The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

'Fostering Emotional Well-being: The Samaritans’ Impact on Heldiney Pereira

John Carter
October 19, 2023
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'Fostering Emotional Well-being: The Samaritans’ Impact on Heldiney Pereira

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Fast-track your career with our 12-week training programme:

In this profoundly moving episode, we dive deep into a transformative journey with our distinguished guest, Heldiney Pereira. Heldiney candidly shares his story of navigating life’s tumultuous waters, marked by personal loss, questions about self-worth, and the search for meaning. Emphasizing the pivotal role that the Samaritans played in his journey, Heldiney unveils how moments of despair and confusion became crucibles for forging his resilient spirit and redefining his sense of purpose.

Explore Heldiney’s insights on recalibrating one’s mind amidst a world overflowing with conflicting information, and how realigning life goals and sense of self can emanate from places of vulnerability. In a conversation intertwined with themes of self-love, mental health, and the art of being, learn how Heldiney’s commitment to emotional well-being turned obstacles into paths of self-discovery and personal growth.

Join us, as we embark on an enlightening conversation, celebrating the strength of the human spirit, the wisdom derived from life’s trials, and the transformative power of finding one’s sense of purpose amidst life's complexities.

Episode Transcript

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[00:00:00] Gerry Scullion: [00:01:00] [00:02:00]

[00:02:17] Gerry Scullion: I saw you speak in UX Scotland. Was it two months ago?

[00:02:22] Gerry Scullion: Probably is two months ago and absolutely loved your talk. Okay, and I loved you as well. Truthfully, like it's I was More gutted that when your talk is over that you weren't going to be able to hang around and chat and, you know, connect a little bit more. But we're hoping to do a little bit more of that in this podcast.

[00:02:37] Gerry Scullion: But for our guests, or for our listeners should I say, maybe start off, tell people a little bit about where you're from and what you do.

[00:02:46] Heldiney Pereira: Yeah I was, I mean, I'm not sure how far back I'm going, but I think it is relevant. But I was born in a very small island in Africa called Santa Maya Principe.

[00:02:57] Gerry Scullion: cool.

[00:02:57] Heldiney Pereira: a former Portuguese colony, so it's [00:03:00] off the west coast of Africa. It's an island with a very small population of roughly 200, 000 people.

[00:03:06] Heldiney Pereira: I was... Born there, lived there until I was five, moved to 11, and have been in London since, basically.

[00:03:16] Gerry Scullion: Wow.

[00:03:16] Heldiney Pereira: are a few different countries in my history.

[00:03:21] Gerry Scullion: I love when I have people on the show who've lived in several different places but it's really interesting that you've lived in different places before the age of 11. What do you think that perspective has given you as your as your life has evolved, you know, living in three different places, especially two different places before you're 11 is quite interesting.

[00:03:39] Gerry Scullion: What does that give you as a change maker?

[00:03:42] Heldiney Pereira: That's an excellent question. I I think without, it took me a while to fully realize that my brain was shaped in this way.

[00:03:49] Heldiney Pereira: I definitely think... It became very easy to see similarities, different versions of very similar things in the different countries that I lived in.[00:04:00] And I think one of the side effects of that is generally finding myself very difficult to be, say patriotic.

[00:04:08] Heldiney Pereira: I struggle to firmly believe in the views of any one country, because I've seen variations of culture, variations of beliefs and. ways of perceiving life and what's polite, what's impolite that allow me to step outside a little bit and to look at it from a more human perspective and understand that we have like different ways of trying to achieve similar things.

[00:04:35] Gerry Scullion: see in some ways you're able to cherry pick parts of the cultures and parts of the belief systems that align to you as a soul or as a person like, you know, is what I'm hearing. Is that true?

[00:04:47] Heldiney Pereira: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I feel more like a citizen of earth than any, anything else.

[00:04:55] Gerry Scullion: and I heard that come through in your talk as well. You know, it was very much [00:05:00] Okay. You've been on a journey and it makes sense now. I didn't realize about the journey I had from a child to Lisbon and then to London. But maybe tell us a little bit more around the roles because you have two incredible roles at the moment.

[00:05:13] Gerry Scullion: Tell us.

