Finding Freedom In Your Personal And Professional Life

Brave Women at Work | Finding Freedom

 

For my U.S. listeners, Happy 4th of July! As we celebrate the holiday, it has me thinking about personal and professional freedom. And even better yet, it motivated me to do a solo show. It’s been a while! Hopefully, you will hear more solo shows from me going forward.

Today’s show will focus on my top tips for freedom in five areas of your life:

  1. Money Freedom
  2. Time Freedom
  3. Mindset Freedom
  4. Body Freedom
  5. Work Freedom

Before we get started, if you are enjoying Brave Women at Work, please make sure to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

If the show has made an impact on you, please share it with a friend or colleague. And your ratings and reviews help the show continue to gain traction and grow. Thank you again!

Also, if you haven’t yet downloaded my freebies from my website, check them out at www.bravewomenatwork.com. I have created three for you:

  1. 24 career and leadership affirmations,
  2. 5 Ways to Manage Your Imposter Syndrome, and
  3. Most popular, Getting Paid: 10 Negotiation Tips.

They are workbook-style guides, so you can complete them on your own time.

Again, go to bravewomenatwork.com to learn more.

And a little disclaimer. I am not a financial advisor, doctor, etc. We are going to cover some basic monetary and health principles in today’s show. If these topics pique your interest, speak with your medical professional or financial advisor.

Okay, let’s jump in!

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Finding Freedom In Your Personal And Professional Life

How are you doing out there? For my US readers, I will bid you a happy 4th of July. As we celebrate this wonderful holiday, it has me thinking about personal and professional freedoms. Even better yet, it motivated me to do, yes, a solo show. I always say this, but yes, it’s been a while. I have to say I get so many interviews that I want to do that. I forget to do solo shows. My item that I’m working on, I guess, is that I am going to start trying to weave in solo episodes more into the schedule more regularly. Here is my one for July.

Of course, I want to make sure that you read more solo episodes from me and read my perspectives as well as those of my guests. This is going to focus on my top tips for freedom in five areas of your life. The first one is money freedom. The second one is in time freedom. Third is mindset freedom. Fourth is body freedom. Fifth is work freedom. I didn’t put them in any particular order. I went as it was flying out of my head. I wanted to make sure that you knew what the categories were before we jumped in.

Before we get started, if you’re enjoying the show, please make sure to leave a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or both. Quite frankly, that would be lovely. Of course, if the show has made an impact on you, please share it with a friend, family member, or colleague. Of course, those ratings and reviews help the show get into the hands of more working women worldwide. If you can do me that favor and take five minutes to leave a rating and review, I would so appreciate it. Of course, if you’ve already done that for me, I say thank you.

It means the world and it keeps me keeping on with the show and thinking of topics and getting good guests for you and all of the wonderful things involved in podcasting. Also, if you haven’t yet downloaded one or all of the freebies from my website, check them out at BraveWomenAtWork.com. I have created three for you. The first one is 24 Career and Leadership Affirmations. The second one is 5 Ways to Manage Your Imposter Syndrome and Get Paid: 10 Negotiation Tips.

I think that during our careers, we can use all of these, whether it’s a mindset with affirmations or managing our imposter syndrome, which pops up throughout our lives and careers. Of course, as we’re recording this, this is around mid-year review time or even end-of-year review. You can use this at any point to make sure that you get paid. These freebies are workbook-style guides. It gives you a place to write notes, to put questions to yourself, to make sure they’re action-oriented.

The best thing is they are free. Go to my website, BraveWomenAtWork.com, to learn more. One little disclaimer on this show, because I’m going to be going through a lot of my own personal tips in various areas, I want to say I’m not a financial advisor. I’m not a doctor. I’m not any type of guru or anything like that. We are going to cover some basic monetary and health principles in this episode. If these topics pique your interest, make sure you speak with your medical professional and or your financial advisor. Let’s jump in.

