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Feb. 2, 2023

Lou Johnson: Sparking conversations to normalise being human in the workplace


"Break the stigma, take a stand - join the movement to normalise being human in the workforce!"

"Share from the scar, not from the wound" - Lou Johnson (not the original source)

Lou Johnson is an almost 55-year-old publishing professional with over 30 years of experience. She is a feminist and advocates for normalising conversations around menopause, menstruation, motherhood and more in the workplace.

Lou wrote an article about menopause, menstruation, life, and work to process her own feelings and to share her lived experiences. The article was published by Women's Agenda and sparked many conversations about the topics, prompting women to reflect on the shame they have experienced and how they could normalise the conversations for others. Through the article, Lou wants to give permission for women to be human both in the workplace and in life and to challenge the traditional gender norms.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. What is the power of normalising conversations around menopause and menstruation?

2. How can we create permission to be human in the workplace?

3. What are the ways that gender norms can be challenged and changed?

Resources:
Lou's article: If we don't talk about menstruation, motherhood, mental health, menopause (and the messy in-between of life and work) nothing will ever change.
The Incorrigible Optimists Club - book
Lyndi Cohen Instagram
Your Weight Is Not The Problem - book by Lyndi Cohen


Other episodes you'll enjoy:
Professor Rebecca Mitchell
Shelly Horton

Where to find Sonya:
Instagram
Take the Midlife Quiz
Stellar Women Website

You're invited to join the We Are Stellar Women community on Facebook, a free supportive space for all women navigating the menopausal transition. Click here to join.

Transcript

[00:02] Sonya: My name is Sonya Lovell and I am obsessed with helping women navigate the magical, messy, and, let's be honest, more hysterical moments of this thing called menopause. I'm a personal trainer and breast cancer survivor turned menopause coach. I help women understand what's going on, why, and what they can do to navigate the menopausal trail transition. This is the Dear Menopause podcast.

[00:31] Lou: Lou, thank you so much for joining me today on Dear Menopause. Welcome.

[00:37] Lou: Thank you very much. It's wonderful to be here with you.

[00:40] Lou: How about we kick things off, introduce yourself, and share a little for our listeners about why you might be here today.

[00:48] Lou: Okay, well, a little while ago, I wrote an article about menopause, menstruation life work, all the messiness in between. I'm paraphrasing there and I wrote that and published it on Women's Agenda, and it created quite a bit of noise in a really great way. And you saw it and you do amazing work in that whole space, and you connected with me and asked if I'd like to have a chat, which I'm delighted to be doing.

[01:19] Lou: A couple of things that came out of that. A, I'm super excited that we have met and connected as a result of that article, but I'm also incredibly grateful that we've actually turned this podcast around pretty quickly after you wrote the article, too, which is quite exciting. So the thing that I actually just went back and had a quick look at the episode, and one of the things that made me gave me a giggle when I looked at it this time was I think I've ever seen so many M words in the title of an article.

[01:46] Lou: Well, it's funny you say that, because I do reference a book that I was involved in publishing a few years ago called The MW Word. But yeah, it's interesting, isn't it, that there's that unconscious alliteration, but it made for a good, striking headline. Yeah.

[02:00] Lou: And I think, if I could recall, the MWs were, as you said, menstruation mental health, menopause the messiness of midlife.

[02:10] Lou: Motherhood.

[02:11] Lou: That was the other one.

[02:12] Lou: Yeah.

[02:12] Lou: And it really gave me this wow, this connection. But they are all in words.

[02:18] Lou: It's really interesting. I actually submitted the article to Women's Agenda with a slightly with a shorter headline than that, and they added some of the extra elements to it, and I actually think it enhanced it.

[02:32] Lou: Okay, so talk me through a couple of things. First of all, I'm really keen, and I'm sure the listeners are, too. Let's start off by getting a little bit of background on who Lou Johnson actually is outside of this amazing article that you wrote.

[02:47] Lou: That makes me laugh, because when you hear yourself referred to in the third person and you immediately get that bit of imposter syndrome, which I won't get boring about imposter syndrome, but it actually just makes me laugh. So about Lou Johnson. All right, well, I've actually almost 55, and I've been working in pretty senior roles since my twenty s. And I've been lucky enough to work in book publishing for pretty much all of my career, across every facet of that, from being a publisher, so working directly with creatives to running companies and running teams. And so as a result of that, I've had a lot of involvement in both working with teams and also being a leader and role modeling to teams and also having my own, I don't know, I guess my own career journey. And as I've got older I've become more aware of a whole range of things, I guess. And I sort of detailed a lot of those in the article. But I think when you have a body of lived experience, then you've got more to reflect on and you get more context.

