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Power of the Parent 4: S5 Ep4: Sophie Cliff – The Joyful Coach

Power of the Parent 4: S5 Ep4: Sophie Cliff – The Joyful Coach

When your friends and work collide, it’s always a treat! In this episode I caught up with Sophie aka The Joyful Coach and boy did we cover some ground.

In no particular order, Sophie is a positive psychology practitioner, a coach, an author, a podcaster, a mum and the queen of book recommendations. Sophie’s gorgeously squiggly career working with organisations like Disney and Hallmark led her to shape her own business that practically reconnects people with the power of finding your joy both personally and professionally.

We covered how we treat our time, what’s happened to her ego since becoming a parent, the value in re-assessing what’s important to us and our own definition of ambition. We talked a lot about personal values and how plans aren’t one time line – immediacy doesn’t always need accommodating! Sophie shared some of the misconceptions she’s faced since starting her business (and how she faces into them) as well as finding joy as a parent and she kindly fitted in 3 practical things line managers and organisations can be doing to encourage workplaces to positively challenge their relationship with joy.

Useful Links

You can find out more about Sophie and her work through her website, instagram and Linkedin.

Episode Transcript

Charlotte Speak 00:00
Hello and welcome back to the next episode of Power the Parent, the Podcast. Today I am joined by Sophie Cliff or maybe you might know her as The Joyful Coach. In no particular order, Sophie is a positive psychology practitioner, a coach, an author, a podcaster, an avid joy finder, a mum, and a pal of mine for about 10 years, I think, now. Sophie’s gorgeously squiggly career working with organisations like Hallmark and Disney led her to shape her own business that practically reconnects people with the power of finding your joy, both personally and professionally. Sophie became a Mum earlier this year to the beautiful Seren, and I’m so excited to talk to her today about running your own business and parenting and probably a bit of behind the scenes snippets. And undoubtably we will be chatting about joy. So thanks for joining me, Soph.

Sophie Cliff 00:54
Thank you for having me. And thank you for that lovely introduction. It’s always nice to hear what you do, said by someone else, isn’t it. You’ve made it sound a lot neater than I usually manage.

Charlotte Speak 01:05
I did, I was like, I just want to check, I haven’t missed anything, because you definitely do fall into the squiggly category. So I was like, I’ll have a quick squizz on LinkedIn this morning and make sure I hadn’t missed anything. I mean, there’s plenty that I haven’t covered there. But they’re like the big headlines, aren’t they? So we’re gonna talk about lots of different things today, because you definitely cover a few different angles for what people listening are going to want to hear about. But it feels pertinent to start with the parent side of things. And like, don’t worry, we’re not going to give any parenting advice out. Or I won’t anyway. But one thing that I’d really love to know is… so you’ve been running your own business for a while now and you talk openly about how you’ve kind of done some of that prep to lead up to kind of proof your business basically, for you to be able to take some maternity leave. As you’ve started to come back into the business, has anything in particular surprised you about that kind of blend of running your own business and motherhood?

