Company: Successful Mindset Ltd
Founder: Linda Sage
About Linda Sage
Linda Sage MA, BA Ed (Hons) is an international speaker, author, trainer and mentor. Linda was born in a middle-class UK family and the first one to go to university. Her father had aspirations of her getting a degree in education or medicine and was quite shocked and disappointed that she had chosen psychology and in particular criminal psychology, but Linda felt like she had found her home. She studied in the prestigious University of Kent and Goldsmith’s University of London, which led her to work in most of the high-security prisons in the UK, with some of the most infamous criminals of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The burnout factor of this profession is extremely high and Linda suffered a major burnout in 2005, which was to shape new international chapters in her life and a new career. Linda moved to Spain, in the following years until 2011 she built up a wellbeing business, at the same time cared for both her elderly parents and a daughter with many SpLD difficulties, dealing with alcohol, drugs and domestic abuse and the death of her spouse.
Linda’s journey to recovery started in October 2005, when she was presented with a photograph her daughter took their 1st day in her “dream home,” by her pool, which had been launched on Facebook to go worldwide. She could not believe that she had turned into a whale. Denial is a very comfortable place to live, Linda was angry with her daughter for 10 days before she realized she was the problem.
Although there were still many personal Everest’s to climb she began her recovery emotionally, psychologically and physically. Linda began by getting herself feeling and looking better, then she started sharing her stories and supporting others going through burnout. What came to light at this time was this is not a small issue, it is global, caregivers are suffering because they care for others, more than they care for themselves.
From 2011 to 2017 Linda was working through medical universities and hospitals in the Middle East teaching resilience, multi-cultural team management, self-care to native and ex-expat medical professionals. In 2017, she returned to the UK, relocating to Leeds, West Yorkshire, where she opened Successful Mindset Ltd and started raising awareness, understanding and prevention of Compassion Fatigue.
Linda has spoken at many international conferences in the UK, EU, USA and the Middle East, she has been a member of the International Toastmaster organization since 2007, being the first western female Area Governor in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, while there she presented a TEDx presentation, her latest book Caring for the Caregiver was successfully launched in November 2017 and has a 5 star rating on Amazon. Linda also joined ELFM radio in Leeds where she broadcasts twice a month.
Over the years Linda has supported and helped thousands of caregivers, but she is aware that the problem of Compassion Fatigue and burnout is not getting smaller, in fact, it is increasing.
What is the business?
Compassion Fatigue (Vicarious Traumatization or Secondary Stress Trauma) is not a mystic ailment it is a very serious element of any caregivers’ life. Even though this syndrome has been well documented for over 35 years, it critically needs awareness, understanding and prevention strategies to be made more accessible to all individuals who provide care on a regular basis, whether professional, voluntary or at home.
Compassion Fatigue is probably one of the most misdiagnosed syndromes, it is often explained as anxiety, depression, or stress, none of these has a single root cause, they have many, but Compassion Fatigue has one root – caregiving – it is all three of these other syndromes and it has a huge factor of self-corrosion, leading to feelings of being overwhelmed and undervalued. In Australia and New Zealand, it is already a recognized syndrome, the rest of us need to follow their example.
Successful Mindset Ltd has been a long time in my mind, but I have come to a very calm, secure and confident time in my life, where I can dedicate my expertise, experience and understanding totally to others. We as a world are getting more dependent on caregivers, but we are not preparing them with the resilience, support or knowledge to be able to care for themselves as much as they care for others.
By running workshops, seminars, mentoring and speaking at conferences nationally and internationally I can get people thinking about their self-care as a necessity, rather than a luxury. My book Caring for Caregiver is a proactive publication, that is based on unloading where the beliefs come from, that your own needs have less importance that the needs of others.
Putting your own oxygen mask on first, is always demonstrated on any flight, but we need to get our caregivers to adopt this to their own wellbeing, so that they can in turn, look after others well.
What are your plans for growth?
I have recently started online mentoring, which is something I had been putting off, but it is a great way to extend my mentoring field. I have kept special low price packages for caregivers, as they are not paid well for their service and dedication. There is also a new Compassion Helpline 01133 18 93 95 that has been launched which is confidential and supportive.
I am speaking at conferences in the UK, Athens, and in various locations in Florida this summer. I will be relaunching workshops in the Autumn, early registrations show me areas of interest, so then I plan the areas of the UK to meet the need.
I am currently working on an ambitious PR and marketing wave to bring awareness of Compassion Fatigue to the general public; this is being done through various media, print, online, videos, Social Media etc.
What are the challenges you have had?
I have had to go the whole journey myself, the stress, the anxiety, the depression, the self-denial, low self-esteem and hit rock bottom, before I could start to come up again. Along the way, I have had some very good people around me and some very spiteful ones, who were more than ready to try and beat me back down.
I was never told about Compassion Fatigue or its ramifications, I had to learn piece by piece and it has been a long learning journey. Millions of tears shed, my self-abuse was food, though I was lucky in many ways because for others it is often alcohol or drugs. Suicidal thoughts, to the point where I had left everything in order, and gone off to find a quiet location; once again I was lucky, I found one reason why not to go through with it. That was enough to keep the light on in a dark tunnel, to take a step forward, each day for many days one thought per day kept me going, until the black tunnel, seems grey and then slowly the odd brighter day comes, then gradually there are brighter days than darker ones. It took me 11years, 8 months and 10 days to walk back into a prison again, even then I was fighting nausea and tears. That was on the 5th June 2017, I am still doing some work in prisons, and it has certainly got easier. It was all part of my healing.
My passion is to help as many caregivers not to have to go down this path as possible, to raise awareness, understanding and prevention of Compassion Fatigue. My dream career and life turned into a nightmare, that just seemed to get worse by the minute until I lost everything, but out of the ashes, a whole new me, with a new passion and new chapters to be written has come about. I am super excited and happy to make the opportunities to lead the campaign to help and empower our caregivers.
What advice would you give?
Caregiving is a vocation, not a job, whether you are a nurse, doctor, police officer, teacher, emergency worker, volunteer, home carer or admin support, you give of yourself every day and think that is normal, but when it comes to caring for yourself, you feel it is like a guilty secret.
Even Wonder Woman and Superman had their incognito personas, to get some downtime from saving the world, caregivers need to do the same. Value the promises you make to yourself, as much as those you make to others. When was the last time you patted yourself on the back and said “well done,” but I bet you can remember the times when you berate yourself and put yourself down? Learn to be kind to yourself, set the example and others will treat you better too.
If you have a diary or a calendar, write in MeX, that is an appointment for Me to do what I want to do, keep the appointment with yourself and for yourself the same as you would if you were meeting somebody else.
Talk to somebody, it is not always easy with friends and family, the investment in a mentor, is the best use of your time and money, somebody there just with your interests and wellbeing in mind. It is an investment, not an expense.
Finally, learn the art of saying “No.” Most caregivers struggle with this.
To know more about Compassion Fatigue and Linda you can go to her website www.lindasage.com
Sign up for her newsletter and get free uplifting and proactive tips of how to offload unhelpful emotional baggage.