Leadership and Wellbeing

Using Data to Drive Wellbeing with Carolyn Creswell

January 08, 2024 Hayden Fricke / Carolyn Creswell Episode 15
Using Data to Drive Wellbeing with Carolyn Creswell
Leadership and Wellbeing
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Leadership and Wellbeing
Using Data to Drive Wellbeing with Carolyn Creswell
Jan 08, 2024 Episode 15
Hayden Fricke / Carolyn Creswell

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Carolyn Creswell, owner and CEO of Carman’s, one of Australia’s most successful food companies that specialises in breakfast foods and nutritional snacks. In this episode, we discuss the importance of using data to drive wellbeing and tracking our behaviour to help us make more informed choices. Carolyn emphasises the value of personalised medicine and the significance of taking care of ourselves, as it directly impacts our work, relationships and overall quality of life.

At the age of only 18, Carolyn paid  $1,000 for a small, handmade muesli business called Carman's. Today, the business is estimated to be worth over $170 million, being stocked in major supermarkets and distributed in more than 35 countries around the world. Whilst it may look like an overnight success, it has taken 30 years of passion, energy and grit to get Carman’s to where it is today. 

As an ambassador of the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and patron of St Kilda Gatehouse, Carolyn is committed to being and doing good with this one short life. She speaks about bringing her values into her work and home and how this drives her to create purposeful leadership. Self-awareness is key for Carolyn, and she shares how reflecting deeply on how she shows up every day impacts her decisions as a leader, mother, wife and friend. 

For many leaders, prioritising their health and creating positive boundaries often falls by the wayside. We’re busy, and the demands of high performance leadership can pull us in many different directions. However, Carolyn believes that the incredible technology available to us can provide the data we need to track our health and establish a baseline for wellness. She encourages practical habits such as regular GP check ups and tracking our sleep patterns. 

Whether it's work, relationships or pursuing our passions, being in good health is essential. Carolyn reminds us of the significance of taking care of ourselves to maintain a balance and effectively manage the different responsibilities and commitments in our lives.


Connect with Hayden:

Websites: -  https://haydenfricke.com/ 


APS College of Organisational Psychologists



Show Notes Transcript

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Carolyn Creswell, owner and CEO of Carman’s, one of Australia’s most successful food companies that specialises in breakfast foods and nutritional snacks. In this episode, we discuss the importance of using data to drive wellbeing and tracking our behaviour to help us make more informed choices. Carolyn emphasises the value of personalised medicine and the significance of taking care of ourselves, as it directly impacts our work, relationships and overall quality of life.

At the age of only 18, Carolyn paid  $1,000 for a small, handmade muesli business called Carman's. Today, the business is estimated to be worth over $170 million, being stocked in major supermarkets and distributed in more than 35 countries around the world. Whilst it may look like an overnight success, it has taken 30 years of passion, energy and grit to get Carman’s to where it is today. 

As an ambassador of the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and patron of St Kilda Gatehouse, Carolyn is committed to being and doing good with this one short life. She speaks about bringing her values into her work and home and how this drives her to create purposeful leadership. Self-awareness is key for Carolyn, and she shares how reflecting deeply on how she shows up every day impacts her decisions as a leader, mother, wife and friend. 

For many leaders, prioritising their health and creating positive boundaries often falls by the wayside. We’re busy, and the demands of high performance leadership can pull us in many different directions. However, Carolyn believes that the incredible technology available to us can provide the data we need to track our health and establish a baseline for wellness. She encourages practical habits such as regular GP check ups and tracking our sleep patterns. 

Whether it's work, relationships or pursuing our passions, being in good health is essential. Carolyn reminds us of the significance of taking care of ourselves to maintain a balance and effectively manage the different responsibilities and commitments in our lives.


Connect with Hayden:

Websites: -  https://haydenfricke.com/ 


APS College of Organisational Psychologists



Hayden: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to this episode of my podcast, Leadership and Wellbeing with Hayden Fricke. In this episode, I'm incredibly excited to be interviewing Carolyn Creswell. But before we get into the interview proper, I'll take a moment to tell you a little bit about Carolyn. At the age of only 18, Carolyn Creswell paid 1, 000 for a small, local, handmade muesli business called Carman's.

She had worked in this small business for a short while. and thought she could make it work. As of 2023, the [00:01:00] business was estimated to be worth over 170 million. I think she found a way to make it work. In 1993, Carmans obtained its first interstate distributor in New South Wales. The turning point in her business came when Coles Supermarkets agreed to trial her muesli in some of their Melbourne stores.

By 1997, Coles stocked Carman's muesli bars nationally and Woolworths followed suit in 2001. As of 2019, Carmans was an Australian brand distributed more than 35 countries around the world including China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore and I learnt today that that has only grown further and further.

In 2013, Carolyn joined Network 10 as a mentor and a judge on recipe [00:02:00] to riches and has appeared on Network tens the project. Carolyn has received many awards, including the 2007 Ernst and Young's Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and in 2012, the Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year.

Whilst her business looks like an overnight success. The reality is that it's taken over 30 years of passion and energy to get to this point. Carolyn was formerly a board member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Gardens Foundation and the Human Rights Law Centre.

She is currently an ambassador of the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and Smiling Mind and patron of St Kilda Guesthouse. Carolyn has a strong commitment to healthy work life balance, which is also reflected in the supportive culture at the Carman's office. Carolyn was [00:03:00] born and raised in Melbourne, Australia.