[04:09] Lou: As you say, you did reference a lot of both your career, but how that intertwined with your personal life throughout the article? And it was obviously an abridged version, but it also gives a real insight into how we evolve as women in the workplace, but also women in our private lives as well. So what I'm keen to know is with the article, did you approach Women's Agenda? Did they approach you? How did the article actually come about?

[04:39] Lou: Yeah, okay, so there is a little backstory to that. About six months ago, I lost my job. Suddenly the business that I was working for, which was not quite a start up, but it was going into a major growth phase internationally, ran into a bit of a cash crisis, and I suddenly lost my job. And I actually wrote about that in Women's Agenda. And I knew the team over there from my publishing career. And that first article I published onto LinkedIn and it got a huge pickup. And they approached me, Tara over at Women's Agenda to ask if I'd be happy for them to publish it. So then I published another article since that I again onto LinkedIn and shared with them. And when I wrote this article, I approached them to publish their first because I wanted to broaden the conversation. And we actually had a bit of a conversation about whether Women's Agenda was the best spot because I want this to be read by everyone, but they get me, we have a good relationship, and so that's how that came to be.

[05:53] Lou: Okay. And then given that you did want the article to go far and wide, like in your words, you wanted it to be read by everyone, and I also want it to be read by everyone. It's such a valuable piece of writing and insight. Has that been the case? Has it been shared far and wide? Have you been approached by other platforms to republish?

[06:15] Lou: Yeah, yes and no. It's being shared far and wide. And one of the things that was most gratifying is seeing the shares happening and seeing people start to comment on other people's shares. It hasn't been picked up by other media organizations at this point in time and it may or may not, but I think what's most important to me is to be opening up a conversation. And I also felt like I wanted to have that conversation sooner rather than later because we have started talking about menopause and thank God there are people like you who are really passionate about normalizing driving conversation, et cetera. Hopefully some of some people listening today are going to keep sharing that as well. And I'd love to talk a bit more about the motivation for that, which I think you want to cover as well anyway.

[07:13] Lou: Absolutely is so yeah, let's go there right now. That's probably the best place to go. What was your motivation? I mean, obviously we've talked about you wanted to start the conversation and there is already some conversation that we have definitely progressed in terms of normalizing the conversation and having more open conversations. But what was your more personal motivation for that?

[07:37] Lou: Yeah, look, there are a few things so when I lost my job, actually it was apart from being really discombobulating, it was really liberating because for the first time, I've always been quite outspoken in the workplace. And the article may not actually demonstrate that I've been quite open. I've talked about a lot of things in the workplace and my vulnerabilities at times, but I guess I've always done it slightly packaged up in a way that remained palatable to the broader business. And so when I lost my job, I originally wrote that piece as a piece of catharsis, but I didn't want to publish it then because I realized I was just doing it for myself. And so I sat on that for a little while and then I realized that there was real value in sharing experience to normalize and that's what I've always been driven by through my career as well. That's what drove me as a publisher. It's about that idea of sharing stories and also, I guess, examining our shame and lifting it up and looking underneath it and sort of questioning it. And if we talk about things, we reduce it. And obviously Brennan Brown has taught us all a lot about that as well. And so I did that with the article about losing my job and I got the immediate feedback that it was really valuable for people. And then this other article about menopause had been sitting with me for a long time. As I said in the article years ago, when we started doing books on it, I was going, what the hell? Suddenly we're feeling shame or less banned about this. And I guess I've always been a really staunch feminist, but the older I've got, the more of a feminist I've become. Because again, you look back and you get context and I guess I got just increasingly ****** off about it. But the reason I'm writing is I don't want to be angry because that doesn't shift the needle.

[09:51] Lou: That's right.

