Hi, everybody. You are so welcome to this latest podcast episode where I am going to be talking to the wonderful Jo Flood, who I just want to introduce a little bit now. It's funny because, Jo, I went onto your website and your story is so amazing.
You've so much done that it was hard to pick pieces, but I'm going to give it a good shot anyway. Mentor and speaker, Jo shows women over 40 how to reimagine their life and think way beyond what they ever thought was possible without the overwhelming anxiety and burnout.
She went from a crazy busy hotel owner who was burnt out and totally exhausted to a mindset coach, mentor and speaker. She is showing women how to put a multitude of jigsaw pieces together in the right order to create their dream life.
Jo is on a mission to help thousands of women around the world rise up and find their passion. I'm going to be sharing the website and how to contact Jo at the end of our wonderful podcast episode. But you can go to joflood.com, but I'll be reminding you of that and that'll, of course, be in the show notes. Let's get stuck in. Jo, you're so welcome on my podcast.Jo Flood:
Thank you so much. What an intro. She sounds great, that girl. Listen, thank you so much. I am excited to be here. I'm doubly excited to be here on International Women's Day. I'm excited to talk to you, so you fire away with the questions.Jessica:
Great. I was really blown away even chatting to you briefly yesterday, all the different things you've been through to get you to this point. Why don't we start there? Do you want to start off with just telling me and the listeners a little bit about your backstory and how you got to where you are now?Jo Flood:
Well, you know what? I suppose I'm here now working as I do business strategy with my clients who are business owners. I'm mentoring and coaching them to increase their revenue, get new clients, all of that.
I work with individual women who are just exactly like I was, completely burnt out and exhausted. It all started for me, I was always really ambitious and all of that stuff. I was a real go-getter. I went to London. I spent 10 years there.
I came back to Ireland and I bought this beautiful country house, which, over a period of time, transformed into a lovely country house hotel. I did that for nearly 20 years. It was just my absolute love. I adored every little piece of it.
Then I had not one but two children, twins arrived, and my world was turned upside down. It was definitely really difficult juggling everything. I had a nanny. I hardly ever saw the kids. Then one of them decided that, you know what? You better start waking up, Mrs., because I need help.
I realized I needed to focus a bit more, or I certainly made the decision, that for me it was more important than all this running around, but I was going to focus on helping this guy to get the additional help that he needed. I decided to sell the hotel and focus on family.Jessica:
I didn't even know that family was actually had such a high value for me. I hadn't a clue. I just made the decision and off I went on this new journey of being a mom and not being a full-time worker and completely dedicated to this other side of my life.Jessica:
What was that like making that decision?Jo Flood:
That was [inaudible 00:03:43].Jessica:
Oh, hang on a second, Jo. Your sound is gone there.Jo Flood:
Can you hear me now?Jessica:
Yeah, you're back. Yeah.Jo Flood:
Lovely. Gremlins. Yeah, the decision wasn't difficult, it was the afterwards was difficult because I had no plan. I hadn't a clue what my days were going to look like. I also didn't realize I was totally exhausted. I was struggling to get out of bed in the morning every single day. I was tired all the time.
After, it was literally a couple of years, just on my knees, that I started researching on the internet and having to look around and thinking, God, why am I so tired? All this googling stuff. Then I started looking up burnout, the impact of burnout. I realized that I was that person.
I started working on me and taking care of me and finding ways of re-energizing myself. It all came down to, really, there was a series of steps for sure. But I just started off things like going out in nature, going out for a walk.
Just, basically, feeling gratitude for what I already had. And it started, things slowly started shifting a little bit and so I just continued doing this. Then I started getting, I suppose I was reading a lot of books.Jessica:
But before we move onto that, what was your day-to-day like when you owned the hotel? What were your hours like? What did burnout look like for you? I have so many questions around that.Jo Flood:
I know. Well, my hours were literally, I mean, you can imagine you have guests staying overnight, so people are up early in the morning for breakfast. I was always there. I was there in the morning and I was there for dinner in the evening. I was there seven days of the week and we hardly ever took holidays.
I was there for every bank holiday weekend. We did close for Christmas for a few days. Apart from that, we were open the whole year and it was literally... We did weddings. We did parties. We did everything. I was literally the face of the place. I was always there.
