Claim Your Vixen Voice: Schedule Less, Achieve More With April Roberts

Brave Women at Work | April Roberts | Claim Your Vixen Voice

 

Hello everyone! How are you doing out there?

I wanted to provide you all with a personal update. It’s been a whirlwind so far this year. We’ve done some remodeling on our house after having some water damage issues for the last several years. I traveled to Las Vegas in February to co-host a women’s leadership retreat. And now, I am about to go to Europe with a dear friend for two weeks.

Two weeks! I have not been to Europe this long without my family, well, ever. The last time I went to Europe without my husband and family was 16 years ago. To tell you I’ve had a little bit of travel anxiety and mom guilt would be an understatement. I have gone through all the feelings. What kind of a mom am I to leave my kiddos that long? Ouch. That Imposter Syndrome and shameful voice has been loud. I’m sharing this with you because I’m not immune to this work. I have to do it too. And I’ve had to let all that go because if I fill my cup, I know I will be a better mom to my girls. I will also be a better wife, daughter, friend, podcaster, and the list goes on.

I would like to thank my friend, Jennie, for inviting me on this trip. If you are curious about where we are going, we are traveling to Croatia, Montenegro, and Portugal. I’m collecting those passport stamps this year! I would also like to thank my husband, John, for encouraging me to do this. And of course, a thank you to my girls for being excited for me too.

So, let’s switch gears. During the show today, I speak with my guest, April Roberts, about time freedom and having a Vixen Voice. I don’t know about you, but anything to do with time freedom, and owning my voice interests me. I’m a free spirit at heart, obviously with the upcoming trip to Europe. I like the idea of having as much autonomy as possible over my time and life.

During my conversation with April, we chatted about:

  1. What drove April to do the work she does today
  2. How we can structure our calendars to achieve time freedom
  3. What you should be adding and removing from your calendar
  4. How time and energy management are directly related
  5. What the Vixen Voice is and how we can claim it for ourselves

Listen to the podcast here

 

Claim Your Vixen Voice: Schedule Less, Achieve More With April Roberts

I’m glad you’re here. How are you doing out there? It’s been a while, but I wanted to provide you with a personal update. It’s been an absolute whirlwind. I don’t know if you can relate to that, but it has been moving fast. It feels like it was January 1st, and as I’m recording this, we’re at the end of April 2024. It’s been a lot. We’ve done some remodeling on our house. We had some water damage issues over the last couple of years, and it’s been a little anxiety-provoking, honestly, to try to figure out like, “What is the source of this thing? Is it the roof? Is it this? Is it that?”

We are hoping that we are finally on the other side of that. We’ve had all of the things happening, over at the Pestikas’ household. I traveled to Las Vegas in February to co-host a women’s leadership retreat with some beloved friends and some amazing powerhouse women. I’m about to go to Europe with a dear friend for 1, not one week, but absolutely 2 weeks. I am living my best life over here. I have not been to Europe this long without my family. I was thinking back, “When was the last time that I went to Europe?”

The last time I went to Europe solo, and at that time, without my husband, this was even before my daughters were born, was many years ago, It was like crazy. As I’ve been preparing for this trip, I’ve had a little bit of travel anxiety and coupled with that mom guilt. If I said, “I’ve had a little,” it would be an understatement. I’ve gone through all the feels. Here’s one of the big questions that I’ve been sharing with myself like it’s been rolling around with that mom guilt is, “What kind of a mom can leave their kids that long?”

I’ve been like, “That’s hard.” I wanted to share that with you because I am not immune from this. I am not alone. I hear the imposter’s syndrome voice, the mom’s guilt, the shame, and all that stuff. I’ve had to let all of that go because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. My friend is welcoming me on this trip. She didn’t have to do this. It’s an amazing opportunity that I could not pass up. If I fill my cup, I’m going to be a better mom to my girls. I’m also going to be a better wife, daughter, friend, hopefully podcaster, and the list goes on.

I would like to thank my dear friend Jenny for inviting me on this trip. She doesn’t even know it, but challenging me, getting me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t think I was going to have all of this stuff come up, but yet here it’s at my doorstep. If you’re curious about where we are going, I’m going to share. we’re traveling to Croatia, Montenegro, and Portugal, which I have not been to any of these places. If you’ve been to these places and you want to send me a DM on social media or send me an email at Hello@BraveWomenAtWork.com, I would love to hear about your experience and some recommendations on things to do. I would love to hear all the stuff.

I am collecting those passport stamps. I’m excited. I’d also like to thank, my husband John. He doesn’t read this show, but I want him to publicly have it memorized that I thank him for encouraging me to do this. I have an amazing partner, and my girls, Charlotte and Olivia, they’re excited for me too. It makes preparing for the trip a little bit easier over here.

Let’s switch gears. During the show, I spoke with my guest, April Roberts, about the idea of time freedom and having a VIxen Voice, becoming a vixen in your own life, which is a word that I don’t use very often so it intrigued me. I don’t know about you, but anything to do with time freedom, claiming my voice and all of that stuff interests me.

I am an absolute free spirit at heart, with the whole time thing with the idea that I’m going off to Europe and taking this big reset. I like to have as much autonomy as possible over my time, my work and my life. As I’m getting older, that is a theme that keeps recurring for me. During my conversation with April, we chatted about what drove her to do the work she does, predominantly with entrepreneurs, but she does share that these topics do apply to, women that work professional corporate jobs. If you’re not an entrepreneur, it’s totally fine. She also shares how we can structure our calendars to achieve time freedom. what you should be adding and removing from your calendar, how time and energy management are directly related. I love the idea of energy management and taking action with the day, your energy, the seasons and even you can do it around your monthly cycle. There’s more to come on that. I love the idea of energy management to be moving through the world and your work more effectively, what the Vixen Voice is, and how we can claim it for ourselves.

