[00:00:00] Emily Thompson: Most bosses I know are here to build a business that supports their life. They want to travel or spend time with their kids. It's what drives most of us to become entrepreneurs, but something we don't talk about often enough is how to build that life and how to structure that life to support how it is that we show up to do the work.
[00:00:20] Welcome to being boss podcast for creative business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And today I want to flip the script, taking the alternative, look at what it takes to take control of your work and live life on your own terms, because you can't take control of your work.
[00:00:41] If your life doesn't support it. To join me for this conversation. I asked me friend and business bestie, Meghan Flatt, who you first met in episode 233, to have this chat with me, to shed some light on some of the many ways that the work-life balance is symbiotic. It's not just building a business that supports your life, but it's also building a life that supports your business.
[00:01:06] Megan Flatt is a business growth strategist who helps driven women entrepreneurs find the most profitable focus for their business and then create the strategy to get there. She helps her clients refine their offers, increase their revenue and get the support they need to be the go-to in their field and be present for the other important things in their life.
[00:01:27] Through her work outlets, collective. Megan. It is so good to see you again. Thank you for agreeing to have our business bestie chat on the podcast.
[00:01:38] Megan Flatt: I love it. Yeah. I'm so excited to talk about this topic,
[00:01:41] Emily Thompson: right? This topic is one that we sort of like swarm around whenever we're having our chats. And today I thought we just killed two birds with one stone.
[00:01:51] And I always find so much value in these conversations. And I know that you work with people to help find solutions for these sorts of things. It's very much so the sort of top of everyone's mind to think, how do we build a life that supports our business? Usually it's the other way around.
[00:02:10] Right. Like we're building a business to support our life, but you have to do it both ways.
[00:02:16] Megan Flatt: I completely agree. And in fact, a friend said to me a couple of weeks ago, and it just the simple statement, that's just as kind of rocked my world. And I've been thinking about it for the last couple of weeks and she's a fellow entrepreneur and she said, I want to make sure I'm building a house I want to live in.
[00:02:34] And I think that when we think about how we're structuring our business, I'm looking at your face, when she said that to me, I was like, ah, yeah, because I think that we get to this point, like we chose entrepreneurship partly for the flexibility. And then we get to a point where we're kind of just.
[00:02:54] Employees of our own company, and we're just like punching the clock for our own company. I think that this is a part of that bigger conversation is how do we build a business? Like you just said, how do we build a business that supports our life?
[00:03:12] Emily Thompson: And I love the suit.
[00:03:14] Cause I feel like it, we're always talking about building the business, like build the job of your dreams, but, you also have to, I love this, like building a house.
[00:03:24] Megan Flatt: You want to build a house? Yeah. She phrased it some way. Like, I don't want to get to the end and realize I built a house that I don't want to live in.
[00:03:33] How she actually said it kind of in context, but I just keep thinking about that. Am I building the house that I want to live in? And yeah, I think that's a good question to keep asking ourselves.
[00:03:46] Emily Thompson: Man as my kid gets like teenage age, which is just a whole thing, this like really wraps up some other things in there.
[00:03:55] Yeah. My little employee, how do I make her do the things right. We want her to do this is perfect. Okay, good. Well, let's dive into this. I knew I wanted to talk to you about this officially. And then I visited your Instagram and was going through, I was like, you know, what is Megan talking about these days outwardly?
[00:04:18] And one of the things that I saw. And one of your posts was this idea of building sustainable support. And I saw that and I was like that, that is it. So I'm wondering how it is that you define that, especially in terms of being a parent and being a boss or just being someone who's really doing this for the life of it.
[00:04:44] Or you have children who need you and therefore you're here for the life of it. Whether you want to be here for better or worse, what is it look like to be a mom boss or a parent boss in your life? What does it look like to build sustainable
[00:05:02] Megan Flatt: support? Yeah. Yeah. You know, I love analogies, so I'm always like throwing out analogies.
[00:05:10] But so another little fact that I learned is that bamboo is one of the strongest woods. And part of the reason it's so strong is because it's flexible and it's in a lot of earthquake prone countries, they do a lot of building with bamboo because it has this flexibility to it without kind of crumbling to the ground.
[00:05:35] And then obviously bamboo, we also know it's sustainable, right? Because it's fast growing. So, I always think about sustainable support. I kind of have this visual in my head of like some type of bamboo structure. And I think about that when I think about the kind of support that we need to create for ourselves is that it needs.
[00:05:54] That it needs to be flexible. It needs to be supportive, but it also has to have this flexibility to it. And I think that is kind of one of my definitions of sustainable support. And also the, the pieces of support, there's kind of an internal piece. Like what do you need inside you? What do you need to develop inside you from a support standpoint?
[00:06:19] And then what's that external support that you need. So I really consider internal support, like your mindset and how you think about your business and how you think about your life and how you think about your responsibilities. We've talked about like, not being busy for the sake of being busy or things like that.
[00:06:41] And I think that when you kind of address those, like what are my values? What's important to me? What boundaries do I want to set? That's kind of how you start to, even though like a boundary might be an external support thing too, but it's how you think about it. Having that kind of internal support too.
