Ditte & Julie x Five Units

On being supported—and living fully

Ditte & Julie x Five Units

On being supported—and living fully

You do so much in your life.

Being engaged and wanting to do your best, you work, make a career, realise yourself, care for your loved ones, do all the practical things, are part of a family, are self-loving—and nurture your friendships.

At times, it can be a lot. Overwhelming, even.

Do you feel the warm embrace of being supported by others in the day-to-day of your life? Or do you feel alone? What would it take for you to make yourself vulnerable and open to being supported? And how would your life be different if you did?

Let's explore and see where we end up—together. 

To join us on our journey, we've partnered with Ditte Estrup and Julie Elgaard, our ambassadors, for the coming months. On social media, they work to inspire by sharing honestly about their lives. In this interview, they share everything from being in fertility treatment to deeply personal thoughts and reflections.

Since our partnership began, we've discussed being supported and what it means to us. 

But don't take our word for it. As you read, open your mind and join us in exploring how you feel—using this story as a firestarter for growth in your life. We tell Ditte and Julie's story to inspire people to embrace who they are—and to take brave steps.

Now. Let's explore how being supported might affect our lives.

Tony: You're friends, right?

Ditte: Yes! We became friends recently. It's been amazing to discover how well we fit together professionally and personally and how we can support each other.

Julie: Before coming here today, we talked about 'support' and how we can lift each other up without getting less out of it individually. And we've realised it's quite the opposite!

Ditte: Supporting each is so rewarding—it makes us all shine.

Tony: So, being supported is relevant to you both?

Ditte: Yes, super relevant!

Julie: Actually, it's been eye-opening for us both to talk about it. It's critical to have support in our work—but also privately.

Ditte: And I have a recent real-life example of being supported. As we sent out invitations to an event we're hosting soon, we were fully booked within half an hour, with many friends attending. To us, that's feeling supported—and I think it tends to happen because we're good at helping others. You get what you give.

Tony: You sure do. Why do you think it's essential to have support from other people?

Ditte: If I didn't have the support of my family and husband in what I do, I couldn't do it. As self-employed, Julie and I don't have colleagues, so our family, friends and each other are essential to us. When there's resistance, it helps to have people around you—and behind you.

Tony: Someone you can talk to about even the smallest things?

Ditte: Yes. Let's say you catch yourself thinking, 'oh, that was stupid; I really regret that', but decide to talk to someone about it—you'll likely end up feeling it wasn't so bad after all.

Julie: I like to surround myself with people who support me and vice versa—where I know, 'I got you, and you got me, we got each other'. We lift each other up. I think it's important to know you have support—even if you don't need it. For example, later today, I know I'll come home to someone who's there for me—it makes me happy and gives me courage.

Ditte: Me too—part of my courage comes from people close to me cheering me on. Let's say you're at a workplace, and someone gets the promotion you wanted—instead of your ego getting in the way, celebrate them with all your heart!

Tony: I just imagined doing the opposite. Being egotistical and envious. Completely exhausting... I would dread coming to work every day.

Julie: Yes, supporting each other is so important!

Tony: Well, it's great that you've found each other.

Ditte/Julie: Yes!

Tony: And it's one thing to have support from your partner, but they don't always understand what you go through at work.

Ditte: No, and vice versa. My partner works with something I don't fully understand, so he also needs someone else to talk to who understands his dilemmas.

Tony: Now we're on the subject—how do you seek support in your life?

[after a longer pause]

Julie: Some time ago, my husband and I underwent fertility treatment—a story we chose to share on social media with my followers. It seems like a radical thing to do, but by opening up, we learned that many others had been in the same situation, how tough it had been for them, and how much they had worried.

It was an enormous relief to feel we weren't alone. We shared it to help others—but got so much ourselves.

We also found out that people with fertility problems want to talk about it—all the emotions and worries that go along with it. But often, they feel alone, even with their partner, and wish their partners would speak with them or understand them better. I'm grateful my husband and I were willing to talk about it together, and it's brought so much positivity to our relationship.

Tony: You got more than you expected?

Julie: Yes, for sure. And we shared it because we know fertility problems are a thing these days. One in three suffer from involuntary childlessness. So we wanted to share to help. But it also helped us—all the positive feedback we got and simply writing down all our worries and problems during each stage was therapeutic.

Tony: Wonderful.