Here is more about April. April Roberts is the Founder of The Vixen Gathering, a collective of fearless, loving, and ambitious women who want to live life on their own terms. This group of women wants abundance, love, joy, and peace for themselves and their families. April understands this because she is a woman who has been there and done that. She’s had a few lives, a marriage, three careers, and a successful business for many years that she recently sold. In 2020, as with many of us, she felt called to move on to make an impact in a totally different way. At the time, she had no clue what it was, but she knew that she was being called nonetheless.

Most of us believe in something greater than ourselves, April is no exception to that. She calls that greater self God. In her words, God was calling. April spent the time from April through November of 2020, running her financial practice. She’s a former financial advisor, launching a support business to that practice and figuring out what her next was going to be. During that time, April asked a lot of people for help, which is something very new for her. She meditated and prayed daily and became a Vixen at her own time management.

She also talked to a lot of her fellow female entrepreneurs. It seemed that many women that she spoke with were drowning in this new life, this new reality. If you think back to 2020, it was difficult for women on the whole. It felt like everyday women were leaving Corporate America, or their jobs and seeking something new, a better balance, more ownership of their lives. Thus, the idea of The Vixen Gathering was born, April comes from a family of entrepreneurs, and that includes both grandfathers, her parents, both of her siblings, plus some of her aunts and uncles. We talked about an entrepreneurial family.

She had been one for more than twelve years at that point when she was making her decision. One thing April knew to be true was that the entrepreneurial roller coaster was very real, and many people would thrive on it. If we didn’t know, or if we don’t know how to ride that wave, burnout was often around the corner. We talked about those things even in, our corporate careers. These same issues do exist for women in corporate, and I’m an example of one of them. April realized that her next purpose was to help guide new female entrepreneurs throughout this journey and to create a place and space where they could raise their money mindset, increase their income, and own their worth.

One thing that she knows about us women is that we like to do it our own way. This journey would also need to lead us to feel joy, peace, and love every day on top of the abundance we would reap for ourselves and our families. April knew that we would need a community to support us, cheer us on, and challenge us. She now loves to welcome women to her Vixen community. Before we get started, if you’re enjoying the show, please make sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. If this show has made an impact on you, and I hear from women quite often that it has, I would feel grateful if you would share it with a friend, a family member, or a colleague.

Your ratings and reviews help the show continue to gain traction and grow. If you’ve already left a rating and review, I thank you so much. In March 2024, we hit over 33 or 34 countries, and it warms my heart to know that there are women across the globe who are getting this in their hands. If you haven’t yet downloaded 1 or all 3 of my freebies from my website, check them out at BraveWomenAtWork.com. The three freebies are 24 Career And Leadership Affirmations to manage that mindset, 5 Steps To Managing Imposter Syndrome and Get Paid: 10 Negotiation Tips. These are workbook-style guides you can complete them at your own time and in your own space. Let’s welcome April to the show.

 

Brave Women at Work | April Roberts | Claim Your Vixen Voice

 

April, welcome to the show. How are you?

I’m great. Thank you.

I’d love to have you on. I can’t wait to dig into your story. Why don’t you share a little bit about you, the work you do, and how you’ve gotten to where you are?

I’m a business consultant and coach mainly to female entrepreneurs. I focus on Gen X or mid-career and also leaders and corporations. In fact, I wrote seven keynote speeches that I’ll be going around doing in corporate workspaces to help women show up as their best selves. That’s the point of what I do.50. I was called to do this work. I’ll give you the short version. By the time we’re midway through our lives, we’ve had enough experiences where we get that calling or that whisper to do something different. I pray to God, other people might say the universe or the quantum field, but most of us believe there’s some higher power.

It tends to whisper to us, and call a little louder. There have definitely been times when I did not listen, and I like to call it that 2 by 4 moment where that 2 by 4 hits me in the forehead. When these whisperings started coming, it started in 2017. I’d been through enough. When it came around the 2nd and 3rd time. The second time was 2019. The third time was Apri, 2020. At the time I had a financial planning practice and we can remember April 2020. Suddenly, I had a remote team. We’d never had that before. All these clients were panicking about the economy. I remember looking up and saying, “Really, you want me to do this right now?” I felt this strong calling to give impact in a different way.

I was helping families retire. and I did make a lot of impact on my clients and my team, but I was called to do it in a different way. I honestly didn’t know what it was to begin with. That year on top of trying to juggle everything, I started reaching out and asking for help. I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of female clients and we’re not good at asking for help, especially if we’re driven growth-oriented women, but I knew I needed help in this instance, and it led me to this beautiful journey of speaking to other women feeling the same calling. Life stopped. The hamster wheel stopped for us for a while. I think we all had that moment of, “Are we really doing what we want to be doing?”

The Vixen Gathering

Some of us made changes and some of us didn’t some people are still considering change. One thing is both my grandfathers were entrepreneurs. My one grandfather had a sixth-grade education. I taught him how to read in the army. He died a multimillionaire as a paint contractor. My parents are entrepreneurs. My whole life experienced that journey, which is riddled with change. I’m good at change and I thought, “If I could be a guide to help women maneuver this change and do something different, that would be pretty cool.” That’s how The Vixen Gathering was born, and that’s what we do.

That’s a great story. I don’t know if you are willing to share, but you said you had several 2 by 4s hit you. What was one of that? Maybe you want to share, because it sounds like it happened multiple times, which, I don’t want that for you. I’m sad that that happened, but in a way, it makes you very relatable because often we may have a dream or something or a goal and we get comfortable in a cushy space. You were a successful financial advisor. I’m sure when the call came, you were like, “Please stop. I’m envisioning retiring from this cushy space.” There are many of us that have that situation where we ignore the call. What was one example of a 2 by 4 that hit you?