[00:06:57] And then I think there's kind of another version of internal support is like planning and systems. We can dive into that too. And then you've got external support and that's getting other people to help you, whether that is someone you're paying, whether that's someone you're paying to help you with business or help you at home.
[00:07:14] And then it's also these relationships, it's friendships and it's mentorship. It's those making sure you have that type of support and you know that you want that person that you can text and say, this is feeling really hard. I'm kind of over this right now.
[00:07:34] Like you want those or the person that you can reach out to. And usually it's the same person, that you can reach out to and say, Oh my gosh, I'm really excited about this. Or this is a great idea I had, or what do you think about this? And it's kind of building in all of these little pockets of support in different ways and that's.
[00:07:54] For me, that's my definition. That's what makes it sustainable because sometimes you might be relying more on paid support. And then when you have a global pandemic and maybe you can't have as much like household support, then you have, you've already built some other support systems that you can lean on a little bit.
[00:08:13] Emily Thompson: Yes. To all of this. And I'll say, it's funny, whenever you started talking about this and one of the first things I thought about. Was actually my house for me. I definitely see like how things are happening in my house in the mornings. Definitely play a huge part in supporting me to show up at work and feel creative and inspired and empowered to say and do what it is that I need to do.
[00:08:47] And I think of these and it's little things like having a clean bathroom. I don't have a house cleaner, the moment I'm cleaning my own bathroom. And actually we'll say David is doing most of the bathroom cleaning, which I very much so appreciate him for it, which is like another level of that.
[00:09:05] Megan Flatt: Another level of surgery, but that's part of it. It's figuring, it's figuring all of those things out. It's like, okay, who is going to clean the bathroom? And that's, again, those are those different pieces of support and you can be flexible with that. You know, maybe sometimes you're paying someone to do that or you're doing it or you're outsourcing it to someone in your household.
[00:09:25] Emily Thompson: So, it is about buildings, one of every little piece of your life to support your work. And we talk here all the time about building every little piece of your work to support your life. Like they really do go very hand in hand. So, for me, the state of my house, the state of my house is
[00:09:48] definitely one of those. I even think, it's really hard for me to get up and going, get up and get going in the morning, especially getting up and making breakfast, which is something that I love, that we were able to do every day. I'm able to sit down and I'm able to make breakfast for my family.
[00:10:04] We sit down, we have breakfast together almost every single morning. It's one of my favorite things about the line that I have built for myself, but I can't do that. If my kitchen is messy. So, every evening, before I go to bed, I have to have a clean kitchen. I can't operate in a dirty kitchen. I'm not going to get up and be excited about making breakfast and the rest of my day, if I walk in and the spatula that I need is not clean or, my cabinets are, my cat, my counters are messy, whatever it may be.
[00:10:33] So I definitely am bringing, I am personally considering very much the state of my house and my environment. And that's also just very much so my personality type, my environment plays very much so, into my support system and with those little things, like, cleaning the bathroom once a week or once every other week making sure my kitchen is clean every night before I go to bed.
[00:10:57] Like those are the systems of support that I've built into my life that, that enable me to show up and be a happier version of me. So my house is very much one of those, do you have any, that's coming to mind for you?
[00:11:16] Megan Flatt: I think I, I'm just loving this as you're saying this, because I think it's so important for us to identify these things that are important to us and then figure out how.
[00:11:30] How we can implement them into whatever is going on in our lives. Again, if we're in the middle of a pandemic or you have a newborn at home or you're having, or you're helping out with an aging parent or you're in a big busy phase in your business, there's always going to be something. There's always going to be something, full stop.
[00:11:50] There's always going to be something. And I think it's so important to kind of identify that. And then you can, it's your house and, kind of knowing that. And then I find that then that's also. Probably when you're feeling a little out of sorts, my guess would be those two things are kind of tied together.
[00:12:08] Like if you're feeling a little, off kilter, it's probably getting the house back in order kind of helps
[00:12:15] Emily Thompson: totally nervous, cleaner.
[00:12:18] Megan Flatt: Right. And so, what I've found is I'm an introvert. So the jokes that all went around, especially at the beginning of the pandemic like that, Oh, us introverts are fine.
[00:12:30] Like we don't need to go out. We're totally, my husband would tease me about like that. I'm never going to leave the house again, but what I realized is, yes, I'm not necessarily going out, but also no one else in my house is going out. And so, as an introvert and as an introvert who became an entrepreneur, because she wanted to have a flexible lifestyle to be really.
[00:12:54] Available to her kids. My mom was a stay-at-home mom. I really valued that as a child. I really valued that. And I knew that wasn't exactly the lifestyle that I wanted as an adult, but I knew that was important to me. So, I wanted to build that a business like we were talking about. I wanted to build that business where I could have a lot of time around my kids.
[00:13:16] And at the same time, I need some quiet time and I need some time where no one needs me. No one's talking to me. No one needs me to get something or no one wants to tell me though. You know rules of Minecraft like, and I love that. I love that. And I want that. And then I want some time where I don't have that.
[00:13:39] And so that's been something from us from a support standpoint. It's like, okay, when am I going to get that? And when am I going to get it? Guilt-free, when am I going to just, whether that's me needing to have a conversation. With my family or my team, or because it's not just my kids.
[00:13:57] It's also like, I don't want to respond to an email. I don't want a client to ask me a question. I just need some time where it's just me and my brain and whatever else. No, then that's all.
[00:14:08] Emily Thompson: It’s just you and your brain. I. It cannot aim in this hard enough, right. Fellow introvert, who just wishes.
[00:14:17] I could be alone for just like an hour. But I will say that is something that I have prioritized for myself over the past couple of weeks. Cause I felt this like buildup of, I don't even think anxiety is the right word. Like anger, I just need to be by myself. I need no one to look at me or talk to me or.
[00:14:41] expect anything for me, that's been my biggest one. Yeah. Like no expectations. Like you don't expect me to listen. You don't expect me to look at this thing. You don't expect me to talk back. Like I just need to be without expectation. And I've talked to David about this. I told him, I was like, look, I love you very much, but can I take like one hour less of you?
[00:15:03] This week, like what can that look like? And we talked it out and have worked out a schedule so that once a week I can be at either at home alone for a chunk of time or at work alone for a chunk of time. And my office here is like pretty Kush. I like it a lot. So, I can be here and just watch some Netflix or read a book and it feels like I'm in a loungy coffee shop, perhaps.
[00:15:29] It doesn't feel like being at work and working through that with him to get me what I need has been amazing. And I'm so much less angry now.
[00:15:40] Megan Flatt: Right. And so I think this is so important and this is the sustainable support piece. And I think stereotypically as women, of course, not all of us and men and other people I'm sure feel this, but like that guilt.
[00:15:56] That guilt that comes up, that's like, well, I should be listening to the talk about Minecraft, or I should be responding to my clients faster, or I should be doing this. And I think that's the recipe for burnout, right? That's the recipe for burnout and resentment and frustration, all of those other things.
[00:16:15] And so knowing those things, knowing I need a clean kitchen knowing I need an hour with a quiet time. Making some of those decisions ahead of time, knowing that sometimes I have to take a social media break because I can get that kind of internal mindset piece where I can start looking at what everyone else is doing on the internet and start thinking like, Ooh, I should do that.
[00:16:39] Oh, look, that person launched that thing I should. So, okay, you know what? You need to take a break from social media. Like all of those things, that's part of that sustainable support.
[00:16:50] Emily Thompson: Yeah. Right. And I love how much you're saying, knowing right now.
[00:16:55] Megan Flatt: Right. You don't always. And honestly, sometimes I have to write it down for myself or I'll keep like a, in the note section of my phone.
[00:17:05] We just had a retreat for the program that I run and we created like little index cards with everyone created these like personal reminders of the things like get out into nature, put on lipstick, like whatever it is, whatever it is for you, that helps that. So that when you're in that moment of frustration or sadness or rage or confusion or whatever that feeling is.
[00:17:33] Sometimes we can't be like, Oh, you know, what I need to do right now is, sometimes we can't do that. We can't process that. So, having some reminder, a friend or having it written down or having it in your note section in your phone where you can, you can say, Oh yeah, you know what, I need to hydrate.
[00:17:49] And I need to like turn off social media.
[00:17:52] Emily Thompson: Yes. I'm wondering if you have any or what your thoughts are. Around mitigating the guilt. Cause it's funny using social media for business, taking the meetings, blocking yourself off 40 hours a week to focus on your passion and turning it into a business or making your bed.
[00:18:12] Like those things have no guilt. Like you just show up and you do your work. But when it comes to having a conversation with your partner about how you just need an hour alone or telling your kid even to like, I will listen to this conversation about Minecraft later or buying yourself that nice thing of lipstick, because that makes you feel amazing.
[00:18:36] What do you have to say around that guilt? How can we mitigate that so that we can show up to support ourselves in just as meaningful way as we show up to support everyone else.
[00:18:53] Megan Flatt: Well, listen, first, I have horrible mom, mom guilt, business owner, guilt, wife's guilt, community member guilt. You know, I am certainly not an expert at this by any means, but I think, you know exactly what you're saying.
[00:19:09] I realized that it doesn't necessarily serve me or it doesn't serve the people that I care about. That it doesn't serve my family for me to be stomping around the house, doing things angrily or exhausted or frustrated because it doesn't serve my family.
[00:19:36] So if I'm feeling guilty, like feeling like I'm not doing enough or whatever it is. I try to remember that and I try to kind of remember, okay. Like I might feel a little bit guilty right now, or my child or my spouse or whatever might feel a little bit frustrated with me right now that I'm not listening to the Minecraft talk or I'm not like jumping up to do the dishes, but I'm going to be better.
[00:20:04] I'm going to be better for it. I'm going to be better able to handle it. So that's been kind of thinking a little bit more long-term and literally like kind of the sitting on your hands, my husband, actually does a lot of the housework now, especially just the way I’m home more with the kids and that kind of the distance learning and I'm juggling, he's still going into work because of his job.
[00:20:29] So I'm more kind of hands-on day to day. So, he comes, he does a lot of the laundry. He does a lot of the cooking. He does a lot of the cleaning because he kind of does those in his time. And sometimes I'll think like, Oh, I gotta jump up and help him. I go, Oh, I should be doing dishes too.
