The Women's Wealth Canada Podcast - S2 E4
Hi, everyone, I'm Glory Gray. Welcome to the Women's Wealth Canada Podcast.
You know, I truly have the best job in the world. Not only do I get to help women achieve their life's work by making the most of their money, but I get to meet the most amazing women; women who are clients I serve, and women with whom I network and partner and develop friendships. My guest in this episode is one of those amazing women.
Antonia Medeiros was born in London and traveled many places with her American father and French mother, eventually landing in France as a journalist. She decided to emigrate to Montreal, where she met her husband and started a family. The common thread always weaving through her life was stories, stories that people shared with her along the way. She loved them so much in fact that she became a published author of fiction. You can find her French family saga, Les Crevecoeur on Amazon.
Her love of stories led her to her current business as a Life Coach specializing in Feminine Empowerment. She has an upcoming course called Busting Boundaries, which I'm told is a mix of group and individual coaching. We'll leave a link to it in the show notes.
Grab your favorite beverage and come join me and Antonia, as we discuss Women and Boundaries and How to Find Yourself Again.
Five Signs You Are Struggling With Saying No
Antonia, I know that you have a new guide out called Five Signs You Are Struggling With Saying No And How You Can Prioritize Yourself Again. For our listeners, we will have a link in the show notes for you to download a free copy of her guide.
Antonia, I thought we could go through a few of them. And I'd like to ask you more about them. Would that be okay?
Absolutely. Sounds super exciting. Go for it.
Okay, let's see - the first of the five signs, sign number one - The Hourglass you call it.
This is where you're feeling like time is running through your fingers. It leaves you anxious about never getting anything done or finished. What's the first step we can take to get back on track?
This one is all about time boundaries and time management and happens to a lot of us.
Just a side note about that. One of the reasons why we experience that all the time is because we are in a culture that thinks that being busy is a sign of being valuable, right? Naturally, we are all in this rat race where we are adding things to our schedule.
But if you look at 24 hours in your day, chances are that with three-quarters of them, there are a lot of time wasters in there. There are a lot of things that you do not want to be doing. There are a lot of to-do lists. How can you start taking control of that?
First of all, just press pause for a second, right? Just stop and look at where you're spending some time.
My first tip, the one I always like to do is to try to get rid of the things that you don't want to do.
Right? Let's start by being real here for a second.
For a lot of women, let's take the example of house chores. That's the one example that I love giving. At home you're probably doing tons of stuff that you don't want to be doing. Nobody likes to do house chores, but we have to do it.
If you are living with someone, if you're a partner, even better if you have children, outsource some of those things. Try to list them, try to focus on the things you don't want to do, and try to see which one can be delegated.
Simple things can be delegated. My favorite example is one that I've applied myself - the dishwasher. I have three children. I spend my whole time emptying and filling the dishwasher. I felt that I lived in that dishwasher half of the time.
You know children are not silly. Anybody's capable of emptying a dishwasher. Now it's one of my kids' jobs to do that. I do not touch the dishwasher. I do not empty. Yes, sometimes I have to live with it, a few dishes on the counter. But it is not my job. I've delegated it.
At work, we do the same thing. We delegate. It's important to delegate to other people.
Try that, try to delegate something. And warning, do not replace it with something you don't like doing, because then the exercise is useless.
Instead, ask yourself, Okay, let's say now I've saved 10 minutes of my time, what am I going to replace it with?
Replace it with something that gives you joy. And suddenly, you're going to see that your day starts filling with small things that give you joy.
You might get 20 minutes. Well, hey, find an inspiring podcast you can listen to for 20 minutes, It's a walk where you can go outside be on your own for a bit. Don't underestimate small things. I think that would be a good, simple way to start taking control of time.
Right off the bat, then, we have gotten rid of something we don't like doing and replaced it with something that brings us joy. This sounds like a win-win to me.
I think so. And, you know, you might have to pay your kids to do that. But, it's okay. It's a good investment.
