On Valentine’s Day, Gold Coaster Nicole Gibson launched an influential new book and online program to help millennials redefine their approach to love in an attempt to combat mental illness.
She’s also been named one of AFR’s Top 100 Most Influential Women and is the former Commonwealth Commissioner for Mental Health (Australia’s youngest no less). We sat down for a chat with 25 year old Nicole about how we can stop mental health from becoming Australia’s biggest health epidemic.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve always had a connection to the Gold Coast as parts of my childhood were spent here, but I decided to officially move back two years ago after travelling and living in Sydney and Melbourne.
What do you love most about our beachside city?
We’ve got the most amazing surf beaches and hinterland to explore. We’re only 50 minutes from Byron Bay and 10 minutes from an international airport, yet I can still ride my bike barefoot to get my morning coffee! Nothing compares to the feeling of flying home into Coolangatta airport after a work trip.
You recently released a book, Love Out Loud, tell us about how it came to life…
It was time, many people had encouraged me to write a book but I never felt the creative pull. I was always too busy on the ground speaking to set aside the time to write. Books are a time for intense introspection. It’s a pretty remarkable story – about 10 months ago, I was meditating on the beach off the East Coast of Spain, when I asked the powers to be, ‘’what’s next for me?” and “how can I continue to serve humanity”. It was in that moment, my phone started to ring and I answered to a woman who proceeded to say; “Nicole, I’m a book coach from Melbourne and I’ve been following your work for many years, I wanted to reach out to ask if you would be interested in my guidance through this process.” Immediately I was struck with that feeling of knowing this was my path, I had goosebumps head to toe and from then on, the book started to write me (literally) – as all great art tends to do.
What has been your journey to get to where you are today?
It’s been a pretty incredible process – I believe my journey really started when I began reframing two very significant questions to life: “what can I get from life and what can I give to life”. From here, I started seeing the truth and gained vision beyond the self and my own ego – I began to heal from a very severe mental illness and the world opened up to my life magic.
You were named one of AFR’s Top 100 Most Influential Women, how did that feel?
I try to not identify with accolades, as it can be easy to get swept up in. I do what I do because it’s my love. It’s an expression of my love. It grows and expands me, and challenges me every day. To be named this, however, was incredibly humbling and reassuring.
What is your mission with this book and beyond?
To help people realise their nature; to turn away from fear and let love take over. There’s no boundary to this message; my mission is to travel the world activating people.
Mental Health is set to be the world’s biggest health epidemic by 2020, what can we do to change this?
Love! Of course! When we strip everyone’s stories back, it becomes clear that mental illness or “disease” is dis-ease…meaning when we’re not in balance or when we can’t find ease. That’s what it feels like when you’re in the darkness. I know this because I’ve been there; it feels like there’s no way out or like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Our culture promotes individualism over community and ambition over fairness – it will be a challenge for us to step out of this collective darkness as it’s difficult to reverse some of these statistics. We need to search inside of ourselves and connect to the part of us that is connected to the whole; my win is your win, your loss is my loss. Here we have the superpowers to change the world. There is nothing more powerful than compassion.
What’s next for you?
I’m about to head over to the UK to give a TEDx talk at Oxford University – it’s a bit of a dream come true.
What’s been the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
There is far more of what makes us the same, than what separates us.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe: Burleigh Social
Restaurant: Estu Izakaya
How does your weekend usually look?
It’s always varied – depending on the stress of my week and whether or not I need to release some stress – but I love going out for breakfast and going to the beach or swimming in waterfalls. Another thing I love to do is head off on a road trip down south – it’s always an adventure.