Overcoming Adversity with Petra Velzeboer

As this month is International Women’s Month, I’m showcasing an amazing woman on this week’s podcast.  I’ll be talking to Petra Velzeboer, about overcoming adversity. 

Listen to the episode

If you enjoyed this episode, then consider subscribing on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you access your podcasts from.

About my guest

Petra Velzeboer was born into the infamous Children of God cult where she was raised with the pressure of saving the world. With no formal education to speak of, or resources on how to make it in the outside world she left the cult. So, at 22 she moved to the UK pregnant, isolated from her family and support groups she tried as best she could to just be normal and fit into life on the outside. 

Then, at 25 with two children and a boyfriend who went out to work, she experienced chronic isolation, depression and sank into alcohol dependence leading to suicidal ideation and destructive behaviours. Petra gave herself a year’s deadline to decide how she was going to move forward. 

During this time Petra observed people, read, embarking on her education as a psychotherapist. She also experimented on her own life in every form imaginable. From exercise, learning, meditation, joining support groups, asking people questions, attending events and practising everything she learned on herself. After the year passed, she realised everything wasn’t perfect but she no longer wanted to end it all and in 2012 she completed her MSc in Psychodynamics of Human Development. She had started overcoming adversity to create the foundations for her business. 

Petra now runs a thriving mental health consultancy, which includes training leaders in mental health awareness, advising organisations on their mental health strategy, executive coaching for leaders wanting to create healthy workplaces and giving keynotes on mental health, authenticity and creating the best place to work.

In today’s show, we talk about:

  • Some projects Petra’s currently working on. [04:57]
  • How her adversity journey has shaped who she has become. [07:13]
  • Why she started the Adversity to Advantage podcast. [12:11]
  • Her recommendations on overcoming adversity. [13:14]
  • What workplaces can do to support their staff with challenges they may have [16:50]
  • The best ways to promote Employee Assistance Programmes [21:07] 
  • How she manages her work-life balance. [23:26]

Connect with my guest:

Here are some helpful resources mentioned in this episode:


  • I’ve learnt to not care about what people think.
  • When we’re passionate about what we do, our minds are so excited about it, that we’re not recognising that our bodies are still building up stress, and are kind of on a fast track to burnout.
  • I do think we build resilience through adversity.
  • Being open and authentic literally saved my life.
  • As humans, we need to belong to a tribe, a culture something, and the threat of not belonging makes us compromise so many of our values.

Work with me

Subscribe to the Diverse Minds Newsletter for updates on my work. Subscribe here

Want to do more in your workplace 366 days of this year?

If so, why not find out more about how I can help you and your workplace wellbeing plans by booking a free 30-minute call with me here:

Find out more about the solutions I offer: https://diverseminds.co.uk/solutions/ 

Subscribe to the podcast

If you enjoyed this episode, then consider subscribing on Apple podcast, Spotify or wherever you access your podcasts from. 

You can also connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Remember to tune in to next week’s episode, where I’ll bring you more insights into mental health and inclusion.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.