Inspirational Woman: Cate Murden | Founder, PUSH

Cate MurdenI created PUSH almost 7 years ago having spent 16 years working in media previously, which culminated with me being signed off with stress.

Why? Well, for a start I wasn’t looking after myself anywhere near well enough to cope with the high demands of my job. And, with the benefit of a good dollop of hindsight, coupled with a lot more self-awareness, I’ve realised that much of how I was feeling was down to the fact that many of my values, which were previously so aligned with media, had started to change and that alignment was no longer there. As the gap between personal and professional work values widened, I became more lost.

Indeed, it was hard to say what was specifically wrong, just that I felt like I was simply ‘going through the motions’ rather than being driven or genuinely feeling any joy within it. That was a very hard place to be – as I didn’t understand why or indeed what I could do about it.

When my mum was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2014, to put it simply, I had nothing in the tank to be able to deal with it. I was broken. In the end, I was signed off for 3 months and, whilst I was off, I knew I couldn’t face going back into that old world. I just knew that I no longer wanted life to look like that and, if I did, more than likely wouldn’t survive it very well.

I could also see around me that more and more people were in similar circumstances. Everywhere you looked, the words ‘stress’, ‘burnout’ or ‘breakdown’ were being bandied around. I just felt that I wanted to do something about it – I knew there had to be a better way of living and working and, quite frankly, I didn’t want anyone else to go through what I did.

And that is how PUSH started being formed and has since grown into the beast that you see today.

We help individuals and organisations unlock their human potential and reach peak performance. Our work combines four core areas: wellbeing, mental health, leadership and personal and professional development. And, let’s be clear, never has this work been needed more, as we share tools and frameworks to help people think differently and continue to perform at their best – even as they head into unknown territory. Consequently, we can improve the productivity and effectiveness of our client’s organisations – despite the uncertainty of the current Covid-landscape.

PUSH has become the greatest love of my life. My core values are love, humour and ambition and our work beautifully satisfies all of them and I know that I can bring them into every area of our work and business. Knowing that we are changing lives alongside how businesses run, genuinely lights me up.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Hmm, I suppose you could cut my career into two parts – the world of media and then PUSH.

So, for the media part – God no! I’m not sure anyone who ends up in media actually intends to!

As for the PUSH part – well, yes, very much so!

I went to a retreat in the January of 2014 and loved it so much that when I came home, I cried! I was desperate to do something similar but just didn’t know where or how to even begin! Suffice to say, all too soon I was back into that world of just ‘existing’ with no clue of how to change it.

However, when I was signed off in the Summer, it struck me that I had to turn this from being the worst thing that had ever happened to me, into the best thing. I was being pushed (no pun intended) onto a new track and knew it was my time to seize the opportunity.

Suffice to say PUSH took a lot of planning! Planning, learning, cajoling, developing and training! I have since retrained as a Coach at the Neuro Leadership Institute and bring everything that I understand about neuroscience, human behaviour and organisational development into our work. This is alongside the incredible knowledge, experience and wisdom of my incredible team and associates – collectively we are a force and one that can genuinely change how people feel and companies work.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I have to be honest, for me, the greatest challenge that I face is always my own brain! I can be the greatest over-thinker in the world and it’s a constant learning managing that. However, I consistently push myself to view things differently, and therapy, curiosity, gratitude and journaling have been my greatest gifts along the way.

Since starting PUSH, I have totally changed how I see the world. What I have learnt is that, actually, every situation is completely neutral. It is our perception that determines our experience of it.

So, do I feel challenged by situations? Of course! However, do I also take the opportunity to either challenge my thinking or beliefs? Absolutely.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Without a shadow of doubt, creating PUSH has been my greatest achievement to date. I often comment that whilst I’m so proud of making this company, actually, it is this company that made me.

However, somewhat closer to home, I am particularly proud of how my awesome team completely pivoted the business at the start of the pandemic, from entirely face to face operation to one that is completely delivered online.

Despite the constant challenge of running a biz throughout a pandemic, we have tried to consistently look for the opportunity and approach every situation with a growth mindset. What we have achieved in the last year is nothing short of phenomenal.

A particular highlight for me was our event ‘What’s Your Story?’ on World Mental Health Day when we interviewed 16 people about their mental health journeys over 2 days.

It was the most unbelievable, authentic and magical event bringing to life these individual’s unique and awe-inspiring stories. It became clear that there is a collection of tools that every person managing their mindset, well, uses. We’re looking to share these with all of our clients very soon!

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

Put simply, tenacity.

From the very start, I had a dogged determination to create change. I had zero shame (!) and happily asked everyone I knew for either their advice or support.

This, with a constant desire to keep moving forward, is what has propelled PUSH forward and helped thrive – even through the greatest of challenges.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

Mentoring is an awesome way of sharing info and helping people gather opinion or learn more quickly, instead of walking a path on their own.

I’ve had some incredible mentors over the last few years: Kathleen Saxton, James Kirkham, Dom Monkhouse and Mary Keane Dawson, to name a few. I happily heeded the advice: why have one mentor when you can have a number of them and get a broad range of experience and advice in several aspects of your life?

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?

I strongly believe we need more women in leadership roles. I think we’ve already seen the huge impact that the announcement of Vice President Kamala Harris has made.

If we want to increase the aspirations of more women and girls then we need more relatable role models that we can all aspire to.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I would simply tell my younger self that everything is going to be okay – because it always will.

As I grow older, I realise that I can, and do, get myself through everything and anything that is placed in front of me.

Life might not always turn out as we hope or plan but, once we know we can get through anything, even the most terrifying situations lose their sting.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

We have some huge developments coming up that slightly blow my mind! I can’t go into too much detail but suffice to say that by the end of the year we will have two new products, one of which will help our clients look after their teams’ wellbeing at the touch of a button, and we’re really excited to share this in due time.

WeAreTheCity has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Cherie Blair, Paula Radcliffe MBE, Caprice Bourret, Anna Williamson and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here

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