I’ll answer that because I know a lot of other people experience this. The hardest thing for me to do in leaving the financial field was that I had promised to take care of my clients. A lot of us, women, have made promises to other people that we don’t want to break. Be it your coworkers, your peers, your leader, your clients, but for me, God was calling. I say it’s God, my soul, my family, and everyone else. That’s the order I put things in. People believe in different things. That was the most challenging part. I went through the sale processing, “Who’s going to take care of my team? Who’s going to take care of my clients?”

It drove how I made the transition because I knew it wasn’t an option for me. I know a lot of women struggle with that because we like to keep our promises. Thank you for that question. My biggest 2-by-4 moment, and I talk about this on one of my first podcasts. I’m pretty open about it, was, I married the love of my life when I was 27. I was a lawyer in Atlanta working for the largest law firm, had the life, driving around in my convertible Mercedes, living in the best part of town. My firm was very politically connected. We had lots of great social events. For me at that time in my life, that was it.

At that point in my life, I was living what I thought was an amazing life. Now I cringe thinking about it, but I was living my life. Long story short, I fell in love with an Italian man whom I had met in Chicago and he had moved to the US and moved in with me, we were deeply in love, we got married, and ended up moving to Italy. Long story short, I could not practice law in Italy. Here I’d been this driven person going from step to step. I found myself over there lost and floundering, then five months into our marriage, I found out that my husband was using cocaine. This was something very out of the norm for me he admitted to me before meeting me, he had done it every day for three years. He thought being with me would change that.

If you’ve ever dealt with an addict, they can’t change for someone else. They have to choose to change for themselves. Long story short, I went through five years of him cleaning up, relapsing us, and moving back from the US to Europe. I remember at the end we were in Milan, and I remember one day I was standing on a corner and I stepped off and like this bus went by and it almost like hit me. I thought for a second, “That wouldn’t have been that bad.”

I was like, “Where’d that come from?” because I’m a very positive and joyful person. That shocked me into reality about how bad things had gotten because, in my world, your marriage doesn’t fail. My parents have now been married for 50-something years. I thought that was the most important thing you did. I kept sacrificing myself until it got to the point that there was nothing left. I ended up coming home for three weeks and staying with my parents. When it was time to go back to Italy, I physically, mentally, and emotionally collapsed. I couldn’t get on the plane because I’d given everything.

I was about 32 then. A lot of times when I’m working with women, we have the five pillars of Vixen, which are five steps to help you solidify your foundation. Even though usually I’m doing this with female entrepreneurs, I think, “At like 27, if I had these 5 pillars when I was dealing with all of this, I don’t think I would’ve ended up as broken as I did.” I don’t want other women to get there. If we take care of ourselves, we take steps, we learn new skill sets, we can avoid it and live our best life, which sometimes is challenging, but hopefully doesn’t break us.

Money And Freedom

Thank you so much for sharing that story I mean for enduring what you endured because it showed resilience and it gave you many skills that you’re using with your client. You’ve talked about female entrepreneurs, but one thing I found unique as I was learning more about the work you do is that you talk a lot about time and money freedom. That’s what you coach around. I love that niche because I’m always looking for the angle on time or money freedom, I think many women working women are. 1) Do those concepts apply to all working women in corporate? That’s the first question. How did you land on that niche, like time and money freedom?

It applies to women in corporate. For me and my life, if we go back I was the romantic 27-year-old who thought it was great to marry an Italian and leave the country and my legal work behind. I very much have a romantic artist’s heart. I found myself as a lawyer and then a financial advisor very male-dominated, analytical masculine careers. I share that to say I was not someone who liked the idea of a regimented schedule then.

In 2008, when I became a financial advisor, in order to serve my clients well, which I was very driven to do, I had to manage my time because I’m appointment-based. I have to get the work done. There’s a lot that goes into financial planning. You have to do the work to meet with the client. You have to do the post-work, plus I owned the company so I had to run the team. I had to make sure marketing was going. There were a lot of hats. When you’re serving clients and you have a team, you want to wear those hats well.

I had a business consultant who came in. She was a woman that a strategic partner hired for me. She was like, “Let’s shuffle your calendar.” I was like, “What do you want to do?” She said, “Let’s have you have a meeting with each of your teams, like Monday. You’re going to hate this day.” It’s how I’m built. I’m a quick start., I don’t like to get into details, which is crazy, from my career that I had.

That doesn’t compute.

I’m weird because I can be detail-oriented, but if you ask me too many questions, you’ll drive me crazy. She was like, “Let’s meet with all your teams on Monday, then if there’s anything left, you can use Monday afternoon to make sure you’re prepped for the week. You’ll meet with clients and prospective clients all day, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, then if you have to Friday morning, and then again, you’ll look ahead to the next week and prepare, or work with your team, whatever you need.”

My team knew April was not available on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. If they needed me, they had to be organized for Monday or Friday. What that did was free me up to be fully present with my clients when I met with them. I didn’t walk out the door and have to worry about a team member grabbing me and needing something else. if you think about your day, and I’m sure anyone reading, how many times of the day are you distracted or someone interrupts what you’re doing?

Constantly, whether it’s my kids or incorporate, I’m addicted to multitasking, which isn’t healthy either. I think many women are.

Multitasking Vs Time Management

We have been socialized to believe that we’re winning. We’re superwoman when we can do all these different things, but what it’s doing is slowly killing us inside because as women, we want to do things well. You hear about mom guilt, then you feel like you’re failing at your job. You feel like you can’t be there for your significant other. What happens is when you’re multitasking like that, all this guilt creeps in. It sucks your energy and your confidence.

