Welcome to this month’s musings, inspirations and ideas. My hope is that each element provokes reflections, actions and enables us all to say “YES” to joy more as we lead through this month, at home, at work and beyond.

Let’s dig in……..

INSIGHT

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, something my family and friends know too much about and something I would encourage you check in with.

Did you know that Pilates (and other exercise activities) can help reduce the risk and improve your outcomes of breast cancer? Rebecca Trowbridge, of Catford Pilates, is generously doing a month-long series of free online Pilates classes to support Breast Cancer UK – sign up here.

Early detection is another key factor in improving outcomes. Not sure how to check your boobs? Coppafeel has made this handy video to help and if you’re ever in doubt, go see your GP.

Breast cancer signs

Often, deep down, we know what is good for us and what isn’t. Somehow that isn’t always enough to be bold or brave or sometimes “sensible” to create habits that support us. (Hello, digestive biscuits!). Resistance to change is a normal human reaction; it is there to protect us from jumping off cliffs and into hot waters.

Professor Richard Taler (University of Chicago) tells us we do better if we build in micro-interventions, or nudges, into our decision making when it comes to trying or keeping a new habit. They help us re-wire our thinking and thus our behaviours.

Thinking about your needs in October, what nudges can you create to increase your outcomes? (A timely one for this month – did you know breast checks are best done the week before you ovulate as your estrogen levels are on the up)

For me (apart from the book check), it’s about keeping a bedtime routine in place to enable me to switch off properly from the day and get better quality sleep. My October is shaping up to be one for juggling work and life without creating depletion.

COURAGE

LIBERTY

Choice is a wondrous thing. We know autonomy and control are two things that can trip our brains out. 

Not only does the potential outcomes weigh upon our minds, but our emotions and the emotional reactions of others also impact our willingness to give it a go, dive in or stay frozen to the spot.

These emotions help us navigate social decisions (such as is this joke appropriate for this setting?) as well, as potentially restricting our liberty (for example, I’m scared of flying so I can’t get take the promotion with international travel).

What if we could identify and sit with our emotions without judgement to make decisions that positively impacted our ability to lead? 

Consider:

  • what if prioritising rest didn’t make us feel guilty or that our productivity and commitment might be questioned?
  • what if overworking wasn’t a way to feel self-worth?
  • what if avoiding acknowledging and meeting your needs wasn’t hidden behind “I’m too busy”?
  • What if you removed the emotion and did what you need to do in order to be a better leader?

Find time this month to journal on these or discuss them with a mate to identify emotional allergy patterns that prevent you from making the right choices for you, your team, your family or your clients. Share your a-has in the Haven or in the comments below.

During this year, I think it is safe to say we’ve all craved something different – a holiday with sun, sea and laughter, a hug from a distanced loved one, a chance to escape our “four wall” and experience life, sports, art or work with others again.

We crave connection. If you’re in the Haven, you’ll have caught me sharing my insights from the How to Academy’s recent evening with Julia Cameron and Elizabeth Gilbert. Morning pages, soft play dates and gratitude practices are a part of our connection with ourselves.

Over the last few months, I’ve seen an increase in bookclubs – we read alone and share together the passages that spoke to us, or the twists we didn’t expect, or the choice we’re inspired to make.

Did you know we’ve just had Independent Bookshop day? Here’s a few I’ve enjoyed or am looking forward to reading and sharing:

  • Dr Peter Lovatt’s “The Dance Cure” – I’ve followed Doctor Dance, as Peter is also known and his research on how structured and unstructured movement can impact our emotions, our memory and diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s 
  • Charlie Makesy’s “The boy, the mole, the fox and the horse” for little uplifting moments
  • Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic, Creative living beyond fear” – a re-read for me, prompted by hearing her speak.

PS got a favourite independent bookshop to share? COVID has hit independents hard. I love Persephone Books for women authors, Daunt Books for the atmosphere and dreams of being far away, and Clapham Books who are almost on my doorstep and no ask is ever too much.

CONNECTION

JOY

Autumn is here. The Harvest moon and equinox have passed, nights are drawing in earlier and it has got properly chilly. Nature is shedding the old, ready for the new.

For me, I’m finding my kicks in the changing colours around me. Leaves turning golden yellows, rusty oranges and burnished reds. My fruit and veg shop’s displays of squashes in all shapes and sizes and inspirations for cosy fruity bakes.

Where are you finding your joys in October? For me, it definitely feels like a time to connect with the natural world through our senses and bring its wisdom into my leadership. I’m ready to shed and make space for the new.

I invite you to wrap up and step outside – first thing, with a coffee, with your earphones for a walking meeting or after the kids are in bed – jump in puddles, kick fallen leaves, find a conker and feel into Mother Nature, as she evolves into the season. 

I’d love to see how the changing season brings you joy and impacts your mindset and energy in leading in all aspects of your life in the Haven – share a photo or video and inspire another woman like you.

Autumn leaves

And that’s my shares for this month. I hope they spark a thought or help create new personal insights, or inspire you to do something different in your leadership – whether that is for half term with your kids and family or at work with your team and clients or for yourself to meet your needs and thrive by saying “YES” to joy in your leadership.

Have a fabulous month!

PS if you only do one thing from my October shares, please please please check your boobs xx