Sophie Cliff 02:20
Yeah, I love that question. And I love what you’ve just said there about, you know, doing the prep in advance. I’m sure what you could have told me, what everyone could have told me, is there’s no preparing for trying to juggle work and parenthood. It is something you just have to kind of jump in with two feet and get stuck into. And yeah, I was lucky to be able to take a short maternity leave, and I’m still working in a very blended way. So you know, a couple of days a week of work and the rest of the time with my daughter. I think the things that have surprised me… One is just how much time I had before. I know that’s like a cliche, but I’m always constantly like, Wow, there’s so much less time, but also how having that less time really focuses you on what is important. I’ve really noticed the last few months, like how that ego has taken a step back. And I think in our careers, both, you know, when I was in traditional employment and now working for myself, I think there is a certain amount that we do that’s ego driven, you know, wanting to appear in certain places or work with certain people or do certain things. And the necessity of time just means you have to go right, I can’t do that anymore and this is where I’m going to focus stuff. So there’s been a lot of reprioritisation and a lot of reassessing what’s important, what has the most impact, what’s going to drive my work forwards. And I think another thing that surprised me, that I know we spoke about when I was first coming back from maternity leave, was I read so so much when I was pregnant, the way I prepare for anything is to read and just like, right, what are the books? Who can I learn from what podcasts gonna listen to? And I read so much about, like, the guilt, and you know, how so many working parents experience this guilt, and it’s crippling, and all of that. And I was really, really nervous about that. And I was prepared to feel this, like extreme guilt and how I was going to manage it. And I remember sitting down for my first day back at coaching, and I think my little girl would have been 11 weeks old at the time, 10 or 11 weeks. And everyone was saying to me, Oh, it must be awful. You must be feeling really bad. You must be this, you must be that and I wasn’t. I was absolutely in my element. You know, when you’ve got a 10 week old baby, there’s so much that you don’t know there’s so much that you’re a beginner at, and you’re figuring out, and I constantly felt like every morning we were getting up and thinking, we’re back to square one, we don’t know anything, she’s changed. And sitting back at my desk and coming back to this work that I love, I was like, this is the thing that I can do. This is something I’m confident and this is something that is a really important part of who I am and my identity and I think probably that’s the biggest thing, maybe not that surprised me, but that I’ve been really aware of in blending work and parenting, is that there are so many assumptions and so many expectations and things that people tell you, Oh, this or that. And actually, a lot of it is just societal. And I think I remember you saying to me, it’s that separation of guilt of like, what is something I actually feel guilty about? And what is something that is just an expectation that I’m going to feel guilty about? Because I almost had guilt that I didn’t feel guilty, which when I say it aloud, sounds ridiculous. But that was the feeling because I had so many people saying to me, Oh, you poor thing. Oh, it must be awful. Oh, that. And that wasn’t my experience. My experience was, I felt really lucky, actually, to be able to do a bit of both.

Charlotte Speak 05:45
Thank you so much for sharing that. And I know without a doubt that there’ll be lots of people nodding their head because that feeling guilty about not feeling guilty is exactly my story. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s been plenty of moments of guilt that are very, you know, it’s been functional guilt. And it’s been there for a reason. And yes, I needed to make a change. But that’s one of the things that I often share with people because especially in those early days and weeks when you are returning to the workplace, that concept of parental guilt being inevitable is wild in so many ways, because it doesn’t take into account any sort of nuance, or any of the fact that we’re humans, and you know, that we’ve all got our own different takes on the world and what’s important to us and our definitions of success. And the more I share that story with people about, you know, I returned to work, and I actually didn’t feel guilty, I was actually really looking forward to not having to put my resistant napping child down and that I didn’t have to think about, well, what was I going to give her for lunch again today. I loved those. I went back four days with my eldest. And I loved our days together in the weekends and stuff like that. But I really did struggle with some of that. And that definitely made me look forward to returning to work a bit more. Not that you have to have struggled to want to go back to work at all. But you see, there’s me with it, like making sure we just caveat that assumption, you don’t have to have struggled to want to go back to work. You can have loved every single moment and still want to go back to work. But I think the more you say to people, the more people go, Oh, my goodness, that is me. And why is nobody telling me this stuff? Why is nobody, you know, making it be okay to say actually, no, I’m okay to go back to work. And it’s crazy when you think about it.

Sophie Cliff 07:43
Yeah, and I think, like you just said, you know, maybe it’s because you’re struggling, maybe it’s because you’re not but regardless, like, for most of us work has been a really big part of our identity, for our entire adult life. You know, work has been the defining thing of my adulthood until I had my daughter and to just, you know, completely move away from that, that felt more alien to me than to keep my like, you know, keep my hat in the ring, so to speak. And, I really do think having that, you know, blend of of work and the time with my daughter, you know, she’s still only seven months, so we’re still in the early days, but I feel like it’s helped me to adapt to motherhood more, as well is that I’ve still got a little bit of my identity. And yeah, I’ve just got that reminder on the days when, like, say she won’t nap or she’s thrown her lunch all around the kitchen, or she’s, you know, cutting a tooth or whatever it might be, and I feel like a beginner and I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing. It’s nice to get an hour in the evening to think oh, there is a bit of my brain that still works.

