Executive Assistant to a chief executive
Naomi Steward, 40, is Executive Assistant to the CEO of a global advertising agency in London. She is married to Rob and they live in West London with their pet rescue rabbit Olive.
I don’t overload my mental rucksack
When I rst started my job it was overwhelming. I had never worked anywhere so busy. After two weeks, my husband Rob said to me: “You are carrying around a rucksack of stress. Pick out the bits that are weighing you down and that you can’t do anything about and get rid of them.” I mentally envisaged all the worries and thought: ‘Can I change it? Will it have an impact if I don’t do anything about it?’ If the answer was no, I imagined picking each one out of my rucksack and I felt physically lighter. If I start to get stressed now, I imagine the rucksack on my back and feel the physical weight on my shoulders. If it’s stuff that isn’t helping me, I take it out. It’s a brilliant technique that has completely changed my mindset.
Is it going to matter in a year’s time?
I have a lot of juggling in my job and occasionally I do drop the ball. I’m a perfectionist, so that is hard for me! But I ask myself: ‘Is this going to matter in a year’s time?’ Every time the answer has been no. Most things don’t even matter in a week’s time, let alone a year! I avoid staying in my head
If I’m worried about something, I’ll talk about it. I think we worry about coming across as being incompetent at work, but talking about things always makes you feel better. It’s like releasing a valve: when the pressure gauge goes down things feel much more manageable.
I think: ‘It’s just business.’
If I’m having a bad day, I look at some of the photos of the animal charity I volunteer for and it makes me remember that there are bigger things out there. My job is important to me, but I’m not responsible for someone else’s life.
We have a ‘20 minute no-talking’ rule at home.
I have to talk to people all day at work. Sometimes when I get home, I just need some time to myself. Rob asks: “Do you want 20 minutes?” and he’ll go to the pub for a quick drink or something. It’s the same with him, if he says, “I just need 20 minutes,” we both get it. It’s really important to have that time to just decompress.