Creating More Progressive Organizations With Pim de Morree And Encouraging Better Sleep Hygiene For Women With Becks Armstrong

Progressive organizations are those with employees who are well-motivated and less stressed out. In this episode, Dr. Diane Hamilton is with Pim de Morree, the author of Corporate Rebels: Make Work More Fun, to discuss how much curiosity and motivation play a role in progressive organizations. Pim stresses the importance of understanding what motivates people intrinsically. He shows how leaders can get people to do tasks that no one else likes or tasks that are well-suited for specific people. He also talks about the most interesting companies they have worked with in terms of management and organization styles.

Also with Dr. Diane Hamilton is Becks Armstrong, the Founder and CEO of Clarity, an organization that creates awareness and support for the issues that uniquely affect women as they get ready for and go through menopause – at whatever their age. Here, she shares some solutions to getting more women in high level positions in tech. With sleep being one of the answers to productivity, Becks highlights how stress management affects sleep mechanisms. She then notes why women need to deal with pelvic pain to deal with stress, which can then lead to better sleep hygiene.

TTL 687 | Sleep Hygiene


We have Pim de Morree and Becks Armstrong. Pim is a corporate rebel. You might have seen the book, Corporate Rebels. He’s also a Thinkers50 Radar winner. Becks is the Founder and CEO at Clarity. We’re going to talk about culture, sleep and all kinds of things. This is going to be fascinating.

Watch the episode here

Listen to the podcast here

Creating More Progressive Organizations With Pim de Morree

I am here with Pim de Morree, who is the author of Corporate Rebels: Make Work More Fun. A few years ago, Joost Minnaar and Pim gave up promising careers. Frustrated with the slow and boring corporate world, they were determined to find and study organizations that can make work more fun. They called themselves the Corporate Rebels. It’s so nice to have you here, Pim.

I’m happy to be here.

You’ve done some amazing things. I know you won an award for the Thinkers50 Radar in London where we were both at. You’re one of the Top 30 Emergent Management Thinkers in the world. It’s always a great nomination, but to win the Breakthrough Idea Award on top of it, congratulations.

Thanks a lot. It’s nice to be recognized for the work we’ve been doing over the past couple of years.

That’s a lot of work. I want to get into what you’ve been doing because you had to do a lot to write this book. I want to get a little background on you and then what led to writing the book.

There is a lot of time and effort spent in writing a book. I would not advise other people to go down that path, but we are happy it’s finally there. We’re quite happy with the result as well. A bit of background about Corporate Rebels. Joost and I started the company several years ago. It was completely born out of personal frustration. We experienced what working in the corporate world is like. We’ve been friends for a very long time already and we both have different degrees. Joost studied Nanotechnology, I studied Industrial Engineering and we started to work for companies that perfectly fit with what we had studied for. We worked there for about three and a half years. After that period, we get completely fed up with how these companies worked.

Lots of traditional outdated command and control management methods were being used to bring people into the workplace and to make them do what the organization wanted them to do. Over three years, we got more and more frustrated and after three years we decided, “This is enough.” We don’t believe we will enjoy this for 40 more years. We didn’t even enjoy it already after three years. We said, “There has to be a better way of working.” Many people spend so much time at work. How can it be that we and many people around us were disengaged and unmotivated in the workplace? That’s how Corporate Rebels started. It’s very much from the point of frustration where we said, “This is not how we want to work. Maybe there’s a better way out there and maybe other companies are doing things differently that we want to learn from to show to the rest of the world that it’s possible to work in a different, more engaging and more motivating way.”

[bctt tweet=”Giving people the freedom and autonomy inspires in itself a lot of curiosity.” via=”no”]

You’ve visited more than 100 organizations. Am I right?

Yes. Over the past several years, we’ve been traveling constantly to visit all of these workplaces like companies that sound sometimes maybe even Utopian where employees for example, set their own working hours, choose their own managers and set their own salaries. We’ve been researching these radical companies in a lot of detail to understand how they work very much on a practical level. Also thinking about how can more traditional companies transform towards these more progressive ways of working.

Since my work is in curiosity and perception, I’m curious about how much curiosity played a role in these progressive organizations. Did they inspire curiosity in their employees?

