Doing Good For Others Is The Best Way To OVERCOME TOXIC THOUGHTS W/ Rebecca Thompson

May 15, 2022

Welcome to episode 47 of the Mindful & Driven podcast! It’s all about how to not lose sight of what really matters whilst chasing your dreams.

Episode 47’s guest is Rebecca Thompson. She’s the founder of Ecosy Travel. She’s made several pivots in her life from working with the British Civil Service to working as a Senior Policy Adviser for Environment Advocacy Association to being her own boss and founder. Each of these decisions was hard in its own way and by listening today, you’ll understand how she made these decisions.

I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation! I’d love it if you could subscribe, leave me a review and follow me on social channels. 

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How to overcome toxic thoughts.
  • How to deal with negative thoughts.
  • How to overcome negative thoughts.
  • Why it’s important to deal with your negative thoughts.
  • How to handle negativity.
  • Why it’s important to go good to others.
  • Why it’s important to be good to others.
  • How to be more forgiving towards yourself.
  • How to be more mindful about your thoughts.
  • How to manage your negative thoughts.
  • How to manage your toxic thoughts.
  • How to manage your thoughts.
  • How to deal with negativity.
  • Why it’s important to deal with your own negativity.


  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Rejecting an idea (1:40)
  • Taking the first step (3:50)
  • We are who we are (8:43)
  • Giving your full capacity (10:20)
  • Listen to yourself more (13:02)
  • Finding something that works for you (17:56)
  • Keeping structure and finding balance (21:24)
  • A successful lifestyle (26:55)
  • Being more aware (28:12)


Intro Music:
“Himalayas” by Mona Wonderlick —
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported — CC BY 3.0
Free download:





[00:00:00] Rebecca: Doing things for other people, and that’s so important and it can be really empowering as well, because as soon as you sort of realize that you’re only doing stuff for other people, you kind of can drop a fair bit of resentment and negativity that you have. And it, it can really shift your way of perceiving the world if you’re actually doing stuff because you want to do it. 

[00:00:29] Amardeep: Welcome to the Mindful and Driven Podcast, where we help you to not lose sight of what’s really important whilst chasing your dreams. Today’s guest is Rebecca Thompson. She’s the founder of Ecosy Travel. She’s made several pivots in her life from working with the British Civil Service to working as a Senior Policy Adviser for Environment Advocacy Association to being her own boss and founder. Each of these decisions was hard in its own way and by listening today,  you’ll understand how she made these decisions.  And I really hope you enjoy listening. 

[00:01:01] Welcome to Mindful and Driven, Rebecca. It’s a pleasure to have you here. 

[00:01:04] Rebecca: It’s great to be here. Really nice to see you. 

[00:01:06] Amardeep: So, how are we know each other is that we’ve both been to university together in Bath and you lived in the floor below me and you also happened to be best friends with somebody who lived on my floor. So it’s like double connection there, and then because of that, we did the same course as well, triple connection. And then we both went our own ways after university. And it’s been quite a while since we’ve caught up. And it’s quite funny how different our lives are now compared to what we thought they would be back when we were in university together. How I would like to start off with is what’s some advice, you’ve heard that you really disagree with? 

[00:01:40] Rebecca: I think particularly when we kind of looked back to when we were at university, I think the objective for most people was to kind of get that really like good, secure job. You kind of set for life in some way. And I think it’s really something that belongs to a different generation almost. I think now. I feel like that’s so not the way forward, but you still hear so many people or it still feels like there’s this residual feeling that that’s what you should be doing, or people really still expect that of you. And if you sort of reject that idea that you’re doing something wrong, or you’ve kind of missed the point, or, you know, when you would give up a stable job, that’s kind of getting you a good income, you must have like, lost it a bit in some way. So yeah, I think, I think trying to get people to really just like strive for that stable job, that’s kind of like the tick box, you’re done. Just leaves you with years and years of, I don’t know, kind of, what’s the word? Just, almost done this, I think. It’s how I would feel. And I think there are certainly people out there who, you know, they want that because that lets them just kind of do the other stuff they wanted to do in their free time, but when I kind of think about not wanting to sort of work to live necessarily, but that your life kind of feeds into the work you do, it’s got a better ring to it almost. 

