Welcome to the Freedom Fridays Project Podcast. I'm Pete Clark, your host, the Whispers Guy. It appears that work expands to the time that we give it and I started to explore how I was investing my time and effort, particularly on Fridays. It's evolved to an exploration and experiment with time, energy, attention and identity, and a mindset shift from I have to, to I choose to. So if you're interested in exploring some changes to the way that you invest your time and energy, if you'd like some tips on the way as you make some changes, perhaps to your identity. If you would like the freedom of I choose to, away from I have to, then this is the podcast for you. So welcome to the Freedom Fridays Project Podcast. Welcome to this week's edition of Freedom Fridays, I have a guest on today who I don't know that well, actually but in some big changes that I made starting two and a half, three years ago, she was someone that I connected with, and we've remained friends, we haven't done any work together, which might come in the future. But I've been fascinated by watching afar from some of the things that this individual has been up to. So please welcome, Glin.
Hi, Pete, thank you very much for having me on your show Freedom Fridays.
I'm not sure how much of a show it is Glin. It's just me having a chat with some like minded people. So thank you for your time.
You're most welcome.
Glin we start with the same question, which is Freedom Friday's is about toggling between choosing to and have to and ordinary people doing extraordinary things, what's the big change they're going through? So to begin our conversation, would you share with us what's the big change that you've gone through, or even perhaps going through?
Yes, I think I'm in a second phase of change at the moment, linked to my business, actually. So I'll rewind back a little bit, just to give some context, I moved out to Australia in 2015, after my marriage ended, and at that point, I was in a period of soul searching, big, big change in terms of relationship ending, moving over to Australia from the UK starting a brand new life. And I worked in finance as a senior executive heading up a business called Pataks, the curry source business for Australia and New Zealand and so headed up them for a short while, say three, three and a half years here. But I knew I had an inner niggle probably prompted by the relationship ending and the soul searching period that told me that finance wasn't my path that I didn't feel as connected to it as I wanted to feel towards a career or a life vocation and that I needed to stand for something or choose something that was going to bring my heart joy. I left corporate in 2018. So finally, after a period of time evaluating I took the leap and started my own executive coaching and consulting business mainly focused with female leadership and self leadership at that, so not so much team related work, not how do you do leadership in an organisation, but how do you do leadership of yourself in every environment that you're operating in, whether that be personally or professionally. And that was really all I had as a plan at the time was that, oh, I'm leaving finance and I'm going to start a coaching business. And for the last three and a half years since leaving, that's been my main focus. COVID has obviously hit in the middle of that period and my face to face delivery of programmes. So it was coaching and then delivering programmes for groups of leaders that were bought together through a client of mine. And when COVID hit the face to face activity went away and it's made me then think about what next, like what do I actually want my business to stand for? What does it look like? And so I decided to pivot on to online courses, which has been great in terms of the whole experience figuring out how to develop an online course, package my IP, share that with people and have women go through an eight week programme called Unstoppable Woman, helping them unpack who they are what they want for themselves to give them clarity about their future direction. But the change that I guess I'm processing now and it's useful just to have a chat because I've not actually really said this out loud to anyone, certainly not on a podcast, but it's the question mark about do I want an online course business? Is that my future? Is that is that the path that I'm creating? Do I subscribe to everything that I feel that entails? Like, there is such a heavy emphasis on social media, Instagramming, being an influencer, sharing aspects of your life, showing up on lives, doing LinkedIn posts, there is so much that goes in with actually all of the peripheral stuff that actually supports people then getting to know you to then decide whether they want to buy your programme. And I'm kind of the person that's just, the program's great, it works (oh excuse my puppy). The programme's great, it works. How do I make something work, without... Excuse me one moment, I might just have to close the door one second so that the puppy doesn't interrupt this any further. I guess it's made me question whether I'm subscribing to the circus that I feel like I'm putting myself into to create a business that ultimately all I want to do is help people be the best they can be in the way they want to be. So I'm almost fighting, I'm finding through my own sort of change period that actually I'm helping people find their freedom and yet, I'm now constraining myself to a way of working and operating that just doesn't feel energetically aligned to what I stand for, and what I'm trying to help others navigate. So I have no idea where it's going to lead. But all I know, is what's served me well over the last few years, navigating the big changes, has been to pay attention to my feelings, and pay attention to where the resistance shows up. And yes, that's probably the big part and I don't know whether we just chat around that or unpack that a little more. I'll let you ask more around it.
