Achieve greatness by mastering the first 8 minutes of your day

Chelsea Pottenger, Director of EQ Consulting and international speaker

We caught up with the queen of calm, Chelsea Pottenger, Director of EQ Consulting and international speaker on using her 8 minute principle to get the most of your day, it’s an excellent tool for professional, busy Mums.

Last year my team worked with the inspiring Chelsea Pottenger, to talk to our 500 senior leaders (and that includes some of our top executives running big businesses and managing big teams) about resilience and mindfulness. 

Chelsea talked openly and with vulnerability about a deeply personal experience, suffering postnatal depression. Before life threw her this curveball, she was living a work-hard, play-hard life and “a carefree optimist”. 

Since then, I’ve admired Chelsea, her attitude to life and parenthood and getting out of the ‘fast lane’, including the creation of her business, EQ Minds, which champions mental health amongst individuals and businesses. 

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from Chelsea is her eight minute morning routine, which has been vital to me in the last six weeks as I’ve gone from many highs and lows.

The fantastic corporate job I was going to be offered was put on hold due to Covid-19; George couldn’t start at his daycare as we’d planned and so I was returning to my role of being his primary carer; my husband, who thrives on being in the office, was now working from home; and I decided to establish The Women’s Vault.

Essentially a melting pot for a pretty stressed out household!

I recently sent Chelsea, a fellow Mum trying to juggle the Life / Work balance (if you’re new to The Women’s Vault we call it ‘life / work balance’ and not the other way around) a few questions about resilience for our #resilience month series. Here’s what Chelsea had to say:

Olivia: “Chelsea, what’s the number one thing you do to remain resilient?”

Chelsea: “There are a few things, but one of the things I love to do is reflect on another time when I overcame adversity and ask myself questions like, “what did I learn from that experience?”, and then use that as a basis for growth and to help other people. 

“I’d also add that being mindful – doing things like meditation are so important – mindfulness doesn’t stop bad things from happening to us, it changes our reaction and helps us manage the stress.”

Olivia: “Working Mums are juggling so many things right now and absorbing a lot of household stress! How are you creating happiness in your family right now?

Chelsea: “We have a chalkboard in our kitchen and every morning we write out things that we are grateful for – these are the simplest things – and then we savour those moments – it’s called ‘emotional contagion’. Dr Nicholas Christakis and Dr Judson Brewer talk about it a lot. Our emotions impact other people – when my daughter is happy, then my husband and I are happy….By practicing gratitude, particular parts of her brain will start to grow that are responsible for empathy, compassion, happiness and resilience.”

Olivia: “I love your ritual of not checking your phone for the first 8 minutes of the morning and I try to follow it. Why is it important and what can we do instead of checking our phones?” 

Chelsea: “When we wake up in the mornings, your brain transitions from what we call the “delta” brainwave, associated with deep sleep, to “theta”. When you are in “theta”, your brain is malleable and flexible, so this is when you can improve your emotional intelligence, creativity, problem solving skills and it sets you up for a great and successful day. 

“You only get a short window – about 8 mins – in the theta brain state, so time is precious. If you wake up and check your phone, you skip the theta state and you go straight into your brain’s high stress thinking mode. 

Not only are you missing out on important moments to create new neural pathways, you’re forming those that aren’t, often what you are seeing on your phone kicks off flight/fight response, which is not a state we want to be in. 

Instead try things like meditation, yoga, exercise and journaling so that you build positive emotions to carry you throughout the day.” 

After reading all of this, you may not be surprised that she very successfully managed to win over the room of banking sceptics that she presented to last year.

If you’d like to find out more about Chelsea, please head to the EQ minds website:

Great videos including tips on resilience, go to Chelsea’s YouTube Channel.


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