[00:03:26] Amardeep: Yeah. And most people who went to university, will have ended up being investment bankers or asset managers and going into that kind of field. And I think it’s funny because at the time, many people seemed really interested in it. But it wasn’t how much it was, because they were really interested in the topic, and if they couldn’t make any money in it, would they still be that interested? Probably not. So it was almost being led by the money in that way, and I think it happened to a lot of us who then went into banking, or consulting, or whatever it is. But you took a bit of a different part from the beginning, right? So you went into the civil service because that was something you believed in. So could you talk about that decision? 

[00:03:58] Rebecca: Yeah, I think it’s interesting. I think going to university to study economics, most people are there for the money. And I think even when I kind of made that decision to do economics. At the time, it was because I thought that’s the best way to get a job where you can make some money. And then I think the more I, sort of thought about it, got exposed to more people, more ideas, I really knew that that wasn’t going to work for me. I think I’ve always been led by wanting to do something that I felt had some meaning to it, or I was helping people. And I think that’s not in itself enough. I think lots of people can a bit get misled by just wanting to feel like they’re doing something good, cause it doesn’t always work out for the people who you think you’re trying to help. Yeah. I think that’s kind of what led me down the path I went straight away and I think working in the civil service, so I did the fast stream, which is the British civil service kind of graduate program in economics. I think that’s absolutely brilliant, and you are surrounded by loads of really bright, motivated people who are kind of there for that same reason, because they want to try and do something good and try and help people and, the challenge for me was that you’re kind of working with the government that you don’t agree with. For me, that was my situation. I think that’s lots of people’s situation in the civil service and your job is to be neutral, and I think I got to a point where I didn’t want to be neutral anymore and I’ve learnt so much, and I think I was just ready to do something different. And I think, yeah, kind of having that motivation to do something that I felt was genuinely useful. I kind of almost got to a point where I was doing what the government kind of wanted to see rather than what would actually create the best policy. So it’s tricky. I suppose it all came down to sort of how I felt I could have the most impact, I guess. 

[00:06:10] Amardeep: And then when you left the civil service, is that when you did your master’s, or is it, did you have another job before that? And you mentioned before we started recording that you did your master’s in part, because you were scared to just completely leave your job and you thought it was a way to do it in a respectful way. And could you talk about that? Because I think that’s quite interesting. 

[00:06:28] Rebecca: I think a lot of what I sort of did in my career path was quite led by what I felt was expected of me in a lot of ways. And so. I definitely have like a strong sense of loyalty. I would say to people that I’ve worked with and kind of the idea of a good job and that stable job in lots of ways. So, I think when I kind of was thinking about leaving, it really felt like I was doing something wrong. So yeah, in some ways it almost felt like the master’s were some kind of excuse I had to generate to be like, look, I have a real reason for leaving. And to be honest, when I left, I left as a career break. I didn’t even, you know, go the whole [unintelligible] to do the master’s. I was like, oh, I’m going doing a career break halfway through the master. I was like, by the way, I’m not coming back. And that, I think it just kind of shows like that kind of step to actually reject that idea that you have to be doing this kind of conventional career can be really hard if that’s what you’re used to, or, you know, my mum worked in the same job for over 30 years, for her whole career. And I just guess that’s what I was exposed to, or wasn’t exposed to kind of these kind of more interesting career paths that take lots of turns and you can just, halfway through studying something completely different. I kind of generated the idea. I already knew I wanted to do something quite different, but yeah, the master’s was the first step to kind of do that and I don’t regret it at all. I think I met some amazing people, the courses, cause I went to SOAS, it’s the School of Oriental and African Studies and there’s just absolutely brilliant teachers they’re, brilliant people there, so it definitely helped me realize a lot of things about what I want to do and what is the good and impactful way to be doing what you’re trying to do in putting something good back into the world, I suppose. 

[00:08:37] Amardeep: So do you think in a way you did the right thing, but for the wrong reasons? So you’re doing it just to escape your job potentially, but then because you did that, then you then met people who then helped you along the path you’re on now. 

