there was I don't think there was any training in that when in the pharmacy degree outlet. I mean, maybe it's changed now, but it was very much and I think still is very much a scientific Yeah. Degree. OK, so it was still very sort of science based and so.
Yeah, and that's something that I have now changed and that and when I started to retrain, I was I got very much into learning about coaching and interrelationships. Yeah. Communication skills and and some therapy training as well. So there was lots of different trainings that I did when I decided to make the shift from pharmacy into coaching, which was my first sort of shift that I made. Yeah. Um, so for anyone listening to this podcast, who, who is maybe thinking about that, then maybe don't want to go into the profession that their degree entails, what sort of skills are required to be flexible enough to transition into a different career?
Well, I think you need to have faith in yourself, you know, and and be clear about what you're passionate about.
Yeah. And I think you also need to be practical because, you know, if you are going to make a shift from something that you spend a lot of time training in, often the way to do it is is gradually OK. And because sort of financially it can be hard. You know, you need to make money. Yeah. And so, you know, you need to find a way to keep that sort of financial stability, but also have some space and time to shift, make the shift and do the training for the new for the new thing.
I mean, I was I personally was quite lucky in that respect that I the pharmacy business was sufficiently successful. So I was able to not have to work too much and still earn money. Yeah. So that was, you know, passive income is a very powerful and useful thing to think about, you know, have a ways of doing that. Yeah. So definitely having a grounding in a passion and then maybe using your spare time or taking time off, starting to focus on something that makes you maybe more happy or feel more of it a bit more complete maybe.
Yeah. Well I think. Things that excite you, things that sort of match your values and match your sort of skills, you know what you're naturally good at?
Well, like you said, you want you like the interaction with. Yeah. So, yeah, that was a piece for me that was that was very important. And I felt that I was good at that piece. Yeah. That was something I was told actually when I was at school, I did a I went on a week's training with a bunch of Down syndrome and all the sort of there were some of them were all quite old, but they were very old.
But a group went to the Isle of Man and the guy running the course and running the trip sort of said, you know, Mark, have you ever thought of doing anything with social services? Because you seem to be very, very good at this. Yeah. And at the time, I was already down the path of becoming a pharmacist. Yeah. I didn't pay much attention to that at the time. But since, you know, 20 years later, you start to realize that, you know, there was there was a lot of truth in what he said to me.
And I think maybe people more at my age who maybe, again, studying a degree. Did you do you consider learning pharmacy a waste of time or maybe not a waste of time, but maybe a slight regret that you didn't follow at so. Well, I've never I've never looked back in terms not in terms of like thinking I wish I'd done something different because it it gave me a lot of useful skills and it gave and it gave me also a solid financial base.
Yeah. You know, so that was that was a very good thing. That gave me the time to do the training that I wanted to do. And and it's sometimes you don't know until, you know, you try something for a while. You know, it's not we can't always know exactly what we what we want to do, what we're good at. And so it's by trying different things that you can find out what it is you're good at and what it is that you really want to do.
You know, what is it that has meaning for you and where you've got that much of your abilities and somebody offering something that somebody wants from you, you know, and is prepared to pay for it as well. So there's a few different sort of criteria. OK, well, there's a I think you're saying there's like there's transferable skills. Now, you learn from pharmacy that have allowed you to be maybe more successful at doing what you eventually decided to do.
Yeah, I mean, one of the sort of having that sort of physiology medical background has helped me to explain the physiological effects of stress for people, for example.
Yeah, I'm able to sort of like explain that to people in the more biologically, biologically what what happens, you know, the parasympathetic sympathetic nervous system and just explaining and having that sort of background knowledge gave me some ease and comfort in terms of giving people information that would help them understand what was going on for them a bit better. Yeah. And also allows you to have, I guess, that fallback in case you maybe tried life coaching on your side.
Actually, perhaps not for me. I can go back to a pharmacy as well.
Yeah, I guess so. That's something. Yeah. Yes. That was always there, I guess, as a fallback if I needed it.
But I think that is really comforting for especially me to hear or while I'm studying politics. But if someone say I'm studying engineering, it's a bit more certain that they're going to become an engineer rather than like know politics and become a politician. So if you are, for example, studying engineering to hear that if they don't enjoy engineering, they can still use the skills that they've maybe acquired during that course. Yeah, I think that's very comforting. Yeah.
