Nechelle Bartley is a Canadian financial strategist who helps women entrepreneurs take control of their money and run their businesses like the bosses they are.
At one point in her life, Nechelle was in the dark about her bottom line, and trying to figure out how to get out of debt. She was a single mum and wanted to find the best way to create the life she desired for herself and her son.
Fiercely independent, she didn’t want to ask for help. She believed she had to know it all.
In her journey over the past 10 years, she has learned that being vulnerable with herself was the foundation for her growth.
Nechelle has two unique techniques for connecting with her inner wisdom, and supporting her mental health.
She also describes the pivotal role curiosity has played in her personal growth.
Listen in to learn more.
If you prefer to read, here is the transcript of Nechelle’s recording. It has been slightly edited to make it easier to read and for clarity.
My name is Nechelle Bartley, and I am a financial strategist and coach and founder of Her Future Wealth. I’m located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Family and culture play a role
My mental health story is an evolving one. If I think about myself 10 years ago, I would say that my mental health wasn’t something that I perceived as something to take care of. I had a lot of learned behaviour of powering through things and not talking about how I was feeling about it.
I was also taught to think that mental health was when you had a lack of ability to function in society because of something was going on in your mind and that it somehow requires some type of institutionalization or someone who was heavily medicated.
Within the last 10 years, I have really begun to evolve and grow myself. You start to see that you have to address certain things. You have to explore and look at what are some of your very discomforting feelings that you may be having you never really dealt with it, and you come to the realization that many of us walking around, we have different varying levels of mental health, and that mental health is a spectrum.
But it was never really something that was addressed that way when I was growing up. You definitely didn’t see that in my parents. So it comes up in different ways. Through my own growth and evolution, I’ve seen where the need of mental health comes in, simply because of exploring and realizing certain patterns within myself or seeing particular things that it was necessary for me to not only understand but to address.
“You can’t fully know your whole self without exploring where your mental health is at.” Nechelle Bartley
The key reason mental health and wellness matters to me is simply because I believe that you can’t fully know your whole self without exploring where your mental health is at.
Most of us in our adult life will go through different journeys of transformation. Through those journeys of transformation, you will be seeking things from a goal perspective, if I’m thinking about it from the perspective of my role as a financial strategist.
We may be going after many different goals from our finances, but in knowing that we approach different goals from our finances, it also requires us to explore how we’re thinking about our money and any decisions that we’re making about it.
As you go through these stages you learn more about yourself. You start to see the things that were coming up against you that either helped you to get where you are or prevented you from getting where you are.
“Mental health is a reflection and a window into the relationship that I have with myself.” -Nechelle Bartley
To me, mental health is a reflection and a window into the relationship that I have with myself, in my mind. As much as there may be stigmas associated with the term mental health, because of the uncomfortable emotions that come with it, I do believe with every one of those uncomfortable emotions that come, there is a corresponding positive one that comes with it. That’s where we describe these things as breakthroughs.
What also tends to hinder or not allow us to see fully what our own mental health are the cultural influences. These can hinder us building our authentic relationship with ourselves.
I also believe that because of these cultural influences, many of us may tend to think of the stereotypes of what mental health is, and not necessarily assimilated to our own selves. We use these cultural standards as ways to define whether we’re doing well or we’re not doing well.
But as you continue to evolve and get to know yourself more, you start to realize that you may not necessarily believe in those particular standards. You start to come more into yourself and want to define what that looks like to you.
This is a journey of exploring where your mental health is, and that exploration allows you to be kinder to yourself.
Today I care for my mental health and wellness by doing two things: journaling and having courageous conversations.
I’ve incorporated journaling into my morning routine. There are two types of journaling that I do. One I call prayer journaling. I don’t necessarily sit down and pray out loud. I believe in God, and I write out my prayers to God. It’s a practice of being able to understand. I may read certain passages in the Bible or read certain devotionals, and that may usually bring up certain thoughts and feelings for me. I usually take those insights, along with the things that I may be thinking about or going through, and turn those into written prayers. It helps me to be able to write out what’s going on in my mind.
The beauty in that is that I’ve documented so many of these things that I’m able to go back to them and see where that growth has happened. As opposed to allowing my mind to present me a picture that may not necessarily be as wholesome, I have documented it as it really is. That’s the beauty of journaling.
The second type of journaling I do is thought journaling. This involves looking at what’s going on with my thoughts, and also looking at my beliefs: what beliefs I am trying to strengthen and what beliefs I am trying to adopt? I journal those things out, for the most part, every day.
I also believe in therapy and coaching. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with therapy. You can’t see into yourself fully. We can never see a full, 360-degree-view of ourselves without the help of other people.
