Episode Four

Quiet Ambition and the Importance of Balance with Sarah Robertson

Chatting about

Finding acceptance, the hustle culture of a business, the importance of balance and harmony in life and work, Frida Kahlo and saying no.

Sarah Robertson

Sarah is a brand designer, creative mentor, and writer. And she really has a slow approach to doing business, something that I really look up to and admire. 

We have a great conversation about how rest is important and how to run a business that feels aligned to yourself. It’s a really lovely conversation, I  hope you enjoy it!


Show notes

Speaker 1 0:01
This is what I’ve learned on women, a podcast for creatives, business owners and quiet rebels. I’m your host, Claire Coupland, SS by coach specializing in helping women find their inner rebel and live life on their terms. Each episode will share stories and empower and support each other. This is episode four. In today’s episode, I have the wonderful Sarah Robertson joining me. She is a brand designer, creative mentor, and writer. And she really has a slow approach to doing business, something that I really look up to and admire and something I tried to do myself, we have a really nice conversation about how rest is important and how to really run a business that feels aligned to yourself. It’s a really lovely conversation, and I really hope you enjoy it. Hi, and welcome, Sarah, how are you?

Unknown Speaker 1:06
Hey, Claire. Thank you. Thanks for having me on.

Speaker 1 1:09
It’s very nice to have you on. Do you want to tell everyone a little bit about what you do?

Speaker 2 1:13
And so I run these are the days which is a branding studio. So I support clients with strategy, styling storytelling, and I primarily work with small businesses, a also offer brand mentoring to clients. So really just supporting them with decisions around brands and around business. So sometimes that’s they’ll be more strategic in terms of planning, but other times it’s maybe supporting them through changes in their business. So they might be changing their name or pivoting, repositioning themselves. And also really just giving them a little bit of cheerleading if and when they’re deciding to relaunch something because I think that can be quite a tricky time for for small businesses. And yeah, I feel a little bit isolating when they’re starting something new or trying something different. It’s it’s often nice just to have somebody in your corner really. So yeah, design and mentoring really kind of sums up the work that I do. Yeah, I

Speaker 1 2:24
absolutely love your work. I always love the color palettes you share on Instagram. And I love the idea of the play days. And yeah.

Speaker 2 2:31
Oh, thank you. Yeah, it’s took me a little bit of time to kind of like carve out the services that I offer. You know, you think the works done when you’ve like Ninja business and launched it. And then you start to think about all the other additional things that you can do above and beyond that. But yeah, the places have been a real hit. They were just something I sort of tried out last year. And I’d say they’re probably the most popular service. And I really, because, you know, we can get so much done in a day. And clients will often book additional ones further down the line. Or maybe we’ll do some mentoring combined with a playdate. But yeah, I really enjoy it. And I still work on projects, but I only do maybe two or three projects a quarter now. And then that gives me that sort of time and space to do the the one off days and the mentoring to.

Unknown Speaker 3:22
Yeah, sounds like a good balance.

Speaker 2 3:26
Sort of flow harmony. elusive balance. We’re all trying to find, which I don’t know, I think I’ve just accepted though maybe doesn’t exist. And yeah, I have my sort of choir titles and then things are a little bit more challenging. Let’s see. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 3:48
I feel that too. Okay, so let’s go into the questions.

Speaker 2 3:53
Yeah. Thank you so much for sending these are brilliant. I was really, yeah, a bit of a challenge to answer some of them, I think. But I really loved having that kind of opportunity to kind of like, challenge myself before our conversation. So yeah, I really love the questions and I’m excited to hear other people answer them as well. So

Speaker 1 4:15
yeah, me too. Okay, so the first one, what’s the best advice you’ve been given?

Speaker 2 4:21
So the first thing that came to my mind when I read this was actually a CNN. And it’s something that my granny used to say, actually. And I’ll say it how she used to say it a bit, I’ll give you the translation. So she would always say what’s fair yell no go by you. Which is essentially what’s for you will not go by you. And I think I remember her saying it to me when I was a kid. And you know, just I think if there was times where something hadn’t gone to plan or gone my way. And I think as a child, it’s really tricky to sort of navigate this appointment. And unless you’ve got kind of somebody supporting you, I think for me, like my grandma was always really good at kind of, like, helping me shift how I felt about something. So it was, it was something that, you know, sort of something she came up with. It’s quite a common phrase, but it’s something that she used to say quite often, and I think kind of drilled into me in a way, which was nice, because as an adult, it’s really helped me deal with, you know, times where, you know, I have been dealt a bad hand, or maybe I can see that something’s not quite having its time yet. You know, I think it’s the kind of seeing that, that helps me realize that maybe there are some things that aren’t supposed to be for me. And I guess, it’s the thing that helps me find acceptance. So yeah, there’s a lot of lessons in that, and I suppose advice and in some way, and but yeah, it was something that just stuck with me. It’s always been really valuable. And so I thought, actually, I will share that, because it’s the first thing that came to my mind.

