We ponder with Warren Davies, known as ‘The Unbreakable Farmer‘, an icon of rural mental health in Australia.
He’s an ordinary man with an extraordinary story: a farmer, husband, and father navigating the complexities of mental health fueled by resilience, persistence, and determination. His lived experiences give voice to powerful presentations and workshops, promoting communication and community. His new Podcast, “Beyond the Back Paddock”, is an exciting new addition to his message.
Warren, your story is one of great resilience and persistence. Could you share with our readers about a pivotal moment that led you to where you are now, on this path, helping others?
My mental health had declined to the point that I’d hit rock bottom. I call this moment in my life my Two Feet of Perspective. That afternoon Life gave me two choices: to remain angry, bitter and with my mental health out of control or seek help and become better; I chose better. I found myself in a very dark and scary place. That drives me to help others today; if someone can take something away from my presentations to help themselves or help someone they love, I have achieved my mission.
Given your experiences with bullying during your secondary school years, how do you approach the topic of resilience in a way that resonates with younger audiences, and what advice do you have for young people facing similar challenges?
Reaching out for support would be the first piece of advice. When I was getting bullied, I just excepted it and never sort help. It eroded my resilience, my well-being and my education. I gave those bullies the power to do that. So, my second piece of advice is to be strong enough to stand up against bullies. That requires support. Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.
You’ve mentioned how you had to reinvent yourself at various stages of your life. How has your self-perception and identity evolved through these experiences, and how do you bring this evolution into your presentations?
Throughout my life, I have had to reinvent myself and identify who I am. Moving from the city to the country, school kid to farm hand, dairy farmer to professional speaker.
We learn every day, which has shaped the person we are and the person we will become in the future. Embrace that.
Being an ‘Unbreakable Farmer,’ you’ve become an inspirational figure for many people, regardless of their profession. What message do you hope your story conveys to people struggling with their identity or place in life?
There is a place for everyone in the world, be authentic to yourself, and you will find that place.
“One of my favourite sayings I often share with people I manage is, if you haven’t learned anything today, check your pulse.”
Growing up, was there someone who inspired you or whose voice spoke to you during difficult times?
I am a mad footy fan; many people who inspired me growing up were footballers, like Kevin Sheedy, Tommy Hafey, and Maurice Rioli. It wasn’t until I became older that I was influenced by others, but the people who inspire me are just people with everyday stories.
You are an avid reader; what is your favourite book you are reading right now?
At the moment, I have two books on the go. The first one is a book by Chris Cheers; The New Rule Book Notes From a Psychologist That Helps Redefine The Way We Live, which is a very interesting book, and the other book I’m reading is called The Thought Leaders Practise by Matt Church,
You are authentically you, which shines through on your social media; there is no cookie-cutter life coach here! This has been a testament to your success, with followers and fans, everyone from farmers to CEOs, parents to entrepreneurs. What was it like entering the keynote speaker arena and staying true to your message, personality, and style without succumbing to the “trends” or “corporate image.”
My message and mission are more important than trends and corporate image. Being my true self and authentic is my superpower, and that is more engaging than trends or trying to keep up an image that isn’t me. That might be just the dairy farmer coming out in me. Trying to be something you are not is exhausting and counterproductive.
If you could sit down and tell your 16-year-old self just one message, what would it be?
Wow, now that would be a long conversation. Firstly I would say believe in yourself. I have struggled with self-esteem all my life, and at 16, it was probably at its lowest. Secondly, You are You, and that’s ok. You don’t need to be anyone else.
Can you tell us about the Podcast?
I’ve just launched a new podcast called Beyond the Back Paddock. One of the most powerful assets of any community is the power of shared wisdom; the best way to share that wisdom is through storytelling.
What prompted you to do it?
Being inspired by everyday people and their stories
How have you chosen your guests and why?
I’ve been privileged to meet some amazing people as a speaker, whether their fellow speakers or people that I’ve met in communities with some amazing stories and stories that you sometimes don’t expect. And I chose a balance of guests from all different backgrounds because I think it’s really important to normalise some of these conversations about subjects that we don’t normally talk about, so a balance of well-known and not so well known people was really important in choosing the guests for the Podcast.
What excites you about it?
What excites me about the Podcast is it’s a different forum to engage with my followers or the people in my community, and I do that through sharing stories of others and some inspiring people I’ve met.
Treehouse or cubby house, and why?
This is a fantastic question. Growing up, I had neither a treehouse nor a cubby house. I used to build little humpies in there in the Bush. Growing up in a developing eastern suburb of Melbourne, we were the first house on our estate, so there was always bushland, building sites, and development around us where you could you make stuff out of anything, and I used to love nooks and crannies and even though they didn’t resemble the stories that were being told in your head the imagination that come with doing that was one of the things that I treasure about being a kid.
To find out more information about this incredible human please visit:
According to Statista
Approximately 90% of 4-8th class students have experienced bullying, with 70.6% witnessing bullying in school, and over 5% of students in Australia dropping out due to repeated bullying and abusive behaviors.
If you are someone you know is feeling in crisis or unsafe; please call 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Important Crisis Contacts:
Beyond Blue- https://www.beyondblue.org.au
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36
MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
1800 Respect 1800 737 732
13 YARN – 13 92 76 – for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
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