Be Direct, Unapologetic & Express Your Truth with Catherine Hamilton
I can not wait to hear your thoughts on my interview with Catherine Hamilton. I call her a cool chick, but actually she is so much more than that. Her current position is Vice President of Consumer Services and Strategic Planning at Blue Cross Blue Shield Vermont. Prior to this role, she has worked as a regulator of health plans at the Mayor’s office of Medicaid Managed Care and in external affairs for human resource administration in New York City.
She’s also under appointment at the University of Vermont School of Medicine as a lecturer, has an undergrad degree, of course, PhD in Public Administration and volunteers for Girls on the Run Vermont. She’s a certified yoga instructor, specializing in yoga in the workplace loves to spin vinyl. And so, so, so very much more. So, without further adieu, let’s meet and hear from the beautiful, beautiful inside and out, Ms. Catherine Hamilton.
Got a pause. I need to make sure you’ve got your ears tuned into some of the topics Catherine and I talk about. This is really a conversation. It just, as I’m reflecting on it around our feelings as women, probably some men too, I just can’t speak for y’all. Around how do you do it all? There is so much expectation around making it happen in life, in the workplace for your family, for yourself. And how do we really make that all happen in a world where we want to live our most picture perfect life. And along with the already pressures that we place upon ourselves to be perfect, to be a wonder woman. And what I love about this is you’re gonna hear it in Catherine’s energy. She is so grounded in who she is, what she does, how it serves her, that I believe she can be a powerful role model for you.
And that’s why I wanted to have her on the show – of the importance of really being a leader of self first and how that can truly serve you in ways beyond just having it all or doing it all. But in ways that maybe you’re not even thinking about for yourself. I asked Catherine to unpack her strategies for resetting, and she goes into great detail about how she conducts her day, what she does every day. And it gives you the breakdown of what you can begin to change for yourself with just, you know, adopting a five minute per day practice depending on your circumstances, because let’s be honest here. We’re all at different seasons of life and what we have available to us changes over time.
Before we get to her, I guess, well-being practice and how she creates a stable foundation for herself day in and day out, we talk about being a good girl. We talk about what makes a leader stand out and her very powerful reaction to women who apologize, especially after making a great point. So tune in for that. And before we wrap up today, I want to share with you a little bit more about what Catherine has going on outside of her nine to five and how you can find and connect with her.
Okay, well, let’s start there. Let’s talk about why, I mean, do you call yourself a recovered perfectionist?
That’s so funny. I actually I think one of my keys to success is that I’ve never really been a perfectionist.
Yeah. Well, I grew up in the seventies with a feminist mom who really encouraged me to be me and to be all of me, including those things that weren’t perfect. And so for me, I feel really grateful for that upbringing. I think things there’s some challenges today for women as they grow up, things are a little bit different. And I think the media has played a little bit of a role that, it’s not, you know, when I grew up, it was like, it was really important that we be considered equals. I have a twin brother. So, growing up in an equal fashion with my brother, that I could do anything, be anything, but it was kind of, it was all about what was on the inside.
I think now there’s this sense of an addition to being these powerhouses at work right. And doing our best at work. We not only have to be smart and successful powerhouses at work, but we’re also expected to sort of look like we’re 25 until we are 95 – around looking perfect, as a parent being a perfect parent with equally perfect children.
This photographed life, right? This Instagram life. Yes, you know, my kids have to not only be perfectly behaved, but they have to eat organic meals and then do community service and, and be the star of the hockey team or whatever. And I have to get to every game, you know, I have to be there. Not only at every game, but having made a banner and be a cook for the team.
When did you see this shift or did you notice when this started to shift? Like maybe even through women in the workplace?
Yes. Well, Debora Spars’ book Wonder Women: Sex, Power, And the Quest for Perfection is a nice summary of that. I think that a senior shift and research shows that although women and men, both suffer from perfectionism, women tend to ruminate more and feel pressure to live up to the perfectionist standards they have to fill. And there’s research that’s emerging. I think there’s been a shift with young adults, age 18 to 35. We call them the millennials.