Speaker 1 6:17
Yeah, it’s such a good one. It’s kind of like your new said, that kind of acceptance. That was one of the first things I thought and then I thought it also has this idea of if there’s potential ahead, you know, there’s kind of, there’s more to think about. And there’s other things that might come along

Speaker 2 6:30
exactly like there, this thing might not be for you. But there are other things out there. Or maybe it’s just not the time for this. And you know, this will have its time. And so there have been experiences that I’ve had to check experience these either kind of professionally or personally, where things might be have worked out in the end, or the thing I’ve been kind of like, gunning for has kind of made its way to me, but then there’s there’s other times where it’s just not happened. And then I’ve been able to find a little bit of comfort in the fact that that’s okay.

Speaker 1 7:09
Yeah, yeah, that’s nice. Thank you for sharing that. So how would you say you changed over the last 10 years?

Speaker 2 7:16
So that this is an interesting one for me, because I’m coming up to 40 now. And so yeah, 10 years ago, I was kind of entering my 30s. And my 30th year was quite a pivotal one for me, because I got engaged. I had my first child. And there was a lot of changes going on in my business at the time as well. I wasn’t running these days. At that point, I was running a studio with my partner, Jonathan. And yeah, we were going through quite a lot at that point. And we’d recently bought our first home together in Edinburgh, and we’re renovating that, as well. So quite big renovation project was going on, when I turned 30. So quite an interesting kind of thought for me, like how, how things have changed over the last 10 years, I suppose the the most challenging thing I’ve been through in the last 10 years is, it’s very personal was, you know, I’ve had a number of fertility challenges since I’ve been my firstborn. And that’s had an impact on me in my life, but also in my work, too. And, and I actually think that some of the challenges I’ve experienced led to me starting this new business, because I think I needed a new platform that felt more useful. And in my old business, there was like a sort of culture of an end. You know, it’s not uncommon in a design agency to have this but very much driven by deadlines, clients needing things yesterday. Because we had a team around us, there was just this constant, kind of cloud hanging over you, or certainly me where I felt like, you know, where the next projects coming from making sure that everyone was happy and getting paid. And I loved some aspects of that challenge. But I’ve certainly learned over the last 10 years that a slower pace is much better for me. I think I was living in a complete state of anxiety in my early 30s. And then, motherhood and some of these other personal challenges really made me slow down and think about what was sustainable. What would make me happier, and so I feel now like I’m kind of leading from a place within my family where I’ve got boundaries and I suppose just feel a little bit more settled and at home in what I’m doing. And yeah, I’m really enjoying it. And it’s. And it’s quite interesting because I’m actually expecting another child, after going through all the kind of challenges. And what’s what’s really interesting for me is the kind of the change between when I was going on maternity leave with my first and going on maternity leave, and a few weeks is that I’m really looking forward to coming back to work like, Yes, I’m really excited about this time that I’m going to have after so much has gone on. But then there’s, there’s just this real feeling of, you know, looking forward to kind of what’s next, I’m not feeling this sense of relief that works behind me or, you know, I can run away from projects and clients. And I think I kind of wish that I could have seen those signs a little more clearly, way back then. And, yeah, it feels good to be running a business that I’m excited for the future of and you know, the ideas are still flowing, which is great. And yeah, I think things were just I don’t know, I guess I was just on something of a treadmill maybe. And then, so it’s good to be off that now.

Speaker 1 11:27
Yeah, I think that really resonates with me, I think, I actually find that when I see you showing things online, that’s really inspiring, because I find that you inspire me to have a slower pace, and you inspire me to, you know, rest is important. And you’re one of those people that kind of will see sharing things and think yes, that’s, that’s how business should be, you know, that’s how we should be doing business, you know, we should be taking time off to go for a walk. And, you know, I see you sharing those things. And I think it’s really great to share that side of life. Because I think there is this hustle culture, there is this, you know, and that’s, that is starting to become less of a thing, I think, which is great. But there is still this, if you want to run your own business, you need to work really hard, and it needs to take all of your time. And if you’re not doing it all the time, there’s something not right with your business. So it’s nice to see you sharing those things?

Speaker 2 12:15
Well, that’s good to know. Because I think sometimes like I try not to be peachy, and I suppose, I guess I am quite passionate about people kind of knowing their own pace. And yeah, being able to, to live in a way that, you know, it’s, it’s such a tricky one, because I think I do sometimes feel like I’m really fortunate to be able to take the time that he needs or shift things around in my business. And I think there’s some people that maybe don’t have as much flexibility, or maybe they’ve got more responsibilities than I have. Or perhaps they’re dealing with health issues that I don’t have to deal with. So I’m kind of mindful sharing things sometimes. But I always try and do it from a place of honesty. And if I can share, like an expedient, it’s like, rather than just dictate this is how things are, you know, supposed to be. I mean, you know, kind of learn the hard way really, that race is vital. Like if I, if I don’t get adequate rest, then I know I’m not going to do my best work.

Speaker 1 13:26
I totally agree. And I think it is I also agree that it’s kind of it is a wonderful position to be in. But I do think you like I have worked to get to that position. You know, we’ve spent years doing difficult jobs or running busy businesses. And we’ve learned the hard way that you said that, actually what we need and not everyone needs it, that’s fine. But yeah, what what we need is that pace that’s just a bit different, and also just a bit more balance. And that’s good, that we’ve learned that I suppose.

