28th November, 2023

How to Escape the Tyranny of the ‘Shoulds’

With Charlotte Housden

Photo of Charlotte Housden

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On this episode

Do you find yourself trapped by the expectations and pressures of what you think you “should” be doing? Is there a voice in your head, berating you for not living up to their standards? If so, you might be experiencing the tyranny of the shoulds.

You’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed or uncertain. But it turns out that hearing others’ stories can help you realise that your struggles are common. Also, if you rely on others for feedback it’s important to know whom to ask and when, so you don’t end up with an over-eager cheerleader or someone who’ll burst your bubble before its time.

In this episode, Charlotte Housden discusses her research on successfully navigating change and how we can escape that nagging, finger-wagging presence we all have from time to time.

That voice of doubt and fear can trap us in a cycle of unhappiness and unfulfilment. It might mean we miss out on opportunities for growth, personal development, and finding true satisfaction in our lives and careers. But by remembering that you are not your thoughts, you can start to free yourself from the tyranny of the shoulds.

Show links

About the guests

Charlotte Housden photo

Reasons to listen

  • To gain insights from interviews with 108 people in 27 countries on successfully navigating change in life.
  • To understand the importance of hearing others’ stories, and how it can make you feel less alone.
  • To get the resources you nee to facilitate and sustain change.

Episode highlights


The importance of knowing you’re not alone


Stories and consequences of change


How to give feedback


Delaying gratification on a new project


What to do when you feel you need to change everything at once


Job crafting


The shift in the psychological contract


The tyranny of the shoulds




The three musts


You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather


You are not your thoughts


What most medical students aren’t taught about their own thoughts


What doctors need to make it to the top


The key to greater productivity


Charlotte’s top tips

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Rachel: No matter how much we achieve or how hard we work, some of us will still hear a voice in our head telling us we should be doing more, should be going further, should be working longer hours or should be prioritizing somebody else. This is the tyranny of the shoulds, and it’s something, a lot of people experience, especially high achievers.

[00:00:21] In this episode, I chatted to Charlotte Housden. ::::She’s a coaching psychologist who specializes in helping people navigate change. She’s interviewed over a hundred people for her new book and joins us this week to talk about how that nagging voice in the back of our head can get in the way of important transformations in our life and what we can do to turn down the volume. We also talk about thoughts, how they’re not facts and that they don’t define us.

[00:00:46] So, if you’ve been finding yourself using the S word more than you’d like to let’s dive in and figure out how we can escape the tyranny of the shoulds.

[00:00:56] If you’re in a high stress, high stakes, still blank medicine, and you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, burning out or getting out are not your only options. I’m Dr. Rachel Morris, and welcome to You Are Not a Frog.

[00:01:16] Charlotte: My name is Charlotte Housden and I’m a coaching psychologist and I help individuals navigate organizations and careers. And my background is in consulting and leadership development, and I was faculty on the NHS Nye Bevan Leadership program, and I’ve been an associate director of, uh, workforce development at NHS Foundation Trust.

[00:01:37] And during 2019 and 20, I started a research project. I was interviewing 108 people in 27 countries. And what I was looking at was how they successfully navigated change in their lives. And I’ve turned that to research into a book, um, and it’s called Swim, Jump, Fly, a Guide to Changing Your Life.

[00:01:57] Rachel: That’s such a great title, Charlotte. Did that title come out of your, the research that you did or was just something that you, you liked sound of?

[00:02:04] Charlotte: It came outta the research actually, and it came out of a number of places. It, one of them was that there were different degrees of change that people were going through. And what I understood quite early on was that there was a really big connection between the size of the change that somebody was looking to make and their comfort with change.

[00:02:27] And if those were aligned, that was great. So if they were someone who was comfortable with change, they liked taking risks, and they wanted to make a really big change in their life. Great, you know, happy days. But the difficulty came up when there were people who were perhaps unhappy with their work.

[00:02:45] Maybe there was something going on at home, maybe their health wasn’t so great, they had all of these different things they wanted to work on, and yet there was somebody who was less comfortable with change. So this exp expect expectation was huge, but the delivery was quite small, so they were pretty much constantly unhappy.

[00:03:03] So that was something that came up very early on. And so I ended up talking about swim, jump, fly, swim, being a kind of a small movement, jump slightly kind of medium and flying off to something very different. So that was one of the reasons I used that, that title.

[00:03:17] Rachel: It is a great title. And what led you to doing these interviews in the first place? Was it ’cause you always knew you wanted to write a book or was there another reason for that?

[00:03:26] Charlotte: there was I would always wanted to write a book. Um, and I’d actually had a stab at writing a novel years ago, but it was pretty awful. I never got to finishing it. So there was this kind of appetite to write, but more importantly, I was going through a bit of a shift in my career. I was working as a management consultant, my background psychology. it had been great for years, but I was starting to get towards my late forties, the fit wasn’t quite there anymore, I didn’t know what to do next. And I started by talking to some friends and asking them how they shifted careers. Then that kind of snowballed into running some, um, interviews, semi-structured interviews, and then it completely snowballed into a massive project.

[00:04:08] I thought I was gathering information from other people, but in the process of having those conversations about someone’s career and that shift that they’d made in their career, it became really clear that that’s 30, 40, 50, 60 minutes, however long it was. Became such an important part of their opportunity to kind of look back and reflect and just have, um, and I was listening to one of your podcasts the other day and it was about listening. You know, it was about giving people space. I can’t remember the name of the guy, but.

[00:04:38] Rachel: Tom Dillon.

[00:04:38] Charlotte: Yeah. Yeah. It was brilliant. It was really good, good, uh, episode, if, you know, kind of do a plug for that

[00:04:43] Rachel: Yeah, please do. I can’t remember what number it’s, but it’s the episode with Tom Dillon about to, yeah, how to listen really, really hard. He’s a fantastic coach and runs lots of coaching courses for doctors. So yeah, check out that episode.

[00:04:54] Charlotte: Yeah, it was brilliant. And there was something about that space that we rarely get to talk about ourselves in a non-judgmental way that the people I was talking to ended up getting, quite a few of them had epiphanies about their lives and their careers. So I just, what happened is it ended up being something that people started asking me to take part in, rather than me going out and going, oh, I can ask some questions.

[00:05:19] Um, so it started a, getting bigger and b, not just about career, but it became very wide and it was about any type of change in life. So it just ended up with 75 hours of interviews, which is ridiculous number, and 108 people and 27 countries, which was also fantastic to get this real breadth of people across the world.

[00:05:40] Rachel: So was it just about career change or was it about any change that people were making?

[00:05:44] Charlotte: It was any change. There were people who were moving house, people who were moving country. There were people who were getting divorced. There were people who had significant medical health issues that came upon them very quickly and then had to adapt. So some of it was about change that people elected, and some of it was about change that had been forced upon people.