Charlotte Speak 08:48
Something you said before as well really hit home for me was that kind of ego side of things and taking a step back and how much you start to notice some of the things that you do, pre-children, and the difference of how it feels post, and something that, again, I’ve shared with people before, but I think it’d be lovely to hear your take on it from a kind of a joy and definition of success point of view. When I returned, so prior to having my eldest I’d had been on all of the succession plans, my development had been heavily invested in and I was saying, you know, I want that next level. It was all about upwards progression, I was absolutely textbook corporate life in so many ways. And then when I returned, and I looked around and saw what actually that was going to take like, I was ready. However, what that meant day to day and there was certainly very little joy that I would have seen there. I really struggled to have that conversation with people because I felt like my career was going to get written off, as I just I didn’t fit in neatly into this box anymore. And I had seen people’s careers been written off for less. But tied to that kind of, I’ve had a child now that, again, expectation that your ambition is suddenly going to go AWOL and it doesn’t, it doesn’t have to. It definitely gets redefined. But I think some of what you said there before as well about that feeling of just being able to have an hour in an evening and reconnect with my business. And that really resonates, doesn’t it? But if you were coaching me all those years ago, is there any advice that you would give to me or to somebody else who perhaps is in that moment where you’re thinking, what’s important to me has shifted here, how do I articulate that? I suppose it’s that reconnecting with ourselves.

Sophie Cliff 10:54
Yeah. I love that, what you just said, and I think, as with most things, and I’m sure you’ll agree, the big part here is the nuance. I think pre kids, we think you either have ambition, or you don’t, and ambition means getting to the next level, getting the next thing, getting the next title, or the winning the next client or whatever it might be. And we have such a black and white binary view of what ambition looks like. I know, and I’m sure you do as well with the work you do, so many brilliant people who are parents who have done incredible things with their careers and are still just as ambitious, if not more ambitious, because, you know, there’s a reason for it in a way that perhaps there wasn’t, you know, prior to having kids. And I think part of that is bringing in the nuance and allowing ourselves some like flexibility with what the ambition looks like. I don’t have an ambition to work 60 hours a week. I have an ambition to grow my business, to grow the impact that I have to, you know, work with clients that are going to deliver that impact to, you know, to do the things that are going to help spread the message of what my business does. And you know, people listening might have the ambition to bring greater impact to the business they work for, to add more value, to learn new things, to stretch themselves, to challenge themselves. But that doesn’t have to mean being there 60 hours a week, or, you know, always being on, or always like chasing the next level. And I think a lot of the stuff that I always come back to with my clients is our values, what are our core values, what’s most important to us. And I really believe that’s where we start to lose some of that joy at work, when we’re working in a way that isn’t aligned with our values, when we are asking ourselves to do something every day, that doesn’t feel like it’s aligned with those things. And so if you have a big value about love of learning, or development or creativity, we can still, you know, align with those things at work. It doesn’t have to be that the way we do that is by becoming a head of or becoming a director or moving further and further up the chain. And I think that’s what I always encourage my clients to think about is, what are those values? How do we align them with them? And also, knowing that we can have like an immediate plan, a medium term plan and a long term plan. I think that’s something I am seeing a lot because I’m like, you know, thrust into this new world of having lots of friends who are Mums and that kind of thing is, we sometimes feel this immediacy that I’ve got to go back and be back on my game straight away and move to the next role, and, you know, be back to the person I was previously. And it’s okay to go, Okay, this year is going to be about be about getting back in and resettling into my foundations. And then next year, it’s going to be about working on this part of my development. And then in five years time, when my kid’s at school where I’d really love to be is this. And I think we sometimes forget that because we’re trying to react and we’re trying to respond. And also unfortunately, lots of the time our workplaces are asking that of us as well, which makes it difficult, but coming back to those values, I think and remembering ambition doesn’t just always mean bigger, and more and better and more time at the office. Ambition is about the impact that we want to have.

Charlotte Speak 14:16
I love that. And I definitely needed that like 10 years ago. But I think I know that that’s gonna hit home with a lot of people listening because that navigating that immediacy, definitely one of the biggest red flags that I like to start to twitch at, is when people will say to me, I need to go back and I need to hit the ground running like what? No, don’t, let’s not do that. Let’s not do that. And we don’t want anybody to hit the ground running.