[00:08:48] Rebecca: Absolutely. And I think, you know, at every stage in our career, we sort of are who we are and we have those ideas that we have about what a good job looks like, so it’s all a learning process. And I think, you know, I probably wouldn’t be here now, if I hadn’t done that. So as that I think I was kind of first having those conversations with people about, you know, some friends who were not flying anymore because of environmental reasons. So, and, you know, that’s, that’s a huge part. That is one of my kind of key businesses now, so I think you never know where things are going to take you, so all you can really do is the next step for that feels like it fits with what you want to do. And it will take you eventually down the right road, I think. 

[00:09:42] Amardeep: Yeah. And I think the thing I always say to people is that, if you know you’re not happy in what you’re doing, then the most important thing is to experiment to try something different, because you don’t know what it’s going to be. Like I said, like, you didn’t know that was going to be the master’s. But because you tried it, that then opened your eyes to other opportunities, and then you did other things because of that. So if you’re in a rut and try something different, it doesn’t necessarily matter so much what exactly it is in some ways I think, because you might try it, maybe you decide you don’t enjoy it, then you can try something else and that’s okay. And so after SOAS, you then went to work for another company, right? And that was in the renewable sector and something you believed in, but you then left that again because it wasn’t quite aligning with you. So how did that process go? Cause I can imagine if you then discovered that you think you really believe in this topic and helping the environment, but then you’ve got a job that essentially it should be doing everything that you thought it was meant to be doing in terms of your meaning, and then it didn’t give you that, was that a hard process for you? 

[00:10:39] Rebecca: It definitely was and I think, you know, even before I got that job, I already knew that having an office job didn’t really work that well for me. I think I already knew that I wanted to try different things. Maybe do something more practical that felt more creative. And that was really one of the motivations for leaving the civil service in the first place. So to get another full-time job, where I was doing that again, I think that wasn’t already an element of is this the right thing, but because it did tick so many boxes of what I really care about and it was, you know, it was a great job. I was really happy when I got it. And I was working with a brilliant team which, honestly I think can make or break a job. So I was there still for like a year and a half or a bit longer before I decided to leave, and, you know, the, my CEO was so supportive of the fact that I did want to try other stuff, so before I left, I was working four days a week, but I still didn’t feel like I had the time or the capacity to really explore the other things I wanted to explore. And I think that’s because in a job like that, where it is sort of in an area that you’re passionate about, it’s hard not to give it everything you’ve got. So I would be working really long hours for that job, even though there’s so much stuff I wanted to do for myself also in that space, but my own ideas, but I felt so kind of committed and loyal to sort of having said like, I’m going to do the stuff for you. I had the responsibilities for those areas. My CEO really trusted me to sort of run the team. So I never really felt comfortable to not give it my all either, which I think is a real challenge for a lot of people who are really driven, that they can’t do things halfway to give themselves the capacity to do that other stuff they want to do, which makes it really challenging to get that balance as well. 

[00:12:54] Amardeep: How did the conversation with your CEO go? Were you scared to ask for four days or is it something that they suggested themselves? 

[00:13:00] Rebecca: [unintelligible]. I’m always nervous in these situations, but I would say it went well. They, I think they probably could already sense that I was feeling this. Like I talked to them about my idea sometimes. They’d be like, that’s brilliant. So good. So I don’t think that it was a difficult conversation in the end cause they were so supportive when I was talking to them, but I was still nervous. I think all of these things that fell outside of the normal job made me nervous for some reason, because I think I had such an expectation in my head of like, oh, you work really hard to get like your exams and you know, your a levels, whatever, to get to a good university, you get to a good university and you work really hard to get a good degree. And then from the good degree, you get a good job and then that’s it. Now I haven’t really sort of thought through the process much more than that sort of when we knew each other and you kind of get that good job and you’re like, oh, that’s not making me that happy. So yeah, I think you’re right. It is so much about experimenting and you can’t know what you need, but you know, it’s about that gut feeling. And when it is sort of outside of your comfort zone, those first conversations can be quite nerve wracking, but you’ve got to just listen to yourself more. And I think that is the hardest things that often we’re quite led by what we think other people want with us. But, you know, going into that conversation, my CEO, she was so supportive and I was so worried that she’d be like hurt and let down and would turn around and be like, what are you doing? Like you’re meant to work for me. And that’s just, that’s not the situation, I think. People, you know, are supportive as much as they can be, and, you know, if it doesn’t work for a company to let you work four days, they won’t do it. But if they really value what you’re doing and they want to try and make it work, though, you know, you can see if that works and gives you that capacity to do more of what you want to do. 