[00:06:03] And it was a whole range from, the youngest was 28 and the oldest was 68. And I ended up, one of my favorite conversations was I bought the 28 year old and a 68 year old together to talk about, you know, from a 68 year old perspective, what were the kind of thoughts and learnings, and then from a 28 year old’s perspective that way. And it was a lovely conversation. And actually that’s, that has gone into the book because it was just lovely. And I ended up being 48, so I was kind of like right in the, it was this wonderful, like three sets of ages.

[00:06:38] Rachel: What was different then that you weren’t expecting, that people were saying about, about change and, and, and how they approached it that sort of led you to then put that into a, into a book that people are gonna learn something from?

[00:06:50] Charlotte: Well the, one of them was about, I knew this already, but I didn’t realize how important it was, was about normalization. Because if you hear other people’s stories, it can make you feel less alone and less mad. You hear someone else saying something and you think, oh, okay, it’s not just me. So what I would do in the, the interviews, there was a bit of myself in the interviews. They weren’t, um, there was sort of a bit of, um, uh, autoethnography in there, which means basically I bring myself to it. And so I would share a little bit about myself. I might share something that had come up in a previous interview. And, and, and I could feel these were telephone calls. These weren’t even Zoom calls. I could feel, I could hear the person’s system kind of dropping as they went, Okay, oh, there are other people who have this too.

[00:07:41] It’s not just me. So there’s something about that sense that we don’t feel quite so alone when we hear those stories. So that was, I knew, I kind of knew that, but it was unexpected how big it was, I think.

[00:07:52] Rachel: That’s really interesting because I’ve noticed this, uh, in lots of the different podcasts I’ve done, there was one that has stood out to me, particularly in that sort of area, it was one about the second victim, about something happened to a patient. Um, and this, um, girl who’s GP registrar, she just felt absolutely awful. And no matter how many people said to her, Oh, it’s okay. Um, it, it’s all right. You know, you’ll be all right. It wasn’t your fault. She felt dreadful until the senior partner came up to her and went, that happened to me. Exactly the same thing happened to her. And suddenly she felt, oh, it’s okay. It happened to him, it’s happened to me. It’s okay. So there’s something about those shame stories that we tell ourselves that once it’s out in the open, it just, just dissipates ’cause Oh, someone else has done it. Yeah, okay. I’m not, I’m not on my own.

[00:08:40] And I, I was struck, we, we run the Shapes Academy is a membership, um, and program that we run and we, we were on a, a deep dive masterclass webinar the other day and this poor doctor was coming home really late home from work. And so she could only listen in. She couldn’t sort of be there on Zoom. And we said to her, you know, just, you know, amazing that you’ve managed to make it. She said, you know what? I was feeling dreadful. I was leaving work so late. But just listening to everyone else in the same boat has made me feel so much better.

[00:09:09] Charlotte: Yeah, yeah,

[00:09:10] Rachel: It’s amazing, isn’t

[00:09:11] Charlotte: Yeah. And I have to say, there was a bit of that for me too, which was, I was feeling some of those feelings. Because yes, I was re, I was the researcher, but I was also somebody who was feeling those feelings about, oh, you know, I’ve had this career for years, and what am I gonna do next?

[00:09:27] And I’d kind of grown out of love with psychology, particularly around change management, which is what I did when I was a management consultant. And me also hearing those stories kind of reaffirmed to me that I wasn’t alone. So it was, I was kind of learning at the same time as the participants were learning. And I thought that was great as well.

[00:09:46] Rachel: Wow. So you’re not alone, you’re not mad. You are. Okay. This is, this is, this is normal. What you’re going through. I think it’s interesting. Side note, talking about sort of career change. I know that when a lot of doctors or healthcare professionals do decide they want to change career, they do feel very alone, ’cause not that many people do it, but from their sort of one track career that they go into.

[00:10:07] And in other professions, people sort of change their jobs all the time, but we don’t really do that in medicine. So when you do start to do it, and I’ve been down that road myself, you feel very alone. You feel there’s no one else in the same position. You feel maybe a bit ashamed. What does that mean about me? Does that mean I couldn’t cope? I mean, I thought I could cope, but maybe I couldn’t, and blah, blah, blah. And then all that stuff that, that goes round in your head.

[00:10:29] Charlotte: And I would add to that, there’s something about social media as well, is that we get to see these curated lives, where we get a little slice of somebody’s life and we think, oh, but they seem to be sorted, and they seem to have good, you know, they’re really interested in their careers, or they’re making good money, or they seem to have a good work life balance, or they’re a better mom than me, or, you know, they’re a better doctor than me, whatever it is. We’re sort of seeing that slice. We’re not seeing the full panoply of, you know, their, their issues, the rainbow of emotions. You know, they might on a day feel jealous and sad and angry and exhausted, but we only get to, to see the bit where they’re joyful. And I think that’s not helpful either.

[00:11:10] Rachel: Through literally rose tinted filters sometime.

[00:11:14] Okay, so, so first of all, people felt they were less alone and less mad. What, what else really struck you about it?

[00:11:19] Charlotte: Resources was a really big topic. So those people that didn’t have the resources in place either failed to make the change or sustain the change. And those people that did have those resources in place were much more likely to get through to whatever goal they had set themselves or to change their life in some way.

[00:11:42] And those resources were, you know, multitude of different types of resources from, and this is a podcast that many of the listeners are medics and healthcare professionals, so let’s start with the space of wellbeing. A lot of them were around wellbeing. It’s, you know, eating well, sleeping well, taking exercise, looking after our mental health. The mindset about how, what messages we tell ourselves and, we’ll, I’m sure we’ll come onto this later about the tyranny of the shoulds. There’s a lot of negative language about the shoulds and the aughts and the musts of what we need to do.

[00:12:18] So there’s all of that kind of stuff. And there’s, there’s a, there was a huge amount of variety and what people were doing or not doing. And often when they were most stressed, they were doing least amount of self-care. So there were people who had meditation practices or they were really into yoga. And then the more stressed they were with this process or the change they were going through, the less of those things they did, despite the fact they kind of knew

[00:12:40] Rachel: That’s the one thing that’s gonna help me,

[00:12:42] Charlotte: the one thing that’s gonna help me is a short yoga practice in the morning, or a mindfulness in the morning, but it’s the last thing I do. We are strange things, humans. We kind of know what to do, but we often don’t do it. So that was one topic. Another topic was people. So it was having a variety of people around. So from the, the kind of cheerleaders to the mentors and the coaches. Coaches could be just, you know, an, uh, it doesn’t have to be a professional coach, it could be someone who was coaching you as a friend, um, through to people who’ve got great networks. You know, oh, I know that if I could get in touch with this person, they’ll be able to find me somebody in that career, that sector, or I know someone who’s, you know, knows lots of personal trainers and I need to get fit.