She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1994 and a Law degree at the University of London in 1996. You might think from that story that she's all work and no play. Well, Carolyn's a lot more than just that. She lives in Melbourne with her husband, Peter Creswell, and four children. She has a personal mantra of how can we get better, which is a perfect slogan for the aims of this podcast.

In this episode, we'll cover a wide range of topics relating to leadership and wellbeing. And the key themes will include some areas such as data. How do you improve your wellbeing through the use of measurement and data? Purposeful leadership, something that Carolyn's very strong on, and knowing your values at home and at work.

Self awareness is a key part of that and the need to reflect deeply on things and how you show up every day will focus on courage and [00:04:00] how you show courage to make some of the decisions you've made along the way. The art of the graceful no is something that Carolyn talks very strongly about in relation to boundaries around our time.

we spoke about social norms at home and at work and how they impact our decisions as parents and as leaders in business. And finally, she spoke about the need to be one whole person and not a different self at work and at home. I found the interview to be incredibly, fascinating and insightful. I hope you enjoy it too. Well, hello, Carolyn, and welcome to my, uh, episode of leadership and wellbeing with Hayden Fricke. It's very, exciting to have you here as a guest today.

Carolyn: Thank you Hayden. It's exciting to be here.

Hayden: maybe I [00:05:00] know a fair bit about Carman's, but, uh, and maybe our listeners might, but some might know too much about Carman's. So maybe if you could just tell us a little bit about Carman's today, you know, things like how big's the business, even your role in it, where are you located, products, anything else you want to tell us to give us an idea of Carman's.

Carolyn: So, as you, you know, have mentioned, we started 30 years ago with one product and now we have about 130 products. So we're predominantly known for our work in Muesli and in breakfast. and a new category that we entered about 15 years ago is in nutritional snacks. So lots of work in the bar space from protein bars to nut bars, muesli bars.

And then now the aim for the business is to work out new categories and where Carman’s can move to next. So we are predominantly a good tasting. company. Uh, it's very important to me, you know, we have ingredients like you would have in your kitchen at home, but it's super important that you enjoy eating them.

So we're not just a health company. It's not just about the latest [00:06:00] sort of health fads or health ingredients. It's definitely on a basis of, you know, real food. We say we've made with real passion because I'm a passionate foodie myself and looking at making sure that we can make things that are Delicious and that you want to come back and buy a week in week out.

So we have a range of products that are predominantly sold through Australian supermarkets, but we export to 32 countries and we do a lot of work outside of supermarkets as well now. So petrol and convenience stores like 7 Eleven. Airlines is a huge client for us. and work in food service. So whether it be on hospital trays, vending machines, and to try and be seen.

It's very important, I think, for the brand and also for the opportunities where people are buying products like ours out of the supermarket.

Hayden: Wow, that's inspirational just to hear that, all those stories, you know, 32 countries, the different, uh, areas you've gone to. I know that you started off in, was it, uh, Coles first of all, and then Woolies, uh, [00:07:00] and then where it is today is just, uh, incredible. What about your role in the business today? Uh, obviously you've got a, you know, you ran the whole thing for a long time.

Uh, what's your role today?

Carolyn: Yeah, so I'm still the CEO. So I own Carman's 100 percent myself and my family is not involved. It was never a family business. It was a business that you know, I have four teenage children who, uh, one's at uni, but the rest are still at school. And my husband does other things. So I'm the CEO, running it every day, sweating on the new product developments.

I, I spend a lot of my personal time in looking at products, what we sell now. Are they, is it still? Delicious, appropriate yum. And what are we looking at bringing out? So whether that might be licensing of the brand or whether that might be new areas, or, you know, we did an acquisition of another company last year of a product that I really loved, Fruit Straps, and the transition of that company into UnderCarman.

So there's lots of different [00:08:00] parts of running this place, but predominantly that the space that I love working in is in product.

Hayden: Wow, that is amazing. I didn't realize you were still so involved right now. It's inspirational. So, from that you know, your inspirational story is incredible, and you've grown this business from, story of 1, 000 buying it to whatever it is today, 170 million or whatever, a big number, which is huge, and all those things you shared with us before, whilst you're raising four children, which is, uh, incredible as well so, Over this course of this chat, I'd love to hear about all your thoughts on, leadership and well being, along the journey.

No doubt there's been many challenges along the way because it's not all smooth sailing when you, when you do that. On the outside it is, but on the inside there's lots of challenges and that's where the learnings happen. I know that when we had a, uh, our interview for the, the book you told me a, uh, In the early stages you openly shared you felt like a bit of a fraud at some stage, which I've, interviewed a few people on kind of imposter syndrome [00:09:00] and feeling that way and I remember you telling me that you know, everyone was telling you in those early stages how awesome the business was, but you kind of, you didn't feel it and you sought some help.

to kind of work through that, and I'm interested in what did you learn about yourself, through that experience? Because obviously you've continued to be incredibly successful, but that was probably one of the first hurdles I would have thought to learn about yourself during this process.

Carolyn: Look, oh gosh, there's many hurdles you learn about yourself. I think people perceive you is far less important than how you perceive yourself and how you feel you show up when no one's watching. And how do you behave? I can only, I can only give the example of like if you go to the gym and you've got mates in the gym and they're watching you and you're, you know, you're doing your absolute best and then if no one's around and you're in the gym and you're by yourself, are you lifting as heavily?

