My Delicate, Balancing Act – Sarah Giles
Sarah Giles’ delicate, balancing act is the constant juggling of motherhood, career and everything else. After a 15 year plus career in HR she quit in the lockdown, resigning from her head of HR position.
“Looking from the outside, I probably looked like I had it all together, but inside I didn’t”. I have to set clear boundaries, focus on being a mum and have time for myself as well. “When you are so busy looking after other people it’s very easy to lose yourself in the process. We put our own self-care off . I’ve learnt so much about myself. A lot of that is through my own coaching journey. I think it’s things that I might not have ever done before.” remarks Sarah.
Sarah constantly asks herself the question “Who am I? “ She finds she is constantly evolving. As soon as she gets to a place where she thinks she is the person she wants to be, she discovers that she is growing again.
During the pandemic she gathered the courage and bravery to follow her passion, face her fears and stop worrying about judgment from others.
“Clarity around my values, beliefs and purpose helps me stay on track. Launching “It starts with me” was a strange experience for me, I found it hard to be excited, having not done promotions before… I stepped out of my comfort zone and I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way.”Sarah Giles
Sarah reminds us not to forget to celebrate our achievements. Little steps things that we might not think of as big are massive achievements. Sometimes we forget that.
“I dreamt of becoming an author and I did it. You can too!”
Paula: [00:00:00] Welcome to "TesseLeads" with your host Tesse Akpeki and co-host Paula
Okonneh. "TesseLeads" is a safe, sensitive, and supportive place and space to share here and
tell your stories and experiences. You will hear from top experts and thought leaders,
strategies, tips and techniques they have found useful in navigating a diverse range of
challenges, difficulties, dilemmas, as well as how you can create and share opportunities.
Our guest today is Sarah Giles and we will be talking about "my delicate, balancing act".
Sarah Giles is a confidence and mindset coach for quietly ambitious women with purpose.
She provides women with the tools to help make some positive changes to enhance the
health and wellbeing. Sarah is passionate about coaching others to build the confidence and
resilience so that they can be their best self and step into their potential. Sarah has a
background in HR spanning over 16 years and has operated in a variety of roles leading up to
head of HR director level. Wow! Sarah I told you, you look like you're 10 you're 20. Okay 16
years! Oh my word. Well welcome to "TesseLeads".
Sarah: [00:01:39] Thank you, thank you for having me.
Tesse: [00:01:41] Yeah. Sarah I'm really delighted to meet you again. I heard so much about
you and I also heard about your book as well, your chapter, and it's just well done. As Paula
has said, you've achieved so much. And I love the fact that your title was "stepping out of
the shadows". And I was struck by a paragraph in your book, which said "after a 15 year plus
career in HR I quit", in the lockdown yes I resigned from my head of HR position back in April
and left in June. Some might say that was mad during the pandemic. Quite often we get so
caught up in our busy lives that we play it safe and stick with what we know. It was finally
time for me to step out of my comfort zone" wow. So that leads me to my first question.
And I'd love you to share what being a mother is like for you? How do you tackle the constant
juggling of motherhood, your career and everything else?
Sarah: [00:02:54] It's certainly a challenge, for sure many women will relate to. I think trying
to balance a busy career with young children, my children-were young while I was still
working. And I was traveling in the early days as well in my career. And I was just running,
now I look back I don't know how I did some of it. But the point is we just get through it. But
I think there comes a point where we're just so busy running on autopilot all the time. And
we look like from the outside, I probably looked like I had it all together, but inside I didn't. I
was running from meetings to meetings having to worry about leaving on time to pick the
girls up from nursery. And I think, for me it's just we have to try not to put too much
pressure on ourselves. I think as women we've got to obviously be a good mom, we've got to
be good in our jobs or whatever we're doing. We've got a home to look after, partners,
whatever. And there's a lot of pressure that goes with that. And I think that the thing that
really helps is trying to set these clear boundaries, which is something, I'm going to be
completely honest I'm still working on. I think we're always having to adapt and tweak things
as we go, as we change things. But I think it's really, you're setting those clear boundaries so
that you feel that you've got that time where you can be mum and have that time with your
children. When you're at work, you've got your work head on and you've got that time for
you as well. It's really important to have time for yourself. Cause we're so busy looking after
other people that stuff the thing that we lose. We put our own self-care off and just that
time to be ourselves.
Paula: [00:04:54] I listened to that and I can relate fully to that. The juggle oh my gosh. I told
a friend of mine Sarah, your kids get older the problems change, you're still their mother.
You may not be going from dance to football, but you're juggling other things. So that was
good to hear you say that. But what really stood out for me was that you quit during the
pandemic. Oh my word, that is brave Sarah, I'm going to ask how have you rediscovered
yourself now that you've quit? And what have you found helpful?
Sarah: [00:05:33] I started training as a coach whilst I was still in my role because it was
something. I've obviously worked in HR for a long time. So been always doing coaching and
mentoring, but I wanted to do some proper coach training, so I'd already started that. And I
hadn't been happy if I was honest for probably a couple of years. Just felt like I was just the
same old thing rushing around nothing was ever changing. Although I'd worked so hard to
get to a point in my career where I thought I'd finally think, wow I've achieved great things.
And I got to some levels and then thought well, actually I'm not doing the part of the roles
that I love anymore. I'm just not feeling fulfilled anymore. Spending my days in meetings and
looking at spreadsheets. And it wasn't really what my true passions were. So when we first
went into the first look down, I was homeschooling busy role, my husband was obviously
working as well and it was just chaos. And it was just the catalyst for change to me. I just
thought life is too short,; now is the time that I need to follow my passion, do something
that I really feel fulfilled in. Before I'd previously put off making this decision, but as soon as
lockdown hit, I just thought this is the time,this is the time. And that's really where my
journey, I think cause I call it a journey because it just keeps evolving because I've discovered
so much about myself since leaving my career. I think you almost work out once she leaves
that title. Who am I now? Who am I?
Paula: [00:07:18] Yeah, I've been hearing a lot of that from different people, who am I? The
pandemic hit everybody had to regroup. And now that we have the other, I want to say the
other end of the pandemic, where we've gotten vaccines and people are emerging. It's like
am I emerging, you know?
Sarah: [00:07:37] Yeah exactly. Who is the person I want to be now?
Paula: [00:07:41] Yes I love that. So Tesse?
Tesse: [00:07:45] Yeah, I really am struck of what you're saying about who am I emerging?
So Sarah not putting you on the spot, but I am trickily curious about who are you?
Sarah: [00:07:58] That's a good question. I think what I've noticed is since leaving my career,
I've learnt so much about myself. A lot of that is through my own coaching journey. But lots
of it is come through my business journey as well. Because as a business that you are your
brand and having to show up as the real you can be scary sharing stories on a podcast. I
think it's things that I might not have ever done before. So for me, who am I? I feel like I'm
constantly evolving because I think as soon as you get to a place where you think that's the
person I want to be, we're always growing amazing. So I think you then move into a different
zone of where am I working towards now? Who is that person? And for me, it's been that I
had the confidence to leave my career behind. It's not easy to do that. I'm really work out
who I was, and having that courage and being brave to follow my passion.
Tesse: [00:09:09] Following your passion that's beautiful. The question that comes to my
mind is about you, you know. You said, who am I? And it's, how are you investing in you?
You've taken this big leap into the unknown. You're following your passions, you have these
lovely children, you are a business owner. That's must be pretty scary. So how are you
investing in you?
Sarah: [00:09:36] I talk a lot around values and beliefs and all purpose, because I think when
you're very clear on that it really helps you stay on track. I talk a lot about boundaries as well,
because especially when you come into the business world, perhaps we leave our careers
behind because you think you want more time with family and children. And then you start
in business and you're suddenly thinking I'm working even more hours now than I was
before. So it's just continually not now, but at the start it's that roller coasters of just almost
you've changed identity again. It's kind of working through that now. Who am I as a business
owner? And how do I stay true to myself, my values? If my values is all around my family and
that balance, then what do I need to make sure that my goal was all to make that happen.
Because I think we can easily get sidetracked by what others are doing and thinking that
that's what we have to do to be successful. But actually success is whatever you want it to
be. Sorry, I've probably completely gone off- piste with the question.
Tesse: [00:10:51] Absolutely not. I mean what you said is beautiful and elegantly put about
success is whatever you want it to be. Success is whatever you make it. Success is your
purpose that you're working towards. And I noticed in your book again, you give a quote
which you loved, and this is one from Helen Mirren, where you said, "look fear straight in its
ugly face and barge forward".
Sarah: [00:11:19] And the reason I love that quote. It's because I think that we have so many
fears worrying about judgment from others. Lots of it is if I use the example of the book
chapter, the book collaboration that I was part of. I would have never necessarily had the
courage to do anything like that before. And I remember the week that we were launching
this book and everyone else that had been part of the collaboration was so excited about it.
And you know, it was all over social media. And inside I just felt, I couldn't understand it
cause I wasn't feeling that excited. And it was because I'm not used to that promotion and
doing all of that. So I've learned a lot of lessons along the way, myself there.
