Following your dreams, and the relationship between happiness and success. We also talk about traditions and how what we say has an impact. It’s such a lovely episode, Emily shares some amazing thoughts and quite a few great book recommendations!
This is what I’ve learned on women, a podcast for creatives, business owners and quiet rebels. I’m your host, Claire Coupland, a certified 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 three. This week’s conversation is with Emily Powell. She is an illustrator over at tom cat pictures on Instagram. And she describes herself as a accountant by day and an illustrator by night, we have a really lovely conversation about potential to change the world about savoring the journey. How happiness can lead to success, and just generally about how to take care of yourself in order to take care of others better. And so really uplifting conversation, and I really hope you enjoy it, because I absolutely loved recording it.
Hi, Emily. Welcome. Hi, Claire. Hi, how are you? It’s great to join you.
Yeah, really good. Thank you. It’s really lovely to have you. We’ve kind of known each other we were just saying on an offline a little bit. But we’ve never really had a proper fest first chapter. This is lovely.
No, yeah, absolutely. It is. And I think when you are new to the online kind of community and space, like I feel like I am has only been there for maybe two or three years, it’s it’s so lovely to just find so many different people who you can connect with, that you would just never get the opportunity to connect with and talk to in a different set of circumstances. So
do today. Yeah, it’s a wonderful world out there. There’s so many great we always say things about, oh, Instagram is difficult, or it’s hard or whatever, but actually met some amazing people through it. So it’s really nice to remember that.
Yeah. And I think, for me, it’s it’s one of the things that I use to remind myself, why it is that I’m on Instagram and why I love connecting on that on that platform. Because it’s it’s easy, isn’t it to kind of get lost in Oh, you know, nobody sees my stuff. And nobody’s engaging all the algorithm and all that. And all of those things, you know, they are challenging, and they can be true. But actually what I have gained from just being out there on social media is so much inspiration and so much connection. And just so many great people that you know, I’m I’m now friends with who I could, you know, I’d never have met in different circumstances. So and that’s kind of what keeps me what keeps me going. And what keeps me sane, a little bit in terms of Instagram is actually without it. Yeah, yeah, it can be hard and get lost in the scroll. And it can, it can be really demoralizing, but actually without it, I wouldn’t have had all of the amazing inspiration that I’ve had. And my life wouldn’t be as good. So I love
that. Yeah, totally agree. It’s one of those things, isn’t it? You kind of go, Oh, I’m on Instagram again. But then you realize you’re actually maybe connecting with people or you’re finding something out about people you like, and there is a real positives in there as well. So yeah, it’s really nice. So you want to tell us a little bit about what you do?
Um, yes. So I’m an artist and illustrator. First and foremost, I guess. I do business illustration. I do private commissions. I’m illustrating a children’s book at the moment for my friend who I met through Instagram. And now you know, we’re collaborating on loads of different things. And we are, you know, we’re really good friends. And I am also an accountant. So I do that as my day job, which maybe I’ll kind of talk about a little bit later. But yeah, so I’ve come to, I guess, a creative and artistic career quite late in my career. So I’m 45 in a couple of weeks. And I kind of feel like I’ve only just started on this, this this kind of different journey.
But it’s amazing. I love hearing stories about people finding their creativity or doing something different. I kind of really understand that that you kind of go through life and find new things and actually if you grab onto them and enjoy them, and there’s just possibility all the time really in life.
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I I had the opportunity to kind of do illustration for We’ll time for about 18 months. And that was amazing. But my career before that was was as an accountant. And going back to it kind of felt a bit like, oh, okay, I’m going back to something that I didn’t necessarily was hoping that I wouldn’t have to go back to. But actually, now I kind of get to have it as I don’t know, my, maybe my alter ego, so I’m out and by day and illustrator by night, and that kind of feels like it works quite well. And I think that there are opportunities for me to, to I guess, capitalize on my, those contradictions in who I am. Because I think, you know, we’re all we kind of get hung up on our labels, don’t worry a little bit. And being an accountant and being an illustrated seem to be quite opposite. But actually, they’re just part of who I am and what I do. And perhaps they’re part of what makes me unique. And, you know, means that I can add value and support and kind of share things in different ways.
Yeah, that’s really nice way to put it, I think, like you say, it cannot feel right to sometimes do a career alongside a career. But actually, so many people are doing multiple things at the same time. And, you know, the multi hyphenate thing is a big thing. And I think if you can have a part of your life that you really love and enjoy and, you know, creating and being kind of it’s like magic, and then you’ve got a partner that does what it needs to do, but you’re still enjoying it. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a nice way to do it, because you’ve variety as well.
