The Moment | Steph Jhala
6 MINUTE READ
We believe that life is a collection of Moments. Some ever so big, some fleeting, some small. It is in these Moments and the choices we make within them, that shape the people we become and what our lives will stand for.
We are reaching out to the most interesting, inspiring & successful leaders around the world to ask them about their Moments. In the spirit of our number one value, collaboration, our goal with this series is for you to experience development and enrichment from today's most inspirational leaders.
I first met Steph a few months back at the inaugural Cocktails and Convos Event in Vancouver - a womens dinner for inspiring leaders in the community.
Steph has this peaceful energy that surrounds her, you are immediately aware of her when she walks into a room. When she speaks, she looks straight into your heart and you have the experience of feeling what it is like to have another human being truly and utterly present for you. Did I mention this is upon meeting her for the FIRST time?!
Steph is a uniquely special soul. She is doing breakthrough work across the globe uniting Mothers through her business All The Mama Feels. Her vision is to activate maternal power, have more women rise up to positions of leadership in business, close the Gender Pay Gap and create a space for vulnerability and authenticity.
In September of this year Steph is launching an 8 week Mother Mindfulness Program supporting mothers in being empowered at home and at work. Many progressive organizations are sponsoring their employees to take this program. Did you know that 8 out of 10 mothers consider leaving the workforce after having a baby? This is an important factor for organizations to understand in order to support and retain working Mothers. You can find out more by visiting and signing up at Mother Mindfulness Program or Steph's instagram: @stephjhala @allthemamafeels.
Steph tell us about the Moment ....
You realized you were in the presence of a great leader/teacher
My daughter has hands down been my best teacher. I compare parenthood to entrepreneurship, except you can't quit your kids. It's the most challenging and most rewarding endeavour I've ever taken on that stretches you to the depths of all depths. But out of it, you grow to be patient, present, loving, nurturing, empathetic, forgiving, a listener, and fierce as heck. Parenthood calls you to be greater than you have ever been before, and truly embody what it looks like to be a virtuous leader. All these qualities, that dads can also foster when they take paternal leave, have shown to be powerfully beneficial to the workplace. I believe that bringing this essence of parenthood into the boardrooms, government, oceans, forests and beyond is what will restore balance to the planet. Because of my daughter, I've completely transformed how I'm building my business and serving my people, integrating core values of love, listening, being of service, collaboration, and community amongst many more.
You knew you were on the right path in your career
You know you are in flow when survival to make money is no longer a thing. Money becomes the by-product of your movement, your mission, your passion. I've never felt more in flow than I do today. Empowering Mothers to ignite their confidence, rise up to positions of decision making and leadership, close the gender gap and restore balance to the planet, is a cause worthy of my life. I'll be launching my global Mother Mindfulness Program this September, and for the first time in my life I've experienced what it looks like to lead with heart in every action, every breath and every stride. And when this intention is coupled with conviction, it's contagious, people feel it, and they get on board.
I used to be so ashamed to fail. When I didn't get into medical school, I lied to everyone in my life (and said I got in but changed my mind) because I couldn't face the failure. I lied to the point that even I believed my own lie. When I got my first grown up job doing customer service and sales support at a software company, everything was new and the learning curve was steep. Being so afraid of failure, my best defence mechanism was to learn everything, be a perfectionist and excel (so I could avoid failure). On the outside it seemed like I was thriving, but on the inside I was in a constant state of anxiety and stress up-keeping the avoidance of failure. When I was promoted, I begged my manager to demote me. He would not. He threw me into the deep end, knowing this was the growth I needed. The moment I confronted my fear of failure and realized that just because something failed, didn't mean I was a failure, I had freedom. From then on, I chose to use failure as my greatest opportunity to learn. Since, I've grown exponentially, from experimenting with new jobs I've never done before (and failing at hiring the right people, making stuff up as I learn), public speaking (and failing to remember my talk), becoming a consultant (and failing to pay myself enough). Now the word "failure" doesn't even fit in my vocabulary. When something isn't working, rather than it being a failure, I simply look at what's missing, what can I learn, and how can I grow? It's an empowering place to be when you shift from "failure" to "learning".
