In today's episode I talk to Anna Hardy. She's the proud mum to two lively boys aged twelve and three, and lives in sunny Manchester.
For the last 10 years she's run her own photography business - she's specialise in honest, documentary family photography that celebrates character, emotion and individuality. She also regularly mentors and run workshops for other photographers, helping them to carve out a successful business that is right for them and their own unique priorities and passions.
As of January 2018 she now also co-runs The Mothership, an online membership community for working mothers, alongside the lovely Helen from Guilty Mothers Club. She also writes a family lifestyle blog with my friend Caroline, The Curve.
Anna's book recommendation:
The programme ‘The Island’ was a firm favourite in my house a few years back. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, here it is in a nutshell.
Bear Grylls (ultimate survivor/ an adult version of the boy scout who is totally fearless) drops (casually anchors the boat and the occupants have to swim to the shore through invested waters carrying everything they own) a group of women and a group of men to neighbouring, uninhabited islands that are nestled in the Pacific ocean. Each group has a supply of water to last them for 24 hours, a selection of tools, the clothes they stand up in and each other.
Over the next 6 weeks, each group has to find ways and means to not only survive but thrive. Daily duties include building a fire, collecting water (which then must be sterilised on the fire in order to be consumed- hence the fire is being a necessity) and finding a tropical selection of food. On the menu could be anything from a limpet or snail or a fish or snail or even a Caymen crocodile if they are lucky/brave enough.
This programme has indulged my interest in people watching and group dynamics as the contestants are tested by the treacherous and unpredictable conditions. The inhospitable island takes it toll on its inhabitants one by one – despite the sturdy personalities of some. Several weeks of very little water and even less food can very quickly take your eye off the prize.
As a lover of the Enid Blyton Famous Five books, I would like to think I would enjoy this raw, adventurous, trying experience, however I know myself too well. Yes, I have survived many Glastonbury’s- soaking wet tents/clothes/shoes etc etc and toxic toilets, however festivals remain on the right side of my comfort zone.
I wanted to explore the area of ‘comfort zone’. In advertising terms, ‘comfort’ evokes many images- cosy duvets, Christmas around the table with an abundance of food and wine, log fires, your favourite jogging bottoms with a snuggly jumpers and decadent hot drinks consumed from the perfect mug.
However the comfort zone of everyday life is usually far more personal and individuals have their own version of what it looks like.
Here are a few testers:
Speaking in public
Asking a fairly simplistic question in a group situation which may be seen as ‘obvious’ and therefore make us look stupid
Saying no “what will people think, will they say I am selfish?”
Starting something new with no guarantees, just a dollop of faith and guts
Questioning our own personal margins, when we may have been told “we couldn’t do x / you are not the sort of person to do ‘y’/ what if ‘z’ goes wrong.
I would like to share with you my 5 strategies that you can experiment with as part of the process of stepping outside your comfort zone.
Notice what you notice. Don’t be afraid of admitting your fear (you don’t have to do this to an entire room in an AA way, simply to yourself). Notice the signs of the uncomfortable line- what happens to your breathing? How does your body language change? What mind chatter seems to creep in? Which unhelpful behaviour or habits start to reveal themselves?
2) Break down the process
Where are you on a scale of 1-10? If '10' is conquering the task, how close are you? What number are you currently sitting on?
Create a timeline from 1-10 and break down the process. Write down the ten step that would you need to take to get you there.
3) The next number
What actions do you need to take to take you to the next number on the time line. When do you want to get there by?
Create some action steps for yourself. Be specific in what you want to achieve and start today.
4) What support can you put in place?
What gets you in the zone? Getting yourself into optimum preparation mode can dramatically increase your results so start to create your tool kit.
Here are a few to try
Create a playlist of music that gets you motivated and ready!
Remind yourself of your 'why'. Why do you want to achieve this? What will you gain? Take a look at the big picture but also the daily impact.
Create an environment that works for you.
Remind yourself of a positive experience or a time when you excelled or exceeded your expectations.
5) Copy those who have done it and take action
Imagine your role model or someone you admire? What would he/she do in your situation? How would he/she move forward? What information or strategies can you heed from their story?
What would you do if you were the best in the world at what you did?
Create a brain storm to find some solutions that you could take and make a plan.
In today's episode, I talk to Dr Emma Svanberg who is a Clinical Psychologist specialising in the perinatal period.
She supports women and their partners through pregnancy, birth and the early years of parenthood. Emma is also a qualified Hypnobirthing teacher and runs a number of free groups in North London for parents and parents-to-be. She also shares her ideas about the psychology of parenting on social media and has run a number of campaigns to raise awareness of common mental health issues facing parents.
You can listen below:
When I speak to actors, this is one of the most common questions that I am asked. ‘What do I do?’
The story usually goes as follows: they have left drama school, they sign with an agent, they land one or two jobs….then nothing. Everything grinds to a halt and they are left in a place of uncertainty. ‘Am I being put up for jobs?’ ‘Are my head shots working?’ ‘Is my agent working hard for me?’ ...’What do I do?’
The answer is ‘something’… do something and quickly.
It is your responsibility.
Of course, a strong working relationship with an agent helps, but you are the common denominator in your career. You are constant so take it seriously.