There was a study showing that the majority of millennials are experiencing this multi-dimensional perfectionism, the pressure to meet increasingly high standards, may have come from this watching. I have demanding parents said another way. You know, parents who really cared sometimes I’m a Gen X. And then my early fifties and one of the older Gen X’s, but they say that our parents and the genetics really kind of ignored us, which I think isn’t fair to our parents. Certainly didn’t hover in the way that I hover around my children. Likewise, boys 13 now.
It’s also, I think really easy to blame social media for this epidemic of perfectionism. People’s need to sort of measure up to their peers. We now almost have this stage where we see everyone and their lives. And we’re almost at the point where we think of our lives as a performance instead of something that we’re engaging in and participating in.
I’m in the Gen X category too, but I have a totally different viewpoint about it than you do, or a totally different upbringing maybe is a better way to say it.
Well, let me hear about that.
Well, I definitely, this is, what’s fascinating about it, Catherine. I definitely felt like I was raised to do and be anything that I wanted, like that seed was there, but at the same time, and I’ve talked about this on another other episodes, is that I had a really tumultuous home life. So, I didn’t want to rock the boat. And so that’s where some of my, I think, you know, we can unpack me all day, but I think that’s where some of that perfectionist drive comes from.
Well, and I know, you know, leaders are so supposed to be smart and likable and tough. And I think there, I certainly feel sometimes like the tough part is hard for me because I want to be a good girl. You know? So as you say, not rocking the boat, I think that that plays out for a lot of women and how can we be this good girl? That’s what we want to be.
Right. Yeah. Shirley Bloomfield talked about that, as well. Like that, like you want to, yeah. I think not rock the boat. Like there’s something that we’re taught there, right? Don’t make too many waves. Make waves, but don’t make too many.
Right. But I saw a bumper sticker once that said, well behaved women seldom make history. There’s also a good book about that by Laura Ulrich, you know, on my best days, I try to be fearless and courageous and bold, but I made the mistake of trying to please everybody that were, and not say anything that anyone objects to, but if we want to change the world in our organizations for the better, we have to be willing to say things that not everyone will like. And I don’t know if this plays out for you, Michelle, but I have this aversion to women who apologize after making the killer point.
It’s a bad, bad habit that we’d love for everybody to get rid of as a woman.
You know, who’s the smartest woman in the room who say, you know, I’m really not sure if it’s going to play out like this or not, or tell you themselves before they make their killer point. So, I really encourage the women that I work with to be direct and unapologetic expressing your truth in an authentic, transparent way is what makes leaders stand out.
Yeah. And I remember just being uncertain about speaking out, right? Like I talked about this with Jen Coken and the Imposter Syndrome interview where she ended up coaching me, but I just disclosed to her that when I’m one-on-one with people, I’m much more comfortable really saying what I think, even if you’re not going to agree with me, but I feel really uncomfortable just in general, in a large group, especially if I don’t know people,
I think this is a practice for women. A practice of being direct and speaking up and just like anything, that’s a practice getting, you know, starting somewhere. And one thing I encourage and I try to practice myself is to say one thing in a meeting.
Yeah. To just push yourself, to like, you know what it is though, when do you, well, I’ll come back to the perfectionism with millennials. I’m not going to forget about that. But I think it’s noticing the first step is really like noticing. Right? So how do you notice that you might be holding back?
Well, we all have those moments. We were trying all to be present in our meetings. But you know, you have this little voice. And it may be your little feminist voice or your big feminist voice saying, Catherine, speak up, you have a point to make. And I think if we interviewed a bunch of women about their experiences and meetings and it’s going well, and people are sharing, what is that thing? That’s gnawing at you? What is your inner voice saying? And how do you directly and authentically share that with your team and not speak your truth, but not apologize.
But I know for me, sometimes it might be the heart rate begins to rise. You start to feel that urge to lean in, so to speak. And then you have that other voice. So, you have that one voice saying, Hey, Catherine, share that amazing, perhaps even provocative, point. And then you have that other voice going, Hey girl, sit down.
No. hey probably already thought that. And it’s not a good idea. And then you have this internal battle where your heart’s racing.
You almost have to train that internal voice, right? That internal voice that’s telling you, you may not be the smartest person or you may not have the experience. You need that voice of how would you, if you were your own mentor, how would you be talking to yourself about what you have to bring? So just like in life, I think it’s helpful with self-care. To treat yourself like a good friend, as you have those internal conversations in a meeting, for example, coach yourself, that you got this.
Is that what you say to yourself? What do you say to yourself?
Lean in, yeah. We all have like a little mantra of some sort, right?
So, I want to loop back to the perfectionism because I thought it was fascinating that you were saying, you see, there’s like another layer or another aspect for the next generation. So, how based on kind of some of the things I said and what you’re thinking, how do you see it as different? It’s partly the social media. But we don’t want to put it all on social media. Right? Partly the parents just wanting so much for their children.
Yes, I think there are high expectations. Right? And they span, I think it, it definitely relates to this idea now that women can do it all, right? And there has been a whole lot written about that topic. There are some people who say it’s impossible to have it all without significant changes at home and work with flexible hours, affordable daycare, family-friendly policies and partners. But I think that we definitely have to acknowledge that we have to make choices and acknowledge those trade-offs and acknowledge that the trade-offs are human.
Yeah. It’s not about being a woman having it all.
Right. I think there’s this. I mean, my favorite Sheryl Sandberg quote is “Done is better than perfect”. You know, can you get it done and maybe get it done 80%. That’s ok.
And I always add like progress over perfection. Right. Those really weave together.
And I personally am an overachiever. So, you know, I need support from particularly from my women friends. And I’m so grateful that I’m fortunate to be surrounded by supportive and interesting women, who aren’t interested in, you know, taking each other down. But I think as a tribe of women, I think the next time that you encounter a wonder woman or a superhuman in your world, you know, like asking them, how do you do it all? I think that might not be the right question.
Yeah. What would be a better question?
Well, I think I get asked how do you do it all the time.
So, from that, what that tells me is people are watching you. Right. And they’re thinking that you’ve got the Instagram picture perfect thing going on.
Right, right. And that’s true. The whole social media really doesn’t help with this epidemic of perfection. I sometimes wish there was a social media page dedicated to things that aren’t perfect. You know, I’m guilty of this? When was the last time I posted a picture of the cookies I burned or me ripping the Minecraft controller out of the hands of my teenage sons at midnight? I’m posting the picture of them where their arms, maybe it took me 40 times, but I did because they were sticking their tongue out. So, I’m certainly guilty of that.
But I think that the question, how do you do it all is, I don’t think it’s a bad question. I just think we need to reframe it. So rather than asking, how do you at all, what about if we shifted that and said the next time you want to ask someone that think about starting with your amazing, you’re doing so much, how can I support you and how can we support each other in creating peace and balance in our imperfect lives?
That’s the shift. It’s not, how do I do it all? Because when I ask that question, maybe I go to my internal imposter there, that voice in my head that we were talking about earlier I go to, Oh, wow. I mean, the answer to the question is I absolutely don’t. I there’s a lot of tradeoffs that I’ve made over my career related to my family related to other aspects of my life. And you know, that I create space for things that I care about. So I will talk in a bit about some of my strategies for doing a lot. And my day.
I was thinking though, it’s like, one of the things you’re saying is you’re making choices that are aligned for you. First of all, right. You’re choosing how you want to spend your time.
One of my secrets to getting a lot done, as I said, I don’t do it all, but I get a lot done is to create time for myself.
Ooh. Now you’re onto my favorite thing. How did you, okay. Before we talk about that more deeply, how, and when did you realize that creating time for yourself impacted getting it all done, doing it all, whatever that means for you?
Well, when I was 40, I had twins and I had an established career at the time. And all of a sudden I went from having what I thought was of the control of life to being completely out of control. No kidding boys, too. And at that time that was a shift for me. And I decided that I was going to need to carve out time for myself if I was going to survive and if they were going to thrive. And so, I actually began a practice of carving out an hour a day for myself.
Wow. So, let’s push pause there because I know women are shaking their head. They’re like, no way can’t do it, not possible. Right. We go into that narrative.
This is great that you identified that. Why did you identify that? Why did you know early on, how did you know early on where it was at other women in your life? Was it just a deep knowing what got you over the hump to say, I absolutely have to carve out this time and actually doing it?