Sophie Cliff 14:48
Yeah, just that phrase. When you actually analyse it. Oh gosh.

Charlotte Speak 14:52
It’s not a space we want to be in, people. You have an incredibly strong brand and the way that you’ve sort of shaped that over the years, I know, the deeper into being a positive psychologist you have become like that’s grown even stronger, you can absolutely see that transformation. One of the things that I often like to chat to other business owners about, and we will talk about, you know, the corporate world as well, but is some of those misconceptions that you might face, particularly when you are trying to partner with corporate organisations. Is there anything that you found in particular that you’ve needed to navigate? And anything that you’d kind of share about, I don’t know, the way that you’ve done some of that stuff.

Sophie Cliff 15:43
Yeah, there are two big things. And these are maybe like my red flags when I’m working with businesses as well. The first of all is people think like joy is this fluffy thing. And it’s like, oh we’ve got these serious objectives over here, and then we’re going to do this one workshop on joy, and people think it’s quite fluffy. And like you said, I’ve trained as a positive psychologist, I went back to uni and did a Masters and there are decades of research in positive psychology. And what it shows is that joy boosts our resilience, it boosts our adaptability, it helps us to be more creative and innovative. It changes the way our brain works. So when we are in a stress state, we experience that fight or flight response. And when we are in fight or flight, part of our brain literally shuts down because we’re in survival mode. The opposite happens when we experience positive emotions, we have something called the broaden and build effect. So when we feel good, we open out our thinking, we’re more creative, we explore different opportunities, we’re more likely to connect with people. And that in turn, helps us to build new resources, whether that is new learnings, new networks, new ideas, new opportunities. So just from a purely commercial perspective, if you are someone who needs your team to be resilient, adaptable, innovative, connected, good communicators, which, you know, most businesses do, joy is a really, really commercially important thing to have in the workplace. What we see, what we’re seeing, like play out in real time is that the businesses that are failing, the businesses that are struggling, are the businesses where their teams are completely burnt out. Because you cannot access creativity, or innovation, or any of that stuff, you know, resilience from a place of burnout. So that’s the first one is that people think, Oh, it’s this like, fluffy, nice to have thing. And actually, I’m like, No, this is something that needs to be a really core part of your strategy, actually, if you want to attract the best talent, retain the best talent and, you know, perform.

Sophie Cliff 17:41
The other thing that I see a lot, and it’s always a bit of a red flag for me is people who’ve got those very high levels of burnout or they’ve got a really demotivated workforce, and they say, Okay, we’re going to do a lunch and learn, can you come in and do an hour for us on Thursday or an hour for us during Mental Health Awareness Week on this topic. And that’s when I’m always like, I can, but there’s more that we need to look at here. And there’s some really interesting research that shows employees who are told that their company cares about wellbeing and put on things like a yoga class or you know, have someone like me coming in to deliver a lunch and learn, but don’t actually fundamentally support well being in day to day, those employees struggle more at work and are more likely to suffer from burnout than companies who just don’t do anything. So it’s almost like a bit of a corporate gaslighting effect that if you are telling your staff, we care about your well being, we want to support you, we want to help you find joy at work, here’s a workshop, but actually, what you’re doing is expecting people to work around the clock or not meeting people’s needs or not supporting them, or not setting the example, as a manager, that’s another thing that I see, as people say, we’ve put on this workshop for you, but I can’t go to because I’m too busy. So what that tells their employees is, it’s not actually safe to go to the yoga class or go to the workshop. And there’s some, like I say, some really interesting research that shows that it’s actually more damaging for people’s wellbeing at work than just doing nothing. So that’s another thing is that those workshops, those trainings, they have a really brilliant place and a company that is working on a wider strategy, but when I get those requests, I would always sort of say to businesses, well, you know, what, what else are you doing? What does this look like? Can we help you perhaps shape your wellbeing strategy or think about some of the other things that you can do first before we do the workshop that’s almost like the cherry on top.

Charlotte Speak 19:51
Thank you so much for sharing those. I love your candid answer to that because I think if anyone is listening who’s running their own business, I think a lot of that will resonate. Like, regardless of the business, at the heart of what you’ve just said there, the idea that what you’re trying to do is a nice to do, or it can just be this transactional activity, that’s ever going to kind of scratch the surface. That’s a tale as old as time isn’t it, for so many organisations. There’s so much more. And it’s not, it’s not overly complex either.

