I'm a bit behind with my blogging schedule and so the advice and inspiration from Clare in this recent Embracing Life (in Midlife) interview should really come in handy, who doesn't want a bit more calm in their life?! My days can get pretty manic sometimes, trying to juggle my family who seem to place even more demand on my time the older they get (how that works I do not know)! Clare offers hypnotherapy, reiki, reflexology and advice on using essential oils from her base in Marlow (and via phone). And during Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 this post is even more timely.
So - calm - something we all need more of and especially as we face the challenges of peri-menopause, something I have written about on my blog and something I am passionate about, I think we need to get the conversation out there and support each other. Read on to find out a bit more about Clare and what she offers to help create your calm.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Clare and I am a wife and mum of two boys aged 10 and 13 and our 2 year old pup called Teddy. We have lived in this area for the past 16 years and love the community we have built up around us. If I was to describe myself I would say I am hugely compassionate and empathetic both in my personal and my business life, with a bit of quirkiness thrown in. Never one to follow the crowd, I have a pretty independent mind (and spirit) which, at times leads me to be a bit out of step with everyday life and the ‘norm’. However, over the years I have learnt to celebrate these characteristics and am extremely proud of myself, my family, and how far I have come.
And tell us a little bit about your business venture and what inspired you?
I trained as a reflexologist when my oldest was just 10 months old, my existing career at the time was as a social worker in a busy Fostering and Adoption Team. I loved the reflexology training and describe it as life changing for me, enabling me to look at life in a much more holistic way, and embracing alternative therapies as a way of balancing and enhancing mine and my family’s health. My love of supporting others in this holistic way led to me training as a hypnobirthing teacher and developing a specialist area in all thing’s pregnancy, and then training as a hypnotherapist too, all while raising a young family!
Four years ago, I took the leap and went into the business full time and have not looked back since! I amalgamated all my passions together, namely supporting others with anxiety and stress and became Clare Cogan – Creating Calm. Now 40, I finally feel like I am getting a grip on where I am heading in my business and truly enjoying the journey. My specialisms and interest areas have always seemed to reflect what stage I am at, particularly as a parent, so at the moment I am bracing myself for the teenage era and have a huge passion for creating a safe space where young people feel heard, understood, and their talents recognised and celebrated.
I wrote my first book last year which I saw as a celebration of how far I have come and was aimed at helping newly qualified therapists and existing business owners see that life and business are completely inter-related and what happens to one, affects the other. It was extremely cathartic as I poured into it what I had done, the mistakes I felt I had made, and what I learnt from it all. It was for me really but hearing that my honesty and open style of writing has helped others has been massive for me.
What does an average day look like for you?
An average day for me starts at 7:30 am when I make sure I have some time, even 5 minutes to sit with my oldest and have a cuppa before he goes to school. This is a habit we have fallen into and I prioritise this as these connections I recognise are important as our children grow older. I see my youngest off to school and then I often begin a day of seeing clients, mainly for anxiety and other life challenging issues to help them find a way through. I work in my log cabin at home, so my commute is very short, and I call my space ‘my haven of tranquillity’.
I often have a day during the week where I will network with other business women, which I love or arrange to meet for a coffee on a one to one, this is where several really exciting business collaborations have been born! I find this balance combats any loneliness I may feel working alone, or purely with clients and really lifts me when I connect with like minded women who really value where you are and what you want to achieve.
Twice a week I see clients in the evening as often full-time work or school commitments mean they cannot see me any other time. As my business has grown, I do this less and less as I recognise the need to decompress and just be me, with my family and have proper breaks, which help me to be a better listener and supporter of my clients.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Not getting bogged down in the ‘how’ and just enjoying the journey. I love running my own business, it really does light me up and gives me a true sense of empowerment and pride. However, I will confess that there are days that I wonder whether the structure and predictability of an employed role may be easier. It lasts about a minute and then I see a client who made some significant progress forward or I get feedback from a young person or their parent who tells me that they are finding my support a real life changing experience and I know I was not here to do anything else.
My most significant challenge was coping with the death of a close friend form cancer 3.5 years ago. It nearly broke me as I would not give myself the time, or the space to grief and I felt this sense of loss very acutely, especially as she was a mum to a daughter the same age as my oldest son. Her passing led me to go on my own journey of experiencing grief first hand and how if affected my life and business, and was a major contributory factor to me writing my first book.
What advice would you pass on to someone wishing to change career in midlife?
Don’t overthink it. The brain is very clever at coming up with fifty million reasons why you shouldn’t do it. When I left my secure, paid role it was beyond scary, and the leap petrifying, but when you focus on moving forward and not looking back, amazing things can happen. You are not alone too, there are plenty of us out there to support you and hold your hand.
Do you have a signature style, an everyday look that you love?
Nope, although I recently had a colour and style consultation with the lovely Jo Hayley – Image Consultant and this has helped me explore my chosen wardrobe with a bit more considered care. I love wearing greens and purples and will often pair these colours with jeans or leggings. I often opt for comfort and also do not dress formally due to the nature of what I do. I am nearly 6ft too so shopping can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare for me, but I am working on building my confidence around that.
How do you balance your business with family life?
I have an incredibly supportive husband who also works at home full time, and although I am often the one juggling, when he finishes work, he is always there for the boys if I am seeing clients. We co-parent well and having us both about leads us to feel extremely lucky. Occasionally I say yes a bit too much to client appointments and feel I am missing out on my boys various activities and events but this has improved as they have got older and I put more boundaries in place. I am always there for the milestones and I love that I can connect with them when they get in from school, even if they are not in the mood to chat!
What is your biggest achievement to date?
Sustaining and growing a thriving business whilst bringing up two lovely, well rounded children (I know I am biased!) What I have learnt in my business has helped me greatly as a mum, and vice versa. Our lifestyle right now is one where we are all present, and connected, and long may that continue. We never know what tomorrow brings but building a safe and secure environment for my children to thrive in, as well as building a business I love leaves me feeling very fortunate.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I am never very good at looking five years ahead, and in all honesty I don’t really know! Boundaries and work life balance are important to me in my business right now. More than anything I want to enjoy my boys while they are still around, and we have some fun and exciting trips planned to make memories together and to really build the foundations for their future. I am all about seizing opportunities as they come along, and this year has been a whirlwind already, so I am riding the wave right now and enjoying the journey!
How can we get in touch with you and find out more about you or your product?
Information about me and the services I offer are on my website www.clarecogan.com. I am also on Facebook Clare Cogan – Creating Calm and I run a free group all about using Essential Oils to support our emotional health and anxiety, another passion of mine which has grown into a business - Claire Cogan - Essential Oils for Creating Calm. I can also be found on Instagram @clarecogan.
For anyone who books a consultation with me through seeing this blog, I will offer 20% off their first session if they mention ‘fifityandfab’. I offer face to face appointments (near Marlow) or telephone consultations.
I met Clare through the networking events that she mentioned and she is friendly and calm and really lovely to talk to. I totally resonate with her family values and how she is keen to create a family life that enables open communication and time spent together - this approach has paid off in huge dividends with my own two children (now grown up at 18 and 21) but we continue to be able to talk and confide in each other, it really is the most important thing.
I use DoTerra essential oils in my own home and have tried both Reiki and Reflexology, I've had hypnotherapy in the past too and I found it incredibly helpful for anxiety. It is one of those things that you don't realise it is helping until you look back and notice that you are doing things differently and feel different.
Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post and I receive no commission or gifts for sharing this interview on my blog
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Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog celebrating women. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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