First of all, let me share that the entire idea that we had was born out of curiosity because we had no background in this topic whatsoever and we just said, “We want to solve this problem of boring work.” It’s something that we are curious about to explore what can be done differently. For us, it was the main starting point. In the companies we visited, I think what these organizations do very well is that they believe that in principle, all people are good. They are trustworthy and they want to do something meaningful. They want to contribute to something they believe in. They want to use their skills. That’s quite the opposite of what many traditional companies seem to believe, where they believe they have to come up with all kinds of rules and policies that dictate how people should behave.

The progressive mindset where companies say, “We believe people are good,” and if we give them the opportunity and we facilitate a way of working that’s enables people to do the stuff they love, then everybody will be better for it. I think giving people that freedom, autonomy and trust that if they want to do something they believe in, they can do it. This inspires already a lot of curiosity because people don’t simply listen to what a manager tells them to do, but they start exploring themselves. What is it that I am good at? What are my main talents? What do I like to do most? How can I also use that to be valuable in the organization I work in?

As you say, I’m thinking everybody’s good at certain things but nobody likes other certain things. How do you get the people to do the things that no one likes?

The good thing about people is that we’re diverse that many people like to do different things. If you give people the opportunity to express those differences as well, you will always find people who like to do something that other people don’t. I don’t think there’s a big problem. From what we’ve seen in all these organizations, there are always people willing to pick up tasks that others don’t like to do. It balances itself out. If there are too many people in an organization that don’t want to pick up a certain task, probably that organization and those people should be thinking about, “Do we want to do this? Do we maybe want to move in a different direction?”

[bctt tweet=”Now, people don’t simply listen to what a manager tells them to do. They start exploring themselves. ” via=”no”]

It’s funny because I can remember sitting around a table when I worked in pharmaceutical sales where we all talked about what we liked and didn’t like about the job. What most of us are asking what you liked the best. I remember what everybody liked the best was the thing I didn’t like at all. What I liked the best, no one else liked. I liked paperwork and certain things. They’d looked at me like I was insane because they like to drive and I didn’t want to drive. Everybody has the unique things that they like. I’m curious as you researched these different companies, how did it vary by country?

Surprisingly, little actually. First of all, let me clarify. We’ve been to almost all continents to visit these radical workplaces from die-hard manufacturing companies in China to service firms in Latin America. Also in places you wouldn’t expect progressive things to happen. If you look into those organizations, there’s not a lot of difference in how they approach things. Even in China for example, where you have this production company. One of the largest white goods manufacturers in the world, a company called Haier, where the employees select their leader. They give people the opportunity to set up their own startups within the bigger company and select their own colleagues they want to work with. A lot of these radical things. In the end, the main underlying thing is that people are all motivated by the same thing.

If you also look at a lot of research for example and also Daniel Pink talks and writes about it a lot. If you look at what motivates people intrinsically, that is autonomy, mastery and purpose. Some people named them a bit different, but it all comes down to the same thing. Whether you go to China, South America, North America or Europe, it doesn’t matter. That’s what people are motivated by. The application of these things might be a bit different in different cultures. Some cultures might be more fit for these more progressive ways of working. For example, you could imagine in Scandinavia or where I’m from here in Holland, the cultures are already quite aligned with these more progressive ways of working. Compared to Japan where if a very high-power distance and then it’s harder to have a very flat self-managing organization. In the end, if organizations are able to create it, then it doesn’t matter because people are motivated by the same things. You see some of the same outcomes also of these new ways of working, whether you visit a company that does so in China or the Netherlands. It doesn’t matter that much.

As you bring up Daniel Pink’s work, I used a lot of different research when I was studying curiosity and a lot of those things that we find for drive and motivation. As you were talking about autonomy, mastery and purpose, all that is developed by curiosity. What you’re saying is all these people are allowed to be curious and explore, which is important. I’m curious if you saw different desires of how they went about some of these things by generation.

That’s a very interesting topic. In the workshops that we do for example, a lot of people ask the question like, “That’s great that you guys, as Millennials, want this in the workplace. How about those older generations in the workplace? Don’t they want job security? Don’t they just want to have a routine job where they do the same thing every single day?” If you look at the research and if you look at our experience so far, that’s all complete bullcrap. Even if you look at generational research, first of all, there’s no clear understanding of which generation belongs to which age group. Even if some studies seem to have noted these differences, they’re all a bit different. Secondly, there’s no significant difference between the people in those generations.

