Every Year Was Not Created Equal (And How I Finally Found My Natural Rhythm)

Posted on August 31, 2014


Have you ever tried a trendy diet and soon found out the regime did nothing for you? Or have you wondered why one moment you are an eager gym bunny and the next you feel guilty as the gym membership goes to waste month after month? It’s often too tempting to apply a blanket strategy to your life and actually fail to listen to the most important participant – you. We’d like to think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution to all our worries (ie. a magic pill) and believe that as long as we stick to the recipe, we’ll be ok.

A year ago I was getting up at 5.30 am every morning. I’d bounce up from my bed and go for a run. And then I’d work for 2 hours before my kids got up. Ah, I’d even make breakfast for the family before they woke. I was bursting with energy. What an annoying person I was! I thought this would last forever. I thought this was the new me.

Now my morning goes more like this… I have my eyes open (I’ve checked the time) at 5.49 am. A thought of getting up and putting my running shoes on crosses my mind, very briefly. I visit the day’s work load before happily falling back to sleep. The next thing I know it’s 8.15 am! Huh. I simply don’t seem to be able to get out of bed before 8 am anymore. Even my husband is wondering what happened, I used to be such an (annoyingly) early riser. Why am I not charging up in the morning like a hungry lion?

Have I lost my mojo?

Perhaps not. Perhaps I’ve actually found it!

A year ago I would have most likely beaten myself up (mentally) for being such a lazy sod. “You gotta show some discipline, woman!” I would have shouted myself in my head. “How do you think you’ll get anywhere (in life) if you are not squeezing it all in?” And so I did. One year ago my life was filled up, back-to-back.

But did I actually get more done? Or was I pushing my boat too hard?

I think so.

I went into an overdrive. I became obsessed with getting up and doing my run. Getting some work in. Doing all that driven woman stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe it’s great to go for a run in the morning. I just don’t feel like doing it at 5 am, right now.

I’m no more lazy than I was a year ago. I work very hard, often burning the midnight oil (which partly explains my lack of enthusiasm for getting up at 5 or 6 am). The difference is that I’m more focused. I’m more connected to what I’m doing and feeling right now, rather than just doing what should be done. And I think I actually get much more done now, than a year ago.

I understand now that my natural rhythm changes all the time. A year ago I needed to show myself (and others?) that little extra push. I wanted to push my boat a little harder to get to here where I’m today. To learn. Now I’m happy to be still and to observe.

The most important thing is that I don’t beat myself up for not doing something that was necessary to do a year ago. I could easily get stuck in that old pattern and think that I have to be the same person I was a year ago. Instead, I accept new things as my natural rhythm changes and make most of it.

What have I learned about finding my rhythm? Here are a couple of discoveries:

It’s good to over do it

Only by exploring our limits we find our natural middle. This includes stopping and being too hyped. Working too hard and getting a panic attack. Or stopping and taking a deep breath. The ripple effect can start large but over time it gets better, and you will find your balance.

Stop applying blanket strategies

There is no ‘perfect diet’ that every human being should follow. There’s no ‘perfect rhythm’ or ‘perfect relationship’ or ‘perfect what-ever’ either. Stop chasing fads, or following what your friends or glossy magazines say, and start stopping and listening to your own body and soul. You have all the answers that are right for you, right now.

Look at life in its entirety

It’s easy to get obsessed about one day, one week or a year. You can never find balance (or it’s difficult) in short periods of time, but when you extend the time span, you can see that there is a good life-balance, you start to see your real patterns. The number of sun spots (in the sun) increase every 11 years. What’s your pattern?

Life is a paradox. I’m learning that as much I have to appreciate the time I have, I can’t be obsessed about it. I can’t spend my time wastefully, but l shouldn’t stress over it either. When it’s time to return to a more pressurised morning schedule, I’ll do it naturally. I miss the 5 am morning energy, but until it returns to me without calling, I shall enjoy my morning sleep.

What is your pattern? Please comment and share your thoughts on finding a balance.

Have a great week, a one that comes naturally to you.

~ Miisa


What Money Means To Me

Posted on August 24, 2014

paradise wonderful 2

Last week’s post about money and our usefulness to others sparked a lot of conversation and comments on the blog. It inspired me to think what money means to me and why do I push myself to achieve more in life. Is life about purpose or bucks?