[00:13:23] So it was, it was a variety of different people. And there was also a sequencing issue, which was you can have people that are really good at, um, breaking your project and that, that can be really helpful later on. Once you are a bit more, um, robust and you understand what you’re doing and you’ve been doing it for a little while, you want somebody to come along and who’s gonna be a critical friend who says, actually, do you know what? I think you haven’t thought about this, this, and this, and actually you need to. Focus on these areas because it may not work. But you don’t want the critical friend at the start when you’re just setting out, you know, let’s say you are, trying to run 10 K or let’s say couch to 5 K. You don’t want someone going, well, I, yeah, no, but your arms, you know, and your legs and you’re not, you’re not doing it fast enough. You actually want someone to say, Wow, that’s amazing. I can’t believe you went out in the rain three times this week.

[00:14:14] So you want somebody to be more at the front end. You want more of the cheer, cheerleader, and at the back end, you know, when you’re sort of working on it, go out, I, now I’m gonna do a 10 K, but I wanna be in a race. Okay? You need someone to say, I think what you’re not doing actually, you’re not eating well enough, you need to have more carbs or whatever it is.

[00:14:30] Rachel: That really rings true. I, I used to teach about how to give feedback when I worked at Cambridge University and uh, absolutely. When we used to teach, you know, when a student’s first learning something, when they’re really new to a skill, you need that cheerleader, don’t you? You need that. Oh, you know, you’re drawing a picture, that’s a great start. Well done. That’s brilliant. But when they next, or you know, let’s think about examining a patient. You know, that was a great approach. You were really friendly. There were lots of, you know, thin things to think about, but there was lots that was really good there.

[00:14:58] Like the week before their finals, they want something to go Right, you didn’t quite examine the nails exactly right. You didn’t do that, blah, blah, blah. Absolutely. That’s really interesting when you’re saying that that also applies to any sort of change in your life or any sort of career change. If you get that critical voice a bit too early, then it’s. It’s really difficult and I, yeah, I think people have to remember that actually.

[00:15:20] Yeah, either half. He’s wonderful. He’s an INTP, so someone who can go in and absolutely spots the flaw, the flaws in the plan, and sometimes I’ll go, what do you think about this? And he’ll go, oh, well, blah, blah, blah. And then a few weeks later, he’ll go, how did that go? And I’ll go, well, you told me not to do it. And he’d go, no, I didn’t tell you not to do it. I was just, you know, thinking through some of the issues.

[00:15:43] And so we need to be able to recognize that, don’t we, that people can be very well-meaning, but they can, they can put you off. And I would think equally, you don’t want the real cheerleaders right at the end either, because sometimes they can just be, yay, go for it. If it feels good to it or whatever. Actually that, that is also very, very dangerous. I’m presuming.

[00:16:03] Charlotte: Yes. Yeah, totally agree. So I think there’s two things. There’s one is like choose your resources wisely. And sometimes we don’t have a choice. Sometimes it’s just the people you have around us. But then you have your own choice of don’t tell that person.

[00:16:15] There’s, I’m not gonna name this person, but there’s a particular person in my life who I would not go to at the beginning of a project because they would crush it like a small butterfly that’s coming out of a, a pupa, you know, after its chrysalis, but later on that person is super, super helpful. So it’s also about making choices about who we do or don’t.

[00:16:39] I have a terrible, I’m, I’m an extrovert and I tend to extrovert my thinking. So I, my husband’s a super, his superpowers introversion. And um, I tend to tell him about a project that I’ve just literally thought about one second ago. Like, oh, I’ve got this great I idea. And if I tell him too quickly, he’ll yeah, it doesn’t sound so hot. Whereas I need to hold onto it, hold that, you know, delay that gratification of wanting to get his feedback until I’ve actually got a sensible plan in place, and then I can take, tell him later, and then, you know, then he’s a bit more enthusiastic ’cause he can see I’ve actually put some attention to it rather than just going, Hey, let’s do this thing.

[00:17:15] Rachel: Can I just take a quick side note and off go off piece a bit? That thing about delaying gratification. I did read recently that if you do want to make a positive change, that if you tell too many people about it, then you are already experiencing the dopamine of making that change and often you don’t go and do it. So is it better really not to tell too many people

[00:17:34] Charlotte: Yes, yes, yes. Tell a few choice people who are gonna hold you to account, who are gonna be your accountability buddies that you know you might need in the first week or so. You might need somebody to say, Hey, how’d you get on with that thing that you did? But don’t tell too many people.

[00:17:51] That’s my, that’s one of my biggest learnings. I’m still not very good at that. I want to tell everyone, Hey, you’ve done the thing. Um, and then I don’t, and as you say, that kind of the energy or the interest and the motivation sort of drops off because I’ve already got the hit.

[00:18:03] Rachel: So there’s stuff about normalizing stuff. There’s stuff about getting the right resources. So first, you know, the self, the self-care, the stuff we all know we need to do. But we, you are absolutely right. I mean, it’s exactly the same, you know, in, oh gosh. When we do wellbeing training, I say, what’s the first thing you give up when you get too busy? And it is always exercise, meditation seeing friends, it’s like the one thing you need to resource yourself.

[00:18:25] So then it’s get the right people around you, the cheerleaders at the beginning, and maybe the more critical people at the end. Don’t tell too many, too many people. Um, and you’ve gotta get ’em in the right sequence. Anything else that came out of that?

[00:18:38] Charlotte: Yeah, so there was that bit, bit about the swim jump fly piece, which is, uh, and I, I turned them into three animals. So swim is a fish and jump is a grasshopper and flies a bird. And so what I, I, I, uh, found in this process of talking to people that there were some people who felt they may need to make an enormous change in their lives.

[00:18:59] There’s one individual who is a journalist. And he felt that he had wanted to be a journalist all his life. And he kind of came to a point in his thirties when he just wasn’t quite so happy anymore and he thought, I think I need to shift careers. And he had this epiphany. He went off to talk to some people who were, he thought he wanted to be a entrepreneur, so he went to talk to entrepreneurs, um, about setting up businesses and just didn’t really feel it. He wasn’t kind of getting the kind of love from these conversations.

[00:19:28] And he had this epiphany when he talked to some other people who were talking about their careers and their likes and dislikes, and they all said, oh, I don’t really like what I’m doing. But he, he still loved journalism. He still loved what he was doing, but he came to the realization it was not what he was doing, it was the way he was doing it. And actually what he needed to do was not to make this enormous leap to doing something completely different and kind of reinventing himself in the, in his thirties, he actually needed just a small tweak in a pivot.