I know one thing you were interested in is how time management helps energy and confidence. That’s one way. Long story short, when I organized my week like that, my life got so much better. I would leave the office at 3:00 often on Mondays, go take a walk, and then work from home. What that did was reset and refresh me for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday when I was “on” in front of the clients. On Friday, it was always a loose schedule, which I needed because as I shared with the schedule, what I found was this amazing freedom in being scheduled because I knew exactly what I was supposed to be doing every time. I wasn’t renting space in my head for other things during that time.

I love the phrase, “Renting space for other things.” That’s a meme right there. I share that every now and again. I’m like, “That’s a meme. That’s a quote.” That might be something that I quote you on. I didn’t think of it that way. Like many women, I’m like, “I can balance it all,” but it’s a proven fact that multitasking isn’t healthy, nor does it make us more efficient. Off-topic for a second, but because of the work you do, have you had to learn how to say no a lot so that you can have that like time and money freedom?

Yes, the hardest person to learn to say no to was my mother.

How so? Is it because you wanted to be there for her all the time? Why was she the most difficult person to say no to?

I don’t know. I feel like a lot of people have these issues with one of their parents., I’m not sure, I can share this. My parents have always been there for me truly unconditionally through everything in my life. and maybe it’s a return favor, I don’t know. I remember when I first started giving dinner seminars as a financial advisor, I was like, “I’m going to practice this in front of my mom because if I’m not nervous in front of my mom, I could speak in front of thousands of people.” She’s that one person.

It’s like that person who knows you well and can see through everything, which is valuable, but also uncomfortable, can be. I did that, and to be honest, I had a spiritual energetic coach starting in 2019, and he helped me do a lot of work setting boundaries. Now I coach on that. I share the method I use because it is a skillset to set what I call a graceful boundary, meaning one that you don’t feel bad about, and that’s a win-win for everyone.

That’s encouraging because I thought for the longest time that because I struggled saying no, that I was “bad” at boundaries. What you’re saying is that you can learn how to set graceful boundaries. It’s a skill you can master or at least get your arms around.

You can learn how to set graceful boundaries. That's a skill you can master. Click To Tweet

Time management is a skill. I don’t know why suddenly we’ve been socialized or conditioned to believe that we’re automatically good at all these things. We’re not. Think about it when you’re into elementary school, middle school, and high school, did they ever teach us time management or boundary setting?

No. Maybe that should be something. Now I’m like, “That should be in the life skills bucket.”

Same with money management. I think they’re trying to do some money management now with high school students in college, but I can tell you one of the most valuable classes I took in law school was Federal Taxation, where we had to do a fake tax return I was like, “This is how this works. Cool. Now I understand this.”

I’ve never done it. I’ve always either gone through the TurboTax or worked with someone. You’re giving me some good skills, that I probably should go double back and learn. I wanted to ask you though, if someone’s saying, “My calendar is unruly, my time stuff, I haven’t gotten that memo yet.” What would you say women reading should put in their calendar and what should they potentially be removing out of their calendar so they can feel that sense of freedom?

For some reason, we all tend to be extremists. We want everything perfect tomorrow and that’s probably not going to happen. It’s like the last few years I’ve been struggling to gain some weight I put on and I’m like, “I’m going to start walking every day for an hour and a half.” A friend of mine’s a fitness coach goes, “You’re not. How about you walk 30 minutes a day?” The moment we had that conversation, I walked 30 minutes every single day. There’s the saying, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is, “One bite at a time.”

When it comes to time management, you’re probably not going to get it perfect out of the gate. My rule is everything goes on the calendar. I know you wanted to talk about what to put on and what to take off, but I think your goals go on the calendar, your priorities go on the calendar, it should reflect your core values all of my clients, I have them create a color for pure joy, minus pink, you saw the painting behind me when we started and I love fuchsia pink. That’s my color for pure joy. Here’s an example. In the beginning, clients are like, “By the time I take care of kids, run my business deal with my team, do this for my husband,” there’s nothing left for me. They’re thinking of running out and doing the basics for themselves. I’m like, “When’s the last time you experienced pure joy?” 8 out of 10 women I ask cannot give me an answer, which to me is a crisis.

A crisis is probably even better.

One of the first things I have my clients do, I’m like, “Pick your color for joy and I want you to put one instance of pure joy for yourself, not for your kids, not for your boss, not for your husband, but whatever brings you pure joy. It could be sleeping, reading a book, going for a walk, or going to a movie. We’re all different, whatever fills your cup and makes you giggle like a child.” At first, they’re like, “Oh.” I’m like, “Once a week.” They start there.

I have a client who’s been with me for a year and her father’s dying, and she’s taking care of the estate, she’s starting a business her husband travels a lot. She has a kid still in elementary school. She’s juggling a lo and grieving at the same time. She said, “I find time for pure joy every day.” That’s literally how she’s keeping her sanity and dealing with her grief now. You can take something that you do small and then multiply it.

I was thinking about that. In my Outlook Calendar, everything is factory out of the box. It’s like that outlook blue and everything’s like, “Blah.” I like that you said, “Categorize it.” Use what Outlook or whatever your Gmail or whatever, use the tools they’ve given you to color code it, and you’re like, “When you look at your calendar on like a weekly basis or a monthly basis, if you don’t see that particular color, which is in your case it’s fuchsia, you’re like, ‘I haven’t scheduled enough joy in my world.’” That’s probably how you use it.