First, full disclosure. I come from a perfectly average middle class family. We always had enough but we were never ‘rich’, not even ‘wealthy’. I held well paying corporate jobs, and considered myself ‘an independent’ woman until having kids. Recent years I have let husband pay the bills. It was tough at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly. I could never be ‘a lady of leisure’ though, and making my own money is very important to me.

I’ve always been very good in negotiating my salary and standing up to myself getting the same pay as my male counterparts in the job market. In the past couple of years I’ve been building my own businesses and the logic for earning is quite different. You can stand up to yourself all you like but if you are not making the right decisions and learning the right skills, the bank account may remain in a miserable state.

There are of course other benefits to building your own company. You get to do something you feel passionate about. Some people may argue that following your passion should be enough and the only measure to justify your choices. But why can’t I settle there?

Am I searching for monetary or spiritual riches? Both, is my answer.

I’d like to live in abundance. In abundance of love, of ideas, of beauty, of intellect. I’d like to surround myself with high quality people and products. I’d like to be able to choose exactly how I want to live, where I want to go and what I want to do. I think having some extra cash might be a good idea in that scenario!

I don’t believe one has to choose either ‘passion’ and ‘purpose’ OR financial success. Do we have to pride ourselves of choosing ‘purpose’ over money? Does it make us more noble? Possibly yes, but I’ve set myself on a journey to discover if I can have both.

So why do I work hard? Why do I keep pushing myself? Why is it important for me to make some serious money?

I want to know what I’m capable of. I’m interested to know what I can do and what I can learn in life. Where can I get to? I’m interested to see where my passion takes me. I’m curious of my own capabilities. Money both measures and fuels my growth.

I want to make an impact. I want to be useful to the universe. I want to feel a sense of achievement. I want to help people. I want to make my work matter. I can multiply my usefulness if I have access to finance.

I want to earn my own money. I’m ‘married well‘, so well that I could in theory become a lady who lunch. In theory. I would not be who I am, if I did. (And that’s not the woman he married anyway.) Nothing is more rewarding than working hard, getting the reward and feeling good about yourself. Money is just a side product.

I want to learn. Money is a great test for me to see what I’ve learned. If I’m crap at everything I’m unlikely to make any money, right? I want to improve myself in all areas from interpersonal skills to selling on social media, and beyond. If I’m able to make better decisions for my projects and my company, money will be a natural measure of my success to improve myself. Would you agree?

I want to get to a new level. If my finances improve, I will be able to hire more and better people. I will be able to outsource skills I don’t want to, or don’t have time to, learn. I can basically use money as a catalyst for faster growth, both personally and for my company.

I want to make a greater impact. Philanthropy has never featured greatly in my life. Sure, I support the Kids Company and Battersea Dogs Home with a small donation every month and I pay for two girls‘ education in Nepal, but I’d love to do much more! I’d love to do more for women’s empowerment. I know the day will come, but first I need to build up some serious resources.

I want to get to know new people. I’m interested in getting access. I’d like to know more people who have been through an interesting and successful entrepreneurial journey. I want to have Sophia Amoruso and Sara Blakely at my dinner table, and feel completely comfortable about it!

You can pursue your purpose and turn your back on wealth, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The most important thing is to make an educated and aware decision. The other extreme is to chaise riches and never find your purpose or happiness. But I believe that there’s a third way, one in the middle – to pursue things you believe in, things that make you thrive and bring out the best in you. And make money along the way.

Life is not about just settling for the cards you have been dealt, accepting your ‘fate’ or your current state of affairs.

It’s not about being either rich or poor. We all start somewhere, some at the front some at the back, but we can all move forward. Life’s about believing you can always improve your hand, little by little. And life’s about learning to make better decisions for ourselves, for our purpose, and for our finances.

What is your view? What does money mean to you?

Please leave your comments below.

~ Miisa

DrivenWoman ‘Wealthy Woman Workshop‘ is on 4th of September. Join an inspiring evening where you can learn what steps you can take now to start improving your future wealth.

Are You Useful To The Universe

Posted on August 17, 2014

women welders

DrivenWoman talks about money this month. The theme inspired me to share a thought that has stayed with me since reading Napoleon Hill‘s book ‘Think And Grow Rich‘.  He explains the secret of creating wealth as how useful you are to the universe: “Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. There is no such reality as ‘something for nothing’.

