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Julie Yoder: Put on your own oxygen mask first: the key to serving with integrity in your business

Julie started her presentation by telling us about her personal experience. She has been through burnout twice – first as a public school ESL teacher in the U.S. and the second time as a teacherpreneur striving to build up a sustainable business. Today she’s finally thriving and she wanted to share with us the useful tools and valuable lessons she learnt along the way. 

As language professionals, being consistently present and energetic in order to deliver the best to our clients and learners and serve them with integrity can be challenging. So how can we protect our energy and balance our needs with those of our business and our clients? 

Julie pointed out that if we’re working alone, we need to remember that we’re the ones making the rules. And the number one rule is to know ourselves.

That’s why Julie asked us to take a few seconds to think about under which conditions we thrive and which conditions make us stressed.

After this initial exercise, she proceeded to give us some practical tips to help us stay healthy and be able to set appropriate boundaries, in order to serve our clients, while still having time and energy for ourselves and the other parts of life. 

Here are some of her pointers: 

#1 Have some defined grounding practices

Meditating, journaling, free writing, stretching, writing down our daily intentions…there’s so many practices and we need to find the one that works for us. Carving a few moments that aren’t negotiable for ourselves is a must. 

#2 Beware of the difference between making decisions that work for us vs what seems the right thing to do for our business/client

“What looks good on paper is never just the answer. Your body has the answer” 

We need to trust our intuition and listen to our body. If an opportunity comes up, but we’re feeling an uncomfortable  sensation within our body, then we might need to push back on that. 

#3 Get very clear on what we will or will not do. 

It’s not about our skill set, but what is actually included in our service. 

#4 Set boundaries and block time for ourselves first

Start with blocking your calendar with the priorities for yourself first and add in work tasks second – see what happens.

#5 Find a good network or venting buddy

It’s important to have someone we can go to and talk it out.

#6 Take a work retreat

When nothing else is working, we might consider going somewhere where we have time to focus and do the job. 

Julie’s presentation was very well received by the participants who related to her words and actively commented in the chatbox with their thoughts and reflections. It’s been a really interactive session, full of valuable insights and useful concrete practices.

About the Speaker:

Julie Yoder

is an English language teacher and coach based in Washington, DC.

Through her company, English With Purpose, she helps international professionals who are working for a better world communicate in English with confidence.

She has worked in the language learning world since 1996 in a variety of roles teaching, training, and coaching, and, since 2007, she delivers customized one-to-one tutoring and coaching for international professionals. She is currently working on building a community for international professionals who work in English and offering holistic “Conversation Vacation” retreats in western Maryland in the U.S.

Connect with Julie using these links:

The website of English With Purpose

Julie’s LinkedIn profile

Signal Festival

The festival was a one-day event packed with insightful talks, networking opportunities, a panel discussion and a live opera show. Read more on what we did, connect with speakers and be inspired.