[00:19:56] So from, from the kind of book’s perspective, I would say that he’d gone from thinking that he was a bird that needed to fly off to new lands, actually, he was just a fish that needed just to swim in a slightly different direction. There was just this slight tweak that he needed to make. So there was something about the size of the project. And then there, there’s something about, um, your comfort with the project, which is if you feel that you need to change everything at once, reduce your goals down. If you are somebody who’s risk averse, if you feel like you’re somebody who isn’t going to be able to sustain that much change in one go, focus just on some small changes and iterate. You know, um, a thousand miles starts with a single step. So try to be less ambitious, try to do less. And that seemed to work for some people as well.

[00:20:47] And a related part to that is focusing on being clear about the difference between the what of the change and the how of it. So going back to that journalist, he thought the what had to change, he thought journalism had to change. It was like, I’m, I’m out of love with journalism. I need to find a new love.

[00:21:05] And what it reali, what he realized was actually it was the way he was being a journalist. And he did all sorts of things. Like he set better boundaries. He was clearer about what he wanted in terms of his goals. He decided that he couldn’t get everything right. So he would focus on the biggest impacts of the 80 20. He’d focus on those few tasks that made the biggest impact in his work.

[00:21:28] And then he also realized that he was focusing far too much on the task and not enough on the people. So he had this big campaign of getting to know people in his, where he worked and building relationships. And actually that was all, all of that was enough for him. And he didn’t need to go off and be this entrepreneur, dot com entrepreneur, he just needed to shift the way in which it was the what not um, it was the how, not the what.

[00:21:52] Rachel: That makes so much sense. We’ve talked a lot about job crafting before on the podcast night. We’ve had a whole, whole podcast about job crafting. And I think with doctors and healthcare professionals, often they don’t wanna change the what of what they do. They’re really good at what they do and you know, they, they love the bit of what they do. It’s the how they’re doing it is so unsustainable and so desperately energy draining that often is a question of changing the how.

[00:22:20] And I think sometimes you just throw the baby out with the bath water, don’t you? And go, right, this is so difficult, but I’m just gonna change everything and therefore the how will change. But something that I have noticed in myself, having done a career change,

[00:22:32] Charlotte: Well, I’ve, I’ve noticed it in myself too. Yeah. I, I, I fell out of love with psychology and change management and consultancy, and I went off to train as a declutter, and then I realized I didn’t actually like the bit, I, I like the kind of interior decoration piece and the kind of like the way that rooms were set out, but I didn’t like the tidying cleaning bit. I of

[00:22:52] Rachel: They’re going through other people’s

[00:22:54] Charlotte: pulling shoes out from underneath someone’s bed. Do, do you wanna keep this? There’s some socks in there. I did. You know, there was bits I, I, I even went off, did a beekeeping course. I mean, there was madness. Um, and then I came round like the journalist, I came right back round and said, okay, I do love psychology, I do love people, I do love coaching. It’s just the way in which I’m doing it that needs to shift.

[00:23:13] Rachel: Yeah, absolutely. And what I realized is that whatever you end up doing, you still bring yourself to it. So you’ll end up, you probably would’ve end up as a declutter with this like massive business and lots of people working for you and still just as busy as you would’ve been before, et cetera, et cetera. So, you know, you’ve got, it’s absolutely, it, it, it’s changing the how. I think sometimes people get stuck on that though, because if they’re not their own boss, or sometimes even if they are their own boss, they feel that they’re not in control of the how, and therefore they feel that they have no option and they, they can’t ever change. Did you interview people that felt like that?

[00:23:46] Charlotte: Yeah, so there were, there were some people that felt very blue and very low about, um, spans of control, which is something I talk about in the book, which is, um, I ended up coaching one of them afterwards. And one of the things that came up was actually that they, the psychological contract had changed. So the how had changed. It wasn’t even that they needed to shift the, how it was that the how had changed. But when they got first, got the job. They were asked to do it in a particular way, and then over time it had shifted. And they hadn’t even realized because it was incremental change. And so they didn’t even sort of quite realize what was different. The volume of work, the scope of work, the hours they had to work, the way in which they worked, what was expected of them. They hadn’t, hadn’t been a job shift. the categories of their work hadn’t sort of changed that much. It was just the way in which they were doing it.

[00:24:37] So they ended up going back to their boss and just having a series of very adult conversations about what was happening for them. And the way they described their manager was that they would not take to this, but actually the way that they came to that conversation with a very grown up Look, I love it here, I wanna stay here, but it’s not quite what it was. Can we talk about that? And because they came with this sort of grownup discussion, their manager stepped up and had a grownup discussion. And they had these series of discussions and they ended up job, you know, crafting a job for the individual which was much better fit.

[00:25:16] And actually it had other ramifications for the rest of the team, ’cause then there were bits that were available for other people to do. It had an enormously Positive outcome, but they were really worried about having that conversation. So we did a lot sort of role playing back and forth of the conversation.

[00:25:31] Rachel: It’s interesting, isn’t it? I think people often think the conversation’s gonna go a lot, a lot worse. Um, but if they, like you said, if you go in with a positive intent and you sort of go in as in, I love working here. I’d like to stay so the person’s not threatened, but it’s like, but I realize things have changed and how can we make it so that I really wanna stay and I really wanna engage, it’s so much better.

[00:25:51] It was interesting what you said about the psychological contract having shifted, and I think my observation is, although I’m sure there will be listeners that disagree with this, that things have shifted in medicine. And so, I mean, you can see it with junior doctors, they’ve very much gone on to, you know, shift a shift pattern. Whereas the psychological contract used to be, you know, we are just part of this team and we work all hours of the day, but we’re part of a team. Uh, in general practice, the demand is outrageously high, but, um, local medical committees and other places would say, well, you know, you have a contract, you sit to your contract, you say no. So that contract shifted. But the psychological mindset, the, the psychological contract that the doctors are feeling towards their patients has remained the same, same, which is I am your doctor. I should be looking after you. I should be helping you. I should be here for you all, all the time.

[00:26:44] So the patients expect it, the doctors expect it, but that then people say, well, the contract doesn’t expect it, so why are you doing it? And part of the, what I’m doing is going around helping people to set boundaries and saying No, but it’s these, this old psychological contract of what it was to be a doctor, which isn’t necessarily bad, but I think does sometimes hold us back. Do do you recognize that at all?

[00:27:05] Charlotte: Yeah, I mean, I, my, my background isn’t medicine, but I do recognize that in other, um, sectors. So I do half a coaching practice and I also have half a consulting practice. So in the consulting practice, I go off and I do a lot of work around leadership development for global organizations. And I’m seeing that a lot in those organizations that I’m working with.

[00:27:24] One example being in a particular program of work that I’m running, the aim is to not only to give those leaders leadership qualities and skills, but also to help them to become change agents for the organization and go back and try and shift the culture of the organization. And one of the challenges they have is they come outta that and they go back into their normal day-to-day work. And they’ve shifted, shifted their mindset about what, you know, they’re thinking about EDI and they’re thinking about, you know, um, psychological contracts for their team. They’re thinking about building trust and all this kind of stuff. And they’re going back into the environment that hasn’t had that training and hasn’t had that kind of awareness building. And then they’re finding that there’s a really difficult shift for them, which is what they were expected to do before versus now what we’re anticipating they’ll do as this, you know, change agent going back into the business, trying to encourage other people to shift in this way.