[09:52] Lou: I wanted to process that and be much more human about it because actually it's not necessarily other people's faults, it just is a fact. If we can share this and I saw in my own relationship and relationships with friends, it's so easy for us to operate in polemic, not just in relationships, but in everyday life, that if I'm feeling this and this person doesn't understand it, therefore that person is wrong. I've seen it in businesses. I was really a big believer in sharing with some of the parts and sharing understanding about how do all the pieces fit together. So I felt that if I could be generous in sharing experience and I feel now I've lived through all of those things that I could genuinely authentically share a story that might illustrate a whole lot of stories.

[10:49] Lou: And it reminds me, actually, many years ago, I was lucky enough to see Danielle Laporte in person here in Sydney, if you're familiar with Danielle and her work. And one of the things that I took away from, she took questions from the audience and I can't remember exactly what the question was that was asked, but her answer, I think maybe the question was around at what point when you are going through an experience, should you share that experience? And her response was, wait until you've been through it, go through it, have the cognizance that you want to share this at some point in time. So whether you do that through journaling or however, you keep your memories alive of what it was like in the thick of it, but wait until you are out the other side of it before you share in a way where it will actually be helpful to others. And I think that resonates so much with what you just said.

[11:49] Lou: Yeah, there's a great quote and I don't know who to attribute it to, but my business partner uses it all the time, which is share from the scar, not from the wound. And it's really powerful and we'll have to look that up, get the attribution. But yeah, absolutely. I don't want to just sound off if I'm going to speak, I want it to be useful.

[12:15] Lou: And the way that you have shared and the way that you have spoken in this article, I believe will be hugely helpful for so many women. I literally was reading it and started standing up and I was like, applauding you. I was reading it, it was like, this is fantastic stuff. So what I'm keen to know is what has the reaction been that you've received from women that have read the article? From men that have read the article? What response have you received?

[12:44] Lou: Yeah, a range, actually. So, I mean, all positive. It's funny though, I've had a couple of people who know me who just haven't really commented on it. So I think it's made a few people feel a little uncomfortable. And I think what makes them feel uncomfortable is maybe a sense that I'm oversharing somehow, which is fine. Of course, doing this makes you a bit vulnerable and a bit exposed, but I'm really happy to do that because, A, it's nothing to be ashamed of, and B, I think that's part of the problem. We're so closed about sharing that. That's kind of the point of the article. And so share to a point that it's useful. It doesn't mean everybody has to do it. It doesn't mean we have to do it all the time. Again, it's about context. The other responses. I was surprised. Surprised, not surprised that I certainly had comments from people saying they were really they burst into tears, or they were so moved by it. I've had people saying, god, I can't believe you answer all those things. And again, that wasn't the point. The point was just to say, I'm just one, right? I said to somebody recently, we're all variations on a theme, right? But what we all do is we minimize it. We do. I'm so lucky. And it could have been worse. Yeah. And when I posted it on LinkedIn, I said, I really acknowledge my privilege because I'm very privileged and I have a good life, and I also am immensely grateful for this body, for this person, for the fact that it's given me children, for the fact it works. So it's not a diatribe against being somebody who menstruates has gone through menopause and everything else. Then I've had responses with people just saying, thank you for standing up and just opening up the conversation. The response from men is fine. You know, I think some have been really shocked. They've found it quite confronting. I had a really sweet message from my father, who I'm very close to. He's about to turn 90, and he said he felt ashamed for the fact that he didn't have the level of awareness about what we all go through and he's more informed than many.

[15:22] Lou: That's really sweet.

[15:23] Lou: It was really sweet. It was really sweet. It was real sort of solidarity. And a lot of men haven't read it yet, and that a bit frustrating. I have tattoos. My husband's a really staunch advocate, and he from the first moment we started having conversations and we published those books, he he has been the one talking to his friends, male and female, and sort of explaining things. But there are men in my life who just it's so hard to get them to read this stuff.

[15:58] Lou: Yeah. It's interesting, isn't it? I've often found it's polar extremes with the male lens on this. My husband, obviously doesn't get an option to be anyone, and my sons as well, who I'm incredibly proud of for the conversations I know that they can have when the time is right for them. But I know that there are many men and women out there that don't want to go there because it makes them feel uncomfortable. And I guess there's a little bit of well, what I don't know, I don't need to know. It's not going to hurt me if I don't know.

[16:44] Lou: Yeah. And I also have had some men who have been fabulous. It's a thing more about exactly as you've described it. There are things that we're just still not supposed to talk about. And also some people can't be asked.

