Have I not written a blog since May 2020 covid-19 chaos??!
Where has the time gone and why did 2020 feel like the longest year in my lifetime thus far?
Well maybe because it was. We were slower in 2020, Covid-19 took its toll. We moved like little turtles just hatched, coming off the shores of the pacific racing in slow motion to the ocean trying to escape the seagulls hovering to pick up our vulnerable Startup bodies and crush our shells into tomorrow morning's poop. Okay, slightly dramatic..
When I was in the Corporate world, working in high pressured environment, transforming or recovering technology, I wished each year that I was more patient and kinder when deadlines neared. I have achieved it finally after 20 years and it took me getting out of corporate to build my own business to get it. Oh plus a global health pandemic - but Eureka! I cracked it and survived on the other side.
My team have delievered a bulk of fixes on our wonderful little Startup called CheeHoo and we are closer to being a bit more stable and faster. Although we still have some work to do to pick up speed! We are now getting ready for our next stage of growth, more effficiencies, improvements in our calendar and doing more of what we all need it life, helping us juggle it all better without having to manually do it all! We also have something else cooking! Something that actually helps you get the things off your list! But lets not talk about that just yet, we have work to do!
Building a Technology platform, a startup a business is always harder then you imagine, even though you imagine the worst already. At times you feel the imposter syndrome creep in as you think, should I keep doing this? Is it really going to help people, like I imagined it would, based on my own problems? Who knows, but at this stage, im obsessed with solving the problem of our digital busy lives and I do see some of you feel the same, with the new customers who still downloaded during 2020. This tells me we are all still looking for better tools to manage our day to day.
I want technology to serve us better. I do not care to ask Siri to play music or get me a pizza. I want a better way to reduce the noise, prioritise those I love and automate the mundane in life!
There is my answer, I still need to keep going. This is the typical rational I go through of fact finding when imposter syndome comes to visit.
Until we all have an effective and practical digital assistance that actually manages our life admin and also actually gives us back time, I cannot see it any other way!
Have you got an obsession you want to solve? Do you see something in life that just does not make sense and you feel you have the idea to fix it? If so, lets connect, let me know, sitting on it for years does not make it go away.
Thank you for taking this journey with me and your patience as we build a platform for the future. Technology that serves you and your daily juggle, to give you a better quality of life with those you love, your passions and goals!
2020 starts with the usual family unitedness and then we all drift into our respective corners of the busy world trying to juggle work, children, health guilt and relaxation whenever you can squeeze it in, with the planned trip at some point in the year.
If you are a 21-year-old, you add in a hectic social life, exams, tik toks and series of milestone birthday parties followed by your first trip of your lifetime with friends costing you gleefully most of your life savings.
For some there will be new babies, marriages, divorces and break ups, career goals, business ambitions and a whole lot of social media consumption.
Whatever the situation, it all came to a momentary pause some months ago, as a Pandemic changed the social structures of the developed world.
So, what is my situation – well! I have a Tech Start up 14 months live! Wahoo! And have been given a gift.
I have a day job that calls me to commute up to 1.5 hours a day and always has me staying late, because I struggle to time manage my exit from working or interacting. Therefore, being late to get home before dark, not enough quality family time as I squeeze in a diet of convenience, sync with all and before I know it my eyes are closing as I fit in a few things before CheeHoo whilst all are tucked into at home. All first world problems!
My gift is I have spent the last 10 weeks with no commute, started a 6-week challenge for fitness, have eaten so much nutrients…like it was fuel for my body (funny that) and saved money with less commute and convenience buying. I have been more productive at my day job; I have spent more time at home with family and more time for CheeHoo without disrupting a good night’s sleep.
Wow is this it!!??? Is this what they call work life balance!!?? Finally, it took a pandemic for me to find it.
So, question is do I love it? Is it something I want to keep? Am I worried to lose it again returning to the office commute and previous disciplines of modern society? Yes, I’m afraid I love it and I do not want to return to the previous regimented rituals, I want the flow of flexibility to be my future, where you cut through engagement with purposeful on point meetings and when you do see each other and engage its met with more excitement as you see people who also are enjoying the flexibility of digital work practices.