[00:20:46] I should be. And I have to have that self-talk. I have to have that, no, it's okay. It's okay to let someone else do these things for you. I have to have that, again, that's back to the internal and the mindset. Like I have to have those conversations with myself.
[00:21:06] Emily Thompson: I literally do too.
[00:21:07] It's funny you saying that I have like, working while working guilt or not working while working guilt to where I'll see David doing the dishes, just like you're saying. And I'm like, Oh, let me jump up and also do the dishes. But like, why can't I just sit there and let someone do the dishes for me?
[00:21:23] Megan Flatt: Yeah.
[00:21:24] Yeah, exactly.
[00:21:25] Emily Thompson: And so, I have to very mindfully sit there and just realize that just because he's working as a men, I need to work. I don't expect that from him. Like if I'm here working and he wants to, take his hour alone at home, I'm not gonna be mad at him for doing that. I recognize that for him that's necessary, but I do have a hard time recognizing that for myself.
[00:21:49] No, that's a lie. I don't have a problem recognizing it. I have a problem sitting on my hands.
[00:21:55] Megan Flatt: Right. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah, for sure. I think it's like anything like a practice, right? You have to keep re-engaging with it for sure.
[00:22:06] Emily Thompson: I do too. I’m interested in your thoughts too, around this, unlike
[00:22:14] a bigger level of guilt. This doesn't need to be a conversation of guilt necessarily, but let's say, you are a priority. Like you are prioritizing. Let's say you hate cooking and want to prioritize eating out a couple of times a week, or actually here's a really frivolous one. You brought up lipstick a minute ago, right?
[00:22:35] Like one of the things that just makes you feel great is lipstick or vegging out on some Tik Tok or whatever it may be. But I feel like sometimes, sometimes I get a hint of this bigger guilt of like, of all the problems in the world my biggest problem right now is that I just want to wear my lipstick or whatever it may be.
[00:22:59] Do you have anything to say around like, really big existential guilt around building these support systems for yourself.
[00:23:09] Megan Flatt: Yeah. So, and this kind of just actually big guilt, little guilt, this kind of ties in, I was just thinking about it. When you were kind of talking about sitting on your hands and kind of having that hard part.
[00:23:21] So I'm a planner and I think that way, and so a lot of times my solutions, and again, they're not right for everyone, but a lot of times my personal solutions come back a little bit to planning. And I always find, because I also, if I'm, if I'm being honest and if you ask my best friend, I'm like, I'm a pretty emotional person too.
[00:23:43] Like I cry at commercials. And I can definitely feel feeling emotion in the moment. So, I like to really make a lot of decisions. Kind of ahead of time and kind of set some rules. Isn't what I mean, but like set some frameworks for myself when I'm not feeling guilty when I'm not feeling XYZ?
[00:24:06] So when I have the brain space, when I have the head space to say how much do I want to, maybe back when schools were in session and things like that, like how much do I want to volunteer in my child's school? Like what's a reasonable amount and kind of making a decision like, okay, you know what?
[00:24:25] I think it's reasonable for me to chair one thing a year. But then I'm not going to be involved on a weekly basis or I kind of make those, these kind of bigger blanket decisions, because then when I get that email from the school saying like we need someone to volunteer to do this this weekend, like come clean the garden.
[00:24:46] And I'm like, I don't want to clean the garden. I don't have to feel guilty about it because I've decided ahead of time. Like I've set those parameters for myself. I've decided ahead of time the way I want to contribute to my children's school is by chairing the movie night that happens in the fall.
[00:25:03] And like I've made that decision ahead of time and the same thing even at home, like making the decision that at 7:30 PM, I'm off the clock. I'm off the clock. And my kids are getting older, so they're still awake but I don't want to do anything after about 7:30 PM.
[00:25:24] Not that I don't want to say I don't want to do anything I want. And so, by making that decision for myself ahead of time and being able to communicate that decision ahead of time, then I don't feel guilty. If someone is like, Oh, I want to play a board game. I'm just kind of like, you know what, it's getting kind of late for me.
[00:25:42] You know, it's getting kind of late for me to do that. And at the very least, and I might decide, yeah, look, you know what I'm feeling great. Let's go ahead and play a board game, but I've made that, those kinds of blanket decisions ahead of time. Or not checking Slack messages and sometimes I'll see the notification kind of pop by and I'll kind of realize that one of my team members is working late and then there's that part of me
[00:26:06] that's like, Oh, if she's working, I should be working too. But again, just making those blanket decisions, like I don't check Slack after 5:00 PM and just kind of making some of those blanket decisions, then I'm in the moment when I'm likely to do something, because I feel guilty about it. I can kind of lean back on that framework I've created now.
[00:26:28] Emily Thompson: There's some great boundaries, great boundaries.
[00:26:32] Megan Flatt: I mean, I'm not always perfect, but yeah, that's definitely how I try to approach it. I try to approach everything in my life from a planning, planning angle.
[00:26:41] Emily Thompson: Perfect. Perfect. I do a lot of that too. And I will say too, even going back to what you were talking about, you didn't really put it in these words, it nurturing yourself so that you can really show up in your fullest capacity.
[00:26:57] I think for me is probably one of the ways that I mitigate the like very large scale exited existential guilt, for sure. Of like, why am I sitting here Netflixing all day? Which is not really even something that I do, but let's reading a book all day when like, the world is burning down around me.