Does, yeah. Okay, so
let’s get started to the questions. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
So, um, when I was thinking about this question, I found it really hard to pick one thing, it’s a really tough question. And I’ve had so much good advice over the years, and my mind was just skipping all over the place. So I kind of cheated a little bit. And instead of deciding on a single piece of advice, I decided on a whole book of it. So I read it first, maybe two or three years ago, and it’s called please yourself by Emma read Terrell. And she’s, I think she’s fairly local, to where I am here. And I saw a recommendation by a friend of mine, and I thought I’d give it a try. She’s a searcher. So Emery Terrell is a psychotherapist. And what I love about the book is it’s not aggressively about just doing whatever the hell you like, learning not to care, it kind of takes you on a journey to understand properly, where our people pleasing tendencies come from. And how learning to care better for ourselves, helps us to care better for others, without taking on all of their problems, are feeling responsible for their own happiness. And to say that it was transformative, doesn’t kind of feel strong enough. And transformative is just something that is quite a throw away. Phrase these days, you know, I guess we all learn and evolve so much. But this, it was just, it was another level, it really kind of told me things about my experiences that that made me behave in certain way us that just made such a difference to me. And when after I’d read it the first time, it was like, you know, those videos on social media were like a little child who maybe has impaired sight gets glass glasses for the first time and their face is just it was it felt like that. So and I’ve read it more than once now. And I’m an avid reader, I read loads of stuff. So for me to kind of pick that one. But I have to say I think that you know, that has been, you know, the best advice that I’ve ever had in terms of you know, reading that and understanding kind of where all of that came from.
Oh, that sounds amazing. I would just written it down because I really loved the if you care better for yourself, you care better for others. I think that’s such a lovely message.
Yeah, definitely. And I think that we Eat. So we kind of put people pleasing and self sacrifice on a bit of a pedestal. And think, well, it, you know, we should be nice to people and we should be, you know, caring about other people’s happiness. And absolutely, that’s true. But actually, if you care about yourself, and you choose things that make you happy, then the people who are around you, they will benefit from that anyway. Because you can actually you can please other people, you, you know, you can’t make other people happy. It’s not, you know, it’s not possible to actually do that. So,
yeah, there’s something in that isn’t there, if you’re kind of happiest or best, or however you want to describe itself, then that kind of radiates out of you. And the decisions you make are different, and the way that you behave and the way that you feel is different. And that has a real nice knock on effect on others. So yeah,
nice. Yeah. And I found that, you know, I was always so defensive of my own kind of, you know, decision when, when I was choosing something that was what I wanted, I always would get really defensive, as if I wasn’t allowed to have that. And, and to be able to let that go, and just be actually, this is what I’m choosing, and it is the right thing for me. And I’m not saying you know, stuff everyone else, actually, I don’t, I don’t need to be defensive about it. Because what’s right for me will also be what’s right for other people in terms of, you know, the decisions I’m making.
Yeah, really? So how would you say that you’ve changed over the last 10 years? Wow.
I kind of when I started thinking about this question, I thought, Oh, my goodness, I’m gonna end up kind of telling my life story if I’m not careful. So I will try really hard not to do that. But when So 10 years ago, I was four months pregnant with Thomas. And my daughter, Caitlin was nearly three, I’d been married 11 years, I was, you know, I qualified as a chartered management accountant, I’d been qualified for a few years, we’ve moved into this house in a lovely neighborhood. I’d got you know, good salary as a finance manager. I was working for b&q, and I was looking for my next job, you know, after after maternity leave. The next job, you know, that I wanted was a finance business partner. I was ambitious, I was confident I knew who I was, and what I wanted out of life. If you’d asked me 10 years ago, you know, what, where or where I was going to be in 10 years time, I’d have said, you know, finance director or, you know, head of finance that was, that was where my career was going. The people who were kind of at a similar stage in their careers, many of them, that’s where they are now, that’s what they’re doing. And the creative kind of stuff was just, it was just a hobby. And, you know, there was never, it was always destined to just be a hobby, you know, 10 years ago. And I have to say, I think the things that have changed the most radically for me over the last 10 years are, you know, my dreams, because back, you know, 10 years ago, finance director I’d have, I’d feel like I’ve, you know, I’d have made it that was where I was heading. But that hasn’t, you know, that that isn’t where I am now. And things have kind of changed, you know, really, really quite radically. So I did, as I kind of mentioned earlier, I’ve, I spent 18 months working as a as a full time illustrator. And that was an amazing, it was amazing privilege to be able to do that. But it didn’t allow the financial stability that I needed and that we needed. So now I had the opportunity to do it for a while, you know, the financial crisis kind of hit after COVID and now I’m starting to settle into more of a balance that gives me the financial security of an employed role, as you know, as a finance manager working in the NHS, but I’m doing 30 hours a week and now my dreams and my goals are all around my the creative work that I do. And I get to kind of spend my weekends you know, as and when life And children allow, you know, drawing and, and that’s, that now is the more important part of kind of my life and my dreams and although you know I, I get a lot of satisfaction out of the day job that I do, and it provides, you know what I need what I need it to provide? I’m not there any longer thinking, Okay, well, you know, where’s the next step on the ladder? And how can I, you know, move forward in my career? And what training do I need? It’s all of my thoughts are around, you know, how do I learn how to do some animation on procreate? And, you know, what, what book might I get to illustrate next? So it’s, you know, some really kind of some real changes.