Do you recommend that, when you're thinking about the thing that you want to get rid of, is it good for them to also write a list of the things that they will be replacing it with, where they will find their joy?
Absolutely. I think that what I would start with is making that list because that's what's going to keep you motivated.
And this is true at home. This is true at work.
We also sometimes feel that we don't have any boundaries of time and we get very overwhelmed with all sorts of things, such as meetings and administrative things.
Just focus on things that bring you joy, things that you like doing. Because doing those things is going to give you the energy to do all the things that you don't want to do.
Because you know that you've planned for this, you've planned for joy.
And that is I think that's the big thing! We always plan for less interesting stuff.
Sometimes in your day, you have to plan for joy.
The People Pleaser
Don't replace it with something else you don't enjoy. Replace it with joy. Yes, I love it. That's sign number one.
Sign number two - the people pleaser. This, if I understand you correctly, is where you value helping others and making them happy. And this simple idea of saying no makes you guilty and anxious. But at the same time, everyone else seems to matter more than you. What is one way we can turn around this notion that we should never say no?
The problem of the people pleaser is again, a lack of boundary between what's important for them and what's important for others.
And people-pleasers tend to be taken for granted very often because they want to please. It makes them happy, right? They want to help others, but to what extent? Sometimes indeed, to an extent where they get overwhelmed, they spend too much time doing things for other people, and saying no, is stressful.
I think that the first step here is to understand what is important to you.
The problem with the people pleaser is that they are looking for external validation. They're looking for others to make them feel good about themselves. They're doing things for them. But what they have to find out is what makes them happy. What do they want for themselves?
First and foremost, this is not about being selfish. When you are clear on what's important for you, it's much easier to say, no.
I'll give you a simple example. I need to sleep 10 hours an night. If I say yes to so and so to do this thing, well, my sleep is going to be cut or I'm going to be too stressed.
You need to know what is important for you, what is important for your well-being? What values do you have that might be challenged by saying yes to this person or this thing?
And interestingly enough people-pleasers oftentimes have time management issues also. Because they say yes to too many things and too many people and their own time for themselves ends up completely diluted.
Just reconnecting with what's important is essential. It's just the basics of everything. Then after that, is learning how to say no and that can be hard.
I'm going to tease our listeners with that – because they will want to talk to you about finding out more about that. Unless you want to give us a little taste.
I'll give you a little taste. Ask yourself this. This is a tip that I go through extensively in my course. And we'll have the opportunity to talk about that.
But ask yourself every time you say yes to someone, what are you saying no to? And when you end up constantly saying no to yourself, well, maybe there's a problem there. Right?
Why do you think that you matter less? Why do you think your time matters less?
Are you putting yourself behind everyone else? Are you prioritizing yourself?
Yes. It's that idea that you matter less. Ultimately, even though you can cover it up by saying, "Oh, but I like when everybody's happy." Yeah, but if you're not happy, that's going to end up impacting everybody else.
You won't have anything left for them.
No. And you end up losing yourself, you end up forgetting who you are because you're so busy being what everybody else wants you to be.
And I think as women, this is something that we've struggled with for so many generations now. Right? Being at the service of others, becoming what everybody else wanted us to be or to do. We've been brought up to be sometimes good girls. And people pleasers, you know, don't rock the boat. Just do what you're told and be good and be quiet and be pretty in the corner.
We're done with that.
This is not who we are as women. It's never what we've been.
So people-pleasing is something that is very, very, very common in women.
And I think by freeing women, we're freeing our sons as well as our daughters. We're freeing our sons to do what they want to do and not necessarily be put in a box either.
Can you show them the reality of what it is to be a woman, so that when your sons grow up, they are not all of a sudden surprised when they start dating a girl who says 'no' to them? Who says, 'you know, you want me to do this, but this is what I want? How can we make this work together?'
I have a daughter and two sons. And gender equality is something that we talk about. It's a heated topic at home.