I mean, I really think that all the experiences that we have, whatever we're doing, we're, you know, we are they're all useful, however different they might be. A new path might seem. I really think that we do everything is useful for us. You know, we're always continuing to learn. Yeah, yeah. And there's a lot of there's a lot more crossover than people realise is. Yeah. That's a really good point. There's a lot more crossover.
Yeah. Um, so we'll move on slightly to what you're most recently doing I think. And that's stress coach. You know, I don't know if you've already set up or if you're in the process of just finishing off the website now. Yeah. And you're trying to tell us a bit about. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I originally came about because I've been working for the last seven years working with golfer's elite golfers. Yes. And professional golfers and helping them to perform better.
And some people would call it like a mind mental game coach, mind coach. And when I've been working with quite a few juniors because I have been working with the juniors from the age of 13 to 18, and what I got feedback from them was that the the tools that I've been using with them were really helping them in all areas of their lives. Yeah, and I've always been aware of that, to be honest. The what I'm helping clients with the skills to perform better in golf.
They're all those skills are transferable in all sorts of different pressure situations and performance situations at work, you know, with relationships and with family. Yeah. And just as I said to before, one of the reasons I wanted to expand my own niche, if you like, was because the wrong one. Well, I so far have not been able to attract enough elite golfers to make a sufficient sort of living from it yet. And I've also just my son is going to a bilingual school and there's so many parents talk about the pressure and the stress and the challenge of it for for the particularly when they get into their teens.
Yeah. And I wanted to be of some support in that. And I've always I loved working with that age group as well, because I feel I can make a big difference. Yeah, because they're a little bit more open minded than adults are as well. OK, that's interesting. I never really thought of them being more open minded in my experience. Yeah. You may be able to tease them, to tease them, but like being able to make them open up as well a bit more.
I think that's quite a good quality of yours, is that you are able to. Thank you. Yeah. Well, people tend to feel that they can trust you know, they have a sense they have to trust me. Yeah, I'm very grateful for that. And it creates an opportunity to help. Yeah. So you mentioned Leo as he may be a large or a considerable factor in you deciding to do that as well as the nomination?
No, I mean, being a father and I can see how hard it is for the parents to. Yeah. To be able to always have that good influence on that on their children, particularly when you get to the teenage years when there's a natural sort of separation. Yeah, it is. Is that is that is the child. You're your model becomes more independent. They naturally rebel against their parents. And I think that's sort that that's a time when a lot of young adults really need some mentors.
I mean, you go back into sort of past into the past, people would be living more in community and there would have been other elders around that would have been able to help these teenagers. Yes, but the society doesn't really support that system so much now. So there's a there's a lot there's there's something missing, I think, for the age group. Yeah. It's definitely something that I can relate to in the sense that there are some things where maybe when you're going through teenage years that you don't quite want to speak to your power, no awkwardness or whatever.
Yeah. And maybe you're not confident enough position to talk to your friends about it. So having maybe someone external from that, although you are family to me, but like maybe having someone external from your immediate family. Yes. To be able to open up to is quite valuable. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.
That's I think that's one of the big you know, that's where that's where I'm hoping to be of really good value to to to families and to the teenager, to the teenagers and young adults and to the modern society. Doesn't make that easy now. Yeah, well, speaking of modern society, I was going to ask whether you believe that social media maybe of millennials and people of my age bracket maybe has a. Greater impact on these stress anxiety levels to have you thought about the impact of social media?
Well, yeah, I mean, for sure. You know, there's a lot of that in the in the press and in social media. Yeah, yeah. That social media, you know. Yes. I mean, it has an effect for sure. Whether that's more than there was before, I don't know. I mean, maybe. Maybe there is. Yeah, there is. It's hard to tell. It's hard to tell that one. But but this for sure that has a that has a big effect on on youth now.
And I think that they're exposed sort of more a bit more vulnerable. And people can easily that public shaming and public naming is so much easier to do now than it ever was before. And that's a real it built into our systems that we have a deep fear of. That's because in the past, if you go back, you know, hundreds of thousands of years, that that could have meant death, because if we get isolated from our client or tried.