Sophie Cliff 20:37
A lot of it is really simple, basic stuff. And yeah, I think people sort of shy away from this stuff, because they think, Oh, we don’t have the budget, or we don’t have the time or, you know, we don’t want people like completely changing the way they work. And actually, you will see it with your work. So much of it is just real basic, getting the foundations right, and communicating well. And if we can do that, you’ve then got a foundation to do all of the other fab stuff on top of, but sometimes, I know, because I’ve been in that world, you know, sometimes you so in the detail and in the day to day, that it’s hard to lift up and go, like, here’s the thing we could tweak, or here’s the thing, we can do better. And that’s what I always hope to offer with businesses is bringing that different perspective and just helping them see this bits already going really well how can we do a bit more of this, or, here’s the thing that we can change to, you know, have an impact on how your employees are feeling, but it’s very rarely big, huge, time consuming, or heavy investment stuff a lot of it is is quite simple, really.

Charlotte Speak 21:43
Which is a lovely segue. I’m gonna take that word simple because one of the things that I really love about the work that you do, the way that you talk about it, I find it very accessible. I mean that in every sense of the word accessible. But we still live in a culture where things like, I’m gonna say the S word, I’m gonna say self care. And I’ll put a pound in the swear jar because we know like, unfortunately, the route that that has sort of taken it has become a bit wallpaper, hasn’t it? But one of the things that you talked about recently on Instagram, I thought was brilliant and that we should be saying it as much as possible, was this relationship with joy and being deserving of joy from a parent perspective? So you were talking about it as reflecting on the input, I don’t want to kind of put words in your mouth you can share what you said if you want, but basically that concept of you are a role model to your kids and actually probably to nieces and nephews and other people around all these sponge like minds are watching what we do. And I often say it isn’t the swears that my kids copy, luckily, because sometimes it is like you’ve got Dave Grohl in our house. But it isn’t necessarily the bad words that we say that my two copy anyway. It is the way of being, the way of operating, the things that they may or may not take time to give themselves. I was saying to my husband, last night, he got home a bit later and my eldest, I went into her bedroom. I’d sent her upstairs to do some spellings practice. When I walked in, she was halfway through her spellings practice, she’d part decorated a new folder that I’d given her to arrange some of her schoolwork in, she’d got her pens here, she’d got something else out there, and she’d got a Disney Channel soundtrack on Alexa playing. And my head was melting. And I was like Pol, you’ve got about six things half done, sweetheart. Let’s just… let’s turn the music off for a second. Can we just finish one thing at once? And as I was telling my husband, I could see the smirk on his face. Because yes, I know it’s me. I know, I’m describing me. That you walk into a room or into our house and I have often got about… anyway. So absolutely, that role modelling inside of things. I have definitely under cold as a parent a lot. And I am very conscious of it with how I talk about the work that I do with the girls and with family and stuff. But back to my original point, what you shared and your take almost like here’s a gentle bit of permission that you can go and find joy, you are deserving of it. Could you just talk to us a little bit more about that?