Being in a small town, people expect you to be there. If I wasn't there, at the very odd time I wasn't there, people have said, "Oh, I was out the other day and you weren't there." You just get used to it. You, literally, are on a merry-go-round and you just can't get off.
It's an addictive business. I absolutely loved every moment of it. I loved all my clients, my customers, I adored them. But I think that's what happens in the industry. It's just the type of business.
Even people working and I suppose during COVID when people would have closed down, hospitality is struggling now to find people to go back in because they realize that they were actually missing out on so much. Because you, literally, are out working when everyone else is enjoying themselves. It was, gosh, 100-hour weeks definitely; 80 hours, 100 hours, 120 hours.Jessica:
That's crazy. How did you go from realizing you were doing too much to having burnout, to going, okay, something has to change?Jo Flood:
See, really, the decision for me, it wasn't based on the fact that I was doing too much. It was based on the fact that I had two children that I never saw and it was heartbreaking. It was tugging at my heartstrings. I just could not do it anymore.
I wanted to be, I was torn asunder. I wanted to be at home. I was down in the hotel. I was trying to do my work down there and all I could think about, I wonder are they okay? I have this nanny phoning me to tell me, right, "They're up now, they're awake now." And I try and come up for it because I lived very close to the hotel, so I was running up and down.
I was just torn apart really. It was my emotions were all over the place because I wanted to be in two places at the same time. But I think that the whole thing of the decision to sell was really difficult. But I don't think that I realized the impact it was going to have on me when that part of my life was gone because there was a huge gaping hole there.
Because from working 100 hours to not, but doing different type of work, there was no manual to show me how to do all this being a mom thing. I had no clue. Because I'd had somebody else there, I just was riding up the deep end.
But I really loved it. I loved being with the children. I really enjoyed it, but I was just so exhausted all the time. I just didn't know what was wrong with me. No matter what I did, I was eating really good food. I was cooking all the time at home. I was doing everything but I was just so tired.
It took a couple of years, literally, of rest and rest and a good diet. Then getting the mind in some sort of shape where I felt a sense of inner peace and ease within myself. That came from definitely going off on these beautiful walks. We live in Wexford and we have the Kennedy Park beside us here. It's 500 acres.
I used to go up and just walk around there. I'd bring the kids out with me when they were in the little buggies. We'd head off and we'd be outside for hours. I started appreciating all of these lovely things around me. I didn't see stuff before.
Jesus, I'd hardly heard the birds sing. It brought me back, actually, to when I was young. I had a very nice upbringing and lovely sense of family when I was a child. My father was very much into nature and it brought me back to all of that, so that was just beautiful.Jessica:
That's so lovely. That's so lovely that sense of slowing down and connecting with nature. Were there other healthy habits that you started doing, as well, that you'd never done before?Jo Flood:
Well, I think one of the things that I discovered was, because it's quite chaotic when you have kids. I learned this thing, which is your day starts the night before. That was a massive thing for me. Getting organized and not leaving everything to the last second.
Knowing exactly what was happening in the evenings. Not staying up watching TV really late. Not staying up, drinking glasses of wine, which I used to love at one stage with a few of my friends would come over and we'd do that. I changed everything in terms of the night before.
For example, with the kids when they were going into school. I started make sure the lunches are ready the night before. Know exactly what's happening. The bags are laid out. We have the coats ready. We have everything structured.
The difference that this made. This was probably somebody on YouTube or one of the programs. I started enrolling in programs and probably one of the programs was all around the whole idea of how do you start your day? Because, literally, if you start and everything falls apart, then the whole day tends to go downhill. I think you probably-Jessica:
I totally agree. Yeah, absolutely. Totally.Jo Flood:
It's so easy, isn't it? To get into that habit of racing around the place and forgetting a bag. Maybe somebody has the... They're supposed to be going to training for something like come over or whatever it is after school and you forgot the bag, and you didn't do this and, oh, and it's just chaos.