Yeah, we we are we can die because we need our tribe to survive. And we're still wired with that. So there's a reason why public speaking is one of the is feared more than death. You know, we've done a lot of surveys and it's because, you know this if we are and seem to be different or strange, we can feel we can be frightened of being isolated. Yeah. And the isolation in the past could have caused our death.
So it's it's something that I heard in a podcast. I can't remember which one, but someone talked about the impact of social media in a way that some of you touched upon, the way we, like traditionally evolved in a way that we're meant to live in tribes of 30, maybe 50 people. Yeah. And of that tribe, you're likely to be the best are very good at something. For example, you could be the best hunter or the best cook in that tribe.
Yes. But now with social media, there's billions of people you're competing with, not just like the 50 people. Good point. And so you can also, like, I enjoy playing football and maybe say I want to be the best footballer ever. And then I look on Twitter and there's a 14 year old player for Barcelona or something. I'm here thinking, what? Yeah. So and also, nobody quite portrays their true self on social media.
Yeah. The big thing is that it's the highlights of the positives. So it's maybe comparison things. Yes, it is very competitive. It can be very dangerous. Yeah. Yes. I mean I always is a sort of the I always encourage people to to compare themselves with themselves. Yeah. That's much more, a bit more than than they do with with everybody else. Although it's useful to have some comparisons with other people at some level. But really it's our journey and you know, and it's about us improving.
That's, that's how I see it. You know, how can we take our skills and improve and prove them, you know, rather than. Yeah. Trying to be the best, you know, and with social media, we can't be the best because we're competing, as you said, with the world, you know. Yeah, you can certainly seem that way. Yeah. Super hard. You know, it's too much pressure. Yes. People.
So that's that's really good. I'm glad you're doing well because I can see how you can I help a lot of people and I think you're going to be very good at it from my personal experience. Um, let's jump into something that I thought of when I knew I was well. When you agree to be interviewed by me, was that the words that often sprung to mind was mindfulness and self reflection. That's something I've experienced quite heavily with you. And you've actually been on a few courses, such as like F.T. you've been on yoga retreats.
Um, so what are the benefits you think of the sort of nature of retreat, maybe expressing more mindfulness? And what is it provided you maybe in terms of knowledge of yourself or just in general?
Um, well, if you're talking about mindfulness specifically. Yeah, I think. One of the key awarenesses I try and pass on to my clients is the sort of self-awareness is like the starting point, because if we're not aware of what we're doing, then we can't really make any changes. Yeah, you know, this is step number one. You know, be aware of how you're behaving and thinking and how you are emotionally. And from there, then you can you can start to make some changes if you if you so wish and without self-awareness, then we're blind, really, and we're sort of just on autopilot.
So mindfulness and sort of self reflections and sort of the coaching paradigm and having somebody external to us can be very useful to help us to sort of be more aware of who we are.
And as a starting point, then make a decision or I'm if I'm like this, what how would I actually like to be? Yeah. And and knowing that we are open to change, we can change because that's not a given. Some people don't appreciate that and they think that they're sort of stuck with with exactly how they are. Yeah. So there's there's there's different levels of it. But yeah. Self-awareness and mindfulness I think is is the fundamental starting point for all sort of change and growth.
It is quite a difficult thing to like, make yourself to do almost because you almost have to stop yourself and say, because I don't know, the world feels like it's going so quick because some really true I mean, yes, I think we have to be very different, particularly these days. I mean, it was the same when I, you know, going back 20, 30 years. Yes. The world is faster now and. But it was pretty fast then.
Yeah. I mean, there's quotes going back into the eighteen, eighteen nineties saying, oh, the world is much faster now. You know, every generation can say that. I guess if the modern age and yes it is, we have to sort of make a conscious deliberate effort to stop and say yeah, yeah, get out, you know, step off the world and just step back. Yeah exactly. Because it's something that I tend to forget to do, because I mentioned to you before this that I remember just going around to your house, me and my sister, when we were younger, and we'd make like collages of what we'd want to achieve in the next year, maybe stuff that we enjoyed from the previous year that we want to take forward.
Yes, stuff like that. And you asked me if I still do it and I don't. But it's something I think of with fond memories. And I need to I need to maybe be more proactive in and doing. Yeah, I think it maybe be the same with other people that maybe it seems like such a huge thing to maybe think of is like just self-assessed thing. It's also makes to be quite vulnerable in yourself, which isn't always.