Money Freedom

Let’s start with money freedom. When people think of freedom, they think of those who may be on the monetary side, they’re independently wealthy, they don’t have to work. No, of course. Those folks have true money freedom, and you can feel that freedom if you don’t have to work, and this is my opinion, you can feel that freedom, even if you’re working a full-time job or you have a part-time job or a side hustle or business that you run, whatever your personal career situation. You might be wondering, “How do we get money freedom, Jen?” Here are some tips for you to consider.

The first one is you can pay yourself first. What does that mean? Every time you get paid in an hourly or salary job, I would say make sure you save a small amount first in a high-interest savings account or some savings vehicle that has an interest rate attached. By putting away savings first, if possible, so then you’re going to start racking up a nice nest egg without giving it much thought. Let’s say it’s a few percent of your paycheck every time. It’s going to start to positively snowball. This principle can also be used if you own a business. It is the same thing.

It starts snowballing positively. Before you know it, you might have a couple thousand in there and that will help you build on what they call emergency savings, which is typically, I’ve heard, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months. It’s your sleep-at-night factor and what you’re comfortable with, but the way to do that is to pay yourself first. This particular one, this tip, you can Google pay yourself first. It’s not a phrase that I’ve coined. I don’t know exactly who coined it, but you can look that up and find out all about this concept online.

As a bonus, every time you get a raise or some increase of any sort, try to add 1% to your pay yourself for savings. Let’s say that you get a 3% cost of living increase. Maybe you try because that’s new money that you didn’t anticipate, or you probably wouldn’t have anticipated it. You didn’t know what your raise was going to be. Maybe you take 1% of that 3% before you start realizing it as the new baseline for your hourly or your salary wage. That goes into paying yourself first savings.

Time Freedom

Even better yet, add that extra 1% to your 401(k) or your other retirement plan. That is what we’re going to talk about next. We’re going to move on to the 401(k) or the retirement plan. If you are in a 9:00 to 5:00 job, you’re in a corporate job, you probably will have access to a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) plan, but let’s stick with the 401(k) because that’s what I’m most familiar with. There is going to be, potentially, a probational period if you’re a new employee before you have access to participating in the 401(k).

As soon as you have that eligibility, I’m going to say, please enroll in your 401(k). Why? There are some companies out there that will match your 401(k) plan enrollment. They’re going to match your contributions as an employee, dollar for dollar, up to a certain percentage. Here’s an example. Let’s say that your company contributes dollar for dollar. That’s for every dollar you contribute, they contribute a dollar. That’s what dollar for dollar means. They contribute dollar for dollar, one-to-one up to the first 5% of your contributions.

That’s a super generous example. This means that for every 1% of your contribution, your company is going to match that contribution up to the first 5%. I’m here to tell you, “Hello, free money. Hello, money.” Don’t leave this free money on the table. Get to shoot for at least the company match. You get that money in your account.

Now, let’s say some people might have the mindset that if I cannot get to 5%, I’m not going to do it at all. No. I would say, don’t do that. I would say, “You know what? If you can contribute 1% and get a 1% match, start there. go to 2%, then 3%, then 4%, then all the way up to 5%. If you can exceed the company match, amazing but if you cannot, you cannot, but at least try to get to the company match.”

The last tip in this particular area. Don’t forget to prepare for your mid-year and year and reviews to ask for what you want, whether it’s your next promotion and more money, all of the things. I’m planning to do an entirely separate show on this for my next solo show in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more information on preparing for this important conversation. You might be wondering like, “Jen, what does this have to do with money freedom?” The more money you make, the more you can pay yourself first, the more savings you have, or the more retirement dollars you have. You see where this is going.

The more money you make, the more you can pay yourself first and the more retirement dollars you can have. Share on X

If you prepare throughout the year for your mid-year, if you have a mid-year and a year-end performance review or a year-end review, that will help you have those powerful and sometimes difficult conversations so you can position yourself for the next phase of your career, the next step and more money or more benefits, more freedoms, which we’ll talk about time freedom next if that’s your goal and what success means to you. Stay tuned for more on that topic in my next solo episode.

