ACTUALLY: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF HARRIET WALEY-COHEN
HARRIET WALEY-COHEN – COACH & MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER
It’s August – which means that Team Actually is on holiday. But we thought this might be a great opportunity for you to get to know some awesome members of the Actually community a little better! So welcome to our new August feature ‘A Day in the Life of…’ an Actually person!
This week we are delving into the life of the amazing Harriet Waley-Cohen – a coach and motivational speaker hunted down to speak for audiences including Microsoft, Sky, and Invesco, empowering thousands of people over the last 18+ years to believe in themselves and their potential.
For those of you that don’t know me, my work is centred in empowering women. From the top down I help create big picture change to make corporate culture and the world more suitable for women to feel good about themselves and achieve our potential, and from the bottom up, I support women to own their brilliance and succeed. As well as public speaking, I offer private and group coaching programs.
Mondays usually start at 6am. I jump on my Peloton bike and do a class with my Pelo-buddy Laura Coleman virtually, in which case we Whatsapp each other ‘are you awake, let’s get up’ because let’s face it, who leaves their cosy bed where their cuddly dog is snoozing and jumps on an exercise bike at 6am without company or accountability…a cardio workout to great music with a friend makes me super happy and pumped for the day, as well as feeling like I’ve accomplished something, even if that’s just keep my legs toned and butt pert 😉
On other days I might journal freehand instead of cycling, to clear my mind and see what insights my subconscious has to offer or advice the universe wants to give. I always pray and meditate for 10-15 minutes, whether I’ve journaled or not. I’ve been clean and sober for almost 20 years now, and part of my recovery involves connecting with the divine/my higher power first thing. It’s a ‘getting out of my own way, shifting into flow and faith, and asking to be guided for the greater good’ process. Often, I send love and positive thoughts to friends and family too, and think about how I be the best mother, friend, business woman/coach I can be for the coming day. I pick a topic to focus on for gratitude and end the meditation with a feeling of abundance and faith.
After a shower, two essential self-care things happen: my skin care and gut health routines, the latter involves a shot of aloe with a probiotic. Then as a full-time single mother to two teens, it’s time to get the kids up. Fizzy our cockerpoo helps, jumping on them and kissing their faces, which gets a much better reception than I might!
Once they are up and at school, I make a big green smoothie for hydration and energy, add a slosh of flax seed oil for hormone, joint and brain health, do about 10 minutes of home admin (aka chuck a load of laundry on, unload the dishwasher, make my bed) and then head to my home office.
It’s a beautiful room, painted in dark blue with a silvery glitter glaze on the wall behind me. My desk sits under the window, and the view is of trees and sky. On the windowsill I have my awards to remind me that I make a difference, a Lego Princess Leia, crystals and inspirational post cards. One is from Actually founder Sara! Under my desk there is a big cushion for Fizz where she sleeps.
The very first action is a review of my to do list. I’m an old school, write it on a piece of paper person; anything new that needs to go onto it is added, some get crossed off, and the things that are the highest priority for the day are marked with the letter A. My VA Allison is great at reminding me about things too, sending me a weekly update on a Monday morning as well prompts throughout the week. I also look at emails and reply to clients, read my favourite inspiring business or feminist newsletters and so on.
On a Monday and Wednesday, I don’t hold coaching sessions or consultations, but work on things behind the scenes. Newsletters get written and sent to my Allison for formatting. One goes out every weekday. Social media posts are crafted, and I’ll check in with my LinkedIn pods to see which posts they want support with and add my own.
Mondays are also the day when I have two weekly calls that help move my business forward: the first is with my public speaking accountability buddy Jane, who is fantastic and insightful. We share about what we are committing to help this part of our business, bounce ideas around and offer advice. The second call is with my OBM Willemijn, focusing on systems, upcoming launches or longer-term business plans and strategy. More items get added to the to do list! Often, I block out time in the diary to make sure there’s space to get things done.
One of the things I don’t always find easy is having a proper lunch. Some days I’ll have something from Cook, other days it might be leftovers, crudites and humous, or a strange mixture of items hanging about the kitchen…it’s easier in school holidays because the kids need feeding too. I’ll refresh the water jug that lives on my desk too, drinking enough water isn’t usually a problem so long as it’s right in front of me.
By late afternoon both Fizz and I are itching to get out, and the kids are home too. They often want to go to the gym or swim, and so Fizz and I walk on the big fields nearby for an hour. She goes bananas with joy, running around and making sure all the birds are flying and all the squirrels are up their trees, and sometimes playing tag with other dogs. I might use the time to have a social call, catching up with family and friends, or I might leave my phone in the car as a way of making myself be present and reflect away from distractions.
After that it’s supper time. At the table we always start with ‘how was your day?’. Funny things always come up. Sometimes we talk about what was in the news or something strange that happened at school. Then it’s wind down time, which might be some puppy videos on TikTok, reading about politics on twitter or chatting with friends. The kids might need help with homework, and before you know it, it’s bedtime. More skincare, a lot of cuddles with the kids and Fizzy, and time to read something non work related before I drift off ready for tomorrow.
A massive thank you to Harriet for letting us into your day!
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