[00:05:15] Heldiney Pereira: I certainly find them incredibly nourishing. I am a director of a branch of roughly a hundred volunteers of a charity called Samaritans, which is a mental health charity. It started as a suicide helpline to, with a mission to help decrease the number of people who, who die by suicide. It's now broadened its reach to support anyone who is struggling with mental health.

[00:05:41] Heldiney Pereira: And it could be you've had a really bad day at work. It could be you're going through a depressive episode. Or it could be that you're feeling suicidal and you want to speak to someone. I became a volunteer after having received support from them when I myself was questioning the value of my own life.

[00:05:58] Heldiney Pereira: I didn't necessarily feel [00:06:00] compelled to want to take my life, but I was questioning what the purpose of it is. So when I made the call, I was blown away by the empathy that was shown to me by a complete stranger on the phone. How anonymous the service remained. I never had to disclose anything about myself and I was still shown a level of kindness that...

[00:06:19] Heldiney Pereira: Help me heal and help me see the world in a new light. I wanted to... That volunteer did with me, so I became a volunteer roughly five to six years ago now, and throughout that journey, at some point, the branch that I joined chose for me to be the next director, and that was about 10 months ago now, and every director of Samaritan's Branch has a tenure of roughly three years, so I'm roughly a year into a three year tenure of leading the branch it's basically a CEO role for a non profit,

[00:06:52] Gerry Scullion: Okay.

[00:06:52] Heldiney Pereira: And in addition to that role, I'm a lead product designer for Monzo, a digital [00:07:00] bank with no brick and mortar branches, whose mission is to make money work for everyone.

[00:07:05] Heldiney Pereira: In many ways, you probably recollect from my talk, I think of them as being very related.

[00:07:11] Gerry Scullion: Yeah.

[00:07:11] Heldiney Pereira: I think they are ultimately about shaping a better version of life, day to day life for all of us in the UK.

[00:07:20] Gerry Scullion: So what do you see the correlation between money and new banks? How do they connect with the Samaritans work? I want to see your, and hear your perspective on that. I'd love to hear it.

[00:07:31] Heldiney Pereira: I think this is also highly relevant to what I experienced in my childhood. And why experience was a, so I was raised by a single mother and in a household where financial literacy wasn't the highest. And my mom and my auntie and my grandma, who I grew up with all had to figure out a lot of things on their own.

[00:07:52] Gerry Scullion: Sure.

[00:07:54] Heldiney Pereira: And in that space, you end up taking a lot of guesses and you end up [00:08:00] having to learn a lot of things firsthand, like how do you properly use a credit card? And there were moments where my, in my household, we would struggle financially and my mom and others would find alternative ways to get money.

[00:08:13] Heldiney Pereira: And one of them was a credit card. And I remember how quickly it got out of hand and the emotional strain that placed in my mom. to use a credit card and to feel like it got out of hand and to find herself having to repay copious amounts of interest on top of the amount that she used on her credit card and the mental health impact that had on her immediately started to affect all of us in the house.

[00:08:40] Heldiney Pereira: It affected me, affected her relationship with her sister, with her mother. And that is just one example of how I think our relationship with our money directly influences everything in our lives, our wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us.

[00:08:54] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. So what do you say to people like the cynical people out there who might question, you [00:09:00] know, working for a bank and, you know, what value you can bring to even a new bank, you know, who are trying to disrupt the market, I guess. You know, what impact can you actually have within an organization like that?

[00:09:15] Heldiney Pereira: Yeah, I think that's a really good question. There are certainly. Systems at play in a broader banking system that are harder than than others. And being a challenger bank, being a digital bank doesn't necessarily make it any easier to shift any of these really well entrenched systems. In some ways you could argue, maybe makes it a bit harder actually, because you're the new player.

[00:09:41] Heldiney Pereira: But I think all great things in history take a good deal of time to come to fruition and patience and commitment. I think one way or another we have to evolve our financial system to better serve the people that are part of it and to be more equitable [00:10:00] and to better favor Good outcomes for everyone.

[00:10:04] Heldiney Pereira: The F. C. A. Recently updated its expectations of organizations toe lead to good customer outcomes. And this is the kind of training that everyone who works for a bank has to go through and be aware of. So the work that we all do as employees of a bank has toe really Evidently show that we're trying to lead to good outcomes for the people that choose to bank with us.

