ACTUALLY: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF ANNA KNIGHT
ANNA KNIGHT – LIFE COACH
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 awesome Anna Knight – a life coach on a mission to support women and non-binary people to rediscover their spark!
I’m Anna Knight, life coach on a mission to support women and non binary people who feel like they’ve lost their spark to say YES to their desires again and create the limitless future of their dreams.
In 2017, I left my 15-year abusive relationship and after a nudge from some mental health professionals, I began accessing support from Newcastle Women’s Aid. At the same time, I also found a coach and began to heal from my trauma, learning to live fully and embrace my whole self. As my mental health improved and my confidence grew, I found a new mission.
Through sharing what I was learning with the women in my support group, I was supporting them to heal as well – “I learned a thing in coaching this week” pretty much became my catchphrase at support group meetings! At the end of my time with Women’s Aid, the programme leader suggested that I trained as a coach to support other survivors… so I did!
My day starts when my alarm goes off at 9AM. This may seem really decadent, but being self employed has let me adjust my working pattern until I found a routine that works with my body clock and my physical needs. I’ve always been a “late to sleep, late to rise” kinda girl and now my working pattern reflects that!
I have several chronic autoimmune conditions, so I’m managing a certain level of pain and chronic fatigue every day. “Spoon Theory” is a way of describing what it’s like living with fatigue, using the metaphor of a spoon to represent a unit of energy. Every activity I do uses a certain number of spoons, and when I’ve run out for the day I’m done and need to rest. Living with lupus means that I wake up with a different amount of spoons each day – today is a “low spoons day”, which means I modified my morning routine for maximum efficiency! My shower stool comes in really handy and I dress for comfort as well as style.
I work from home in a lovely spacious office that I share with my fiancée – no commuting for me! Before the pandemic, I was out and about a lot more and our office was the smallest room in the home, but when I shifted to remote working much more often we rearranged the entire top floor of our house to make the former master bedroom into our workspace. Mel has one end of the room for her photography business, and I have the other end (including the bay window where my cats watch the local nature reserve).
At 10AM I wandered into the office – it’s time to start working. The first thing I do every day is to draw a card from my current favourite card deck – Super Attractor by Gabby Bernstein. Today’s message: ‘When I’m grateful for what I have, I can feel good along the way to what I desire’. Well, I have some big desires that I’m working on aligning to, so I spend some time journalling about all the good things in my life right now. Gotta listen to the guidance as it lands!
I’m a member of Sara’s JFDI Community, which helps me get really clear on what my business priorities for the month are and then break that down into weekly priorities. So next, I do a quick check in with my diary and my priorities – this morning, that means working on growing my email list. I have been working my way through a recent training Sara did on ways to grow your email list, and this morning my blog is getting some new posts written and queued up, all discussing an aspect of my new lead magnet (also designed with Sara’s support!)
I have an excellent virtual assistant – Steph Ward – who I delegate a lot of my business management and “techy stuff” to, but writing blogs is really fun for me so I still do them myself. Getting in the zone means candles, soft lighting and an acoustic playlist of “focus” music. Two hours later, the content is written, beautified and queued – must be time for lunch.
Now it’s coaching time! My first client this afternoon is one of my ‘Joyful Future’ ladies – she gets one to one coaching from me, plus support whenever she wants on the Voxer app. We had a chat earlier this week about the “mum guilt” she gets when trying to relax – we use our session to dig into this and find a sneaky belief that her worth as a person is linked to her productivity. It’s not serving her, so she leaves with a new mantra she has created for herself – ‘resting is a sign of self-worth’. I can’t wait to hear what this frees up for her over the next two weeks!
Next, I get to work on a project I’m particularly proud of – in February 2022, I was awarded a small grant to offer free coaching to seven survivors of domestic abuse. My next client is a few sessions in – we spend today exploring how she can reconnect with her body and lean into her inner ‘lover of life’ for the first time ever!
Last thing on the to-do list – preparing the next workbook for my group programme ‘Date Yourself’ – this week, we are exploring how we can apply the ‘acts of service’ love language to ourselves. Most of the group members are particularly good at giving these acts of service away (and putting themselves last), so I’m anticipating some juicy revelations on tomorrow’s call!
7PM and the workday is done – time for Mel and I to get out into nature. We’re going to visit the swans at a local lake. I’m going to bask in the peace and quiet, and I’m sure Mel’s camera will be getting its daily exercise. Then it’s dinner, reading and bed, ready for tomorrow.
A massive thank you to Anna for letting us into your day!
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Phew! Doesn’t that sounds awesome?
week I wrote a newsletter that caused more people to unsubscribe from my list than almost anything I have ever written before. I'm not concerned - clearly they are not my people - but I thought I'd share it here so you can tell me: would this cause YOU to unsubscribe?
"Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, except backwards and in high heels."
I remember the first time I heard that quote.
