Actor, model, mental health advocate, TEDx speaker & fashion designer who released his own underwear label, Nick Bracks reflects on his own personal struggles and paves the way in changing the stigma surrounding mental health.
Nick Bracks is an innovative entrepreneur and much-loved media personality who is confronting mental health issues head on, raising awareness and educating the world on the importance of a healthy mindset.
Bracks multi-dimensional career took off with a series of international modelling contracts and as an Actor for the Australian soap opera, Neighbours. He appeared on two reality TV series ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘Celebrity Splash’, and also released his own successful underwear label called ‘underBRACKS’.
Nick bravely opened up about his personal battle with mental health issues during filming ‘Dancing with the Stars’, in front of a live audience, on national TV. It was one of the most challenging moments of his life, but also the moment he discovered his true ‘career calling’. His long battle and first-hand experience with mental illness inspired him to help others – let people know that they are not alone in the struggle of mental health.
Having personally suffered in silence for many years, Nick emphasises the importance of reaching out and accepting support. His own breakthrough came when his loving and supportive mum Terry, encouraged him to seek professional help, he started working through his issues and his recovery process.
The worst thing you can do is nothing, so just do something. – Nick Bracks
Bracks has spoken about mental health issues at over a thousand educational and corporate events for some of Australia’s largest employers, government organisations, schools and universities – from Qantas to BUPA, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, McDonald’s, The Good Guys and Movember to name a few.
Nick has presented many inspirational TEDx Talk’s spreading the word on mental health issues around the world, encouraging others to speak up and ask for help. He has also worked alongside some of the largest mental health organisations around the globe including Beyond Blue. Nick offers face-to-face & digital consultancy, one-on-one & group training sessions, and available for guest speaking appearances raising mental health awareness.
At Heels Agency, we love to share inspirational articles at the best of times and believe, now more than ever, we could all use a fresh perspective. It’s a critical time both personally and professionally for many of us, and it’s imperative we support one another during and post COVID-19 to come out stronger on the other side. Sometimes, it takes a little encouragement, a sincere conversation and some introspection that makes all the difference, and we believe Nick’s story delivers all the above and more.
I recently had the great pleasure of chatting with the very personable and courages Nick Bracks. He’s authentic, knowledgeable and completely dedicated to his purpose – pouring his heart and soul into improving the well-being of others. – Demi Karan, Heels Agency
Nick was born in Ballarat, raised in a very close-knit and supportive family, a future seemingly set for success. Despite outward appearances, Nick battled internally with anxiety and depression from an early age, culminating into a series of alcohol-fuelled events that turned his life upside.
Aspiring to be a professional football player, Nick trained relentlessly for up to six hours a day, every day. He also threw in some middle-distance running, putting his body through an extremely rigorous exercise routine on a daily basis in order to become the best.
Sadly, all this intense training came with a price. It was a brutal training regime that left him little time to socialise, make friends or have any fun. At the end of high school, aged 18, Bracks’ exhausted body burnt out, leaving him directionless, incredibly alone and into a fast-downward spiral.
I had this notion I had to prove myself and I just couldn’t escape that way of thinking.
If I couldn’t be an athlete there was no point to anything. I didn’t feel like I was enough just being me.
His life suddenly started changing for the worse, leading him down a dark path which was also playing out heavily in the media due to his dad, Steve Bracks prominent public profile, the Premier of Victoria.
Unfortunately, some of Nick’s most challenging moments began after a car accident he had driving whilst under the influence at the age of 20, not only was his friend injured, but he was also charged. Two years later, he was still drinking, dropped out of university and lost all direction, hitting ‘rock bottom’.
I didn’t like who I was. In fact, I probably hated myself then. I was overwhelmed but didn’t know how to stop.
Drinking helped me forget my problems. It gave me a break from feeling anxious 24/7, allowed me to feel free & confident.
The pressure was on to change but Nick couldn’t fathom how to begin. Drinking had derailed his life, but he thankfully received the wake-up call needed to turn his life around and make the drastic but necessary changes.
I wasn’t willing to be honest with myself and about my feelings. I wasn’t willing to face reality.
With the support of his mum and family, Nick finally reached out for help and came to terms with his mental health diagnosis. Nick turned his life around and continues to work on his body, mind and soul on a daily basis, reflecting on his experiences and speaking out to let people know they are not alone on their journey.
