Shining a light on role models in our community. This issue we have been joined by #teamkind founder Susie Hills, who shares her motivations, challenges, and mission to change the world through kindness.
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m nearly 50…. Not sure how that happened, those who say that time goes faster as you get older are absolutely right. I have two teenage sons and my partner has two grown up sons. This means our house is a pretty busy place. We also have a couple of dogs and six chickens! I grew up in Devon, moved away and then came back when my sons were little. My mum died two years ago and my dad died in November so its been a pretty sad couple of years, like it has for many. I am the co-founder and joint CEO of a management consultancy Halpin Partnership and I am the founder of teamkind. Teamkind is a community interest company which exists to celebrate and encourage kindness. We organised our first major event, kindfest2020 for world kindness day in 2020.
What do you consider your greatest achievement to be?
Bringing up two compassionate young men.
Have you faced any challenges on the way?
My oldest son has suffered from severe mental health problems. He spent a year in bed not really communicating. He expressed suicidal thoughts often and felt that the world was a dark, dark place. He still suffers from anxiety but has learnt how to manage it. Supporting a child who is so unwell is a frightening thing. I was a single parent at the time and without my mum’s support I would have not coped. The lack of support for young people with mental health problems and their families is terrifying. It was incredibly lonely. I often felt that I could not cope and was really quite desperate at times.
Who inspired you to pursue your goals, and why?
I think my drive comes from deep inside me, a sense that life is short and precious and that you should get on and do what you can to make the world a better place. I hate the idea of having regrets. I am impatient to change things that could be better. I have always felt like this. My parents split up when I was 11 and I lived alone with my mum who was incredibly unhappy. I spent a lot of time on my own thinking about how I could make things better.
How do you stay motivated through tough times?
I make a list of all the things I could do to try and make things better even if they are tiny things then I get up and do one of them. When my son was ill it was as small a thing as get up and go and sit by his closed door and tell him that I love him and was here for him even if he didn’t want to talk.
What’s your go to healthy food choice?
I am not very good at healthy eating…. I wish I was.
How do you handle stress and pressure?
I am lucky to be pretty calm under pressure, the more serious the situation the more calm I am. I think I should have worked in some kind of crisis service. Day to day low level stress is harder, I am trying to spot when I have got too tired and need to take a break. To sit somewhere quietly with a notebook and cuppa and have a good ‘think’.
What do you do to unwind?
Watch tv, listen to music, walk the dogs, clean the house, clean the chickens out, bake cakes… I have such a wild and exciting life!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
‘Have an opinion’. I used to be so interested in listening to others and bringing together their points of view that I would lose sight of what I thought and believed. We need people to listen, learn and then have an opinion. As long as you are prepared to learn and adjust your views as required having an opinion is vital to changing things for the better.
What’s your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I would love kindfest2021 to be even more impactful than kindfest2020. I hope we can build a platform for all those who are interested in the power of kindness. To play our part in encouraging people to be kinder to themselves, to their families, their community and to the planet.