Suri discusses how women can find meaningful impact by reframing their lives and careers, through four intention-based seasons: exploration, love, rooting, and blooming.
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- Yoga with Adriene on YouTube
- Simon Sinek’s interview with Elizabeth English
- 80,000 Hours by Benjamin Todd and the 80,000 hours team. Get it here for free.
- 80,000 Hours podcast
Learning about financial literacy:
- Balance by Andrew Hallam
- Suze Orman’s Women & Money podcast
- Suri’s 13 Money Lessons article
- Mr. Money Mustache
For messages on living with integrity in our work life:
TRANSCRIPT – edited for clarity
Last week I spoke about what moms today are struggling with. If you haven’t listened to that, please go back to episode 14, and listen to it first. At the end of that episode I mentioned that we as women, need to get creative and come up with ideas of our own, on how the new work-life balance could look like for us.
In this episode I’ll share a little bit about some ideas that I’ve heard along the grapevine, and try to paint my picture of how we can try and problem-solve this. This is just one way of looking at it. It’s just an idea I’m offering up. I know it won’t be a one size fits all, but I hope you can find something in there that sparks an idea in you, or at least find some resources that you can use to help you along your journey.
INTRO: This is your host Suri Stahel. Welcome back to another episode of Doing Things on Purpose, the podcast that empowers women to take charge of their time, health, relationships, and money by doing things on purpose.
Let’s get started with today’s mom check-in.
CHECK-IN: I’m talking about how we’re taking care of ourselves, so that we can take care of our loved ones, our home, our work, and the community around us.
- As you might know by now, I do a simple practice of daily yoga following the free monthly video playlist from Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. This month’s playlist is called Union. And what about you? I hope you’ve also found a daily self-care practice that’s been good for your body and soul, even if it’s just by a tiny little bit each and every day.
- In today’s frantic world, I just love anything that lets me slow down, and calm down. Because guys, I’m so dysfunctional when I’m in a rush. I do things halfway, I don’t pay attention to the words that I’m saying, I get forgetful. Maybe some of you relate?
- If slowing down doesn’t help you release stress, then try something more vigorous. Some people prefer working out through dancing, kickboxing, jogging or going to the gym. The point is to find something that you love doing – and the best way to do that is to experiment.
- And then the second part of the mom check-in is about the practice of protecting our most valuable resource – our time. Which means managing our schedule and creating routines that work not just to support the busy work that we have to do outside of the home, but also for the activities and rituals that we want to nurture within the family.
- For our family, what’s been a relatively new practice, is that we’ve made a concrete step to limiting screen time in the family. What’s happened is that my oldest daughter got an iPad from school this year, where she does homework and gets to chat with her classmates, and I’ve been doing a lot of work online as well with my new business – so at one point it felt like screens, screens and screens. I then really felt called to implement some of the learnings I’d gained in last September’s Tech-Wise Parenting Summit hosted by the wonderful Susan Stiffelman. What we’ve implemented in our family is screen free Sundays. That means no TV, no computers and no phones for 24 hours. Everybody’s electronics get deposited into this big woven basket that I have in my bedroom, where it’s kept out of sight and out of mind for 24 hours.
- I’ve also put my daughter’s iPad in this basket during the week, when she’s not supposed to use it for homework or checking her classroom chat.
- So there have been no more parents quickly checking our phones while waiting for the kids to hurry up, or to clean up, or to finally help set the table. I’ve instead found time to finally finish reading the two books that have been half-read for months now. And I finally finished some home chores I’ve been meaning to do, but something more ‘important’ always got in the way.
- And for my daughter, she’s no longer secretly sneaking off to check the class chat when she’s not supposed to, because she can’t help it. And then having to lie about it later. I really think when it comes to screens, including phones and its connection with depression, anxiety and social pressures – we parents have to step up and be the leader to set the tone here. It is possible to use technology to create and do good, but we have to be the ones to show them how. Because if we don’t, they’ll just copy and paste from other influences, like their friends.
- So let’s ask ourselves: What new or old habits and rituals have I been consciously or perhaps unconsciously brought into my home? Think about, what is calling for me to pay attention to right now, or in this season of my life? What can I tweak or change to better align to how I want to live?
SURI: Now, let’s dive into today’s discussion about reframing our approaches to living and working, from the unique perspectives of women and mothers.
Because finding purpose in the different seasons of our lives, can look very different – we all have different things on our plate when we were in our 20s compared to when we’re in our 30s or 40s, we have different levels of awareness as we grow older, and of course differing priorities. And these seasons can look different depending on whether you have kids earlier or in life, or later.
But in broad strokes, just to begin – I’m suggesting that we start the discussion by breaking down a woman’s life, into these four intention-based seasons:
- The exploration season: late teens to mid 20s, early career, pre-marriage, pre-partnership and pre-family. This season is all about the word “I.”
- The love season: mid 20s to mid 30s, relationship focused, fall in love, get married or commit to a trusting relationship, have kids, make a place we call home, develop important life skills about how to manage money, how to be a good human, how to create healthy boundaries, and to balance our individual needs, with the collective needs of our family and community. Because t his season is all about the word “We.”
- The rooting season: mid 30s to mid 40s, stable home life and strong relationships around us , mid career for some, school age kids, more time and brain space to reflect how everything we’ve learned so far about ourselves and supportive relationships, can help inform us – help us get ready to engage with our community, to shift and propel our personal and professional life in a much more intentional direction. So we’re spreading those roots and finding all those yummy nutrients that we need, to grow big and strong.
- The blooming season: Our mid 40s onwards, late career season for some, kids more independent or have flown the coop, ready for more community, looking for more ways to grow and take focused action on our dreams, beyond our personal life. We want to contribute and find meaningful work that we’d be happy to carry on doing, well beyond our retirement age if we could.