Well, partly it was, I had well established practices of wellness. So I’ve been a runner and taking some time for myself prior to having the kids. When the kids came into my world intentionally made that happen and then created a discipline around that.
Yeah. So, you made a choice.
I did. And I made it and it’s a trade-off. That meant less time with them. I shifted my life around. It was all so that I could create that space. I actually put the hour on my calendar.
Yeah. You blocked it off. So, it was a time, every day.
Well, and it’s different every day. I find that space and it’s not all as now, let’s face it.
Right. That was going to be my next question – there’s going to be creep. Right. So, we all say we’re going to go to the gym or we’re going to fill in the blank, go for a walk. And then over time that creeps away. So how did you maintain those boundaries? Even though there might be 45 minutes, one day and an hour the next.
Well, they say it takes 60 days to change a habit. Right. So getting into a habit of this is really important and it’s true. It can start small, I think sometimes a 15 minute break might be more realistic depending on the schedule and depending on what your life circumstances are, I happen to have had great childcare, very supportive partner, not everybody has that.
And I also, depending on your workplace and whether your workplace supports wellness, I think that’s a growing area. Workplaces are figuring out that this model where people don’t take a break for wellness, for self-care, it is actually not good for their bottom line. I think, now people are acknowledging that executives that take care of themselves are also more productive.
The more stressed out I am, the better off I am if I just stopped for an hour and then I will get even more done in the next two hours.
I mean, particularly now, I think finding ways to reset, you can relax, have bins from, in a very chaotic, in a very disruptive way. Many of the things that we, it come to count on as norm said, really have really changed dramatically due to the COVID crisis. So, I think there’s a greater need for us to reset throughout the day. And it might just be a five minute stretch up between your WebEx. But creating some discipline around it, you know, doing something every day for yourself.
Yeah. Let’s talk about what it is for you, because sometimes people, the best place to start is to just hear what Catherine’s doing and say, I can do that. So, what are some of the strategies you use during your time for yourself every day?
Yeah, so, I’ll be honest. I really, at the beginning of the COVID crisis, I was really struggling emotionally, as so many of us have done. And one of the things that I started doing in early April, to try to address the feelings of being overwhelmed by the amount of rapid change and the intensity of our work lives too changed dramatically in terms of all of the things that we’re trying to manage to both at home and at work. So I begin every day with some simple meditation. I used to reach for my phone and look at the New York Times like everybody else. I found that would start my day looking at the news. And it started me down kind of in a hole. I found it hard to climb out of from an energetic standpoint. And then I needed to be there for my family and for the people I work with as a leader.
So, I begin my day now with a loving kindness meditation. It takes less than five minutes. And I start with essentially the way loving kindness, meditation works is first you send yourself thoughts of kindness. Then you send someone you love thoughts of kindness, and then you send someone who’s suffering, thoughts of kindness. And it could be someone that you don’t know who’s suffering or someone that you read about, or a whole community of people. And there are several techniques to do this. Barbara Fredrickson, has a website called Love 2.0, with some loving kindness meditations. Also, the Dalai Lama has practice this type of meditation called Tonglen, which you inhale the suffering, your own suffering, and you look at your own suffering and then you exhale compassion.
It’s really taking a self-compassion break. So you’re inhaling any worries or concerns rather than running from them. You’re actually looking at them. And then you’re exhaling a sense of compassion for yourself, the way you would send, Michelle, if you were sharing with me something that was concerning, we’re a good friend sending the same kind of more thinking passion to yourself. And then you, and then the same goes for maybe for example, you have a parent or a dear friend or a family member who’s suffering with fear and anxiety or concerns about their health or the economy. So many of us are you actually inhale their sadness and their concern. And then you exhale compassion for that. And then transition that to someone who’s suffering, maybe someone you saw on the street or a supermarket, or that you read about who was experiencing social injustice.