We’re going to move on to the second area of freedom, which is time freedom. Here are some ways that I have tackled times in my life that I want to pass on to you. Start with conducting a time audit. I posted on social media about this. I wanted to bring it to light because I’ve been thinking a lot about it. My calendar after I got back from a lot of vacation travel has been running me versus me running it. I wanted to bring it to light also on the podcast platform as well. You might be wondering, “What is a time audit?” It is a diary of how you spend your time each day.

You can run that time audit for 1 to 2 weeks. I would recommend putting it into an Excel spreadsheet. You can look up time audits in Google. I’m certain that there are time audit logs you can find. You don’t have to recreate the wheel, but you’re going to run that audit for one or maybe two weeks or whatever length of time that you would like. Yes, I’m going to not pull any punches with you. It takes commitment, but it’s worth it because then you can look at how you spend your time and then you can make shifts to do that. Spend the time more strategically and find your time leaks.

Time leaks might be wasted hours, such as scrolling aimlessly on social media, Netflix binging, and so much more. You only know what your time leak is, but you’ll see it after you come clean by looking at what you do from the beginning of the day to when you put your head on the pillow at nighttime. From there, you can move on to the next tip. Be ruthless with your time and ask yourself these questions.

The first question is, “Do I need to attend this meeting, this event? More importantly, do I want to?” As I have said on the show in the past, if it’s not a hell, yes, then let’s make it a hell, no so that you can save some time on your calendar. There is a book on a different way to look at time management that I love. It’s changed my world. It might be one of those books I read often, or at least every few years if we all slip with time management. I’m not the best at it. I’m learning right alongside you.

The book is called, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. It’s an amazing book. I’ll link it up in the show notes and I highly recommend it. it’s Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. That’s what I have for you on the time freedom. Get into that time audit and then ask yourself some important questions. Look at your hell yeses and hell noes, and then look at that resource that I shared.

Mindset Freedom

Brave Women at Work | Finding Freedom
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

In terms of mindset freedom, mindset freedom is an area of specialty that I work on. I have worked on this in my own life and in my own career, and I work on it with my coaching clients a lot is mindset freedom. The first thing is to realize that Imposter Syndrome, fear, or whatever you’re facing from a mindset challenge, is part of the human condition. Know there is nothing wrong with you and that you can learn to manage it. You can manage imposter syndrome. You can manage your fear. You can manage your mindset. I will also say that you may see things on the internet that will say you can beat Imposter Syndrome or you can eradicate fear. It is my belief that that is not possible.

I think that you will feel fear. It’s part of being human. It’s part of feeling human that you’re going to feel the fear. This is what bravery is. You’re going to feel the fear and you’re going to do it anyway. You’re going to feel the Imposter Syndrome. You’re going to manage it and you’re going to take action anyway. That’s what being brave or a brave woman at work is to me. It can be managed, which is a great thing. If you have that voice of fear or that this voice of the imposter that comes up. That voice of fear, the voice of the imposter simply, no, it’s not the enemy. It is trying to keep you safe. During the caveman era, that fight or flight era.

When we were all like in the way back machines were cavemen and cavewomen, we were in our bodies instinctively. We’re mammals, animals like everybody else out there in the wilds, except that we’re, I would say, what would you say? More domesticated, if you will. The way that our brains work is that if we have some threat, we can do a fight-flight, freeze, or fawn. All that is the voice of fear and because we aren’t in the caveman era anymore, sometimes we stuff that fear and that’s when it can eat you alive and your mindset could get very impacted. Know that the fear is simply trying to keep you safe.

It is our job to let fear know that you thank it for taking care of you, but that it’s okay, that you can take the wheel of the car of your life, and that you can steer it from here. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s a muscle that we practice in coaching. It’s a muscle that we work on developing so that when it appears and when it comes up in your life, usually during big life changes, promotions, anything big in your life, or it might be an underlying thing that’s nagged you for years, it’s something that it’s a skill that you have to learn. I promise you, you can learn it.