If you look at Baby Boomers compared to Millennials, their wants and needs in the workplace, there’s no proven scientific difference between those generations. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If you look into the progressive organizations, we do see another interesting thing when it comes to generations. Young people when they enter the workplace, they expect flexibility and more transparency. They expect to be able to reach out to anyone within the organization, whether they are top management or frontline staff. Mainly because they’re used to doing the same thing at home or in school already. Young people have grown up with the internet. They can reach almost anyone through a couple of mouse clicks. They come into the workplace and these traditional companies are often very much different than that.

There are not a lot of transparency. People are not as approachable as they might expect them to be. There’s a big difference between the expectations of young people entering the workplace and the actual workplace itself. The generations that have already been working for 10, 20 or 30 years, they are used to that way of working that it’s nothing weird for them. If companies transform from traditional to progressive, what we see is that the older generations enjoyed more than the younger generations, simply because the younger generations expected that to be normal. They’re not that surprised, but the older generations if they transform from this traditional command and control style organization towards a very progressive workplace where they have lots of autonomy, they’re quite surprised that this can work. They ask themselves the question like, “Why have we worked for 20 to 30 years strictly? It shows that we can be more productive and at the same time more motivated in this new and more progressive work environment.”

TTL 687 | Sleep Hygiene
Sleep Hygiene: People are good. Organizations just need to give them the opportunity to do the stuff they love.


A perception of what we think it should be and everything is all based on our experience. What you’re tying it into is all very interesting in my work in perception. How are all these things, the company cultures and what we anticipate and all that is a hot topic? You wrote about at least twenty companies in your book. What were the most interesting companies that you wrote about? Can you give me a couple that stood out to you as very unique?

One of the more well-known ones is Patagonia. It’s much known for not just making outdoor clothing and equipment, but also for being a very responsible brand that’s very much focused on sustainability and making sure that their products don’t harm the environment. The visit we had there and one trend that we described in the book is to move from profit to purpose and values. They are a very good example of an organization that is not just saying it, but they’re also actually doing it. They’re constantly walking the talk on being sustainable and responsible to the environment. It’s a very inspiring company when it comes to that purpose.

Another very interesting organization that a lot of people wouldn’t expect that to happen is somewhere not too far from here in our neighbor country in Belgium. It’s the Ministry of Social Security, where you have around 1,000 civil servants who can choose their working hours. They can choose their working location and they can even choose how many hours a week they work. It’s completely free. They have a huge amount of autonomy. All they need to do is to make sure that they come up with the right outcomes and stuff that they all agree upon with each other in teams and departments. They’re even moving away from all hierarchical layers. They’re moving towards self-management. These people are extremely happy and at the same time extremely productive and more successful than other ministries in Belgium. It’s interesting to see that it can happen in all kinds of organizations. It can also be quite radical even in the more conservative or from the outside looking more boring environments such as, for example, a government organization.

Those are good examples and I’m thinking about how you were talking about you can decide how many hours you want to work as long as you create these outcomes. For someone, maybe I can do something in an hour, but it takes somebody else five hours. Are you getting paid by the hour or by the outcome?

In that case, they get a fixed monthly salary based on the added value they have for the organization. If that changes over time, for example, if they add way more value than their colleagues doing more or less the same thing, then their salary can go up. This differs a bit from company to company. Many are split up into a lot of small companies where you have as a team full responsibility. For example, if as a team you’re doing well, you also can pay your people a higher salary or you can get profit sharing or dividends from that smaller team inside the big organization. It differs a bit per company, but the more value you add, the higher your salary will be in the organizations as well.

What was the most interesting or impressive company you found in the United States that was based out of the US?

There are two that come to mind. Patagonia is one of them. Another one is The Morning Star. I believe there is two Morning Star, but the one I’m talking about is the tomato processing company. That’s also a fully self-managed organization. You have around 600 people working there and in the season where they processed the tomatoes, you have another 4,000 people coming in for temporary work. There’s not a single manager in the entire organization. They have two simple rules. One of them is to honor your commitments. If you make commitments to your colleagues, you better own up to them and make sure that you live up to those commitments that you made. The second principle that they live by is no one can force action upon somebody else.