It’s this type of meditation. It’s very simple. It’s an ancient Buddhist practice that awakens compassion. And it also, what it does is wake it’s compassion and also introduces us to a far bigger view of reality. You’re sort of breathing in the darkness and exhaling the light yeah. And moving emotion, emotion, right? Yes. They’ve done a lot of brain scanning of Tibetan Monks and they discovered that, yeah, this neuroscientist Dr. Richie Davidson has done the work and he flew all these monks from Tibet to Wisconsin and did brain scans. And they discovered that this type of meditation actually changes the brain dramatically. It changes the gamma waves. They were off the charts for these marks. So, and you know, disruptions in gamma waves simply lead to brain disorders, including schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. So for me, this has been a great way to change the way I start my day.
And if I’m having, I also practice that common meditation throughout the day, what I find is I’ve been practicing, loving kindness meditation for many years now. And when I started the practice, I found that sending compassionate to myself, was the hardest part of the practice. So I’ll just say that because as you, if you’re a beginner around loving kindness, meditation, you might experience this as well. Yeah. And it ties to that. Why is it, you know, it’s a question for all of us, why is it harder to care for ourselves than it is to care for others?
And that’s really one of the themes that you’re bringing. I think today to our conversation, Catherine, is that the importance of and I’m tying this to leadership and I really want to get your insights on it as well. But the importance of taking care within, before you can show up and take care of outside. And you’re very thoughtful about it. I’m wondering, I bet this is a core belief of mine that you have, you just, it’s your responsibility to take care inside before you can show up as a leader in any way, shape or form, you have no business doing that type of work in my opinion.
Yes. And, at the beginning, I think of taking my breaks when I first said my twins, there was some mom guilt around that, right. Because I think we have this unrealistic expectation that we can’t do at all, that we can do it all without any space for ourselves. Yeah. And I think what I’ve learned is that by creating that space, I’ve also created much more capacity and energy to bring to others. Um, the other thing that I do in the morning is a very simple thing while I’m lying in bed. So I’ve done my loving kindness meditation, which takes less than five minutes. And then I do something called astronaut breath.
Oh, I haven’t heard of this. Okay.
You’re activate your feet and point your toes to the sky and then inhale your arms, overhead your fingers wide. And then you exhale, keep your feet flexed and bring your hands right down beside your body. And I do that three times.
Don’t hit the headboard though.
Exactly. The other things that I do practice, I practice yoga every day, since January 1st of 2016 and made that space. And at the beginning, it became almost like one of these Instagram challenges. It was actually a challenge to practice every day for a month. It felt so good that I decided to keep doing it. And it becomes, once you establish a self-care practice, it becomes habitual. But like anything it’s a process, right? So you contemplate doing it. You pre-contemplation contemplation.
Right. And then there’s, there’s relapsed right. Where you fall off that. But this is the most important practice for successful women. I believe.
Yeah. I mean, it’s a choice. I think it just goes back to what you said that every day, we all have the same amount of space. There’s only so much space, but you get to choose what it is that you incorporate in that space and what you’re sharing, or what you’ve learned is that by taking that little tiny bit of time in your day, really in the scope of things for you, you’re able to come from a place where you’re full and then you have more to give.
And it’s easy for me to say right now because my kids don’t need childcare. You know, my things have shifted for me. I used to have a two hour commute. I don’t anymore. But there are trade-offs in terms of things that you miss, when you do devote that hour or something to yourself, but what I would suggest for folks who have smaller children, it’s a completely different situation right now. Many of us don’t have childcare or camp right now. And so, this kind of self-care practice is going to have to be shorter. Perhaps it’s also going to have to be adapted to your circumstances. So maybe we integrate that practice into the daily care of our children. Maybe it is too much for some of us, but maybe we integrate and shift so that we engage our children with us in that self-care moment. So we have to adapt to our circumstances. I happen to be in a situation where my children are older.
Well, wait a minute. I don’t want to let anyone off the hook in the sense that you did say, I mean, I love that you’re acknowledging there’s different seasons of our lives. And that how that shows up is not going to be exactly the same for someone with little kids as it’s showing up for you right now. But you also said that one of the choices that you made early on when you first had your children, that you were going to make space for yourself. So it’s been a very consistent practice for you. It might not have been meditation, but it’s been something it’s been time for you.