Tesse: [00:12:08] Paula over to you. I think yeah, you can resonate with it.
Paula: [00:12:12] Yes. "Looking fear and its ugly face and barging forward". I love that, that is
bold, that is confident, that is speaking with authority. I like that because the acronym that I
heard recently, that fear is false evidence appearing real just seems so real. Look at the false
evidence appearing real and barge forward. Great.
Sarah: [00:12:38] I always think, take action when you normally wouldn't. Because I've had
so many occasions where I've procrastinated, been overthinking. And then you'd sometimes
don't take action because you've talked yourself out of it. Whereas if you just do it, even if
it's that small step again, you're on the way. And you'll look back in six months time and
think, wow I've actually achieved quite a few things there.
Tesse: [00:13:06] Yeah, it's kind of at the back of what Paula is saying about false evidence
appearing real. There's the other thing, which is F.A.I.L an acronym, which is First Attempt In
Learning. And I think that whole experimentation and stepping out and knowing that if we
don't make it the way we want to, we've learned one way not to do it.
Sarah: [00:13:27] Yeah, it's all about the learning key for me. I have been a bit of a
perfectionist before, so that would hold me back as well. Because I think I can't do it because
it's not perfect, but there's no such thing as perfect. So I think if anyone's ever worrying
about time for everything to be perfect, you just need to get to a point of where it's
acceptable for you. That you're comfortable for that thing to go out or get done. Cause
that's what's really helped me now.
Tesse: [00:13:56] Wow, wow. And for people listening in, what would you like them to take
away from hearing your story? It is a lovely story. Lots of parents out there during this
pandemic and post pandemic could be juggling the way that your juggling. What would your
encouragement be to them?
Sarah: [00:14:14] Don't put too much pressure on yourself is a big one because we do
naturally. And just try and take some time for you and do something that you enjoy. Do
something if it's daily that's brilliant, but even weekly. Do something I will say to people
because it will light you up. It lights that spark inside you. I think we easily just get lost
amongst helping others. And this is why I talk a lot around wellbeing because it's our
wellbeing but it gets neglected, then it gets into that negative spiral doesn't it?
Paula: [00:14:50] Yes it does. There's so many things I can think of, off the top of my head
that I was so afraid to do. One was public speaking, and so doing the podcast helped me.
Now as you know I do four. But yeah, that's procrastination. Oh my gosh, you just give up
and say, I'm not going to do it sometimes. And then the time when you do do it you're like, it
was so easy what was I thinking?
Sarah: [00:15:19] Yeah, and also a big thing is don't forget to celebrate your achievements
because again, all those little steps things that you might not think of that big it's a massive
achievement, and sometimes we forget that.
Paula: [00:15:33] Yes, that's so true. So Sandra we've really enjoyed talking with you. One
thing I wanted to do is apart from our listeners, where else can people find you online?
You're on that podcast for sure, but where else?
Sarah: [00:15:48] Well, I'm probably everywhere, on my website is probably the easiest
place to direct people to cause then my links to social media in there. So my websites
Paula: [00:16:05] So you're on Facebook, you're on LinkedIn, you're on Instagram. That's
cool, that's cool.
Sarah: [00:16:13] Loving to learn the tech.
Paula: [00:16:16] I understand.
Tesse: [00:16:19] You know Paula, I think that am curious to know the answer to one of our
favorite questions. Which is Sarah's emoji that connects with her. It's just because of all she's
been saying, I'm thinking okay, what emoji would adopt or use? What's your favorite emoji?
Sarah: [00:16:38] My favorite, actually the ones I probably use the most is there's a little
leaf, like leaves for growth. That's my kind of thing. Or I use a star they tend to be mine.
Tesse: [00:16:49] I thought so. Curious you have that playful you know, collective style and
then belief for the growth face.
Sarah: [00:17:00] Yeah.
Paula: [00:17:01] The star an exploding star you know. Growth, new birth outbursts.
Sarah: [00:17:08] Yeah.
Paula: [00:17:09] I love that.
Tesse: [00:17:10] You've been a great guest. I just love your quiet confidence, and I love your
encouragement to step out of the darkness and into the light. Thank you.
Sarah: [00:17:20] Thank you.
Paula: [00:17:21] Thank you, Sarah. It's always so great talking with you.
Sarah: [00:17:25] Thank you for having me.
Paula: [00:17:27] So we are wrapping up here and to our listeners, we want you to know
that your precious stories and lives matter. Others are supportive, encouraged, and nurtured
when they know that they are never alone. So for our listeners, we encourage you to head
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