Thank you for joining me your host Liz Clifton and my wonderful take34u Self Care Series: Creating Calm Confidence Guest Sheila Gray as we share selfcare secrets, top tips and stories of our experiences.

It's an absolute pleasure to support you with your own self-care journey as you take34u and enjoy our chat below:

Sheila Gray & Liz Clifton Interview

Sheila Gray
In her younger years, traveling and living abroad showed her how small she is on this great big beautiful planet. But more importantly, it also taught her how much of an impact each of us can make in our world.   Small does not equal powerless.  One person can do tremendous good when they work in a way that aligns with their why and their calling. One person can be powerful, impactful, and life-changing for someone else. And that is the passion that drives her in her work with women entrepreneurs and CEOs.   She firmly believe that faith the size of a mustard seed can change the world.

In her grown-up life, she spent 15 years in corporate America and helping her husband run his insurance business. And she knows that at each step, God was preparing her for the career she now gets to enjoy and cherish.  She learnt how to work with integrity, no matter what others were doing.  She learnt that failure is not a disaster. It’s a recipe for growth.  She learnt that planning and strategy create the freedom to be adventurous.  And now, here she is, eagerly serving women entrepreneurs who are ready to thrive. Our work together isn’t always simple or straightforward, but it’s always powerful.

Connect with her here https://thriveconsulting.org/

Sheila Gray & Liz Clifton Interview Transcription:

Liz Clifton: Welcome. Welcome to the amazing, wonderful Sheila Gray. She's a Business Strategist for female entrepreneurs, a wife and mom, Such an honor to have you here. Thank you so much.  

Sheila Gray: I'm really excited. Thank you.  

Liz Clifton: Hey, me too. Ok say fast question. What does self-care mean to you?  

Sheila Gray: Ooh, that's a, that's a loaded question. Self care to me means really there's a couple things. Self care is recognizing that there is no such thing as true balance, right And so giving ourselves permission to be out of balance some times. And when we recognize that we're out of balance doing something that helps root us and bring us back. So I know there's the traditional, like go get a facial, have a massage. You know, these things that people do, but sometimes self care is just sitting down for 15 minutes and reading a book, pulling out your Bible. Like whatever grounds and roots you, in that moment. But recognizing that there's a need for it.  

Liz Clifton: I love it. That's amazing. So for yourself, for south care, when you're checking in on what you need in any given moment, are you checking in like emotionally, spiritually, mentally, physically, or is that sort of a variation?  

Sheila Gray: It's really all of the above. So I think for me, I'll sit down and just kind of feel for a second. And sometimes it is emotional. Like my emotions are out of a lot, like I'm, you know, snapping at everybody that tells me that I'm there. Or sometimes it's that my body is saying like yesterday, this literally happened to me around three o'clock like go to sleep. There's nothing else you can do. My body just shut down. So listening to that sometimes for me spiritually, it's just not feeling connected. So being a Christian that's God for me. so I think it's just, I've done a lot of work on realizing like learning how to listen to what it is and it can be, it can be, it can be all of those things at once. And you just need to go sit at the beach for a whole entire weekend. Yes.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. One of my favorite places to be balanced, relaxed, just, yeah.  

Sheila Gray: Yes. Listen to the water. Like just sit there and look at this vastness of like indefinite. Like I don't even, infinite. You can see forever. So I just think you have to check in and see where you're out of balance.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love that. And say, thinking back to your very first experience of checking in with yourself, do remember how you started?  

Sheila Gray: Oh my goodness.  Well, let's just start with the fact that I've been in therapy since I was like 19 years old. We lived overseas and my parents, we lived in Israel and my parents separated when we lived in Israel and I was 18. We moved back when I was 21. So I was 21 when I started therapy. And she was the first I remember sitting in her office and she did the breathing technique. Right. Cause I would have anxiety attacks and she's like, we need to check in. And I remember sitting, this is crazy that you bring that up. I remember sitting in her chair and just doing this whole 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and then breathing in for three, holding it for three and then breathing out for three. And I've been practicing that ever since. We forget, I mean I forget quite often, but that is my, that was my first. So I was 21 years old my first time. Realizing that there's a way to check in with how you're feeling in the moment, to slow that heart rate, to put your feet on the ground. Right Like that type of thing. So there  you go.  

Liz Clifton: Thank you for sharing and being open.  

Sheila Gray: How do we help  others if we don't share our stories Yeah.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. It's so true and what this whole kind of thing is about. Each of us, we've got like a unique kind of slant on self-care unique experiences stories, and then just sharing it out. It gets to serve, you know, so many people.  

Sheila Gray: Yes that's the goal I love it.  

Liz Clifton: So, that's your first experience of checking in with yourself. What is your first self-care experience that you could share with us?  

Sheila Gray: Well, I'm a prior athlete, I guess. I don't know if you're forever an athlete. If you were an athlete once and definitely not doing athletic things right now, but, so I used to go on like short I'm a, I was always a short distance runner, not long. Like I, I never did the big thing, but when I would feel overwhelmed, even as a younger, probably middle school, age, older child, and I'm a sibling of five. So in the oldest, my mom would say, go get your energy out. Like, she'd always tell me. So when I would feel overwhelmed, I would just throw on my, whatever running shorts at the time and the t-shirt. And go run around the block or whatever I needed to do. So I guess that was self care. At that point, I wouldn't have recognized it as self care.  

Sheila Gray: It was just to get my energy out, but that's always stuck with me. Like I'll just go downstairs and get on the Peloton really quickly. Right. To just to just stop. But yeah, I think, I think my mom was really good at telling us to, as you probably didn't recognize it probably. But like go get it out. Whatever's going on, go get it out. And that meant exerting some type of energy. And then as a younger adult, my husband used to buy it and this is what I considered, when I really was like recognizing self-care every anniversary. He would buy me a gift card to my favorite spa. And it would always be like this gift card. And you go to the spa and I would spend like hours because when you got to the spa. You could put on your robe and then you could go into the sauna and then you could go and they had different areas. And then they had this relaxation area where you sat there and drank cucumber water and read magazine by a fireplace. So you would go at least an hour before your appointment into that and then have the appointment. And then afterwards I would take this really long rain shower and blow dry. My like I would take forever. So that to me at that time was what we all say is self care. Yeah.  

Liz Clifton: Oh, it's beautiful. I was right there with you by the fire with your water.  

Sheila Gray: Yes. Oh my gosh. It's just, we have to check out like that sometimes where, you know. And we get so afraid of like the monetary expense or whatever it is or the guilt sets in the guilt being a mom like, oh, I'm leaving the kids. It's so healthy because when you come home, so rejuvenated and relaxed. And you're nice to everybody again, it's a great thing to do.  

Liz Clifton: Yes. Remove that guilt. Release, release, release.  

Sheila Gray: Yes exactly.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. You love it. Safe thinking now about your current self care, cause you've kind of gone through some of your history of self care. What is one of your favorite self-care activities at the moment.  

Sheila Gray: Right now in my routine, it's not every day because sometimes I need to sleep in it is the morning. The quiet of the morning and we have this front window and in our house we have the most beautiful view, but we have a view. So we're up on the hill a little bit. So we'll open it and the sunrises that way. And I sit on my couch, my dog usually comes and lays at my feet. And then we, I just opened my Bible and I'll have my little journal and I read. Or I just sit there and stare outside. And even if it's 20 minutes, it, my days that start that way are so different than my days that don't. So I don't beat myself up because I can't do it every day. Sometimes I like today I slept until eight and it was fantastic. So I don't beat myself up, but that is my favorite self-care routine right now. Besides your typical massage or facial, but yeah, that's more in my routine.  

Liz Clifton: I love it. And I think also sleep is self-care. So sometimes that's what we get to pick. I think a lot of people do, they beat up the, I couldn't get up this morning, for my self care. That's because what you need is right then for your self, care was sleep.  

Sheila Gray: Zach. It's so true. It's we forget how important that is and how critical it is, the naps like. So I'm 42 years old. And I always joke with my Doctor, I have a functional med Doctor. I always joke with him. I'm like, I must be in premenopausal because I just get so tired. He's like, no, you're a mom running business. So now in a pandemic, like have a good time, you know. So the naps are fantastic. Just stop the guilt, just go do it and sleep. Even, even if it's a three hour nap though, the rest will happen later. Like, you'll get it done later.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. It's  so true. And it's like he said, when we take that moment to actually rest recharge rebalance. We come back and then we're, we've got like a full cup. We can go serve everyone around us so much better. 

 Sheila Gray: It's it's really true. And I think as women, we, you know, there's a, there's a big campaign going on on Tik TOK, even right now. All I can see cause you know, being a business strategist, I have to like be on these social media platforms. But women recognizing that it is part of our nature to think about everything. So like we know that the dog hasn't been fed yet. We know that when our kids like lunch and what is for lunch and we think about death, it's just part of our nature. We're always planning and thinking about these things. And so just recognizing that that's who we are and it's totally okay, but it's also okay to just shut it down and say, I need help or I need the next thing. Right Like we just, we just need to recognize who we are as people and women, especially like. I just, it's been a tough couple of years for, for a lot of moms. But just really recognizing like, Hey, who am I What are my characteristics? What do I need And how do I communicate. Yeah.  

Liz Clifton: I love it. And like you said, where do I get support from So for yourself, do you have like a support network that you go to if something comes up  

Sheila Gray: Yeah. So my husband is really good. We both work from home right now. So that's, that is a miracle. Like, it's so beautiful because we'll balance. Like I'm doing this conversation with you and he'll kind of keep an eye on the kids until he has to leave. Right. So, and I can ask him for help. And it, this is, this is therapy. This is where my therapist said, you need to start telling him what you need asking for it versus expecting it to happen. And that's where that whole conversation men versus women comes in. Right. He doesn't, it's not on purpose. He just doesn't think about, oh yeah, the kids probably need to eat at five thirty. My wife's on a zoom call. So I'll go take care of it. Just there. Sometimes his brain doesn't work that way, compartmentalizes. So I just started asking him, so he's amazing.  

Sheila Gray: He will step up, go do whatever. And then I have, for me, it's really girlfriends. My family, everyone works, my parents work. Everyone's still works like full-time. So, but I have an incredible friend network that I've really been intentional about building. So part of my self-care the last couple of years has been removing people from my life that, don't, they're unhealthy. Right. But bringing in and in forming very purposeful relationships with friends that nurture me, that I can nurture back that love my kids. I love their, you know, like that type of thing. so that's really powerful right now. And it feels amazing to have intentionally done that. Versus in high school and college, just having as many friends as you can. And all the things that come with adolescents and young adulthood, but now I'm very intentional. So yeah, I have my husband and then a really strong friend network.  

Liz Clifton: You're welcome. So then thinking obviously you're an amazing mom, an amazing business woman. How do you celebrate yourself?  

Sheila Gray: Ooh. Hmm.  Wow. Well I think, right now it's wine with the girlfriends. We'll go celebrate each other. what else do I do to celebrate myself So sometimes I'll have a little goal. Like I had a financial goal for my business. I wanted this piece of art from a local artist. She's a mom owned business. She's an incredible woman. And I knew like I decided I wasn't going to buy the art until I hit a specific, milestone of my business. So when I did that, it's not framed in, it's actually rolled up over here. Cause I need to frame it. But, I went and bought it. So that was self-care that was like rewarding myself. Right. But I think a lot of times it's just the women in my life right now just holding each other. And so we celebrate each other. Like if somebody, one of my girlfriends has a big milestone, we go celebrate it. So that's really what I'm doing right now.  

Liz Clifton: Oooooh that's lovely. And so when you're giving out and you're celebrating or together, I guess that is part of your self care as well, like the social aspect.  

Sheila Gray: Yes.  A hundred percent. Because it's filling my cup, like you said. And that's self care. Like we need that cup to be full. We need to have in others. Like we are so good sometimes at overflowing ourselves to where we're just sitting there empty, like this, this whole point of this. Like we're so empty that we can't give anymore. And that's where I realized I was relying so heavily on my own husband to fill that cup. Which is impossible for him. That is an impossible expectation to set on your husband. It doesn't happen. It doesn't work. And that, I think probably is why some of that intentional friendship building started happening. Because I thought, well, I can't do this alone. And I need women who understand where I'm at. All of my friends right now are entrepreneurs. So we all get each other, which is really, I mean, I have friends that aren't entrepreneurs. But like this group, but yeah, it fills our cups to be together and celebrate and then we can go serve again.  

Liz Clifton: And that's the balance that we were speaking about before.  

Sheila Gray: Yes.  Because there really is no balance. Like we, we think we, this whole work life term, right. The work-life balance when I was in corporate life, that was it. Like, you need to give your teams work-life balance. How are you cultivating work-life balance. And I, and that was bred into me and my corporate life for so long. And as I became an entrepreneur, I'm like, I can't figure this out. Like work-life balance how, like I'm thinking about my business all the time. I'm thinking about my clients all the time, sitting at the dinner table, thinking about how to serve that next person that I'm going to talk to. And there I was just so consumed. And so I started reading and researching and researching and it don't like, there is no. So there's counter balancing there's a book called the one thing by Gary Keller. He, okay.  So he talks about this and it ever since I just, I teach every client. Like you imagine this kind of jagged line and sometimes it's heavy on business and then you flip it and then there'll be heavy on family. And then sometimes it's heavy on family for months because it needs to be. And then you flip it the other way and it's heavy on family again. And we're in the middle and that's where we're our self-care comes in. Because we have to understand like, and the guilt and everything that we face as just people, human beings. Yeah. Like I just don't believe there is balance. I think that we have to understand once you let go of that expectation, it feels so good.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. And I love that. And you brought up expectation like a good couple of times and there's is one phrase that comes to mind. Expectation just builds disappointment because when you're expectant of something, you can't be as grateful for it when it happens anyway, cause you just expected it. So if you shift it and you go into the gratitude and you can be gratitude in every moment, but whatever the tiny thing is, then there is no disappointment.  

Sheila Gray: I love that. That's beautiful. Huh.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah, it is. And I think it's really hard to kind of accept because we are kind of brought up, like you said before, in other ways where the expectation. And you're expected to do that, you're expected to do this and we, we kind of lead up to it and we were always trying to be the good girl, you know, do the right thing. And I think, again, as we balance, there is no right or wrong thing. There's just the thing you do. And that then the thing. So.  

Sheila Gray: Yes, that's a hundred percent, right. Like, I mean, well, first of all, gratitude how, like, let's just bring it back to that. How often we just forget to sit down and be thankful for the, for just this moment. Like being thankful for this moment to just talk to you about self care and hopefully inspire other people that are, right. Like just be grateful for that moment. And then how that builds on itself. Gratitude. Like that's that's, so I can't tell you how many times I forget to just sit down in all the mess and all the things. I'm not getting this client I hoped I would get or whatever. And being like, wait a minute, I have two healthy kids. You have a roof, we can feed them. I have great friends. Right. Gratitude. So I'm really glad you brought that up.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. I love that. Anything like the next step in the self-care and kind of the self love, which I think go hand in hand. Is to then be grateful to yourself, even though you didn't get the client that you wanted. It's like, I'm grateful for me right now. Exactly. As I am in, like you said, you know, the mess. However, I'm feeling that I am, I'm grateful for me right now. And I love myself right now. And I think that's huge as you start to step into those positions, your self-care just becomes who you are.  Sheila Gray: Yeah.  

Sheila Gray: And then the example that leads for everybody else too. Your children to see you do that and then raising them in a place like my five-year-old daughter. Not with as many expectations on herself as I've had always had.  

Sheila Gray: So I yeah love that.  

Liz Clifton: Cause you said obviously when you were young, your mom was really great to tell you guys to just go release, go release. Like that kind of emotion. Just let the energy flow through. How do you, have you shared any self-care things with your kids?  

Sheila Gray: Ooh. Yes.  Well, we do some of the same, like, okay, your energy's there. Let's get you outside. Let's get you moving. My son, so my son has cerebral palsy. Very mildly affected it's his walking. So sometimes he gets sore muscles and stuff. So we do like when he's feeling anxious, we'll do a little bit of yoga. Just sit there and stretch. Even this morning, he was like, mom, check out this toe reaching. Right. And he gets down and like stretches his toes. Asking for help to me is self-care like we talked about earlier. So teaching them that when they are getting frustrated, feeling overwhelmed, feeling whatever, or feeling even their own self doubt. Just, saying "Hey, could you help me, mom I'm feeling this way". And communication is self care. So saying that to me. So we've done a little bit of that type of stuff.  

Sheila Gray: I don't, oh, even recently, like food has come up just talking about what we put in our bodies for self care. Right. So my son, when he starts, starts feeling yucky and heavy, well, what, what have you been eating in the last 24 hours? And it's really funny, not in a, we're not trying to talk about it in a sense of like, well, you'll get overweight or anything like that. It's more food as fuel and how important that is for us. So I guess now, I mean, I never thought about the fact that I'm teaching them self-care until you ask a question. But we do do a lot of those types of things for them. Anxiety is very prevalent in both my husband and I and our families. And so we've been conscious of that, knowing that coming into, having children. To we, neither of us was really like talked. We didn't talk about that as young children with our parents. You know, having the  crying because it can like having a total tantrum cause they couldn't find a pair of shoes that was anxiety that was sitting inside of me. So we do talk about those types of practices to help eliminate that as much as possible or alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. So that's where self-care comes in for our kiddos. For sure.  Liz Clifton: Yeah oooh I love it. Yeah. Amazing. Woo.  Sheila Gray: Thank you. Oh my gosh.   Liz Clifton: You're welcome. You get to celebrate that.  Sheila Gray: I really didn't until you asked the question, I'm like, oh we do do self care stuff. Oh that's really cool. Oh, now we can like put a,  Sheila Gray: we can talk about it though. I think it, I think now the next step would be talking about, Hey, this is Max, this is self-care. This is taking care of you and putting your body in your mental state and your physical whatever's going on, like making it important. And okay to take care of. Right. So that's going to be the next phase. Thank you for thank you I feel like I'm getting a Liz session right now.  