Yeah, sounds like you’re really interested in there. So you sort of 10 years ago, you were in the finance world and kind of wanting to progress in that. And then something changed. And you started following your dreams? Well, can you remember what changed? Or was it did it just happen?
It was kind of COVID, which I think, you know, Will, many people had the same, you know, the same experience. So I’d started to do some illustration work. So I worked in the NHS. So I started working in the NHS, after Thomas was born. And I had the opportunity to do some illustration work. And I really enjoyed it. And, and people different people saw what I was doing, and then they wanted me to do some for them. And then they started to commission me. And it kind of grew into like a little side gig. And then when, and that was kind of what I was expecting it to be, because I had no belief that I could turn it into a full time. Salary without we’re not salary, it’s not the right word. But I couldn’t do it full time and make a good living. So it would always be just, you know, a bit of extra kind of money on the side, which was lovely. But then, you know, during COVID, I’d, I’d kind of, I’d got to, you know, I’d got the big salary, I’d got, you know, the impressive job titles, I was, you know, head of program management, for an NA a big NHS Trust. And I just, I came to feel like the salary and the job title, were almost like millstones around my neck, because I’d never what it felt like, I’d kind of made my choice, you know, and I’d spent all of that time and effort studying, qualifying. And, you know, my husband had supported, you know, that decision, and we’d kind of gone through all of those years of stress and study. And I felt like, you know, you can’t change your career, when you’re, you know, pushing 14, it’s just, you can’t, you’re stuck. Now, that’s it. So you can do, you can be an illustrator, but you can do that, when you retire. And if you work extra hard, you might be able to retire a bit early, and maybe kind of cut down your hours a bit. So I never considered that I would be able to do that. But you know, COVID kind of made everything feel different. And I wasn’t having to travel. I wasn’t spending like two hours in the car, driving and then park and ride, I could walk my son to school and I could take the dogs for a walk at lunchtime. And I started to kind of crave a different life a different pace of life. Where I wasn’t trying to like cram everything in all the time and, you know, sacrifice time with my kids because I was you know, getting up and leaving the house at seven o’clock in the morning and not getting home until seven o’clock at night. So I’d built up more clients, and I had the opportunity to do some murals and paint some murals. And so I handed in my notice and you know, work three months notice and I knew at that point that it I was it wasn’t going to be steady enough to carry on for forever, and that I would have to do something to build it. it, but I didn’t want to not give it a try. And absolutely don’t regret it at all, it has been such an amazing kind of period of time in my life. And I feel like, I almost feel like I was waking up a little bit. Like I’d been asleep, all of those years that my career, you know, was was the thing that I cared about the most, obviously, aside from my family, but that, you know, that was my goal was to kind of earn a good living in order to support you know, our family. And, and it was I chat, I chatted to some friends and one of my other friends kind of done something similar, although, not not like illustrating. And, and he was the same you said, Well, yeah, it just feels like I was asleep all of those years. You know, just not really appreciating the some of the other things that there are in life, outside of, you know, spreadsheets and balance sheets, and p&l cells and crunching the numbers.
Yeah, definitely. I love that as well, that kind of you thought that it would be something you did when you retired or that was for later in life. And actually, what you did was go now I’m gonna do an hour, I think it’s, I want to do it now. And I think that’s really refreshing to hear, because I think a lot of people probably feel like that, but I’ll do that. I’ll do that in a while. Or I’ll do this first, or I’ll build my career first. And sometimes you just have to take that kind of calculated risk, but I suppose it’s still a little risk. So yeah. So who is a woman that has inspired you? And why?
Ah, so this question, I again, I thought, I’m going to choose someone like Rosa Parks or Maya Angelou or Brene Brown. Because, you know, they’re such phenomenal women who have done amazing things. But in the end, I decided that the woman who’s inspired me the most is Sarah, Sarah, me and all our Sara Tasker, because I up until I kind of discovered, you know, her, the Insta retreat. I’ve done I’ve been in kind of other business groups, and so many of them are all about kind of the hustle and the, you know, there’s a set of rules and you have to do it like this. And this is how it needs to be and, and if you don’t, well, if you don’t do it like this, then well, of course, you’re not going to be successful and all this kind of stuff. And I just her kindness and generosity and authenticity, I just, it is endlessly inspiring. And it just felt like such a such an amazing alternative to the kind of hustle, hustle, hustle. That wasn’t just okay, well, if I’m not going to hustle, hustle, hustle, then I need to just believe that the universe is going to manifest my dreams. And there was these two kind of extremes. And just the first week of the institute retreat. I couldn’t I was blown away by how much she just gave so generously. And I think it was the insert tree and listening to Sarah and reading her books and reading, you know, her, you know, listening to her podcasts and reading her blogs helped me to stop feeling like a victim of the algorithm. And you know, feeling like there were things that I you know, didn’t deserve, but that there and that there was like a gentler way that you could succeed and you could kind of you can have what you won doesn’t have to be all about the hustle. And and also how I mean she is successful and she does she’s absolutely brilliant. But with not a single shred of arrogance not at all. And I just I I find all of that incredibly in firing.