Glin, thank you. There's so many strands, that I could and would love to pick up not least that whole dilemma that you've just finished with and I, for those that know me, I'm in the same position but let's park that for a second. And thank you so much for sharing, possibly a painful part that you've gone through, I'm really grateful and conscious that you didn't have to say that and I'm really thankful that you did. I might start there and I'm really interested, in the breakup of a relationship, why did you choose Australia?
It was somewhere that I had visited in 2003 for the very first time and then I came and visited again in 2006. Both times I felt this pull to see Australia as home and I knew it was somewhere that at some point in my life, I would live and work. At time I was in my relationship, well the second time I'd come here I was just embarking on my relationship. And then throughout that time being settled being married, I decided that, well we decided that we were going to have a family and at that point, I had decided that the dream around Australia needed to be put to one side. It was a narrative that I had in my mind at that time, which was naive, but one that said, Oh, well, if we are going to find a job, we're going to find the job through my ex husband's work because if I'm having a family, then I haven't got necessarily the security to have, bring up children and try and manage a career which is a false belief really, but that was the belief that I had at the time. And yes, so when we split up, I felt really lost. I felt really uncertain about where I was headed. I was really happy with the life that we had created. I was really happy with the location that we lived, the home that we had. So at that time, it felt like the only option that I had was to find something that made me feel like I was moving forward towards a dream rather than back to the starting blocks of life only with extra baggage. So I thought I don't really want to go backwards or I don't want to find a smaller home in the same area, because now I feel like I'm downsizing, I'm going backwards in some way where I felt like I should be expanding. So Australia was something my mum had reminded me, she said Glin, it's been your dream for years, but I'd actually parked it. So it had sort of gone from my mind and then she'd reminded me and said, Why don't you just go use that time, see if you can find an opportunity, have a couple of years and then come back. And now I've been here six years, I'm an Australian citizen, and haven't felt the desire to move back to the UK. I'm not saying never but at this point in time, it feels very much like home and so it felt like the natural place where I could move forward.
When we were unpacking all of our stuff here in Australia Glin, I found an old mind map that I put together when I first joined the business I joined in the UK, way back in it would be July 1999. One of the strands of that mind map was Australia, and I'd completely forgotten, completely forgotten and here we are. We arrived in 07 and we've been here since then. It's amazing how those things show up. I'm interested if you would share in losing the relationship, what did you find of yourself?
There was a lot. It was a big year. So I moved here in 2014 and, 2015 sorry, but 2014 was the year that I had started with the news that I was pregnant expecting our first baby, and then had a miscarriage, relationship ended or separated. And I ended the year in 2014 single, wondering what the hell had just happened, it was just this incredible year of such change. So in making the decision first to move to Australia, that was a start of saying, Actually, I'm choosing for me, I just knew I needed to do something that was about healing, but finding confidence in a new life solo because it brought up a lot of fears. It brought up fears of how do I do life solo when I've just been in an eight year long relationship and really settled and had my future mapped out and this future dream has gone. So it was that the future that I dreamed of had been taken, the life that I had created was also disintegrating there. And also, there was a lot to process around being single one, but also losing the opportunity at that time, in that timeframe to be a mum, again, you know this idea of going, Gosh, we're splitting up but geez I'm not happy about that but what, you're taking my right to be a mum away right now. And it was stuff that was processing rather than said, but it was the feeling of thinking, Oh God we're separating, by the time it's going to take me to find a new partner, settle, connect, when am I going to have this child that I've been dreaming about for years. And so there's a lot of grieving, a lot of grieving, letting go of that piece of my identity, this future plan that I've created, this