I like to call it color blocking, which is color coding your calendar and then trying to time block the best you can, like my idea of how I only saw clients and prospective clients on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I was the rainmaker of the firm so that was the most important activity I did. The fact that I could dedicate three full days to that activity, we would double our business every single year. It was all about giving those blocks of time to that emphasis, which is true in any form of productivity. If you have a project at work, how is it allocated on your calendar? Do you do it for 30 minutes and then you check email for 15 and then you do it for 30 minutes? Research shows it takes us 15 minutes to get refocused.

I’m hearing color blocking. I come from a teaching family so I have to break it down for myself. Color blocking. Pick a color that you love and that brings you joy so that you can remind yourself to put joy on your calendar. Then do you color code other things too? Work has got a color and everything has got its own color on the calendar.

Everything does. I recommend starting small. Start with 3 to 5 colors.

It could be like a rainbow.

My ex had twelve colors on his calendar like I had my own color. Let’s say one of your goals is you want to spend more time with your husband or significant other, then that should have a color on your calendar because you can look like you said about joy and say, “We don’t have anything planned this month. I need to make that happen.” In my company Vixen, teal green is our main color. I have four shades of green on my calendar. One is for time with clients. One is for events like this where I’m chatting with you or I’m speaking, or I’m giving a webinar. Another color is for when I meet with my team. The fourth one is when I have it blocked to get work done.

If you think about it chatting with you on the podcast takes a lot of different energy than coaching a client. It takes different energy than having a team meeting and it has different energy than if I was focused and knocking out some work. The more you can cluster activities together, the more you preserve your energy because you’re staying in that same energy modality.

I have to double back and ask you about removing it. You’ve told us you put everything in. You’ve got color coding. You gave us some good 3 to 5 colors and don’t make it too intense for yourself. You’ve talked about batching activities for energy management. What about the removal piece? Did you remove certain things wholesale or did you step gracefully out of them? Tell me about that piece.

Every quarter, and we do this at our Vixa Mastermind, I have a mastermind group, and we meet in person quarterly and virtually in between. At our retreat, we’re always setting our goals for that quarter, and we’re also making a list of what we’re going to ditch, delegate, or write a check for. Let’s say, one of your goals was to write a book. You’re like, “Where am I going to make time for writing a book?” You have to give up something for this quarter so that you can focus on your book. For example, when we launched the Vixen Voice back in August, I knew it’d be crazy. I’m like, “I’m not even worried about cooking. I’m going to find some meal prep place and I’m going to make sure I have meals for the month.”

If I didn’t consciously say, “I’m not cooking this month,” if I don’t cook and I’m doing something different the whole time, I have this guilt for not cooking. I consciously said, “Right now, I’m giving up cooking. I’m not even going to try. I’m going to find another solution.” By the way, here we are eight months later and I’m still doing that for a period of time. I said, “I’m going to eat once a day.” I’d eat 1,500 calories in one sitting and be done. I loved it because we spent so much time thinking about what, when, and how we were going to eat. It’s crazy and I did that as an experiment.

I’ll play with my time to see how I can buy time. I like that, but I don’t think it’s very sustainable for my health. I went back to three meals. For that period of time, it worked for me. A lot of times, you talked about saying no. It’s important to understand what your goals are, what your personal core values are, your family core values, and your work core values. The things that support all of these things and what’s most important to you should go on your calendar first, and then you fit the other things in. If you don’t have time, you don’t have time.

I was supposed to move last Thursday and the moving company canceled on me last minute. I didn’t move until Saturday. We got done at midnight, already on Friday, I texted my friend whose wedding was on Sunday. I was like, “I am sorry. I am going to have to skip the wedding. My move went sideways. I’m going to be in the middle of chaos. Can I please take you all out to dinner when life settles down for you all?” It was a very casual wedding.

She was like, “Yes, we’d love that. We totally get it.” How many people would’ve felt guilty and gone to that wedding completely exhausted in the middle of chaos? You don’t have fun. You don’t show up as your best self like, ‘“I’m not adding anything to the wedding by being there half of myself.” That’s what I mean by setting graceful boundaries like, “I can’t come, but I’d love to do this to make up.” Create a win-win situation the best you can and be authentic and real.

Letting Go Of The Guilt

I have to ask about that particular scenario because I would’ve struggled with that one. We’re going to be honest. I would’ve been the person who would’ve come almost as a semi-empty shell and running to open a box to figure out what I’m wearing and pressed it like half done because I don’t know where my iron is, I’m borrowing it from a neighbor or whatever. Even after I gave you them like, “I’ll take you out to dinner,” because I’m a recovering perfectionist, and a people pleaser, and many women reading this are, I still would’ve eaten myself up about that. I still would’ve been beating myself up even though they would’ve said, “It’s totally fine.” How have you trained yourself or has it been a process to let go of that guilt? I don’t know if I would’ve let go right away after you said what you said to the couple.

Guilt is a wasted emotion.

You would’ve coached yourself through and been like, “Guilt is a waste of time. They’ve already said to me that everything is fine and now I need to pour some self-compassion on myself and let this go.”

Here’s the deal. When you get your time, energy, and confidence management under control, you make better decisions. I coach this when I’m talking about boundaries, but never have a difficult conversation or make a difficult conversation. HALT is the acronym and it stands for when you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. How many women are running around half tired making decisions and saying yes or no? The easier thing is to say yes. When you’re tired, you’re going to be like, “I have to go to this thing.” When you’re not tired, you can think, “What’s the worst-case scenario here? Let’s think about what’s going on and how much I have come up with. What’s the worst-case scenario? My friend is getting married. There are going to be 200 people there. Do you think she’s going to miss the fact that I’m not there? No.”