Speaker 2 13:57
Absolutely. And I think it’s even just having those voices out there where people do talk about that kind of balance or, you know, having a bit more harmony in your life and work. Because the two really do go hand in hand when you’re self employed. It’s very difficult to separate them. But I feel as though it’s, it’s vital, really to have the different voices out there, you know, the people who talk about the risks, but there may be the people that do talk about just getting on and do the work because there are folks that kind of thrive on that that is what motivates them. And if they can be motivated without then having this kind of like, I don’t know, a sprinkling of anxiety on top of it, you know, which is how I felt, you know, for me, like pushing myself motivating myself, you know, constantly striving really just put me in a place of, you know, fatigue But suppose I always felt like I was playing catch up. And it was really nice to start finding a different way. And I know that doesn’t resonate with everybody that I’ve been I’ve been working in a self employed capacity for, well, nearly 20 years now. And you know, and that time I’ve come across people who would maybe look at the way I’m working now and just don’t see me like, it’d be a different person. Because yeah, I was was very ambitious, and I still am. But I guess it’s like a sort of quiet version, or, you know, I try and manage my, my time and my space much better. And really think quite carefully about what it is that I want to bring to life before I do something. You know, I’m not really one for jumping in anymore. I do have to kind of I mean, I, I want to, but I think there’s that mindful part of me now that’s like, actually slow down for a second or journal on it or put it to bed for a week or two. See how you feel about it later. If it’s still something that’s nudging you, then yeah, pick it back up.

Speaker 1 16:14
Definitely. I really like that time quietly ambitious, I think that’s a lovely way to put it. Because, yes, we can all be really ambitious, but you can do it in your own way.

Unknown Speaker 16:24
Yeah, definitely. Yeah.

Speaker 1 16:26
Amazing. So who it’s a woman that has inspired you and life

Speaker 2 16:31
found this one really tricky, because I was thinking, you know, about sort of family and friends, people in business. But the, the thing that kept coming back to me was an experience I had in high school, actually, and it was around my writing. And it was my English teacher, Mrs. Gay, who, I don’t know, I just feel like I was having, it’s fresh in my mind, because I was actually writing about it a couple of weeks ago. And one of the things that she gave me the self belief, you know, I really was struggling at school. This was kind of like exam time, and I was really into my creative subjects, but it wasn’t really into much else. And so there was a lot of pressure from other teachers, but she was really kind of good at helping me just kind of like focus on the things I got most enjoyment from. And she introduced me to poetry for the first time, and Maya Angelou was the first poet that I studied. And so I wrote kind of like my first exam piece on her and studies report. And so it was only person in the class doing poetry as well. And I think there is like part of me that quite liked the fact that I was just doing something a bit different, being a bit different, and really kind of like go and support chi and trying to write my own. And yeah, she was just really encouraging. And you know, I did well, in my creative exams didn’t do so well in the others, but she was just really good at kind of like picking me back up even the following year, when I was going on to, you know, continue my studies and English. And also art, music, she was just very supportive. And that was good to help him you kind of like switch off those kind of like negative voices, or just kind of, like, ignore anyone who had opinions about what I should be doing. Because of course, at that time, you’re thinking about university, and what’s next. And, yeah, I think she just kind of instilled in me this. This ability to be able to figure out what I wanted, or to, to go for what felt right for me. And there have definitely been times in my life where I’ve kind of lost that or I’ve had to kind of go full circle to come back to that place where I feel a little bit more at home with myself and I can make, you know, decisions based on my intuition, but yeah, she was just very very supportive and you know, held my hands at what was quite a challenging time. And yeah, I think just kind of like saw those kind of like seeds of kind of potentially someday being a writer and I’ve only just recently come back to that in the last year or so. But like definitely her words kind of ring true. Or ring loud rather know I feel like she’s often in my era kind of like giving me a kind of like, you know, a gentle nudge to carry on and not let the negativity get the bad Took me,

Speaker 1 20:00
like, yeah, teachers can have such a big inspiration on students. And, you know, they work so hard and they’re stretched. And yeah, this lovely to think about somebody having had that impact that you still thinking about now. That’s really lovely. Oh, yeah.

Speaker 2 20:15
So well, instead leave school gosh, like 20 to 30 years ago. So yeah, it’s nice that she’s got that impact. And I really do value teaching. And yeah, I think I think for her as well, she felt like with me, she may be found somebody that, you know, has a real passion for something. So it was like, right, I can ignite this and think it it’s great when a teacher spots that, you know, and can help somebody do something about it. Because I know that, you know, a huge part of her job is really just managing the classroom or keeping Sarah and people quiet or, you know, trying to kind of manage the folk who were uninterested and then nourish the people that were, you know, yeah, she has a really tough job. But yeah, she does make a huge kind of impact on me. Absolutely.

Unknown Speaker 21:13
Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

Speaker 2 21:17
I do. Yeah. This is one that I’ve been coming back to quite a lot recently. And it kind of ties in with what we were talking about. Before the last question, and it’s so Virginia Woolf quote, it’s no need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.

