Ep. 52 – Pat Williams – Flexibility & Renewal
For Episode 52, Pat Williams of CyberCletch and the Dreambuilders Community shares how cadence helps support her wellbeing and productivity. We also cover team management, remote working, digital nomading, creating space for renewal and supporting women to help themselves.
Creating Cadence Podcast Transcript – Episode 52
Published 27th October 2023
Hi, and welcome to Creating Cadence, a podcast for life and work in motion.
I’m your host Mich Bondesio, a freelance writer, coach consultant, and solo entrepreneur. I’m also the author of The Cadence Effect.
I help high achievers stuck on the toxic treadmill of overwork to transform how they approach life, work and business. So they can activate more of their potential and perform better in every part of their life at a cadence that’s more suitable to them. Despite this fast-paced world we live in.
This is episode 52, the eighth episode of season eight, published in late October, 2023, although the interview part of this episode was recorded in late September.
So, an update from me before we dive into the promo stuff and this week’s conversation. In an unexpected turn of events. I found out last week that I’m moving home in two weeks time. I’ve been waiting a really long time to do this. So I’m over the moon that it’s finally a reality and it’s really exciting. But it also means that I’m needing to fit a whole additional to-do list worth of tasks into an already full schedule over the next few weeks. And there are currently a lot of loose ends that I’m waiting for the go-ahead on before I can take action on moving things forward.
It’s the story of our lives. So I bet you know exactly how that feels experiencing the frustration of waiting on someone or something before you can do that important thing you want or need to do. Patience is a virtue I’m still learning to develop at the tender age of midlife.
So according to the science, moving house is one of the top, most stressful things a person can do. It sits right up there alongside other stress triggers, such as dealing with loss and grief, divorce, and moving countries, to name just a few.
Like some of my listeners, I’ve ticked the box on all of the above-mentioned things. And in the past, I’ve burned out as a result of some of them too.
Knowing how to do this isn’t a well kept secret. We’re all capable of supporting ourselves better, even when life feels beyond our control. And this is important now more than ever as current world events touch our lives in ways that cause even more stress, pain and heartache in our day to day.
It can take time, practice and trial and error to build effective and supportive habits that stick. To get to know yourself more deeply. And to understand how you can work at your best during times of pressure, while still maintaining your resilience and managing your stress.
The best way to start is by picking one specific thing to focus on and starting small.
Now, we can all manage times of pressure and stay resilient, when we have a robust toolkit of healthy behaviors to support us. And those stress triggers have a realistic endpoint, which is thankfully the case for me with this move.
But it’s also important to note that if that high pressure we’re facing is more permanent. So we have to stay in perpetual firefighting or fight or flight mode for long periods of time. Then that is unsustainable. And that’s when our resilience can crumble and our physical and mental health can eventually take a dive.
Personally, to ensure that I can manage my elevated stress during the next few weeks. I’m making sure I’m getting to bed earlier so I can stand a chance of getting at least some good deep zzzz before my overactive mind decides to wake up at 4:00 AM to worry about all these new things on my list.
The other things I’m doing are making sure that I’m moving in some way every day so that I can complete my stress cycle and release that stress. And my forms of movement are everything from brisk walking to kitchen disco. I’m also doubling down on my daily meditation practice because it really does help to keep my mind on a more even keel.
So next week, I’ll have an update on where I’m at with my move. But if you feel like you could do with some guidance on creating more supportive and intentionally productive habits, so that you can build your resilience and manage your stress better over the long-term, no matter what gets thrown at you, then this might be of interest.
In early 2024, I’m launching a new coaching and accountability program. It’s geared to help overworked. High-achievers transform how you work. So you can be more purposeful with your productivity and more intentional about your wellbeing, and Craft a more meaningful and well-lived life.
I’m announcing more about this in my next Cadence newsletter, which is due out in early November. And spaces will be limited, so if you want to be the first to find out more head to creatingcadence.co/ subscribe to sign up, so that you can be the first to hear about the course, special offers, and early bird pricing. You’ll also get a free Cadence Canvas Worksheet when you sign up.
This programme is tied to the topics covered in my recently published book, The Cadence Effect. If you haven’t heard of it yet, here’s a quick review from Linda Wattier of How She Thrives.
Linda writes on Amazon:
“I’ve been slowly dipping in and out of the cadence effect for a few months now. It’s chock full of well-researched advice on how to put purpose and wellbeing at the centre of how you work, which ripples out into the rest of your life.
What I love about this book:
- The author authentically shares her frightening burnout experience and the inspiring aftermath.
- It’s about mindfulness, honoring your rhythms and moving away from hustle culture.
- It’s about cultivating curiosity, intention, resilience, purpose, and meaning in work and life.
- The chapter on understanding procrastination has been especially beneficial for me.
- The book contains concrete, practical examples, and reflection exercises.
The Cadence Effect is a wise and thoughtful companion, if you’d like to be more intentional, enhance your performance, and experience more meaning in your work and life.”
Well, what a lovely and thorough review, Linda. If you’re listening, thank you so much.
And if you want to find out more about the book, then head to thecadenceeffect.com for information on where you can buy a copy and the formats that are currently available.
So, with the promo stuff out the way it’s now onto the interview section of this episode, where I chat with Pat Williams of Cyber Cletch.
Pat Williams is a specialist in WordPress strategy and design. Her website building journey began in 1999, and has led her to thrive in long-term partnerships, delivering leads and sales for service-based businesses.
Understanding that not everyone can afford ongoing help, she’s now on a mission to create a community for women who are tired of struggling online, alone. The community goal is to help women get needed support and answers so that they can infuse their online business with sales, faster.
Pat is also a seasoned digital nomad who has traveled extensively around the US in a camper truck. And adventured plenty, further afield to.
During this lovely conversation with Pat, we focus a lot on how wellbeing supports our business outputs.
The topics we cover include:
- How to look after yourself and be productive when you are constantly on the move without a home base.
- Adapting to changing living scenarios to create the space needed for deep thought and reflection.
- How downtime is a benefit to your productivity and your business.
- How to support the wellbeing of your team when you all work remotely.
- And how Pat’s work helps her clients to have more time to do the work that is important to them.
Do stick around at the end of the episode, as I’ll also talk a bit more about some of the thoughts and ideas that came from my chat with Pat.
So if you’re ready, let’s dive in.
So welcome, Pat. It’s lovely to have you on the show.
[00:07:25] Thank you for having me. I’m so excited. As you know, I’ve been a long time fan of this podcast.
[00:07:31] Thank you so much. I’m so pleased that you’re a fan.
Okay, so a bit of background for my audience, like some of the other guests that I’ve interviewed for this season, you are also a member of the Unemployable Initiative, which is an online business community, and how I first got to know you better within that community is that you run a subgroup in the Unemployable initiative that helps business owners to identify and address the most pressing problems that are preventing them from moving forward. And I was part of that group for probably about six months, and I found it incredibly, incredibly helpful.
And then we got to meet in person last year in Phoenix for the Creator Economy Expo. And we had a little adventure of our own too, because we went to the Desert Botanical Gardens for a sunset concert and we got to see this exceptional, exquisite exhibition of Dale Chihuly’s Glasswork? Is that how you say his name? And that was just such an incredible evening as well.
[00:08:23] It was, and the music with the backdrop of the desert was stunning.
[00:08:29] Absolutely. I’ve got such fond memories.
[00:08:31] That was your idea. Thank you so much. It was wonderful.
[00:08:34] So before we get into what you do as a WordPress strategy and design expert, first I want to talk to you about you and your current context. There’s lots of things that we can explore. I know that you’ve experienced health issues in the past. I also know that you are an intrepid explorer , in that you are a bit of a digital nomad at certain times of the year.
Where do you find yourself in your life at the moment, and how is that impacting on your wellbeing, creativity and productivity? And what are the benefits and challenges of your current experience?