[00:28:17] And, and some of ’em are finding it very difficult because they’re, the context hasn’t shifted. And it’s back to your point about the context of the contractor shifted in medicine. But the mindset of the individual, which is at its heart about caring, is about supporting people. It’s about helping people who are sick and, and unwell and need help. And yet that’s, that’s shifted.

[00:28:40] It’s a difficult place to be because we’re, you know, the, the contract’s shifted in order often about efficiencies, which is in opposition at times to the kind of people that go into medicine, which is, they don’t go, oh, to be a really efficient doctor, they’re going in ’cause of like, some purpose-based, direction.

[00:28:59] Rachel: I wanna help people. I wanna, I wanna care for people. I wanna solve people’s problems. Absolutely. And then the problem is then, then they’re forced to think of, how can I be more efficient? Because if they’re not, they’ll die under the, the weight of the workload.

[00:29:10] And I think this is probably where those shoulds come in that you’ve, you’ve just mentioned. Can you tell me a bit more about what you meant by the tyranny of the shoulds? It’s a such a brilliant phrase. Probably we’ll probably use it as a title of the podcast, I reckon.

[00:29:23] Charlotte: But it’s not my, I can’t own it. It’s not mine, I’m afraid, but it’s, it is very good. It’s, um, a woman called, I’ve been calling her Karen Horney for many years, and then I watched a video the other day, and actually this is a woman who is German and there was a German woman running the video and she’s actually, it’s pronounced Horney. But there we go. So Horney, Horney, Karen Horney, Karen Horney.

[00:29:45] She was a psychoanalyst, um, born in Germany. Ended up moving to the States and she did a lot of work in looking at anxiety. And she talked about one area of anxiety, which she called the tyranny of the shoulds, which is that we have an ideal self in our heads. This is the kind of person we want to become, we want to be, versus the actual self. So who we actually are. And that this, we bring in this ideal self as a way of making ourselves less anxious. But I ironically, it has the opposite effect ’cause we bounce between.

[00:30:19] So I’ll give myself as a, as a case study, um, I’m trying to improve my run, I run, I’m not very good. I run very slowly and I run with a group and I’m always at the back. But I went for a run on my own on Sunday and I went out ’cause I really wanted to run on my own and I wanted to do it in a certain timeframe. And I’m a bit of a perfectionist, which is never that helpful. And I came in 56 seconds after I wanted to come in, which is nobody caress, no one was watching. I wasn’t in a race. It was just me. But I was like, my first initial, before I caught it, my initial was disappointment. It was like, well, I thought I was the kind of person that would come in on that time, and here I am 56 seconds later. And I, I worked on it and I’d had a little chat with myself, took myself to one side and had a chat. Um, but it was this sense, this ideal self is I’m the person who runs at this speed and gets through this, this length of time.

[00:31:10] So this is something about, if we set ourselves this ideal self versus our actual self, we’re always going to be unhappy because we’re the very nature of it being an ideal self, if we had achieved it, it would now no longer be an ideal self. So it’s this, it’s, it’s almost like the carrot on a stick in front of the donkey that the carrot, the donkey’s, constantly moving forward to try and get that carrot and it’s always ahead of it. They’re never going to eat the carrot because it’s always ahead of you. So it makes people terribly unhappy.

[00:31:40] So this was her theory was this. This kind of disconnect between what we actually are and what we think we ought to be. And there’s kind of aughts and musts and shoulds that we fill our life with. And sometimes it comes from us and sometimes it comes from others.

[00:31:55] So this podcast I, I’ve done is all about bringing people in to talk about a particular should. And I had a number of topics from, uh, one was called Chasing the Money. One was called Milestones That Become Milestones. Another one was about education. Another one was about, um, having chil It was, it was called To have or Not to Have. And it was about children. And that a lot of this comes from society or it comes from family about who we should be versus actually who we are. And it means that we’re constantly striving and we’re never quite making that leap between, you know, who we, who we want to be and who we are.

[00:32:34] And shoulds came up a lot in the, um, the interviews I ran. They came up, um, a hundred times the word should, and then the words, um, ought, must, and obligation and duty came up 80 times. And so a lot of the unhappiness that people were feeling was because they were in a career. There were quite a lot of doctors, and there were people who were medics who were in, doing medicine because they, someone had said to them, I think you’d be make a very good doctor. They’d gone off to be a doctor and actually they’d fallen outta love with it.

[00:33:04] So there’s this, this kind of volume of shoulds that we live our lives to that make us terribly unhappy. And actually, gestalt psychotherapist will always say that you can’t move on, and you can’t make change in your life until you actually accept and acknowledge where you are currently. So if you’re constantly striving to be this ideal self. You’re never really honest with yourself about who you are, good and bad, you know, the, the strengths and the weaknesses, you know, the foibles and the issues as well as the things that, that make you wonderful as an individual.

[00:33:39] Rachel: Can I ask you, Charlotte, what should is more powerful? The should that comes from other people or the should that comes from yourself?

[00:33:47] Charlotte: Hmm. I dunno if I have an, I have a, an answer to that. ’cause I think it’s so in, it’s so individually based. So let’s take, so my background’s occupational. My first degree was, uh, master’s degree was occupational psychology. And there’s, um, hofs, Ted and, and other, other people have looked at cultures around the world, which are individual versus collective. And there are certain parts of the world where one’s individual views about oneself are much more important than what other people think.

[00:34:17] So those countries include. USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, you, you know, the kind of ones that you would ex expect. And then the collective ones are Southeast Asia and China and, um, Indonesia, those kind of countries, African countries, um, where what are other people feel about you or think about you are much, much more important.

[00:34:42] And so there were some in, I had one individual who was, um, Chinese origin living in, um, Hong Kong. And most of his life had been driven by what his family had expected of him. And then there were others who were from America or from the UK or Canada, and they were much more individualistically driven. I had one person who was a bit of both, so her background was actually from the Middle East, but she’d moved to Canada. And she struggled with that kind of individuality versus collective. And she sort of would hop between the two.

[00:35:18] So I think it, some of it depends on where you’ve been brought up and your, country culture. Some of it’s about family as well. How much, what the relationships are with our family and how important those relationships are to us. But I can’t give you a definitive, I know that’s, that’s a very psychologist response, isn’t it? Well, there’s a bit of this and a bit of that.