Does this sound like a life that you’d like to lead?
This is just one proposed way that I feel we can feasibly think about the timeline of our life, on the macro level. So we don’t feel like we’re always falling behind, and know that we really can have everything – our family, our career, our health and our sense of purpose and connection to each other. It’s based on modern considerations like the importance of education and career in our society today, and the biological constraints that women face, like our optimal child-bearing age between our late teens to our mid 30s.
Of course, life isn’t lived in a straight line. But if we want to shed old beliefs about the hustle culture, feeling like we’re always falling behind in life, being expected to multitask all parts of our lives all at once, and we’re ready to let go of society’s validation-seeking and materialistic lifestyle; then we’ve got to come up with a better plan then what’s currently on the table.
If we’re able as a community, to decide on the main priorities that we want to be able to focus on, during the different seasons of our lives, then maybe we’ll have a better chance at coming up with the hows.
How can our workplace, government policies and educational pathways be improved to support women who want to get educated and build useful careers in their early adulthood, who then also need to take a break to focus on family for a while without being penalized for it. Because a stable home supports both our partner’s career and our future career. I see it really as a win-win.
For today, let’s start with..
#1: The Season to Explore
In our late teens to mid 20s is when we typically spend our time focused on expressing ourselves and on exploring our own path as individuals. If you or maybe your older daughters are currently at this stage, your focus should simply be to explore and figure out what you’re good at, and to build valuable skills that will keep serving you later in life. Because this is when our abilities to think quickly on our feet, and to pick up and recall new information is at its peak.
It’s also the time when we’re often busy seeking outside validation, whether through friendships, romantic relationships or through work. But I’m often hearing from empowered educators today, that the younger generation, just like us millennial women, are getting more and more aware, and conscious than the previous generations.
Of course you always hear about teen shootings, violence, bullying and so forth. But if we choose to see through compassionate lenses, we might see that these issues often arise from lonely, depressed and anxiety ridden teens and young adults, who just need stability, love, approval and attention that’s perhaps missing in their own personal or home life.
And on the other side of the coin, there are also reports saying that more and more teens are extremely aware, probably as a result of growing up consuming information through their phones. They’re hyper aware of the really big problems that we have in the world, but are just too hard to face. At the same time, they seem to also be so hopeful that they can still do something to create a better future.
Educator Elizabeth English who leads the Archer School for Girls shared in a recent interview with Simon Sinek that teens are feeling angry about the rampant consumerism that they see adults engaging in and that has been hurting the world in so many ways. They see the result of their parents having grown up in a society where they’ve been busy earning and spending money, and feel their parents have failed to tend to their communities and put responsible people in government. Which is a tall order to be fair.
All of this makes me feel so hopeful for the future.
So if you happen to be one of my more conscious younger listeners out there, I would say: craft out time to seek out and listen to the right voices to guide you during this time.
If you don’t have family members or mentors that can help support you in that way, some I can recommend are the following:
- Talking to people in your dream jobs to find out the realities of working in that area. I’m talking about E-mailing, snail mailing or following someone you admire both as a person and as a professional. Someone you want to learn more from. Authors, researchers, authors, government and business leaders, and so forth – whatever you’re into. You’ll be surprised that some of these people will actually respond, when they sense the genuine interest that you show them. Most people don’t even think to try.
- Reading 80,000 Hours by Benjamin Todd and the 80,000 hours team, which talks about finding impactful careers (big or small), that does good in the world and in turn fulfills you as a human being. You can also get it for free if you join their newsletter.
- Listen to the podcast from 80,000 Hours, which interviews people working on the world’s most pressing problems and talks about what you can do to help solve them.
- Learning about financial literacy early on, so you understand how pension plans work, how life insurance works, and how to start investing in your financial future. Resources I recommend are books by Andrew Hallam such as Balance, Suze Orman’s Women & Money podcast, and of course you can always take a look at the 13 Money Lessons article on my website at suristahel.com/money/.
- A lot of young adults enjoy learning ideas around budgeting, early retirement and financial freedom from fin-fluencers like Mr. Money Mustache and Budgenista.
- For messages on living with integrity in our professional lives, some I can recommend are books and podcasts from Simon Sinek who teaches human skills, Brené Brown who challenges the concept of perfectionism, Adam Grant who has a podcast called WorkLife that “explores the science of making work not suck,” Seth Godin who talks about marketing from a service based mindset, Susan Cain who supports the introverted worker and individual in many of us, and I also recommend listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons limited podcast series, which shares inspiring stories and lessons from artists who overcame their fears, to be able to create more joyfully. Just people giving themselves permission to do their own thing.
These are just some of the examples that I know of. The beauty of the internet is that, the more you listen to these types of positive and empowering messaging, the more the algorithm works to help in your favor. One podcast or book introduces you to another person, who introduces you to another person, and the loop continues.
Let’s stop here this week. So to recap, in broad strokes, I propose that women and moms view our lives in seasons:
- The exploration or “I” season
- The love or “we” season
- The rooting season
- The blooming season
I’ve covered my thoughts and shared resources on how the first season of our young adult life can be lived with intention and purpose. And we’ll cover the rest of the seasons in the following episodes.
I’d love to hear what you think. How would you tweak the seasons according to your ideal life vision?
OUTRO: I hope you found this episode helpful. I know, many might be feeling frustrated about the slow pace of life that I’m suggesting. But let’s wait till we discuss it all in future episodes. You’ll see that there’s plenty of things that you can do to fill up your time wisely, productively and joyfully, in all of the seasons of your life.
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The show notes, transcript and any links mentioned on this episode will be available at suristahel.com/15.
Thank you so much for tuning in. I’m your host Suri and you’ve been listening to the Doing Things on Purpose podcast. I’ll catch you again next time.