For me this totally makes sense. Money is not something evil or something you must desire as such, it’s simply a measure of your personal usefulness to the universe. If I create something that is going to help many people, they will be happy to depart some of their money in exchange of my services. ‘Helping’ can come in many shapes, it might be about creating products that make people happier, more beautiful or save them time; or it could be services like DrivenWoman that helps them to become more confident in what they are about.

And most importantly, the idea of money as a measure of individual’s usefulness helps to create a more neutral and healthy relationship with money.

But let’s look at work that is extremely useful to others but doesn’t yield a lot of money to the doer. Nursing or taking care of others has historically been typical women’s work. The problem is scalability. Taking care of one person at a time is very valuable, but it doesn’t warrant a big pay check. Same goes for all jobs where value is created one client at a time. The work can be extremely valuable, but unless it’s scalable, the private car with a driver will be a distant dream.

However, if you were a nurse and became the best in your field, nothing can stop you from starting an on-line tutorial service, writing a best selling book or creating other scalable material to expand your reach, and thus help more people. The more people you are able to help, the more universe is willing to reward you with money. Internet offers a great opportunity for anyone with specific expertise to scale their idea and make more money.

It’s easy to say, I know, ‘I don’t have any ideas, other people do’.

Well, I didn’t have any ideas either 5 years or 15 years ago. What made a difference was a decision to go look for ideas. A decision to start improving myself.

It’s important to appreciate the two resources we all have in our disposal: our time and our money. To change your financial future you should be putting aside one or both of these resources.

Just imagine if you consistently put aside 10% of your time to learn new skills or to slowly grow a small side business, after a year or two you will be able to either get clients that pay more, a pay rise at your job or a side income from a small business that will able you to leave a job you may no longer feel so passionate about. According to Hill’s concept, universe’s reward will await because you have become more useful to people around you.

If putting time aside is not realistic, then 10% of income could be put aside into an investment. Translating the idea of ‘usefulness’ into investing means saving and investing into businesses that are useful to as many people as possible.

Often women are too modest to claim the full payment for their own usefulness.

Yes, we are useful and we may even be producing something hugely scalable, but because we either think we haven’t deserved the money or that being useful is big enough reward for us, we don’t claim the money that is rightfully ours. We pass by the whole money issue like it didn’t exist. The truth is that the universe is most likely rewarding our usefulness generously, but it’s going straight to some guy’s pocket if we don’t stand up to ourselves.

Jennifer wrote earlier about women’s attitudes and the modest view we take on money. ‘I just want to pay the bills. I’m happy with that.

Could a concept of ‘being useful‘ change our ambitions about money?

I definitely want to say: ‘I’m going to be as useful to the universe as I possibly can! And from now on, I’m also going to allow the universe to bring me the money!’

What do you think? What kind of ideas have you had recently about being useful? What do you think is stopping women being more accustomed to money? Please comment below.

Have a great, wealth conscious week.

~ Miisa

You can find Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think And Grow Rich’ book review in the DrivenWoman reading list.

DrivenWoman ‘Wealthy Woman Workshop‘ is on 4th of September. Join an inspiring evening that may change your perception of personal wealth.

Money Is Just An Idea

Posted on August 10, 2014

We are writing about women and money in August. This week we have a guest post from a true money professional - Terhi Majasalmi, an experienced entrepreneur, professional investor and Women’s Wealth Coach. 

terhi majasalmi 2

Did you know that reaching a healthy financial situation has much more to do with your mental health and mindset than some complicated investment techniques? The ideas you have had up to this point in your life have generated the money you have right now in your pocket.

If you want to change your life and your financial position for the better, you have to get better ideas. To make your financial future more abundant, you should produce lots of new, better ideas.

Our thoughts and beliefs have an impact on what we do or what we think we are capable of doing.

So if we hold a belief that we can’t ever be in a good financial position and live a wealthy life, we don’t even try to do things that will lead to an improved financial situation. For example we don’t save, we buy things we don’t need and we are reckless with our money.

The unconscious mind works for us in good and in bad. So even if you think saving money is a smart thing to do, but you don’t fully believe that the habit really benefits you, you are not going to do it. Everything we do involves 80% psychology and only 20% strategy!

The key is to get stronger mental health. We should develop a stronger belief system and get rid off the bad, hindering patterns in our mind.

The better your mental health is, the more you produce ideas to make your financial future flourish. The quality comes from the amount of ideas. The more ideas you generate, the better ideas you get.

My favourite practise is to write 20 answers to a specific question, for example: “How can I get 5000 thousand euros in my account by 31.12.2014?”