[00:10:26] Heldiney Pereira: And principles like that are just one of the ways in which contributing to this system and helping towards that change that happens over time slowly, but surely, I think will lead to a better version of reality for us all.

[00:10:40] Gerry Scullion: And I wasn't trying to be patronizing when I asked that question or anything like that. I believe in what you're trying to do and your keynote at UX Scotland was very much in line with what I was speaking about as well. But one of the things that did strike me At the keynote, I remember having it.

[00:10:58] Gerry Scullion: I didn't take too much notes [00:11:00] at Scotland, but I took a few bits and pieces of your talk was resilience seems to be a big thing in your toolkit, your personal toolkit. And I'm hearing it there as well, like the long game, you know, improving the situations. It's not going to happen overnight. These phrases that I heard you order when you're on the stage.

[00:11:23] Gerry Scullion: Where does that come from and how do you nurture it?

[00:11:26] Heldiney Pereira: Yeah, I think for me personally, resilience is strongly tied to purpose. And I think you can't, for me alone, I don't think I can have one without the other. Moments where I feel disconnected from my purpose, I feel a lot less resilient. When I experienced what I experienced when I decided to call Samaritans, in that space, I was feeling disconnected from my purpose.

[00:11:51] Heldiney Pereira: And in feeling disconnected from my purpose, my... My resilience was impacted. And I had to find a way to reconnect with my purpose to [00:12:00] reprioritize to refocus. And feel like I am on a path that whenever I look back on my life, I will feel proud of the choices I made, and I'll feel fulfilled that I was able to achieve whatever it is that I achieved.

[00:12:14] Heldiney Pereira: And I think to it. To find yourself in a place in your life where you're able to be the most resilient version of yourself. I think you need to understand what is the thing that makes you tick most. What makes you feel most motivated to get up in the morning. And when you're able to zoom out and look in the long term and think about What are the outcomes of the things that I'm working on right now and are those things worth sticking around for and working as hard as I can or as smart as I can because rest is also really important and it's important to pace yourself.

[00:12:48] Heldiney Pereira: Often it's a marathon, not a sprint and trying to sprint can burn you out very quickly. I think resilience to me is a direct side effect of having a strong relationship with your purpose.[00:13:00]

[00:13:00] Gerry Scullion: Are you okay to talk about the journey towards your purpose?

[00:13:04] Heldiney Pereira: Yeah, absolutely.

[00:13:05] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. When you were younger, when you were you left Lisbon at 11, I think you said, was it? when you left Lisbon, were you already in line with, were you already considering why you were here and what you were doing? And what age, if not, what age did that conversation start to play in your head?

[00:13:26] Heldiney Pereira: That's an excellent question. I I spent some time reflecting on how, yeah, how is it that I've come about having this understanding and this relationship with my purpose?

[00:13:37] Heldiney Pereira: And I actually, I'm convinced that for most people I speak to who do seem to have a relationship with their purpose, the music is always playing in the background.

[00:13:49] Heldiney Pereira: And I think what you end up developing over time is just an ability to listen to the music and to learn to describe the music that you're hearing to someone else. I think from my [00:14:00] earliest memories, I remember caring about the planet. I remember caring about the people around me, my grandma and my mom were both very sensitive people.

[00:14:10] Heldiney Pereira: My mom is still a very sensitive person. She's still alive. My grandma isn't. And I think I've inherited those traits from them somehow. I'm a very sensitive person. I pick up people's feelings a great deal. And as a result, I. find it really important to try and lead to the best emotional outcomes for everyone around me.

[00:14:29] Heldiney Pereira: So having understood that about myself fairly early on, seeing how it manifested itself in the ways that I felt when I was at school, in the ways that I felt when I was deciding what I wanted to do for a career and having chosen, Human computer and interaction and product design, which is a very, a discipline very grounded in leading to the best emotional outcomes for people in the process.

[00:14:52] Heldiney Pereira: I think you are influenced by your purpose, whether you have a strong understanding of it or not. Before [00:15:00] I had a described version, a written version of my purpose, I'd already made career decisions. I'd already made choices. They were in line with that sense of purpose. It was just probably, roughly, I would say, five to six years ago when I sat down and I retraced my steps, that I was able to actually put into words, I think this is happening deliberately and I think this is related to something, and then I was able to describe that thing a bit better.