Sophie Cliff 24:44
Yeah, of course. So, one of the biggest things that I’ve learned since studying psychology and diving headfirst into this world is children don’t do what we tell them to do. They do what we do. We are their models, like you just said. They look to us to figure out what’s safe, what’s allowed, what’s positive. And you know, we are there, everything. So they think if that’s what my Mum or my Dad is doing that is what’s right. And that’s how we’re shaped. That’s why most of us are pretty set in stone in terms of our beliefs and things by the time we’re six or seven, because we’re absorbing our models of the world. And as a parent, now, I find that equal parts terrifying but also really empowering. Because I think for a lot of us in our generation, what we grew up hearing from our parents is they told us things like, we just want you to be happy, we don’t care what you do, just want you to be happy, just want you to follow your heart, and all that kind of thing. But we didn’t see that model, what we saw was that you have to be at work, you have to be working hard. My Mum was amazing. She was the breadwinner in my family growing up, she worked all hours. And she set a really great example for me in terms of what is possible in my career as a woman and as a Mum. But also, what I inherited and learned is that work is supposed to be hard, and there’s always a sacrifice, and there’s all this other stuff. When it comes to joy, it’s something that I always come back to. If we hope for our kids, or our nieces and nephews or children that we care for in any any guise. If we want them to prioritise joy, if we want them to take care of themselves, if we want them to know that it’s not selfish to meet their own needs, they have to see us doing the same thing. Because they’re not going to do what we tell them to do. They’re going to do what they see model to us. I think about it a lot as well, I’ve got a daughter. So I think about it a lot in terms of those gender dynamics too. If they see Mum doing everything, they’re going to grow up to think Mum does everything. And it’s these subtle things that we kind of have to hold up to the light a little bit. And, like I say, it’s it’s scary to think about, but it’s also been that permission slip for me that I want her to see me doing things that are important to me, I want her to see me taking the time out that I need. And sometimes that will mean that I can’t be there at every single thing and you know, that load is shared by her other parent and grandparents and friends and all of these other people that are in our village so to speak. But that’s important, because then she will grow up knowing that and I think, you know, having worked with parents throughout my coaching career, that’s often a stumbling block is we have this innate desire to want to give everything to our children and give them in inverted commas, the best of everything. And it’s that like that, that mindset shift of maybe the best of everything is them seeing and them having a model of how to live and how to prioritise that joy for themselves. And then of course, we have all of those added benefits because like I said earlier, joy increases our resilience, it increases our adaptability, it improves our relationships. So they are seeing us model that stuff, but they’re also getting a better parent off the back of it because we’re more refreshed, we’re more resilient, we’re more able to cope with stress and, you know, we’re less likely to snap. I know, I’ve seen it already, in just the short seven months, I’ve been a Mum, the days after I’ve had a day at work or I’ve been out with a friend or whatever, I am so much easier able to deal with the bedtime meltdown or the cleaning the high chair for the fourth time that day, or whatever it is that sort of like, you know, gets the blood pressure rising, it’s so much easier to deal with when we’ve had that time for ourselves. And, I think like you said, you know, it doesn’t have to be huge things, it can be going for a 10 minute walk a bit of fresh air. This morning, my daughter’s in a lovely habit at the moment of waking up at quarter past five. And this morning, I just said to my husband, like I really need you to just go down and do this first hour because that extra half an hour of sleep is gonna make the difference between how the rest of my day unfolds. Or it’s reading a book for 10 minutes instead of sitting and scrolling on our phones. And so often, we say I don’t have the time, there’s not enough time and yet when we actually look, I know I can lose 25 minutes to sitting on Tik Tok or Instagram or I know that I can half be watching a TV show not even taking it in and if I was using that time to get a bath or read my book or call my friend or whatever it is that actually feels joyful to me, that time can be so much more impactful.

Charlotte Speak 29:29
Thank you so much. I think everything that you just said there is incredibly powerful and also just reminded me the main thing that I’ve missed out of your flipping introduction that in my head meant to put in, you are the queen of book recommendations. And the way that you devour books is like second to none. It is one of the most impressive things about you You are a fantastic human and book reader.

Sophie Cliff 29:56
It’s what me and your eldest daughter have in common, she’s my spirit animal.

Charlotte Speak 30:02
I know! Not only does she try and emulate your hair every now and again, she also is absolutely trying to keep up to Auntie’s Sophie’s book list. If you are listening to this and you are struggling for something to read right now, I strongly recommend going and have a look at Sophie’s Instagram where she has a highlight all about different books. I have been on there before when I’ve gone What should I read next? I’m gonna see what Soph’s said. I have had many a happy recommendation from you so thank you.

Charlotte Speak 30:32
One last question if I can, because I know that there are line managers that are listening to this, just so we can kind of pull this together through a bit of like the, so what, particularly in the workplace, because my experience of working with line managers is very diverse. But if I could sum up a couple of themes, one would be that there is a fear of getting things wrong and saying something wrong or right. And as we know, and as we’ve discussed, life just isn’t that binary. And the other thing would be like overcomplicating stuff, and you can feel a little bit out of your depth or a lot out of your depth when you’re trying to navigate a topic such as joy or strengths based development, or how do you support a returner or that kind of thing, speaking from experience. So would you be able to just give us a little nugget, a little snippet, if you’re listening to this as a line manager… Where could you begin? If you want to have a conversation with your team, whether they’re parents or not. Where would you start to have that conversation about bringing joy into the workplace?

