Carmanah Mackenzie is half Chinese, half Scottish, and was born and raised in a high-pressure environment in Canada. She was expected to be at the top of her class, played the piano at least one hour per day for 12 years, and was a competitive sprinter, which meant she was at practice or the gym 10 times a week.
Carmanah shares that this upbringing helped her to develop a level of grit and resilience that she is now grateful for, however, it caused her to lack a great deal of self-compassion. To counter this, she studied psychology to understand wellbeing and its importance.
Through therapy and coaching, Carmanah developed greater compassion for herself and now helps other high achievers do the same.
Once Carmanah graduated, she travelled until her mid-20s and returned to start her career in HR. However, she felt that she wouldn’t make enough of a difference, so she left the corporate world to pursue a business in wellbeing and performance coaching and consulting.
As a result of her unique background, Carmanah brings a blend of grit and high-emotional intelligence to her work supporting high-achieving women creating success across all pillars of life, not only their careers or business. Additionally, she helps companies create healthier and higher-performing workplaces through a foundation of wellbeing.
We spent the day with Carmanah to understand what her day-to-day life looks like.
A chilly wake-up
I typically get up at 530AM – I’m an early bird so it works for me – and my number one rule is that I’m not on my phone until 8AM. This is the biggest predictor of how my day is going to go. If I bombard myself with social media or emails when I’ve only just woken up, I feel stressed and a little frantic for the rest of the day.
Generally, I start my day with movement – yoga, swimming or weights. It gets the blood flowing and provides me with a good level of energy to get my day started. Sometimes I meditate. I know how beneficial it is so I’m working on being more consistent with it. I also like to have a cold shower because it helps me wake up. It wasn’t easy at first, but now I quite like the cold! I make coffee or matcha, and I’m ready to start the day.
Cracking down for a days work
As a business owner, no two days are the same. Today, I took my first coaching call at home at 8AM. Once finished, I’ll walk to my coworking space as I choose to work from an office so I can separate work and home.
At the office, I’ll connect with new people on LinkedIn, and create content for social media in the morning. Then I’ll break for lunch and I almost always eat a home-cooked lunch because it’s healthier and cheaper than eating out. After a short digestion walk, I’ll sit back down at my desk and work on projects for corporate clients such as training or workshops till 330ish. I’ll go home and take my remaining coaching calls until 6, sometimes 7PM.
My clients are around the world so I am flexible with my schedule while still being intentional with boundaries so I’m not working too much. If I’m going to an event, or delivering an in-person workshop, that generally takes up my whole day.
The most challenging part of my day is being disciplined about the difficult tasks I need to complete on a daily basis, like putting myself out there to share what I do with people. I am my own boss, which means I get to dictate what my day looks like. There is definitely an upside to that, in that I get to be as flexible as I need to be. The downside is that I have to stay driven to do the things that are hard; to remind myself why I started in the first place, which is to help people make the most out of their lives. I have this conversation with myself, every day. Sometimes I give myself grace on days when I’m really tired and don’t want to push myself out of my comfort zone. The key is consistency, so if I miss a day, I try to start again the following day.
Without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect of my day is seeing people make a positive change in their lives. Whether it’s in response to a piece of content that I’ve created, or a powerful coaching conversation, to know that I’ve had a tiny part to play in helping someone create a positive shift in their life is incredibly fulfilling.
Prioritising personal wellbeing
Creating time and space after a workday is non-negotiable for me. In the past, I worked long hours and often didn’t have that time to wind down. I noticed the negative effects it had on my well-being and knew I had to make a change. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but ensuring you create some time is important.
Similar to my morning rule of no screen time, I also am strict about turning off screens an hour before I go to bed. It helps me wind down and improves my quality of sleep. During that hour, I will slowly get ready for bed, I might read, and I usually have a good conversation with my partner. On days that are unusually busy and I don’t get home until late, I will get ready for bed and meditate for a couple of minutes before falling asleep. Late nights are not a regular thing for me because I wake up early and sleep is important to me.