It’s All About Love – Nadine Robson

It's All About Love - Nadine Robson

“My mum was all about love and loving” says Nadine Robson. We learn from an early age that what helps is being open and comfortable with energising conversations.

Energising is about not getting stuck in that place of feeling in despair or feeling overwhelmed, having a glimmer of hope. Nadine learnt the importance of mental health and getting alongside people, understanding those experiences and deepening the empathy for ourselves and others.

Supporting people with their mental health encourages people to know that whatever it is they are going through. They build the confidence that they can get through whatever challenges they face. Suffering and hard times are not pleasant when they happen, but there can be relief in knowing that these things too will pass, and they get the support they need to go through those challenging times.

MOE Foundation was founded by Darren and Nadine founded as a legacy to their mum who just loved everybody. Moe stands for Me, Others, Everyone. “It’s all about people feeling as if they’ve got a community, a place where they belong. And more than that, a place where they’re loved. So really providing a platform for the community and what do you need?

It recognises the power of love, connection, acceptance of the uniqueness of each individual and really embracing difference” says Nadine.  Listening is key. Ximena Vengoechea’s Listen like you mean it supports Nadine emphasis on the importance of listening to understand and being curious.   Nothing is more important than letting people know they and their lives count.  It really is all about love.

Nadine runs courses giving people the confidence to be able to have conversations around mental health.  People get tips and strategies for putting things into practice and taking skills away. 




Paula: 00:00:00 Welcome to “TesseTalks” with your host Tesse Akpeki and co-host  Paula Okonneh. Where we share with you top leadership and management strategies. This is a journey of discovery. We are learning that leadership is personal and professional, and we hope you will walk with us on this journey. Our guest today is Nadine Robson, and we will be talking about wellbeing and supporting others to have confidence. The topic will be “well being and confidence builders” of course. Let me tell you something about Nadine. Nadine is the founder and self-titled chief wellness advocate at dragon fly wellness dorset. A creative facilitator and coach who founded dragon fly WD to support others, to have the confidence, clarity, support and practical tools to have energizing conversations about mental ill health. Nadine is also a founding trustee of the MOE foundation, a community of positive change makers. Welcome to “TesseTalks” and I will hand over to Tesse. 

Tesse: 00:01:15 Hi and welcome Nadine, it’s really wonderful to have you on the show. I’ve always admired you. And if I do kind of go goose cause I I’m in admiration of you, I’m really curious about your thoughts about mental health and wellbeing and resilience. This is really topical now. Tell us about what brought you to this work and why it matters to you this much. 

Nadine: 00:01:44 Thank you it’s really lovely to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me. Oh my gosh where do I start? Well, I think for me really, when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. I was introduced in quite a young age really. I think because of experiences that we had from quite a young age and just growing up around people experiencing mental illness and just seeing the impact that it can have. Not only for the individual, but other people around them as well. I talk about it a lot, it’s like that ripple effect of when it comes to mental health. And so for me I just, I realized that quite a young age what impact it could have if people didn’t get the support didn’t have the confidence to maybe reach out and talk to other people. And then for myself, as I started going through my own experiences. Particularly through my twenties, they were quite a tricky years for me. And I just realized that if I don’t figure this out for myself what it means to experience wellness, no one else is going to do it for me. I’ve really got to figure this out for myself. So just went on, I mean, people talk about going on journeys don’t they? It wasn’t like a real deep spiritual journey or anything. But just really trying to understand myself and figure out what kept me well and just really paying attention to what kept me well. They spend a number of different things through my life really that have got me to this point where I now operate my business very much focused around wellness and wellbeing.

Tesse: 00:03:09 That’s so beautiful. I love that thing about a journey. And I love when you said this journey started with me. I love it cause it’s sort of going inside and coming out. Some people start with others and then they go in, I found the most powerful things is when it starts with us. Paula, you are curious about this journey as well weren’t you? 

Paula: 00:03:31 Similar to you Tesse, I love the fact that Nadine you said they started with you. And so I’m curious about what you do to support others to have the confidence and now the clarity. How do you go about helping them to feel supported in this journey? 