[00:15:26] Gerry Scullion: So it was around the same time that you phoned the Samaritans and that there was a realignment or a sort of a reintroduction to that conversation, that tape playing that I refer to sometimes on the podcast. Is that right? It's about the same time that things were happening. There was probably quite a lot of you know, kind of I don't even know how to describe it.

[00:15:49] Gerry Scullion: You discussed it in your talk. There was an incident that happened and sort of a series of things that happened that led you to making that phone call. Is that right? Yeah.

[00:15:59] Heldiney Pereira: I can share a [00:16:00] bit more about the journey from that point. And what happened specifically was my girlfriend broke up with me at the time. And the experience led me to question my sense of goal setting and purpose, because I had set myself the goal. And it was an important part of my sense of purpose to be with this person for the rest of my life.

[00:16:22] Heldiney Pereira: And because of how connected I feel to the people I feel connected to, it was really important to me. Being an only child, having a small family, the people I have in my life are really important to, to my sense of identity and my sense of meaning. So when someone broke up with me, there was a, an element of disruption that took place.

[00:16:41] Heldiney Pereira: In my ability to navigate myself in a complex world where having felt as disoriented as I did, I needed the support of someone to help me understand where I was, what led me there, and to give me, [00:17:00] to help me find some way forward. After having experienced that and having shared with the Samaritan what I did, which that I want to spend the rest of my life with this person.

[00:17:12] Heldiney Pereira: The Samaritan asked me a really pointed question. Do you think you're being fair on yourself by setting goals that are dependent on the choices and actions of other people? And I think that question specifically was really powerful for me because it helped me understand that I need to have some element of.

[00:17:26] Heldiney Pereira: A self awareness that cannot be strongly influenced by other people. In a way that allows me to remain grounded and allows me to be able to navigate when the going gets tough and things get a bit complicated.

[00:17:39] Gerry Scullion: That, that aligned. I remember when you were talking about that in your keynote, which by the way folks, I've got a link to it in the show notes. I was emailing back and forth with the organizers of UX Scotland this week, and those videos are up. Have you seen them?

[00:17:52] Heldiney Pereira: I haven't seen them yet.

[00:17:53] Gerry Scullion: I've seen your talk. You haven't even seen your talk, any joking.

[00:17:57] Gerry Scullion: But I'll put a link to that in the show notes. It's really good. [00:18:00] But. That whole kind of piece of what you're talking about there of the question that the Samaritans gave you, it's almost like there was an opportunity there and an accountability that we all have for our own actions and it seems to me like There's a lot of people out there that don't really understand that they've got their own accountability for their own actions.

[00:18:22] Gerry Scullion: And I know Eckhart Tolle he speaks about this. You know, you are in control of your mind. And you can externalize these things and examine it and see what the triggers are. But ultimately, if you're in a situation where it's quite complex, You've got the ability to decide what you want to do next.

[00:18:46] Gerry Scullion: And that's what I could hear in your talk, like you've got this resilience. But at that moment in time when you were when you'd broken up with your partner, we're going to come to a positive pit in that conversation in a minute because it's not all doom and gloom for [00:19:00] you. Are you married to that person now?

[00:19:03] Heldiney Pereira: We got back together.

[00:19:04] Gerry Scullion: Yay!

[00:19:06] Heldiney Pereira: yeah, we were apart for a year. And we've been total been together now for 12

[00:19:10] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, there you go, look. But at that moment, there was a sense I remember speaking to you afterwards where you were like I don't know what to do here. What was that process like and how you were able to, because you were separate for a year. What were the things that you were doing in that year?

[00:19:26] Gerry Scullion: Because it sounds like it was transformative. And it sounds like, you know, you connected with your purpose in a very deep way. Who was involved and what were you doing in that year?

[00:19:38] Heldiney Pereira: I think growing up one of the things that tends to happen as you form a sense of self in the 21st century. I remember when I was younger, seeing a fact that in one day, someone from the 21st century could see more information that someone might [00:20:00] in their entire lifetime in the 18th or 17th century or something.

[00:20:04] Heldiney Pereira: And I don't know how true that is because I don't know whether we can actually go back and compare these

[00:20:09] Gerry Scullion: We'll do a very check with Jerry Data there. I'm just going to ask the algorithm. Yeah, that's true. Whether it's true or not, it's still, even if it's 50 percent true, I would believe it's still kind of mind blowing.