[00:27:17] I'm going to carve out this half day to read what, but for me, I definitely have learned that my capacity for action is limited and it is absolutely related to how much it is that I take care of myself. And so, if I want to make impact through my actions, the more I want to make is the more I have to take care of myself to be able to show up and make that impact.
[00:27:49] And it took me a long time to really, to really see the core of those that correlation between those things. But once it happened and honestly, it was burnout for me. So being so burned out, I could barely function was a time when I was forced to see the correlation of like, if I want to show up and do all the great things that I want to do in my business.
[00:28:14] As an ally, as a mother, as a member of my community of all of these things, if I want to do all of those things, I need to spend half a day reading a book sometimes why the world burns down around me. So that whenever I have refilled my cup, I'm able to go out and make the impact that I want to make.
[00:28:37] So that for me, really, coming to that realization of there is a direct correlation between my ability to make impact and how much I show up for myself to make sure that my kitchen is clean to make sure that I am like filling my cup with good books or hobbies or a bit of network. Flicks or whatever it may be.
[00:29:00] I'm able to mitigate the guilt either on that small scale, like real-world guilt or like the big existential, what in the world is happening. It's those things are tied together.
[00:29:15] Megan Flatt: I think of everything, like everything that we have as a resource. Whether it's money or whether it's time or whether it's our energy.
[00:29:26] And so I think of a lot of things like that in terms of like, you're setting a budget. So like what kind of financial impact would you make, if you have a hundred dollars to donate to or you have a hundred dollars to donate and you're going to donate $1 to a hundred different causes, what kind of impact does that make versus deciding I'm going to donate.
[00:29:52] $50 to this organization and $50 to this organization, like that's going to make a bigger impact. And I try to think of it the same with my time and with my energy. And if I'm spread too thin, then I'm not going to make the impact that I want to make, whether that's on my business, whether that's in the community, whether that's for causes.
[00:30:14] I believe in whether that's for my kids, if I'm spread too thin that there's just not that resource. That resource is just not available to make an impact. And sometimes you have to say no to some things, either altogether or in the moment or on the day, you have to say no to so that you can put more resources to something else.
[00:30:40] And I am not always good at that for sure. But it's definitely something that I try to think about and strive for.
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[00:31:30] That really brings me to the next level, or it's not even next level, but like continuation, I suppose. Just as important for you to put energy into building the support systems in your life, right. When it comes to like deciding where. To put those resources. It cannot be all in your business.
[00:31:56] And I think the group we're talking to here, like you guys aren't lazy, at least not most of you, like you don't have to worry about being the kinds of people who just needs to get up and do the work likely you're doing too much work. And so, it really is building those systems and putting the resources into all of those things.
[00:32:16] But we've talked about some internal things. So, you need, we both need some alone time. I need to clean kitchen. Right? This is an internal thing, I guess. Kitchen is kind of external, but let's talk about some of those external support systems, especially for the purpose of your life that allows you to show up and be boss and all the ways that you want it to be.
[00:32:39] What are some examples of those external ones?
[00:32:42] Megan Flatt: Well, I think this goes back to what we were saying at the beginning about building the house that you want to live in. And I really preach. And I think you do too, like not separating the two, like this 24 hours is my life.
[00:32:59] And I spend some of this 24 hours with my kids and I spend some of the 24 hours with my business but it's all my life. And again, it goes back to that, like being flexible and kind of deciding with whatever my reality is positive, negative. Like whatever my reality is now, then deciding where could I use some extra support?
[00:33:23] And so sometimes you want to be, like I said, I love analogies. So, the other analogy that I love is this idea of like spinning the plate. The plate spinner at the circus, and that you can put some energy into getting a plate to spin, and then it will spin on its own while you go put energy into spinning a different plate.
[00:33:43] And I think about that kind of with my support too, like maybe at certain points in my, in my whole life, maybe what I need is more support in my business because I want to be a little more focused at home. And so. Maybe in, in those instances and maybe it's because my kids need more of my kids are going through something or they need more help or, you know, whatever it is.
[00:34:06] So in those instances, then I'm going to seek out more help in my business. And then maybe sometimes my business needs more attention. Then I need a little more support at home, whether that's paying for support or asking my family to step up in certain ways. And as long as I think about it as like, what does my life need right now?
[00:34:28] Then I can kind of decide the specifics of, do I need more business support? Do I need more home support? Do I need more friends support? What kind of support do I need right now?
[00:34:42] Emily Thompson: Right. And based on where it is that you want to put your energy.
[00:34:44] Megan Flatt: Exactly and where we want to go.
[00:34:47] Exactly. Yes.
[00:34:48] Emily Thompson: So, one of the exercises we have in CEO daycare is it's called marketing revenue and it's a little calendar. It's funny. I was just talking in the C-suite with a boss about one of the ways that I use this one. The way I want to share here now is that I will use this and designate each month, whether it is a work or a life month.
[00:35:11] And so I'll go through at the beginning of the year, identify when I'm going on vacation. That's a joke. That's just an example. Everyone say
[00:35:22] Megan Flatt: a staycation
[00:35:23] Emily Thompson: is staycation, right? Or there's some big event happening or, something is happening in my life where I'm going to focus that month.
