BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF WITH TALITHA CUMMINS
Feel the fear and do it anyway!
Talitha is a journalist and advocate for change. She worked for the Seven Network for 13 years, most recently as newsreader on the program Weekend Sunrise. Talitha was surprised she ended up in the media industry because she was a shy and introverted young girl! She wanted to be a criminal psychologist and work in prisons, but her family talked her out of it. She was a very curious person and thought journalism would be interesting. Her passion is helping people. Her grandmother was a charity worker and gave so much of her time to others — Talitha thinks it has rubbed off on her.
Talitha took her time to talk to me about how she had to be honest with herself and feeling the fear but doing it anyways!
1. Humble Beginnings
Q: What is the biggest challenge you had faced venturing towards what you are currently doing?
A big challenge for me was being an introvert in a job which required you to be outspoken. I read a book early on called, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway!’ Being that shy girl, I’ve spent most of my life feeling terrified at the prospect of doing particular things, yet pushed through despite the anxiety. For me it was the only way forward. I’d be nowhere today if I listened to my head all the time. You have to challenge your own thinking sometimes.
Q: Have you had times when you thought it was over? That you were going to fail? How did you overcome it?
I started drinking when I was 14 to fight shyness and by my early thirties it began causing problems. I was reporting by day and drinking heavily at night. It wasn’t until my boss intervened that I took action. I’m now four years sober and told my story in an episode of Australian Story last year. I was astounded by the reaction — there are many people going through a similar thing.
Professional, highly educated and high-functioning — we are the modern face of alcoholism. I want to continue to speak out to challenge the stereotypes around addiction and get the conversation going. I used a combination of exercise, therapy and support groups to overcome my addiction. I believe exercise is the key factor in finding and maintaining happiness and stability. It is so important.
Q: How flexible is your schedule as a professional?
For me, working 5 days a week in a 9–5pm job is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole! I only realized that after working a long time in a job like that. Flexibility is key to me thriving — I now work sporadically doing media training, speaking engagements, some radio gigs and I’m the happiest I’ve been. I’m also a share trader. I love the flexibility of it. I research stocks at night and trade during day.
Q: What inspires and empowers you?
I was motivated by money and status in my early years. It wasn’t until I was exposed to a lifestyle like that I realized it’s all rubbish. I always knew I wanted to help people — both of my parents are such beautiful humans. Both mum and dad would do anything for anyone. And my grandmother gave so much of her life to help others. I remember from a young age going to St Vincent de Paul with her and helping her sort clothes for homeless people. I now realize I can help people by being honest and telling my story.
4. Do you have non-work habits that help with your work-life balance? What are they?
Exercise! I have to do something everyday — for my mental health and the physical effects. It gives you motivation and releases endorphin. It’s my go-to for everything. If I’m stressed, then I exercise. Tired, I exercise. Happy, I exercise! I also meditate. There’s an app called Headspace which is a fantastic guided meditation. I did a course in Transcendental Meditation to learn properly. It’s the best stress relief. It keeps you focused and gives your mind a break.
5. What is the best piece of advice you have received or came across for those reading this?
Be honest with yourself about what’s going on in your life. Are you finding yourself in the same place, doing the same thing and you’re not happy? Address your issues. There is so much freedom to come from being honest about what’s going on. I think I only started living at 33 years old when I did this. I’d also encourage people to have a couple of different revenue streams. Have some investments working for you while you’re working.
Watch Talitha’s Australian Story Here. To view her work or invite her for your event, visit talithacummins.com.au
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