Speaker 1 21:40
Oh, wow. That’s really beautiful.

Speaker 2 21:44
And I just love that she, I mean, she wrote that, you know, such a long time ago, but even then she just knew the value of like, slowing down, not keeping up with everyone else, not watching what other people are doing. Not trying to, you know, Shane above anybody or make yourself do something that you’re not ready for. And I just, yeah, I love it.

Speaker 1 22:09
Oh, yeah, I feel like I’m gonna have to put that on my wall in my, in my office. That sounds like the perfect thing to kind of keeps you grounded, I suppose.

Speaker 2 22:17
Or completely, and there’s just something really nice and lyrical about it. But, you know, memorable too. So? Yeah, I really, I love her work. And yeah, she was definitely somebody that was like, we’re here to protein.

Speaker 1 22:33
So in your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges that women face today? And what can we do to overcome them?

Speaker 2 22:40
So that this got me to thinking about kind of health challenges, because I’ve mentioned that it’s kind of hard to learn the hard way about, I suppose, living my life in a more balanced way. And I think the kind of biggest challenges, or one of the biggest challenges, of course, is like trying to find that elusive balance between kind of managing our well being running a business. And then of course, if you’ve got other things to manage around that, whether it’s family, you know, and that might not even be your own children, it could be your parents, and that you have to look out for, and I think it’s really I think it’s just such a struggle for some people now, you know, and there’s not really enough support, there are certainly services are too overstretched to be able to offer the support. So a lot of it’s kind of does fall in our laps as women to try and solve those problems and challenges and, you know, make something better out of them. And what I found is having lived with chronic fatigue over the last few years, and that’s something that I suppose kind of came around about the time of burnout for me, you know, on a personal burnout, professional burnout, and I think just realizing that I’ve been running on empty for way too long, and kind of pushing myself or being pooled. And yeah, I just feel like there needs to be more awareness around what it takes to actually navigate life and work. And especially when you’re trying to protect your energy. Um, but it’s, I think it’s just, it’s a tricky one. There’s not really one solution to it. I think it’s just ongoing conversations. And it was like you were saying, about noticing that maybe I talk about slow living or making space for vests and of course, I noticed that with you and other people that I’m connected with online and it’s really good. I think just to get those continual gentle reminders and Not really sure that there’s like a solution to it or an answer for to all other than just. Yeah. Being aware and being mindful.

Speaker 1 25:08
Yeah, listening to yourself, I suppose and trying to pick up on those signals, because I think we all can push ourselves a little bit too far sometimes. And, you know, we might know that we’re tired. But certainly we’re especially because we’re talking about ambition, it kind of sometimes that will overpower than the knowledge that all one bit tired. But but we do want to get this finished, or we want to do this. And, yeah, I think it’s really important to listen to yourself, because we will always our body, our mind will always give us clues. But it’s really easy to ignore them, I think.

Speaker 2 25:42
Yeah, absolutely. And I think for me, that is something that I really had to learn as to, you know, tune into my body knowing what I need. And I think sometimes as well be like really brave about saying no, or not yet, or even changing my mind. I’ve certainly had that in the last week or so where I’ve maybe taken on a little bit too much, I suppose. And just like trying to get a bit much finished before I go on leave in the next week or so. And I’ve actually had to extend like, the PDFs by like another week, you know, before I put my office on, which isn’t ideal. But then I also thought, you know, what, if I try and do everything I need to do this week, I am going to be absolutely exhausted. So, in fact, having that extra week has just given me a bit of a buffer. And then, you know, a couple of people have reached out and said, Oh, no, you’re gonna leave soon. But would you mind doing x y Zed? And I’ve had to say no, and it’s really tough, because I’m like, well, they’ll maybe go off to another designer, and I already might work with somebody else, or, you know, but that’s okay. And, you know, that’s what they need for their business. And it’s just about, you know, being really brave and identifying, you know, what I need? And I definitely don’t need to be adding any more to my plate at the moment. I’ve kind of I do that kind of enough myself, you know, I give myself enough to do you know, and I’ve come up with some ideas lately, where I’m like, Oh, that’s cool. I may do that before I finish up. So I’ve had to be like, quite firm with myself about leaving some stuff until later in the year or even early next year. And yeah, not getting too carried away. So yeah, these are we’ve got these challenges that we face. But you know what, it’s not all really about other people putting on us. It’s, I think we’ve got a real responsibility to know what our boundaries are, and understand our energy and our capacity. And, yeah, dictate our own pace. Yeah. Yeah. And,

Speaker 1 27:53
and like you said, just learning how and when to say no, because I think some of us struggle with that.