Beginning to manage imposter syndrome, we’re recognizing that voice or reframing it, which is a new term I’m bringing in here. Reframing it with a different feeling, a different thought, a different action. You need to make sure that your mind and your body are aligned. We’re going to talk about that body alignment and that body freedom in a minute. Let’s put that on the burner, but know that to manage your imposter syndrome, your mindset, and your fear, you have to have body and mind alignment.

Hone your body and mind alignment to manage your imposter syndrome, mindset, and fear. Share on X

I cover this entire process in my group coaching program, which is called the Career Confidence Collective, and we’re going to be running another cohort in the fall. If you’re interested in learning how to manage your imposter syndrome and that fear-based mindset with a group of other fabulous working women, be on the lookout for more details.

You can check it out on my website. Another thing that I shared with some of my coaching clients is an exercise called the Reverse Bucket List. In the reverse bucket list, we all know what a bucket list is. That’s all the things that we want to do. What about the things that we’ve done? We always forget as high-achieving women where we’re onto the next thing, we’re going to do the next thing. We never take time to look back in a positive way, it’s always moving forward. In the reverse bucket list exercise, you’re going to make a list of everything you have achieved, completed, visited, or done in your life.

I’m confident that you’re going to be amazed at how much you have done or that you may have even forgotten. You can add small, medium, or big accomplishments to your list because it’s your list. Whether it’s graduating from college, having your beautiful children, being married, or maybe getting a divorce, it is an accomplishment for you. You’re like, “I’m so glad I got through that. That difficult situation, that difficult relationship.”Maybe it’s how you’ve built your own friend family. You’ve written a book. You’ve climbed a mountain, you’ve gone on an amazing trip, whatever it is.

It doesn’t have to be that big. I’m giving ideas off the top of my head, but you’ve got the idea. Make that reverse bucket list and keep it with you when the mindset stuff comes up and you can go back to that file and you can be like, “I am pretty awesome. I’ve done some amazing things in my life.” The final one in the mindset category is something that I call, it’s not mine, but it’s something called A Smile File or A Brag File. You can call it the same thing. It’s the same item, but some people call it A Smile File, and some people call it A Braf File.

This is a tip that will come up when I talk about the mid-year or year-end review process planning. These files are emails from your manager, your colleagues, or your team members of the great things you’ve done. Compliments from customers or clients, whatever you can use as a reflection point when you’re having a difficult day. These are all of the accolades that you’ve received. Not because this defines our sense of worth. We want our worth to come from inside of us, not because other people said, “Girl, you got a gold star.” It does help when we have mindset stuff that pops up that we can look bad at the back at some of those accolades or those compliments and be like, “I’m pretty amazing.”

Body Freedom

Let’s face it, life happens. We have down days, and we have bad days. That Reverse Bucket List, the Smile File, or the Brag File, are pieces that you can use to bolster that mindset. Now, we’re going to move on to body freedom. I’m not a medical professional, but everybody has faced, or most of us have faced, body issues or not feeling completely free in our bodies. I will admit, like many teenagers and young women, I was of that generation that compared my body size to the women on the cover of magazines. This shows my age. I was the one who would look at YM Magazine, Cosmo, Glamour, or Allure, all of those magazines when I was in my local grocery store, Borders, or Barnes & Noble way back when.

I would look at that and I would be disappointed because it’s not reality. In the ‘90s and the 2000s, it was very in vogue to be pretty like Twiggy-like, pretty thin. If those of you remember Kate Moss, she was famous, and she still is a famous model out there. She had quite a legacy as a model in that era, but most of the models were either Amazon women, like Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, or Linda Evangelista, or they were waifs-like, like Kate Moss. I don’t know about you, but most women don’t have those body types. God bless those women who do. I think it’s amazing that they can have a career like that in a very niche industry, but it messes with my head.

I don’t know about you, but it definitely messed with my head during my teen years and my early twenties. I’m excited that there are body-positive models out there now who say, “People are beautiful in all shapes and all sizes, all genders, all races.” I think it’s a beautiful thing. For many years, when I was comparing myself to these covers, I had real shame about my body. This is not my area of expertise, but I had to share it because I felt imprisoned in my body and my body image for a long time.