[00:09:04] Well, I was a digital nomad for seven years, I did not have a home base. I was constantly on the move. And I learned very quickly, that it was a lot.
Well, first, let me back up. Balance. You talk about balance in your book and I have to say that that particular statement really hit home for me, because I felt like I spent my entire life looking for that elusive balance.
I never found it. So when I became a digital nomad, by that time, my kids were gone and grown, and I was only taking care of me, and it became easy. The balance became easy. I really, truly found a cadence in driving and staying somewhere for a month.
But now I’ve recently got engaged and I am living part-time back in suburbia, and that has thrown me off of my cadence because it’s not just me anymore and it’s a challenge.
But your book is, it’s very helpful. It’s helped me realize that balance is not what I’m looking for. I am looking for that cadence. And even though my life is different now, spending part-time in a suburban household and part-time still traveling, the cadence is just different for both of those. So that’s where I’m at now, finding that new cadence in this new lifestyle.
[00:10:35] Yes, and that’s what it’s about. It is about adapting and adjusting and realizing that things continually change. That’s the only constant is the change.
[00:10:43] That’s so true. Even on the road.
[00:10:47] I’m sure. So talk us through a little bit about what your day-to-day kind of routines or practices or habits.
How do you set yourself up on a typical day when you are stationary or in your suburban abode as opposed to on the road? What do you do typically on a daily basis to support your productivity and your wellbeing?
[00:11:08] When I was on the road, it was much easier. I woke up, I didn’t have to talk to anybody. There was nobody else pulling at my time. So I would get up and go for a walk wherever I was.
Here in suburbia, it’s not as enjoyable to go out for a walk here. A lot of concrete, there are trees, but I like that meditative walk where you’re not talking to anybody, you’re in your own thoughts and I don’t get that here in suburbia ’cause you run across too many other people.
So what I’ve found that I’ve adapted when I’m here is that I spend time a half an hour to an hour in bed before I even get up for the day. And spend that time in my head going through what I need to practice and that has made me much happier.
It took me a little while to figure out what to replace that walk with, and it’s just a matter of finding new routines.
And then I have my coffee and sit down at my desk and start my day.
[00:12:09] And are there particular times of the day when you find yourself more productive or less productive to do certain types of work?
[00:12:15] I wouldn’t say it’s an hourly thing. It’s a daily thing. On some days I’m more creative than other days. It depends on how many people are requesting things of me.
So, Fridays, for example, are my creative day, so I do block Fridays off for my own work.
[00:12:36] Okay. So we’ve spoken a bit about cadence balance, let’s talk a little bit more about that in general, what does that concept of creating cadence mean to you? How does it resonate specifically for you?
[00:12:48] Creating cadence for me is… I’ve learned that it doesn’t have to look the same every day. It’s similar to floating down a river. Right. You’re in the water and you’re going, and you can either swim upstream and try to do things that are different than whatever your mindset or your ability is in that moment.
Or you can just float downstream and do what is best for you at that time where you’re going to get the most creativity or the most efficiency out of your day.
[00:13:28] I love that analogy, going with the flow.
So let’s talk about your work and how that connects with cadence.
As I mentioned earlier, you’re a WordPress strategy and design expert. You have a very interesting background in that you studied behavioral science, and then somewhere along the way you became the founder of a boutique web design and digital marketing agency that has now been running for over 20 years, which is a fantastic achievement. And you are also transitioning in the work that you’re doing, in terms of creating a community for women who are tired of struggling alone online.
So tell us a little bit more about the different elements of work that you do and how that cadence might be applied in that context. How do you support you and help your clients to create more cadence in their days through the work that you do?
[00:14:16] Oh, that’s such a good question.
Simply put, when I started my business, my whole concept was to allow business owners more time to do what was important to them, and that has been my passion from the beginning and that passion comes from the fact that as a business owner, I struggled. I was pretty much a single parent, raised my children by myself while working, and I had to gear up and slow down my business many times because of health issues, because of family issues.