[00:15:01] Amardeep: I had the same experience with my boss when I left my job. It’s that I was kind of worried that they’d be like, I’ve been there for seven years, so I was the fifth longest serving employee. But they were really supportive, so that we understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, and we wish you the best in it. Like, obviously they want you to stay, but we don’t want you to stay if that stopping you from achieving what you want to do. And it was just such a great conversation, because like I said, you sometimes expect them to be hurt, whereas it’s more about we’re excited for you, like they’ve known you for so long, they’ve supported you and often the most people aren’t like that, like evil [unintelligible]. You sometimes think, right? That they care about people. They can see you’re going to do something that makes you happy. They’re going to want to help you. And it’s going to be annoying for them to replace you with like that, but I think for some people, it’s the whole thing. They feel worse about keeping you against your will or by manipulating in that way. So having that conversation, it’s just something, which you don’t know until you do it. And you might find that people support you much more than you expect. 

[00:16:02] Rebecca: Yeah, I think that’s so true. Even when it kind of comes to now sort of moving into the travel tech space, which is so not my area of expertise coming from sustainability, which is, you know, what I’m really passionate about and know about. People are so helpful, and I’ve learned so much in the last couple of months compared to, I don’t know, the last few years, because it was almost working in the space that I already had those expertise in, so I was the person that maybe, someone could talk to about the kind of particular area I was working in. And I had that knowledge, and then it’s going to a space where, you know, you get to have loads of conversations and network with people that have loads of amazing knowledge that you can get out of them. And it’s such a fun place to be in, to be learning so much, even though it’s also a bit nerve wracking, kind of doing a venture in a totally new industry. It’s such a great place, and if you don’t enjoy that process of learning and doing something new, you know, maybe it’s not the right thing to be doing either. 

[00:17:12] Amardeep: Hi everyone. I hope you’re enjoying the episode so far. I want to take a quick break to ask you to check in with yourself. There’s many people struggling with balance and it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s tips that my guests might share can hopefully help you along the way, but if you already feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it’s probably best that you ask somebody for help too. For some, this might be a friend or family member, while others might feel like they have nobody they can talk to. If you’re one of these people, check out the link in the show notes, it’s for United for Global Mental Health. They’ve got health plans all across the world, with people willing to listen on the other side. It’s important to let somebody know how you’re feeling. Now, back to the show. 

[00:17:48] Could explain a bit more about what you do now? Like what exactly you do and your businesses that what they are. 

[00:17:53] Rebecca: Yeah. So, I’ve just got a young innovators award from innovate UK [unintelligible]. So that’s the innovation service kind of attached to the UK government and that’s for a business I’m working on, which I’m actually solo founder for, and it’s called Ecosy Travel and it’s in the fairly early stages of development. I’m building the website at the moment and it’s basically your kind of travel booking platform, but for green travel. So it’s going to focus on sort of train and ferry journeys across Europe. It’ll be all kind of eco accommodation and that kind of dynamic packaging, which is so you, as a customer will be able to put in all of your requirements and, you know, you get to package it up, how you like find the trains that suit you, you know, have a proper comparison of all the different accommodation available. Which just doesn’t really exist at the moment. And I think it’s going to be a challenge to get there and, you know, creating that functionality at first, it looks like it’s going to be really difficult given how the transport, well the travel industry is structured. It’s really exciting. So, yeah, that’s, that’s the first one. And then the second one is actually, because of another passion of mine, which is gardening. And that’s something I discovered a couple of years ago when I wasn’t very happy in my job, I think, and I was really looking for that practical thing that I could do that just made me feel better. And gardening is something that I honestly can be feeling my worst. And I’ll just start, I’ll do some gardening for half an hour. whether I’m now doing it professionally, sort of for a client, or if I’m at my community garden or my own garden. And after just half an hour, I just feel so calm. It’s incredible. So that kind of combines the sustainability and the gardening, and it’s going to be an app that’s called carbon garden and basically for anyone with access to a garden space, you can basically be able to use the app to implement certain practices that help to store as much carbon as you can in the soil and in the vegetation you’re growing, which from a climate perspective, can have huge benefits if you’re kind of multiplying it across all of the gardens that we have out there. So yeah, that’s what I’m really psyched about, that I’m actually co-founding with my partner. So that’s another fun one. 