[bctt tweet=”No one can force an action upon somebody else.  ” via=”no”]

Everything happens voluntarily and in good collaboration. People signed contracts with their colleagues stating what commitments they make towards one another. That coordinates and aligns all of the goals and the actions of people in the organization. There are no management layers that are coordinating or aligning people’s work execution. It’s the people themselves that fully self-managing this network’s organization. It’s quite astonishing if you think about a production facility where people process tomatoes. Not a single manager in the entire organization and people being way more engaged with their work simply because they have a lot of autonomy and a lot of decision-making power.

I had Jos De Blok on the show and you might have met him at Thinkers50 and his work with nurses where they didn’t have managers there as well. It’s interesting to see what’s happening and the changes that you see in different countries and what works. I did ask him about the United States if their system would work here and they’ve tried it, but we’re so capitalistic that it wasn’t successful so much here. I find it interesting to see the differences per country, even though you say you didn’t see a whole lot of differences in some respects. I was wondering if you had a difficult time getting leaders to talk to you about all this.

In the beginning, yes, because nobody knew who we were or what we were doing. In the beginning, it was a lot of spamming involved, continuously asking people until they said yes and begging. It’s a whole lot easier because the people know that if we write about them, we have a pretty big platform with our blog where we share the stories of the companies that we visited. Interestingly all around the world, people still tend to look a lot at what’s happening in the US when it comes to management practices. We found that more progressive things are happening in other parts of the world. If you look at what Jos De Blok is doing with Buurtzorg. Some of these organizations that are pushing the boundaries and challenging the status quo, they’re mostly not based in Silicon Valley or in the US where you maybe would expect them to be.

It is interesting how the changes that we’re seeing will work in some areas and not in others. What you’re doing is great. I know you say your blogs are being read in more than 100 countries. I read that they said it’s your cult blog. Why do you think it’s called the cult blog?

I think it’s because it’s different, but maybe other people can say that better. Maybe you can say that even been better.

What you’re doing is very important for all groups. This is why you’ve been in the New York Times, Forbes and Huffington Post. You’ve been in The Guardian and BBC. The list goes on and on and has been focused on what you’re doing. It’s important because times are changing and we need to change with them. I was looking forward to sharing your story. I appreciate that you did that. A lot of people would want to know more. How can they find you, get your book and find out more?

The easiest thing to do is to go to your search engine and type in Corporate Rebels. There was a pretty big chance you’ll end up on our website. If you don’t have anything to do for the next couple of years, then there is more than enough content for you to read all freely available about these workplaces, how they transform, what kind of practices they have. You can go to that whole list of organizations. You can select the countries, you can select the industries and deep dive a bit into some of these organizations. It’s also where if you have a little bit less time on your hands, you can buy our book. You get a summarized version of everything we learned so far.

TTL 687 | Sleep Hygiene
Sleep Hygiene: Traditional companies have rules and policies that dictate how people should behave.


Pim, thank you so much for being on the show. This was interesting and I will continue to follow your work.

I’m very happy to have been able to share it here and keep up the good work yourself as well.

Thank you.

Encouraging Better Sleep Hygiene For Women With Becks Armstrong

I am here with Becks Armstrong, who has dedicated her career working towards improving the lives of women of all ages and in all situations. She created Clarity, which is her company, to create awareness and support for the issues that uniquely affect women. She’s also been a COO in high growth tech startups in London as well as trained in a lot of different industries that deal with mindfulness and other issues to make a deeper understanding of women. It’s nice to have you here, Becks.

It’s nice to be here talking with you, Diane.

I was looking forward to this. I saw your work on CrossKnowledge, which is a Wiley company. I was doing some videos for them as well, which is great because it goes to all these organizations and trains them about how to do certain things. My focus is on curiosity. You said you’re a huge believer in curiosity, so we’re going to have plenty to talk about. I want to get a little background on you because a lot of people would like to know more about you, in case they’re not familiar with you. How did you not only become a COO of a big company but also went on to fund and create other companies?

