Meat Day?

A few weeks ago I had an “only in Japan” moment. I met with my tax accountant (Mori san  – she’s great!) to discuss the best timing to submit the documents for my business entity.

Me: I’d like to submit the paperwork on a taian…

Accountant: Of course! And are there any memorable dates coming up?

(We both leaf through the diary)

Accountant: It’d be smooth to start on the first but there aren’t any taians coming up.

Me: (laughing) How about the 29th? Ni-ku no hi?

Accountant: It’s certainly memorable! You can have a steak! …and when we do the 2 month back-dating. It’s Showa no hi.

Me: Perfect!

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Now that is a high-context conversation! Let’s look at what is going on here:

Tai-an

Japan follows a cycle of rokuyo (六曜))- 6 days of varying luck. When it comes to business, you need to care about two days in particular

Taian 大安- lucky all day. Perfect for launching your new business

Butsumetsu 仏滅- the day Buddha died and considered unlucky all day – not a great day to launch a business or have negotiations.

You can have a steak!

Ni-ku no hi – Japanese numbers offers a lot of great puns and marketers use them to increase awareness and sales. In the case of the 29th, the 2 becomes “ni”and the “9” becomes “ku”, Niku (肉) – Japanese for meat!

Showa no hi

reflecting on a time of turbulence? rather apt for a coach who is supporting people through times of change and upheaval.

So that is how I came to register my business on June 29th!

How do “lucky days” impact your global business? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

What does money buy?

I have to start with a disclaimer…my youth was all about instant gratification. My mum said my breach birth set my approach to life – jump in feet first. I’m still for the most part a fan of trial and error with the belief that most mistakes can be rectified.

In my first part-time job at the age of 14, I would gleefully rip open the pay packets each Saturday and plan my Monday after school trips to Muse and Vibes to buy whatever NME was recommending that week. I didn’t really do “saving” or believe that a rainy day would ever come…

So when I was asked to speak at the Accenture x AIESEC  Japan Women’s Initiative – Global Leadership Lab for 2nd and 3rd year university students on the topic of “money and your career”, you can well imagine that my imposter syndrome radar was on overdrive!

I didn’t speak about the practicalities of investments or how to make your money work for you. My focus was on the need for a mindset about what money can buy.

Money buys freedom.

Money buys choices.

Money buys control.

A few months ago I read an article about the (pardon my language here) Fuck Off Fund. It clarified a lot of what I had been thinking about money and what it means to me.

I know women who stay in abusive relationships putting their physical safety at risk. They have no control over money, no savings and no choice. I don’t want anyone I know to feel so helpless. To feel that they have to put up with such emotional and physical hardship. To feel like they have no choices, no options.

I believe we need to feel that we made a conscious choice to be where we are today. Money helps us to be in control of those choices. Money gives us the freedom to choose a different path.

This guy? He doesn’t exist!

knight

It’s time to stop believing that a knight in white shining armour will “save” us. In Japan, marriage rates are falling, divorce rates are rising and jobs for life are gone. Putting all your eggs in one basket, a basket managed by someone else, just seems like a really risky move.

When I left corporate life and set up my business, countless people said to me, “Oh your husband can support you. you can relax and spend time with your children.”

Well, pardon my language again but, fuck that. I’m not doing this for pocket money. I’m doing this to provide for my family and share the financial burden with my partner.

For some of the young ladies in the room it was a new way to look at their future and what being independent means to them.

What choices have you been able to make because you had financial freedom?

 

 

 

 

Are you ready for coaching?

Grab a paper and pen and answer these five questions honestly.

  1. I am ready to fully commit to changing my life – Answer Yes or No
  2. I am open to suggestions from my coach – Answer Yes or No
  3. I am ready to take the action necessary to get what I want – Answer Yes or No
  4. I have three goals in mind for which I am ready, willing and able to work on – Answer Yes or No and write down your three goals
  5. I am willing to invest in my future with time and money  – Answer Yes or No

 

How was your score?

5 out of 5? Then contact me about starting your coaching journey today.

If you scored less than 5 out of 5, you may not be ready for coaching yet.

 

Bonus questions to begin the self awareness required to support change

  1. List 3 roadblocks that might stop you from being fully open to coaching.
  2. How have you sabotaged yourself from succeeding in something in the past?
  3. What would the payoff be in not getting what you say you want in your life?

Bring these answers along to our first session and let’s get started!

These questions were discussed in an ICA Coach Training Class in June 2016.

 

What it feels like to return to work after maternity leave – a message for managers

To all the managers in Japan who have parents returning to work this week… Hang on! Let’s be realistic and start again.

To all the managers in Japan who have mothers returning to work this week after maternity leave,

Below is a post I shared on a Facebook group last week after I dropped my daughter off for her first day at 学童(after-school care). After I blinked back a few tears, I had a flashback to when I dropped her off for the first time at 保育園 (daycare). I wrote this post to motivate those taking the first steps back into the workforce.

This is what your working parents are dealing with this week and for the coming months. Be kind, be patient and ask them how things are going.

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It will be tough to adapt.

Baby will cry and cling to you. Some days it will break your heart.

Baby will not cry and will run to the teacher. Some days it will break your heart.

Some days you will miss your baby so much and wonder why you went back to work. If you are still nursing, thinking about your baby will make your breasts leak and you will feel even more alone. It will break your heart.

Some days you will run to the office glad of the “break” and wonder how SAHM’s keep their sanity. Then you will feel guilty for not being more grateful for what you have. Again, it will break your heart.

Basically, get ready for a lot of heart breaking …

People in the office will remember you as you were before your maternity leave … talented, skilled, a force to be reckoned with, a change maker.

But some days you won’t recognise that version of you anymore. Instead you will see the new skills that motherhood has given you: infinite patience, ability to read body language and emotions without words, a sense of both perspective and humour.

Some days you will feel like a hamster on a wheel. You are working two shifts –paid and unpaid. Your hands-on partner with his fulltime job feels this too, but he isn’t “allowed” to talk about it. Give each other a break and a hug, hold hands and kiss in the kitchen whilst the kids eat breakfast.

Use your professional skills in your home. Delegate, outsource and prioritise. What needs to be perfect and what can be good enough?

Find a way to get paid domestic help in some shape or form. It doesn’t have to be every day or every week, but try to carve out time with your family when you are not doing unpaid work such as cooking, cleaning, and folding washing.

Most importantly be passionate about your work! If you are not, all the sacrifices are for nothing. Do a bit of navel gazing and realise that if your priorities have changed, that is fine.

Learn how to trail-blaze and ask for the things you need to succeed. Your boss probably has no idea of how to handle you. Your boss’s assumption about how you live your life may be quite different from the reality.

Help open people’s eyes to the fact that there are many types of working parents. Cookie-cutter approaches might be fair, but fail to take individual needs into account.

It will be tough to adapt, but you should trust yourself and your family enough to achieve it.

Good luck!

If you are a non-Japanese working mum in Tokyo, please contact me to join a monthly Lean In Circle for peer support from like-minded women.

Contact me for maternity coaching