[00:20:22] Heldiney Pereira: [00:21:00] Absolutely. So we have a lot more information to navigate, certainly each day than ever before. And I think in that information, there's a lot competing information. And I think one of the biggest themes is this. Idea that you can acquire the thing that you're seeking. And marketing and a few other industries have proliferated that mental model of reality and fulfillment.

[00:21:50] Heldiney Pereira: And I don't think marketing is evil, by the way. I think there are ways to do it in a way that really benefits people's lives. But. I think in that space, [00:22:00] it can be quite difficult to step outside of a lot of the noise and recalibrate yourself. And like many other people, I had developed a sense of self worth that was strongly attached to someone else who showed me that I was worthy of love. And when I lost that person that was giving me a strong indication that I was worthy of love, and that became the compass through which I determine my value, then I had to seek another way of determining whether I am worthy of love, whether I am valuable, or whether if I'm not, then maybe I don't belong in this world.

[00:22:40] Heldiney Pereira: And that's where the conversations around questioning whether you should be alive or you shouldn't be alive start to arise. It becomes an exploration. If I am to be alive. What do I bring to this world? And what, what makes me worthy of being here? And I think a lot of that energy that would have been directed towards nurturing a relationship I had with this [00:23:00] person, I was redirecting towards.

[00:23:03] Heldiney Pereira: Myself, I was redirecting it towards working on my own mind through Reading books that I was starting to really enjoy through spending time with friends that I hadn't ever spent as much time as I was spending with exercising, I began to set really ambitious goals for myself. I thought if there's a chance that I don't belong here.

[00:23:22] Heldiney Pereira: Why not try and. Make the most of the time that I am here. And I set myself the goal of running marathons and which I did, I set myself the goal of eventually volunteering for this mental health charity to help me out. And I just had a list of things that I just wanted to get through and experience and see what it feels like.

[00:23:42] Heldiney Pereira: And some somewhere along the way, I happened to fall in love with this idea that I am, I'm good enough as I am. And the. I don't need validation from an external source that I belong here. I think I do and I do bring value to the world and I do [00:24:00] want to be here.

[00:24:00] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. One of the things that we were speaking afterwards was The ability to stand on a stage and talk about this topic is for some people, it can be kind of triggering or it can be like a revelation for others. And in Ireland at the moment, one of our our children of our country, Sinead O'Connor, died a couple of weeks ago.

[00:24:23] Gerry Scullion: And we don't know how she died, whatever it means, but she did do stuff in the 90s. That was really triggering for the culture that we were in at the moment. And I'd love to get your perspective on it. Like, when they started speaking about their mental health in the mid 90s, people were like, Whoa there's a huge stigma about it.

[00:24:41] Gerry Scullion: And it's only after Sinead O'Connor has died That, of course, you know, you know, we're talking about and we're celebrating their life. One of the singer songwriters that I hold in the highest regard is called Glenn Hansard in Ireland. And he had a great phrase that we love to celebrate our heroes on the wall, but not [00:25:00] in the room.

[00:25:00] Gerry Scullion: We can't handle them. And it's very true. What do you think there's probably people out there and I know when you were speaking it was like, oh okay you know, we're talking about mental health even now so how do you process those kind of conversations when people say to you that it might be risky to talk about this stuff so much in the open?

[00:25:21] Gerry Scullion: How do you respond to those kind of questions? Because I'm all for it, but there are still generations out there that say is this wise to be talking about this stuff?

[00:25:31] Heldiney Pereira: That's, that question is one of the most important questions

[00:25:37] Heldiney Pereira: The work that I do. I think from my perspective, the way I simplify it is I think of mental health as existing on a spectrum. A lot, like a lot of things and I don't in this case mean the neurodivergent spectrum, I mean an emotional spectrum and that happens, it fluctuates throughout the day, it [00:26:00] fluctuates throughout your lifetime and you can be in a Largely emotionally positive side of that spectrum or largely emotionally negative side of that spectrum.

[00:26:10] Heldiney Pereira: You can be walking down the street and suddenly it starts raining. You didn't bring an umbrella and someone's driving and they're reckless and they splash a massive puddle in your face

[00:26:22] Gerry Scullion: me. It wasn't me by the way. I know you're looking at me I only did it last week to them and they deserved us. I'm only joking. Go on.