Because it's important. For me, as a mother to bring up my children with the same values. We all discuss. We all have rights. We all have chores. It's very important. So yes, it's an example for everyone to follow.
I love that. Okay, that was sign number two.
Sign number three, self-care. The big myth is that the busier we are, the more value we have, right?
I mean, I'm an American, it's no truer than in the US for sure. But the truth is, if you don't care for yourself, you won't be able to care for others.
So, for example, when we used to brag about never taking a vacation because that meant that we must have been really busy. We must have been high value, because we're not taking any vacation.
But now we're learning that that's not the way to take care of ourselves, aren't we? Where should we start with this?
I think the first step is just to rewire your brain of what you're telling yourself.
Every time you tell yourself, "if I take the afternoon off, if I take care of myself, it's selfish."
Just shift that into when you're not taking care of yourself, it's selfish.
Because it ends up affecting everyone. It affects your co-workers, it affects your partner, it affects your children, and you become the worst version of yourself.
I think that the first step is that. Second, and it goes back to what we were talking about with joy, plan for that.
Schedule self-care and make it a priority because if you don't take care of yourself, nobody is going to do it for you.
I've seen a very interesting shift during COVID around self-care. You know, people who were working like crazy, never taking any holiday off, all of a sudden, they were at home with not a lot of work to do or just, you know, a different setup and plenty of time for themselves. And they didn't know what to do with themselves.
It was so sudden. They were reconnecting with themselves and thinking, "damn. How do I take care of myself? What do I want? What do I do with my spare time?"
All this time where they did nourish their minds, their hearts, I think a lot of people have realized how important this is.
And the change in teams today and leaders that they're going to have, this is something that they're going to have to implement and focus on, is allowing people to have time to care for themselves. It's not a wasted time. It is not.
There's a myth there that, when you sit down - you do nothing. But you're never doing nothing.
When you walk outside, you're refilling your energy, you're clearing your mind, you're opening yourself to other things, and you become more creative.
You're not doing nothing.
You're right. It's something I know that I and others have learned how to shift. Not only that, by not taking time off, not only am I not selfish, but I'm more efficient, and not lazy.
I used to think "oh, well, taking time off, I'm lazy." No, I'm much more efficient in my work.
Every time I went on vacation, I ended up with some wonderful clients when I came back.
When my husband was a realtor, we would have some wonderful potential clients call while we were in the middle of an airport. And he's like, why does this always happen when we're on vacation?
You do become much more efficient when you come back, you're rested. It doesn't take quite so long for you to get back to a project because your mind is sharper.
I took your advice earlier this year when I sat down in January and I looked at my calendar. Usually, I would just say, Okay, this project, this project, this project - I want to do here. But what I did first this year is I said, here's where I'm going to take time off. And that went in my calendar first. I know I'm taking a week here and a long weekend here.
I'm still not taking five weeks off. But at least I'm taking enough off - more than I would have before. And I'm adhering to those dates. They are staying on the calendar. It was really hard for me to keep them on the calendar in blank spots. But I did it.
And now I'm more refreshed and feel sharper. It's all thanks to you.
I'm happy for you that you did it. How does it feel?
Like I have more control and then my mind is sharper.
And you know what? The world didn't disappear while I was gone, taking those few days off. It continued. The world continued to rotate on its axis.
My clients know I'm there and always taking care of them. I'm always available for them. But I need time to recharge as well.
People always say, when you die, your thought is not going to be I regret not spending more hours at the office or more hours working.
You're going to say, I regret not spending more time reading, educating myself, seeing my friends, doing those things that bring me joy.
Yeah. that's number three.
Sign number four, this is the to-doers. This person has an endless to-do list. But who else will do all these jobs if we don't? What is the danger of always insisting that we're the ones who should take any particular job.
Now this is interesting for me. If you give someone a job, they may not do it as well as I do. If I give someone a job, they may not do it as well as I do.
But is that bad?