Sophie Cliff 31:38
Yeah, love that question. It’s true for work. But it’s also true for life. I always say finding joy is not about getting rid of the bad bits. It’s not about toxic positivity or being happy 24/7. It’s about giving the good stuff as much weight as we give the bad stuff. We have an inherent negativity bias. That’s how we’re built as humans. It’s why when you say to someone, like what’s the last piece of feedback you were given, they don’t say, Oh, my manager said I did a really good job yesterday, they go, oh two years ago, like I got this one comment in my appraisal, and I’ve thought about it ever since. And it’s why we’re better able to list our weaknesses than our strengths and all that stuff. So what I would always recommend with people is use that. Use that as a thought of, as an organisation, you will already be putting emphasis on the bad stuff. You will already be going, what do we need to get better at? What lessons are we learning? What weaknesses do we need to improve on? What changes do we need to make? Try to start giving as much emphasis to the good stuff too. And encourage your teams to do that, because I know from being both, managed and a manager, it’s so much easier to go into that one to one and go, Well, I didn’t meet this thing last week, and I didn’t get that thing done, and I haven’t got to that. Rather than go in, we’ve smashed this, we’re doing this, I’m really enjoying this thing at the moment, I’d love to be able to do a little bit more of that. And so our line managers can be the people who can facilitate those conversations and coach us through that. So that will be my place to start, like, what’s already working well? What’s already going really good? How can we improve on that? How can we do more of that? And in terms of a few practical ways, things that I always recommend to individuals, is writing a done list. So we always finish the end of the week going, oh the things I didn’t get to on my to do list. We don’t ever stop and go, Yeah but, the other 80% I’ve done and that’s amazing, and I’ve achieved all these things. So trying to put a bit more emphasis on what we’ve done. And then also just bring in like a bit of light celebration to the workplace. In your team meeting, what’s gone well this week? What are we celebrating? What are our wins? It sounds so simple, but the difference that can make in terms of atmosphere and also the difference in terms of then what people are gonna offer up, if you’re creating that culture, and you’re creating space to focus on the wins, people are more likely to bring them to you and feel that that sense of joy in the workplace. The very last little tip I would give is that a big part of finding joy in the workplace is having a sense of meaning. And so the more you can share with your team, you having done that means that we can now do this as an organisation or you having, you know, developed that skill means that we are now better equipped as a team to hit this objective. It sounds so simple, but I see so many companies missing that all the time. People feeling like they’re sat at a desk for a long time or they’re logged on for a long time and they can’t see the impact of their work is a real big joy sap. So the more you can help people connect what they are doing with the greater purpose of the team or the organisation, the more likely they are to experience that joy.

Charlotte Speak 34:53
Amazing. Thank you so much. They’re incredibly practical and definitely things that you know people can, without a doubt, I know that people will be able to go away and action some of those. So thank you so much for sharing those pearls of wisdom. And I know I did say one final question. This is a very short question. If people want to come and find out more about the work that you do, where is the best place to find you?

Sophie Cliff 35:17
Yeah, I’m over on Instagram @sophiecliff, my website is sophiecliff.com. And I’m also Sophie Cliff on LinkedIn. I haven’t been great at sharing on LinkedIn since coming back to work after having my daughter, but it’s on the roadmap so I will be sharing a little bit more there. But yeah, that tends to cover all bases.

Charlotte Speak 35:36
Brilliant, thank you so much. And if you’re listening to this, and you were trying to reach for a pen or your phone, then I will put all of those links in the show notes so you can very easily go and find out more about Sophie and her work that revolves around the very important topic of joy. So thank you so much for sharing with us today. It has been brilliant to catch up. And I hope that we’re able to kind of see lots more snippets from you about that combination of running your own business, the importance of joy and kind of blending in parenthood in there as well because it’s so empowering to see somebody navigated it.

Sophie Cliff 36:14
Oh, thank you so much. Thank you for having me.

Charlotte Speak 36:16
Take care.

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