You make better decisions when you get your time, energy, and confidence management under control. Click To Tweet

I moved to Nashville from Houston. I’m very close to my nephews and niece. Two of them have birthdays in April. She was like, “Are you coming for the kids’ birthday?” I was like, “I’m not, but I’m coming mid-month for dad’s birthday and I’m going to take each of them to do something to celebrate their birthday.” That’s not sustainable that I’m hopping from Nashville down to Houston every time one of her kids has a birthday. The kids don’t even know I’m there when all their kids are there. if I show up at a different time and they get to go do something fun and special with Aunt April, I’ve created a memory. They won’t remember that I was on their ninth birthday. They’re thinking about their friends and water guns and whatever else they’re doing.

Those are good examples because they are real. Families can guilt other families and to being there for the holiday or for the kid’s birthday or whatever, and maybe it’s not right for you to learn to have that graceful no is important that you can translate those graceful nos like starting personally you can translate them professionally and in all areas of your life, right?

Once you start taking care of yourself, managing your time, energy, and confidence, you can be, I don’t want to say thoughtful because it should go past thoughtful because we women have this amazing power called our intuition. The problem is when you get stuck in a negative emotion, which by the way guilt is, you are shutting down your intuition. That’s our superpower. The challenge most of humanity is addicted to those negative emotions. You even said, “I’m addicted to my multitasking.”

Once you start taking care of yourself and managing your time, energy, and confidence, you can be a lot. Click To Tweet

It’s the dopamine that is spouting out, and it is an addiction. You have to stop saying, “I’m not going to participate.” You can’t do it in cold Turkey, but you can start with one thing like, “I’m going to have pure joy once a week.” You said a lot of women are like, “My calendar is out of control.” Every time I start with a new client, our first meeting, I’m like, “Open up your calendar.” 1) Most people don’t keep a calendar. 2) It is not organized. 3) There’s usually an easy quick fix that they can’t see the forest for the trees. This is why we hire coaches and consultants or someone else. I had one client. She has a startup company.

She’s trying to get funding, which is hard as a female founder. It’s in the FinTech industry, plus she’s wooing banks, like all this crazy. She was like, “I don’t have enough time in the day.” I was like, “Let’s look at your calendar. You don’t have anything on your calendar before 8:00.” She’s like, “I don’t wake up until 7:30.” I’m like, “Why?” She goes, “Blah, blah, blah, because I work until 11:00.” I go, “Cool, could you get up at 7:00? You still get eight hours of sleep.” “I could do that.” 30 minutes a day times 5 days a week is 2. 5 hours a week, times 4 is 10 hours. She bought back a whole work day or rest day or fun day in her month by waking up 30 minutes earlier.

Have someone look at your calendar to see where the leaks are or where you might be able to tighten it up a little bit so that you can get some more time back. That was only a 30-minute example.

Usually, on average, you can find five or more hours a week in someone’s calendar. That’s why you have to know yourself. It starts with what’s important to you, what do you want to get accomplished and what are your goals? We make sure that that gets the priority on your calendar.

Laura Vanderkam is a time management author and expert. I don’t know April if you’ve heard of her, but she’s written a book called 168 Hours and a book I love, which is called Tranquility By Tuesday. She writes for women predominantly, and she says, “Doing an audit of your time,” which is what you’re talking about is understanding where your hours go, where your week goes, and looking where those leaks are so that you can get some of that time back.

Brave Women at Work | April Roberts | Claim Your Vixen Voice
Tranquility by Tuesday: 9 Ways to Calm the Chaos and Make Time for What Matters

It’s like when I first moved to Houston, I was commuting to my office. I had a startup business and money was my concern. I was like, “I need to know where my money’s going.” I would print out my bank statements and I had four highlighters. One was a must like paying rent and utilities. One was discretionary. One was business-related. I think the fourth color was fun. I understood where all my money was going. I was like, “I’m spending $100 something a month at Starbucks. I drink black coffee. Why don’t I make a vat of coffee to take in the car with me? I was stopping here to do this.”

There’s a reason they put those aisles right before the checkout counter with all the junk that you suddenly feel like you need because this is our human nature. We’re like, “I need this.” When you get control of where your money or your time is going, you can make conscious decisions. Maybe you’re like, “I love the chai latte at Starbucks, so what if it costs me $9 a coffee?” At least know that you’re making that decision instead of jumping through there because you’re in a bad mood one morning.

I have to say as an aside, when Starbucks is around my area, I don’t know about where you’ve moved, you said Nashville, and it’s $7. I’m like, “I can’t.” It hits like a pain point and I’m like, “I can’t do it.” It’s like for special occasions now only.

I don’t go there. I normally have black coffee and I’m dairy-free. I got excited when they got coconut milk because I was like, “I could get a pumpkin latte.” My niece wanted to go there at Thanksgiving and we drove through and got three coffees. This is in Biloxi, Mississippi, not an expensive area. I’m like, “How did I spend $20 something for three coffees?” I hear you. I was shocked.

That’s on my side. Yours on the financial advisor side and my banking side, I’m like, “I can’t.” It has hit the pain point. I want to hit a little bit harder on the whole relationship with time management energy and getting our confidence back. How are all of those related? I want women to hear that clearly.

We’ve woven it throughout this color-blocking idea. For example, I love being on shows like this with you and I love doing my podcast. When I’m recording my own, I record 4 to 5 episodes in a day and they’re about 30 minutes or 1 hour. I block that day and that’s all I have to worry about. I make sure I don’t have to worry about anything else. I can do five episodes because my energy isn’t being pulled anywhere else.e I literally do a podcast, go grab something to eat, go to the restroom, change my shirt, get back for the next one and read my notes.