I mean, you mentioned the dishwasher. Okay, maybe the kids aren't going to rinse off each spoon before they put the dishes in the dishwasher. But it gets done.
My husband, for example. He's the guy who fills the dishwasher in our house. I'll put the dishes in as they land and if it looks kind of full, close it up and run it. But no, he has to have every little square cubic centimeter of the dishwasher full perfectly. He rearranges it five times before we turn it on. And that's his job.
He does more of the housework than I do. At one point. I said, you know, I could not do housework. I choose not to do the housework anymore. He says, well, we need the housework done. I said, fine, you want me to do it, then we hire a maid. That's how it's going to get done. You know what? He's doing it now. And it gets done.
It may not be the way that I would do it. What do you think about this? Why do we always have to be the one to do it and what happens when we delegate?
Delegating means letting go of control. This is again, based on the idea that when you do it, you do it perfectly.
But actually, you don't do it perfectly. You do it based on your standards of what perfect means. And those standards might not be somebody else's.
We all have on our to-do list a whole bunch of tasks that don't require us to fuss about being it being perfect. Why are you so concerned?
This is, as a woman as a man, as a human being, is it going to give you value? Is that going to bring you joy? Is that going to affect the rest of your life?
It's about letting go of that control. Because really, what you need to focus on is things that you're good at, things that make a difference.
Let's say you're a fantastic cook, and you love cooking, and it brings you joy. Well, you know, then, when you're not doing other things, you can focus on this because you're great at what you do.
I think the perfect example is that at work, especially as leaders, we tend to do too much. We take on too much on our plate. And then we always say, you know what, I'm going to do it, because it's going to get done faster, it's going to get done better. But, with your skills, your experience, who you are as a leader, shouldn't it be better served to do other things than that?
It's really about focusing on skills and letting go, allowing yourself to let go and allow yourself to be imperfect.
Nobody is going to give you a medal, because your carpet is perfectly vacuumed. It doesn't matter. It is the big picture of things.
Of course, we like to have a house that clean and well organized, but it's never going to be perfect.
Let go of these things that are not important and focus on things, that bring you joy, things where you matter, things that only you can do.
And by each of us doing most of this, things that only we can do, the entire community moves forward so much smoother and faster than if we had done it on our own.
Absolutely. It's all tied in to that to-do list that we think we have to do. Right?
These time management issues, that self-care issues, there are people-pleasing issues.
It's all those boundaries that are so interconnected with each other. Especially as women, deep inside us, it's about what we understand our role is and what are our responsibilities?
Who are we really in life?
For certain women, if they don't have all these house chores, and they don't have all that big to-do list to do, then who are they? Maybe they're keeping themselves busy because they're scared of thinking, "Okay, well, if I remove all of those things … "
That's a question I often ask my clients. I say, I'm going to have a magic wand. I'm going to remove all of those chores, and all of that to-do list. What are you going to be doing now with your time?
And now all of a sudden, they don't know. There's a blank, right? Because who are they when they're not doing all of those things? And this is when the real work begins.
What drew you to working with women?
I often asked myself that.
When I grew up there were women who became invisible, wonderful women that were smart. And I think that a lot of these women they were made to be silent. They were made invisible because of circumstances, because of partners,
It was so much wasted talent.
They could have done so many extraordinary things and I think it's something that I carried, that I felt I had to be different. I had to do things differently.
I always think, what if somebody had given them the opportunity and the confidence to do things. What could have become of all of those wonderful women?
It's fighting against that invisibility. Against all those roles that other people are so keen on giving us. A lot of people think we need to be this, and we need to do that.
And that's not true.
It's a fight. It's not always easy.
Do you feel sometimes that you're reaching past the cobwebs of time back to these women in your life and speaking to them personally?
Sometimes. Every time I have a client who walks away after working with me, and says to me, "oh, my God, this has been life-changing. I feel invincible, I feel unstoppable. I feel I can be anything that I want to be. And I'm still owning everything that I was before."