Nadine: 00:03:47 Yeah, so predominantly what I do at the moment is I deliver a course called Mental Health First Aid. So I’m based in England, I deliver mental health first aid England courses. And that course is really about giving people the confidence to be able to have conversations around mental health. And I say mental health because it is that whole spectrum. Sometimes the term mental health gets used when people are talking about illness. But we all have mental health, we all know this. This is mental health awareness week here in the UK this week. So as you say, it’s very topical right now. And a lot of people talking about wellbeing with everything that’s happened with the coronavirus as well. Just really recognizing that impact for all of us. So predominantly what I do at the moment, as I say, is deliver programs to individuals and to organizations around. Having conversations about mental health and wellbeing. Because for me, that’s what it all comes down to. It’s really about us all starting to get comfortable with talking about mental health. And that sounds really simple and we all kind of on a theoretical level gets it. And we all go, yes yes, we know we need to talk about our mental health. But then what happens is there’s so much stigma, there’s so many barriers that stand in the way for people being able to open up. Even something as simple as, oh I don’t want to bother anyone else. Everyone else has got so much on their plate. I don’t want to burden them. This is why I talk about energizing conversations, because it’s really about removing those barriers starting to recognize that we’re all in this together. We’re all figuring it out as we go this thing called life. So let’s all really just open up the conversations and just talk and explore. Not be too fixed about what things mean as well. That’s definitely a conversation I regularly have on my courses. Is that for me, it’s not about putting people into boxes of, well this is you this is your diagnosis this is who you are. Because even if somebody’s got a diagnosis of depression. For example clinical depression, It’s actually really unique to them and what it means for them to experience that. It’s what is their experience of having depression? What does that really mean for them? So for me, that’s why I say it’s about just being open and being comfortable with having these conversations. And they’re not always easy, they really not. I’m not trying to make it sound as if it’s simple and straightforward. So on the courses quite often for people it’s we start to learn some tools, a framework that people can use for having conversations. But ultimately the learning starts when people then start to put things into practice. The course is one thing, but it’s then people putting things into practice and taking those skills away. So that’s something that I’m really starting to develop in my business now is that ongoing support. So I’ve just recently started up a Facebook group for people that come on my courses. Because I realized people come on the course and that’s one part of it. But then it’s the going away putting things into practice, coming up against challenges and maybe not knowing who can I talk to about this. So just recognizing how important it was to provide a platform for people to then come together. And so this has been a recent thing for me, but I can see how it’s part that’s really going to grow as well. Just having that ongoing support really. 

Tesse: 00:07:10 I totally love this, I love it that you’ve built in that thing about the journey. Cause it kind of the milestones that people might reach the bumps in the road as they go on it and how they travel and the support that can come from not traveling alone, traveling with others and on that path. And when you mentioned conversations and conversations matter and they make a difference, what are your thoughts about energizing conversations? Those conversations that we can leave feeling the energy that something has shifted or something has moved. Different from those ones, which we feel depleted and we just feel like, no, I’m going to lie down now. I’m exhausted. Nadine what makes those conversations energetic? What’s your experience?

Nadine: 00:07:57 Well that term energizing conversations came about having a conversation with my brothers. I grew up, I’ve got three brothers we’re very close. Not, we don’t like live in each other’s pockets or anything. But we can talk about things that some people are quite surprised at them I think. The level of conversations that we have as siblings and we were just talking and my brothers was sort of asking me. What is it that you really love? What do you love to do? And I said, well I love our conversations because they’re so energizing. I come away from them and I just feel inspired. And it’s not, like I say it’s not because the topics aren’t difficult because sometimes they are. They’re really quite challenging things, maybe we’re kind of going back to childhood and talking about some things that we went through that are quite tough. But for me energizing is about not getting stuck in that place of feeling in despair or feeling overwhelmed. And actually being able to move beyond that and not necessarily having all of the answers and having all of the solutions. But just having a belief that’s even possible that this too shall pass. If you’re in that place of things feeling quite bleak. And then you could just have a five minute conversation with someone that could be energizing where it just shifts something in your thinking. And suddenly you can see a glimmer there’s that little kind of glimmer of hope and possibility that just feels it’s there. And I think for me, I always think back to my mum sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit and chatting to a neighbor at the kitchen table. And the conversations that they would have, where it was kind of like just laying everything out on the table and then going away almost like. Well, I’ve let it out I feel like the burden has been lifted. So that sits for me really when it comes to energizing conversations. It’s just the sense of someone walking away with their shoulders back, their shoulders relaxed and feeling a bit hopeful. Even if that’s like say just a slight glimmer of hope. That’s really what I think of when I think of energizing conversations. 