That’s all I’m doing all day long, and I have zero distractions, otherwise, there’s no way I could knock out five podcasts in a day. You know, you do podcasts. It takes a lot of emotional energy. Because I block it like that, I can totally knock them out because I do two episodes a week. In two days a month, I get all my episodes done instead of spreading it out. I have peace of mind because I don’t have to worry, “Are we going to get behind? Am I not going to have enough episodes?”

Once we start worrying and feeling guilty and all those negative emotions, it sucks so much time and energy. It sucks your confidence because you don’t feel great about what you’re doing. when you talk about confidence, I had one client who got on with me for coaching and she wanted some financial coaching. She was paying me good money and trying to fix her cash flow. This was an important time for her because she was spending money to save money and she got on. I could tell she wasn’t paying attention. I was like, “What’s going on?”

She was like, “I’m sorry, I just need a moment. I had a phone call with my daughter’s teacher. I heard some bad news then I got on the phone with my CPA and she told me I owed taxes, then I got on the phone with my doctor and I have to go get this test.”I was like, “Why in the world would you do all that before you started your day?” You’re starting your day in a bad mood and you’re starting your day feeling bad about yourself, which affects your confidence. She wasn’t fully present for our time together which she was paying good money for. Had she reversed that, had the session with me, or maybe put the bad news at lunch or the end of the day or not all stacked in a row, her day would’ve been completely different. Luckily, she got on with me so we were able to flip that energy, but otherwise, think how bad her day would’ve been.

A question for you quickly because I do want to spend some time on The Vixen Gathering and the work that you do with women. One question, I love the idea of batching. I tell women about doing that with everything like, “If you can batch this batch, batch whatever you can,” which is simply like you said, “Get all the podcasts done,” then you ate the elephant coming back to our full circle moment and you don’t have to worry about it because otherwise these little tasks weigh on you and then they start stacking. You’re like, “I have another podcast to do,” Which is can be stressful if you’re behind. What about women that are in corporate because you run your own business, that’s the beauty of batching it all in one day. What about a woman that’s saying like, “I’m at the mercy of my boss’s time. Maybe I can’t batch.” Is there any advice that you would give to a working woman in corporate?

Framing Your Request To Win The Mission

This might be a little controversial, but I save a lot of marriages with my clients because I’m like, “Make your husband the freaking hero. He wants to be the hero, and then he is going to do whatever the heck you want.” Instead of nagging, “Honey, you’re good at this, I’d love your help,” it’s amazing what you can get done. Same thing with your boss. Set your boss up to be the hero. This is why being strategic about your time, energy, and confidence, you’re setting yourself up for success to be the best way.

Brave Women at Work | April Roberts | Claim Your Vixen Voice
Claim Your Vixen Voice: You’re setting yourself up for success if you’re strategic about your time, energy, and confidence.

 

I’ll make up a scenario. I had a boss who would get in first thing in the morning when I was a lawyer because he had a newborn baby. He’d get up with a baby. He’d get there by 6:00. In the legal world, you stroll into the office at 9:00 or 10:00 a lot because you’re there until midnight. It’s not an early morning. At least my firm wasn’t. When I got there at 9:00 to 9:30, he’d already left me 7 freaking voicemails. I was like, “I’m behind.”

I had to adjust to get there like an hour or earlier and then try to wrap up later. I had a conversation with him and I realized he was doing that because he wanted to get home early and be with his baby, which I totally respected. How many times do you treat your boss as a human being? Maybe they have something going on. I said, “I’m going to shift and get here an hour earlier. That way you can leave earlier and then hopefully I can leave earlier and then we can work it out.”

Think how can you set your boss up as the hero, like, “I know you’re calling me a lot this time of day. What’s going on is that sometimes we’re behind. How can I help?” Come about it from that perspective and hear them and then be thoughtful about it and come up with a solution like, “I want to get this project done on time as well. Could we schedule fifteen-minute check-ins twice a day at this time and this time? I want to make sure that all your concerns are addressed. Sometimes I feel like I might drop the ball because you’re giving them to me throughout the day.” How can you turn the tables on the situation?

That’s a good one. One other one that came to me is that if you want to batch something, you could always say, “This would be helpful for the business. If I batched this work and I like working in a conference room and spent 4 or 5 hours on this, I would be more productive, which is great for the organization because of reason. I could probably get more done. Do you have any issues with me buzzing out of here or being in a conference room and stealing away some time so I can focus?” What boss is going to say no to that because it benefits this person and benefits the business. In corporate girls, there are a couple of examples and some ideas for you because you may not feel like you have that full agency, but maybe you do. Maybe there are some things in there that you can take and use in your work.

I hate to say this because I know sometimes you can have a bad boss. I mean there are narcissists that you end up working for, but let’s say 75% of humanity, if you have a common mission and you’re driving toward that mission and you frame your request to win the mission, they’re probably going to say yes.

That’s probably true. That’s a good idea right there. I cannot think like that. It’s always me against the boss, he or she is not going to allow it. It’s not true if you come around your angle. Thank you for making that clearer.

They’re human beings too. I’ll never forget this. An example, one day in my financial firm, I sat at our receptionist’s desk and her title was Director Of First Impressions. I sat down to do something, I went, “This chair is terrible.” She was like, “I know.” I go, “How do you sit in this chair every day?” She goes, “I mean it’s the chair that’s up here.” I’m like, “Why didn’t you tell me your chair was bad?” This is someone that I want happy and fulfilled. She’s the first face our clients see and hear on the phone.

She was like, “I didn’t know.” I was like, “Let’s get you a new chair.” It sounds ridiculous, but often your boss doesn’t know your pain points. Being able to gracefully share that, unless you’re working with the 25% of humanity, that’s a narcissist in which case I would try to get reassigned or get another job. They’re probably going to be reasonable rational people who want you to win, but they also want to be seen as human beings as well.