It took me quite a while to make peace with my body. I know that it’s easier said than done, but there is true freedom to be found there. If you have any other ideas after you hear this show that maybe I’ve missed your tips in any of these areas, please make sure to send them to me in a DM on social media or send me an email. I would love to hear from you. My email is Hello@BraveWomenAtWork.Com.

In terms of other tips for body freedom, I recommend removing clothes from your closet. Maybe they don’t fit you in the season of life. Maybe you’ve recently had a baby, you have gained weight, you’ve lost weight or you’ve had a major life event. Maybe they aren’t right for the season, but it’s okay. You can remove them from your closet so you don’t have to deal with it. You don’t have to feel bad or ashamed about it. Do it. Maybe you put yourself a time limit on it. You can have them out there and if you haven’t come back in 6 to 12 months, maybe it’s time. Maybe you don’t like them anymore. It’s not even about your body. It doesn’t make you feel happy. Maybe it’s time for them to go.

In terms of your body and mind being in alignment, one of the areas that I have interviewed other experts on and that I’ve been studying a lot is nervous system healing. A tip is on the nervous system, it’s directly connected to our stress response. We talked about the caveman, cavewoman, fight, flight, freeze, or fawn response. To take care of yourself and give yourself that healing, you can do deep breathing and intuitive eating to tap into what your body needs at that moment.

That also helps with stress response. You’re not sitting at the refrigerator eating in the middle of the night when you don’t even know how you got there. I have raised my hand over here for stress eating. I’ve absolutely done that. You can eliminate words from your vocabulary, such as the word fat or fluffy or whatever is like a trigger word or words for you. I won’t say that in front of my daughters and I won’t say it about myself because I know that I’m a direct example for them. If I’m being disparaging about my body, if I’m calling myself fat, like, “What are my girls going to think?” They’re going to be like, they’re going to start looking at themselves going, “Maybe I’m fat.”

They have enough pressure with social media today. I’m not going to contribute to that in my own home. If you are triggered, maybe you get rid of the scale for a while. That can also be healthy until you have a more balanced and peaceful relationship with your body. It can come back in if you feel that that’s right for you. Finally, when you’re thinking about what you’re grateful for, think about the gratitude for those body parts and those body parts that help you move through the world. For example, maybe you have strong legs that help you move while you walk.

Your eyes allow you to see. Maybe you have a 20/20 vision. I would love a 20/20 vision. I don’t think I’ve had 20/20 vision since I’ve been in first grade. Your hands help you type or help you write. All of your body parts, your beautiful hair, whatever it is. By focusing on what you’re thankful for within your body, you’re going to be less concerned with criticizing certain body parts.

By focusing on what you are thankful for within your body, you will be less concerned with criticizing your physical features. Share on X

I know what I mean because many of us complain about this or that, or like my butt or my stomach after this kid, whatever it is, my collarbone, my arms, whatever like my triceps, whatever it is. We all have our hot buttons. By shifting to gratitude and that positive mindset, we can get away from all the parts that bug us and stay focused on what is important because gratitude is way more important than being ashamed of our bodies.

Work Freedom

The final area. The last type of freedom I want to focus on today is work freedom. As I was brainstorming for the episode, there are so many other types of freedoms that we could discuss. It’s endless, including personal freedom, spiritual freedom, emotional freedom, and so much more. However, I wanted to make this show a reasonable length. I wanted to end because work and career goals and career trajectory and our career dreams, that’s what we talk a lot about at the show.

I wanted to end here for this solo episode. How can we gain work freedom? Here are some tips. If you can batch some of your tasks, so what does that mean batching? With batching, here’s an example. You can check your emails a few times a day if your work culture allows it. When I check my emails and I get pings and dings and look at Teams or Slack, whatever you have, it gets me super distracted. I’m multitasking, which I’m not going to lie about. I’m good at multitasking, but that doesn’t mean that it’s good for me. That’s not good for my health, and it’s not good for my work productivity because we know that it takes time to shift between things and topics.