Yeah, she is a really, really inspiring human. I think she taught me about rats to think before I met Sarah would work too much to get myself into small, small periods of burnout. And yeah, the working with her and kind of understanding the way that she works has really helped me to understand that actually can take some time off. And yeah, she’s really inspiring the way she does things is just unique and gentle, but with real purpose and ambition. Yeah. She’s a, she’s an amazing human. So do you have a favorite quote, or saying,
so I couldn’t pick just one, I have got. Three. Just keep swimming. I absolutely love that. So I don’t know, people may or may not know, it’s from it’s Dory from Finding Nemo. And I just, I just love it, it’s so simple. And sometimes you don’t know where you going. And you don’t know how you’re going to get there. But that doesn’t mean that you have to stop and you have to give up. Just you know, you don’t have to hustle, you can just Just keep swimming. And helps me when I’m, when I’ve got like a million things like going around in my head thinking, oh, I want to do this, I haven’t got time for this, I’m just I just think actually just keep swimming. And you know, those, those things will come. And my next one, which I will say love is from Matilda. And somewhere inside of us is the power to change the world. And I absolutely believe that with all of my heart. So for me, I don’t that doesn’t have to mean reversing climate change or fixing capitalism or, you know, changing the world in some momentous way. There are endless people in my life who have changed my world. Maybe only, you know, in little ways. And that’s what I want to do. So I want to be able to change the world, just a little bit in a small way. Even if it’s just for one person, with, you know, the things that I share and the things that I draw. Lovely. And then my third, the third one, which I love is from Maya Angelou, who said, people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. And although, you know, we’re not responsible for other people’s happiness, and we’re not here to try and kind of please everybody, we can absolutely take responsibility for not dragging people down, not making them feel small or humiliated. We can choose to be uplifting and positive. And, you know, that’s how I want to make people feel I want them to feel kind of uplifted. And and I want them to say that that’s how they feel when they see my work. So yeah. Three,
oh, that’s so good. They’re all good. I really liked the potential to change the world thing, because I think that it’s sometimes it can be just opening the door for somebody, and then that has a real big knock on effect, you know, just smiling at somebody in the street, you know, can change people’s day. And I think there’s limitless potential in that.
Yeah. And we always think that, you know, changing the world is is something that other people can do, because they’re, you know, they’ve got more influence than us and they can do things, you know, that we may never have the opportunity to do. But actually the world is we you know, we’re each in our own world, aren’t we? And we can change the world for other people in just small ways. And I think that that’s to me, that’s just so powerful.
Yeah, absolutely. And I love the Maya Angelou. And that’s one of my favorites. I think that, that how we make people feel is a really big thing. It’s really Yeah, it can be really important and you might not ever know as well, which I think the interesting thing you might never know just how much you mean to somebody. But yeah, Powerful, in your opinion, what are some of the biggest challenges that women face today? And what can we do to overcome them?
So this, again, was a really tough one. And that, you know, there is there is so much, but I think there’s so much that’s just woven into the fabric of our society that we don’t even notice often. So the kind of stereotypes and the sayings that just, they just come out without a second thought. And if you kind of challenge people, I like quite a bit, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean anything. And I think we’ll actually do you know, art, sometimes it does. So, when people think it’s harmless, but when bravery and courage are referred to as being ballsy, or people who are, perhaps a bit, you know, more timid, are told to grow a pair, I find those things just really insidious, and unpleasant. Because, you know, I hate it when women are referred to as ballsy. Because why use that phrase, because, you know, the origin of it is all about men and male anatomy, and therefore, to be courageous and brave, you need to have a pair. And I just, I find that I’ve really, you know, I don’t like that at all. And also, you know, things where we use phrases like, Oh, don’t be a girl, or that’s being girly, or you throw like, or, yeah, I just, they’re just, they just happen that people just say them without really thinking about what it is that they’re saying. And I think, you know, we have to challenge those things. And we’ve, you know, you don’t have to be, we don’t, we can be kind about it. But actually, they do matter and how we phrase things, he makes a difference, and how you know, how I bring up my children, I want that to be in a world where you don’t say things like that, because being brave or being courageous, doesn’t it doesn’t come with agenda. And there are also some things around tradition that we think are, are harmless and beautiful traditions. Like the father walking his daughter down the aisle and giving her away, which I think it’s a lovely experience for us, you know, my dad walked me down the aisle, gave me away. And I didn’t think anything of it at the time. But now, I think actually, it is steeped in a tradition where women were possessions. And, and a man was giving a woman to another man. And often he had to pay him to take care, which is pleasing. And you know, the thought of so you know, when I got married, I took my husband’s name. It’s just normal. It’s tradition. Lots of people do it. And I don’t think any of the worse for anyone who does it did it myself. And it’s Mike, you know, we’ve been married, like 21 years. So it is it’s my name and my children’s names. But now I just think actually, my children grow up and you know, make the choices around who they want to be with and whether they want to get married or, you know, however that works out for them in their lives, I hope that they will not choose their husband’s name or their wife’s name, I hope that together, they will, they will decide to do something different. And pick a new niche that works for them, you know, because you can do that when you get married. When you sign the magic marriage certificate, you legally change your name. And you can both do it at the same time. And so you could just use it as an opportunity to just pick any name that you want for you and your family and just to create a new identity for yourself that isn’t about the patriarchy. And I love that idea. So I I don’t know, you know what will happen when my children are old enough to kind of make those decisions, but it’s just something that I like to think