[00:20:41] Amardeep: [unintelligible] quickly mention the gardening there because I think sometimes people think they have to do traditional ways that make you calm. Right? Some people think you have to sit there for an hour and do meditation, or you have to do yoga or whatever it is. And I don’t think that’s true. It’s you find that activity that works for you and that gardening works for you. Gardening works for many people as well. So if you find that you really struggled to sit there and meditate, then try other things. The whole thing about experimentation again, is that there isn’t one way to find calmness or to destress. You can find it in different ways and you’ve got two businesses. How’s your time split across them? Is it something which is quite fluid or is it, you try to keep structure with that? 

[00:21:23] Rebecca: I’d say it’s very fluid. So, because I’m doing the young innovators program with the travel business, that’s getting a lot more of my time at the moment. And I think when I first started it, I was like, oh, well use that program and implement that structure just to both of them. The equal time and just treat it like I’ve got that sort of program attached to both of them, but actually, because there is so much support in this kind of year period attached to that one business, I kind of, I’m getting a lot of traction there and I want to just really make the most of it. So. I’ve sort of got lots of motivation around that one. And I’m just trying to grab that and push ahead with it. And I think it goes in waves as well. So with the carbon gardening business, I do more of the sort of, almost sort of in my head, softer work, which is the reset and kind of thinking around how best to design the different principles to do that carbon storage with the gardening and just sort of, because I do lots of gardening, I work at my community permaculture garden, and so I’m having lots of conversations with people that work in the area, gathering information like that. Whereas my partner, he comes from a FinTech background. He does product development and he’s leading on the actual tech side of things with that. So I think, I feel like that one, I can do more in waves, whereas the travel tech business, where I’m the solo founder, is really on me, so I think that’s why I’m really kind of trying to dedicate as much time as possible as I can to that one at the moment. 

[00:23:20] Amardeep: And do you find it hard to balance that where you’ve got two different businesses that you care a lot about as well, as you mentioned before, there’s so many other things that interest you. How do you stop that from overwhelming you’re working too hard? 

[00:23:31] Rebecca: It’s not easy, I think. I mean, also in between really kicking things off with these businesses, I did have about a year where I sort of quit my job and I was like, I’m taking this time to really think about what I want to do, and luckily I had this sort of freedom to do that. So, you know, loads of random projects. So I got cast in a film where I had a dance and acting role. So it was doing loads of work on that, which is really exciting. I was learning aerial silks. I don’t know if you know what that is, but it’s almost a kind of dark circus skill. Doing lots of gardening. And I think I’ve had like a nice amount of time to really explore different things and feel creative and discover what I really want to spend my time doing. So I’m also feeling quite confident in kind of where I am now, and I’m not doubting it, which I think can be a real problem when you’re at risk of feeling overwhelmed, but you’re like, I’m doing all of this work and I don’t even know if it’s the right thing that I should be doing. So I think that really helps. And then I think it is tricky not to just put too much time into these things, but there’s almost a balance where you’re like, I do need to work really hard on this at the moment. And I’m kind of okay with that. And I think I do have a good awareness of my energy levels. So I’ll have days where I can just do lots of work and because I’m working for myself, I think I can just listen to that kind of energy level and decide what to focus on based on that. So, I mean, today, I actually felt really sort of low energy, so I had my meeting this morning for an hour with sort of my mentor as part of the young innovators program. And then I had a nap. And then, you know, we’re recording this now and I’m feeling more energized and I’m probably going to do a fair bit of work this evening. So it’s listening to your body as well, making sure you are able to notice if you are feeling overworked and doing something about it, not just being like, I’m feeling really overworked, but I’ve still got to get all this done. So, yeah, and it is, you know, knowing that I’ve found the gardening and that if I’m not feeling good, I can go and do that, and it just makes me feel so much calmer. It’s great to have all these things in your back pocket. And sometimes that will be meditation or you know, for some people it’s dancing. I know you do some dance as well, but you know, that’s not like a. peaceful activity necessarily, but it can be just as meditative as anything else because you know, you’re really releasing lots of pent up energy and that can be so useful to feel, like you can take on the world a bit more. 