Tesse: 00:09:57 Wow a glimmer of hope. Oh wow, that even sounds quite relaxing. This too will pass. I think a lot of us now are thinking we’ve been through a really hard time challenging. Some of us has lost people, just not doing what we usually do or normally do. And yet the hope that it soon will pass. It can be energized itself. Paula, your thoughts? 

Paula: 00:10:25 I took note of that too, that this too shall pass. Because sometimes that’s all people need to hear that there is hope out there. That yes, we are not downplaying the way you feel. I mean, not downplaying what has happened to you that makes you feel that way. But there’s hope there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Come hold my hand I’m there for you too. That’s sometimes all what somebody just needs to hear. 

Nadine: 00:10:51 Absolutely I really agree with that. It is that as you say, not trying to dismiss what people are experiencing and going through. And for me, that’s really important as well. With the courses that I do, I say it’s about training people to be mental health first aid is. One of the things I say is that as a mental health first aider, we’re not trying to stop somebody from going through an experience because actually when I think back over my life, some of those real dark times, those real lows have been really pivotal and have been really key to my life and my experiences. So it’s not about trying to stop people from having experiences, but it’s about being alongside them, maybe through those experiences and saying whatever it is you’re feeling right now, whatever it is, you’re going through. I’m here. We can get through this. So yeah really going through and maybe just noticing what is it for you? What is that experience bringing out for you? What’s that kind of learning? And so now I’ll do this deal with myself. If I notice that I’m starting to maybe have a bit of an off day or going a bit down, I don’t try and stop it in its tracks necessarily. Sometimes I just sit in it and I just wallow and I just allow myself to do that and that’s okay. It’s not like we’ve all got to be going round happy, clappy and skipping and isn’t life wonderful. Cause it’s just not realistic. Is it? That’s not life. So that’s really important as well I think. 

Tesse: 00:12:14 Paula, up to you, so honest, isn’t it? 

Paula: 00:12:17 Yeah, that’s not a lie. This message is so good. Oh my gosh. I’m sitting here listening and I’m like, why didn’t we have her on earlier? This is good. So I know that Tesse has mentioned it’s been life changing being a part of the MOE foundation  or the MOE community I should say. Because I’ve known Tesse for this long and I know at the moment what she’s going through and for her to use the words that the MOE community has been so helpful to her.

Nadine: 00:12:48 Well, it’s just what has become  is incredible because we have no clue. 

Paula: 00:12:53 Can you elaborate a little bit more about the MOE foundation and what it does? 

Nadine: 00:12:57 Oh my gosh, I just light up when I think about the MOE foundation. When my brother Darren started talking about it. It was a ministry of entrepreneurship, when he first started talking about it. It was about helping young people who wanted to become entrepreneurs. That was how we really spoke about it. And that was what it was when it was originally launched. Now it’s very much as the people talk about it. And I love that because it’s quite cozy isn’t it? When you say MOE. It’s this little cozy feel about it. And so we talk about it as being very much based on the foundation of a mother’s love. That’s really what the MOE foundation is. It’s all about people feeling as if they’ve got a community, a place where they belong. And more than that, a place where they’re loved. Because this is something that our mum really taught us from a young age was that she was one of these people who she just loved everybody. And wasn’t always so great for her unfortunately. It did mean that there were some unfortunate experiences that happened because of that. But she just loved and welcomed and accepted everybody for who they were. And so yeah, it was kind of instilled in us from quite a young age really. And that’s part of the foundation of what MOE is based on. Is this calm, you’re welcome. How can we help you? How can we serve you as well? So really providing a platform for the community and what do you need? How do you want to use this community as well? That’s really what it’s based on.