[00:35:33] And in which case I need to set up my business support to allow me to remove myself from my business a bit to focus on life and then vice versa. If we have a big launch or an event or whatever, it may be some big move in business happening. That'll be a month that I designate as a work month.
[00:35:52] So it's going to be telling David he's going to be making some PBS and Jays roasting some chickens. Cause he's really great at that. Or asking my family to step out, which I'm so glad is something that you brought up because can we talk about that for a second, asking your family to step up.
[00:36:13] This is something that has always, it's just always been a very natural part of mine and David's relationship. And with our kid, like my kid does the dishes every single night. She also like David cleans the bathroom and roast chickens, these sorts of things. So, like it's always been very much so part of the culture of my family, that everyone pulls a pretty equal amount of weight.
[00:36:41] And there are times when I need to pull them in to do more, but I know that that's not a super common scenario. What is your situation like and any words of advice for people who need their people to step up?
[00:36:57] Megan Flatt: Yeah, so I luckily, I'm in a similar situation as you and, but I don't think it hasn't necessarily always been that way.
[00:37:09] And so a couple of things that I've noticed, um, You know, a couple of things that I've noticed, just, I mean, just being super transparent and super honest here, it is definitely gotten easier. If I could use air quotes around easier, it's definitely gotten easier as my kids have gotten older. So, my daughter's about to turn 10.
[00:37:30] My son will be 13 this summer. As they've gotten older and more independent, it's gotten easier because there's just two more humans that can do things as opposed to two humans that need a lot of things done for them. My clients and my friends that have babies and that are still like that.
[00:37:49] Literally have to spend have to keep watching their child to make sure they don't put something in their mouth. Like I'm just beyond that stage. And also, as my business got more successful and my earning potential balanced out with my husbands, then it became things got a lot more balanced because it was just I had this conversation with, I have a group of business friends and we've started a book club and, or like a
[00:38:18] book chat and, but we start talking about other things too. And we were kind of talking about that as well as that, as my earning potential has become something that it's not just this little side business or this little side hobby or things like that. It's like, we all kind of get equal time because we're all contributing to the family in an equal way.
[00:38:39] Now, I don't think that you have to be earning as much as your spouse for you to deserve support. I don't feel that way at all, but just in being transparent, it definitely got easier as those two things started happening. But also, I do have the more air quotes.
[00:39:03] I do have the more flexible business and my husband has less flexibility. And so there have definitely been some conversations and some conversations on both of our parts and we've both had to be flexible in what we do. And I think that's why. He's kind of stepped up a little more with the physical, the tangible labor because it's hard for him to give me the time that I need, because he just doesn't have that same flexibility.
[00:39:31] If he can make dinner or do the dishes or do the laundry or do those things, then that's taking a different kind of burden off of me. I'm not sure if I answered your question at all there, I guess maybe that is part of it is kind of it's easy to just get frustrated or it's easy to just be like, well, I just need more time or I need this.
[00:39:52] And I think that's something that we've done is we don't always do it nicely. Sometimes we do it yelling at each other and things like that, but kind of coming to the table and like, okay, what does each of us need and what can the other person give and then kind of go back and forth like that.
[00:40:09] I asked him he already, we already kind of have our schedule split where he's kind of responsible for the kids on Mondays and Tuesdays. And then I'm responsible Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then he works one day on the weekend so that I kind of had asked him for like an extra half day and he was like, I can't commit to that.
[00:40:30] I just can't commit to that. And I was really frustrated cause I wanted that extra half day of kind of childcare help. But where he can't commit to that time. We're able to do it. I just have to be more flexible. And the planner in me, that's hard. I want to be able; I want to say like it's Thursdays from nine to 12 and that's just not realistic for his job, but he can usually give me that extra time.
[00:40:54] I just had to be a little more flexible with it. On a week-by-week basis, what does this week look like? And then we kind of map it out. So, you know, I've had to be a little flexible too, but then it comes, it's kind of cheesy to say it, but it's like asking for what you need and communicating.
[00:41:09] And one of the things, it sounds like this is what you do with your kids too, is we have these conversations over and over again with our kids that there are four of us in this family and all four of us have a job to do to make the family run. And we talk about that all the time. And literally, your job might be to have some screen time while I do a client call, that's how you are making this family run right now is by being able to entertain yourself or by doing the dishes or by, you know, and that wasn't necessarily the case.
[00:41:49] Family that I grew up in, we grew up in a pretty traditional gender role and an adult child kind of situation. And so, my husband and I have really tried to not change that, but just do it a little differently and in our family.
[00:42:03] Emily Thompson: I have that exact same conversation with my kid all the time.
[00:42:07] For sure. Like we all have to contribute in order to do all the things that we want to do. Especially with two parents who are entrepreneurs that affords us the flexibility and the ability to do all of the fun things that we get to do that we could not do if we had traditional jobs. And so, that definitely is a part of the conversation with my kid.
[00:42:30] And then I love how you sort of painted this picture of what this conversation with your husband looks like, because I never quite like broke it down into that's what's happening, but that's what happens. Everyone in a situation, in a relationship, needs something like you were there together because you need something.