At first it can feel hard to come up with so many answers, but you just have to keep hammering! The reward can be huge. The twentieth answer could be the breakthrough. Usually I take one week and write every morning twenty answers to that one same question. It’s a total of 100 hundred ideas!

Why not give it a go this week. How much money would you like to have on your bank account? And remember, money is just an idea.

Great week to all,


I hope to see you all in Wealthy Woman Workshop on the 4th of September.  After the workshop I promise that you’ll have many new, great ideas to make your financial future flourish!



Let’s Talk About Money

Posted on August 3, 2014

Photo credit: imcreator.com / deanoakley

I can’t get my head around why we women are too afraid to say “I want to be wealthy, rich and financially free. I want to be able to go shopping or travelling, and be free to start projects I love without having a panic attack about my bank balance.

Why are so many women reluctant to talk openly about the role money plays in their lives? Do we think in some strange way our position as a mother, woman, and wife will be tainted if we utter the word MONEY, MONEY, MONEY? Is it true that men and women have a different relationship with money, or is it just a myth that society has given and we have chosen to hide behind it?

Or maybe we just don’t say it because we don’t like the responsibility we must take to obtain it?

I want to shout out loud: “I want that beautiful house, a closet full of gorgeous clothes and stunning shoes, a great family holiday – I want the lot!

How does that sound? Am I any less than I was yesterday?

I bet you Alan across the road is not feeling guilty for buying his Aston Martin.

That does make me smile.

I am sure that many of us think that rich people are all greedy, and that most of them had probably sold their souls to the devil in order to attain lots of cash.

That’s a load of horse manure, by the way. Whatever the point of view, not understanding the purpose of money will simply restrict our own growth.

For so many years I used to think that the idea of ‘wanting more money‘ seemed unrealistic, so I softened my words and just said I need enough money to be comfortable and that would be ok. Ha! And guess what?  I got just that, and then spent the next month feeling anxious before the next pay check arrived.

I’ve now realised money creates freedom, freedom to do what I want. It frees up my creative juices to start projects where I can achieve and feel useful to the society. It’s tough to hire a baby sitter to free up my time if I don’t have any cash!

I feel we, girls, need to embrace the truth about life and honour all of our desires, and money clearly is one of them.

Here are a few ideas that I’ve found useful when befriending with money.

1) Take an inventory of your life. Look at the areas you would like to improve. You may not like it but you need to take control of the financial situation in order to make things happen. And don’t rely on your spouse on this aspect!

2) Set your goals and create a plan of action. This will give you a focus and an understanding how to go forward.

3) Educate yourself about money. Read small parts of the financial pages about investments that may be of interest to you, properties ect. It may seem strange at first having a small insight on how money grows but it strengthens your awareness.

4) Find a couple of mentors, individuals you have watched grow and create their wealth. Or if such individuals are hard to find in person, you can read memoirs or follow successful bloggers.

5) Create a mission statement.  Write it down and read it out loud once or twice day. You have to believe in what you are about in order to create a financial flow.

Also check out the book recommendations from the DrivenWoman reading list.

Having financial freedom gives you the ability to maintain a comfortable lifestyle while saving for the future and staying out of debt. Achieving it requires careful planning. The reward is stability and peace of mind, and the ability to take a break and have fun when you want and eventually enjoy a comfortable retirement. 

Please share your experiences with money in the comments.

~ Jennifer

In August DrivenWoman will talking about money. Join our Wealthy Woman Workshop on 4th of September in London or stay tuned to this blog for more money & good life -insights.



15 Books Every Driven Woman Should Read

Posted on July 27, 2014

DrivenWoman reading list

What does a driven woman read during her well deserved holidays? We have compiled a comprehensive list of books for useful, inspiring and fun (useful can also be fun!) summer reading.

The books range from recent books written by some driven women; such as Sophie Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS, through books on entrepreneurship and success, to love and healthy eating. DrivenWoman is about covering all areas of better life. Everyone defines their own kind of success!

The list is here.

Please add books you think might be useful to your fellow driven women and share your thoughts on the books we’ve read.

Happy summer reading!

~ Miisa


4 Thoughts On Making Most Of My Holiday

Posted on July 20, 2014


I have a confession to make.. I was actually looking for ways to slack off (!) this post. A short cut, anything that could have saved me from the real work after a hot day on a lake… (I’m writing this as my holiday has just started. I promised myself to have all my three week blog posts written in advance. Well, no such luck, the days were just too busy.) So here I am, sitting in the old summer house, typing away, waiting for the men to return from fishing – very old fashioned isn’t it!).