Speaker 2 27:59
So, yeah, it’s an odd, what did he say that is a full sentence? Or, you know, it’s, you can just say, No, I’m definitely not just a normal person. We don’t do. Yeah, I am, in some ways. I am just Yeah, compared to like, even just a year or two ago, you know, that. I wouldn’t say no, but like, recently, I’ve turned to a quite a few projects. And that was tough, you know, because part of me is like, well, that’d be a really nice job to work on, or, you know, a little bit extra money in the bank before going on leave, it’d be really helpful. But then, you know, you’ve just got to be a bit more sensible. And thankfully, I know, a couple of really good designers that I can refer people on to and, and actually feels good to pass work to other business owners too. So you know, I know that anybody have not been able to help is in good hands if they decide to, to work with those folks. So it’s never a case of like, No, can’t do that, or no, you know, won’t help you. It’s very much about, you know, finding a solution for them, even if it means I don’t have to get involved. So

Speaker 1 29:08
that’s a good way to do it. Yeah. So do you have an ultimate life tip or hack?

Speaker 2 29:18
Well, this one I was I really did toil over it, actually. And I think it’s because I suppose there’s lots of little things that I do, and it was hard to kind of identify one that kind of was more important than another. And this isn’t very practical advice, but I just think there’s something around you know, cultivating the belief that nothing’s ever more important than your energy. And and again, I know we’re kind of talking along the same theme and the same lanes, but I think it’s just reminding myself each morning like what what is my capacity and it’s like, so One times that might come through journaling, or this morning, I decided to go for a walk. So I did the school run, and then I just did like an extra half hour tacked on to that to just try and clear my minds a little bit. And I think it’s just that it all just comes from a place of like, what’s my pace today? What do I have the capacity to do? And I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed, you know, got a few calls, and also conscious that it’s like, there’s this feeling of kind of like time running out and really trying to let go of that, because I know it’s not the case. And I’ve got plenty of of time and resource here. Yeah, like old habits die hard, don’t they. So I still do get a little bit anxious from time to time and need to get out for a walk or sit in journal. And I suppose the tip is really just to take five minutes to find something that feels good. And hopefully use that time whether it’s been in nature or writing to just, yeah, tap into what you need that day. And that 10 minute walk just gave me the world of goods because I came back home and I was like, Oh, actually, these two things, I can just move to the end of the week, they suddenly didn’t seem that important anymore. And it was just me that was placed on the same level of importance on everything.

Speaker 1 31:27
Yeah, it’s interesting what that space can do kind of opens up the mind or so that you can start thinking about other possibilities. And I’ve seen recently you’ve been doing morning pages. So right? Yes, you’ve done it before. I haven’t used no first time.

Speaker 2 31:43
No. And it’s not something that I do regularly between either like, I know some people that have done the artists way, which is where the kind of like mourning pages concept comes from, and have done them for years. In fact, I know a woman that’s been doing morning pages for about 20 years. She’s like my journaling, heat or so amazing. And I went through the art with the first time I that the artists way she’d done it before. But the first time I went through it, she was part of a group that I formed, there was quite a few of us to begin with. But in the end, there ended up just being four of us going through kind of like the second half of it, because it’s quite common for people to drop off it as a commitment. And of course, life gets in the way, and you sometimes have to reprioritize things but she’s she’s been doing morning pages all that time. And it’s like her non negotiable. But for me, I don’t know why I sometimes I was chatting to a friend about it this morning, actually, very briefly, I say chatting just messaging each other. But she was saying that she’d finally journaled this morning, after not opening her journal for ages. And I think she’s probably similar to me in that when I really need to journal, that’s probably when I journal least. So almost like you’re kind of like scared of showing up on the page. And, but I just try and tell myself, like, even if I can just do five minutes or write one page, it’s okay. And three pages is wonderful. Like if you can do that if you do it and there’s something magic that happens at that halfway point, like you get a page and a half two pages in. And it’s often like a bit of a lightbulb moment. Or maybe that’s when you start to kind of like ease into it. It does take a bit of determination or to carry carry that on and I’m in the middle of the artists way that I’m seeing in the middle. I’m actually week 11 Now, this is my second time doing it. And I really love all the exercises and I do love the writing but I have struggled to keep up with daily morning pages. But it’s it’s helped me kind of like reignite some good creative habits and it’s helped me I think come up with ideas and plans for next year. So I think it’s been like a really healthy process for me to go through. Even if they’ve not kind of I suppose been a good student 100%

Speaker 1 34:17
Yeah, it’s always something that’s fascinated me I’ve always wanted to do it and I’ve never I am the same I never journal when I need to. I kind of will. I might do it after that point or maybe before that point, but it’ll always be there’s a block that after me that I’m worried about what might come out or I don’t know what it is but yeah, I’ve totally understand that but maybe I’m now going to have to do it because see it sounds amazing.

Speaker 2 34:39
Yeah, it’s it’s really worthwhile. I mean, I know I the first time I did the artists way I stuck to it kind of rigidly I mean, the fact I was almost hard on myself. Like if I had messed them for three days then I would write nine pages. It was it became like pennants because like that’s actually like the opposite of hell. Okay, so I don’t know, I feel like this time around what what’s been good about it is that I’ve just taken what I’ve needed from the process. So like, having a bit of an artist day each week, most of the time has been writing for me. But even just, you know, it doesn’t have to be a kind of like, a big visit to a museum or taking like a do, it can be, you know, I just pop down to my local bookshop and have a little browse or, you know, it can just, yeah, be taking yourself out of the space that you ran every day, you know, I, I definitely need to get away from my desk and, you know, work in a cafe from time to time or you because it just completely changes your, your environment, as well as your kind of attitude to things. And yeah, often have, like little breakthroughs if they change up where I’m working. I don’t know if you feel the same. I know, I know. You sometimes go and about queer.