[00:35:39] Rachel: No, that, that’s helpful. ’cause I can absolutely see that. It just depends on the importance of the voice, doesn’t it? Because if you’ve got a very strong family voice saying you should, or you ought to do this, that’s very, really quite hard to go against. But if, if you can then I guess distance yourself from the family, then it then becomes easier. But if you’ve got a very strong internal voice, no matter what anybody else tells you, unless you change your own beliefs, then then that’s not gonna help anyway. I guess either way, you’ve gotta start by changing your beliefs about, about

[00:36:09] Charlotte: yes. And some of it’s about core beliefs.

[00:36:12] So there’s a guy called Albert Ellis who developed the rational emotive emotional behavior therapy, REBT, and he talks about three types of musts. There’s a must do well and must win approval. Um, others must treat me kindly. And I must have a comfortable life.

[00:36:29] And this can drive people to do really different things in terms of the impact they feel that they have. And these kind of musts will drive them to be quite unhappy in the way that they live their lives. And one of the things that you can do around that is to get to someone’s core belief and say, well, why must people do this? Why must you do well and win approval? What will happen if you don’t? What is the implication if you don’t get this pay rise, this bigger job, your bigger car, what’s the worst thing that could happen to you? So there’s that kind of disputation, um, approach that some people use.

[00:37:13] Rachel: So you would question it and say, why? How else can we start to shift those must those shoulds, those oughts? ‘Cause I, I get the cognitive behavioral approach, the stuff like that. Let’s examine those stories and think about our what, what we’re believing about that. Sometimes they’re so deeply ingrained, aren’t they? Then they’re really hard to shift. Is there any other way that either the people in your interviews have managed to do that or that you would recommend as a psychologist?

[00:37:39] Charlotte: Yeah.

[00:37:39] So I’m, I’m actually currently training in acceptance and commitment therapy, so ACT. And one of the things, I dunno if, if you’ve come across this before, but one of the metaphors they use in ACT is about the weather and the sky. And they’ll talk about the fact that the sky is constant and that the sky is always there, uh, and it never changes. And it’s the weather that changes in front of the sky. So the rain or the clouds or the storms or the sunshine are the kind of the movement. And, and actually what that’s representing is your, uh, emotions. So they’ll, it’s a way of, um, detaching. It’s called diffusion. It’s a way of detaching from those emotions.

[00:38:24] So what an ACT therapist might do is they might take you outside and say, okay, there’s the wind is blowing. Can you feel it on your face? And the person will say, yeah, yeah, I can feel out the wind on my face. Okay, so that’s the weather, isn’t it? Yes. And is the, is the wind you? No. Okay. So the wind is, is different from me.

[00:38:43] Okay. So now you’re having a thought. Let’s say you’re having a thought, you’re feeling quite angry about, the feeling that you should work harder. Is that anger you, say no. No. It’s the anger is actually just the feeling. That’s the weather. I at the back of myself, I’m just the sky.

[00:39:00] So what that the, the reason for using that metaphor is to say, let’s have a bit of distance from this feeling. That feeling or that thought isn’t actually you. That’s just a thought that comes and goes. It’s just a feeling that comes and goes. And at the, at the back of it is the person that is always stable and it’s the kind of observing self.

[00:39:20] And so you, what you do is then you, you spend longer standing back from this feeling or this thought, detaching from it. And so some of the clients that I work with will spend time either doing mindfulness or meditation or we might spend time, uh, using other techniques where we sit and take the, um, opinion of somebody else and we think about them in terms of how they might see them. So there’s something about getting that detachment, that, uh, room for that moment before we respond with that anger, to have, a reflection on that thought or that feeling.

[00:39:58] And so that, that, that movement away from the thought of the feeling starts to slowly detach it as being not quite me, but something I’m feeling. Another way to do that is through something called focusing. And the people who use this, uh, intervention called focusing will say, so rather than saying, I am angry, they might say something in me feels angry. And if there’s something in me that feels angry, then there are the bits, bits of me, other parts of me that don’t feel quite so angry. And then we can almost separate them.

[00:40:32] I’ll give you an example from my own life. I’ve got various parts in me that I have chats with. Um, one of them I call the governess, and the governess has one of these like 1950s, uh, suits, but it’s a skirt suit, which is quite high up on the collar. And she has a big ruler, and she raps me over the knuckles if I don’t work hard enough or I don’t do X or Y. And I was in, in a constant battle with the governess in my head about, you know, I’m exhausted. I can’t do anymore work. And then the kind of governor is going, no, you’re not doing enough. Obviously these are not actually happening as conversations. This is just a, a momentary second of a thought. Yeah, they will lock me away with, you know, all of these people in my head.

[00:41:14] And so what I ended up doing is I ended up having a conversation with governess and thanking her for all of the hard work that she had enabled me to do and all of these fences that I had jumped over and badges and certificates and cups that I had won, you know, things that I had, you know, training that I had done. But that now she was obviously, she’d worked so hard for the last few years that she really needed a rest. And because it’s the 1950s, I decided to send her off to Weymouth to have a little holiday. Meanwhile, all the other parts of me going, ha, she’s away.

[00:41:49] And the the point of that is, is a softening of the system that says, look, that part of me has really helped drive me. I’m quite driven and I do, I work quite hard, but I can’t do that all the time. So that, that enabled me to stand back and look at myself almost this play on, on the stage and to say that part of me has really helped me, but maybe it’s not quite so useful anymore, I need to move away from it.

[00:42:14] So these are more psychotherapeutic techniques that I might be using. I’m not a therapist, but I am training to become a therapist. I’m going to use the therapy within the, the coaching, um, to try and unlock, as you were saying, some of these more intractable problems about where people find it really hard to make those shifts.

[00:42:32] Rachel: I do love, um, acceptance and commitment therapy. I read the book, it’s, um, hap the Happiness Trap, it’s called by Russ Harris, which I’d recommend to anybody actually. And that really helped me detach from my thoughts, you know, the, I, you know, if you’re thinking the should thoughts, like, I should stay for an hour later and finish, and finish this, you know, oh, I’m having the, I’m thinking that I should, or I’m having the thought that I should. So actually, uh, not, I shouldn’t, you know, who’s saying I’m just thinking or I’m, that person’s irritating me. That person is irritating me. Actually, no, I’m thinking that they’re irritating me. Oh, I’m having the thought that that person’s quite irritating. Then you can choose what you’re gonna fuse with. And for me, that was very helpful. Do I fuse with that thought or do I just let it go? Because, just because I’ve had that thought does not mean that it is real.

[00:43:22] And actually that, that’s what I find a lot of doctors get mixed up about. You know, we weren’t taught this medical school. We really weren’t, but we were not taught that our thoughts are not facts. And people listening your thoughts, they’re not facts, nor are your feelings. They’re not facts. They just show you what, what thoughts you’re having, which are related to your internal beliefs.

[00:43:41] Charlotte: Yeah.