like, I could not agree more with you about the phrasings and the way we do because at Even when you’re aware of them, sometimes they’re so ingrained in your like culture, in your upbringing in where you are or where you’re from. I’m from Yorkshire. So things like that were really common when I was growing up, they were the same sayings. And now I think as I’ve got older think of them as young guys were timid, and I probably wouldn’t have challenged them as much, probably just wouldn’t have got involved in the conversation or might have just moved away from the conversation. But now I tend to Yeah, like you say, say, I don’t really like that phrase. It’s not in a confrontational way. And just like, I just don’t really like that phrase, or can we not say that? Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I think it’s really important to do that. Because, yeah, associating gender with strength. Power is just such an interesting thought, really. I mean, I know it comes from lines of tradition, and it’s historic, historical, but actually, you know, there’s also the thing about strong women being seen as kind of aggressive in the workplace. And you know, that ballsy connotation in a different way. And, yeah, it’s very damaging. Really, it does make people feel like they can’t be themselves.
Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely.
So do you have an ultimate life tip or hack?
I do. Easy to use, which is go for a walk. Nice. And if you’ve got a dog even better, who even better? And so when we did lots of walking when I was a child, and I was always such a moaner. So I used to wind and moan and my legs her and my occur and we used to go on like long war dogs or scratch the dog to get in now. And I never appreciated it. But now we you know, we climbed thought cloud in the drizzle, which is in Derbyshire, near Dovedale. And we, when we got back down the other side, we went and bought fish and chips and Ashbaugh on and sat on the side of the road in the drizzle. And it was just glorious. And now it is my escape. And sometimes I don’t, I don’t want to go. But I know that if I get up and I get out and I get some fresh air. It always makes things better. I love the solitude I love going with my kids when they want to come. But I love the solitude of it. And I just you know any time of day, I love the dusk and the back. It’s that flit around I love, like first thing in the morning, when nobody else is around and all the flowers are asleep. And it’s just the doer, I love all of that. And I would say that, you know, it’s the one thing barking now. They’re really talking about going for a walk. It’s the one thing that you know, has kept me sane. And you know, just I just love to do it and they don’t let me not go. And you know, all of those memories of going through beautiful walks in in Derbyshire. You know, there’s some of my most precious memories, I would say, if you haven’t, if, you know, even if you don’t think you’ve got time, just do it because it’s great. And for people who may be, you know, can’t get outside or you know, you know, can’t walk possibly, I would say invest in a pair of noise cancelling headphones and put on some birdsong and some you know, fresh, you know, breeze nature sounds, because that will take you some of the way and open the window and you know, enjoy the fresher.
Yeah, something nurturing about that isn’t there, that kind of fresh air and the natural sounds, even if you can’t get out and necessarily go for big hikes, you can still kind of connect with it and kind of almost visualize it if you need to, but really connect with that feeling of being outside in nature. Yeah, nice. Okay, so what advice would you give to women who are just starting their careers would like to make an impact?
Controversially, I think I would say, don’t try and make an impact. I know that sounds a bit backwards. And I know that if somebody had said that to me at the start of my career and I would have gone yeah, whatever. But I think the impact that you make, will just come you know, you don’t have to chase it. You don’t have to decide what your how you’re going to impact you know, and what that’s going to do how that’s gonna work because you know, things don’t necessarily work out how you think that they are going to, you don’t necessarily end up, you know, where you’re where you think your life is headed. So I would say, you know, don’t making an impact, you know, isn’t necessarily something that you can decide is something that comes with being who you are. I would say that you, you know, savor the journey. Don’t you know, don’t be in a rush. Drink in all of the inspiration because there is so much inspiration out there. And there’s so much opportunities, so many different things that we could do or be, you know, and don’t let yourself be defined by a set of labels. So, yeah,
he’s really nice, lots of lovely things. They’re really like, they’re not being defined by anything, really. But to set labels is really powerful and save on the journey. We’re so often rushing towards the girl or the end result, or, you know, what’s next. And we very rarely I, personally, I suppose, but I hear it from other people as well. We very rarely kind of enjoy the process of doing something and get into the, you know, think about running a business, you want the end result, you don’t want necessarily to be doing the typing into the captions or writing the emails necessarily. You want the result at the end of it. So yeah, enjoying the journey?