[16:59] Lou: To read something and there's that what you mean. You expect me to spend three minutes reading an article I want to touch on? One of the themes in the article that really kind of jumped out at me. And when we were emailing back and forth prior to chatting, I kind of called it, as you declared, a bit of a call to arms. And that was your exact words were, let's challenge the temptation to remain silent, resist those residual feelings of embarrassment and somehow never being enough. What I'd like to know is how would you like to see women put that into action?

[17:42] Lou: There are a few things. One is the sharing of the article, because that might be a way of sharing an experience with someone without having to personalize it and to find ways of sharing it if they feel comfortable within their workplaces, to share it within home environments. And there are ways of doing that. It might just be this article really resonated with me. It might be some of these experiences are ones that I really relate to. So that's the starting point. I'm so conscious of not it is a call to arms or sort of a call to action, but I don't want to be prescriptive. And as I said at the beginning, I don't want to be angry and I don't want to tell people what they have to do. I'm conscious, as I say, that the fear of being this Trident female stereotype. It's not that. I just know it doesn't really get you the results.

[18:47] Lou: No, that's right.

[18:48] Lou: If people became comfortable in sharing their experiences. And I'm hearing some really positive stories, and no doubt you are too, about women in positions of in quite senior role, sort of being in presentations where they're saying things like, can somebody please turn the air conditioning up? Or I had an incident when I was in my boss's office when I was just having a major brain fog moment and I started trying to think of the name of something and this thought bubble in my head going, you look like an idiot. And instead of going into that shame spiral, I just said to him, oh, ****** menopause. It makes it really hard for me. It really affects my recall. And he sort of was pulled up short, but to be fair to him, he stayed with me. He just went, oh, okay, and as I was doing it, I was conscious that that was a brave thing to do. But then I told people in the office that I've done that just to sort of say it's okay.

[19:58] Lou: And that is part of the normalizing of the conversation, isn't it?

[20:01] Lou: Yeah. Which is the same thing as then saying it's okay to say I'm leaving early or not leaving early. I'm leaving now because I have to pick my child up from childcare. So I hope that answered it. I guess I wanted to. It was more less called to arms, but more permission.

[20:18] Lou: It removes some of that power of that statement out of it.

[20:21] Lou: Yeah, yeah. But even I'm challenging myself because when I say there are people in my life I'd like to read that who haven't, I'm sort of going, okay, so is it self aggrandizing if I push them to do it? Is it in their face? But I know they'll get value if they do it, so it's easy to just go, okay, well, I just did this thing and if you kind of want to have a look, that's fine, but actually, they're friends of mine and I should be saying, Just read it.

[20:53] Lou: Yeah, we do that, don't we? I know. I can think of a couple of times in my life I do that with this podcast a little bit where I know that I have interviews on here with the most incredible guests. And from my perspective, my podcast is not about me at all. It is about the guests. It's about the conversation, it's about the audience. And I find with I'll bring up in conversation with people, I've got this podcast, you should listen to this episode, and this will be friends and people that I consider close to me, and there'll be a little bit of, yeah, sure, okay, whatever. And I'm like, I feel like they think I'm saying that because I'm introducing myself, but I'm so not. I'm like, no, I've got this content and it's accessible and it's going to help you. But I think also, sometimes we find ourselves in this little bit of a tall poppy syndrome as well. And I grew up in New Zealand. It's even worse in New Zealand than it is here in Australia. And I'm going to say as women, but I'm probably certain that there's men that do the same thing as well. We do downplay our achievements and it is a hard cycle to break. Yeah.

[22:04] Lou: We're very good at being self deprecating. That's part of the sort of the Australian way. Not only speaking up, but you're speaking up about stuff that people don't normally speak up about. It's a bit of a double whammy, but then that's the point. The more that we feel that we shouldn't is actually the more that we probably shouldn't.

[22:25] Lou: I completely agree with you. So let's move into another one of the questions that I wanted to cover off with you. And that was, what are your hopes for shifting the dial on gender norms in the workplace without putting pressure on women to do a better job of it? Because that is a real fine line that we have to walk.