Tesse: 00:14:25 That’s so beautiful. I did not know about MOE until I met Simon Hill. And Simon had some bereavements in his family and it wasn’t a great time. And I said, Simon what’s helped? And he said, oh MOE. I said what’s that? And then he told me, and he encouraged me to come on the course. Which is not a course, it’s actually a journey of discovery really. And he encouraged me to do that. And he was still warm about that. I booked straight away, I declared an interest straight away on the same day. And then I came and I just felt so much love. Everybody’s loving it. But I thought is this for real? Yeah, I mean as we kind of have a draw towards the end of this conversation. I just a few observations and then a question. And the first day and I thought, no it’s going to slip it’s going to slip the cynic in me, but it continued. And I was like, oh kumbaya around the fire does work. So the first thing I’d say is I just had went to a book launch called “Listen Like You mean it”. It’s by an author called Ximena Vengoechea  who  operates out of the States, California state. Ximena was talking about conversations and what a brilliant way for me to bed that down and then listening to you about the power of conversations. Because she said conversations are more about listening rather than talking. You’d listen more and it enriches your conversation as well. And the second observation is community and engagement and the MOE foundation, the MOE community, the Digital Academy that makes so many gifts. Remind me of generous leadership. And Nadine all kudos to you and to Darren and what you’re doing because you’re changing the world more others, everyone you live it. So what are your thoughts to people who are listening in on any of the things that have touched you in your life or touching you through the more community, are touching you and your well-being business and entrepreneurship. Your thoughts? 

Nadine: 00:16:30 Oh gosh listening for me is just so powerful. And it’s something that we really can be a bit flippant about. It’s like, oh yeah I listen. But that’s part of what is taught from the MOE coaching courses in particular. You’ll probably recall from being on is that we really recognize when we listen and when we don’t. And how powerful, when you truly give someone the time and the space to just express. It is incredibly powerful. And you almost can’t put into words, it’s something someone has to experience isn’t it? You can’t almost define what that is or what that means. But for me, it really is about love as well. It’s about that love being connection and being acceptance of who somebody is and really embracing that. But very much at the heart of all of this is community. And I can just see how important that is for people now. But absolutely as we come through this bizarre experience that we’ve just been part of and we’re still in it, and we’re still figuring out as we go. But feeling as if you belong feeling as if you’re part of something and that you’re always welcome, that’s really what MOE is about as well. It’s even if someone’s moved away from the community and it’s a few years later. We’re still here, you’re still welcome. We’ve got arms out ready to embrace as well. So there’s definitely been some things for me as I’ve kind of worked through and I’m still figuring it out. I’ve certainly not all the answers that’s for sure. But it’s about being open to discovery as well, that’s pretty important for me. 

Tesse: 00:18:00 I love it. Open to discovery, love and community engagement. Paula I’m feeling all loved up now, so I’m going to bask in that and hand over to you. 

Paula: 00:18:12 You have taken all the adjectives from me that I wanted to say that and listened to those key words. Community, love, foundation, continuity. We’re always there, even if you go away and come back, we’re still here. I love what you guys are doing and what you’re a part of you and your brother or brothers. 

Nadine: 00:18:31 Yes yeah, I’ve got three. I should just say as well. It’s weird Darren was on the staff before it, and I’m a trustee and we’ve got a number of trustees involved. But it really is about the community. And we’ve got some fantastically trainers and great directors. Tony is Just a wonderful person. Jeffrey they’ve been involved right from the early days. Sue is behind the scenes, and you want very rarely see her kind of raising her hand and or anything. But everybody that is involved with MOE is so influential in MOE. That’s how community is built. It’s not just about anyone being at the forefront of there. It really is about the community and how they all feel as if they’re part of it and really shaping it into what it’s becoming. We don’t control that. It’s growing and evolving quite organically, which is just wonderful. 