Are you, showing up as effectively when no one's watching? And I think to me, that's probably one of the lessons that I learned was how [00:10:00] you are. Act yourself, how you behave and how you stay true to yourself and serve yourself uh, you know, and I'll try and explain that a little bit more. Are you living a life of purpose? Are you proud of how you're showing up? I think you know, there's a wonderful Mayor Angelou quote that success is, is liking yourself and liking how you do it. And I feel like, I don't run a popularity contest but I'm very proud of how I live my life, how I interact with people and how I do it and probably that sounds a little bit heavy but I think that's probably what I learned along the journey that doesn't, you know, people can read articles about me or they can, they can have an opinion but I know is that, you know, work ethic is very important to me.

Showing up and working hard and feeling like I've achieved something is very important. Self development is very important to me and these are the things that fill my cup. And if [00:11:00] you get, if your cup is filled just how other people perceive you, I think, you know, you've got to kind of take the mickey out of yourself a little bit and to, be able to, yeah, be true to who you are.

Hayden: I love that. I'm going to delve into a couple of things there, Carolyn. I, I heard a phrase once, uh, something like this, which is, you know, what, what you think of me is none of my business, which kind of goes to what you're saying there, right? Now, I imagine you learned that over some period of time because, you know, in those early stages, people were telling you awesome, awesome, but you didn't believe it.

I don't know if you can think back to that time. What were some of the things that kind of helped you to get past that and kind of realise that it's about you, what you think of yourself and it's not about what others think of you. That would have been a journey.

Carolyn: Yeah, I think it was probably, it was a little bit different for me. It was just more that people were looking and going, Oh my gosh, he's got a successful business and it wasn't successful. I was struggling to pay my bills every day. It was tiny, it was hard work and we were, you know, I felt like we were getting knocked over by the wind every so often.

And you were scrambling to stand back up and keep fighting [00:12:00] to get that next listing and, and to make the business financially secure. So that was the, the, you know, that rough patch of trying to. actually get the business to this stable point, but now, you know, and I, I do lots of corporate speaking, public speaking gigs, and people will often say afterwards, Oh my gosh, you're so natural, or you're just like.

My neighbor next door or I can see myself in you and I think you don't believe your own PR You know you you need to be really yeah I think I'm the same person that that I ever was at the start and you know, and I work just as hard Just as driven I'm more proud if I see someone putting a Carman's product in their supermarket trolley today, but I've ever been and You know, it's not like I'm sitting back and saying, Oh, look, I've achieved it now.

That's that's certainly not how I show up. Well,

Hayden: concept too, just, just while we're talking about showing up, there's a lot of people that focus so much on tasks and outcomes and, getting shit done, but they [00:13:00] don't spend enough time thinking, how do I show up today? How do I want to show up today? They just get in thinking about the list of things.

So I love that concept of someone who's very purpose driven and very focused on not just the outcomes, but how they want to show up. I'm interested in your thoughts on that and how you. Came to think like that and how that drives your daily habits and behaviors.

Carolyn: I think there's different parts of your life that you actually need to make sure that you're considering. My career and running Karmans and owning Karmans is one aspect of who I am. That is not what defines me. And it's not the only. You know, I am also a wife. I am a mother to four teenagers who are, you know, what I, I'm very proud to think of what happens within our four walls and how I speak to my children and how fun our family dinners are and what it's like being inside our house.

You know, it's I think that is probably one of the greatest successes. I'm also a [00:14:00] daughter and you, you know, a conscious of the relationship and, being there for your, for your parents, but I'm a friend. And I think one of the important things and often what CEOs might let go of is their friendships.

And how do you focus and make time for them and do what you can to make sure that you're a good friend? Because that. It's something I think in your life when you look back and it's the laughs and the interaction and knowing that you've got these lovely friendships, you know, if you only just rely on your career and think, well, that's going to fill your cup, you know, there is a point where you're going to retire.

And, you know, there's, parts of it, of course, I'm proud of Carman's, but I'm very, very proud of my, close friends and the friendships that I've developed with them over, you know. A long period of time and it's not that they're just people that I went to school with a long time ago. I make new friends and I'm very conscious when I meet someone that I that I enjoy their company that I'll reach out and buy them for dinner or we'll have a drink and and how these new friends that I nurture those new [00:15:00] friendships.

I think that's also. important aspect of my life as well.

Hayden: I think that's wonderful You've pointed that out because certainly when I talk about well being Social well being is one of the things we don't talk enough of we talk about maybe physical and mental But in fact if you look at all the aspects of well being and happiness and what you need to do to live a long life The things you've talked about are the keys to living a long and healthy and happy and fulfilling life.

So, uh, it's fantastic that you keep those things in perspective. teLl me I'm interested again in something, if we go back to the early stages in your business and, uh, you told me a story, previously about, uh, How in the early stages, you kind of said yes to everything. You worked long hours, you did everything.

You did the marketing, the books, the packaging, etc. And you were a yes person. And you then hired your first person. You had to stop doing some things to make sure that you were able to get a bit balanced. And that was in your very early stages. And you had to ask yourself, or you did ask yourself, what do I enjoy doing?

What [00:16:00] do I like doing? What are my passions? Uh, what do I need and what gets me out of bed in the morning and what do I need to let go of? So I'm interested in that sort of journey as the business grew. What have you learned about, uh, development as both a leader, as in a person in terms of that concept of letting go, but also the concept of, and putting boundaries around things, but also really tuning into what you enjoy and what gets you out of bed in the morning.

I'm interested in sort of just sharing any thoughts around that.

Carolyn: and I think that that could be all sorts of things. And it really is around self reflecting, perhaps at the end of the week or whether it's the end of the year, whenever you, reflecting on your life. What are the things that I've enjoyed? And, you know, because sometimes it's very easy just to do what you've always done.