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Hi, I’ve so I listened to and DJ pizza’s creative pep talk podcast, and he talks about that a lot in terms of so the analogies that he use on analogies that, you know, that work for me, but I absolutely, because he talks about, like playing video games and crushing it and getting to the end really fast. For me, and I be like, you know, but so we’re so desperate to kind of find out what happens that we rushed to the end of it. And then when you finish a book, it can be a bit like, you know, it’s a bit like a bereavement. And I that, that might be a little bit fun. But
no, I do understand that I feel they do. I don’t like when when a good book is finished. I can’t pick up another one for a few days, because I feel like I’m cheating on it.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And, and when you kind of, I find that I’m so desperate to kind of enjoy the book that there are things I miss. You know, so So I’ve reread it, and that I can’t remember that from last time, because I rushed through it. And I don’t, you know, we don’t, we don’t want to miss any bit of our lives. And I think that, you know, the journeys, the journey is the thing that, like, the destination is not the thing, it’s the it’s the experiences and the journey and, and how we get there. That matters the most.
Definitely, I can think of a few times in my life where I’ve achieved something I’ve been, I’ve kind of worked towards quite a long time, or it’s taking a lot of effort. And usually you get there and it kind of feels a bit like New Year’s Eve. Like it’s a bit like, Oh, I thought this was going to be better than this kind of thing. I don’t know. I don’t know whether you can resonate with that. But there’s been a few times where I’ve achieved something that say, and I thought, Oh, I actually enjoy doing it more than I do. Getting it.
Yeah, absolutely. Yes. Yeah. And I think, you know, I find that with a lot of things in life and and ultimately, you know, the destination that we’re all heading to, is probably not one that we would choose if we could, you know if we could avoid it. So that’s, you know, savoring the moment and enjoying enjoying how how we take our steps, I think is really important. Definitely.
So what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt
another one from him, but good is happiness. And it’s kind of similar related to what we were talking about before, but happiness doesn’t follow success. So there’s a great book called The Happiness Advantage by Sean a call and I think reading that and because he flips it around because we think you know, when I’m successful when I’ve done this when I reached that, that’s when I’ll be happy. And so we strive for these goals, and then we get there But then, okay, well, what’s next, because it doesn’t necessarily make us happy. And what he what you know, what he talks about in the book is that actually, happiness helps you to be successful. Because if you are happy, you are more natural in that, you know, you’re more naturally able to do the things that you know you need to do in order to succeed, you’re less stressed, Your Honor, all of those things, and therefore, happiness leads to success and not necessarily the other way around. One of the other things within the book is very much about you can you can choose to be happy, you know, you’re not, you know, talking about things like, clinical depression, or making any kind of, you know, comment about those because that’s, those medical conditions are, you know, they are prevalent in the world. And I’m not saying oh, well, you know, if you’re depressed, you can just decide to be happy. But actually, you can influence your own level of happiness. And I think, you know, that’s a really important thing to remember. So sometimes when you get out of bed, you have such a bad day, you get out of bed, and you can decide whether the day stays the way that it feels like he’s going to or whether you’re going to kind of turn it around and be happy.
Yeah, cuz you can get into that stalking behavior, Coyote, where you get out of bed, you stub your toe, you go downstairs, and you drop something on the floor, and then you go to work, because you’re running late, you’re late. And then you get to work and you think your boss is mad with you. And then you know, these things just stack and stack and stack and you have a bad day. And it started because you stubbed your toe. And it’s like if you can sort of switch that and go, Okay, stick my toe, that was rubbish. Let’s just take a moment, you know, can have a big difference.
Yeah. And I think I saw people, some I watched my dad being miserable. What felt like all of his life. And he, so he had, you know, a lot of reasons to be unhappy. He was. So you had a congenital abnormality of the spine that, you know, it’s very rare got progressively worse, he was in huge amounts of pain. And he hadn’t had a very nice to hold himself. He was taking antidepressants. He, you know, he drank. He had nasty temper. He we hated him at times. And he was just miserable. And everything went wrong. You know, he was like, a Friday. So So if there was a Friday afternoon computer, that was he would get it if that, you know, it always seemed to happen to him. And I think he chose to be like that a little bit. So he didn’t choose his illness, you know, he did. But he didn’t choose to do the best that he could with what he had. He kind of gave up and just wallowed in, in misery. And I just think what, how sad is that, that, you know, you we, there’s that poem isn’t there that talks about, you know, what would you choose to do with your one wild and precious life and I love that poem so much. And it’s talking about, I mean, she’s talking about looking, I think it’s the grasshopper so she spends all day is a grasshopper or cricket, I think something like that. I could be completely wrong. But she spends all day watching this eautiful kind of creature of nature. And then at the end of it, she says, what else should I have done with my one wild and precious life? And that’s kind of, you know, what? How I feel about you know, happiness. Why? Why spend your life being sad and feeling like a victim? You know, don’t don’t waste it. Don’t waste your one wild and precious life being unhappy.
