“I believe in offering the world the best version of ourselves, not what's left of us. If someone neglects self-care, they end up offering what's left of them.” Chantal Souaid
Chantal Souaid is the creator of The Weekly Resolution® Planner, a time management tool that allows consistent progress without the cumbersome weight of perfectionism. Chantal believes that any goal and dream is achievable with consistency and the awareness that the most crucial step is to enjoy the journey as it unfolds. For Chantal staying in the moment hold greater significance than chasing perfection, firmly asserting that consistency sustains momentum while motivation initiates the trip.
Stephen Matini: Was there any person or any event in your past that has impacted your professional choices?
Chantal Souaid: Let me share three significant events that I've combined and dubbed as the tipping point in my life.
First, I unexpectedly delivered twins prematurely. Second, while living in Lebanon, we faced a political, economical, and financial crisis. Third, the project I was managing announced its closure in Lebanon, relocating to another country.
When these three events coincided, I told myself, "Chantal, perhaps this is your wake-up call to pursue what you've always loved – training, coaching, and helping people lead better lives.”
Stephen Matini: Were you able to jump on the new idea right away? Did you have to take time to process everything?
Chantal Souaid: I've had the blog since 2008 because I enjoy writing. However, it took me some time to figure out how to present myself as an entrepreneur to the world. I had been employed in an international development project for a long time.
So what I did was, realizing that my traditional New Year's resolutions weren't quite aligning with my new reality of having twins, I decided to make a change. As a productivity trainer, people used to joke and say, "Wait until you have kids." It was 2020, and instead of setting resolutions, my goal was simply to manage daily tasks as a mom with twins—every little achievement felt like a win.
I came up with the idea of a weekly challenge. I started filming myself announcing these challenges, posting them on social media, and getting support from people who wanted to join in. Initially, it was just a personal challenge with no set plan for the entire year.
When Covid hit Lebanon, the challenge gained even more engagement. Around April, I thought, "What if I use this platform to help others achieve their dreams?" To validate my credibility, I decided to fulfill one of my early dreams, creating a planner—named the “Weekly Resolution® Planner.”
I launched the first version and continued refining it the following year. This planner marked the culmination of my journey, paving the way for me to start my coaching business, sell the planner, and transition from a full-time employee to an entrepreneur.
Stephen Matini: How do you maintain consistent motivation and perseverance in pursuing your goals, even when faced with obstacles?
Chantal Souaid: While I was doing it every single week, my husband would say, "Chantal, you don't have a plan until the end of the year. How can you keep going? Every week, you're deciding what you the challenge will be, reading more, and then deciding what's better. You need a plan."
I responded by saying, "If I had a good plan that I'm not consistently implementing, that's not beneficial. On the other hand, a regular or perhaps a bad plan, if consistently implemented, renders much better results.”
So, what I had was a regular plan – to post a challenge every week – but I was doing it consistently. I recalled an interesting quote that I like, which says something along the lines of, "Motivation gets you started, consistency keeps you going."
At the time, image, my self-image as a professional, was crucial. When discussing goal setting, you always ask, "Who will you tell about your goal?" So, I announced it to the world.
Now, for me, the world isn't like 1 million followers. The world for me was my family, friends, and close connections. But even if I said to these people that I'm going to do this, for me, honoring my word is very important.
If, on the other hand, I said, "You know what, I will film a video every week, and once there are 20 videos, then I'll announce it," knowing myself, I wouldn't have done it.
Going back to my husband, he used to say, "If it were up to me, I'd put the plan, film at least half the videos, and then go for it." While this works for him, I know that if I put myself out there, if I tell people, and then every single week, there's nothing that will stop me, and I can do it, this is what would help me, and this is how I move through it.
And this is how I usually notice that this is the only way that I can get motivated because I have to put it out there, and then once it's out there, I will not back out unless I change my mind, and nothing like this has ever happened. So, each person needs to know what works best for them.
Stephen Matini: Can individuals with good intentions but lacking consistency still achieve their dreams?
Chantal Souaid: Many people struggle with consistency, and it's a significant challenge. People often come to me seeking advice on this. Being consistent doesn't happen overnight. If you were already consistent, you wouldn't be seeking help.
The problem lies in starting on the path. If your motivation isn't strong, and people don't genuinely desire to achieve their dream, they'll struggle to make it a reality. As Lewis said, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." And this holds true.
The issue is that the majority of people don't know their destination or what their goal or dream is. Consequently, they can't consistently implement anything. If they identify their dream and are determined to pursue it, consistency can start by initially faking it.
Creating a small plan and setting goals can be the beginning. I can explain how the Weekly Resolution® can assist them in achieving it consistently every single week.
Stephen Matini: Have you always been clear about what you wanted, or is it something you learned along the way?
Chantal Souaid: Many times, I had a clear vision, and other times, things were less certain, especially when I was starting my business, raising kids, and adjusting to the challenges of being a working mom. It wasn't easy. However, what I learned over time, in a continuous learning process, was to trust myself, the process, and the universe.
For instance, certain aspects have always been clear aligning with my values. Helping people lead better lives has been a mission for me since a young age.
While sometimes it was the big picture or the overarching goal, I'm now learning to embrace the significance of each moment. Every experience allows me to discover myself better, whether as a mom, a business owner, or an individual in this country.