I was exhausted coming here, Finland. We fly on Friday night and on Saturday morning drove 4 hours up to our place in the country. I was absolutely exhausted.

It felt good to feel exhausted, though. I felt I had deserved my holiday.

That feeling of ‘deserving’ made me think of how I could make my two weeks ‘off’ as special as possible.

1) Get all the stuff done before you go

Oh yes. I meant to finish this and all the other two blog posts due in my two week holiday! It’s such a great feeling going away when absolutely everything is done. Finished. Clean desk. Empty mind.

2) Let things wait

And because you finished what was urgent, now you can let other things wait. Sorry, but if you have some complicated DrivenWoman Membership requests while I’m off, they simply have to wait until I’m back in normal routine in August. Most things aren’t urgent at all (we just want to feel important) and all we have to do is to set up our automatic “I’m on holiday” response message.

3) Let things happen

Our summer place is where the family and friends gather. People come and go and there are always a lot of people to feed and entertain. I was always a bit too organised about all the lunches and dinners but have learned to chill a bit more now. I let the day take it’s natural course. What we end up having at the dinner table may be a result of many surprises, including luck on the lake.

4) Holiday is wasted if it’s not a holiday

I’ve just seen some pictures of me when I was 14, spending my summers in this old family house by the lake. All that excitement! Now I want to reach that care-free feeling of my teenage summers. I want to feel that total zero-responsibility again (to the degree one can, with small children). That’s the most efficient way I can spend my holiday.

All of this may seem obvious to many, but for those who are immersed in their project it’s a good reminder.

I admit it’s difficult to be on a holiday. I’m normally so excited about what I’m doing that I don’t want to stop. Or there may be a feeling of guilt, to make the business flourish one should be working on it at all times. (Screw that..)

I know the more I rest, the better ideas and sharper thinking my mind will deliver. There should never be a doubt in driven woman’s mind to go on a well deserved break.

Enjoy your summer!

~ Miisa

How To Handle Disappointments Like An Athlete

Posted on July 13, 2014
Photo by nuchylee via Free Digital Photos

Photo by nuchylee via Free Digital Photos

This is the time of the year when, in my business as a Sports Agency, so many emotions rise to the surface. Athletes have spend the last 12 months intensively preparing for the competition seasion, and will now have to put themselves to the test. Some will succeed and others will not. There’s more losers than winners, that is for sure.

How do they pick themselves up time after time when disappointment occurs so frequently? How do they go from one race to the next having less than 48 hours to turn their feelings around, and having to correct previous mistakes at the same time? It surely is tough even for the toughest.

Disappointment is an inevitable reality in the world of an athlete. Learning to handle the disappointment appropriately is crucial, especially when you add a short time frame to the mix. This could effect the beginning and the end of a season in a matter of days.

We all know that disappointments left unchallenged can lead to sadness and low self esteem. But when disappointments are properly dealt with they can be turned into a positive learning experience and ultimately a point of internal strength. Many athletes would admit that facing their most challenging disappointments and defects have taught them a valuable lesson and increased their strength mentally, emotionally and physically.

The best way to deal with disappointments like an athlete is to take intentional and definite steps of action when your life doesn’t go your way or you find yourself on the losing side. The way the athlete handles the sets will effect what she requires in the future competitions.

So how can we adopt some of the most effective strategies and deal with a disappointment like an athlete.

1. Acknowledge

If you are to reach your goals you must first acknowledge what went wrong, what part you played and what can you do in the future to correct or strengthen those areas.

2. Have a plan of action

Understand where mistakes were made and look at them with a critical and honest, yet constructive eye. List them if you have to, and don’t be afraid.

3. Set the wheels in motion

Do what has to be done. Take immediate action straight after the disappointment to deal with the issues. Deal with people (this is the difficult part), change a location, or handle objects: whatever it may be in order for you to put right what went wrong.

4. Give yourself a time frame

You know how quickly you have to act, give yourself a deadline. It’s good to be honest and realistic. Fantasizing gets you nowhere fast.

5. Visualise your way to success

The great thing about visualisation is that when you are going through a tough time and everything is negative you can take yourself out of it, and in your mind create the world you want. Feel the way you would like to feel once you have achieved your goal.