[00:43:42] And I have a question for you, Rachel. Do you think that doctors now are getting more of this training as they’re coming through? So the junior doctors, so I know for example, one thing, there’s, there’s much more training around the menopause, um, and you know, women’s reproductive health. And I know that there is going to be more work on, uh, diet and dietary health. So do you think that doctors are going to get more help on the psychotherapeutic side of things? Or am I just being overly optimistic?

[00:44:19] Rachel: Um, I’d like to think that they are gonna get more, I mean, I, I can come at this from both ends because I, I actually used to, uh, teach professionalism at Cambridge University and we really tried to, to teach about resilience and teamwork and all those, those skills that you need. I think there’s, there’s two versions of this. There’s, there’s two problems you come up against. One is just as a very, very, very packed curriculum. Um, and maybe the people that are further a along don’t realize the importance of this stuff so much.

[00:44:50] The second thing is that the, if, if medical students, if you’ve got your exams coming up, you’re gonna focus on pathology or you’re gonna focus on sort of self-awareness and learning it? Because in my experience, these issues become more and more acute the older you get. And the more in, more responsible you get and the more into your job you get. And suddenly as a leader, you are burning out and then suddenly it’s really very important, where actually when you, when you’re 23, you can stay up all night clubbing and then go and do that, and you are, you’re, you’re, you’re totally fine. And you don’t really know what you need until you’re really encountering it in, in issues with teams and on the wards and getting complaints and stuff like that. So I think it’s actually really, really hard.

[00:45:29] I, I spoke at medical student conference just two weeks ago actually, um, about all of this stuff and you know, I was invited to speak and a talk went down really, really well. So I do think there is an appetite for it. And I also teach trainees and consultants and many, many consultants and older gps haven’t heard a lot of this either. And by the time they start to hear it, you know, we did a, I did a workshop, some GP trainers around the sort of in the chimp and our reactions and our stress response and stuff. Someone came up to me at the end, he was retiring in two years and he said, No one has told me this before. I wish I’d learned this at med school.

[00:46:07] So I would love To think that people are learning this, but it, it’s, it’s quite hard to teach without any experience of it, you know, the experience of the issue. You’ve almost got to experience the problem to know what you need to learn. Not that med, you know, not the medical students don’t have any issues. Of course they do. And I do know that the psychological support for medical students is much, much, much better than it used to be. And lots of people are going off, but I think it’s, it’s really hard really, you know, you one learns this stuff as in when you need it, and then you’ve got the problem of how on earth you’re gonna examine it and what’s the best way of teaching anyway, right?

[00:46:45] Charlotte: And then there’s the other thing for me, which is about prevention versus, you know, pre or post. Do you have to suffer it to then learn about it or can you do a little bit before in terms of prevention? I mean, I just, I, I, I’ve got family members who’ve been at university and have been able to access so much more psychological support than, than when I was going. I mean, I’m 54, so when I was going through university, there’s virtually none. Um, and now they, they do have that and they’re much more psychologically aware. So it’s not even just the, the, school that has to teach it actually, I think they’re learning in the context. I mean, if you, if you think about much of telly has got a psychological element to it now, um, you know, even love island.

[00:47:29] Rachel: I think so. But I do think, and I’m, I’m speaking on behalf of myself, when I was a, a, a GP, I, I wasn’t very clued up about psychology and what really goes on for, for patients. In fact, when I did the health my, I did a health behavior change coaching course and that just was such an eyeopener about how behavior changes even, how do you get someone to change their behavior and stuff like that?

[00:47:51] So I think obviously doing what I do, I think it should be a massive part. ’cause I think, you know, and I’ve said this to the medical students last week in, in the talk, you know, you can easily get enough knowledge to get to the top of your career, you know, it’s getting the skills that you need, getting the, the fine motor skills, learning the problem solving, getting the knowledge that you need to be a good doctor. That that’s almost the easy bit. But in order to really make it as a leader in medicine, you need to learn the self, self-awareness bit. You need to learn the resilience bit because the thing that stops people getting to the top is not a lack of knowledge. It it, it’s burning out and being too stressed. You know, because they’ve not managed to self, they’ve not learned how to self-manage, I think.

[00:48:37] Charlotte: I agree. I agree. I mean, I was coaching somebody earlier today, um, who is a very bright young woman who’s gonna make it to the top. And we talk a lot about the context in which she’s in and the resilience that she needs to be. She’s in a, in a sector that has very few women in it. Um, and we talked a lot about the impact of being sometimes the only woman in the room. And you know how that, she needs that, if she really wants to make it to top, she has to really want it. She has to be really resilient. So it’s, you know, the kind of the, the inte, the intellectual rigor is a given. It’s the other bit that we’re, we’re having to address.

[00:49:14] Rachel: And I know that I would’ve been a much better doctor if I could have overcome those shoulds, oughts, and musts. I’d have looked after myself a lot better. I would’ve done a lot more self-care. I would’ve put myself per, which would’ve then meant I could have been more there for my patients, you know, et cetera, et cetera. And I think that’s true for everybody unless we are looking after ourselves.

[00:49:35] And that, the major part of that, ’cause we, like you said before, we know what to do to look after ourselves. You know, the ways to wellbeing. We know, we know the problem is it’s the mindset stuff that stops us. It’s this shoulds, musts, ought to, which means we can’t set any boundaries. We can’t say no, we can’t limit us. We’ve got those, all of us have got that internal 1950s governess going on. All of us, and particularly bad for people in medicine. And we never give ourselves a break from it, honestly. It’s just I bet there’d be people listening to this going, yes and I can tell you exactly what mine’s called and what they look like.

[00:50:11] Charlotte: I was, I was with a coaching client a few days ago and one of the things I was, she wanted me to be robust and I was being quite robust with her and I said, well, yes, you got to rest of the whole weekend and therefore you came on Monday morning, back to work, feeling quite restored, but you had to cancel all of your plans and do nothing at the weekend. So on, on a kind of like, a competition of which wins work or home. Clearly hands down it’s work has won because you’ve had to have no home life in order to address the work piece. And the mindset there is around wanting to make a difference. And I, how can I make a difference if I’m not gonna work hard?

[00:50:50] So there’s, as you go back exactly back to what you just said, which is not that they don’t know what they need to do for their self-care, it’s that that underlying mindset shift that’s needed that actually I can make a difference without having to do these stupid hours.

[00:51:04] Rachel: Yeah, totally. And I, I always quote in talks of, you know, the, the success story we’ve got is if I work hard, I’ll be productive and I’ll be successful. And we know that doesn’t work ’cause there’s too much work right now. And so people are burning themselves out with that success story. What we need to know, and the great thing is, and I’m sure like you know this much more than me, but positive psychology research says, if you are happy, you’ll be productive and you’ll be successful. So we should be focusing much more on Happiness. And that’s not just like, you know, good feelings. It’s about those things that give us meaning and purpose and satisfaction and stuff like that. And I think while we’ve got the shoulds and the oughts and the musts in our head, we are never gonna, we’re never gonna get to that point where we’re actually focusing on, on meaning and satisfaction and purpose.