My degree is in Health Science and I trained with a Major in Acupuncture. I’m a Chinese medicine doctor, both in acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I’m trained in all of the different massage therapeutics and I specialize in women. My special interest is hormone fluctuations. I like helping women get pregnant, being pregnant, postnatal and menopause. Those are the big times when your hormones fluctuate. Clarity specifically is looking at the fluctuations that happen at the end of your period cycle. In menopause, perimenopause, and post-menopause. I have a real interest in trying to figure out how women’s bodies work and react to different lifestyle situations, different hormones, different therapeutics. I’m also trying to help them thrive as they are going through midlife and beyond.

[bctt tweet=”What motivates people intrinsically are autonomy, mastery, and purpose.” via=”no”]

I had a clinical practice for many years in Australia and moved to the UK. Acupuncture isn’t seen in the same way here. You registered in Australia differently. We’ve got the NHS here, so it’s a little bit different. From there, I went into tech because one of my other love is I’m very curious. I love trying to figure out how to solve problems. I’m the kind of person that likes to figure out the different paths to walk. If you want to have a path that’s going to be full of trees, then you can go this way. If you want to be fast, you can go this way. I’m naturally that kind of person and that lead me inside tech. I started working in some tech companies and that led me towards being in operations because operations are all-around processes and how things work. Also, trying to get people to enjoy their work, not only do their work but thrive at work, which is an extension of what I was doing with women. From there, I decided to create Clarity, which is a combination of my two loves of women, tech and operations.

I’m curious about Clarity. At the bottom of your copyright is Curious Fu Ltd.

Curious Fu is a Chinese medicine term for the vessels that aren’t consistent in people. The testes, ovaries, uterus, brain and bone marrow. It is all of the things that are created in reproduction. They’re called the extraordinary vessels or the Curious Fu. It’s so me. I like things that aren’t ordinary. I like curiosity. I like to try and make things better. That’s why the title Curious Fu has been my business name for many years.

I had not heard that expression. I learned something. I’m to understanding different things and I’m very curious. You talked about your path of how you got to where you are. I want to know what your thought processes on the women in the high-growth tech startups. I don’t know if it’s different in the United States and London or wherever else that you’ve worked. What do you think is the solution to get more women in some of these high-level positions in tech?

We need to create conditions that allow women to thrive. As women are transitioning through the menopausal period and their hormones are starting to fluctuate. What you sometimes find is that you don’t sleep at night, and a night without sleep is a day without perspective. You can’t think so well. Some of the symptoms of menopause or perimenopause are overwhelmed brain fog, anxiety or depression. If we can try and find ways to allow women some downtime and allow women to be able to nurture themselves before they try and nurture others, then women will be able to thrive. For some women that will be a therapeutic pathway. For some women, that will be a lifestyle pathway. Allowing women to slow down a little helps a lot, but encouraging women to self-care is important. We do find that women are capable of looking after others to the point where they fall over themselves. If we can teach them to put their oxygen mask on themselves first before they do it to others, we will allow those women to thrive.

That’s a great visual. I agree that all these things are so problematic for many women. I’m thinking if a man’s reading this and they’re thinking, “This is a competitive working world. We don’t have time to slow down. How can we compete if we’re giving people more time off?” What would you say to that guy?

The main thing that I would say is nobody thrives in that way. It’s been conclusively proven that having your bottom on a seat for long periods of time isn’t conducive to productivity. What it does encourage is that you need breaks and that you slow down to fill out the time while you’re sitting in that chair. If we can be more specific, task-oriented and productive, we shouldn’t have to sit for twelve hours a day. I would say that there are lots of cases of people having heart attacks and strokes. That’s men as well as women, mostly men because they’re doing long hours and those long hours aren’t great for your heart rate variation. That will increase your chances of stroke and heart attack. I think nobody thrives in that environment. All of us could be doing with taking some time out and slowing things down.

TTL 687 | Sleep Hygiene
Sleep Hygiene: Some women who are capable to care for others, fail to care for themselves.


A lot of us could do more with more sleep as well. What have you learned on how to improve our sleep?

Sleep is something that fascinates me. We could talk for a very long time on sleep and sleep hygiene. Because the actual part of going to sleep is the end part of what you should do to try and encourage your good sleep hygiene. I think good sleep hygiene starts when you wake up in the morning because your cortisol rises within that first twenty minutes of waking. Doing some mindfulness in the morning or even if you don’t want to class it as mindfulness. Sitting for a minute or two, writing something down, not looking at your phone and not actively moving even for ten minutes will help counter that rise of cortisol that happens in the morning.

That can knock on effect for the whole day, but trying to lower your stress a couple of times through the day, even 1 or 2 minutes, stopping and taking a beat. Not actively trying to keep your brain busy. That can help with trying to sleep at night. We know that blue lights are a problem. Looking at screens or even TV that stimulates you as you’re going to bed will have an effect on your sleep. Alcohol has an effect on your sleep. Being in a cool and darkroom will have a benefit to your sleep. It’s looking at the rituals you have before going to sleep. Also, right the way through your day. If you’re very stressed, you’ll have this tired but wired. Your body will be tired but your head will be going like crazy.

You might be able to get to sleep. What you generally find is that you wake up at some point through the night and then you can’t get back to sleep. Anxiety is one of the killers that make people think that they need to go to the toilet when in fact, it’s not going to be pelvic floor related as much as anxiety-related. Looking at your stress management will have a big effect on your mechanisms for sleep and how you sleep. Are you taking pills that help you sleep? Because that might not be helping you have a deep and refreshing sleep. It might help with the function of sleep, but you might not feel refreshed. Looking at your whole life instead of one aspect of going to bed.

A lot of people as they age, they get more pain in their sleep. They don’t want to take something for that. Do you deal with that at all?

Yes, certainly pain management. Pain management is one of those things that is long-term management. There are no quick fixes on it. Making sure that you try and stay as mobile as you possibly can having some kind of therapy. Also, looking at how you deal with talk therapy with understanding your pain and coming to terms with or acknowledging that pain without associating a negative or a positive title to it. There are some mindfulness-based stress reduction and cognitive therapies that deal specifically with pain and how your thoughts associate pain. If you’re given a hug, for instance, you get a certain pressure against your arm. If you’re pushed, that pressure might be the same but how you view it is different. It’s challenging some of those views of pain, but also trying to help you with it. Pain is such a tricky thing because your mindset matters. Also, the physical impedance matters. Trying to help you with your long-term chronic issues that are dealing with pain is not an easy thing. I do feel very sorry for people that have got long-term pain issues that are affecting their sleep. It’s a tough one.

Sleep is a big issue. A lot of people can sleep on airplanes. I was with Marshall Goldsmith in London and I said, “How do you travel so much?” Because he’s quite a bit older than I am. I said, “Can you sleep anywhere?” We were in a group of hundreds of people in a big ballroom. He goes, “I could lay down right here, right now and I could go to sleep.” I get so frustrated because I think, “I would I love to have that.” Is that possible to get like that or some people are just lucky?

[bctt tweet=”Good sleep hygiene starts when you wake up in the morning.” via=”no”]

Some people are lucky for sure, but it’s a learned behavior. If you learn the tricks to be able to quiet your mind and relax your body, then it’s something that a lot of us can achieve. It takes a bit of work. It’s not something that just appears. It’s something you work on. There are some people that have that, “I can’t sleep. Go to sleep,” and then they can’t sleep because they got that going on. There are some people that go, “I’m a great sleeper,” and they’ve talked themselves into being a great sleeper and can be as a result. It might be a bit rocky to get there, but they can end up being a good sleeper. Going to sleep for many people isn’t nearly as bad as waking up in the middle of the night.

Clinically, a lot of people that we’re exhausted would go to sleep at night within 15, 20 minutes of their head hitting the pillow, but they’d wake at 2:00 or 3:00 and be awake for a couple of hours from there. That one specifically needs to be tackled or found solutions for those people specifically. Because usually when you’re coming out of one of the parts of the sleep cycle when you’re going into a lighter sleep because your sleep goes in the deepest sleep in the lighter REM sleep. You will find that if you’re anxious in any way, your mind will potentially wake you up with thoughts or things like that. You have to fight to get back to sleep. That’s where a lot of people will look at their phones to try and do something and it stimulates their brain. That stimulation will stop them from going back to sleep. That’s the one I’m more concerned on. Do you find going to sleep is harder or do you wake up in the night yourself?

I am not a good sleeper, but I know all the sleep hygiene things. I go to bed at the same time. I don’t look at my phone. I do all those things like quiet, cold and all that type of thing. Men or women in my family, we all have terrible sleep issues.