Really, my whole 20s were about trying things, failing, learning and searching for what I wanted to do with the rest of my life… that came with a lot of turmoil.
Nick Bracks has overcome many personal and professional challenges in his life making him a relatable and empathetic mentor. He’s passion for helping others is evident in all he does, and he takes a moment to share some tips on how to maintain a positive mindset on a daily basis, as well as during and post COVID-19.
Demi – What does it mean to be a business & wellness leader & where did your ambition come from?
To me it is a great privilege to be able to help people. My ambition came from my own personal experience with depression and anxiety and having to learn techniques to cope and live a healthy life.
I want to share my experiences, help and prevent others going down a negative path.
Demi – What would you say is the distinctive factor about the ‘Nick Bracks’ brand, products & services?
The core focus of the brand, products and services is ‘quality’. We want to deliver the best possible content and make sure the production value is at the highest level we can achieve.
Demi – What advice would you give about ‘breaking’ into the entertainment industry?
I didn’t try to break into the industry. I fell into the entertainment industry through modelling and appearing on several TV shows which lead to an interest and passion for acting.
I developed this passion as a personal outlet, so the work has always been a bonus. The same goes for the wellness work. I was delivering mental health seminars in schools for free as I simply wanted to help, and it made me feel good. It evolved organically, I really enjoy it and it’s become my life work.
Demi – You have such a diverse background. How important is it to pivot and try new things?
It is critical. The world moves at such a fast pace and the market will always tell us what they want.
We need to learn to remove our ego, be adaptable and change quickly.
Demi – What was the dream job when you were growing up, and how did that evolve over the years?
My dream as a kid was to be a professional athlete. Injury put an end to this dream and after years of being off the rails, lost and confused, I cultivated my new dream, which is the path I am on.
Pursuing an acting career while sticking to my goal of making global change in mental health.
LEAP OF FAITH
Demi – Many ‘wonna be’ tv personalities/entrepreneurs etc. struggle with confidence, what advice would you give?
I used to be so scared that I would literally throw up before speaking in front of three people at a time. I was afraid of my own shadow and terrified of being judged.
I have only found one solution to this… jump in the deep end, face every fear head on, be prepared to fail and keep failing until it works…. no matter how long it takes and no matter how painful it is.
Demi – Many are terrified of public speaking, what advice would you give on delivering an awesome presentation?
Speak about topics you are knowledgeable and passionate about like you would to a friend. Don’t worry about the audience, focus on delivery engaging information.
Demi – Did you have any fears starting your business, breaking into entertainment industry and speaking out about your own health challenges?
I was riddled with them… fear of failure, being too old, being laughed at and not having financial security. I still face many fears, but I’ve learnt how to ignore fears I can’t control and purely focus on what I can.
Demi – As they say, ‘hindsight is a beautiful thing’. Looking back would you do anything different? Advice you would give?
I wouldn’t change anything as it has made me who I am today. Regret is an awful thing… we should have the perspective of seeing the good and the bad as shaping us and learning from it.
My advice would be to remove time frames and expectations, follow your goal no matter what and don’t judge the outcome. And, to never allow regret.
Failure does not matter but regret will eat away at you.
OWN SHOW BENEFITS
Demi – What would you say are some of the greatest benefits of running your own show?
The freedom and meaning behind it. And, being able to work towards things that I love daily.
Demi – What would you say are some of the greatest challenges of being a business leader/speaker?
Keeping yourself relevant and staying motivated.
Demi – Who or what would you say has been the greatest influence on your life & business to date and how/why?
My mentors as they have supported and guided me when I didn’t believe in myself. Also, my determination. I may not be the best at certain things, but I will never give up.
Demi – What would you say are the key factors of starting and running a business/becoming a tv personality/keynote speaker?
Being self-motivated, having a strict routine, having enormous resilience, ignoring other people’s negative views and following your heart.
Most importantly – never, ever giving up!
Demi – What advice would you give to others getting into the entertainment industry/starting a business/life?
Keep things simple and don’t worry about the outcome. Make sure you love the daily process and you can’t go wrong.
WHAT IT TAKES
Resilience. It is always harder and takes much longer than expected. There is one simple way to succeed… not give up. Most people eventually will give up so hang in there.