It's very easy to say, do you know what? When we go out for dinner, we just go to the local pizza restaurant that's the one at the end of our street. And then for some reason, you know, that you think, right, you know, this time you've gone into [00:17:00] Chinatown and you've gone somewhere and you've had, you know, a really interesting experience.

And then when you look back and you think, gosh, and you think about that a lot and you forget the dozens of times you just went to the local pizza place, but you remember it, it sticks out in your memory. I'm just giving this as a random example. Clearly I'm a foodie and often my examples come back to food.

And how do we look at the different things we do, whether it's what exercises you enjoy? Because if sometimes you end up doing an exercise that you love. Like for me to meet a friend and go and walk along the beach for two hours. don't even think about that as exercise because that's just such a pleasurable thing to do.

the walking part of it is irrelevant. What are the things that you go, Oh, that's, I love doing that. And what are the things that you think, Oh gosh, I'm dreading. doing that. Now, these are things that you would think in your work life. I know on my desk right now is all of my visa statements that I need to go through.

I dread going through those. It's not a pleasure. Whereas, you know, there's, there's [00:18:00] other things that I think, oh gosh, and we know what it feels like to chase those shiny things and think, oh, I'd love to, you know, for me, you know. Trying a new product that's coming out, I'll rush down and go out of my way to to get it as soon as it comes off the oven.

And that is in your work life, that's in your personal life, that's in your, like I said, in your friendships. But how do you keep working through, what's serving you, what do you think you should do more of, and are there things that you should just not ever keep on the list, that you say, do you know what, that's not something I'm going to do.

Now this is not about being lazy, sometimes this is about pushing yourself, or, I often book things miles ahead of my diary, because if I know that it's something I want to do, I want to make sure that I've got the And all of a sudden, four months later, you go, Oh, yes, that's right. We are going to the country to go and see that singer that I'm excited to hear because I've made the effort to lock it in and, you know, and obviously there's parts of your life that I think need to be fluid and that you, [00:19:00] do different things.

But sometimes. An interesting life is varied, and it's not saying yes to everything. It's being very choiceful in your decisions, and Being choiceful in, in saying no and thinking how will I feel about that on a day. So just because you're asked to do something does not mean that you have to do it. So, you know, people will might ask me when can I go and have this dinner with someone that I don't want to.

I don't have to say ever. You know, I can choose to say, and I always refer back to the book, Essentialism. I think it's Greg Kim, Kim, I can't remember his name, sorry. 

Hayden: Greg McEwen or McKeon. 

Carolyn: thank you. I knew you'd know. And he's the one that taught me the art of the graceful no. So if someone asked me to do something, thank you so much for, you know, it's lovely to see your name pop in my inbox.

 I'm sorry, I'm not going to be able [00:20:00] to go and have lunch with your niece who wants to enter the food industry. But what I could do is ring her when I'm driving home from work one night and have a chat on my drive home about what she's trying to do. So you don't have to say yes to that.

But you can, you can offer what you can do. And I found that that's been super helpful for me in gracefully saying no. So that when I look at my diary, I'm happy with what my diary looks like for the week, because I've, been really choiceful in the decisions that I've made. You I love nothing more than being home, you know, with my family.

I'm more than happy if I'm going to. Catch up with someone to say, come around and have a drink before we have family dinner. for me, that's an easy way because I'm already at home rather than me necessarily, having another night out. You know, when you've got a big family, sometimes you know, being out too much, I find, can sap my energy a bit.

So, I sort of try and, juggle it how it works for me.

Hayden: I love that concept uh, art of the graceful. [00:21:00] No, it links into Adam Grant's work. He's written a book and done some great work on the disagreeable givers. And he's found that if you're a giver you actually, don't perform as well as a taker in an organization, and if you're a giver who learns to say no and set boundaries, then you actually perform better than takers because you, you get the balance right.

If you're a giver who doesn't know how to say no, you say yes to everything, but then you let people down because you can't deliver on everything, right? So I'm interested in the connection between that also and something that's purposeful, like almost if you don't do that. You end up not being able to put in the things that you actually really want to do, right?

So you seem like someone who's learned that balance between saying no, but then you put in the things that you really want to do, uh, that are purposeful.

Carolyn: so for example of food, you know, as I've said, it's super important. We have someone at Carman's who, we have a chef here and that we offer 5 lunches. So we have about 65 people here and most days everyone will, as just before this [00:22:00] interview, I had to quickly jump on it and put my lunch order through.

So, I don't often say, Oh, I'll go out and meet someone for lunch, but because I'm stopping every day for half an hour, I don't mind someone coming in and having lunch with me. So it's a very easy way for me to invite someone to come. And so yesterday I had a conversation with a supplier and they said, Oh, you know, would you like to go out for dinner?

And I said, Oh, how about you come in and have lunch with me? So the one thing I'm very conscious of is time and you know, if someone comes up to you in the street and ask for 20, you'd say no. But if someone asks for 20 minutes, people feel this obligation that you just have to give your time and you have to say yes, whereas I just really try and work my time to say, well, how could I, you know, maybe do two things like having lunch and inviting a supplier to come in and have lunch with me, which is super easy and doesn't take up a lot of my time.

How do I utilise dead time like the drive to work? And what are the things that then make me feel that I can. You know, and I'd love to sort of [00:23:00] talk about energy and sleep and, and, you know, other sort of actual physical parts that I think are really important as well if we, if we had time.

Hayden: Yeah, lovely. Well, let's go into that because what I was going to talk about next is you have to say no to, and have the courage to say no, but you also need to work out what gives you energy. And, part of that is about emotional. even recognition, first of all. A lot of people, I'm not sure if they really pay attention enough.

You talked before about being reflective and being aware, aware of your emotions, how you feel and tuning in to that. Often in our society and in most societies, we only have about three or four words for emotions. We either feel good or we feel shit. Rather than, There's like 400 different words for emotions.

What, how do we feel and being nuanced in being able to explain how we actually feel, whether it's positive or negative. And if we can tap into that, what gives us joy, what gives us satisfaction, what gives us, growth and all sorts of things, but also. What causes us disappointment or frustration or anger or [00:24:00] embarrassment or guilt or shame, all those things.

I think we need to find a way to expand our awareness of and our ability to label that and then recognize now what is causing or contributing to that and then proactively and consciously choose to actually spend more time doing those things that give us those positive emotions. Yeah, maybe let's start there and then let's talk about the physical things as well.

Carolyn: Yeah. You know, I, I couldn't agree more. And I think, you know, sometimes I might say to myself, whether it's, one night or something, you know, on a Sunday, you know, if I just spent two hours now and just cleaned my inbox out, I know that my week will look so much better because I know for me that if my inbox is overflowing, I feel like I just feel overwhelmed and I feel not my perfect self.

And sometimes you go through that bit of pain of saying, right, I'm just going to do that because that'll set me up for. success for the week. And then that would be, how I'd love to, talk about sleep. And I [00:25:00] used to think that stealing from sleep was, you know, you just worked late and you would just get up super early.

And It was like almost a sign of weakness if you slept too much. Whereas now I think the absolute opposite. And, I was mentioning before that my new obsession. So I, I love data. And in my industry, we're very data driven. How are sales? What are the lead indicators?

What do we do about it? You know, we've just launched a, a new Violet Crumble protein bar and it's selling unbelievably well. So. I look at three weeks in, right, I better get the next collaboration ready. Gosh, look at that. You know, so, in my personal life, there's lots of data that I love.

So one of the things is that I, today is my six month anniversary of having an Aura Ring, which is an incredible piece of technology. And I highly encourage anyone that that can't purchase it. I think they're, it's maybe three hundred dollars ish and you pay a small fee each year, but you wear it and it tells you each day, it monitors your [00:26:00] day, but certainly it's very specific about how much you've slept.

So it tells you your readiness score for the day and it also tells you your sleep score. So it will say Hey, you fell asleep so fast last night, you know, if you fall asleep within two minutes, it's like you are absolutely dog dead tired. That's not great. And or also say, do you know what?

You're waking up lots last night or your, your heartbeat, you know, didn't. Drop down overnight. So it gives you little messages that you know, you, you know, you great. Every morning I wake up and I think, so for example, I know that the next two nights I'm out and I've got to get up early and get a plane.

So I'm going to make sure that I, that I feel my sleep back and I'm going to go to bed earlier tonight so that I'm ahead ready for that. the night when I'm having to get up early and get that plane. So I think really being conscious of your sleep, and I do encourage an oral ring. And then I think there's lots of other techniques just to tap into how am I feeling [00:27:00] and am I feeling that I'm giving my best or am I feeling I'm just getting through the day.

And when we know that what it feels like when we're tired and we're just existing and you're just not. We all have days like that, but it's how do you, how do we make sure that we're having as many days and taking care of ourselves as much in being full of energy and on fire?

Hayden: Fantastic. There's a couple of, uh, things to share in relation to that story. One is, on sleep. There's a strong connection between sleep and well being and even cognitive capacity. And in fact sadly, there's about two million Australians at any one time that suffer from insomnia. Which is defined as three weeks in a row of either struggling to get to sleep, stay asleep, or waking up too early and not getting back to sleep.

And it's like being over 0. 05 percent alcohol content you are in that space. So if you're a leader of a business and you're, coming to work, Not having slept well regularly, [00:28:00] then it's like you're drinking alcohol to that level and your cognitive impairment for decision making is huge, let alone other aspects of your life and not only for leadership, but for anyone really.

So I think there's a really powerful message in that. The other thing I want to touch on that you've said is we've got a. positive behaviour change model that we've used for about 14 years now in the business that I run at Steeple. And one of the six elements of behaviour change is measurement.

What gets measured gets done, which is the data you're talking about. And so we need to have some kind of metric to kind of know what's happening and then we learn and we get feedback. To learn from that. So I love the, the Aura Ring. I use my Apple Watch in a similar way, but I, you've almost encouraged me.

I think I need to go out and get an Aura Ring to look specifically at sleep. cause the data may scare us initially, but actually helps us to know over time. Are we tracking in the right direction if we're doing the right thing? So I love the measurement and the data-using to drive your own behaviour change.aI think that's fabulous. 

Carolyn: And I've got an Apple watch as well, but the [00:29:00] difference of how tired were you? How quickly did you fall asleep? How many times did you wake up in the night? How much deep sleep have you had? And how's your heart rate? Has it got down low enough? Because it'll say, hey, you know, you drank too much wine last night.

You've had too heavy a meal. You can have, of course, you know, two late nights, but it's what you're doing 80 percent of the time. It's what you're doing 80 percent of the time in your, in your food as well. that I think is, it's what your normal life is looking like, not the occasional things.

And so many people you'll hear them and they say, Oh, look, I go to bed midnight, 1am, you know, I get up early. It's all right. You know, when I just power through and I just have an extra coffee. And I think there's a difference. Between existing, yes, and, and thriving and, and feeling, the best version of you.

Hayden: I agree. In fact, there's another model of wellbeing that we talk about in terms of where people sit and, uh, at the top level is thriving and flourishing. Then you've got striving and you've got struggling or languishing down the [00:30:00] bottom. And so do you want to just survive or languish or do you want to, uh, thrive and flourish?

So I agree with you. You can, you can survive without that, but you can't thrive. Uh, and that's probably what you're talking about. Yep. aNother question while we're talking about, things like you mentioned, alcohol. You told me a story, uh, about alcohol. We talked about raising, uh, children.

and social norms is something that I like to talk about a fair bit. In our Western society, and particularly in Australia, sadly there's Many examples of alcohol use that's not helpful. Uh, obviously the occasional glass and whatever is fine, but there's, there's social norms.

And, our children, particularly when they're, when they're growing up and they're going towards the 18 years of age, sometimes they're surrounded by everyone else having a drink and they feel like that's normal. You gave me an example, which it is, uh, not necessarily good. You gave an example of. Uh, raising your children and, uh, you made a deal with your son at one stage about this.

I'm interested in how did, how did [00:31:00] that 

Carolyn: Yeah, it went well. So I made a deal with my son that I would my husband and I I'm always the one that comes up with the crazy ideas and then he backs me, uh, that we would offer to buy him a car if he didn't drink until he was 18 and

Hayden: At what age, at what age


you tell him this? 

Carolyn: we, sort of talked about it from a young age and it was sort of just this sort of joke around the family dinner table at 12, 13 and then he started sort of taking it more seriously and then on his 16th birthday, he rang me and he said, I think I want to, you know, he was at a party and I think I want to have a drink, mum.

I said, you're the boss of yourself. Thanks for telling me. And I, you know, but the deal is off. And so, you know, he had a couple of beers and then he came to me the next day or a few days later and said, look, I think I stuffed up. I think that this is ridiculous. It wasn't actually that good. I didn't enjoy it that much, but I put the deal back on.

I said, Oh, let me talk to your father. And we made a deal that then. Because he'd broken it if he didn't drink until his last year 12 exam, the deal would [00:32:00] be back on. Anyway, he stuck to that deal. He said it was, it was very easy for him because when everyone was drinking, he'd say, I've got this deal, I'm going to get a car.

So, So he said he never got the peer pressure and he was probably, I mean, I think the only one in his group. I do remember a time where. The other boys were saying, please don't tell their parents because they were concerned that this was, their parents might've offered, the same deal.

And so then, yeah, and he didn't really drink. And then what happened was that after, you know, he had the year 12 exam, all of a sudden he said, look, I've watched so many people that were out vomiting and with this, he said, I kind of saw the other side of it because I was always the one staying sober and seeing ramifications.

In fact, my younger son has just come to me and said, I just want you to know mum, I'm definitely doing the deal. So,

Hayden: Ah ha 

Carolyn: um, But I do want to say though, that this is also that I do think that you need to be realistic of, people are the bosses of themselves and that this is his choice.

 the same in You you know, had to [00:33:00] be open that if you know, if he was going to have a drink, had to also, you know, be accepting of which decision he, that he went through, but I'm pretty good at keeping my promise, so I and I was actually thrilled that, that he was able to get there and get his car with a tent on the top and a, Awnings and bells and whistles, so it's all 

Hayden: that! Fantastic. And in fact, in that little story there, essentially summarises sort of some of the major premise of kind of what I like to talk about, which is at business, right, in businesses, which is, but it's the same in people's lives is you need to understand the social norms of the society, the environment.

Whether it's our, you know, 16 to 18 year old sons or daughters or the norms that exist within a culture or an organization, you say, first of all, I have to be aware of that and then pause, reflect and make choices about whether or not you want to follow those blindly or whether you want to make different choices.

And I think that summary of that [00:34:00] story is, sometimes we don't, we just automatically go along with the crowd. without actually stopping and pausing and reflecting as to whether we want to make a different decision. It's like a fish that's swimming in a fishbowl. It doesn't know it's in water, right?

And it's the same thing. And I think we just need to be really much more deliberate and mindful of that and then make choices that are deliberate.

Carolyn: Absolutely. And we can all fall just into the rhythm in, multiple aspects of our life. And particularly, I think, going back to the example of just because you're asked or you just, you know, someone says, well, what day can you do this? I remember when I had young kids, you know, when can you bring the kids, around for a barbecue?

I'm like, kind of never at the moment. I've got four kids under six and, it's really hard for us to get everyone out with their naps. And, uh, so, you know. let's just say we went and we got a babysitter, but being aware of what things are really difficult in your life or hard to, and particularly when you're great at something is that what you're going to wake up and want to do on that day?

And anyway, I digress.

Hayden: Tell me, if we [00:35:00] move from those sort of examples of social norms and parenting, I know in the leadership work that I do, I often. link stories of parenting to leadership, but it's a lot of parallels if you like the way you lead life as a parent and the way you lead your life as a leader. I've got to be careful on using that too much because obviously there's plenty of leaders that aren't parents, but if we use that analogy, what do you think about how this concept of understanding social norms and then making choices as a leader in an organization, do you see some parallels there about leadership and wellbeing within organizations?


Carolyn: well the thing that's jumping out, and maybe I'm not sure if this is exactly answering your question, is what I'm searching for in my relationships is how I can get deep and be able to have an honest conversation of what's really going on. So I have a picture, I think hopefully you can see it behind my desk here at work, and it's every book's spine.

There is about telling the truth. [00:36:00] So it's called telling the truth in black and white. And what I learned very early in my career. is that it was easy to tell a white lie. And I remember I couldn't afford to pay for this delivery of nuts. And so I was going to pretend I hadn't signed the cheque and just give them the cheque and then they would work it out and they'd have to come back the next day.

And then the guy that I work with said, why don't you just tell them the truth, tell them that you can't afford to pay for them today. But if they could hold the cheque and bank it tomorrow, they can bank it tomorrow. And I was like, Oh my gosh, it was this revelation. And I put a post it note. And they said, no problem, we'll just hold the check and we'll put it in the bank tomorrow.

And I have a deal with my children that if they ever catch me lying, I will pay them 20. And the only time I ever get caught out is when you're going somewhere, and we did it the other day, where if you were 12, you only had to pay half price to go up on a ride at a show. And my daughter was 13.

I said, oh, we'll just go through and say you're 12. That's the only time I kind of get caught out. So I'm, I will tell them the [00:37:00] truth. I will also say, well, I can't tell you that. So that's something that I don't want to answer. So if it might be something around, I don't know, what's the turnover of Carman's?

I'll say, hey, that's not something that I'm, that I think I need to tell you, but I won't ever lie. And I feel that that's the level that I like the interactions I'd like to have with my, team at Carman's as well, which is you can come and, you know, just tell me what's going on. Did you stuff up an order?

We can work through it if I know what the truth is. And here's to hoping we make sure that mistake is not going to happen again. But if you're going to bullshit me, like, right, then our relationship is really not going to progress forward. And you catch people saying white lies.

You know, we even have a policy at work, which is called Doona Day. So people don't have to ring up and, you know, if they've got a terrible hangover or whatever, and, you know, often it's on mental health and have a faker sickie, you just ring up and say, I need a Doona Day. I just need to stay home in bed today.

And we, we have [00:38:00] huddle, which we do at 9. 30 every day. The whole team is on a, about a 10 minute zoom call. And it'll say, you know, Mary's got a doona day and Steve's having a doona day. And, sometimes it's people on the leadership team having a doona day. so I think it's twice a year that you can just say, Hey, today's the day where I'm, I just need to stay home in bed.

And I feel like that makes, you know. It makes me feel better that people can call that rather than have to lie because I can't stand the, Oh no, you know, I had gastro and then the next day they're fine. And what you, am I going to really have a conversation about your gastro? Was it real? Was it not? So, um, they're some of the tips from my personal life or things that I've, felt.

It carries over between the two.

Hayden: I love the idea of a, a Douna day. I love the giving it a, a, a label. I have talked to others about this not Douna Day language, but certainly instead of having to call up and say, you know, I, I'm sick, fake a sicky, we actually be honest and say, you know what? I need a mental health day. I've never heard it called a douna day, but I, I like the concept.

I think that's [00:39:00] fabulous. The other thing that I reflected, I guess, if I go deeper than that is this concept of the understanding of the whole self and the way you lead is the way you parent. And you gave a great example there of, you know, one of your values around honesty that you apply to your children and you apply the same, value at work.

And I think that's really crucial that particularly in today's sort of leadership environment context. particularly post COVID, it's so important to bring the whole self to work and not be, you know, someone that's different at home and work, because then you can be your authentic self. So I love that story of, how you've been your authentic self at work and at home, and your kids are keeping you honest.

The couple of questions before we start to wrap up. One of the things that strikes me about you is that you're incredibly courageous and you shared with me in the book that you said, you know, something to the effect of, we've only got one life, we can't go through it as if we're got another one, it's not a dress rehearsal, so we, and kind of that's easy to say, but sometimes it takes real [00:40:00] courage and it's hard to make decisions in the moment without in mind, so easy to say, hard to do.

Have you got any, Reflections on how did you come to be so courageous to actually kind of live that way? Have you got any advice for people that are maybe not as courageous as you that struggle with that?

Carolyn: Well, I think sometimes people are scared about being judged, so they think Oh gosh, so I just won't put myself out there. And you know, and I think the Brene Brown beautiful, well, I think it's actually, isn't it um, so many people can sit up in the bleachers and they can watch person that's happy to hop in the middle of the arena and actually give it a crack.

And once you get over. There's a decent chance you're going to hop in the arena and, you're going to lose, or that you're not going to I mean, I can only think of one before I won Telstra Businesswoman of the Year. You know, I'd entered 16 years in a row. So [00:41:00] how much can you put yourself out there?

How can you say, Oh, well, I'm going to do it and I'm going to fail. I'm not going to win. So once you know that you like yourself and you like how you're showing up and like what you're doing, it's okay to sort of put yourself out there and. I don't know, I'm just thinking we, we had this, you know, Carman's has got talent competition a few years ago and I don't really have any musical talent whatsoever. So I put my three non talents together of playing a triangle and doing an interpretive dance. And I just did this totally embarrassing thing. But I was just happy to like laugh at myself and put myself out there. And I think that people who wrap themselves up with too much ego and they're worried about how they'll be perceived, sometimes we love the authenticity.

We love seeing people who give life a crack and they mightn't be great, but they're happy to put themselves out there. And you know, and I think that if you're not giving yourself worth to be like, well, how's everyone judging me and I know that this takes time.

I know this is what we're all searching for is this, [00:42:00] sense of, yeah, being comfortable in your skin, and I think it's the greatest thing you can ever hope for, and I'm lucky that I was sort of a little bit born that way, I've really pushed and taught myself this over time and I think that, it's a, something I'm very conscious of with my children, you know, we are all different.

But, being decent human being is, super important and that helps give you that sense of confidence.

