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In light of our 5th anniversary this year, we’d like to share with you a bit more about the people behind The Lily-Jo Project!

Next up is operations manager, Peter or “Pete” Bonnebaigt. 

Pete has been working with us at The Lily-Jo Project since 2018, and he supports us with office admin, outreach, all things tech, and so much more!

Here’s a bit more about Pete’s background, thoughts on mental health, and ongoing work outside of The Lily-Jo Project.

About Peter Bonnebaigt

Peter Bonnebaigt or “Pete” is a Manchester-based sound engineer and tour manager. Over the years, he has done shows and toured across the UK, Europe, and globally. 

Pete is passionate about mental health and currently serves as The Lily-Jo Project’s operations manager. If you ever need to get in touch with us, Pete is often your first point of contact and is always happy to make a new friend! 

An Interview with Peter Bonnebaigt

What is a “day-in-the-life” like working with The Lily-Jo Project?

Definitely varied and dynamic. I love it! 

We’re a small team and as such we each work across many different disciplines, utilising different skills in each moment to achieve the things we do. 

It is engaging working in an environment like that as it pushes you to try, develop, and achieve new skills and expertise. When you don’t have a large team of people each with specific skills you can draw on, it forces you to be more innovative and to think outside of the box. It creates a great culture within the team of people who are willing to give things a go, and who will rise up to challenges and overcome obstacles to achieve outstanding results. 

Every day I wake up grateful and proud to work with The Lily Jo Project.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to your teenage self?

I would encourage my teenage self to take one small step each day to be who he really is. 

I was always quite anxious as a kid and afraid to fully be myself. I had a personality that I loved and really wanted to show the world, but most of the time I was just too scared to do so. This scared version of me became who I allowed myself to be. 

As I have grown up, taking consistent small steps out in being who I really, authentically, am has allowed me to reframe that anxiety I had as a teen and just be me; and I realise people do actually like me, the real me.

Thinking about your work with The Lily-Jo Project, what article or project are you the most proud of?

This year I am most proud of my work on The Lily-Jo Project’s online learning platform. I’m proud of how we have not only been able to pivot during the covid pandemic, but how we have been able to use this adversity as an opportunity to enhance what we do and reach more people. 

As we move forward, we are continuing to develop new solutions to make sure that each individual has access to the support they need, when they need it. We have exciting projects in the works!

In your view, what do you consider to be the most pressing and important mental health topic of this moment in time?

I believe self-esteem is such a vital topic. For me, it is the underlying cause of other struggles. When I feel anxious or low, it is often a result of me questioning my worth. 

There is so much pressure these days to be a certain thing or person. We are advertised an ideal lifestyle, body type, job every day across social media, films, publications, and by each other, and are told that these things are the key to happiness. It can be so damaging to our mental health. 

The higher our self-esteem is though, the more confident we are with ourselves and our own lives. We are able to navigate the rising pressures of social media perfection and receive our validation from our own internal sense of belief, worth, and character instead. That is when we start to really be happy and fulfilled, when we realise we are already enough, already amazing. 

What blog, book, film, podcast, etc. has been inspiring you lately?

I have just finished a book by Steven Bartlett called ‘Happy Sexy Millionaire’ which has been amazing. It is a very honest and affirming exploration of themes such as worldly pressures of what to be and where happiness really stems from. I would really recommend it to anyone, really good for self-esteem.

I also love Disney and find them very inspiring. ‘The Ride of a Lifetime’ by Robert Iger was a great book for me. He really shows how possible it is to be authentic in a workplace, navigate difficult situations, and take big risks on the things you believe in.

The Imagineering Story’, a documentary series, is great too and shows the development of the Disney theme parks. I love seeing the commitment Walt had to pursue his dream for the parks even though the world didn’t believe in it. He followed his conviction and belief that he could make something that would add real value to people’s lives.

Can you share a bit more about your creative work outside of The Lily-Jo Project?

I really believe in doing all I can to promote good mental health and to help people across the world maintain good mental health. As such most of my time is spent working with Lily-Jo in The Lily-Jo Project, Unstoppable Life Coaching, and the music side of what we do. 

Additionally, I love music and my background is working within the music industry. I worked as a sound engineer for many years and still regularly do gigs and shows. I really enjoy working with bands and artists and going away to do shows and tours. 

During Covid, there were of course a lot fewer tours and gigs than usual. During that time I wrote a book about how to build successful systems and operations within businesses called ‘Systems Survival Guide’.

More from Pete

Looking for more from Pete? Check out some of his recent blog articles for The Lily-Jo Project below. 

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