Demi – Have you had to make changes to the way you do business/coaching during COVID-19?
Yes! Like everyone else, I have had to adapt.
COVID-19 WORKING REMOTELY
Demi – What sort of measures have you put in place and believe are important whilst working remotely?
Exercising, meditating and talking openly to friends and loved ones daily.
COVID-19 BUSINESS TIPS
Demi – What advice would you give business owners & employees on how to keep going during the crisis?
Focus on what you can control.
Demi – Do you believe the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on mental health?
It has and will have a major impact globally on mental health.
Demi – Some are feeling defeated & struggling to keep going these days. What keeps you motivated?
Creating a daily routine and not thinking ahead.
Demi – What are you doing to stay positive during these challenging times?
Looking at how I can improve myself during this time.
Demi – Any inspirational advice during COVID-19 to share?
Focus on one day at a time and put your mind to what you can control.
Demi – What tips or advice would you give those struggling with mental health issues during this crisis?
Reach out, ask for help and remind yourself you are not alone.
Demi – Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Stay positive and keep reminding yourself that things will improve.
Demi – Do you have any useful resources, handy tools, apps or tips to share?
Yes, you can use my mental health programs and find these through my website via the LINK.
Demi – Tell us about anything new and exciting coming up?
I have just launched a podcast called ‘Move Your Mind‘. Move Your Mind is a podcast with the goal of breaking down and exploring the mindset of people who have excelled in careers across a range of industries.
Each episode explores what is underneath the individual, what they have been through, lessons they have learnt, and what helped them create a mindset for a healthy life.
We ultimately want to give you, the listener, practical tools to make real change to your mindset and create a better life.
We want to help you Move Your Mind… hit LINK for details.
Real conversations, real people, real advice.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Nick Bracks, a Mental Health Advocate and Trainer is paving the way and changing the stigma surrounding mental health. Hit LINK to see how Nick and his team can help you and your team with his Face-to-Face, Digital Training Programs and Consultant Services.
Nick Bracks shares his insights on work, wellness, mental health and life.
I love what I do because… I love helping people.
Never be afraid of… Failure.
My greatest talent is…Resilience.
My biggest challenge is… Overcoming anxiety.
I overcame that challenge by… Changing the way I think and react.
When starting a business one must… Be open minded.
Most rewarding career moment so far… Doing a TEDx talk.
Best gig… TEDx talks and acting roles.
I’ve loved working with… All of my mentors.
Turning point in life …When I first asked for and accepted help.
On speaking out … It’s critical.
On mental health… Put it above everything.
Mind and body philosophy… Move and meditate daily.
Every day I practice… Exercise and meditation.
I never go to work without… Shoes.
I hope to one day… Keep helping people.
Favourite book/reading… The Power of Now.
Favourite Netflix/Stan series… House of Cards.
Never Underestimate… Yourself.
In my spare time I like to… Get in nature.
My favourite fashion designer is… Cos.
Favourite health fitness/brand… Nike.
Every man needs … Fitness gear.
On perfection… Doesn’t exist.
On every day… Get the most out of it.
On styling… I like simple, plain, all black generally.
On attitude… It’s everything.
On purpose.. It’s important.
On living… Do it your own way.
I absolutely love… Travel.
Success means… Being true to yourself.
What’s next… Many things.
Living the dream means… Doing what I’m doing.
Happiness is… Accepting yourself and not needing external validation.
Advice for kids and adults… Enjoy the moment and create healthy habits.
My favourite quote is… The more we value things, the less we value ourselves.
Mental health signs to look out for… Withdrawal, lack of motivation… anything abnormal that is prolonged.
Who to contact for mental health issues… Many places…Headspace, Black Dog etc… google will direct you to many places.
Stay connected with Nick Bracks via the following links:
Thank you Nick Bracks for sharing your deeply private thoughts and feelings with us and our readers. You’re an impressive man inside and out – honest, humble and truly passionate about making a difference in the world. Your genuine commitment to helping others will have life-changing effects on many. – Demi Karan- CEO/Founder, Heels Agency
If you or someone you know is suffering from any mental health concerns, please reach out and talk to someone or contact one of the many professional organisations available online who are there to help, such as;
Stay healthy, positive and connected. – Heels Agency Team x