Julie: Yes, it really was. Another way I seek support is to voice what's inside my head. So, suppose I call someone and am upset—I don't necessarily want the other person to try to come up with solutions or motivate me. Instead, I may just want to talk about it and be listened to.

Ditte: And even if you've 'simply' been listened to, you hang up the phone and feel, 'okay, I know what to do now', even though you didn't talk solutions.

Tony: Getting support is simply talking to someone without finding a solution?

Julie: Yes, it can be. Either way, it feels great.

Ditte: I even think it makes us stronger.

Julie: It's so important to voice your thoughts.

Tony: But, Julie, as you shared your story, you displayed yourself and were vulnerable. But maybe that's what it takes?

Julie: Yes, I think so, because if you're a closed book and don't open up and give, it's also hard to get anything. It has to go both ways.

Tony: You're good at asking for support. For the reader who might want inspiration to become better, could you give some examples of how you do it?

Ditte: My youngest daughter slept little during her first two years—every morning, she got up at four after a rough night, and today, she sleeps until seven—and it's almost too good to be true.

I shared my 'problem' on social media more than once, and people told me they were in the same situation—and gave advice. I could have gotten annoyed by getting advice without asking for it, but I thought, 'we'll try it'. And the funny thing was, I didn't share to get something out of it—but I got a lot! And now she sleeps longer.


"Often, it's hard showing our true colours—but as we do it more and more, we discover the magic of it."

Tony: So, try to be open to good advice, even if you haven't asked for it?

Ditte: Yes, someone's advice might help you. You know you have yet to try everything, and if you find yourself in a situation where you have no clue what to do, why not give it a go?

Tony: That's a playful approach!

Ditte: Yes. And it's better than waking up at four without sleeping, night after night, haha!

Tony: So, besides being open and sharing your stories with others, do you have other ways that you seek support in your life?

Ditte: I look for support in many places—my mother, partner, and friends. I sometimes think, 'wow, I'm stupid,' or 'I'm such a bad version of myself,' and then talk about it with a friend who'll say something like, 'you should know what I said to my daughter yesterday!'. So, talk about it! You're not the only struggling mother, father, daughter, or son in the world.

Tony: You guys are really good at getting support. If someone reading this thinks it's hard asking for help, what can they try?

Julie: It's easier said than done—but even if you don't feel like it, try anyway. That feeling you'll have afterwards when you open up or say how you felt... Sometimes, you gotta try. Instead of hiding it and confusing people, tell them what's up—it may turn out totally different than you imagined.

Tony: Take the plunge?

Julie: When you don't wanna show your feelings, ask for help, or open up—count to three—wham!—and do it anyway.

Ditte: Also, do it to avoid being misunderstood. Let's say you're stressed, don't feel well, worry a lot, and feel angry at the office. Instead of letting it get worse, tell your colleagues how you feel. Otherwise, they might think it's about them, and if it's not, you'll be better off showing your true colours. It might sound so basic, but it's very effective.

Julie: Often, it's hard showing our true colours—but as we do it more and more, we discover the magic of it. I've hissed at my husband lately, and one night, I decided to open up and say sorry—it wasn't fun doing it, but it felt so good afterwards.

Tony: The softness when you open up is so good.

Julie: Yes, it is. Just keep doing it—it gets better and easier over time.

[a quiet moment]

Tony: How do you support each other?

Ditte: By being open. Of course, there are things we don't share with each other, but mostly, it comes down to being honest about everything from details about jobs to wages to ways of working. If we talk about it, we lift each other up instead of struggling individually. It means the world to us. I also practice openness and honesty with others and get so much back. Let's be open and honest, support each other, and get better.

Julie: Yes!

Ditte: Even if you're competitors, you can learn something from each other, and there's probably room for both of you. Of course, some businesses fail, but that probably didn't happen because of the business next door. It's not the neighbour's fault. Look inward and ask yourself, 'what could I have done differently?'.

Tony: Do you also support each other emotionally?

Julie: Yes, we support each other emotionally by being open and honest, and we don't feel alone when we do that. Your friends are also stressed sometimes—their homes are a mess, their weekend was rough, so why not open up about it? Don't put on a show—let's support each other instead.

Tony: Ditte, you're more experienced and have enjoyed success for longer than Julie. Can Julie also support you?

Ditte: Yes, one hundred per cent! I've learned a lot from Julie. 

