May I introduce you to Eleanor Morrison of Big Mind Coaching. I’m absolutely thrilled to be hosting a new series of blogs celebrating female entrepreneurs who are simply thriving. It’s my aim to bring you a varied range of stories featuring women who are living life on their own terms and shunning the idea that life has to take a back seat when you run your own business. Although these women will share their tips and advice, I hope this blog series also inspires you to do things your way – to carve your own path. Click here to see the first interview and to read a full explanation of what a Simply Thriving Entrepreneur is.
I met Eleanor when we were both studying for our coaching diplomas. We immediately bonded over our love of a simpler way of living with a real pull for being by the sea. She surprised me by challenging me right from the start. We’d only just met but Eleanor was quite comfortable challenging my old perfectionist tendencies regarding putting off starting this website! She also shocked me by telling me she doesn’t use to do lists!! At the time, I barely did anything unless it had been written on a list first. Now, either things go in my calendar if I really want to do something, or I just ditch it – if it’s not important enough to schedule, there’s no need to stick it on a list! Eleanor is a warm and inspirational coach and friend, and I really admire her confidence in doing things the way that works for her and her family. She juggles studying, working, volunteering, looking after two teens and two toddlers, and still remains upbeat and generous-hearted – Eleanor really knows how to simply thrive!
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do
I’m 42, married and have four children. Life in my family is full-on! I have my own business, I love the outdoors, I run, I horse ride, I work hard at bringing up my family in a kind and loving way even if I don’t always feel kind and loving!
About 14 years ago, I first discovered the world of coaching when I worked in corporate marketing. I went self-employed around six years ago, a few years before that I also had a childrenswear shop and website. Now I have my own coaching business called big mind coaching.
I live in rural Norfolk and have done for several years. My family are quite international, and I have lived and worked in a range of places in the UK and overseas.
For 3 days a week, I also work coaching and mentoring children at a local high school. This is a new project run by the Church of England and I’m excited to be part of it!
How do you plan your day/week?
I use a page a week family wall calendar and plan everyone’s time together on one sheet, including my private coaching work. I like blank space and flexibility, so I plan by exception. By that I mean, every week there are set times for work, school, clubs and so on.
I don’t use ‘to do’ lists because they look overwhelming and place a disproportionate amount of importance on ‘getting stuff done’. My priority is always to be present and clear minded.
In terms of daily planning I set my intention for the day (when I remember)! and I literally go with the energy of life. By that I mean, I listen to my body and make decisions or do something creative when the energy is right. If something feels forced then I rest, change task or if I have no choice then I will just quietly complete a task and take a break as soon as possible.
For work I do like to use a page a day diary because it can double up as a journal.
What does success look like to you?
The extent to which I am experiencing love, wellbeing and being fully present.
What does self-care mean to you, and how is that reflected in your life?
Self-care for me is really about self-awareness and being in the moment. My relationship with my thinking is the biggest form of self-care, knowing when my thoughts are in the present and when they’ve wandered somewhere else. I’m very gentle with myself, forgiving, letting stuff go. I do practical things like morning yoga stretches, prayer, meditation, reflection and reading which all contribute to a feeling of wellbeing.
Looking back, is there anything you would you change about your first year in business?
No! I’ve learned a lot from everything and continue to do so.
What boundaries do you have in place regarding your work/life balance?
Lots. People before projects, always. I need to be physically in the same room as my family most days and we eat together regularly. I don’t try and separate everything mentally into two areas (life and work) because the work I do is a passion, so I will read coaching and personal development books when I am in the same room as my children. Also, I wouldn’t get the laptop out or have a client call when the kids are around because I need to give those things my full attention.
I never take my phone upstairs to the bedroom, but that’s also because I don’t let my teenagers have phones in bedrooms either. I try to role model the expectations I have of them and I think it’s also great for a good night’s sleep.
What’s the best and worst thing about working for yourself?
The best thing is that I love what I do. It feels like a privilege and not work, so it’s enjoyable. I also love the fact I can spend time on my own and be at home. The worst thing has to be the lack of accountability, which at times can mean I focus on the bits I enjoy rather than what needs doing!
Please can you share a top tip for an overwhelmed entrepreneur
Obviously, my top tip would be to hire a coach! But secondary to that I’d recommend that you look at where the overwhelm is coming from and how you can change it. Where does it sit in your body? What is going through your head? Write it down. Then think about what you want instead of those thoughts and feelings. Write that down.
Chances are; the overwhelm could be habitual, it’s a go-to for some people in times of change or starting a new project. It may have very little to do with the lack of knowledge around being an entrepreneur, it could just as easily be moving house, having a baby or starting a new job.
Having a good relationship with your thoughts and feelings is the biggest tip I can share, because business knowledge can be learned or bought in along the way.
Where can we find you online?
I also have a blog called Mother Overfunctioner which is at http://motheroverfunctioner.wordpress.com