These puzzle pieces are forming the dots, and I've discovered something intriguing. If something proves challenging, and despite my efforts, it's not working, it's a signal to reevaluate. I might need to explore another direction or think outside the box because, in a way, the universe is indicating that this might not be the right path to take.
Stephen Matini: How has your perspective on the importance of being in the present moment and embracing the learning process evolved over time?
Chantal Souaid: What you are highlighting is quite crucial because many highly professional and accomplished individuals, who hold accomplishment as a significant value in their lives, often feel the need to pursue perfection in everything they do. However, as we age and gain maturity, we come to realize that perfection doesn't necessarily lie in the minute details, such as how our hair is styled today. It's more about being present in the moment, like I am right now with you.
If someone had given us this advice when we were younger, we might not have fully embraced it. If you tell a young person to focus on being present, they might dismiss it as irrelevant. However, as we live and experience it, it becomes something internalized. This way, we can truly live and understand the concept.
Stephen Matini: As a mom of twins and someone managing various roles, what would be your first step for women who aspire to balance both motherhood and a professional or entrepreneurial career?
Chantal Souaid: As I was working on the Weekly Resolution® Planner, I needed to create a life balance concept because, at that time, my life felt anything but balanced. Juggling twins, working from home, and taking on the challenge of achieving life balance was no easy task.
Then, it hit me – the day I woke up at five, completed my morning routine before the kids and work demands, everything improved. I was happier, more giving, and even the kids seemed calmer.
I continued testing this idea and realized that when I prioritize self-care, it enhances my ability to contribute and support others. I often use the airplane oxygen mask analogy: "In case of oxygen drop, put your own mask before assisting others." Taking care of myself is a favor to those around me.
So I created a concept called the Uno-Trio® Life Balance Concept. The concept revolves around one main pillar and three secondary pillars. The main pillar is the Uno which includes spirituality, physical and health, mental and emotional and sel-care. The secondary pillars which I call Trio include first, there's Environment, which encompasses my home, surroundings, and family dynamics. It could be a dorm room or a grand mansion – it's tailored to the individual.
Next is Relationships, embracing love and social connections. Finally, Fulfillment covers money, career, hobbies, fun, learning, and growth.
Using the planner, I draw my Uno-Trio® vision board, outlining what I'm doing for myself, my environment, relationships, and fulfillment. I set a beautiful vision for each area.
Monthly, I reflect on what I'll do for myself, my environment, relationships, and fulfillment. The same questions are asked weekly and daily, creating a continuous and evolving process.
Stephen Matini: If someone is struggling to find time, what actions can they take to carve out time and overcome the associated guilt?
Chantal Souaid: Hopefully, if I knew this person, I would shake them and ask, "God forbid if you were to die now, what would happen?" They would pause, realizing everything might fall apart. I'd then say, "Okay, even if it falls apart, after a while, someone else can take over those tasks." The issue is our own expectations, fueled by social media comparisons and the desire to emulate others.
I asked someone this question, and it hit them at the core, making them realize that anyone can perform their job, but no one can replace their role as the mother of their kids. This realization lifted a heavy burden.
Every person has a unique life story and can say "stop" without needing excessive money or things. If someone can't carve time for self-care, they may eventually collapse, leading to someone else taking over, but not in a pleasant way.
I believe in offering the world the best version of ourselves, not what's left of us. If someone neglects self-care, they end up offering what's left of them.
Stephen Matini: Knowing that time is finite, how do you stay mindful and prioritize?
Chantal Souaid: I try to enjoy what I do without obsessing excessively. Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. Will I get there? Hopefully, but now all that truly matters is how I spend my time. Have you always been this way, or as you mentioned, did it become heightened as a result of becoming a mom? No, I haven't always been this way.
I think motherhood has imparted its biggest lessons on me. When I was at work, I was adamant and strict, striving for perfection, with no time to waste. I was hardworking, as you mentioned. Working with an international development organization, moving from one project to another, dealing with donors, beneficiaries, and stakeholders, customer service was at a hundred percent. Emails wouldn't go without an automatic spelling check, mistakes were never allowed.
As I became a mom, I started realizing that life cannot be this way. I admire those who can maintain such a life and still be parents, but my priorities shifted. Before having kids, my main focus was proving myself as a very good professional. When I became a mom, I realized my accomplishments don't define me.
The title, Middle East and North Africa Director, seemed big and interesting, but then I thought, "Will I just be a trainer, a coach? Isn't that too small?" It felt small initially, but then I realized I don't have to be any of these titles; I can just be myself.
This change didn't come easily, but it helped me grow. I understood that my ego was speaking; my accomplishments and titles don't define me.
One day, I can have a big title, and the next day, if I don't, I'm not less; I'm much better because I'm myself. This realization took time, and every day, I still learn. It's an ongoing process, and I believe if we stop learning, we stop growing.
Stephen Matini: Thank you so much for sharing all this with me. My wish for you is to be around for as long as possible so that you can help as many people as possible because you're truly fabulous.
Chantal Souaid: Thank you, Stephen. And thanks for creating this opportunity for people to listen to you, to come over with you. You cannot imagine how sometimes just listening to one of your podcasts can change people's lives.
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