C-Suite Profile - Nicholas Lord
CEO of NOCAP Sports
What life events or challenges that you’ve experienced (could be minor, could be major) – whether you’ve experienced them directly or via someone close to you, have had any type of impact on your ability to feel the healthiest you can feel from a mental health standpoint?
I didn’t have one major event that caused my mental health to decline. For me, it was more of an accumulation of smaller events coupled with unrealistic expectations that I set for myself throughout my life. I would put so much pressure on myself to achieve these near impossible things and if I didn’t achieve them, I would call myself a failure and would not be able to let it go. I was so hard on myself for so long that it destroyed my self-esteem. I got to points where I felt useless and I didn’t think I would ever make anything of myself. I experienced family trauma, mentally abusive “mentors”, failed businesses, heartbreak and I have been around mental health disorders my entire life with family and friends. A lot of these smaller events occurred towards the end of my high school career and during college. I knew my mental health was declining but I didn’t have the guts to tell anyone. I let it take over my life. After having one of the worst anxiety attacks of my life followed by days of depression that kept me bed-ridden, I finally decided to speak up. I remember being on a bus-ride home from a basketball game and I texted my mom “I am not okay.” She was so unbelievably supportive that I decided to see a doctor and finally got the help I needed. Holding things in will never get you anywhere. One negative thought leads to another, then to another, then to another, all the way until you feel like you can’t do it anymore. It is important to know someone cares about you and they want to help. You just have to give them the opportunity.
How did those life events/challenges listed above impact your ability to think, feel and function on an optimal level? If so, did this have any impact on work performance?
For so long, I pushed my feelings and negative thoughts so far down that it severely impacted my day-to-day life. There were nights that I could not sleep and would wake up every 30 minutes drenched in sweat. There were days where I missed classes, practices and meetings because I could not leave my room. There were days where I would go on drives just so I could be as far away from people as possible. My thoughts were almost always negative and I always expected the worst. This made me feel completely unmotivated and damn near pointless. My ability to perform in all aspects of my life was on a downward spiral and you could see it, but nobody knew why. I was always so great at hiding things that no one would have even been able to guess what I was going through in my head.
How did those events impact you emotionally/morally? Did they influence the way you view mental health?
These events and my struggles with mental health have completely shifted my perspective on life. It helped me realize that it’s okay to be vulnerable. You don’t have to be the tough guy all the time with no emotion to be successful. The reality is, most people are going through something mentally. A good majority of them just decide to hold it in. When you gain that confidence to own the fact that you struggle and are willing to share that story, you become unstoppable. Mental health, to me, is one of the most important aspects of a company. You must create an open environment where everyone feels comfortable to be themselves, not just an employee. Doing this allows people to work hard and stay motivated for one another which leads to overall company growth and success.
What methods or practices have helped you become more mentally fit, optimizing the way you think, feel, function overall?
When the doctor told me I had severe anxiety and depression, I began actively working to improve. I tried therapy, anxiety and depression medication, meditation, picking up new hobbies…everything. Even though I tried all of those things, the thing that helped me most was talking about it with people that I cared about. Talking to my family, my best friend, my girlfriend at the time, and people who were going through similar struggles, was what helped me. Getting it out of my mind and into the world helped me improve my mental state drastically. Doing that, along with building a business that I love with amazing people everyday, and keeping in close contact with my family, I was able to get off medication and put myself on an upwards trajectory. I still have moments that aren’t the best and I don’t feel myself, but overall I am happy with who I am and where I am at and I could not be more excited for what is to come.
Why did you decide to share your story (whether previously or on this site for the first time)? Who were/are you hoping to help and how?
I like to share my story because I think there is always a chance it could impact someone else in a positive way. I think that everyone is struggling with something inside and people need to know that it is okay to talk about it. It doesn’t make you weak. I thought for the longest time that if I talked about my experiences with mental health then people would take that as a weakness and I wouldn’t get the respect that I wanted. I hope sharing my struggles inspires others to do the same.
If you have told your story before, how did people react when you went public? If you have not previously shared your story, how do you think people will react?
I told a brief version of my story on Linkedin and a few other social channels a few months ago and got an overwhelming amount of positive feedback from friends, family and people I had never even met before. It even inspired a few people to share their own story. I had one person in particular that reached out to me and said that my story saved her life that day. You never know who’s listening.