Oh, yeah, definitely. I really liked the happiness the success as well because so often like you say, We See it the other way around. But actually, it opens your mind up, if you’re happy, you’re kind of open to other opportunities. And you’re, you know, looking out for things and you’re just open. It’s just a very different mindset to be in, and I think never thought about it like that before. And I think that’s something I’m probably going to take away and have a really good think about, because I think it’s transformational before. But I think that is the kind of thing that if you really get to grips with that, it could be really transformational.
Yeah, yeah. And it’s not to say that, you know, life is not all cupcakes and rainbows and happiness, Jolly, you know, that it can be pretty rubbish. But actually, and there are times when sadness is appropriate, and it is what we need. But it is it kind of feels like it’s, it’s the combination of all of our emotions that make our life. Definitely so. Precious.
Yeah. Yeah, there’s, without the highs, you can’t experience the lows and vice versa, you know, you don’t know how to, you can’t really appreciate things if you’re not really experiencing the full spectrum of motion. So how have you seen women’s roles in society evolve during your lifetime?
Well, so all these questions are just so thought provoking. So this one was, was an interesting one for me, because my, because my dad was was ill, for a lot of his life, my mum was his carer, so he wasn’t able to work. So he had, he worked for a while, but then he got ill, and he wasn’t able to work. So neither of my parents worked. They were, we were on there on disability benefit. In the end, you know, my dad was bed bound, and he couldn’t even you know, can get out of bed on his own, he had his, so he had his leg amputated. And he had so many things kind of kind of rolled with him. So I never had a childhood where there was a traditional kind of, you know, the dad goes out, the father works, and then mom stays at home. But I did grow up where all of the princesses were saved by the prince, and, you know, Cinderella and sleeping beauty and there was always someone’s man coming to save them. And I grew up thinking that that was, you know, that was, that’s what I needed, you know, that I would grow up and that there would be a man who would come and save me and I we would get married and all you know, all of that. And, and what I have seen evolve over the years, which I just love, are all of the films that we now see where it isn’t a prince on, you know, a handsome prince on a white charger, kind of coming in to save the princess. So one of my daughter’s first films that I loved was tangled. I love tangled, so much, I love that thing. And I love that it wasn’t about the handsome prince saving the princess. And that for me, that kind of evolution. And the things that my children now watch, I see that kind of as a reflection of society. And now films like brain you’ve, which is the girl who’s the princess, or the son, you know, the son of the chi, and she wants to kind of ride bareback on her horse and climb these amazing falls and shoot arrows and she doesn’t, you know, she doesn’t want to conform to the, you know, to the norms and Encanto and Finding Dory which is all about you know, the ditzy fish and I you know, I love all of that and kind of that evolution of of moving from a world where you men were the saviors to a world where who knows who the Savior is who you know, who who gets to decide, well, we all do.
Yes, definitely. I remember watching frozen on a bus to France with I don’t know 40 And I and CCB school teacher and we we went to we’re going to Paris and we watched the film for four or five times and I think Over the time, I’ve gotten to the end of the fourth time, thinking, I really love this phone because the sisters, that’s the love story. It’s not about men and women or traditional relationships or even just relationships. It’s about family. And it’s about Yeah, those kinds of compassions and loves that we’ve never seen. And in those kind of films before, like, I was the same generation, I grew up watching, you know, Cinderella, and so I and all of those ones, and they were great. But yeah, they always had that kind of stereotypical male savior or male coming in to do something good and save the day might might not save her. But yeah, really interesting. And you know, when we think also Mallanna is one of my favorite,
I love. Absolutely, yeah. That’s one of my favorite films as well. And I think you know, what you said about true love. I remember watching that film, and when it got to the bit, you know, where Anna is there. And I’m thinking, Yes, that’s true love. And true. Because I kind of grew up in a in, in we, you know, where true love was the prince and the princess. And as you get older, I kind of thought I’d hopefully even True Love Actually, after all, that doesn’t exist, it isn’t there. Until I had my daughter that that moment was when I learned what true love really is. And I think that that’s, yeah, it’s great to see that evolution. In, in, in, in films that my children are now watching. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. That’s a really good point. I’ve
not ever really thought about it like that. Never really thought. I mean, I knew that the stereotypes are there. And I knew I had grown up with them. And I noticed that, you know, contemporary Disney Pixar illustration films are much more with the time. But yeah, really interesting point. So, on that note, do you have a favorite female character in a book film or TV series?