I've been a self-employed social media ambassador for four years, while Julie has been so for half a year. During that time, I've worked on projects Julie's been involved in, and her platform has snowballed, especially after sharing her personal story. Her approach has inspired me, and I've become more private with my followers. So even though I've been in business longer than Julie, I'm open to learning and having her support me too, which has made me grow as a person. 

You can learn from anything or anyone—if you're open to it.

Tony: It's a way to keep growing?

Ditte: Yes, for sure.

Tony: That's very inspiring.

Ditte: I'm glad!

Tony: How do you support others?

Julie: I support others best by being open about my vulnerabilities, and the response I get is incredible. And I love when people share what makes them vulnerable. To me, it's one of the best forms of support.

Ditte: I try to pay attention to how the people around me feel—even people I don't know personally but have met on social media. If they've been going through something hard, I might send them a treat, my thoughts or something else. It's a small thing—but when we get something we don't expect, we tend to get really happy, which may make a difference in our lives. 

I also partake in fundraisers to support good causes. I recently participated in 'Cancer is not for children', where my followers and I made history and collected more funds than ever. It was heartwarming, especially to get private messages from people personally touched by the campaign and learn how big of a difference we made.

And I generally reply to everyone who reaches out to me.

Tony: How has it been getting personal messages from strangers?

Ditte: It's actually been fantastic. Sharing something intimate creates ripples, and people open up and reach out. It's beautiful.

Tony: Are you as good at supporting others as you are at receiving support?

Julie: In the past, I was terrible at acknowledging that I needed support, let alone asking for it, and actually hearing you, Ditte, say that you find it easy made me realise I can get even better at it. 

In the last year, I've learned a lot about being supported by others, and I've learned that the uncomfortable stuff is what makes me grow. I tend to overthink things, like 'did I say something wrong?', 'did our conversation make her feel bad?' and so on. It's been helpful to leap into new things and get positive feedback from those experiences—to not think but do instead. I count 1-2-3 and then do it—things won't get less unpleasant no matter how much I mull over them.


"You're not weak if you ask for support—but you might become weak if you don't."

Tony: How did you learn to act on things that way?

Julie: I don't want to regret not doing things, but instead do, and then learn from my mistakes. I live by that and hope to inspire others to live that way too. If you want to do something, try it, do it—what's the worst that can happen? 

Occasionally, you'll get a slap on the wrist. But you live, and you learn. Every cloud has a silver lining. So, rip the plaster off, and do it. That's how I live most of the time.

Ditte: It makes me think about my dad. He's always so supportive. If I worry about what others might think, he's always like, 'never mind what others think—it doesn't matter as long as you behave properly'. 

As I've gotten older, I've become more self-confident and trust that I'll get support when I ask for it.

No one will thank you for not asking for support! But if you do, people will help. So, speak up—ask for what you need.

Tony: So you've realised that people actually want to support you?

Ditte: Yes. If you ask for support, it's hard to imagine someone saying, 'no, I don't want to help'. It's so natural to help others. Consider what happens if you don't seek support—and what happens if you do?

Tony: Curiously, we can't imagine someone saying no to helping—yet so many people don't ask for it in the first place.

Ditte: Yes, it's a strange paradox. We tend to think we can handle everything ourselves.

Julie: I talked with my friends about how grateful we are when someone asks for support—it lets you reflect and makes it easier to open up. So, remember that it may help others when you ask for help yourself.

Ditte: You're not weak if you ask for support—but you might become weak if you don't.

Julie: Yes, that's right.

Tony: Okay. Let's wrap up with a little experiment. I'd like you to say, 'I'm supported', and say how it feels.

Julie: 'I'm supported'.

Tony: How does it feel to say it out loud?

Julie: It feels good. I feel supported, loved and perfect just the way I am. Haha!

Ditte: Yes, as we're here talking to each other, it touches me to know I have someone behind me.

Julie: It makes me feel free to throw myself into things and to live my life.

Ditte: I often say to my mother or one of my friends, 'it's so good we have each other.'

Tony: Ditte, do you want to try the experiment too?

Ditte: 'I'm supported'.

Tony: How does it feel to say it out loud?

Ditte: It feels like I've reached a point where it's actually true—there have been times when it wasn't. And I couldn't do what I do today if I didn't have the support I have. I couldn't live fully. It's everything to me.

By Tony Schjønning, Heart of Stories at Our Units