Then people start arguing. People say things that they don't mean. It just leads to total and utter meltdowns. So when I figured this out, my life just changed. That is one of the things that I recommend to everybody I work with is we look at that straightaway because it's life changing.Jessica:
I love that. That's such a quick win for our listeners.Jo Flood:
Tell me what you do now? How did you get into what you're doing now and how you actually help women over 40?Jo Flood:
Okay. It's been a journey. Literally, I am on this journey for over 10 years. I have studied several different coaching styles and coaching diplomas. I also have studied enterprise and innovation in Trinity College for my business owners. So, I suppose, and also having had a business myself, I know the pitfalls and I know the excuses that we make sometimes, as well.
It's funny how we can find a reason why we can't do things and why we get in such muddles. I also spent five years, and I'm still a member, of Jack Canfield's Academy where I did success principles training. I brought his book along here.
This is changing stuff for the listeners. If you just go even and buy a copy of this book, it is absolutely fabulous. I use the success principles training in the program that I offer to clients.
I also created an online program that's called Rise Up, License to Soar and it's all based around getting some kind of balance. It's all about balance, really. I also offer workshops on this thing called Balance Your Bicycle, which is really good fun.
Where we look at all the areas of your life, which is your personal life, your relationships, your recreation and free time, your fitness, your finances. What I find is it's a very simple wheel of life and we give ourselves a grade from one to 10 as to where we feel we are in that section.
What I find is people usually have two areas they're really strong in and maybe the other three they don't. It's all about trying to balance that and what's stopping you from doing the things that you really want to do.Jessica:
Love that.Jo Flood:
Yeah. So I have-Jessica:
Do you find, then, for women that there is two more common that they're really good at, or is it completely different for everybody?Jo Flood:
Here's what I find it. If people are managers or business owners, I find that free time and doing anything for themselves is out the door, out the window. They never have any free time. They're always trying to do stuff for themselves. They're running, racing, tearing, and it's all about the job, the work, but there's nothing for them.
I think when we were chatting earlier I was saying to you, I've just been away for two days in a beautiful, in Kelly's Hotel, actually, in Rosslare. It was incredible. I set aside every two months a couple of nights away for me. Because I know when I'm not right nothing else is going to work. Everybody, you absolutely have to do this.
I get my hair done once a month. I get my nails done because it makes me feel so good. Whereas, before I didn't bother with stuff like this. I was always doing things for other people or for my kids, for my family. So I think that, yeah, that is the biggest thing. It's that we don't give ourselves enough time and enough, I suppose, a clap on the back for all the things that we're achieving all the time.Jessica:
I completely agree, especially with business owners. We tend to so much focus on the gap, what we're not achieving, what we don't have, what we're not there yet. We don't, for 1%, focus on the good stuff. We're just constantly achieving, achieving, striving forward, trying to make things better. It does become such an obsession that you don't leave any time for yourself.Jo Flood:
Absolutely. The other thing I think, well, this really worked for me and I think it's a huge thing, is all around boundaries. Setting boundaries I think is absolutely massive and making and keeping agreements. Those are, I think, the two things.
If anybody has a pen beside them, if they're really listening. After whenever you share this out there, write this down. Boundaries, boundaries. That is things like, for example, I'm in here doing this with you. I brought this in off my door. This is what I use. It's "please do not disturb" if I do not want to be disturbed because I work at home.
The door used to often just fly open in the middle of maybe a call with a client or whatever. Now, in order to stop that, we set a boundary. So if you see this on my door, you don't come in. If you see this on the door, it means I'm just doing something, but it's okay if you want to pop in and ask me something. That's such a simple little thing, isn't it?Jessica:
Yeah, I love that, boundary. What was the second thing?Jo Flood:
Making and keeping agreements. Now this is something we say even around time. Probably 50% of people that I work with have a real problem with this. They don't... Making agreements to do things, even work-wise.
If you make an agreement that you're going to do a certain amount of things during the day and then you don't, it's yourself. It's your inner peace. It's all of that stuff. You knock your own confidence. You crucify yourself for it even though you may not realize you're doing it in your subconscious mind. So I think it's critical to have a look at that stuff. That's the stuff I cover on the course, the online program. Yeah, it's huge.Jessica:
What are the biggest things that are getting in people's way to achieving what they want to achieve that you've noticed?Jo Flood:
I think the first thing is people don't know what they want. That's really it. If somebody asks somebody, what do you want, really what do you want? People have no idea what they actually want. They're stuttering and stammering. They have no notion. They have no plan.