Speaker 1 35:59
Yeah. Now I do. I think it does give you there’s something about that being in a different space that I find that I work better. I’m less distracted. Yeah, it does. And yeah, I do get different ideas. Even like you’re saying, going for a walk, I find that sometimes when I go for a walk, if I’m listening to something healthy, full of ideas, I’m like, where’s my pen? But but it just yeah, there’s something about that different space and different environment that really does open up the mind? Definitely. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 36:30
Yeah, completely.

Speaker 1 36:32
So what advice would you give to women who are just starting their careers and looking to make an impact.

Speaker 2 36:40
So if I look back on my career, I wish somebody had just helped me see that the end result doesn’t always matter. And I think just kind of letting go of the outcome of things can be really important, because I used to just wait myself to results, achievements, you know, all always aiming for a particular goal. And I think goal setting is really important, I think it’s good to have something to navigate towards, but then maybe, once you’ve decided what that thing is, try and enjoy the process. Because, you know, I think then whatever it is you’re working towards, will always have a much greater impact. I think if you’re really focused on what’s next, then you’re not kind of present or in the moment or, or really, yeah, getting satisfaction from something. And I found that with rating in particular, because I’m working on a little rating project at the moment. And I’ve been working on that for just over a year now. And that is kind of like my sort of knee time project. And I don’t get a lot of time to do it. But it’s made me feel kind of anxious at times about what the end result is going to be. If and when I get to the end of it. So I try and really pull myself back to finding that fun in the process and just being a bit more playful with it. And whether that’s a business or a hobby, I just think applies to so many parts of our lives.

Speaker 1 38:28
Definitely, I think so much. I agree with you about the goal setting thing, I think I spent a lot of my early years in business, just going from the next girl to the next go to the next goal and not taking any time to really celebrate the achievement or to celebrate the win and just pushing harder. And I think that is what led me to Ward’s working in an unhealthy way for me and kind of realizing that I needed more rest. But yeah, I think that really looking at the way that we attach value to an outcome is a really important lesson actually. Yeah,

Speaker 2 39:03
yeah. And also kind of like attaching that outcome to our value, too. And, you know, so like, if something doesn’t work out, if it does feel, you know, there’s this tendency towards beating ourselves up over that, but actually, well, what have you learned from it? And it’s easy for me to say, because, you know, if something disappointing happens with me, then, you know, or my expectations aren’t met, you know, I will have, you know, a periods of wallowing but I think you’ve just got to bring yourself back to what you learned from it or just see a way to be able to reframe it. Like, there’s this saying, it’s, there’s no what is it? I’ve written about it lately, so I should really know it off the top of my head. Rejection is redirection, and it’s like, rejection is just us. It’s a horrible thing, you know, to have to deal with no matter what the kind of circumstances surround it. But if you can just see it as well, actually, that things didn’t work out. But it’s freed up space for this other thing that I really cared about or think, like, I often find, like say I missed out on a project that I really wanted to work on. Like, a few days later, a few weeks later, something might come along, that’s really exciting and fill that space. And it’s, I think it even just comes back to that kind of works for you won’t go by you thing, like,

Unknown Speaker 40:28
just thinking the same thing. Yeah, it’s got to kind

Speaker 2 40:30
of work out. But it’s just so tricky in it, you know, I can really resonate with what you were saying about kind of like, almost burning yourself. And that quest for something. And when really, the rewards are likely to be much greater. If you can enjoy what you’re doing, and not stay to kind of pinned to that end result, or you just have a few potential outcomes that would be lovely, rather than just one particular goal. Like it might work out in different ways. And I think even just seeing things as an experiment can be, you know, a nice way of kind of lightly framing your goals.

Speaker 1 41:12
Definitely. I mean, you see things and experiment, you’re open to failure. And I think failure helps us to learn more, and I think we’re so afraid of failure, you know, it’s like that rejection and failure. We’re really afraid of it. And actually, sometimes it can be really valuable learning.

Speaker 2 41:26
Yeah, and I think as well, like, you’ve just kind of made me think about how we often see like success and failure is like black and white, like, either or, and we forget about the in between bits of reaping tiny rewards along the way. And so, yeah, for me, it is a constant kind of practice of trying to bring myself back to that, because, yeah, you know, all of us get disappointed from time to time. But I think that’s how you bounce back from that. That’s so important.

Unknown Speaker 42:04
Yeah, definitely. So what is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt?

Speaker 2 42:10
I think the biggest lesson is to protect my emotional well being at all costs, you know. And for me, you know, a few years ago that made sidestepping a business that I’d grown and a business that I loved, but it’s kind of fallen out of love with. And, you know, that’s led to create in the business that I run now, which is the business that largely keeps me happy and healthy. And, you know, as I said earlier, kind of excited for the future, which is nice. Yeah, it gives it’s given me the business is almost been like a boundary and creating space for wellness. And trying to explain this in a way that makes sense, because it’s more about a feeling rather than a particular thing. But yeah, I think it’s, you know, it’s like I found something that feels good.