[00:42:52] And, it's not one sided, one person doesn't need. And the other one doesn't right. That's the way it is. And like something's off but you come together and you work to solve each other's needs and that's how it works together. And that's how you get compromised. And that's how I get a half day alone, either at work or at home.
[00:43:15] And David also gets. The same thing. It's what, as we came to get, I told him, David, I need something. What do you need more or less? And he mirrored that, that poor introvert needed the same thing. So, we would not have been able to come to that realization and solution if we had not had a conversation about it.
[00:43:37] And its constant conversation every single week, David and I are sitting down and saying, what are we doing this week? Like, when do you need me? When do you know, when does she need us? Like, what does this look like? So that we can pass the attention and effort around to. To do the dance that is being entrepreneurs and building a house we want to live in.
[00:44:00] Megan Flatt: Yeah. And you know, this goes back to what you were talking about with kind of your marketing calendar, because that's the other thing that I found you and I have relatively, like maybe less traditional jobs and your partner works with you and kind of understands what you do.
[00:44:16] But what I've really found is that same, that same thing for both my husband and for my kids is the clearer I can be. And the more I can say, Hey, we have this launch going on in my business. The next three weeks are going to be busy that this is what it's going to look like. I'm going to need more support for the next three weeks.
[00:44:36] And then once this is over, then things are gonna taper off or the more I can say, I'm enrolled in a business program right now. I'm going to need some extra time in the evenings to do my homework. Like the more specific I can be instead of, I know when I first started my business and partly because I had no idea what I was doing, I was just like, Oh, I just need more time.
[00:44:58] I just need time. And it's so much easier now, if I can say I need three hours on Sunday, I can. I need three hours this weekend would Saturday or Sunday workout better. The more specific I can be then the more I get my needs met.
[00:45:14] Emily Thompson: Absolutely. And on top of this, I've also learned to share the benefits of
[00:45:20] Assisting me in acquiring what I need. Of being like, look, I'm going to work at noon to four on Sundays so that I can write exactly in the blank and we'll do something as a family.
[00:45:36] Emily Thompson: And so it is that open, precise, concise communication that I have definitely also found is really beneficial and building a family situation where I get the support I need to show up and do all the things I want to do.
[00:45:54] Yeah, love it. Okay. We want to talk about flexibility. As a type-a planner,
[00:46:06] you brought up flexibility many times, and I completely agree that it's all part of it. There is a flexibility that is required. However, most of us bosses are super angle type A's. So as self-proclaimed planner, how do you make that happen?
[00:46:31] Megan Flatt: Well, so this goes back to my bamboo analogy, right?
[00:46:34] I think that like that for me, so there was a meme going around that my husband likes to tease me about that. There was a meme going around that says, I love spontaneity, carefully, planned spontaneity. Yeah. And like, that's me. Right? So, I really do like to have a plan and sometimes I just have to bite my tongue, sometimes like on the weekend I'll be like, what is the plan?
[00:46:56] And sometimes I have to just be like, okay, there's clearly no plan. Everyone just wants to hang out. So sometimes I have to just go with it. But I would say the, the flexibility that I'm speaking about is creating. It's not just like Willy nilly, but it's creating its back to those kinds of boundaries or those kinds of framework.
[00:47:17] So it's creating a framework. It's like guard rails. When you're driving, it's like creating a framework that I can be, that I can operate inside of. And I've got some parameters, but then I can have some flexibility inside of it. Especially lately, especially in the past, whatever we're at now, 11 months, that has been crucial for me.
[00:47:44] And that's been crucial for me in the communication process with my family. Um, and so I'm a huge fan of kind of creating weekly workflows. Um, time-blocking which I call weekly workflow. I'm a huge fan of that. And, but not like robotic, not like nine to 10. I do this at 10 to 11. I do this, but creating some parameters.
[00:48:06] When does my Workday start? When does my work date end when, what are my non-negotiables taking? I used to not ever take a break for lunch. That became a non-negotiable like I have to take a 30 minute lunch break and. Thinking again, back to like, what season are we in? And if I'm enrolled in a program, then creating my weekly workflow, here's where I do my homework for the program.
[00:48:32] Here's where I work on my business. If I'm in a period of my business where I need to be creating a lot of content, then kind of saying, okay, Mondays and Wednesdays are client days, Tuesday, Thursdays are content creation day or creating some parameters like that. One of the things that I just started in the last, probably two or three weeks on the advice of another friend, she mentioned that she does what she calls A and B weeks.
[00:48:58] And so a weeks, she doesn't schedule any client calls. She doesn't schedule any meetings and those are kind of her. PR, content creation where she's producing her products and also where she gets to fit in more of that self-care, more like the extended pieces of that.
[00:49:21] And then she puts all her client calls and podcast interviews and team meetings in the next week. And then she alternates weeks. And I made that when she told me that I was like, that's the most amazing thing ever. I'll never be able to do it. It won't work for me, but then I was like, well, let me just try.
[00:49:42] And so I kind of mapped it out on my calendar and I can't do. Like a zero-meeting week, but I definitely started like I definitely was able to start mapping it out on my calendar. And like I said, I've just been doing it for a couple of weeks, but I love it because it helps you manage your expectations.
