That statement from her daughter spurred Sally Dear into action and she left her corporate role to start up Ducky Zebra, a children's clothing brand created to break down gender stereotypes. Her daughter, having seen mainly male taxi drivers, assumed this meant she couldn't be one. A limiting belief set in childhood which could influence so much of her later life.
When I posted about this episode of The Parent Equation on LinkedIn this week, I realised how many of our children are seeing, and more importantly, challenging these stereotypes.
My 7 year old, dinosaur obsessed (real dinosaurs, not sparkly ones), aghast because all the dino tops were in the boys section of a mainstream shop. Her words, "why can't all the clothes just be together."
Another example of someone's son asking why Hansel had to rescue Gretel from the witch and why couldn't she rescue herself. And another, with a daughter asking why all the animals in Dear Zoo are boys.
So it goes without saying that Sally's mission is one I fully support, along with her desire to be sustainable and ethical. I wish there had been more of this when my two were little.
I was then contacted by Sarah Green, who runs Borro, a baby clothes rental service, another much-needed service and definitely worth checking out.
I can't believe my podcast, The Parent Equation, has been going for a whole year! What started as a lockdown passion project has become a wonderful space for honest conversations about parenthood, careers and a shared mission to make the voices of working parents heard.
I started it back in November 2020, after months of lockdown planning, as a way to keep connected with my working parents community. We were all struggling, with job losses, with homeschooling, with illness and it broke my heart that I couldn't get out and see people face to face.
So the podcast was a way (and still is) to keep in touch, share stories and support each other.
This is what I've learnt along the way...
1. Comparison is the thief of joy
At the start, I beat myself about not being in the Apple Top 10. Why? Because I was looking at other coaches with podcasts and assumed they were more successful because they had more ratings.
What I know now is that many people have a team behind them - editors or VAs taking on some of the load.
I don't, so getting as far as I have is a major achievement and one that I'm (now) very proud of.
2. Consistency & routine = control
A top tip for having a podcast is that you release your episodes on the same day so that your listeners know what to expect. So why not apply that to everything that we have to do? Routine brings control, control brings calm.
3. Go through every door
Conversations can lead to new, exciting opportunities. Building a network of like-minded people is energising so when you see an open door, go through it as you never know where it might lead.
If you do get a chance to listen then I really would appreciate a share, a like or a review as it helps me reach a wider audience of working parents who could all do with knowing that they're not alone.
How often do you find yourself running out of time to do everything, your to-do list (if you even have one) sitting on the kitchen table, willing you to cross out just one thing? And not the thing that you created, just so you could cross it off!
How often do you know you have tons to do, but just don't know where to start?
And how often do you let distractions get in the way, the shiny objects in your peripheral vision just too enticing to ignore?
God knows, that's most of us.
But there are ways to take back control and give yourself some structure.
If you read my email last week, you'll know about the Pomodoro technique, a way to keep your mind focused on the task ahead.
Breaking your day down into blocks works much the same way.
Set your priorities up front, note down your non-negotiables (i.e. things that can't be moved, like the school run or a dentist appointment) and then work your day around those.
The key is to stick to your timings which will help with your productivity AND the shiny object syndrome.
To that end, I've created a Daily Planner with Goal Setting pages to help you get started and it's available on Amazon now.
Hi , who would have thought November would be upon us already and and that a tomato 🍅 can increase your productivity?
The Pomodoro Technique® was invented in the early 1990s by Francesco Cirillo, a developer and entrepreneur and was named after the tomato-shaped timer Cirillo used to track his 25-minute intervals of focused work time.
I've been trying it this week, in a bid to focus my mind and clear the distractions.
The basic premise is that you do 25 minute blocks of work (using a timer to keep you honest), each followed by a 5 minute break (away from the screen).
You do 4 blocks of this and then take a longer 30 minute break.
It sounds so simple, but knowing you have a limited window of time to get something done really works wonders. How many times have you found yourself stretching out tasks so that they fill the time that you have, however long!
Give it a go and let me know how you get on.
Inspired by Dr Rangan Chatterjee and Charles Poliquin, there are now three questions I ask my kids at bedtime:
1. What have you done today to make someone else happy?
2. What has somebody else done today to make your happy?
3. What have you learned today?
Today I did my first LinkedIn Live. And unsurprisingly, I'm still here to tell the tale. It went well and I'm so glad that I faced my fears and just did it.
I've had access to LI Live for months but was too scared to use it. I was worried the tech wouldn't work (it did), not confident that I had enough to say (I did) and I didn't think anyone would show up (they did).
It's very easy to find reasons not to do something. We might be scared of failure, not confident enough to put our heads above the parapet or aren't really sure what the purpose is.
So what aren't you doing that you should be doing?
All my current clients have one thing in common. In between work and family commitments, they've lost themselves.
There's no demarcation between work and home, there's less scope to pursue the things they love and the monotony of the past year is taking its toll.
So how can you put yourself back in the picture?
Today, I wanted to share a few of my personal thoughts as we see off the end of a very tumultuous year.
I wanted to start with a quote, written by Eric Roth, from the film Benjamin Button:
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.
This year we have all had to adjust to a lot of change. We have spent long periods inside when we might normally have been out and about. Many of us have found ourselves suddenly working from home on a full-time basis – often alongside home-schooling our children. Some of us have experienced some very difficult changes. Adapting to change can undoubtedly be challenging, so what can we do to make the process easier for ourselves?
Through my ‘fitted-in-when-I-can’ Social Psychology course on Coursera, I’ve come across some interesting research into Thin Slice methodology (Ambady and Rosenthal, 1992).
Maybe you can judge a book by its cover. It demonstrates how, in less than 5 minutes, people can accurately come to conclusions about the emotions and attitudes of who they’re interacting with. In fact, just 5 seconds are all it takes to set someone’s perception of us and vice versa. A thin slice of their behaviour.