[00:26:33] Amardeep: Everybody listening can’t hire me to energize them. I know I have that effect on some people, but. What’s the successful lifestyle look for you in the future? Like what are you building towards or how would you like to manage your life? 

[00:26:44] Rebecca: It’s interesting. I think it almost can change depending on how I’m feeling. I mean, one thing that I know I love is travel. Me and my partner have actually been talking about buying an electric van and doing out the back and, you know, we can both work remotely. So I think what we might be doing next is doing more traveling, which is really exciting. But I think when I really think of my future, something amazing that I’d love is to have like a bit of land and, you know, be able to do something like rewilding projects on it and live there and, you know, feel much more in nature because I mean, I’m from London, I’ve lived here my whole life and it, as a city, can just be overwhelming. But yeah, I think it’s hard not to get caught up in like traditional ideas of success sometimes. And it is useful just to try and remember, like, what would you actually love to do in the future? It’s like, I’d love to just be in nature. And, you know, you don’t need to overdo your kind of success story to achieve that, and it’s kind of managing your own expectations of what you want as well. 

[00:27:57] Amardeep: Along those lines, for the people listening today, what mindset shift would you suggest to them that you think could really help them? 

[00:28:03] Rebecca: I think that one thing that’s really helped me recently is being more aware of when I want to do something because I want to do it or because I think that it’s, what’s expected of me and really trying to tune in more to my own once or kind of my own voice in some way, and trying to get rid of some of those ideas and expectations and yeah, doing things for other people. And that’s so important and it can be really empowering as well, because as soon as you sort of realize that you’re only doing stuff for other people, you kind of can drop a fair bit of resentment and negativity that you have, and it, it can really shift your way of perceiving the world if you’re actually doing stuff because you want to do it. So yeah, definitely that would be, be my piece of advice. 

[00:28:57] Amardeep: It’s like you said, [unintelligible] sometimes you do things because you think it’s expected of us, even when the other people don’t always expect it of us. So we think I’ll whip through this because somebody else wants us to. But if we actually ask them to say, oh, I’m not enjoying this, it doesn’t really make me happy, then they’ll be okay, cool. You can do something else instead. Right? 

[00:29:13] Rebecca: It’s so true. I mean, everything we do is based on just how we’re perceiving the world. So yeah. I mean, there’s also kind of a question of, can we just decide to perceive it differently if we’ve got a really negative outlook on things? Can we just sort of try and shift that in different ways to be like, you know, maybe there is a bit more positivity out there than what I’m able to see in this moment. So, yeah, I think definitely we’re thinking about. 

[00:29:46] Amardeep: It’s been great to catch up Rebecca, where can people hear more about you and your businesses? 

[00:29:50] Rebecca: The website for Ecosy Travel is up, but you know, not, not fully formed or launched yet, but people can sign up to hear more about all of that. And it’s I’m really happy for people to connect with me on LinkedIn as well. I’d say that’s a great place to keep up to date with whatever up to, so that’s Rebecca Joan Thompson. 

[00:30:12] Amardeep: And then the final thing I ask all my guests is what’s one small thing that’s brought you joy recently? 

[00:30:17] Rebecca: I recently got back from a couple of weeks in Guernsey, so it was amazing to escape London for a little bit. The people that don’t know Guernsey, it’s a tiny island in the channel in between the UK and France and in the middle of January, I went surfing. And it was freezing cold and I had a wetsuit and head boots and gloves on, and it was just so refreshing and amazing. And since I’ve got back, I’ve started turning the shower to cold for a few seconds before I get out, and that’s just so energizing and I’m loving it. So I’d go with that. 

[00:31:00] Amardeep: If you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, I’d love it If you could leave me a five star review, it really helps get the message out further. Wherever you’re listening, it would be awesome If you could subscribe and share in your social media channels. If you want to see more of my work and advice, you can find all of the links in the show notes. 


Thank you again for listening and I hope you have a lovely day.

Amar's Letter

Real talk on driving impact as an imperfect human.