Paula: 00:19:20 As I said Tesse why did’nt we have Nadine on earlier, but there’s nothing like the present. So talking about the present, are there any gifts or is there any literature? Is there any like a PDF? Anything that you can share with our listening audience that the MOE foundation has? And if not, that’s okay too. 

Nadine: 00:19:40 Resources is something, we don’t have a lot of resources. I was trying to think about it when the question was asked. And yeah it’s not something that we’re heavily into at the moment. There are definitely, there’s a couple of PDFs, but they’re I think they’re a little bit outdated now. So there’s nothing too obvious that kind of springs to mind. 

Tesse: 00:19:58 I think that people coming to some of those talks you come to those exchange spaces. Because Paula has been.

Nadine: 00:20:05 To the Digital academy

Paula: 00:20:07 Yes. Yeah. 

Tesse: 00:20:10 So to me anyway, because I loved that the dynamism and meeting different people. I come and there’s no time that I’ve been that I haven’t learned something new 

Nadine: 00:20:22 Yes that’s so true.

Tesse: 00:20:23 Reminding me that this is something that you might have forgotten. And reminding me about that. So that might be a good thing for us to put the link in and people come to the digital academy and actually see love in action really, because that’s really what it is.

Nadine: 00:20:38 That’s so true actually, yeah. The MOE digital academy was something we started last year and yeah again, that was another suggestion from the community and it’s been really well received. And it really is again, it’s one of those platforms where even if somebody is looking for a platforms maybe share a concept or an idea that they got. Approach us, let us know about it. Because that’s part of what it is as well. Our community is about openness and really sharing and providing the platform as well. 

Paula: 00:21:06 Thank you for doing that, thank you. The world needs that now, welcome open arms. Because we are so much more virtual these days are so much more digitally connected. It’s always good to know that there’s some digital resource that is open at all times and as welcome, and there are people behind the scenes who are willing and ready to help. That’s that’s wonderful. 

Nadine: 00:21:28 Yeah. And I think that part that you just said there as well about things being digital and online. Cause that’s definitely something for me obviously with my training hat to shift online. And for me having the energy and getting that across on screen is something that’s so important for me that I can still let people know. Even though I can’t be with you, like now I can’t hug you guys or anything like that. It’s still about getting that across isn’t it? That this is still a space where you’re loved and you’re held and you’re safe and we can explore some difficult topics. And so that’s really important as well. 

Paula: 00:22:00 Absolutely. So where can people find you online? We’ve talked about all of what you do. But we’d love to have you actually say how you can be contacted online or wherever. 

Nadine: 00:22:11 Yes, yeah. I’m not a huge one, I’m learning the world of social media still I must admit. But I’m usually LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn. Nadine Robson, I do have Dragon Fly wellness store set on there as well. But yeah I’m Nadine Robson. And then Facebook, I’ve got a Facebook group for Dragon Fly wellness store set as well. And then also on Instagram, so dragon fly wellness store set on Instagram as well. 

Paula: 00:22:35 That’s great to know that I will connect with you definitely on all your social media platforms. I know Tesse has, but I will. 

Tesse: 00:22:43 What I haven’t done, I will do straight away after this. I have been listening to you Nadine and I want to thank you so much for coming to play with it today. I’m definitely feeling energized, are you Paula? I know I’m kind of energized and I’m thinking, wow. And I don’t want to go for a lie down. I think this is energy that I want to go for a skip, so skipping through like Tigger. Thank you so much for being a guest with us. And we’d love to have you again, if you come again. Because you are just simply awesome and humble and kind and brave and courageous, gentle and compassionate. Thank you so much Nadine 

Nadine: 00:23:24 Of course thank you.

Paula: 00:23:25 Thank you, thank you, thank you. And as I said, she gives all the adjectives and I just have to say thank you. You’ve been a breath of fresh air. This is it’s really, it’s been very good. So to our wonderful listeners, make sure you head over to Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere else where you listen to podcasts and please click subscribe. If you like what you just heard, please write us a raving review. And if you have questions or topics you want us to cover related to leadership and governance send us a note. Remember it can be personal as well as professional. If you would like to be a guest on the show, please head over to “” to apply.  .