This new taste of being, doing receiving has multiple benefits to my life, that to go back to what it was would be like being locked up back in a basement of a resort in the Maldives after I had just spent 7 weeks on the shoreside swimming with Nemo. Ok a bit exaggerated because I do miss my coffees, the morning hellos to all and the dressing up out of my sweats.
So! Not everyone feels this way about Iso. Some are itching to return to the office, where social environments provide them a boost of energy and happiness. Where being at home is not that crash hot and feels more like a regimented ritual of balancing and juggling more.
The reason I started CheeHoo was to find a way to hack into life and create a tool that acted like a mini me, contained all my organisation needs in one spot, where juggling, delegating and connecting was supported by automation with my Tribe. A way that everyone could share the load with those around them, without insistent guilt and remorse when your memory did not hold up and you didn’t have time to co-ordinate a social life through chat sessions. Turning goals into actions with a pretty interface and the nag was automated and not me.
I wanted balance and balance is currently here, challenging the structure of modern society, where driving somewhere to sit in a box and work a 10hour day to get money to put into consumer habits was normal.
My dream of having a business where all the team were virtual, and we met face to face once to twice a week in an office where our fur babies and loved ones were welcomed, and we used the time to review, collaborate, brain storm and plan, allowing us to then go kick life goals and work goals as we saw fit.
Going back to normal post Covid-19 – will it be back to the traditional structures or will we be changing the expectation and increasing the trust developed to allow people to work in a way that compliments life based on outcomes and output.
Whatever way we return to post Isolife for an office worker, we all have a chance to reflect and question the structures of society and pick the parts that allow us to live life to the fullest and enjoy the journey at the same time. Employers have tasted what it is like to go digital and people should have the choice to leverage the digital tools of society and balance their life the way they want, whilst being successful and recognised. I know my household are a little more grateful for what we have in the developed world and appreciate the joys of community and balance iso gave us.
What’s your thoughts on isolife and post?
Numbers don’t lie. Women are a minority in the startup world. But things are changing. More and more people are investing in women. In fact, some of the most successful startup companies have female founders such as Canva and Matcha Maiden.
The challenge is sustaining this wave of change, keeping the conversation going, and making sure that it simply won’t be a conversation but a series of actions that will change the entrepreneurial landscape. A recent study showed female-led business have only grown by 3% over the past 20 years. It is not the kind of statistic that will encourage women.
While 30% of businesses in the world are owned by women (34% in Australia), we still have a long way to go to achieve the balance we are aiming for. We sat with Isaac Coonan, Director for REACH Australia, to discuss the state of women entrepreneurship and how we can empower more women to start their own businesses.
You have to come out of your shell and leave your comfort zone. You need to pitch your business to investors. Speak up and share your ideas with confidence. As female leaders, we need to empower women to participate in male-dominant entrepreneurial events so that the following year, the narrative changes. The event isn’t for males anymore but for female entrepreneurs as well.
Know Your Tribe
Connect with other entrepreneurs. Seek mentorship from experienced female startup founders. You have to know your community and engage them. Most female entrepreneurs feel lost and alone because they don’t know who to ask and how to proceed. It’s very important that you know your tribe. They are the like-minded people you need in your journey as an entrepreneur.
Own the Statistic
Things should not end with just knowing that there are less female-led businesses in the market. We should do something about it. If you are at that stage in your business where you can afford to gather women and create entrepreneurial events targeted for women, then do it. Take someone under your wing and mentor her so she can pay it forward later on.
Increase Awareness for Inclusiveness
While we can do whatever we can in our spheres of influence, we can also advocate for systemic change in our government and in big corporations. We should find a way to slowly change the entire ecosystem to make it more inclusive. We also need a mind shift in the way investors look at entrepreneurs—not based on gender, race, or religion but based on skills and ingenuity of ideas.
