#wearenot9to5 Mitchell Stern

Updated: Aug 13, 2018

#wearenot9to5 is a series of mental health experiences from people in the F&B industry to fight the stigma & shame. Mental health affects us all.

Mitchell Stern @mitchellstern

Q: Where did you work before starting Station Cold Brew?

A: Mosaic and then consulted in F&B

Q: How has mental health affected your career?   

A: For years I had an unhealthy relationship with my anxiety. It felt like a lingering black cloud constantly present and I was ashamed of it. It hindered me from being my most authentic self in life and in my career it held me back from progressing and growing. I was ashamed and couldn't talk about it and it held me back. I felt ashamed that I wasn't "normal." What I didn't realize at the time is that most of the people surrounding me were suffering from the same bullshit I was. The bullshit that is simply created by our minds everyday.

Coincidentally, about 5 years ago I experienced a major shift in my life. I was learning to manage my anxiety and decided that I didn't need medication anymore. At the same time, I decided to leave my full time, secure job for the world of entrepreneurship. Two major life decisions at the same time and it scared the shit out of me. The difference is that I knew I could handle whatever was thrown at me and I was ready to welcome these challenges.

As my business has grown over the past 4 years, it's been tough. The amount of ups and downs, the amount of uncertainly and the amount of overwhelm that comes with starting a business is severe. There are so many key lessons that I've learned over the past 4 years that have helped me push through the tough times, stay confident in my path and trust the direction I am heading in. Without these lessons, I wouldn't have made it through these past few years...

Q: If you could tell your apprentice or younger self something, what would it be?  A: There are so many lessons that I've learned along the way that I wish my younger self knew. That being said, I truly believe that the journey of getting to the place where you can learn is the most important part. Through a tremendous amount of reflection and growth I realize that I've been gifted with some incredibly valuable lessons on this scary yet beautiful ride. Here are a few I'd share with my younger self... Embrace the highs

It's important to be aware when you are in a state of joy, surrounded by love or feeling satisfied. Try to get to a place where you recognize when you're there. Then, take a moment to appreciate it. Learn from the lows

Similarly, notice when you're feeling down, getting frustrated or overwhelmed. Try to show yourself compassion. Explore those feelings and know they'll be gone soon. It's always a choice

Realize that you are an unbelievably capable creature. You have all the tools you need to make choices as to how you want to feel. Find the tools that work for you and use them. Empower yourself, try not to fall victim. For me creative expression, community, exercise & meditation/breathing are the tools I've learned that work for me. Don't Hide

We all desire to feel heard, accepted & supported. We all crave that but our natural tendency is to shut down and internalize. The challenge is, often times that can feed the feeling even further. It's quite counterproductive. I have found the only way to combat this is to talk about it. Shift the perception and give others permission to do the same.