life that didn't exist, but only in my head. And also recognising that I could be somebody outside of my relationship. And I think that was probably the trigger that really allowed me to be honest, at work for starters, I was in an executive role I worked with, essentially in large corporate global firms in consumer goods businesses. And all of that time in my career, I felt like I'd just been someone who wanted to reach the next level, there was always a future path to take, there was always somewhere else to be and striving for. But I also felt I was hiding a lot of who I was, which was someone that was bought up in a low socio economic environment in the equivalent of what Australians call Social Housing Council Houses in the UK. I had a personal block around feeling like I was from a poor background, single parent background, and I had a lot of hangups about being smart. So I focused on educating myself, I focused on being who I needed to be in corporate to kind of prove my own worthiness in some way. And through the separation and the divorce, all of that realisation of I'm trying to be something for other people to accept me in whatever way that looks like in my professional career. But actually, the thing that I really want is just to be me and just to be happy because what I craved was my loving relationship back and go, Oh, well, that was the only thing I really wanted in life was a partner to do life with, that's now gone. Qhat am I worried about? Trying to step myself through a career? And it gave me the impetus to go, let's just give something new a try. And if I don't succeed at it, okay that's definitely not something I want to do, because I hate failing I'm a type A performance orientated individual. But it did lead me to go okay, well, let's go and be who you are and it gave me the courage to step into those few years that I was in corporate in Australia, just to be myself, for starters, not someone who I thought I needed to be, it gave me the courage to say, Hey, I'm just going to choose what I want to do. And even with the, where I started when I left corporate, I'd started by calling my business Simply Glin before I changed it to Heart of Human. And it was Simply Glin just based on the fact that I'd started a personal blog site called Simply Glin and I thought, Oh, well good a name as any to start with for my business. And then realised it was all about my identity, because I just realised my surname would change if I got married or went back to my maiden name. And I just thought, Oh, it's just too much attachment to a title or a name or a label. So I thought I'm just going to, I'm always going to be Glin, like, not going to change my first name so yes, it's just Simply Glin. And then realised with that part of the puzzle, my own sharing was a great healing journey. But when I was then holding space for executive coaching clients, and then sharing news, articles and writing blogs, suddenly I felt a responsibility to hold space for others. And Simply Glin was my space for just processing and sharing. So I then renamed the business to Heart of Human which gave me the essence of what I was trying to do with corporate leaders or business owners and female leaders wanting to find themselves and their clarity, but I could hold the container and the space for them, whilst having Simply Glin as my space unfiltered for me. But yes, the blog for Simply Glin fell off the wagon as I started to focus on Heart of Human but that's part of circling back, I guess, to the beginning, it's been part of it to go, you had Simply Glin, you've got Heart of Human, where do the two connect? Where's the intersection between the both and how can you bring back all of you to one space, which is you doing you the way you want to do you but whilst giving something to others that they can benefit for their own journey too?
There are no coincidences perhaps, I was reading this afternoon about Russell Brand who was describing life as it's not linear, it's not circular. So even when you think you've come back to the same position, it's actually a spiral because you're just seeing it from a different perspective. And that sounds very much what you're describing, you've come back to the same spot, but the Glin of five years ago is very different to the Glin of today. I'm going to ask you something, and I know the answer. But what I'm sensing and I think the listeners would sense this as well, to be able to talk about the stuff that you've just shared, which is extremely vulnerable and extremely personal, I sense you've done work on yourself to be able to even do that. I'm interested in if you would share when you did the grieving, did you do it intentionally?
Did I do it intentionally?
As in did you grieve intentionally? Did you do it purposefully? Did you know how to grieve?