[00:51:49] Charlotte: Well, because we don’t actually know what the meaning and purpose and satisfaction is because it’s so hidden below layers of shoulds and oughts. That’s the challenge is, and so some of the stuff that’s great about positive psychology and also about ACT is, um, running towards things that you really want and understanding your purpose and your values.

[00:52:09] So one of, one of the things I did, so I’ve, I’ve had some ACT psychotherapy in order to start thinking about training as an ACT therapist. Um, and where we got to is that actually I’m quite a playful and humorous person, and I found myself getting into work that just wouldn’t, you know, encourage that. And so what I’ve been trying to do is a lot more around humor and playfulness and, you know, laughing and doing fun things and just being silly and, you know, so actually that makes me feel much more energized and therefore I can work much, it, it sort of is a, it is a, a positive, uh, cycle that I can just do more because I’m happy.

[00:52:48] Rachel: Oh, that’s wonderful.

[00:52:50] Charlotte, we’re nearly out of time. Um. And I think we could talk about this for a lot longer. We normally ask people for their top three tips at the end of the podcast. So if you are gonna give us, well, what were we talking about? A, I’ve gotta look back to the, uh, to our actual topic, but we’re talking about change, talking about your book, we’re talking about the tyranny of the shoulds. You know, what would your top, having done all these interviews, having written that book, what would your top three tips be for people to work happier and to be able to manage change better?

[00:53:22] Charlotte: to, to create change, we have to have awareness. We have to have awareness of where we are now. So back to the Gestalt psychologists. So for me, the first point is to recognize your shoulds and oughts. Recognize the tyranny of the shoulds in your life. And sometimes that can be just a, a day, or a few days or a week, just to up how many times in the day you are doing something because it’s a should, not because you actually want to, or because it feels generative or you have appetite for it. So there’s something about that audit. Just become aware of how much of your life is about aughts and shoulds. I’m going to that party because I feel like I ought to support my friend, but I don’t really feel up to it, I’m not feeling particularly well. Well, who’s gonna be, you know, do I put self care first or my friend’s?

[00:54:12] There’s something also about goals. Um, and you may have come across this in terms of a way and, and toward goals. So if you’re running towards something, if it’s running towards a goal, let’s say, for being much healthier, that is a goal that is, you’re much a more able to sustain and it’s much more fulfilling and it’s much easier to measure than if it’s something you’re running away from. So let’s say you are, you’re giving up cake. I love cake. Uh, giving up cake is much harder as a goal than eating healthily. Um, so an away goal is much harder to sustain. So make sure that whatever it is you’re working towards is a goal that’s running towards something rather than running away from something. So that’d be my kind of second tip.

[00:54:57] Um, and then we talked about it before, but it’s, it’s the spans of control, which is if something is outside of your control and you don’t have even any influence on it, it really isn’t worth your while spending time trying to fix it. And I do this, I’m, I’m rubbish at this, trying to fix other people. So that’s the, the, the least useful goal is trying to make someone else change their behavior. And what we need to do is change our own behavior or change our own mindset towards. Somebody once said, there’s no such thing as solving a problem, there’s only changing your mindset on it. And I have no idea who that was, but it was a sense that. If you have a challenge, actually the biggest thing you can do is to change your mindset on that challenge rather than to point at other people and say, well, if only you change. So there’s something about being really clear about what’s in our gift. And ultimately the only thing really in the world that’s in our gift is the way we see the world and the way we see our life.

[00:55:57] Rachel: first of all, I’m very glad you mentioned cake ’cause that was exactly what I was thinking when you said towards not where I was going. Yeah, no, I can’t get cake. But anyway, um, and. Yes, those are really helpful tips. Um, we actually have a tool that people can download and we’ll put the link in the show notes, which is called the Thrive Week Planner, which actually helps people write down their entire working week, what they’re doing, actually getting out reality. How many sessions am I working, what am I doing? And you could maybe highlight the things that you are doing that, that are the shoulds and the oughts and the musts rather than the actual wants to. And then you can then plot out the sort of week that you actually wants to have. So you know, you know where you are now and you, you are aware of actually where you would like to be. And that’s a really helpful tool. So we’ll put that, that link in the show notes.

[00:56:45] Charlotte: I download that piece? ’cause that sounds really useful.

[00:56:47] Rachel: It’s honestly, I try and do it once every, well, once every few months actually. It, it’s really interesting and whenever I’ve done it with, with people coaching wise, in fact, it started off with someone doing, somebody doing that with me. When I was doing my career change. I thought they were gonna go, right, what’s your goals? Blah, blah, blah. They went, instead they went, right, Rachel, how do you want to live? So here’s an, here’s a week. What do you want it to look like? And that was good. I was like, what? I get to choose how I live. Really? You know, do, do I not just have to work all the time. But it was the first time, you know, I really realized that there was a choice around it. And when I do this with people and we actually do that, what does your current week look like? It’s quite shocking when you actually put it all down.

[00:57:31] I remember coaching someone who was saying, why can’t I get a day off? Or what? By the time we put down all his work as a partner and this and that, he was working 13 sessions. Yeah. Of course, he wasn’t gonna get a day off, and it wasn’t until you actually saw where you were. So the Thrive Week Planner will help people, yeah, do their ideal week, their current week, and then there’s some questions just to guide them through about actually what do you wanna do. So yes, please download it. Be my

[00:57:52] Charlotte: Well, we, and we need to, it is important, isn’t it? We, we need to role model this stuff. ‘Cause otherwise it just feels, um, it just, it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel right if we’re saying, well, you know, I think you need to spend more time on mindfulness and you know your mind. How’s your mindfulness practice going? And I’m thinking, I am been doing my mindfulness practice for weeks. So I think we need to live, we do need to live it. It’s hard for us because we’re all busy too, but I think we need to live it. We need to role model it too. So I’m definitely downloading your

[00:58:18] Rachel: Do the Thrive Planner and everyone download it.

[00:58:21] Talking of resources, I know you’ve got some, Charlotte. How can people get hold of you? What can people access if they want to find out

[00:58:27] Charlotte: So the, I have a website called swimjumpfly.com. Uh, you can also buy the book, you can find that on Amazon and that’s in a paperback and Kindle version. Um, and you can contact me at ch@charlottehousden.com or you can find me on LinkedIn.

[00:58:46] Rachel: Great. So we’ll put those links in the show notes and Charlotte, we’re probably have gonna have to get you back another time to talk more about this sort of stuff. So please do come back. But thank you so much for being on today.

[00:58:55] Charlotte: thank you for inviting me. I’d love to come back. So, yes, please.

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