And struggling by myself as a female business owner. I understand what it’s like for other women. I came across some stats recently, and they’re American stats, but women in small business generate 1.6 trillion in revenue annually. But female-owned businesses have lower revenue. They grow slower and they receive less external financing.
So, I’m trying to take that passion of helping women in business further by helping those women who maybe can’t afford to hire me to work on their websites or to work on their businesses and teaching them how to do what I know within this community.
So I’m very excited about this. Tremendously excited, because I know how I struggled you know, through 20 years of business to grow my business, and I would like to make that easier for other women
[00:15:57] Fantastic. And when is that community going to be launching?
[00:16:00] That will be launching before the end of the year.
[00:16:03] Oh, super.
[00:16:04] Ah, I’m getting close.
[00:16:06] That’s very exciting and we’ll definitely update the show notes once you are ready to announce that with any information or links you wanna share on that.
[00:16:13] Thank you.
[00:16:14] So Let’s talk more about the other things that you also do around the website and the SEO work.
You have a really fun and entertaining Instagram account where you take complex and challenging topics related to web design and SEO and digital marketing, and you turn them into little bite-sized bits of education, little pockets of learning that are manageable and easy to digest.
And so what made you decide to start doing that, and how does that fit within your kind of workflow?
Because your focus is on helping other people to market, and you’re focusing a lot on how you market yourself as well.
[00:16:47] Well, that started because I wanted to help female business owners and the concepts often, you know, they don’t have time, they’re busy selling real estate or starting their own business or creating their art. They don’t have time to also then become an SEO specialist.
So I’m trying to share these bite-sized bits of information that will help them.
I have one person that follows me on Instagram, and I actually did a quick consult with her and she said that now she’s getting one sale a week from just the small SEO tweaks that I suggested she make to her product.
[00:17:31] That is awesome.
[00:17:33] And that makes me very happy.
[00:17:38] So I get joy out of helping other people and hopefully the people I help get joy with the ideas that I give them either on Instagram or eventually in the community.
[00:17:49] Fantastic. So with this company that you have, you also have a team that you work with, and it’s my understanding that you’re not all based in the same place. So tell us a little bit about how kind of cadence and intentional productivity might apply in the situation that you have with a remote team who are across time zones.
[00:18:10] Well, I’m very fortunate in that my team adapts to my time zone. And they work with me. They don’t necessarily have to, they just choose to, because it’s nice to be able to pick up a Zoom call whenever you need to discuss anything.
So as far as our intentional productivity goes, I make sure that they work regular business hours. I do not demand that they stay longer than is needed to accomplish things.
We plan our tasks so that they can be done within a reasonable amount of time. And, we do do a lot of talking about exercise. Have we been out for a walk? Go take a walk. You know, have you eaten? My assistant is forever reminding me, have you eaten yet? Are you drinking water?
So we take care of one another even though we are entire countries away.
[00:19:13] Mm-hmm. Oh, that’s so interesting. And, staying on the topic of intentional productivity, when you are not in suburbia and you’re off traveling in your fantastic big camper van or truck as you call it, how does that impact on your working day and your intentional productivity practices. When you’re on the road where you may be traveling or you may be in a place where internet may an issue, how do you structure your days?
[00:19:38] I actually plan where I stay based on the internet signal so that I don’t have as many issues with internet. Although I have had a few.
I tend to then move into a coffee shop or somewhere where the signal is better. It does mess with my productivity when I don’t have good internet. So I do try to plan ahead of time whether I am on the road or whether I’m traveling to somewhere to ensure that the internet is good enough for me to be able to work efficiently and quickly.
I also try to plan when I go somewhere, I plan to stay for a month whenever I can, uh, because I find that that makes me most productive, when I’m not moving from place to place to place every week.
And it gives me an opportunity to work solidly during the day and then evenings and weekends, obviously, depending on the time of year for evenings, I then go and explore the area. And I do a lot of walking and a lot of meditating while looking at incredibly beautiful spaces.
[00:20:49] Mm-hmm. Well, that’s a fantastic example of how to create space in your day and in your life for that creative thinking. When you work in a creative industry, you need that. People often refer to it as downtime, but it’s actually also a creative time.
