May I introduce you to Suzannah Butcher of Calmpreneur. 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.
Suzannah is a warm and supportive presence, and she’s heading up a “calmpaign” to promote a calmer way of living and working. She’s an advocate of defining success in a new, healthier way…with less stress and more calm – which I’m 100% behind. Success is a journey, not a destination, according to Suzannah… after all, there’s no point in reaching a huge financial target if you’re completely burnt out and alienated from family and friends along the way. Self-care is Suzannah’s number 1 priority in life so that she can show up as her best self for her family and her work. Self-care is something I know we’re all working on – I love that Suzanne mentions giving herself “permission” to put self-care first. I wonder how many of us also need to give ourselves that same permission. Read on to find out more!
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do
Hello! I’m Suzannah; a Mum, Mentor, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Coach and Mental Health First Aider/advocate. I live in Devon, UK, not too far from the sea. I love walking in nature, meditating, spending time with my family and learning.
Mental well-being is a topic very close to my heart. I’ve not only experienced my own struggles with anxiety and depression for most of my life, but I also have family members who have struggled too.
In 2016 I lost a friend and colleague who died by suicide, and although I hadn’t seen her for some years (we tried to arrange lots of meetups, but they never seemed to happen for one reason and another) it shook me up and I had a year or so where I was really anxious and low.
Because of this, I found running a business a challenge and in 2018 I decided to pivot my business at the time (a membership for women in business) to start Calmpreneur, a website to support other entrepreneurs with their mind wellness, knowing this would give me the freedom I needed to be completely honest about my own mental health, as well as helping others with theirs.
How do you plan your day/week?
Planning was something I used to do very haphazardly! When I gave up drinking alcohol, I found a new clarity I had NEVER experienced before and became more self-disciplined than I had ever been.
I bought myself a Best Self Goals Journal, set my first batch of 3 x 90 day goals and pretty much smashed them! The journal really helps me keep on track. Every morning I get up at 6am to meditate and plan my day, with those 3 main goals always at the forefront of my mind. I am prone to procrastination, so setting that daily intention and seeing it down on paper keeps me laser focussed.
The most important thing with my planning is that I spend some time thinking about how I’m feeling that day. Some days, if I’m struggling with my mental health, I literally just write ‘be gentle with myself’ as my main goal for the day, as a reminder that my well-being is paramount.
What does success look like to you?
Success is definitely different for everybody. I’m lucky that I feel pretty successful now. As much as more wealth would be tempting (I would love to own my own home again in the future) my life is generally amazing; I am doing something I absolutely love, I spend lots of time with my family, I walk in nature, I have this most wonderful dog who has helped me keep sane (literally!) and I appreciate what I DO have rather than what I don’t.
It’s important to remember that success doesn’t necessarily equal a big bank balance and it’s not an end result. The quote about success being a journey, not a destination, is so true. It’s about finding that success NOW; what is good in your life today? There is joy, success and abundance all around.
What does self-care mean to you, and how is that reflected in your life?
Self-care is my #1 priority and comes before everything else, because without me looking after me, there would be a sad shadow of a person. Finally, after many years of berating myself, feeling shame and worthless, I have realised the importance of self-love.
What this looks like for me is realising the importance of my daily routine. Yes, it’s a struggle to get up at 6am some mornings, but it is literally the most important thing I do each day, because it’s time just for me. I no longer feel selfish about shutting my bedroom door and reading for an hour if that’s what I want to do, or having a long bath, or going for a walk…on my own. Giving yourself permission is one of the best things you can do.
Looking back, is there anything you would you change about your first year in business?
It feels like soooo long ago now (2008) but no, I wouldn’t change a thing. It happened the way it was supposed to happen. I’ve learnt a lot over the years and that includes learning from my mistakes and failures (and there’s been a lot of those), as well as the successes.
What boundaries do you have in place regarding your work/life balance?
I’m getting better at boundaries but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. I set the majority of my zoom calls for during school hours when my children are in school. I *try* to switch off but it’s hard when you have a smart phone!
My best boundaries are those I set around my personal space, as in what I let into my life. I’m much better at being honest with people. Like many women, I’m a people pleaser, but have learnt whilst it’s lovely to be supportive and giving, that doesn’t give people permission to walk all over you.
What’s the best and worst thing about working for yourself?
The best is freedom; freedom to be myself, to not have to answer to anyone, to evolve, to be with my family, to focus on my mental health.
And the worst is the ‘switching off’ thing! Some days I miss that feeling of completely leaving work behind, especially when we go on holidays. I still feel like half my mind is present in my business.
Where can we find you online?
I tend to hang out most in my Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/calmpreneur but you can find me on all the social media platforms. I am the founder of Calmpreneur.com. Calmpreneur helps entrepreneurs focus on their mental wellbeing and find new ways to reduce stress and increase productivity through training, resources and support.
Connect with Suzannah: