The story of the Blue Cow
She is a mother of three children and her best fairy tale for them now is “The Blue Cow” which means that she always will make them feel special and unique. Blue Cow now is turned in a very successful story for us as adults as well, but it started when her boys (now 10 and 9) were little. They were watching an episode of Blue Cow and they said ‘Mum, we should be Blue Cows…’ This got them Steve and Jo to say: “yes, we should! So together they all listed the traits of ‘Blue Cows’ – these included being positive, friendly, kind and never settling for ‘normality’. And then they listed what the opposite of a Blue Cow would be. These became ‘Brown Cows’. These were negative, lethargic, grumpy people. They had no idea that this concept would then transform their Health Care business, which they had at the time. They inspired their team to be Blue Cows and now they have a mentoring business; They have Blue Cow Awards and run inspirational events for fellow Blue Cows. She now talks all over the world about living as a Blue Cow and creating a dream life!
BY MIRELA SULAPhoto credit: Bobbi Bicker & Jean-Christophe Hermier
What is the story behind the Blue Cow?
The Blue Cow concept came from a children’s TV show that used to be shown on the BBC channel Cbeebies in the UK. It’s all about a cow – a blue cow – that is different from all the other cows in her field. Unlike the other cows she dreams about what might exist in the world beyond her field. She’s full of optimism, energy and curiosity. She’s passionate and dynamic and full of life. Her brown cow colleagues are none of these things. When she tells them that she wants to be an astronaut, or compete in the Olympics or be a great ballet dancer, they look up from chewing the grass and say: ‘Everyone knows that cows can’t do that!’
In every episode, Blue Cow ignores their scepticism and goes to the edge of her field where she catches a bus to wherever she needs to be to experience her longing for adventure. We (the audience) watch her fly to the moon, win gold medals in the Olympics, dance at the Royal Ballet and when she’s done, she rushes back to her field and tells the brown cows all about her adventures. She’s full of excitement and passion for what’s just happened, but they continue to chew the grass. They say: ‘She’s off again! Everyone knows cows can’t do that.’ The narrator always ends a Blue Cow episode with the words: ‘But we know they can!’.
My husband and I loved Blue Cow when we were watching it with our kids.
It was so much better than it needed to be – multi-layered with a very powerful underlying message. So we started to use Blue Cow metaphors in our healthcare business and everyone in our team (and most of our clients) knew that ours was a Blue Cow environment, and we were trying to do Blue Cow things in the world.
What inspires you every day and motivates you to do good things in life?
The opportunity to make a difference motivates me. I love ‘rescuing burnt out small business owners’ and helping anyone who wants to create and live their dream life. Hearing success stories about how our concepts and strategies have changed our clients lives, personally, financially, and improved their self-esteem, work life balance and relationships inspires me and keeps me motivated. I also read a lot of personal development books, listen to personal development CD’s and ensure my mind is ‘fed with positive input’. I hang out with Blue Cows in person and in ‘stereo ‘everyday! I think it is Jim Rohn or Tony Robbins who said, ‘Your life is a direction reflection of the five people you spend the most time with.’ So I always ensure that I spend time with the people who inspire me whether that be in person or via a CD.
I think like all ‘mum-preneurs’, balancing being a mummy to 3 kids and working and running a business is my biggest challenge.
What are the biggest challenges in your life and how do you overcome them?
I think like all ‘mum-preneurs’, balancing being a mummy to 3 kids and working and running a business is my biggest challenge. It’s a challenge wanting to be there for them and being fully present physically and emotionally as well as being a business owner, speaker and travelling too. There is a constant ‘pull’. I overcome this by ensuring I choose my projects carefully, surround myself with a great work team and also get amazing childcare support that I trust and the kids feel happy with. If the kids are safe and happy, I am able to do what I love career wise. I also remember that kids need a mum role model who is passionate, happy and inspired about the life she lives. They tell me they are proud of what I do which is great as I want them to be inspired to create a life they love too.
My other challenge is fitting everything in. I love to say YES, when sometimes I should say No. I now choose my projects more carefully and try to ensure they move me towards my purpose and enable me to serve in the best way I can. Lastly, Admin! I hate it! I overcome this with a great PA and support team around me.
Whilst my husband plays his part, I feel responsible, whilst also trying to ensure we have a date night and time as a couple.
How difficult is it being a woman in a career, a mother and a wife – and how do you balance these roles?