And I had a partner. At one point he would ask me before I got home from work, did you get your time? Did you get your, you know, your work at a time? And cause I think he understood that I was going to be a better partner too. If I had taken some time, so I’ve had that support and I encourage other women to, to tie them, you know, this is life as a struggle and imperfect struggle. And you know, having those conversations with the people you love, even your children to say mommy’s time. Or, you know, your partner. Daddy’s time. Partner’s time, other mommy’s time, whatever it is,
The other pieces of the equation around, how do I do so much for me in addition to my yoga practice. So that’s my wellness time. I’m a vegan. And I shifted to the vegan diet four years ago and that has given me an extraordinary amount of energy.
It’s sort of counterintuitive. Cause sometimes you think it’s neat that that fuels us and so forth. But for me, it was also a time when I was prior to the vegan diet, I was going through menopause, sending all these hot flashes. They immediately subsided. So, I haven’t had any of those symptoms. That’s through all that phase. The vegan diet is for me has been an extraordinary gift. I also, as part of my yoga charity over the last four years of practicing daily, I quit all alcohol. I used to drink wine at the end of my day to wind down as part of my wellness routine. But I found that that was affecting my sleep.
As you, your body has continued to change, like for all of us, you know, decade after decade after decade, you’ve found other ways that you’ve made adjustments.
Yes. And so for me I feel so grateful that I’m not experiencing these menopausal symptoms. And then I feel my energy is as abundant as it was when I was in my twenties.
Wow. Okay. Wait, let’s pause here. Ladies. Everybody wants to hear this one more time.
Yeah. Having a vegan diet, having eliminated the alcohol and for me, you know, for some people I think apparently so, you know, they have these studies that say actually having a glass of wine at five is really good for your longevity. But for me it was a little bit more than a glass. So eliminating that and I think the sugar and that kept me up at night. It’s creating more space in my day. So, I’m able to get up a lot earlier. The other thing that has given me a lot of it.
We got to call this out because people aren’t maybe going to be able to see you, but you are, you look radiant as well. So ladies, if you want to sleep better, reduce symptoms of, you know, perimenopause menopause. More space. Look radiant. Vegan diet!
I became a yoga teacher. My yoga is my advocation. And so my yoga is sort of a gift and I’ve been able to teach 1500 classes for free over the last, but here and you know, the more that I give, the more energized I am, that’s really counterintuitive, but I’ve been doing quite a lot of volunteer work. I adopted a couple years ago, I adopted a senior living center and had done a whole lot of dance parties. I taught chair yoga there until they shut us down with this COVID and we moved online, but then why I found that was counterintuitive, the more than I gave and volunteered, the more energized, I feel.
And so this whole notion of giving and receiving, you can find a little way, one of the things other. So, in addition to my loving kindness meditation, my astronaut breath, I, during the COVID crisis, I’ve been trying to do one little nice thing for someone every day while I can. And I do think that that keeps me going.
I’m curious though, I mentioned it before and I’m not sure. I heard, you know, your thoughts on this loud and clear, which this all ties together. I really believe that you’re taking time to fill yourself up so that when you’re giving, you’re not giving from a place of depletion and that’s like a really important piece of it. Do you agree?
Totally. Yeah. It really is your feeling like we talked about tradeoffs. Yeah. I think if you think about your own wellbeing as your base, your stable foundation on which everything else can build, if you don’t have that, then you’re going to be thinking, wow, I’m resentful. I really can’t give my full, true self to this because I’m empty. I don’t feel good about my own core.
I’ll just speak for myself, but I I’ve coached so many high achievers that at some point, if the achieving becomes the pattern of overwork and then the achieving is filling up the depletion constantly, and it’s almost like an insatiable, you know, cycle, right. Until you pretty much collapse.
Totally. Yeah. Then it becomes resentful. And then, I mean, I think getting back to this whole thing about social media, I think that’s something we all need to watch. Not just millennials. Yeah. Good, good call. Know the engineer who created the Facebook like button, describe the Lake as this bright day, you know, pseudo pleasure. And he’s also compared Snapchat to heroin. So, I really do think that when we go online, you’re surrounded by platforms that appear to be full of other people, meeting their goals.