I was in my teens. I laughed.
Then as I began to think seriously about my career, my Mum explained to me that to be a successful career woman meant working twice as hard as a man to be considered half as good (and paid half as much).
I was in my early twenties. I thought she was exaggerating.
After I burnt out for the second time, I went to a conference and listened to a passionate and eloquent woman - who has subsequently become a great friend - explain something that should have been utterly obvious to me: that our entire cultural paradigm is based on structures set up by men and for men.
I was in my forties. And I cried.
Because it is exhausting having to don your Superwoman cape every day to ‘compete’ in the workplace.
As a single woman, I didn’t have to juggle work with family.
As a white, middle-class, cis-gendered, heterosexual and mainly able-bodied woman, I wasn’t dealing with the raft of intersectional prejudices beyond your average, everyday sexism.
But I was still exhausted.
And it wasn’t just because the systems that we work within weren’t designed for women but for men who had stay-at-home wives doing all of the work in the home.
It’s because for me - as for so many women - every day was and is a balancing act.
Every day is a tightrope walk between safety and danger; between being listened to and dismissed; between familiarity and harassment; between authenticity and playing the game.
Every day is a fight to be seen, to be heard, to be respected, to be autonomous, to be considered, to be valued, to be safe.
In the workplace, in our social spaces, in our homes, in our politics, in our media.
This week my friend and client Harriet Waley-Cohen shared a post about this on LinkedIn. I’m going to share a section of her post here because she has put this so much more eloquently than I could:
"Sometimes it amazes me that there isn't a massive uprising.
Women are fed up of being objectified and judged on our looks, and only respected by how fu*&able we are deemed to be.
We are exhausted by feeling unsafe everywhere we go and watching our backs.
We are exasperated with not being paid the same, of our careers, choices and finances being marginalised because of caring expectations.
We are in despair about our allegations against powerful men being ignored because these men are too valuable to be held to account.
We are done with being told our tone of voice is the bloody problem, that we are too emotional.
We have had enough of not being able to trust the police or the legal system, and of people saying 'innocent until proven guilty' when the stats for prosecutions are laughably low and we all know most rapists never face any real consequences.
We are fed up of being told that it's not all men, because we never said it was, and it hurts to see so few men actively working towards making things better."
There has been an outpouring of grief, support and righteous anger in the comments on Harriet’s post. Of course there has. Because this is nearly every woman’s lived experience. And it is not OK.
I have written about these issues before in this newsletter. In the wake of the Sarah Everard murder and after the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade. And there’s a part of me that didn’t want to write about this again. A part of me was concerned that you - my wonderful community - would grow bored of me ‘ranting on’ about this issue. A part of me that feared being judged or dismissed.
And that’s exhausting too, right?
The constant self-censorship. The constant voice in my head telling me that I can’t say this, shouldn’t write about that, mustn’t be too emotional, too strident, too ‘shouty’.
Well, in the nicest possible sense: f*&k that.
I am in my fifties now and as tired as some people may be of hearing me talk about these things, trust me I am WAY more tired of still having to talk about them. But until there is equity, it is up to every one of us to keep ‘banging on’.
And we need to do more than rant, we need to ACT.
Because here’s the thing, whatever your gender, you can either be an ally or you can be complicit in the problem. Please choose to be an ally. Here are three things you can do:
- Support people like Harriet when they share publicly about these issues. This kind of content often attracts trolls and the ‘not all men’ brigade - and it can be overwhelming to have to do all the rebuttal yourself. Another friend and client - the fabulous Stephanie Aitken, also did a post this week on a related topic and spent many hours having to deal with trolls in the comments. Help them.
- Call out misogyny, sexism, harassment, prejudice and bigotry when you see it - and when you feel safe to do so. I’m not advocating that you intervene when doing so would put you in real physical danger. But if a colleague makes an off-colour remark; if a family member behaves in a way that is inappropriate; if a friend displays ignorance, aggression or bias: name it. Don’t just smile and secretly roll your eyes. Don’t dismiss it. Don’t be afraid to be ‘awkward’. Have the conversation.
- Engage the next generation. Several of the commenters on Harriet’s post talked about children watching violent porn. They shared stories of how boys’ attitudes to girls are in some cases worse now than they were when I was a teen. The murder of Elianne Andam this week makes it clear just how important it is to speak to our children about these issues. Talk to the young people in your life. Find out about their experiences. Give them a safe space to explore these issues. And educate them about respect and equity. If we are going to break this cycle, this is VITAL work. Don’t shy away from it.
There is so much more that we could all be doing but this would be an amazing start!
OK. Rant over, for today.
I’m not promising I won’t come back to this again.
My most fervent wish is that there will come a day when it won’t be necessary.
I hope to see that day in my lifetime.
My biggest fear is that I will not.
I think that will do for now - I do hope it has been helpful!
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