[00:21:04] Yes, yes. It’s renewal time.
[00:21:07] Yeah. And it’s another form of work in some ways because it’s the space you’re creating to allow your brain to free associate and problem solve and do all those other things.
And also a form of active rest with the walking.
[00:21:19] And honestly, I believe that. Our conversations. I was very much an old thinker where that was downtime. That was me time. That wasn’t a benefit to my work. And through our conversations, both at the botanical gardens, prior to, during the group, it’s been so good to hear you. It was almost like you gave me permission to enjoy that time.
Still consider it productive time because there’s that hustle culture, right, where you feel like you can’t have that production time you’ve always got to be doing. And so thank you for that. That was very freeing.
[00:22:03] Oh wow. Thank you for acknowledging that and that makes me feel great because that’s one of the kind of key things I’m trying to work to do is to change this conversation around what we see as productive. There is this whole culture around overwork that is so firmly entrenched that we don’t even realize it.
And it requires a mindset shift. And once, once that shift starts happening, we start recognizing all the patterns and the opportunities in which we can make change, which is much easier if you either work for yourself or you have a degree of autonomy over how your day runs, obviously.
But even what you’ve shown is having a team that there are ways to do it with a team as well where you can still support yourself.
[00:22:44] Mm-hmm. And another interesting thing, I hope you don’t mind me bringing this up. In reading the book, it really made me question what came first. Was it the health issues that caused some burnout or did the burnout cause the health issues because they are so firmly related?
[00:23:08] Absolutely. Yeah .
[00:23:10] I just had never thought of it from that perspective before and it’s really enlightened me and I think that along with just that one key thing of enjoying that time instead of feeling like I need to be producing, has improved my health.
[00:23:28] That’s fantastic to hear.
[00:23:31] Thank you.
[00:23:31] So thank you.
[00:23:33] Oh, and thank you. Thanks for being open and spreading the word. You’re a vocal advocate of the power of the podcast, so I really appreciate that.
[00:23:40] Yes. Well, as you know, I’ve done a lot of listening. I like to listen to it while I drive, and I hope it’s okay I tell the listeners this story, but last year I was driving in California and I had to catch up on a lot of Mich’s, podcasts, and I drove for two hours in the wrong direction because I was so engrossed in her podcast.
I didn’t realize that I was lost. I was going east instead of north.
[00:24:07] Oh dear. Well, that did make me laugh at the time, and it still does. And I’m sure you were swearing my name at the time.
But, you stuck with it.
[00:24:15] True story. I was, yeah. I was very unhappy once I realized how lost I was. But that Mich. She’s good.
[00:24:24] Okay, Pat, so before we end off, the question I have is, do you have any words of advice or key learnings or suggestions that you want to share with listeners based on your work or life experience? It can come from the avenue of being a WordPress strategy and design expert. Or from your behavioural science experience. Or just generally your life experience up until this point.
[00:24:46] I think probably the biggest takeaway for me, with intentional productivity and from your book, just applies to the fact that what routines I’ve set up today for me here in this place. If anything changes, you can set up new routines. You can set up new cadence.
Your cadence doesn’t have to be exactly the same every single day or every single location. That you can adjust it for how productive you’re feeling that day, where you are that day, what’s happening in your life, and just take bits of it and apply them in different ways. So for example, instead of going for a walk in the morning, I’m now in bed having that time that I need to rejuvenate myself and start my day.
[00:25:44] Fantastic. Thank you so much, Pat. Now let us know where people can find you online.
[00:25:50]Well, Instagram, you mentioned Instagram, @pat_cletch. You can find me on LinkedIn. I got my account early, so it’s actually back slash Pat Williams and you can find me at cybercletch.com
[00:26:06] Pat, thank you so much. I’m so pleased we got to have this fantastic conversation.
[00:26:10] Me too Mish. Thank you so much and thank you for inviting me.
[00:26:13] Well, what a great conversation with Pat. She is so generous in sharing how this idea of cadence has had a profound effect on how she approaches her work and her wellbeing.