No idea, no idea. What I did intentionally though, was in 2014, so my miscarriage was early part of 2014, so March time, partner moved out July. And from that point in time, July, I was like, right. I've got to figure out how I'm suddenly going to cope with this new environment. And I decided at that point, I would keep a gratitude journal. And I would write three things or more if I fancied, but a minimum of three things that I was grateful for each day. And the only rule in that journal was, because all of my previous life journals have been like, oh god wallowing in self pity, let me just have a pity party for one and pour my heart and soul onto these pages and whinge and moan. But my commitment to myself was gratitude, because misery and gratitude, gratitude and misery cannot coexist. So, if you don't want to be miserable, choose gratitude, let me do that. And I did that consistently, writing gratitude journals from that point onwards for four and a half years, every single day. And the only clue that I had about that first year of my grieving period, and the separation and then the subsequent divorce, about my down periods were my gratitude extended to things like, I'm grateful for my senses, the ability to feel, touch, see, it was the raw, I cannot think of anything else to be grateful for other than that I'm alive and I can feel and I can see, and it was the most baseline of needs being met, that I can find to be grateful for. And that was my only clue that I was having a bad day. But aside from that, like there was just so much goodness. And I think, genuinely that period of consistent gratitude kept me in a spiral up. So it meant the relationship that I have with my ex husband, were still friends, we never argued, it was a very amicable breakup whilst heartbreaking for me, because it wasn't my choice but it was a really amicable breakup. And friends commented as to how are you guys still so close and so friendly and kind? And I just like, well, that's just who I am and it's who he is. So why wouldn't we be that together, despite the fact that our paths are separating? And I think gratitude played a few huge part in that grieving journey. But the grief itself wasn't an intentional process, but the gratitude definitely was.
Wow, and the gratitude journaling, how long did you spend on that per day?
Not long, three bullet points was all I did so it's like 5-10 minutes.
The reason I'm asking Glin is that's in the work that we do, that's what we tell clients, right? It doesn't have to be Hollywood, it doesn't have to be an hour, it could be three seconds, three minutes, three bullet points. The trick is the consistency and so make it small enough that you can do it consistently. And that sounds like what you did. Was there any extent to which you had to force yourself to do it?
Not probably for the first couple of years, no. Later on yes, there was times, it was sort of four and a half years before I finally said, I'm now not feeling this process is working in the same one way that it once did. But I'd grown so I needed a new process, I needed something different. So I'm great at just choosing different rituals that serve for a period of time and not having any attachment to it being 'the thing' forever. But four and a half years of consistent journaling but I'd definitely say for the first couple of years it was a no brainer. My Gratitude Journal went with me everywhere, even if I was away at a friends overnight I'd take it just to write those three bullet points in.
And so whilst you might not have recognised that as intentional grieving, I think that's what you were doing, without even calling it that, without even knowing that. Now, I wonder, it fascinates me about humans that they ask the how question. But how could I intentionally grieve, how would I do this Glin? And you go, Be grateful for three seconds a day. Oh it can't be that easy, it can't be that easy. Well, it's not because you've got to do it for four and a half years. Oh, I couldn't do for four and a half years. And what I'm hearing your story is, well, it was five minutes a day for four and a half years.
Yes, and it was funny, actually, when I had told, now that you say that time it's that's really I've just connected the dots, my HR, sort of Chief HR officer that I worked with at the time at Twinings, when I first told him I'd had a miscarriage, separating and going through a divorce and just letting him know in case it was going to be weird at work as to what was going on, he said to me, Glin, he said, it's going to take you five years to get over this relationship and at the time, I thought, you what, five years, are you kidding me? But then, and it wasn't an Oh, I'm logging that and I'm going to make it last five years, but I look back now and go for me properly to have left, because it was so much grief around losing a baby as well as a relationship, actually yes, that probably feels like there's a whole heap of stuff that needed to be processed. So maybe the four and a half years was okay, for five minutes a day, you know, who knows if it was going to take longer if I hadn't done that? Who knows, I have no idea, but yes.
We're going to pause there. Glin and I turned the corner in the next part of our conversation. But I wanted to respect some of the things that Glin shared in what I thought was a very raw and genuine, authentic, vulnerable, really touching conversation and how, centred isn't the right word, but how congruent and at relative peace she seemed, with what had gone on, in terms of losing relationships and finding part of herself, using gratitude to counter the grief that she experienced then, and just the power of five minutes a day for four and a half years. I think that's an extraordinary example of performance at its best in a very, very raw and emotional context. So I'll leave it with you there for part one of my conversation with Heart of Human Glin Bayley, cheers.