[00:26:30] Heldiney Pereira: And, you know, that takes you from maybe being on a neutral side of the emotional spectrum to being on a not so good side of the emotional spectrum. My experience of having felt suicidal was being on the extreme of that spectrum. But I think all of us, every single day fluctuate,

[00:26:46] Gerry Scullion: Yeah,

[00:26:47] Heldiney Pereira: in, in that spectrum some of us fluctuate more wildly than others.

[00:26:51] Heldiney Pereira: Some of us will have phases where we are more deeply in one side of the spectrum than the other. I think for me, it became really important to speak about [00:27:00] it because I'm someone who's very optimistic who's generally very happy and the fact that I could experience the extreme of that spectrum on the not so good side helped me really build empathy and understand that If I, someone who generally had a wonderful childhood, my mom was very kind and loving towards me, even though there were financial struggles in our households and a bunch of other struggles, we were a very loving family.

[00:27:26] Heldiney Pereira: So I was generally always a very happy kid very fulfilled. So when I was struck by this experience, it helped me understand that I think we all need a level of support. We all need a level of perspective when we do experience these extreme fluctuations in our emotional wellbeing. So talking about it for me is about normalizing it.

[00:27:51] Heldiney Pereira: I don't think it has to be always the extremes. I think if you were able to speak about it candidly before it gets to that [00:28:00] extreme, or as you are in that extreme, I think we, we will save lives and I can't think of a good reason why we wouldn't want. really talented people like Robin Williams, Sinead O'Connor.

[00:28:11] Heldiney Pereira: We don't know why, but let's say there is a possibility that might be part of the reason. We know there are countless musicians, there are artists, creators, people who have brought us really wonderful things that we were not able to keep here because they did not receive the support that they needed.

[00:28:28] Heldiney Pereira: They were not able to have open spaces to speak about what they were going through. And I can't think of a good reason why I wouldn't want to play a role in keeping all of that good stuff here. On this earth because i'm not sure what's on the other side I'm, not sure i'm going to get to listen to that music again I'm, not sure i'm going to get to see that again so on and so forth.

[00:28:45] Gerry Scullion: I think it's really well said there are instances though and I coach a lot of changemakers around the world and it's not possible for them to talk about it in their organization. So I'm assuming [00:29:00] Monzo is relatively forward thinking in their culture. You just have to look at their branding and the marketing and speak to people like yourself.

[00:29:08] Gerry Scullion: So it's probably more safe. And I use that word kind of delicately to raise these things like it's not going to impact your career growth, but there are situations there and organizations that are relatively restricted in their progress is probably a very nice way of saying it, and they're somewhat toxic So it's not always appropriate, in my understanding, to be able to speak to these kind of topics.

[00:29:35] Gerry Scullion: What advice do you give to people who are in those situations? They could be government where they really struggle to bring their full self to work and they maybe feel disconnected to their purpose but they yet have mortgages and meals to feed. I'm giving

[00:29:54] Heldiney Pereira: I agree with you

[00:29:55] Gerry Scullion: Giving you a complex problem.

[00:29:58] Heldiney Pereira: Thank you, I agree with [00:30:00] you I do believe that monzo is progressive in a number of ways And extremely inclusive as an organization I definitely find it easier to be able to carry myself how I choose to carry myself in an organization like Monzo. But I'm convinced that the vulnerability that we need to show to ourselves and to others around us, a happens to varying levels of personal comfort. I. I think just because I work at Monzo and others work at Monzo does not mean most folks here have an equal level of comfort of being vulnerable even in a space like this. And there are a variety of reasons why that might be. Someone may have not fully embraced their emotions in the way that they may need to.

[00:30:46] Heldiney Pereira: They've not fully explored their emotions in a safe space with a trained professional like a therapist or maybe a volunteer mental health practitioner who can help them find some words initially to explore their [00:31:00] emotions in a way that I was supported in that call with that volunteer Samaritan.

[00:31:04] Heldiney Pereira: And there are a variety of other reasons and they go on and on. I think in terms of the advice, it's important for all of us to think about where can we start? Where are we comfortable today taking one step further than we were yesterday? I don't think the answer is for all of us to suddenly start talking about really profound parts of our emotional experience in life if we've never done that before.