A couple of thoughts came into focus for me after this conversation.
The first thing I want to talk about is flow.
Pat used a lovely analogy of a river to describe the flexibility and fluidity that comes with creating cadence, instead of striving for that unhelpful static construct of work-life balance.
To paraphrase Pat’s description, creating cadence in your life and work is about flowing with the stream instead of fighting against it. And I love that visual. It’s so powerful and helpful for considering a whole host of things. From thinking about what’s creating friction and your typical workflow. To realizing what might need simplifying in your daily routines. To understanding what supports you to stay well and be more productive.
So consider, what is helping you go with the flow. And what is making you feel like you are swimming upstream? How can you do more of what makes things run smoothly? How can you limit what creates friction?
The second point I want to consider is around adaptability.
Pat correctly pointed out that cadence doesn’t have to look the same every day. As I’ve mentioned before, benefiting from the cadence effect involves having elastic and adaptable routines that can fit around the needs of your day and week. And sometimes the needs which take priority might be related to work. But at other times, the priority is on your wellbeing, or your relationships, or something else that’s important. And so knowing how to flexibly adapt to those needs is at the heart of creating cadence.
Aside from building consistent, healthy, supportive habits, a key skill you’re developing as you learn to create cadence in your life is to be willing to change. To have that willingness to alter what you’re doing to ensure that you are supported in the best way you can be in that moment. To not stick with the unhelpful notion that you have to be doing exactly the same thing, the same way, every day, to get the best outputs. Tweaks and adjustments are encouraged.
The third point. I want to talk about relates to supporting others in business and how that helps us create cadence.
Pat has always aimed at supporting women in business because she knows personally how tough it can be for a woman building and running your own business.
To that end. She’s now starting a community where she can help women to help themselves spreading her knowledge and creating connections. So women can not just help themselves, but help each other. And I’ve included a link in the show notes. So you can register your interest to find out more about that community.
Now, through the work that Pat is doing, she is demonstrating a concept known as “lift as you climb”, which is all about empowerment and giving back.
This phrase ‘lift as you climb’ was first coined back in the days of black activism in the late 1800s. And more recently, it is also the title and topic of a book by the author, podcaster and comedian,Viv Groskop. Viv’s book is all about how ambitious women can climb to the top of their profession, while at the same time, also helping other women to rise. Without the need for comparison, competition, or a loss of identity.
This approach is also about having an abundance mindset, which I do talk about in my book, The Cadence Effect. Simply put, there is more than enough to go around. And in my experience, we achieve so much more through collaboration than through competition.
The last point I want to cover is around being a good boss, when you have a remote team.
When your team works across time zones, burnout can become an issue very fast. Where possible, Pat and her team avoid this through sensible, reasonable, and fair planning and organization. And they genuinely care about each other and take care of each other.
This approach may not be possible in a gargantuan company with thousands of employees. But if you have a small team, often people juggle multiple responsibilities. And if one person goes down, that puts more pressure on the others. So it’s in your interest to ensure that your team are getting enough time for rest and recovery and that they have manageable workloads.
As I mentioned in the last episode, we (as in humans) are the number one asset in our business. The toxic culture of overwork sits at the heart of stress and burnout in the workplace. And there are simple steps we can take to make a change that not only supports our health, but also our performance and our business outputs.
And aside from that, there are many scary and painful things happening in the world at the moment, as I mentioned at the start of this episode. So we need to be doubling down on finding our humanity during this state of flux. And one thing that is within our control during this time of change, is to start by taking better care of ourselves and each other.
A few things before we go…
You can find out more about my new book at TheCadenceEffect.com. And helpful reviews are always welcome to help the book get found by those who need it.
A reminder too that if you want to be the first to hear about the special offers relating to the new coaching cohort that’s coming in early 2024, please sign up for the cadence newsletter at CreatingCadence.co/subscribe.
Thanks again for listening. Until next time, keep moving forwards with courage, curiosity, and cadence.
Bye for now.
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