And sometimes we have these thoughts or beliefs that are rolling around in our heads, and we don’t realize that they may not be the best of thoughts. Also, some of these thoughts may be also presenting opportunities for you to explore.
Therapy and coaching helps you to uproot certain things that no longer need to be there. It gives you a path to make peace and move forward, to plant new things that are more in conjunction with where you want to go within your life.
The second thing I do to care for my mental health is what I call having courageous conversations. And what I mean by that is having courageous conversations with myself.
The journaling process helps to do a lot of that because it brings up things that I may not realize that are just swarming around in my head. Having courageous conversations with myself enables me to see whether this is something that I want to be pursuing; is what I’m seeing true or not true? Just being honest with yourself about things that you are doing.
These courageous conversations helped me. I also have courageous conversations with others, including friends, family, or the clients I work with. It shows up in different ways. Over time [through these conversations] you learn to have awareness, acceptance and compassion for yourself.
Learning from awareness
The awareness is a big piece, and it could also be the scary piece, but [this is] having awareness and acceptance and compassion without expectation of how it’s supposed to unfold.
By inviting yourself into that relationship to explore to things that are great and not so great, the things that you may consider ugly, you’re piecing all of that out and you are able to create something new from it and learn from it.
“Build a practice around exploring your thoughts from a place of curiosity.” -Nechelle Bartley
My main mental wellness tip that I found helpful is building a practice around exploring your thoughts from a place of curiosity and not judgment.
I have found that a lot of times we can be given insight into our behaviours or our thoughts, but then we tend to get judgmental. We want to clean it up very quickly. And we’ll just say, “This was bad.” Or “I need to fix it.” But I find that when I use the lens of curiosity, I’m able to approach it like, “Oh, okay. This is just data that it’s showing me.”
Instead of saying, “Why are you actually doing this??” and “This is dumb.” or whatever negative thing that your mind may present to you at that time, step back and say, “Well, sure, maybe it’s negative, but it’s going to show me some insights.” It’s going to give you some form of data to further explore, to create a picture with it, and to show me patterns around how I may be behaving with certain things.
“Learning how to be vulnerable is where your true strength will come from.” -Nechelle Bartley
When you explore your thoughts and your behaviours from the place of curiosity and not judgment, I find that it helps you to learn how to be more vulnerable. When vulnerability comes up we tend to have the defensiveness. We want to just suppress that feeling of being exposed. But learning how to be vulnerable is where your true strength will come from when it comes to evolving who you are in your thoughts and your behaviours.
You can’t get to mental wellness and strong mental health without learning how to be comfortable with vulnerability. I think that’s the journey that many of us go on, and it can be a very turbulent one, and many of us have a hard time dealing with that.
Divorce the idea or belief that you have to figure everything out on your own
The one thing that I would share about what I share about mental wellness with women entrepreneurs, is to divorce the idea or belief that you have to figure everything out on your own. Also, divorce the idea that your business is just a small thing, or it’s just contributing to the household bills because that minimizes what you’re doing.
I’ve gone through self-doubt, and I’ve seen many of my other clients and friends go through this when building businesses. The amount of self-doubt that comes in, and the shame that comes up with it, lead you to believe that you’ve got to figure it out on your own. You think if you decide to do something like this, you should have had everything figured out. In the notion that you need to figure things out, you will look at what you are creating as something that’s small. But none of that is true.
For women, money can be a tricky subject. I wish it wasn’t this way, but it tends to be, and it manifests in different ways. [It shows up] when it comes to the entrepreneur perspective and how deep and how far women will go into really building a business and seeing that business not just as something that pays the bills but actually as a business that can allow them to build wealth. [It prevents women from seeing] themselves as wealth builders and that they’re not just contributing to bills, they’re actually building wealth for the family. Even if you’re single, [move] away from the perspective of looking at things just to survive. You want to build wealth.
I know this is not a conversation that many women are versed in. The work that I do with my clients is really around helping them to not lose sight of the goals that they have about their future wealth.
The idea that you have to figure things out on your own really ricochets into so many different areas: building your business, mental health, and how women feel and respond to things.
I would love to see all of us have a better relationship with our mental health and having a stronger wellness practice in place for all of us.
Nechelle Bartley is the founder and head financial strategist of Her Future Wealth. Her mission is centred on normalizing women having healthy relationships with their money and being self-assured with their ability to make the amount of money they genuinely desire to fuel building their own wealth.
She partners with her clients to create customized financial strategies to maximize their revenue, income and profit opportunities. All while helping them navigate all the math and money mindset drama that comes with deciding to shift how they manage their minds and finances, so they can earn the necessary profits and cash flow to build wealth and fund their vision board dreams.
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