That, for me, is a gift to them, to those women who were not able to do that. I feel like I contribute a little everytime I change something.
You have a new program launching soon. Tell me about that.
I'm very excited about this. I've just launched the first cohort of students. It's a course around boundaries.
And it's specifically designed for women.
Because women have as a very complex and different relationship to boundaries. We seem to struggle more than men, to set them. We have things to learn from men, and setting boundaries is one of them.
This course is all about teaching women how to learn to say no without feeling guilty, how to take control of their time, and how to implement self-care because it's all intertwined.
It's all interconnected.
It's about accompanying them through that journey of setting boundaries and learning to be free again because ultimately, isn't that what we all want? To feel to be free, to show up in the world for who we are, and what matters to us?
When we struggle with boundaries, it's hard. It's hard to say no. And it's hard to face adversity.
What happens when you say no? All of those people that you used to say yes to are looking at you and not liking it at all. How do you overcome all of that?
The course is all about that. It's a six-week course, step by step accompanying them through that transformation. It's a group. It's self-paced. There are videos and lessons and exercises. We meet once a week, together, to go over the modules and to ask questions, which is the opportunity for me to coach them in areas that have been challenging.
And then the last two weeks are implementation time, which is the fun time, right?
And there's a bit more group coaching, just to make sure that they're fully supported all along the way.
For our listeners, we're going to be putting a link in the show notes to the waitlist for this course. If you'd like to get on that with Antonia that will be in the show notes.
Now, I've heard you say that when it comes to coaching. If you can imagine it, then it's possible. And it's already happening.
Tell me more about that.
That's the power of the mind. When I coach, I encourage my clients to visualize things. Because when you visualize you start using your imagination, and you know, your imagination is influenced by your emotions by your past experiences and you start imagining what becomes possible for you.
When you're visualizing it, when you're closing your eyes and feeling it and seeing it and all these like crazy ideas come through your mind.
Well, it's already happening, your brain is already rewiring itself to make this possible. Now the whole journey is all about clinging on to that vision and making it happen.
You know, a lot of people use vision boards, for example, and they'll all tell you to put that vision board away and chances are in a few years when you go back to it, it will be amazing that you will have accomplished and exactly what you have put on that vision board. The bedroom that you dreamt about, the house the job, it's there.
The power of visualization. If your imagination is creating it, then it's because it's possible.
I have experienced that.
Tell me about your experience with that. I'm curious.
I created kind of a book. And back when we had magazines to cut out from I clipped pictures that represented the life I wanted to live, the business I wanted to have.
There was a particular one I remember, where there was a fellow who is sitting outside in the warm sun with his laptop on his lap, and the ocean and mountains and forest behind him. And so this was a good 20 years ago.
Now what am I doing? I'm sitting outside with my laptop with the forest and mountains and ocean behind me and a business that I love.
You're right, I put the book away. It was a book rather than a board. So it was easy to put away.
And when I came back to it, I realized that's happened, and that's happened, and that's happened!
And it is, as you say, the day that I put that little glue stick behind that magazine picture and put it into that book. That was the day that I began to make what was possible. It was already happening.
Exactly. Because you know, you're not aware of it. But it's sitting in the corner of your brain. It's always coming back. Because it hits something really important.
I think that's the power of coaching. This is why I love what I do so much because as coaches, we are the holders of your dreams of that vision. And our job is to make sure that it's going to happen for you.
It's not just going to stay in the back of your mind. It's going to happen and you can make it happen.
Antonia, thank you so much for being with us on The Women's Wealth Canada podcast today.
It's been an absolute pleasure as always to talk to you, Glory. Thank you so much for having me.
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Antonia Medeiros' love of stories led her to her current business as a Life Coach specializing in Feminine Empowerment. She has an upcoming course called Busting Boundaries, which is a mix of group and individual coaching.
You can reach Antonia at:
Busting Boundaries Master Class for Women
Five Signs You Are Struggling With Saying No Free Download
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LinkedIn: Glory Gray