A lot of people still think that entrepreneurship is a man’s world. But that is absolutely not true. More and more women are stepping out of their comfort zones and starting their own businesses. We need to keep encouraging other women to pursue their startup dreams and empower them to speak up. We need to increase our tribes so that female entrepreneurs find kindred spirits who will support them in their journey.
Have you ever wondered why you sometimes find it difficult to make a decision or how you become aware of your actions and emotions? A lot of us do, and it’s great to discover how personality traits like indecisiveness and self-awareness are linked to our brain.
In our recent 3-part podcast, The Brain Deep Dive (link to podcast), we had the pleasure of learning from neuroscientist and counselor, Dr. Diane Garner. She helped us get into the nitty-gritty of the brain and its role in decision-making and self-awareness. Here are some of the valuable takeaways from the podcast.
Decision-making is Cognitive, Decisions are Emotional
Making a decision relies on the communication between the different parts of the brain. The brain works to take on new information and analyze how it fits our current knowledge and past experiences. While this is a cognitive task, the decisions we make are emotional. The orbitofrontal cortex part of the brain is responsible for this. There is an emotional response to a certain situation or information.
Indecisiveness is usually a result of a negative emotion. We find it hard to make a decision because we’re afraid of making a mistake. There’s this fear of regretting making the wrong decision.
Our decision-making patterns can also be affected by the way we were raised or how our parents or the people around us motivated and encouraged us to make a decision. If your decisions when you were young were not validated or had negative consequences, then you lose confidence in your ability to make a decision. That may contribute to your indecisiveness as an adult.
Tips to Improve Decision-Making
Researching or gathering more information can help us make a decision. Let’s say your girl friends invited you to a day trip out of town. Although you’re up for an adventure with them, you can’t say ‘Yes’ right away. You wanted to make sure first that you can get back in time for another engagement in the evening. What you can do is check your trusty calendar and organizer app, ask your friends about the itinerary, and research online the travel time and predicted weather on that day. This shall help you decide if you’ll join them or not.
When you’re struggling with indecision, it’s also a good idea to make a list of pros and cons and give yourself a deadline. You can’t just analyze your list forever. Time is precious, and so weigh up your options and make a decision.
Self-awareness is a Superpower
We naturally have routines and behavioral scripts running automatically, without pause. We make a decision or take an action without consciously thinking about how it may affect us. But with self-awareness, we experience that moment of pause. It’s sort of like a superpower that allows us to check if those automatic scripts or responses are appropriate for the situation. In order to have that pause, we need to learn how to regulate emotions.
Ways to Build Self-Awareness
One of the keys to building self-awareness is creating a connection with your body. See how your body responds to a certain situation. Because we experience emotions in our body before they become thoughts, when we feel off or react in a negative way, our heart rate or respiration level usually increases. So when you notice those things in your body, you’ll have the chance to pause before you do a certain action or decision.
Mindfulness is another important and effective way to develop self-awareness. Focus on the present moment. Be mindful of your thoughts and feelings. No matter how busy you are, make sure your find time to practice mindfulness. It will help you become more aware of your emotions, thoughts, and body, and therefore be better at making decisions.
The brain does work in mysterious ways. But one thing we’ve learned and proven is that it plays an essential role in decision-making and self-awareness. Take note of the tips we’ve mentioned to improve your decision-making skills and develop self-awareness.
CheeHoo may come in handy whenever you’re feeling indecisive. It’s an organizer, practical assistant, and social app that you can use to list your pros and cons or gather more information so you can be sure that you’re going to make the right decision.
Catch our #SplashofColour Brain Deep Dive podcast with Dr. Diane Harner on Spotify and iTunes or click below to see it on YouTube.
When you think of a military assault course, you think about multiple hurdles and challenges. They are used to evaluate the weaknesses and progress of the team. Women also face an assault course in their careers. There are many challenges that prevent women from succeeding in the corporate world. Some of them are external while others are internal battles that every woman has to grapple with.