[00:31:32] Heldiney Pereira: I think it could be one step that the next time I ask you, someone asks you how are you doing that? You could maybe give something closer to an honest answer instead of saying I'm good by default. Maybe you could say actually today You know, I'm not a hundred percent, but you know, hopefully things will get better as the day goes on and for me Sometimes just giving a simple answer like that sparks a conversation.

[00:31:53] Heldiney Pereira: Someone goes. Oh interesting. Why you know, what's making you not a hundred percent? And you can speak about something very light to you [00:32:00] and something that might have happened that day the driver that drove past and

[00:32:04] Gerry Scullion: yeah, not me,

[00:32:05] Heldiney Pereira: you. Or, you know, over time your relationship with that human can build in complexity and you find yourself having a really meaningful connection at work. For example, I saw some research from I read in Harvard Business Review, but one of the sort of strongest factors to determining whether someone is likely to stay at an organization, whether they have a best friend at work.

[00:32:28] Gerry Scullion: yeah,

[00:32:28] Heldiney Pereira: there is something about us as human beings that's really important for us to feel connected, connected to the people that we surround ourselves with our family, our friends our colleagues. And I think The best one of the best ways to feel connected to people is for them to feel like they see us as who we are.

[00:32:46] Heldiney Pereira: And one of the ways to do that is to be truthful and be being truthful requires a level of vulnerability.

[00:32:53] Gerry Scullion: so we're coming towards the end of the conversation. I know everyone's no, but I want to ask you a [00:33:00] question about how. Bringing your true self, aligning to your purpose, what impact that has had on your role as a product designer within Monzo?

[00:33:09] Heldiney Pereira: makes me more motivated to approach my work in a way that is unique to me. Over time, I found it harder to lean on predetermined frameworks because they are. What everyone uses. For example I used to be someone who frowned upon the term gut feel. I found it very abstract, very ambiguous.

[00:33:35] Heldiney Pereira: But over time, I've learned to trust my gut a bit more. If something doesn't feel right, instead of just leaning on what the data is telling me, I will pursue that feeling. I'll try and understand why does this not feel right. What's missing here. And I'll try to uncover what it is that's leading me to feel that way as a product designer, so you could be working on a project, despite it making perfect [00:34:00] sense for the business, despite the data telling you this is the right thing.

[00:34:03] Heldiney Pereira: When you're looking at the design, something isn't feeling good and pursuing that feeling, trusting that Your gut is telling you something important, whatever it may be, usually leads to somewhere really fruitful. And I think sometimes when we don't do that as design practitioners, we look back and we think I now know why my gut was telling me what it was telling me.

[00:34:25] Heldiney Pereira: Now that I see it out there, I now know what it was, but it's out there now. And I, you know, sometimes it's harder to go back.

[00:34:32] Gerry Scullion: True. In terms of your maintenance, I guess, of, you know, Haldane, how and what are you doing on a daily, weekly, monthly practice to ensure that you yourself and your career are being looked after?

[00:34:51] Heldiney Pereira: Yeah, I generally Some people have achieved it and I achieved it in phases in my life, [00:35:00] but I don't believe that we can Consistently take good care of ourselves. I think everything happens in phases There are phases where i'm I feel incredibly good at taking good care of myself There are phases where i'm less good at taking good care of myself.

[00:35:14] Heldiney Pereira: I remember when my Grandma passed away two years ago. The emotional journey that took me on led me to eventually start running a, I signed up for triathlon. I completed the triathlon. It was really excellent. It felt a really great sense of fulfillment. When I took on my director role, there was a brief moment where I was able to run less.

[00:35:34] Heldiney Pereira: I really enjoy running. I really enjoy swimming and just being active makes me really happy. And. In that time, in that phase, when I was taking on additional responsibility, it's a volunteer role, so I have to do it on top of my work my full time job at Monzo. There was a moment where my relationship with the things I was working on was at an imbalance with my ability to take good care of my my physical health, certainly.[00:36:00]

[00:36:00] Heldiney Pereira: My mental health I feel like I surround myself with a lot of. People with a lot of techniques that have helped me guarantee or increase the likelihood that generally my emotional well being is at a good place. But being active, being able to get out there and run and swim is also a really important part of how I take good care of myself.