Setting goals are usually very vague and you're not going to achieve a goal if you haven't a clue what you're doing or what you're actually aiming for. I think that people say things like, "Yeah, oh, yeah, I want to grow my business by five grand." Or, "I want to, I'm going to lose a couple of stone this year." That's, okay, lovely. How are you going to do that?
Really, it's all about getting specific about what you want. Sometimes you have to ask yourself that question over and over to actually decide because nine times out of 10 it's not about money. It's about other stuff. It's about having relationships that you thrive in. Because when the relationships are all working, everything else works.Jessica:
I love that so much. I love that so much. It's so true, isn't it? That sometimes we can just not be clear and it's such an easy thing to do. Like right now, you can think of a goal that you have. If you try and visualize what that goal looks like, sometimes you realize you don't know.Jo Flood:
That is exactly. That, honestly, is the biggest thing. That's the reason why I created this program was because it's literally about getting clear about what you want. Then it's about working on one or two things.
You can't be working on everything. You're not going to have a massive weight goal, we'll say, in terms of your body. Then have a huge financial goal. Then you're going to have a relationship goal. And they're all so big that you're totally overwhelmed, you do nothing.Jessica:
Yeah, absolutely. That happens all time, doesn't it?Jo Flood:
Yeah, doesn't it? It happens at the start of the year. It's just really funny for me when I look at all the things that people think they're going to do in two or three months. It does fall apart and it's so overwhelming.
So creating something, first of all, you have to decide where you are. That's the other thing. I do a process where it's called a gap map. So it's where are you now, where do you want to go and what is the gap?
So that we can set realistic steps to get you to wherever it is you want to go. There's different types of goals. There's a short-term goal, a long-term goal. There's a breakthrough goal, a goal that will take you and totally change who you are. That's what I call a breakthrough goal. That is something through the success principles that I learned how to work with clients. That can be slightly more long term and then we can break it down.Jessica:
I love that so much. It's so relaxing because it's black and white and there's clear guided steps. You take the worry because mostly the worry just comes from not knowing. But, actually, when you've got a plan, you can relax and trust the process.Jo Flood:
It doesn't have to be... Sometimes people make the plan overwhelming, as well, where it becomes, oh, my God. The plan, the steps, what am I going to do next? Whereas, it's really, if you can do five things... I learned this thing. If you can do the rule of five, what five things can you do today that will take you closer to your goal?Jessica:
Love that.Jo Flood:
Not just do five things, any old things, to take you closer to your goal. Five things and you stroke them off. I love putting lines through. I've done this. And a sense of achievement at the end of it. It's all about planning, really.
That's where the clarity has to come. You have to be clear about what it is you're looking for first. It's really worth putting the effort and energy. It takes weeks to get clear about what you really want and what's important. Because sometimes when you delve in what you thought was important actually isn't really.Jessica:
What do you say to people that are listening to you now that are struggling or they mightn't be getting the results that they want? They're just wondering whether they should quit.Jo Flood:
I'd say you go back to the beginning and you, literally, ask yourself, why am I doing this? Sometimes, you know what? People are doing the wrong stuff. They're in the wrong job and they're afraid of change.
So you do need to sit down and say to yourself, am I really... Like you know the old, if we could wave a magic wand, what would you like your life to look like? It's actually worth asking yourself that question. Just write down whatever comes into your mind. Because if you're doing a job that you love so much, it doesn't feel like work. That's really what you want to be aiming for.Jessica:
I love that so much. I also love the fact that it'll show up for a lot of people that they don't truly believe they could have what they actually desire and want.Jo Flood:
100% and it's all about recognizing where the challenges are. You see, this is why it takes a period of time. Because sometimes we don't really know what it is that stops us until we start opening our mind to look at what's happening every day.
Then we see is it a boundary that I need to... What I find, as well, a lot of people complain we say, for example, about their partner. He's this and he's that and he comes in the door and he thinks dinner should be ready.
But they never ever say to him. They tell their friend. They tell their friend but they're not going to say, "Sorry, we need to sit down and have a chat." It can be a lovely, very meaningful conversation about sharing how it makes you feel. Would there be a possibility that we could do this?