And, even though intellectually, we know that this is all a lovely show emotionally, it’s really a struggle. So, I think limiting, and not only sort of limiting our moves, we all need the news, but making sure that it doesn’t become all consuming, the same thing goes for social media.
Which is not news, by the way! You know, one of the things before we wrap up kind of bringing this all, I mean, cause it really is interconnected in so many ways, but you talked about your support structure. So I’d love to hear more about that because I really do believe that.
And you’ve said it several times that we can’t do it all. We certainly can not do it all alone. So how can women support other women in a more meaningful way or how does that show up for you or what, just kind of, what are your thoughts around that? Because I don’t think we’re doing enough of that, especially at work. And haphazardly kind of in the other parts of our lives.
Yes. Well, I pride myself on trying to be that woman that is supporting other women
And, I see you as that woman. So we all want to hear how you’re making that happen.
I think we have to acknowledge that life is very competitive, also. I also like to see myself as that woman that is supporting other men at work needs to be in a gender specific challenge. However, as we discussed earlier, women tend to struggle more with this, this perfectionist epidemic.
And that kicks the competition between other women sometimes up that competition. Yeah. I love that you acknowledged it that way. Thank you.
So I think it’s just, gain making sure that not just at home, within your personal relationships, but also within your professional relationships, the, the, the question of how can I support you becomes part of your mantra in order to ask that question, you have to know enough about the person experience and what they’re going through that. We talked earlier about one of the strategies for staying sane during COVID and keeping it staying energized and optimistic is to help others.
What if what’s a day you called a girlfriend and just said, how are you, how can I support you? And for many of us, that’s just like, can you let me cry on the phone for a sec? Or maybe it would be take my kids for an hour so I can go to a yoga class or helping somebody get back up, just listening right now, just acknowledging that we are all struggling. We were not just struggling because our organizations are challenged right now and the disrupted, but we’re struggling at home. It’s harder to do the basics. Our kids need to be home. So I think shifting things from this mode of competition, how do you do it all to how can I support you to do that?
Just human to human, right?
Really taking time to reach out even quickly to your friends, and ask them how they’re doing. Same with your colleagues. I think it’s really important right now to get underneath the hood a little bit with how people are doing. And I think we are set that acknowledged that, you know, we’ll be successful.
You know, it was Mya Angelou who said people aren’t going to remember what you sent. They’re not going to remember that report. They’re going to remember how you made them feel. And so bringing compassion to your work right now, compassion, anytime we’re all struggling. And so, and I know that when we struggle, we’re not our best selves. And I’ve seen that play out with my dearest friends. So, I try to go to that place of compassion and find out how you can support the people you work with and the people you love around you, even in small ways.
I love that. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Oh, it’s been my pleasure. It’s such an honor to be on this podcast is so many amazingly thoughtful and you Michelle doing this and putting out these great topics. It’s just so inspiring.
All right, ladies and a few awesome gents. I can’t wait to hear what you will be taking action on to incorporate into your daily wellbeing practice. If you missed it, Catherine, really, isn’t going to be letting you off the hook. I’m not going to be letting you off the hook. Going inside, taking care of you, establishing practices for wellness day in and day out creates that stable foundation you need as a leader to show up and support all of the people around you, whether that’s on your teams at work, your spouse, your children, your friends. It’s a critical element that I can’t stress enough. I know this to be true for myself having done it so, so, so very wrong. And then, so, so, so very right, and then everything in between pick your day. But it’s really one of the reasons that I wanted to talk with Catherine, because she has committed to this.
She has made the choice and it just shows on her every way, shape and form in her life. I mean, here is an executive, a high level executive who’s, you know, running teams at, during the day by day and leading a family by night, but still creating time and space for amazing women in her life to, spin vinyl, to do community events, raise money for organizations that she loves and to offer chair yoga free of charge and or for donation. I mean, that is the epitome of doing and being at all. If I haven’t seen it, if I haven’t seen it before, I really do believe that Catherine Hamilton is making it happen. And it’s not by randomness, it’s by choice. So I would like to challenge you to make a choice. What will you implement into your day that can help you create that stable foundation of well-being so that you can go back out into your world and create and continue to create your best life.