Yeah. Yeah. People. Yeah. I mean and people often will unconsciously sort of allow themselves to be wrapped up in being busy to avoid using the child. You know, that's a really good point. You have life challenges. I mean, I was that was definitely what I was doing a large part of my early adulthood. I just kept myself very busy and there was some sense of a fear of like, well, if I stop, then I'm just left with me.
And I'm not sure that that is, you know, scary somehow, you know. Yeah. Like, I'm not actually that busy and the Christmas holidays. But I think of, like, I almost make up things I need to do so that I don't need to think about maybe stuff that I can self reflect on or anything like that, like New Year's resolutions or something. Yeah. So it can be scary, you know, to take that sort of deeper look at ourselves.
Yeah. And it takes some courage and real conscious choice and which is not always easy for people, but it's a good choice. I mean, I agree. I totally I, I believe so. Yeah. It's something that's been really important to me. But what tends to happen, unfortunately, that it was a bit the same thing for me is we tend to have the tends to be like a shock or something sort of really hard happens. Yeah.
That sort of pushes us to like make the conscious choice to be more self reflect. Yeah, and it doesn't have to be that way, you know, but but for most people, if life is like OK and then they're not really suffering too much, then they don't. Yeah, they don't tend to always think to reflect. Yeah. It takes sometimes a trauma.
Yeah. It takes some like a you know, a serious breakup in a relationship, maybe a relative passing away and something, you know, physical health issues. There's different things that can trigger that sort of desire for self reflection. And that's yeah, that's that's been my experience.
Yeah. I do agree with that. Um, you've also been on yoga retreats and such retreats as activities as this. And I always wonder when thinking about these activities such as yoga, Pilates or whatever, because others quite a large emasculating nature to it, as I've crossed your mind, because I know, like, for example, with my mom, you've been on like a yoga retreat for a week, was intensive. But say, if I was to do, I'd feel a bit nervous about maybe.
Yeah, I think it's something that I've never really been worried about personally. I think I'm slightly unusual in that respect, OK, because I've always I've always been really comfortable with my sort of, you know, feminine side. I've never been frightened of that more. My challenge has been getting comfortable with the masculine side. OK, so that's up for me. Yeah. There's nothing there's never been an issue, OK, because like, for example, I was playing in a team and one of the guys in the team was saying, yeah, I started doing yoga.
And it's it's it's really, really helpful. Like I've never been this flexible. I limit my injuries, but I almost had to sell it to us in a way that emphasized the masculine qualities I like. Oh, it's really challenging. And it's like when you come out, it's quite painful sometimes. And it's like, yeah, we felt the need. Well, it's not just him. Like, I would probably do the same. Sure. And like, for example, I'm playing Ultimate Frisbee and it's not them.
It's like traditionally but maybe it's more shows. Yeah. Because it's noncontact as such. So I would probably do the same when describing it that way. I would say yeah, actually physically taxing and shooting. Even my friend who plays Frisbee but also plays lacrosse, he would say if someone was saying, oh, what do you play, you'd play say I play lacrosse before saying she would play Frisbee. So I mean, it's something that's very conscious to me.
But it's it's great to hear that it's it's maybe not as nice as Provan with you when you think when you've done it, you've maybe just done it because you enjoy it, which is really what it's about. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I always well I mean I was like being around women. Yeah. You know, you know, it's it's you know, it's very enjoyable to a company company, you know. So I've never had a problem with that.
I've never been worried about being sort of standing out in that respects. But yeah, I and I'm sure many, many, many, many of the men might. Yeah. And it's just been I've just been always been OK with it. OK, that's good.
But that's just about it. It's quite nice timing I suppose, around half an hour or so. Yeah. Yeah. Um, thank you for joining me. It's Christmas Day so we've taken it. Yeah. Well half an hour of Christmas Day so. Yeah. Thank you. We can go back to eating now. Yes. Looking forward to the turkey so. Yeah. Thank you.
Well that was my conversation with Mike Walker. Um I'd like to thank him again for joining me. It was, uh, was very nice of him to do so. I'll be posting these interviews on a Facebook page. So feel free to like or even share these episodes. Um, and, yeah, I'll, uh, I'll see you again very soon, hopefully with a new guest.