Because sometimes somebody doesn't know that you need their help. If you are going to continue doing things the way you're doing them and not complain to the person that you need to complain to, nothing's going to change. It's about putting your hand up. We owe it to ourselves to do that. Put your hand up and you say, "Excuse me, we need to have chat."Jessica:
I love that. Confronting what's not working for you and actually getting real about it and saying, "This isn't working. I need it to change."Jo Flood:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, "I'm not happy."Jessica:
Reflecting, as well, on what's going well and what's not going so well, which we always do. Me and my clients on a Friday, what went well this week? What would I improve on for next week? Just tweaking as you go rather than, "I did so bad. I had so much to do." Just tweaking as you go throughout the weeks.Jo Flood:
100%. Even just to follow on from what you said about what didn't go well and oh, gosh. The language that comes out of your mouth is so important. How you describe yourself. I know loads of examples. I'm always late. Really? You always decide to be late. Do you know, I read a lovely book called The Four Agreements. I don't know if you're familiar with it.Jessica:
I am, actually. A client introduced it to me there a while ago.Jo Flood:
This is the new one. It's The Fifth Agreement. I just love this. I would recommend everybody to go get their hands on this.Jessica:
Thank you so much for recommending that. Who's it by again?Jo Flood:
Don Miguel Ruiz.Jessica:
Has he changed the title of it to the-Jo Flood:
There's another agreement now, The Fifth Agreement. What I love about this, they're just so simple. Like, be impeccable with your word. Cut out the bitching, complaining, moaning, groaning. Stop it. And talking about other people, giving out all of that stuff. This eliminates so much.
Obviously, we can't change habits overnight but it's a process. Like I said to you, I'm doing this now for over 10 years and I just adore watching the transformation in the people that I work with.
It's all about just, literally, try on one thing. Another one is, don't take anything personally. I think that's a brilliant one. Because people go around imagining all these things in their head, what somebody else is thinking.Jessica:
Yeah. Especially when things aren't going your way. You're not getting the results you want. It can really help so much to remind yourself to not take it personally, that it's just black and white facts. You need to tweak something if you're not doing too well, or if you are doing well, it's a rinse and repeat emotionless.Jo Flood:
100%. The next one is, don't make assumptions. I think this is brilliant altogether. Because we do. We go off catastrophizing in our minds about all these things that are going to happen and whoa, whoa. It's not true.
Even the reason I recommend, I've read this book probably half a dozen times. That's one thing that I would recommend everybody listening is find yourself some really good material that you're reading all the time just to imprint these good habits and different mindset and just a constant thing. Even read a half an hour every day of something. I've loved, this is a gorgeous one. Goddesses Never Age. I don't know if you're familiar with Christiane, Dutch, Christiane Northrup?Jessica:
This is a beautiful book, absolutely beautiful book. The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality and Well-Being. Again, it's all about taking care of yourself. These are the kind of things. I surround myself with material that puts new notions and ideas in my mind and I feel just fantastic.Jessica:
I love that.Jo Flood:
I'm probably innately a very happy person anyway, even if I'd never done any of this, but nothing would phase me now. There is nothing that could happen to me today that would absolutely phase me. No. I know I would able to be cope with anything. That's just from this inner confidence that you get from making and keeping those agreements with yourself all the time.Jessica:
Aside from reading for 30 minutes every evening, what are your tips, your favorite habits for yourself that keep you grounded and focused and motivated and inspired?Jo Flood:
I have my little habits that make me feel good and they're part of... I have six different things I do every day. One of them is I literally recite in my head all the things I'm grateful for. I do it several times throughout the day.