Could you try and convince yourself into being a good sleeper?

I’ve done some things that I convinced myself that helped me sleep. In a roundabout way, yes. Because with me, I’ve tried different apps and different things and those things are helpful. I could see, but the problem for me is all the thoughts going in my head. I have to distract from those thoughts. I have my own unique thing that I do. Probably everybody’s got their thing. For me, I like to put on a little timer on my iPad that I turn upside down so there’s no light. I put on a television show that I’ve listened to a million times, but it makes me listen to it instead of thinking of what’s in my head and it works. Otherwise, I’ll be up for 2, 3, 4 hours and not fall asleep at all. That will put me to sleep but to go back to sleep in the middle of the night, that’s a little bit harder. A lot of people, as you get older, you have pain and different issues that will wake you up. It’s a challenge, but for me, it is all about distraction from the thoughts in my head. The mindfulness thing of listening to the breath and all that never worked for me.

It’s come out that it seems to be bogus, but one of the things that’s worked for me is writing stuff down and getting stuff out of my head. I run a very busy life as many people do and I try and put it all in my head. I find old school writing it on a pad and paper. I’m writing everything down and then finishing with 3 to 5 things that I’m grateful for that are different and specific for the day. I find that personally the best way for me to do it. If I’m up in the middle of the night, I use one of those lights so my poor husband doesn’t wake up. I will write and I get it all out and then I let it go and do a couple of big deep belly breaths and I’m back off. As you do, I like about ten minutes of somebody’s talking to me, that I listened to all the time. In my app, there’s a warm and cozy sleep session on Clarity that I listen to because it’s not me speaking because I find listening to myself, I’ll pick it apart. I listened to that as I’m getting off to sleep, but that’s after I’ve done my writing.

There are many different ways. People give up maybe too soon. For me, if I wrote something that would wake me up. I don’t find the issues that I’m thinking about that I need to do, that I need to get out of my head. Maybe I’ve heard a jingle that day and it’ll repeat over and over. It’s more annoying things than productive things that you can get out of your heads, so you got to replace it with something else.

TTL 687 | Sleep Hygiene
Sleep Hygiene: Stress management plays a big role on your sleep mechanisms.


The trick is to put either a different song in your brain or do a counting exercise that has numbers in non-sequential order like 1, 3, 5, 7, 14 and 2.

It doesn’t work for me. I tried all that. The only thing that works for me is to pay attention to another show that’s too boring because I’ve heard it many times.

You’ve got something. Cling to what works.

You got to find out what works for you and what your thing is that holds you awake. I’ve never been one to get hot flashes or whatever people get to wake them up. For me, it’s all mind chatters.

That’s a lot about staying curious as well. Try and see yourself as a science exercise and find the list of all the things that you can try and give them a couple of goes and see if they work. If not, take it off the list and try the next one. A curious mind finds it hard to be super stressed.

I think it’s important to research what’s out there and what will work for you. Don’t think about what to research at night. It’s very stressful for a lot of people to go through a lot of life changes. Everybody’s stressed out because the Coronavirus or whatever it is that people are thinking about. It’s hard to get some of these, “Am I going to travel? Am I not going to travel?” You’ve got all of these ideas in your head and that’s why I thought this was good timing to talk to you about some of this stuff on relaxation and mindfulness. I’ve had Daniel Goleman, who’s focusing on mindfulness. Some of the heavy-duty researchers are focusing on it because it’s such a hot topic because people are more stressed-out than ever and they can use this advice. That was one of my interests in connecting with you. I watched you speak for CrossKnowledge. You had a lot of great advice for leaders. With your new company, I think that there’s a lot of people who can learn a lot in general, not just women because you’re into improving the lives of everybody, the family and everybody else.

I do focus on women, but the benefit of helping the woman out is a knock-on effect for the rest of the family, the children, the partner and the parents. When we’re connected, we’ve got 24/7 TV or streamable TV that we can see all the time. There’s a radio and there’s anything that you want to keep your mind busy. You have to purposefully want to stop that and sometimes people find that uncomfortable. The benefit of stopping is on the other side of uncomfortable. For me, one of the sessions that I created, I went to a steam room where I wasn’t allowed to take my phone because I’d been particularly stressed about a session that I wanted to write. Initially, it was to do with a miscarriage.

