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New Zealand’s Startups

Defying the odds

How I Keep Well

Resilience and overcoming adversity has become a hallmark of Olivia Dyet’s professional journey. As a result she’s become passionate about sharing her story to help others beat the odds.

Journalist

Mary Hurley

Empathix founder Olivia Dyet

For Empathix founder Olivia Dyet, the question of who she is isn’t simple. 

“If I was to define it in a sentence, it would be belief; belief that I can do anything I put my mind to.” 

Born to a low-income household in New Zealand, Dyet earned a scholarship which allowed her to attend a private school. However, with an Eastern European background, she never quite fit; her last name and economic status, leaving her a target for bullies. 

At 21, while attending university, Dyet gave birth to her first child. Determined to provide the best future for them both, she stuck to her studies and graduated a year later with two degrees, securing an internship at adidas. During this period, Dyet also met her partner; a woman. 

“The reason I share all of that information publicly is that every part of that story often, statistically, would mean quite poor outcomes for me and my child,” Dyet says. “I’ve chosen not to go down that path.” 

In March 2023, after ten years in both small and large organisations, Dyet founded Empathix, a tech startup that allows recruiters and hiring managers to access talent 24/7. The platform reinvigorates a centuries-old system, Dyet says. 

Having grown up with the odds stacked against her, Dyet hopes her story of defying those odds will help others do the same. 

Dyet sits down with Caffeine to share her top tips for health and wellbeing. 

1. Prioritise therapy

I have always prioritised therapy, even when I was earning $45,000 a year. 

I have done that because I have a massive desire to learn about myself, other people, and how we relate to each other. 

More than that, it’s for my overall wellbeing and how I do life. I’m a sensitive person. I have a sensitive side of me, but I’ve also got a direct side of me. Those two things are hard to balance in terms of making sure I am well all the time. 

It’s just been so healing for me. It’s a privileged position to be in, but I go without to do that. 

2. Try to nail the basics

There are so many things that I do, probably habitually now, that I’ve learned either through therapy that I don’t even think about, which is perhaps why I’m able to carry a large volume of work and still be okay. 

I try to practise mindfulness and exercise, spend time in nature, know when I’m tired, and go to bed on time. I also have eczema and that can be hard. So, for me, wellbeing can be making sure I go to the doctor to get the medicine I need to get on top of that. 

Of course, there are things like eating well and drinking water, but I feel that’s a bit of a cop-out because, a lot of the time, I’m so busy that I don’t have the time to take care of myself. 

3. Music (and dancing) 

Listening to music and dancing with my kids is another wellbeing tool. 

When I’m with my kids, they dictate the music – things like musicals; Grease or The Lion King. My son’s also into hard rock music at the moment, so we’ll rock out to Queen.

For me, it’s 100 percent sad songs – The Carpenters, Yusuf / Cat Stevens. Peace Train is so good. I listen to a lot of sad music, but I read that listening to sad music has the opposite effect, affecting your dopamine levels and actually making you happier. 

4. Keeping on learning

I love learning and I spend a lot of time doing it. Reading is part of that. If you can read, you can really access anything. There are so many books out there. 

A hack I learned is using ChatGPT to tell me the top 100 books for startups or businesses and then summarising each. That way, you can take large amounts of data into your brain really quickly. Then, I choose the top five, validate them, and those are my books for the year. 

Podcasts are really good, too. A hack around them is getting the transcripts. I also try to talk to as many different types of people as I can. It’s why I have a podcast, because it’s having all these amazing conversations with people.

Journalist

Mary Hurley

Mary Hurley brings three years experience in the online media industry to the Caffeine team. Having previously specialised in environmental and science communications, she looks forward to connecting with founders and exploring the startup scene in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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