[00:50:01] Like this week happens to be in a week. So, this week, I have a lot more flexibility. We already had this call scheduled. I have a lot more flexibility in this week. And I'm working on some content for my business. I'm working on some batch writing, blog posts, things like that.
[00:50:16] And I can kind of find that flow state. And then next week I have like, you know, like on Tuesday I have like seven client calls, but I'll also go into Tuesday, not expecting to cross anything off my to-do list. It's a different kind of focus. So that's where I've been able to build that flexibility into my plan is kind of making some of those types of decisions too.
[00:50:43] Emily Thompson: Ditto, ditto to literally every bit of this, because same, like I've learned, definitely learned over the past couple of years, that rigidity as an entrepreneur is gonna hurt. Literally every single day, you're going to be so sad and disappointed all the time because nothing's ever going to go as planned, things are going to pop up everywhere.
[00:51:05] And so you have to accept a flexibility into how it is that you're doing things and create systems around. Allowing expecting flexibility of needing to move meetings around of having meetings cancelled, of having fires pop up. You need to put out of having a family thing, take you completely out of work for a couple of days, and really remembering consistently that it is this flexibility.
[00:51:35] That is the reason that most of us chose the whole point. It's the whole point exactly. So, there is a, there is a necessity of finding a balance between being the type, a awesome person that is here to do this thing and allowing the flexibility that is required to actually do this thing. I do also want to bring up this, like you talked about expectations a lot.
[00:52:02] Um, one of the things that I have learned over the past couple of years, especially 2020 is just to release all expectations I feel like I have. And it's fine. It's not like a weird thing. Like I have no expectations anymore.
[00:52:19] Megan Flatt: Yeah, yeah. It's done to me. It's definitely easier said than done, but it's, I think definitely kind of letting go.
[00:52:33] Now I'm going to forget there was an article that was like the difference between. The difference between like, I'm going to get this wrong, but it's something like the difference between aspirations and expectations. It's okay to have aspirations, but you have to let go of the expectations.
[00:52:53] I might have that totally wrong, but it sounds good. I like it. It sounds right-ish on my end.
[00:52:56] Emily Thompson: I think that's great. I think that's really good. It's funny too, though, as you're saying that, I definitely feel like I've released expectations at work, but I feel like I still hold ridiculous expectations at home.
[00:53:11] Emily Thompson: Yeah, because I really do expect my kitchen to be clean a hundred percent. I'm not releasing that one at all. Not releasing it. But there is also flexibility. Like I'm not going to burn down the house because my kitchen is not clean that by any means. I cannot have my spatula in the morning and still survive.
[00:53:32] Well, this has been a ton of fun to talk about. I knew that you were just the person to bring in, to talk about this because they do, I do believe that this is part of the work, like do the work be boss is not like, just show up and write emails and design and create and all of those things.
[00:53:51] It's also. Build a life that supports your work and a life worth working for.
[00:53:59] Megan Flatt: Well, I was going to say, I think it might be the work, you know? I mean, I really think it might be the work because it's back to like that build the house you want to live in because it doesn't all the emails in the world, all the copy that you write, all of this, all the, that it doesn't matter if you're not building.
[00:54:15] If you're not building a life you want to live.
[00:54:18] Emily Thompson: Oh, I feel like I could talk about this for about 18 more hours now. So many little facets of this are coming up for me, but I think this is probably about all we have time for today. Megan, can you remind everyone where it is that they can find you?
[00:54:33] Megan Flatt: Yes, I would love to connect. You can find me at letscollective.co and you can find me @letscollective.co on Instagram or shoot me an email. Megan@letscollective.co and all the places and I'd love to connect and talk more, talk more time management, talk work-life balance, how to do less, better.
[00:54:58] Emily Thompson: Love it. Thank you so much for coming to hang out with me.
[00:55:00] Megan Flatt: Thank you so much for having me. I love it as always.
[00:55:04] Emily Thompson: Perfect. I do have one more question for you though. So, you're not okay. Just yet. All right. I'm ready, these days. What's making you feel most boss?
[00:55:12] Megan Flatt: Oh, man. This one, always get that full. Yeah. What is making me feel most boss.
[00:55:20] Okay. I'll again, super transparent here. I think what's making me feel most boss is back to like the introvert solopreneur thing. I've always had great contractors and I've worked with great people and I've had great people on my team and I've always been really lucky, but I feel like despite everything in 2020, my little small team just really
[00:55:50] kind of came together and I feel like we're a thing. We're a team. And so that is making me feel, boss. That is making me feel boss right now. I don't just feel like it's me and a bunch of really awesome contractors. I feel like let's collective is, is a company.
[00:56:11] Emily Thompson: We definitely have to stop recording now cause I want to hear more about this.
[00:56:16] Oh, I love a good business bestie chat. And I'll tell you, I think I'm going to give that a B week scheduling situation. A try, because it sounds like just the fun shakeup that I need. And have new tactics or business bestie chats are something that you want. I think it's time for you to check out the being boss community.
[00:56:34] No more mucking about, come check us out and make the leap to joining a whole group of creative business owners who were totally going to get what you're going through. You can learn more at beingboss.club/community. And until next time do the work, be boss.