Paula’s #ialso Story

#ialso definitely resonates with me – I find so many things interesting and fascinating. I spent quite a few years as a PR whilst also studying for my Masters. I now run a business psychology and coaching practice for professional services, Scarlet Thinking and I also run an online membership club centred around growing self-confidence and assertiveness: The Bitch Network.

Other roles that have also taken on are sitting on the advisory board of women’s business club, Sister Snog, and writing articles for publications. I am about to start work on another book soon, so I guess you can say that is also another role too. Not to mention being a mother, daughter, friend and Mother of Dragons…err, I mean cats!

I work with a lot of female entrepreneurs who would consider themselves to have two or more hats, especially as we tend to be collaborative and drawn towards diverse projects. There’s a psychological theory called Possible Selves, proposed by Marcus and Nurius that says that we are always trying new things out to test to see if we like that identity.  Some get thrown by the wayside, some get integrated and consonantly changing and being open to new things is part of that process.


How do I manage? Well, The Bitch Network is actually focused on helping women do just that; using ferocious self-care to help carve out boundaries and saying NO to things that take us from our path. I’ve tried all this out and these practices were invaluable when it came to studying and running a business.

I am also a big believer in deep work, a phrase used by Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University. He talks about how we need to carve out long periods of undisturbed time to get the real, deep work done. All this fannying about with social media can be fun and make us feel busy, but we tend to learn and create things of value when we do deep work so I make sure I have big chunks of empty time in my diary to do this.

I certainly enjoy having more than one role from a personal viewpoint, but it also makes sense financially. I have both a practice that centres around me and how I like to work, and a business that I could eventually sell.

This financial motive could be one reason for the rise of #ialso; it spreads the risk, so to speak, although you have to be careful that you’re giving both enough focus.

The future is exciting and I’m keen to see what’s coming. Interestingly, I read an article the other day saying Ebook sales were down and traditional books were climbing back up, along with a huge growth in audio books. I think we all want that connection, and some things that we think are the way forward will come and then go.

So much of our self-confidence is tied up with our identity that it’s interesting to consider what #Ialso means to other people. I have a friend who is a bit of a role model for me: he is a university lecturer, runs a recording studio and plays in cover bands. He leads a life that’s full of opportunities to meet different people, be exposed to a multitude of influences and nourish different sides of his personality. How cool is that?

Paula Gardner is a business psychologist at and founder of confidence website

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