My life has had just as many highs as it has had lows. So many times when the chips have been down I would quiet myself  and research my inner thoughts.  Sometimes I would quickly be spot on what the reasons were that took me to failure, other times I would have to wait awhile but the answers would always came in one form or another.

What keeps me going is the resilience inside of me. The button I keep pressing that pushes me forward. And I remember to embrace the feeling of accomplishment when I do succeed.

I guess the athlete will always be there.

~ Jennifer

Please comment and share your thoughts on how you’ve handled disappointments.


4 Ways To Develop Your Resilience to Stress

Posted on July 6, 2014


It’s difficult to stay driven if stress takes over. We’ve invited Donna Hubbard, life coach from Be Dynamic Coaching, to share her tips on how to build resilience to stress.

On a scale of 1 – 10, how stressed would you say you feel today? Wherever you place yourself on that scale right now, stress is something that can seriously affect all of us at times. The S word can negatively impact our productivity, decisions and overall happiness. So what exactly is stress and what can we do to minimise the level we experience in our lives?

Stress is…

“The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or demands placed upon them. Where those pressures exceed the person’s current perceived resources and coping ability.” International Stress Management Association, 2013

The best way to overcome something is to understand it more. Looking at the above definition we can see that it is hinting at the 2 areas we can focus on in order to develop a better stress management system for our lives. These areas are 1. our reaction and 2. our perception towards stress inducing situations. We’ll come back to cracking both of these things later…

But Isn’t A Bit of Stress Good For Us?

If we feel we have the resources both internally and externally (e.g. self confidence, experience, support etc.) to cope with a situation, then we will experience pressure and not stress. So even if we feel a little nervous about the outcome, all the time we perceive ourselves as being in the driving seat we will most likely enjoy the buzz this positive pressure (as it is sometimes known) gives us. Hands up if you are a little addicted to this feeling and recognise it as a positive force in your life that drives you? You certainly aren’t alone there…

Developing Your Resilience To Stress

Here’s 4 ways you can develop your resilience to stress and lead a happier, more balanced life.

1.Pinpoint the Gremlins

If you feel stress may be affecting your life, then the first step is to take a brave look at what is going on and why. So grab a pen and bit of paper and work through the questions below to pinpoint the gremlins (i.e. stressors) in your life right now.

- What situations are currently causing you stress? – Why do you think this is? What about this situation concerns you? – What impact is this stress having upon you and your life?

2. Evaluate What You’re Seeing

Here we tackle the perception part from the definition of stress above. Our perception has a profound impact on our experiences in life and here’s why…

What we Perceive /Think affects how we Feel, how we Feel affects how we Act and then our Actions further feed our Perception of a situation.

This is known as the Think – Feel– Act cycle founded in psychology and it explains why we do the things we do. Compare how you view the situations in your life that excite you with those that scare you, what’s the difference? Do you know people who are excited by the things that scare you and vice versa? This all comes down to the difference in our perceptions.

Look at each situation you noted as a stressor in your life and ask yourself:

- How am I currently viewing this situation? – Is this perception helping or hindering my ability to cope with it? – What evidence tells me that I do in fact have what it takes to deal with this? That everything will be ok? – What would a more helpful (i.e. that would help me deal with the situation better) perception be?

3. Put On Your Circle of Influence Hat

Now it’s time to look at the reaction part from the definition of stress above. In life there are things we can control and things we can’t. How much time and emotional investment we spend on the things within these categories has a direct link to how stressed we feel. The more time we spend on the things that we can control the happier and more empowered we are. The reverse is also true, if we spend most of our time and efforts on the things we can’t control the less happy and more disempowered we become. The latter approach to life is both a contributor and accelerator to stress, therefore we must remind ourselves to wear our Circle of Influence Hat as much as possible.

circle of influence

Source: Jari Sarasvuo, the model has been adapted from Stephen Covey‘s Circle of Influence.

How much time do you spend worrying about all the things that are out of your hands?

If you were to focus this time on finding a solution that is within your control instead, what difference would this make to you?

4. Take 5

In the heat of a stressful moment our autopilot response can cause us to be reactive. Whether that means we say something we regret or behave in a way that doesn’t serve us, being reactive is a symptom that we are not feeling in control and it can make situations much worse. So it’s helpful to find a way to take ourselves off of autopilot and fly with our minds fully engaged for a while!