Liz Clifton: Woo. Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's the other thing underneath self care is believing that you're worthy of taking the time for self-care.  

Sheila Gray: Yes.  

Liz Clifton: So, and doing that with the kids and you showing that you are amazingly important because obviously they know to you. They are, and it's instilling that in themselves.  

Sheila Gray: Exactly.  Brilliant. Okay. So I'm just going to add a little note over here that says self care chat with kids. There. We're just going to spread it on.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. And yeah. Let me know how it goes. I'm excited.  

Sheila Gray: I will. Thank you.  

Liz Clifton: You're welcome. Yeah. I think because with my two youngest, like near the weekend vacation, we did some affirmations, so we just, all three of us stood there together. We all like to ourselves in the mirror and we were like, I love you. And you're lovely. You're lovely. And I love myself and just doing that kind of like self-care affirmation. Just to start building that end, cause certainly. Yeah. Go.  

Sheila Gray: Well, I was going to say, because how uncomfortable is it If you haven't been doing that as an adult to look in the mirror and say that it's very uncomfortable. So if we can teach our children to look at themselves that way, it's it, it's a, life-changing like, it's a skill for life. And then when they're not giving themselves self care or when someone isn't treating them well. They recognize that faster. Right. Cause their worth and their value is there. Oh, I love that. You guys did that.  

Liz Clifton: Yeah. And I think as like he said, like our kids get to grow up knowing more than we did. Because it's, it's more available now. Like how parents bless them, did the best they could do with what they knew. And now we know more, we get to do better.  

Sheila Gray: Isn't that the goal  to always, you, you do, you want, you look at your children and this is a life. This is probably been for eternity. We look at our children and we think I want them to have a better life than I did. I want them to do better than I have. That's the goal for your kids. So yeah. Okay. Now we've got a new mirror work too.  

Liz Clifton: You don't got to...  

Sheila Gray: Yeah I get to,. 

 Liz Clifton: But in the future, yeah.  Whenever you want to. But it was just a giggle because quite often, if we put the musical and we're dancing and there's a mirror, they love dancing and looking at themselves in the mirror. And so it's just taking it like that next step. And I went, oh, there's this thing that I've been doing. Let's do it together. You know. And it supports cause my nine year old, she lives with her dad most of the time. So it then gives her that bit of extra support there. So we said, you, you do this and you know, you know me and Avy are doing it here. So although were not together. We're still doing the same things. And just remember, we love you then.  

Sheila Gray: Yeah.  

Liz Clifton: And I think it just helps with those things.  

Sheila Gray: That's beautiful.  

Liz Clifton: Super cute.  Is there anything else you would like to share with the audience?  

Sheila Gray: Man, we covered a lot. I just, I think my, the last thing I would say is it's okay. When it gets hard and it's okay if you forget to do self-care for a little while, right. Like there's no, like you said before, there is no right. Or, it's what is best for us and the counter balancing piece. Sometimes we will be on that self-care train and we will have great routines around it. And we will sit down at six in the morning and do our journal, whatever it is. And sometimes it won't happen at all for a good 60 days. But it's recognizing, like you said. And just giving yourself the permission to sit down and, and look back and be like, okay, I got it. I'm missing this part of my life. Like I need to bring it back in and it's okay. So just recognizing that we all, we ebb and flow in life. It is life and to not beat yourself, up about it.  

Liz Clifton: I love it, and then just reach out if you're looking for support on anything. If something feels too hard, get help. Because there's so many people like available now.  

Sheila Gray: Yes, exactly.  

Liz Clifton: Thank you so much. It's been such a pleasure.  

Sheila Gray: Thank you.   I've loved it. I've loved every minute of it. Thank you for having me.  

Liz Clifton: Ah you are so welcome.