I do. And no surprises. It is another. I don’t know if it’s a Disney film, actually. But it’s another automotive. And it is, I’m probably gonna butcher explaining this. So I will do my best parts it so the film is How to Train Your Dragon. The character is Astrid. She is so cool. She is like not remotely stereotypical. She, you know, she runs around with an axe and a mace as a Viking, you know, and I just I love that film. And I it is, has to be my absolute favorite film of all time. And although, you know, it’s not about her, she delivers the most amazing line that has ever been delivered in any film ever. Which I will now attempt to explain. So pick up is, you know, the son of a chief. And, you know, they’re Vikings. So it’s all about defending the village and killing dragons. And, you know, it’s a bit of a rite of passage for the for the, you know, the youths to grow up, and then they get to kind of kill their first dragon. And that’s what hichip thinks that he needs to do and that he wants to do. And he downs a dragon. And then he can’t kill it. And the story progresses, and you know, the dragon that he has made friends with. And you know, he’s flown flown on his dragon. It was carted off by his Viking chi father to go and find the big Dragon’s nest. And Astrid asks him, why didn’t you kill the dragon? And he says, I couldn’t. I’m the first Viking in 300 years, who couldn’t kill a dragon. And she turns around to him and she says, You’re the first one to ride one though. And that line, I just think is the best line ever. Because he could ride dragon. No one had ever ridden dragons before. But because that’s what not what they did. But he rode that dragon and Astrid, she got to ride a dragon two and further That really isn’t I just I love that film. And so it has to be Astrid.
I love that as well that he was having a negative thought and she turned it into something positive. Just, it’s great. You need Obi Wan his friend like that?
Yeah, absolutely. And And who wouldn’t want to ride a dragon? Yeah, definitely. I mean, that would be amazing. Okay, so the final question, what have you learned from women?
Well, so much, I have learnt not to be a victim. Which I think, you know, is, is a really important lesson. I’ve learned that I don’t need a prince charming. And I don’t particularly want one either. I’ve learned I’ve learned to love and appreciate my body, and not hate seeing photographs of myself and hearing, hearing myself recorded, which I think is something that we all struggle with. So I’ve learned that this body that I inhabit, whatever it’s, you know, pros and cons, it is the thing that I do my things with, you know, my hands are how I what I draw with, and I learned that from a really good friend who shared you know, a story on Instagram about loving her body. And I thought, I don’t I love my. So that was a really powerful lesson. I have learned my creativity, I think all my love of creativity, from my mom’s family, who is full of all of her sisters are really creative. And I have learned to just trust myself and be myself. And I have that I think the most important lesson that I’ve learned from women is that it’s okay to be kind. And that being kind doesn’t mean being weak. They’re not the same thing. And you can always be kind.
Yeah, that’s lovely. I think that kindness and weakness is just wrongly equated as the same thing. I think, being kind to people as an easy thing to do. Really, I think that even when someone’s not being very nice to you, being kind can be the thing that changes that dynamic, or, you know, you can walk out of that situation and feeling like you did everything you could
so yeah, and I don’t think you know, people say, Oh, sometimes you’ve got to be cruel to be kind. And I think, actually, no, you don’t. So you can you can choose, you know, and you don’t have to be soft to be kind. As you know, in my day job I have, you know, had teams of people to manage, and actually sometimes being kind is sharing things with them that they don’t want to hear. And actually, you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t care.
So, yeah. So where can we find you online?
So I’ve got a website. So Tomcat illustrations.co.uk. So that’s my website. And you can see some of the work that I do how to work with me there. I am on Instagram, and Facebook, and Twitter and all of those cases, as at tom cat pictures. And I am also on substack, which I am absolutely loving at the moment, I’m kind of pouring most of my creative energy into substack at the moment, because I love images. I’m endlessly inspired by you know, the beautiful things that I see on Instagram. But actually, I think that there is such an amazing magic when you combine pictures and words and substack you know, it’s all about the writers, it’s all about words. And I’m loving being there. So on subset I am writing while I was drawing, which is all about kind of the things that I have lived and loved and learn as an illustrator and in my life. And I find when I’m drawing, I get lost, I find things I discover, and on substack I’m just sharing a little bit of that with everybody as well. As some of my drawings, lovely, so nice.
I actually follow you over there. And I do love seeing what you have to write. So I’d recommend. Thank you very much. It’s been so lovely to talk to you. Thank you
for joining me. Oh, no, thank you. It’s been really lovely to talk to you too. And yeah, I’ve I love listen, I can’t wait to listen to some more of your podcasts and what your other guests share. It’s so inspiring. And yeah, so thank you for having me on your podcast. And
thanks, Emily. All right, thank you. You can find me over on Instagram at grow underscore with underscore Moxie, where you can email me at hello at Claire coupland.co.uk And 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.