Here are 5 ways to help you stay motivated and take action:
1) Think back to your recent successes
What did you achieve, what did you do, where you were performing, how did it make you feel, what did people say to you?
Start to vividly remember and then analyse the process.
What did you do? How did you make yourself feel good and find your flow?
2) Find your focus
What do you want? What do you want to achieve in the next 6 months, by Christmas? Write yourself a goal and then take action
3) Flip the questions back to you and put yourself back in control
Instead of being cross with others or asking closed questions ‘Is it quiet at the moment?’ ask yourself ‘What can I do?’ and ask your agent ‘What do you need from me, can I provide any additional shots, show reel clips, what can I do to make your life easier?’
4) Write a list of your tasks you need to do
Make a voice reel, hone your Yorkshire accent, take a refresher horse riding course etc. Break down each task into smaller tasks and schedule the dates into your diary; when you are going to start, what you need to do and when you want to complete the task by.
5) Go for it and take action
Don’t wait or say you’ll start tomorrow, or next week or when you have a block of time. Do something today. Send an email, make a call, make a booking and start to build momentum.
Dahlia is an entrepreneur. She comes from a background in Marketing and has worked at companies such as Nestle and Beiersdorf (NIVEA) in her previous life BC (before children).
A year ago she started a pop up coworking space and crèche in a local church. Today she is launching a nursery in a business club for women – Blooms London. She is passionate about connecting people and about enabling parents to get back to work guilt-free. She has monthly parents networking events and a free webinar as well which showcases entrepreneurs areas of expertise.
Social media links
Zoe Blaskey is the founder of Motherkind, which she started after struggling with the pressures of modern mum life and wanted to help other mums who might feel the same. Zoe is a coach, meditation teacher and pregnancy yoga teacher.
Through Motherkind she runs events, hosts retreats and workshops, works one to one with mums and hosts the popular The Motherkind Podcast which features guests like Marianne Williamson and Julie Montagu. As well as running Motherkind, Zoe is also a successful brand and marketing consultant.
Zoe is also a pregnancy yoga teacher, certified coach and meditation teacher. She is trained in many self-development techniques and has a background in 12 step recovery. Zoe is on a mission to support mums with wellbeing tools to help manage the madness of modern mum life. Zoe is the motherhood contributor for online magazine Alternatively Healthy and is an ambassador for wellbeing studio Eve and Grace.
Listen to the Motherkind Podcast
Zoe's book recommendations:
I am feel so lucky to do what I do.
Big thank you to all the women I have worked with this week. I know I am coaching you but YOU inspire me also. I also take away so much myself; ideas, thoughts and 'Ohhhh I never even though of that' It is never easy to actually be willing to uncover that niggle and do something about it or make changes when you are sleep deprived, emotional and would love to stick your head under a duvet.
But you do it. Yes as your coach I am here to support you but you do the hard work; the late nights, the potentially awkward requests to your loved ones 'I know we have always done 'this' but I need a little more of 'this' and taking the action to move to forward when it is easier to just stay the same.
I'm now off to a casting... another passion of mine. Plus I can't say I don't love having a child free train journey and 5 mins with my own thoughts. 📷Taken from my living room with no filter!
Now for the happy, smiley, jolly one. I imagined my son coming towards in his drunk, giddy way often with some random objects in his hands/pockets/nappy! (6 weeks on he is still giddy but getting super speedy- mama needs to maintain this fitness mission.
Although I don't have the perfect the Hollywood smile this is me. Plus I reckon a big beaming smile can go a long way and instantly make someone feel comfortable and at ease (promise it isn't in a Jim Carey way) I hate going to events where everyone is on their phone or standing with folded arms (this is probably nerves, of course). Last night's @thestepupclub event was so friendly and supportive and I met some brilliant ladies.
I only have a couple of these left in February and then I am away for some of March. If you work as a partnership you are both welcome to come. If you have been pondering your idea for a while, send me a DM and ask me any questions. Sessions take place at Century in Soho with buckets of caffeine or via Skype. Plus you get a fortnight of email support so the dialogue can continue back and forth. Perfect for small businesses/ personal brands /creatives and freelancers.
In this episode I talk to Nicola, founder of TM(M)I Social and a social media specialist, Instagram-er and blogger.
As a certified social media geek (and qualified #digitalmum) she is passionate about the possibilities social media offers, whether you are seeking a source of support and community, want to build momentum behind a movement, or need to grow the audience for your business. She is also the co-founder of Make Motherhood Diverse - a challenge to the danger of the single story of motherhood too often presented by the media and brands.
In today's episode I talk to Silvia Del Corso, a Search Engine Optimisation and Digital Marketing freelancer living in London. She works with Small Business Owners and Freelancers and helps them to understand how to take care of the SEO of their website and also provides hands-on SEO campaigns to let websites rank on Google for their perfect keywords. Silvia shares her journey, the facts of SEO and some nifty tools you need to make your website fly.
The E-commerce Section of my site for my SEO services, which has a promotion for Valentine's, for which you can have any product with a 50% discount using the coupon code VA50 before February 14th
The newsletter subscription page, to keep updated about new articles posted, promotions and SEO services