The Vixen Gathering

Let’s talk about The Vixen Gathering. why don’t you share what that is and how does it help the women you work with?

It was formed to help female entrepreneurs, but we have three programs. The first one is a twelve-week intensive. It’s getting these good habits in to manage. It’s great for anyone who wants to be a high performer. I gear it towards aspiring and startup entrepreneurs. That’s the course because I’m going to start speaking at companies if a company wants me to come in and coach, we’ll be doing that twelve-week high performance because it’s great, especially to learn in a group environment because you learn from each other’s ideas.

We have the Vixen Mastermind, which is for female entrepreneurs already doing at least six figures. That’s where we have a retreat once a quarter. We have virtual meetings and we do our goal setting and it’s very focused on time management and sales. The first program is also very focused on an abundance mentality and mindset like, “How do I invite abundance in?” I also have a program for female entrepreneurs doing 7 or 8 figures, which is called the jet setter because we go to our retreat on a private jet and that’s where we mastermind.

It’s creating these unique experiences. It’s the community, even The Vixen Voice, my podcast, the whole point is to let women know you’re not alone. Many of us are going through the same thing. If you’re in corporate, if you have your business, if you stay home and run the house, we have a lot of the same issues. You’re not alone and number two, to inspire you to live your best life. Take these ideas from other people and other women and how can you make your life better? We as women are the foundation of most things. When you become a stronger woman and better at what you do and happier and more fulfilled, your family, workplace, and friends become better, as everyone around you. I call it the ripple effect. My goal is to impact a million women’s lives. That’s my team and my goal through the ripple.

Everything around you becomes better when you become a stronger woman. Click To Tweet

It’s a big goal, a million women’s lives. That’s a big vision, which is great to hear. What do you believe are 1 or 2 ways women can be braver at work?

We touched on these, it’s funny, but one is to figure out how to gracefully speak your truth. If you’re getting distracted and you don’t feel you’re doing your best job, be strategic about it. How can this come out win-win situation, but don’t sit there and silently suffer because that serves no one? The second way is, “Don’t hide your feminine energy.” I think in a lot of Corporate America, it’s very analytical, very masculine, and energy-driven. The world and growth thrive off feminine energy, which is communication, connection and creativity. Start embracing your feminine energy in 1 or 2 small ways that won’t upset the apple cart. Watch and see what happens because I think you’ll be surprised at how people react.

Just because you and I come from male-dominated industries originally, there are many examples where I try to contort myself to completely embody masculine energy so that whole embracing your feminine energy whole piece would’ve been helpful many years ago.

The world needs more feminine energy. Not only do we make ourselves better, but we literally make the world better when we start doing that.

The world needs more feminine energy to make ourselves and the world better. Click To Tweet

How can women find you on the podcast? Share all the things on how they can connect with you and your work.

VixenGathering.com is our website. I have a Facebook group, which any woman can join. If you’re in corporate entrepreneur, whatever, and it’s called Abundant Business Women. We have fun conversations. I go live every Friday. We have conversations like this every Friday within the group. That’s a great way to stay in touch and then listen to my podcast, The Vixen Voice, which I know you’re going to be on soon.

I’m excited. Thank you so much for the work you do and for being brave to transition away from your financial practice into this whole new career. It fits you well. Thank you for sharing all the wisdom you did in this episode.

Thank you so much for having me. It was wonderful.

That’s a wrap-up of my discussion with April. I hope you found our conversation both valuable and inspiring. As a reminder, please rate, review, and subscribe to Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The show is also available on any other podcast platform you enjoy. Until next time, show up, fast-track your time freedom, and be brave.

 

Important Links

 

About April Roberts

Brave Women at Work | April Roberts | Claim Your Vixen VoiceApril Roberts is the founder of The Vixen Gathering, a collective of fearless, loving, and ambitious women who want to live life on their own terms. This group of women wants abundance, love, joy and peace for themselves and their families.

April understands this because she is a woman who has been there, done that. She’s had a few lives — a marriage, 3 careers and a successful business for 15 years that she recently sold. In 2020, as with many of us, she felt called to move on. To make an impact in a different way. At the time, she had no clue what it was, but she knew that she was being called. Most of us believe in something greater than ourselves — she calls that greater self, God. And, God was calling.

So, April spent the time from April – November of 2020 running her financial practice as a financial advisor, launching a support business to that practice, and figuring out what her “next” was going to be. During this time April asked a lot of people for help (something new for her), meditated and prayed daily, and became a Vixen at time management.

She also talked to a lot of her fellow female entrepreneurs. And, it seemed that many of the women she spoke with were drowning in this new life. It also felt like every day, women were leaving corporate America or their jobs and seeking something new — a better balance, more ownership of their lives.

Thus, the idea of the Vixen Gathering was born. April comes from a family of entrepreneurs (both grandfathers, my parents and both my siblings, plus some aunts and uncles), and she had been one for 12 years at that point. One thing April knew to be true was that the “entrepreneur roller coaster” was real. Many people thrive on it, but if business owners didn’t know how to ride that wave, burn out was often around the corner. And PS, many of these same concepts impact women working 9-to-5 jobs in corporate too.

April realized that her next purpose was to help guide the new female entrepreneurs through this journey — to create a space where they could raise their money mindset, increase their income, and own their worth. One thing she knows about women is that we like to do it our way — so this journey would also need to lead us to feel joy, peace and love every day on top of the abundance we would reap for ourselves and our families. And, April also knew that we would probably want a community to support us, cheer us on and challenge us. So, she now loves to welcome women to her Vixen community!

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