Sometimes I sit in my office, I can look out the window and I have a lovely garden here. I look up and I'm so appreciative that I have a nice chair to sit. I have a lovely window. I can look out. Maybe a few birds pop over on the wall outside. That'll be a huge thing. Try and be consciously aware of how lucky you are and all the great things that you have going on apart... There will be challenges, but we need to start with what we're grateful for first.Jessica:
I love that so much, as well, because so many people listening are such huge strivers and goal setters. When you're really into your goals, it can be really difficult to live in the moment. But I read this really lovely thing that the goals that you set a few years ago, you're living now and are you grateful and are you living them and enjoying them?Jo Flood:
100%. Absolutely. Another thing I think that is massive is just beautiful breathing. Nice deep breath in. Just hold for a moment and release. That in itself is enough to calm you right down. I'm consciously doing stuff like that throughout the day. Another thing that I do for focus is I stand up in the office here on one leg. My hands go above my head and focus. It literally clears your mind of all the crap that's going on.Jessica:
Oh, I must try that.Jo Flood:
You have to focus for the 30 seconds. You push your chair back. You stand up on one leg, hands up. Look at the way and all your focus is on standing on the one leg, hands up, the breathing and it gives you just even 30 seconds of nothing in your mind except that.Jessica:
I love that. That's great.Jo Flood:
There all the little techniques that I would use to keep myself on track during the day. When I'm in the car, the same thing. I bless people as they drive past me. I can't just go... I'm very relaxed driving. I never let myself get angry even if there's a traffic jam. I used to be on the horn. I mean, terror on the roads but not anymore.Jessica:
How did you change that?Jo Flood:
I'll tell you how I changed it was my morning starts the night before, remember. I was so organized before I ever left the house, I was just feeling at ease and at peace within myself. I just decided this is the way I want to live my life.
Because it's awful If you get in that terrible state first thing in the morning, which I did for the first three years after selling. I was like that every day. Then you come and you feel awful. But, literally, I think if every single person listens to this, just go off and have a look at how you're starting your day. That's the first thing.
Be grateful and have a look around and start with, I call it a gratitude walk. You go out on your walk and on that walk you're going to think about all the things you're grateful for and that is the grass is growing. You have beautiful views in front of you. The birds are singing. Your feet are working, one is going after the other as you walk along. Do you know that kind of thing?Jessica:
The breathing is huge. Try and remember, because I used to be a bit hunched up from sitting here. I'd be all tensed up and I didn't realize. But now I'm consciously all the time nice, deep breath in. How does that sound?Jessica:
I love that so much. To recap, take a look at the morning and get super organized the night before. Even before you do that, just take a look at how your morning is right now. Gratitude, gratitude, walk ideal and breathing throughout the day. Anytime you're noticing stress or anxiety come up or you just need to clear your mind, do that breathing technique.Jo Flood:
Yeah, really simple. If you take, say, you have this, what is it? Four, four, six, eight where you'll go in, four, hold for six, and out for eight. Do something like that where your counting, so that would take your mind off any of your concerns.Jessica:
In four, hold two, out eight, is that it?Jo Flood:
Yeah. Hold six. In four, hold for six and then out for eight. There's different techniques of breathing. Some people will say hold for... Breathe in for six or what? Go for four, six, eight. That's what I do and it works for you.Jessica:
Jo, thank you so, so much for coming onto my podcast. Tell me where people can find you and what courses they can do and what's the best way to contact you.Jo Flood:
Okay, so, joflood.com is my website. I do one-on-one coaching programs with people. I do a six-week program. I do three-month programs for people who are, let's say, looking for a more long-term solution to or growing their business, et cetera.
I have my online program, which is Rise Up, License to Soar. You can find me on Instagram. You'll find me on Facebook on my mindset page. You can go on my website and you can book a 15-minute call with me for a chat if you'd like to explore further how we can work together.Jessica:
That is amazing. Just to be super clear about is joflood.com.Jo Flood:
Is Jo Flood, joflood.com. Just one other last quick thing to say, which is all to do with accountability. One of the things is if you set a goal for yourself, you're probably 10% likely to achieve it. But if you are being held accountable by somebody like me, you are 95% likely to achieve that goal.
Now, I think that's phenomenal. One of the reasons that I've achieved a lot of the things I have is because I've been in groups. I've invested heavily in myself and held accountable by other people in other programs to get me to where I am now.Jessica:
Yeah, I completely agree. I completely agree. Support and accountability is the missing piece of the puzzle for sure. Especially when people are so busy and they don't have time to focus on if they're staying on track or not. It's wonderful to have a coach there right beside you, making sure you are.Jo Flood:
Yeah. Well, I have loved talking to you, Jessica. It's been amazing. I can't believe the time has just flown by.Jessica:
I know. I know. You, too, Jo. Thank you so, so much. Have a wonderful evening. All my love.Jo Flood:
Thank you. You, too. Bye.