Speaker 1 43:09
Yeah, that sounds nice. And that’s nice to think that your business is creating a boundary, I think that’s a really lovely way to think about it. And that will certainly help with the wellness and the emotional kind of well being I think that, again, we’re always when we start businesses, sometimes we’re very much in the it has to be successful back to what we were just talking about. And sometimes we forget about our emotional well being and we forget about just generally that there’s a person running this business.

Speaker 2 43:39
Yeah, completely. And, and you’ve just reminded me actually, even with the name of my business, which is these are the days, you know, I landed on it almost by accident, but loved it straightaway, because it kind of just comes from a place of wanting to be in the hidden low. And it’s likely, you know, these are the days this is the time and, you know, not kind of ruminating too much over the past, or, you know, overthinking about the future. And, yeah, kind of being human though, it’s almost like a little remainder in itself, which is nice.

Speaker 1 44:17
Okay, so how have you seen women’s roles in society evolve during your lifetime?

Speaker 2 44:22
I think you know, what’s fresh, in my mind is the surprise that was on somebody’s face. Just last week when I told her that I tired Jonathan. So I think the perception is that Jonathan is my boss, the old kind of studio that we that we ran and it’s madness. It doesn’t bother me whether people think that or not. There’s an interesting conclusion to jump to. Because I started my studio about four years before Jonathan came on board, so he left us it’ll take job to join me. And we work together for about 12 years before I set up this new business. But yeah, I think it’s interesting that those kinds of assumptions are made. And, and I suppose I enjoyed challenging that, in a way, because I didn’t challenge it, it did explain what the situation actually was. But but in a way that because Cora was with me at the time, it was kind of even just demonstrating for her that, you know, not mommy’s the boss. Similar, and it was just me, it’s just quite a funny moment, you know, and there was a little bit of awkwardness and stuff as well. But it was such a small thing. But I guess I feel kind of strongly about it. Because when I first entered the workplace and started out my career in marketing and design, it was largely a male environment. And I remember there being like, so many male managers in my department, I worked in a big marketing team, there was about 90 of us. And there was one female manager to about six or seven male managers. And, you know, she was often pens as somebody that was aggressive, or comments would be made by her being above her station. And yet, you know, if one of her male counterparts could have behaved in the same way, you he was labeled as like confident, or it was something to be admired. And, you know, so I think it’s really important that we do have these female role models who show that it’s possible, you know, to do more and be more and, and I think society has moved on a lot. But then I still think when I have conversations, albeit just a tiny exchange, like I had with somebody last week, it just shows me how far we’ve still got to go.

Speaker 1 47:02
Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting point about the kind of strong women in business compared to strong men in business, or just, you know, what people will perceive as just men in business, really. It’s a really interesting kind of alpha culture that comes up. And I think from my point of view, I was in retail, quite young, started in retail when I was 16. And I climbed the ladder before I did anything more creative. And there was a way when I was sort of 16, which was a while quite a while ago, there was a really Alpha culture going on in there. And the female managers that I worked under, were very strong, and quite Alpha. But a lot of the big retail managers were male, and there still was this culture of kind of sexism. And yeah, it really was there. And I think I really find it interesting, that strong female narrative versus male in the workplace.

Speaker 2 48:00
Yeah, because I think it’s often you know, if a female strong, you know, she’s angry, or, you know, like other labels that are really undeserved. And then the opposite for the male. But, yeah, so I suppose it’s just interesting for me, because I started both of the businesses that support my family. So the business that my partner now continues to run, and that I still play a small part in, but I mean, it’s largely him that’s driving that. And, you know, he doesn’t an amazing job with that business. And I’ve pretty much just handed it over to him. And then I’ve got, you know, the new Brando studio seeing you. It’s not very new low, but it’s yeah, they both support our family. And it’s not something I really talk about very often, but it is something I suppose that I am quietly proud of. And I don’t know, maybe I ought to be a bit more vocal about it so as to encourage others. I don’t know. But obviously, don’t talk about it enough. Or I don’t know whether I need to I don’t feel like I really need to prove myself in any way to be honest. But yeah, it just struck me as interesting that that little exchange last week, and then I thought, Do I, you know, need to make it clear. I don’t know because I’m not really interested in lording it over my partner, anything that’s not not really about that.

Speaker 1 49:29
Firing. I didn’t know that you’d started the previous studio. Like I had no idea and I think that is really inspiring that you’ve started both businesses that support your family. That’s really Yeah.

Speaker 2 49:42
Inspiring. Thank you. I feel like emotional and embarrassed. Yeah, I’m not very good at kind of like yeah, blowing my own trumpet thinks get better at it. Yes, I think I used to be actually better at it and then And we’d be able to come across or what it’s come across as arrogant rather than confident. So I would just, yeah, just kind of Hades away a bit and not not share quite so much about achievements or things like that.