I would say this is my biggest challenge! I consider myself MD of our house meaning it is my job to ensure that the house is clean and tidy, school uniforms are ready, that there is food in the fridge and all the stuff that goes with running a home. Whilst my husband plays his part, I feel responsible, whilst also trying to ensure we have a date night and time as a couple. I feel that all women who are working should have some home support. Often they may feel bad having a house keeper, cleaner or ironing lady, however without help, they have two full time jobs e.g. work career and home career! Then add some kids into the mix and they potentially find themselves becoming a ‘duck’… looking like they are in control, however paddling like mad underneath to stay afloat. Many women spend their life running around all over the place and not being fully present for any of it. This is where I used to be, before I decided I couldn’t live this way anymore and feel successful as a mum, wife, and business women. I am terrible with admin both at work and home. My kids bring home tons of letters from school and nursery, party invites and social engagements, I find it hard to keep track! They have a busier social life than I do which also needs managing. So I have a timetable for personal, family and work. This helps me balance. I often stop work at 3pm to become mummy and then start again at 8pm after the kids are all in bed. I am sure many small business owners can relate to this, its something we all have to keep balanced. I love both. I also ensure I take regular ‘me time’. I love to have chiropractic, massage, exercise and get my nails and hair done as well as attend seminars, read and journal. I also enjoy having lunch and dinner with friends. I used to think this was not important and I didn’t have the time. Now I know that women must not wait for someone else to ‘rescue’ them from the busy chaotic life – they need to take time out for themselves as if we burn out, everyone around us suffers! I am still not as good as I should be at ‘me time’, it’s a work in progress.
Who is the person that you trust in your dark moments?
My husband Steve. He knows how I ‘tick’- what to say when I need encouragement and also when I need a ‘kick up the bum’ – as sometimes ‘dark moments’ come because I have stepped out of my comfort zone and I am feeling fear or doubt. I am very lucky that I have a very strong family support network, with a great mum and mum-in-law and some amazing best friends who are always there for me. I also have insightful mentors who help me stay on track.
Can you describe a usual day from your life – how does it start and how does it end?
I used to be up and out way before the kids left for school or nursery and then return home way after they were in bed. I did this for many years but I soon realised that I felt like I was missing out big time. I know lots of women who do this, whether through choice or necessity, however it wasn’t serving me or my family. It was making me unhappy. It was a massive decision to sell our Health Care business but now I feel so grateful that my husband and I changed our life. We have now designed it so we are able to run our business from anywhere and we decide exactly how we spend each day. I love to take the kids to school and then go to the gym. Then I check in with the team and set the MUSTS for the day. I also check in with our mentoring groups and clients. I love to connect and serve. My passion is to speak so I will spend some time doing this whether through live seminars or on-line. So my ideal day involves this. I don’t watch much TV, so my day will hopefully end with some red wine, good food and time with my husband, family or friends. Unless I have a big project when I will work late after the kids are in bed. I certainly don’t feel that I lead a very glamorous life – I am a real home bird!
How would you describe your relationship with your husband?
I am very lucky. I get to work and be married to my best friend. Of course we are human and so we have our challenging moments as we are both very strong minded. Luckily these do not happen very often. We share the same values, aspirations and fully support each other. At the same time, we work hard not to take our relationship and each other for granted. All relationships must be cared for and nurtured. I feel very grateful.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of working together as a couple?
There are definitely more advantages than disadvantages in our case. Advantages include being a partnership shaping our destiny together in both life and career. We trust each other and know that we can take calculated risks. Being fully committed to our projects together and still supporting our individual projects as well. Disadvantages are that we have to be very careful that we stop work and have family time and couple time away from business discussions. Sometimes we are more critical with each other than we would be with other people.
What will be different in the new Blue Cow Summit?
We have all the amazing elements of last year however we are thinking bigger for this one. This year we have more space for delegates which means we will be able to serve and inspire more people. We hope they will come along and make 2016 the best year so far! We have even more world class speakers sharing content – covering Wealth creation and finance, Business, Health, Relationships, Public Speaking as well as inspiring speakers sharing their insight and passion. Its going to be an amazing event which will motivate people to ‘leave their field’ and step up to take their life to the next level and bring out even more of their potential. I hope your readers will come and grab tickets at http://www.thebluecowsummit.com.
What is your biggest project for 2016?
I am very excited about The Blue Cow Summit as we have an amazing speaker line up of Blue Cow thought leaders, many of whom have been an inspiring part of my personal and business voyage so far. I am excited to share their message at our event and honoured that they are joining us. This is a big project. In 2016 we are launching Blue Cow Global- which is Blue Cow Community which will offer educational courses as well as mastermind groups, networking, courses in Wealth, Health, Relationships, Spiritual development, small business, marketing, all aimed at helping people to grow personally and professionally and create a life they love. I am very excited and grateful about this project.