Hayden: I love that. And if I bring it back to Brene Brown sort of stuff, I mean, she says that, uh, vulnerability is courage, not weakness. and To have vulnerability though, you need to have high self worth. You need to love yourself regardless of the outcomes of your achievements and believe that you're a good person.

And if you do that, then you're not so worried about others judging you. And if you're not so worried about others judging and believe that, and you're not. your achievements. You are more than that. That maybe gives you the courage to actually take some risks because, uh, that's crucial for any, fulfilling life.

it's a bit like, I remember you [00:43:00] made me think about Michael Jordan. You know, he obviously was a superstar basketballer, but there's some quota coming out, but you know, for all the successes he had, you know. 3, 000 misses in important moments and it's those misses that are important to then get the successes as well.

So don't sort of achieve anything in life or have a fulfilling life unless you have some failures and risks. But to do that, you've got to first of all, love yourself. and not be worried about what others are thinking of you, I guess, is the main message that you're sending, yeah.

Carolyn: Well, that's what I, you know, to me, I think that that's how you can, you know, to find the sense of courage. And then also. if your expectation is, it's totally fine. If you fail, then you will drop the standard. But if you think that every time you go for a job interview and everything you do, you have to be the success at all of it.

You know, you almost wanna be doing things in your life that you know you're gonna be hopeless at so that you, you can have a sense that there's no way you know, [00:44:00] it's interesting. My daughter went away and she had a year living when she was in year nine with other. whole bunch of girls in the, in the bush.

And what, you realised as the girls went into the year, well, it wasn't as, you know, so the pretty ones who went in had the lovely clothes, whatever. Well, once you're in the bush, it's everyone has a different skill set. the people that could run and were great at exercise, you know, they were respected.

The people that were able to build the fires or the hard workers, they were respected. The people who were lovely people. And, you know, my daughter's a, you you know, she'd never says anything ill about anyone. And I said to her, you know, that's your superpower that you bring people together and you stop the disagreements and being that lovely person and she said, well, mom, that's not going to help with my school marks.

So I was like, but that's like, you know, and then you've got the brainiacs or the brilliant musicians and how everyone has a different. Do not think that one person will have everything. You know, it's like in a marriage. You're not going to meet someone that has everything you've ever imagined. So, you know, knowing that the person that you married, the things that they were good at, and there's going to be things, you know, if they couldn't [00:45:00] cook then, don't expect that they're going to be a brilliant cook later.

You know, we're certainly not perfect ourselves.

Hayden: look, and I hope you've told your daughter this, I've got my youngest daughter is just finishing, exams in year 12 right now.

and, the other two have been through it and done very well. My youngest is sort of. Not, confident she's going to do as well as them. And I've gone, you this is like a ticket to the dance floor.

know, your ATAR score doesn't, determine how successful you are in life. In fact, your daughter's skills of bringing people together are going to help her much more in the leadership world than her intelligence ATAR score. So that's a crucial lesson for our children as they're going through perhaps.

Carolyn: I couldn't agree more. 

 and being able to hone those personal skills in your life and respect them. You know, I've come across lots of people in the corporate world who think it's okay to be a completely different person at work than they are in their social life. And I, challenge that you need to lead with values, know who [00:46:00] you are, and that person who you are is, that one person, you know, you aren't two separate people, you are this one person and, you know, know what your values are and then know how you want to show up and if you, if you're in a situation where you think, you know, I'm going to walk in the door at night and I'm going to be grumpy, well, you're going to have to fake it and you're going to have to be nicer and you're going to have to give more to your family because it's not fair that you, You get home and you're tired and you give them the worst version of you.

So, yeah, I'm, I'm a big one for the whole self and showing up all aspects of your life.

Hayden: Totally agree. 100%. Maybe Carolyn, just to, uh, close off, is there anything else kind of that we haven't had a chance to share that relates to anything we're talking about in relation to leadership or wellbeing that you would like to share as 

Carolyn: Um, 

Hayden: comment?

Carolyn: probably, and I know this is going to sound terrible, but you know, going back to the fact that I'm a data person, I think that enough. People don't get their bloods done enough, look at the data of that and actually[00:47:00] you know, have enough health checks to say, hang on, is there something, you know, that if you're going through, you know, years of being iron deficient or whatever, and particularly I think for men, women often, you know, we seem to sort of sometimes do this a little bit more than blokes do.

But I highly encourage there is incredible technology now, whether you, you know, you want to get your gut health checked, whether you want to, you know, I've just had my DNA done where they said, Hey, you know, you should not be drinking green tea, but coffee is not a problem for you. Your body expels it fast, but, you take advantage of all the latest access we have to incredible technology.

And I think it's yeah. personalized medicine and even like I said, just starting with blood tests at your GP once a year to me that's just, building that ground base for your wellness and that can't deliver in any aspect of your life, in your work life, in your friendships, in your family, if, if you're not well and, your actual wellness is, crucial for all the plates that you're [00:48:00] spinning in other aspects of your life.

So take care of you and, check that, you know, you might think that you're fine but just get those levels read and um, get to your GP.

Hayden: Thank you, Carol. And that's a wonderful message to finish with. I think it does link back to what we talked earlier about sort of Measurement being a key part of and data being a key part of changing habits and behaviors if you don't know Your blood levels or those types of things you got your head in the sand Access the data and then use that, uh, as a baseline measure to improve and develop your wellbeing, make it a priority and, and use the wonderful data we've got.

So I think that's a wonderful message to finish on. Thank you very much for your time today. It's been a really insightful, uh, conversation and hopefully the, the listeners get as much out of this as I have.