You chose something different than what was expected of you
I left a company that was a good company with good people and good pay. But I chose something different, to pursue my passions, have a baby and create the life I wanted. I wanted flexibility, I wanted a baby, I wanted to work from anywhere in the world, I wanted to make more than the glass ceiling. So many people thought I was crazy, said it wasn't possible. But all that matters is what feels true to me. And I'm doing it. I'm creating it, I'm building it. On top of being an entrepreneur, being a mom is 2.5 full-time jobs and there just aren't enough hours in the day (or night). Productivity maximizes at 4-5 hours a day, with diminishing returns thereafter (building the case as to why the world deserves real work-life balance!!). So my stand is part time hours (three days a week at 4 hours a day), more than full time pay so I can be with my daughter, honour the most foundational years of her life to provide her with the love and nourishment critical to raising happy and healthy humans. 80% of mothers experience some form of postpartum depression or baby blues, and there is no coincidence that childhood anxiety and divorce rates with children under 5 are skyrocketing. My belief is: happy & healthy mothers equals happy & healthy babies, equals happy & healthy economies and communities. (By the way if mothers were paid, they'd make at least $175K annual salary and that doesn't even factor in the immeasurable value, let alone healthcare cost savings, of unconditional love!). Organizations can step up in creating better resources and support for parents in the workplace honouring parental leave for both parents, implementing workplace flexibility, allowing mothers to continue on their career trajectory even if they are working part time hours... Organizations that have true diversity at all levels experience 15-21% more profits. This is a new era, and we can be the demonstration that anything is possible.
You wake. And the ritual you have to start your day
Cuddling and nursing my baby girl. Now that I've gotten used to this "mom" gig, and silent meditation is not really in the cards with a busy toddler, I'm incorporating a daily gratitude ritual and sharing it with my daughter. For example: I am grateful for the sunshine, her smile and a cozy bed. Daily gratitude saved me when I was struggling after having a baby and needing to completely reinvent who I was and what my life looked like. I did a self-directed gratitude challenge for 45 days every morning and night, sharing it with my husband and it helped me reframe so many challenges into gifts, changing the neurological pathways in my brain.
You made your best hire
I just made my first hire as a business owner, which feels so good and slightly terrifying because now my butt is truly on the line to make this movement happen and the revenue to match it (although nervousness can easily be transformed into excitement). You know you are on the same page when you create a truly open, trusting and safe relationship. As an entrepreneur and a mother, I need someone that doesn't necessarily "know" everything but has the interest and excitement to learn and figure it out from building community, to manifesting powerful connections that lead to thriving customers, to setting intentions grounded in nurturing and being of service, to making sure that I'm fed and showered and rested. I'm weaving in the essence of motherhood into how I run my business, how I hire my people, and how I treat my team. I also look for people that I can learn from and be my teachers.
You felt the most successful in life
A new practice of mine is to manifest, feel and believe in future successes as if they were already here now. Even though I am in the infancy of my global movement, I can feel the magnitude and the weight of the mission. I'm not earning nearly as much as I used to (yet) but I already feel successful in my day to day. If I'm going to be spending precious time away from my daughter, it better be doing something that lights me up. I allow myself to acknowledge the success of staying true to what is authentic and what matters deeply to me.
You received feedback that was hard to hear but worth listening to
I've been told that I'm too confident, on more than one occasion in the workplace. This used to bother me a lot, since I'm a fierce stand for gender equality in the workplace. I was sure that my confident male colleagues did not receive this feedback. It's been a great chance to practice listening and truly getting where they are coming from, even if you disagree. When I come at it from a lens of curiosity rather than defensiveness, it can reveal a valuable lesson for me. Now I'm all for confidence, especially in women as it is our time to reclaim feminine power. But something that has stuck with me was advice I got from a wise woman: "Confidence can take you places, but humility will take you farther". Something that used to offend me, I'm now allowing it to be a contribution to who I am and how I show up.
You chose to walk away from someone or something
How deep do you want me to get here??? Ok I'll go deep. I chose to walk away from a girl who didn't believe in herself. I chose to walk away from a girl who didn't love herself. I chose to walk away from a girl who didn't listen to her true self. That girl was me. And I've never looked back.
Bit of more than you could chew
Everyday. Ha ha. But if everything were easy, there would be no growth, there would be no challenge. And the world needs brave leaders and workers and researchers and nurturers and story tellers to bite off more than they could chew so we can restore balance to the planet.
Saw yourself & your true potential
I used to use the "not enough time" excuse ALL THE TIME. I lived in a constant state of busy, stress and overwhelm. I was receiving coaching from a mentor of mine and she said: "What if it wasn't about time. What if you gave up that excuse. Then what?". In that moment I got that "not enough time" was just a cover up for not feeling good enough. And if I had all the time and was in control of how I use my time, then I'd have the freedom and ability to create incredible greatness in the world. I saw the potential of my entire life unfold in that moment.
You understood advice your parents gave you (what was it?)
"It's not them, it's you". I used to blame other people or circumstances outside of me for the things that went wrong in my life. But my parents would keep telling me to look within and look at how you can shift who you are or how you relate to the world. Imagine a world without blame or pointing fingers. Rather, we'd look within to see how we can be compassionate, forgiving, patient, responsible. I can be a stubborn person and I do like being right, but that also means that others are wrong, which in the end is a loose loose. But if something bothers me, triggers me, upsets me, I have the power and control to look within and get that I am the only one that is the source of this frutstration. And that it is a choice, if I have the power to generate frustration, I also have the power to alter my reaction to something else, like empathy, curiosity, or love. Of course it's a life long process. But this awareness is coming full circle, thanks to my parents.