Today, we will look into the different aspects of the female career assault course and share tips on how to navigate them.
The Prejudice Obstacle
When women enter the boardroom, they are immediately graded based on how they look, walk, speak, and dress. The truth is, they often come in with a negative score already. But that doesn’t mean that this obstacle cannot be overcome. In fact, most women use this as motivation to work harder to disprove these prejudices. First impressions don’t have to last. You can change them.
The Predecessor Power
Every woman executive has defeated the female career assault course. They’ve overcome one hurdle after another. It is these women that you need to know more and read about. Before they reached that position, they must’ve shed blood, sweat, and tears. Knowing their plight will help you press on to continue pursuing your career goals.
The Sisterhood Secret
Build a sisterhood for the right reasons. Empower fellow female colleagues. Don’t tear each other down. Sometimes competitiveness gets in the way of empowerment. Because we want to get ahead, we unfortunately tend to bring down other women. A sisterhood in the workplace is powerful when used for the right reasons. Leverage your tribe and propel each other to success.
The Confidence Key
The new superpower is being a woman. You don’t have to hide anymore. You can speak up and be confident in your own skin. Many years ago, women will put their power pants on just to project the image of toughness and authority. Now, you don’t need to do that anymore. You can come as you are, armed with your knowledge and competencies—and conquer the corporate ladder!
The Worthy Winner
In overcoming the female career assault course, you need to know your worth. Women generally have the tendency to devalue themselves. You know your skillset, strengths, expertise, and experience. Ask for a salary or raise that is commensurate to what you can offer. Do not lower your value because you fear what other people will say. You will win the female career assault course when you consider yourself a worthy winner.
Women may have a lot of hurdles to overcome in their careers but they are all conquerable. You have more opportunities to stand out and succeed now. So seize them!
Learn more how you can apply these tips in the full episode of our podcast!
Starting your own business, big or small, can be challenging. Putting it up and managing it demands a lot of work. According to Ben Horowitz, author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things, the two hardest things about being an entrepreneur are managing your own psychology and knowing what to do next.
Female entrepreneurs want to prove that they can hang in there along with men, but what do they need to push them? Knowing where to start and what you signed up for is a must.
During the process of starting your own startup or passion project, our internal chatter and psychology can be our greatest barriers. We need to remember that it’s very normal not to know what is next and it is very normal to feel like it's just some time’s a little hard!
Marc Orchard, Director of Startup for BDO Australia, joined our recent podcast. He discussed how women can grow and succeed as entrepreneurs. Here are some of the things he shared.
According to Marc, female entrepreneurs struggle in advocating for their own business. That’s why they need the people in their inner circle to advocate for them. They also need to hear from the people around them what they’re doing right as well as what they’re doing wrong. An honest opinion from a trusted tribe supporter, friend or a relative helps a lot.
When females start businesses, we know they are passionate for the cause. Female founders have personal reasons why they start their business. Some are passionate about the products that they sell. They want to share their experience with their target market. Others are driven by a purpose, these are women who started a business to support a cause. It could be to help fund a loved one’s medication, promote awareness, support a social movement, etc.
Being treated as a legitimate entrepreneur is very important. It boosts the self-esteem of female founders. Plus, it validates all the hard work they did to put up a business. Raising questions for self-assessment without feeling vulnerable is important too. Validation should come from themselves and people they care about.
Female entrepreneurs tend to be critical of themselves. Listening to believers and acknowledging opportunities helps. Also, maintaining a work-life balance is useful to boost confidence. It gives them the assurance that they can do good both as entrepreneurs and matriarchs.
Tips for women who are thinking of putting up their own business:
Taking a risk is easier said than done. But you have to trust your gut and have faith in your skill set. Get the support system you need to muster up the courage as well. Possessing a positive mindset also helps you to move forward.
Don’t forget to catch the full episode of our podcast available on Spotify and iTunes!
Spend less time caught up in the clutter and more focusing on what is truly important.