Speaker 1 50:15
I definitely didn’t come across as arrogant, mechanical, inspiring. So here’s your favorite female character in a book, film or TV

Speaker 2 50:26
series. I love this question. And I can answer this one really easily. But I love Amelie, the movie. Yeah. And the character. I just think she is so fun and playful. And she’s a bit, you know, a bit naughty. It’s obviously a really stylish, beautiful film. And I love the soundtrack. And actually, since I asked, since I got your questions, I’ve been listening to it while I’ve been working. But yeah, I don’t know. I think she’s just a dreamer. And I think I need to watch the film again, actually, like maybe this week or something. Because I find myself taking life a little bit less seriously after I’ve watched it. There’s just something quite Yeah, sort of magical about.

Speaker 1 51:18
Lovely. That’s nice. Okay, so final question. What have you learned from women

Speaker 2 51:25
that we can endure? And that’s, that’s based on a quote from Frida Kahlo, actually, who’s caught us got these little people books, and she loves the freezer one. But yeah, she said something along those lines. And, you know, I think when you look at her life she caught with so much. And her outlet was her art, her creativity. And, you know, I’m a big believer in kind of like tapping into our curiosity to overcome hardships. And I guess for me, I’ve mentioned writing already, but that’s my kind of therapy as a nurturing of ideas. And it helps me just get through life really make sense of stuff, even if it’s journaling I’m doing rather than see writing a chapter of the projects I’m working on, but yeah, I think it. Yeah, I just think that we can make it through.

Speaker 1 52:28
Yeah, that’s a wonderful sentiment. I love it. I love Frida Kahlo. She’s just so inspiring her tenacity, just, I just, yeah, she’s just incredible. Woman. I’m speechless, because I love her so much.

Speaker 2 52:44
Well, that’s it’s, you know what, she’s dead leaves such an incredible wave. And yeah, the film was great. That was based on her life as well. But also, you know, she makes her way into all these like children’s books and stuff as well. And I just think it’s such great inspiration for young girls. caught us fascinated with her. We’ve got the Maya Angelou book as well. There’s quite a few other she loves the Coco Chanel one. She thinks she means business. Yeah, she says she beans best this month? Yes, I think I just thought remember having stuff like that when I was growing up, like these books. And, you know, knowing who these women were, and, you know, people I could be inspired by. So, you know, I don’t know, I probably have a bit more fun with these books. And Cora does To be honest, because whenever I see a new one, I’m like, Oh, she’s not got there. So you’ve got a whole little, little people Labor Day. But it’s, they’re really good. And of course, there’s some great, you know, male role models as well. You’ve got the David Bowie book. And she loves David Moore. She, she calls them David Attenborough. But David Attenborough, because you so yeah. No, I do. I think, yeah, she’s free to Kylo Yeah, definitely. Someone that’s up there. And my sort of like, top five people I’d want a dinner party or something like that.

Speaker 1 54:12
Yeah. I mean, I’d be a bit scared about but yeah, she could

Unknown Speaker 54:15
sit at the hands of the table. She goes ahead. I’m sure. You wouldn’t even have to offer her the seat to school share

Speaker 2 54:30
that confidence and yeah, the lady say that. You know, she was tenacious and

Speaker 1 54:36
yeah. Yeah, she was. So where can people find you online?

Speaker 2 54:41
And mostly I hanging out on Instagram. These are the days don’t call and my website is also these are the days Dotco they finding my way with Pinterest. Thanks to some support from you. And yeah, I That’s These are the days call. You can have a.oh.

Unknown Speaker 55:04

Speaker 2 55:06
that really, really affected me for the branding and consistency perspective, but I’ve let it go. But yeah, I’m really enjoying using that platform actually to share advice and spore and yeah, just feels like a nice space to be in actually nice alternative to socials.

Speaker 1 55:27
Yeah, it’s positive, isn’t it? It feels like, yeah, just always feel positive going there. I agree with you.

Speaker 2 55:33
Yeah, totally. Whether you’re kind of like finding inspiration or shading. It’s, I don’t know, there’s just something I know we’ve talked about before, but there’s a nice kind of slow marketing vibe there. Which Yeah, I really enjoy. So

Speaker 1 55:47
no, thank you. Thank you so much for joining me. It’s been so lovely talking to you.

Speaker 2 55:51
And all it’s been nice because they’re not every fad. Well, efforts and coaching from you. And I know I’ve done some of your courses in the past and it’s actually quite nice just to have a conversation and learn a bit more about each other outsides kind of s&c space, I suppose.

Speaker 1 56:09
And really the play really, really enjoyed it. Thank you.

Unknown Speaker 56:13
Thanks so much for having me on.

Speaker 1 56:17
You can find me over on Instagram at grow underscore with underscore Moxie, where you can email me at hello at Claire Coupland, I’m also on substack under moments of Moxie. The podcast will also be hosted over there as well as in all the other places that you can find it. Thank you for listening. And if you like this, subscribe, didn’t get the next episode straight in your feed. I hope you’re having a really wonderful week. I’ll speak to you soon.

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What I've learn't from women

Not just for women, but sharing stories about them, I’ll be asking guests about their experiences and who they’ve been inspired by. 

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I write over on Substack about balancing life, work & living with PMDD, so expect conversations about, coaching, PMDD and life in general.