To help you ‘take 5’ and respond constructively in a stressful situation, perhaps sing the first chorus of your favourite song to yourself in your head (sound nuts but it may just work…) count to 5 or think about a person you care about for a few minutes. Changing focus for a while helps you to regain perspective and gives you a chance to think before you act.

Now as we are all wonderfully human we may not win the war with our autopilot all of the time, but if we can take charge of our emotions and manage our behaviour a little better even just 30 – 50% more of the time, the positive outcomes will be huge.

I’d love to hear about your experiences so please do get in touch with me or share your comments here on the blog.

Founder Be Dynamic Coaching
E: donna@bedynamic.co.uk
TW: @BeDynamicLife
LI: Donna Hubbard

Donna Hubbard

About Donna
Donna supports women in bringing the goals that really matter to them, to life. She helps individuals to develop a resilient and empowered frame of mind so that they can create the lives they want. This is what she calls the dynamic effect. What goal do you want to start creating?


How To Stop Constant ‘Juggling’

Posted on June 29, 2014

girl ball

Do you have a feeling you have too many balls in the air at the same time? Are the everyday life pressures keeping you from your own personal goals? Do you feel there’s always something that requires your attention that distracts you from the things you are trying to improve?

Sounds like ‘juggling’, the activity we women are sometimes almost proud of. Or at least we have decided to own it so profoundly that it surely comes up in every female executive interview (‘how do you juggle family and work?’) and dinner conversation between friends.

I was recently at a lovely dinner with seven brilliant and bright ladies who all manage to combine meaningful career and family life. After hearing my story of running one company, building a women’s network and doing a tech start-up, whilst spending time with my husband and five year old twin boys, one woman asked me how on earth do I manage to juggle all of this?

In that very moment when I answered I realised what the secret is, I’ve stopped juggling. Until recently I was very stressed out thinking I should do all of these things at the same time. That didn’t work. A couple of weeks ago I got a mild panic attack! But like any set back or obstacle in life, it thought me an important lesson.

I’m not supposed to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. I’m supposed to push each ball separately at my own phase.

I’ve learned to be fully present at what I’m doing and I don’t try to do more than one thing at the same time. This means that when I’m with my kids, I’m with my kids. I don’t try to write emails or send Tweets at the same time. I fully enjoy my kids company.

And when I’m working I  will let them know that ‘mummy has to work now and doesn’t want to be interrupted.’ It works because I’ve explained that if they want to sit at the front of the plane any day soon, they will have to let me work.

Here’s 8 tactics that have helped me to stop juggling:

1) Delegate

You have to give up part of the workload and delegate to others. We have an au pair who lives with us. Yes, it felt odd at the start to have someone stay with us, but I find it’s a small price to pay for a clean kitchen and flexibility with childcare.

2) Trust others

Once you’ve delegated tasks, It’s important to trust others to do the job. They may not do it the same way as you’d do it, but not all jobs need to be completed to the highest standards.

3) Focus on one thing

When you are focused on a task, don’t let yourself be distracted by other unfinished tasks. The world (and especially a family household!) is full of unfinished tasks. Most can remain unfinished (at least for now).

4) Create habits

My weekly schedule looks pretty much the same from week to week. I’ve dedicated time slots for all three businesses and the schedule repeats. Apart from standard weekly meetings I don’t take many meetings. I know I have to allocate time for getting things actually done.

5) Say ‘no’

I let un-critical things fall by the wayside. I’ve long given up perfection on things that don’t really matter (like keeping the playroom tidy) and I’ve stopped doing things because I think I should.

6) Batch

I wrote a post on this earlier. The idea is to hold tasks until a dedicated time slot and do all similar tasks together. Stops you from working reactively and bouncing to every impulse or request thrown at you.

7) Complete

If you got so far as to focus on only one task, and have blocked all distractions, it’s important then to capture that moment to complete what you started. Get that one ‘ball’ over a finish line so you can ad an item to your ‘Done List‘. It can be a sub-section of a larger project but important thing is to finish what you are doing to avoid juggling.

I’ve visualised ‘focusing on one ball’ as opposed to ‘juggling many balls in the air’ in my head. This mental exercise has helped me to appreciate everything I do more and not pile up unnecessary (=unimportant) tasks. I try to ‘let go’ as much as I can.

Do you find ‘juggling’ a problem? What methods or tactics have you used to stop ‘juggling’ or to reduce stress?

~ Miisa