[bctt tweet=”A curious mind finds it hard to be super stressed.” via=”no”]

I tried a bit too hard. I found that going to the steam room, I wasn’t able to take my phone with me. I sat and I knew that I was going to stay there for half an hour by hook or by crook. I did my mindfulness in there and near the end of it, I came up and it flushed in what I needed to do in that session to be honorable to the women that are experiencing something that can be very devastating to a lot of them. You can’t force it but you don’t know what’s on the other side of giving your brain a little bit of space and allowing it to wander off into wonderful worlds.

There’s so much that we can learn from all of this new research and what you’re doing is helpful. A lot of people reading this will want to know more about your site and your company with Clarity. How can they find out more?

We’ve got a website, it’s If you put Clarity Mindfulness in your app store, you can find the app there. It’s free to download. It’s mindfulness. There are some sessions that are free and then the subscription is £6 for six months. It’s £1 a month for six months. It’s super cheap to take this subscription to have access to the entirety of the app. You can find me also through the website, through the app, and I always respond personally to anybody that that sends me a note. I’m always very interested in seeing if there are ways that I can try and help people male or female, to help them improve their situation and thrive.

Thank you, Becks. This has been interesting. I think many people could benefit from a lot of things that your app provides. I was looking forward to this. I appreciate you being on the show.

It’s lovely to talk with you. Thank you.

I want to thank Pim and Becks for being our guests. We get many interesting people on the show. I know this episode was unique because we went into a couple of different areas. That’s what makes this show fascinating. I’ve had experts from all kinds of fields talk about all kinds of topics, but it all comes back to success in general. That’s what I find fascinating is what makes one person unique and what has made them succeed so that others can learn from that. I think there’s a lot of good examples from the show. I know we talk about past episodes sometimes when I’m talking to guests on the show. If you’ve missed any of the past episodes, you can find them at

If you’re looking for more information about Cracking the Curiosity Code or the Curiosity Code Index, you can go to or you can also go to and that information is at the top. If you’re interested in becoming an affiliate, you can go to the bottom of those websites and sign up for the affiliate link. I like it when people reach out to me on my site to ask questions. If you liked a particular episode, if you have questions about curiosity, please feel free to reach out to me. Also, I connect to people on LinkedIn and Twitter. I love to have you connect with me on these sites. Tell me that you read this so I know where you’re connecting from and that’s great because I want to know who’s a fan and who likes to read. I wanted to thank you for joining us for this episode. I hope you look forward to the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.

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About Pim de Morree

TTL 687 | Sleep HygienePim de Morree is the author of Corporate Rebels: Make Work More Fun. Three years ago, Joost Minnaar and Pim de Morree gave up promising careers. Frustrated with the slow, boring corporate world, they were determined to find and study organizations that could make work fun. They called themselves The Corporate Rebels. After compiling a Bucket List of workplace pioneers, they traveled the world in the quest for ideas. They interviewed management gurus. They studied progressive organizations. They learned from academics who confirmed that many organizations are organized in hopelessly old-fashioned ways. More hopefully, they found clear evidence that success for both companies and employees was possible—based on freedom and mutual trust. Today, after interviewing more than 100 of the world’s best thinkers, the Rebels share their radical vision of how we can work better, more successfully and, above all, have more fun. Now, they are recognized. Thinkers50 named them in the “Top 30 Emergent Management Thinkers In The World”, nominated them for the “Breakthrough Idea Award” and they won the prestigious Radar Award. The Chartered Management Institute calls them “One of the new voices re-energizing management”. Prominent media outlets—including The New York Times, Forbes, Huffington Post, The Guardian, and the BBC—have featured their work. And their cult blog is read in more than 100 countries.

About Becks Armstrong

TTL 687 | Sleep HygieneBecks Armstrong has dedicated her career working towards improving the lives of women of all ages and in all situations. She created Clarity to create awareness and support for the issues that uniquely affect women as they get ready for and go through menopause – at whatever their age. As an experienced COO in high-growth tech startups in London as well as having trained as an acupuncturist, Chinese medicine, mindfulness practitioner and doula, Becks combines operational excellence with a deep understanding of women.acquisitions and 11 IPO’s.

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