We don’t want to multitask. If you can batch either email, you can batch other tasks. For Brave Women at Work, I batch my episodes and my social media content creation because I’m in that mode. I’m in that zone. I know that’s what I’m going to be focusing on. It gives me work freedom because then I’m not switching gears from gear to gear. The second one is if you are a manager delegate. Let me say this once again for everybody in the back, delegate. As managers and high-performing ones at that, we may feel that we can do tasks better. We get tempted to say, “I’ll decide to tackle these tasks and not give them to our teams to complete because we feel like superwomen or we want to try to be a superwoman. I’ve done that.

It’s much too much to my dismay. It did not help me. I’m going to be honest there. The other thing we might get trapped in is that we feel like we don’t have “time” to train others. Why don’t we do it ourselves? It’s so much easier. That’s what we think. That’s wrong. By spending time to train your individual employees or your larger team upfront, you’re going to save so much time and headache on the backend. If you find that it doesn’t work after you’ve trained them, then maybe you’ve got the wrong people in the wrong spots and you know and there’s freedom in that.

Brave Women at Work | Finding Freedom
Finding Freedom: By spending time to train your employees, you can save so much time and headache on the back end.

 

By doing this, you’re going to free yourself from tasks that you should probably not be doing in the first place, which is a hallelujah. Let’s do less, not more. The next tip for work freedom is planning on Fridays. Most people are not wanting to have meetings on Fridays. Block out the afternoon on Friday to plan for your following week. On Friday afternoons, maybe even an hour. You can plan and start organizing your week in advance so that when you start back on Monday or whatever the start of your work week is, you aren’t wondering where to start. By taking that extra step, you’re going to feel calmer and less overwhelmed, too. At least that’s the goal. Bonus, that would be great.

The next tip is to avoid meetings on Mondays or Fridays. Why do you think that is? It is because you’re going to be able to get things done and not need to take as much home with you. If you are a salaried individual because you have set time, you’re like, “Good. I’m not going to have any meetings on Monday. I’m not going to have any meetings on Friday or either or both,” but however, your work culture environment allows it. If you’re hourly, it’s still great. If your work culture doesn’t schedule meetings on certain days of the week, it’s such a win for everyone and gives everyone a mental reset.

This is moving from mental. It’s combining some of the many topics we’ve talked about today. This one is a repeat, but I think it’s bearing repeating. You’re going to want to look at your calendar and ask this question again in this category, in the work freedom category. Do I need to attend this meeting? If you can, delegate it. If you have a team and someone else you believe can attend or represent, then do that. If you cannot delegate this off, ask yourself the question, “Should this meeting be an email?” That’s a big one.

A lot of meetings should be emails. If you’re the one that scheduled the meeting and you ask yourself, should this meeting be an email? It’s no shame. Cancel the meeting and send the email. Everyone is going to be so excited to have more time back in their day. I assure you. If you’re attending someone else’s meeting when it should have been an email, what can you bring to the meeting to shorten up the time? For example, if you have a piece of it and if everyone is prepared and you’re prepared to do your part in advance, or you can send some of your research or questions in advance, the meeting should go faster. it’ll be more productive. another work win.

Episode Wrap-Up

In summary, we have covered five key areas of freedom today with many tips for you to consider. It was money freedom, time freedom, mindset freedom, body freedom, and work freedom. I did cover a lot of tips in this episode. You can read this again. That does it for this solo episode of finding freedom in five key personal and professional areas. I hope you found the tips shared here both valuable and inspiring.

Until next time, here are two questions for your consideration. If you’re a journaler, you can journal on them. The first question is, what are the 1 to 2 areas in your personal or professional life that you would like to work on so you experience more freedom? Why did you select these areas? What prompted you to select them? Secondly, what are a few tips that you can incorporate into your day to help you? Don’t forget to share your personal and professional freedom wins with me. I would love to hear all the wins.

You can send me a DM via social media. I’m super active on LinkedIn, especially Instagram or Facebook. You can send me an email at Hello@BraveWomenAtWork.com. Finally, as a reminder, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The show is also available on any other platform you enjoy. Until next time, show up, find your freedom, and be brave.

 

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