[00:36:17] Heldiney Pereira: And those things only up until recently have been. An imbalance and now I'm starting to get control of it again And i've i'm feeling really settled in my direct role and I have a really great leadership team So i'm able to start to prioritize parts of my life a bit more

[00:36:34] Gerry Scullion: In terms of your alignment to your purpose. There was obviously five or six years ago, there was a journey that you went on. Was there anything that you did at that time in terms of reflective practices that you incorporated that help you, if you want for a better phrase, see the light? What were the things that you, can you remember or what are the books you read?

[00:36:55] Gerry Scullion: Any recommendations for people out there looking to go on that journey at the moment?[00:37:00]

[00:37:00] Heldiney Pereira: in terms of Practices. There are a few books that perhaps may not be what would be traditional recommendations in this space, but one of them is a book called principles by Ray Dalio and Ray Dalio is a, an investor. So it's, you know, it's interesting that that book specifically carries many.

[00:37:22] Heldiney Pereira: Principles for how to think of your life that have been really helpful for me. One of them is surround yourself with people who can see things that you can't. And that as a principle for thinking about your career is also really great principle for thinking about your life. I have a partner, Jess who we did break up for a year but she's incredibly good at spotting things that I might take a bit longer to spot.

[00:37:48] Heldiney Pereira: She might be seeing a pattern in my day to day life, a pattern in my thinking and the things I'm saying gives me an early signal into something that I might have taken a bit longer to [00:38:00] realize. And that is one of the ways in which I didn't realize it, but some of the choices I made in my life helped me cover my gaps.

[00:38:10] Heldiney Pereira: And I think we sometimes do this without noticing. But I think a book like principles helped me be more mindful that I was actively choosing to do that. That's a book. I'd recommend, but in terms of practices, I also recommend journaling. It's a, I'm a big proponent of journaling, writing your thoughts and feelings with a frequency that feels right to you.

[00:38:30] Heldiney Pereira: It doesn't have to be every single day. Can really help you zoom out and sometimes look back and see the journey that you've been on and spot themes and patterns that may be helpful for you in making decisions.

[00:38:42] Gerry Scullion: Do you use pen and paper or do you use a digital tool for that?

[00:38:46] Heldiney Pereira: I prefer a digital tool. I like to be able to jump to a specific year really quickly and jump to a specific month. And I like to be able to compare things. That's the techie in me that doesn't want to [00:39:00] let go of a

[00:39:01] Gerry Scullion: do you use? What tool do you use? Do you want to give a

[00:39:04] Heldiney Pereira: I use just the Google Docs doc.

[00:39:07] Gerry Scullion: And do you lock them down or do you just, you do, you lock them down?

[00:39:11] Heldiney Pereira: Yeah, they are locked.

[00:39:12] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, they're locked inside your vault. Look, some people use Google Docs. I think I've used Journal before. I don't know if you've used Journal.

[00:39:19] Gerry Scullion: The Mac app, it's all locked up in a vault. Just don't ever forget your password. But look, Eldon it's been great. Like I, the moment you walked in, I was looking for you. I remember he came in through the door and I go, how's it going? And you're like, oh, I know you. And I was like, I know you. I was like, what time you on?

[00:39:39] Gerry Scullion: I don't want to speak. Do you want to do a podcast? And I go, we don't have time. I've got to go back to London. . But so thank you for giving me your time. And, you know. Being open and being relatively vulnerable you know, on this conversation.

[00:39:49] Gerry Scullion: I know people will appreciate it, but if people want to follow up with you and follow your journey and maybe keep an eye on when you're speaking at other conferences, what's the best way for people to do that?[00:40:00]

[00:40:00] Heldiney Pereira: I'm currently on X, it's called now form,

[00:40:04] Gerry Scullion: Ooh,

[00:40:05] Heldiney Pereira: Twitter. , you can follow me on LinkedIn and it's I, my Twitter at or x at is the same as my first name held in a same on LinkedIn. There aren't many held in as out there. So you'll be able to find easily.

[00:40:19] Gerry Scullion: Super cool name. Look, I'll donate. Thank you so much for your time and I'll talk to you soon.

[00:40:24] Heldiney Pereira: Speak soon. Thanks for having me, Jerry.


John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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