[22:46] Lou: It really is. I want to see programs like you run entering the workforce. I want to see the kind of books that I referenced, the work that I referenced, like Dr Jenny's program, Normalized in The Workforce. I would like for there to be ways for this kind of content and these broader conversations for there to be the life that we lead as humans to not be so segmented from the workforce. And that's in some ways, that's a whole bigger conversation. I've been fascinated in for years about where we are in that stage of evolution from the workplace being a product of the Industrial Revolution into whatever the next phase was going to be. Now, covert, obviously, fast tracked that, which is great, but I would like to mainstream us being human. And I did a couple of instagrams with somebody else and we called them permission to be human. I'd like for us to have permission to be human in all of our lives, which includes our lives in the workforce. Now, what are the ways that you can do that? Well, I think that people need to lean out and lean in and I think it is incumbent on leaders of businesses and it is a call to action to them, for sure, to be aware. And I think things like my article, things like the work you do, it should be compulsory. That's where I do get prescriptive, because I think it's easy for people in leadership roles to think that their job is just about the business. And it's not. It's really not. And it's not nice to have to look at those other things. These are the people who make up your business. And if you want to have the most vibrant business you can have, the most productive business you can have, then you actually need to do the best job you can to be across what it might feel like to walk in the shoes of the people who work with you.

[25:21] Lou: And that's empathy, isn't it? And I know that conversations around things like emotional intelligence and empathy put that into the context of our leaders, within our businesses and our government and all of those things. They're really only areas of leadership that we've been speaking about for a really short period of time.

[25:46] Lou: Look, I agree and I keep saying I don't want to be angry, but when I sort of step back and think that I do get a little bit angry in that I have been a really effective leader, I'm not saying I'm perfect and you're always learning, but I know I've been a really good leader. I know I've been a really great manager. Mostly. Not everybody would agree but an incredibly supportive, empathetic manager with a high level of EQ. And for a long time, that was really valued by the teams I worked with, but I almost had to push for it to be seen as valuable to organizations I worked with. They were very appreciative of the results that we got. But there's always a bit of a sense of, or she's a bit too close, it's a bit too not emotional, but she's a bit too inclined to sort of listen to the staff, too much, bit too high trust. So I had to defend that model a lot over my career and it was the reason that we performed as well as we did. Yeah.

[26:58] Lou: So that really gets me thinking about where in the chain of education of our leaders, does speaking about being empathetic, does having that EQ, does being open to considering our teams as human come into play? Is it all the way back at university? Is it in the high school?

[27:23] Lou: I think it's all the way back at school. I think it's at school, yeah. Because the research that I cited, and interestingly, a whole bunch of research came out in New Zealand, or has been quoted in New Zealand following Jacinda Adorn's resignation. Those gender norms are not changing. And that's frightening.

[27:42] Lou: And how evident was that when Jacinda Adern, who recently resigned, the headlines around So, which were pretty much kind of saying, well, see, we told you women can't have everything, were horrifying.

[27:53] Lou: Yeah. So we've really got a long, long way to go. We're talking a lot about inclusivity and empowerment and all those things, but we haven't got to the source yet. And so that needs to be addressed early on, at least, how we grow our young people, whatever gender they may be or identify with. And that's how we're going to start valuing those attributes in people. And then it gets picked up through university studies and the shift in culture within businesses, and as businesses start to be much more values driven businesses. And the thing is, for businesses, they have to do it because it's what their consumers are demanding and it's what even though those gender norms aren't shifting, there are big sections of those emerging generations who demand it. They certainly demand transparency, if nothing else. So we can't really operate in the way that we have operated in terms of workplace culture because it's not going to work anymore.

[29:04] Lou: And as you say, that generational change is coming through and their demands are going to be completely different.

[29:09] Lou: Yeah. And the generation I'm in, I'm Gen X. I remember being in being that person in my 30s going, come on, move over, you don't get it. And I check myself all the time on that and I know, without even ever wanting it to happen, I'm going to become a bit like that, because that's natural. That's sort of the natural order of things. But Gen x was a bit polite and that's why we've got to be even more careful. And going to your question about the call to action, I think we've got to be really mindful that we can't be overly polite, right? Whether it be talking about menopause or talking about just the fact that actually we're human beings in the workplace. And you know what? That person who's in their 20s in your workforce who's saying whatever that you're not comfortable with, that's not inherently a problem. Right? So the fact they're saying it might mean that everybody else is feeling it. And it's actually our job of a different generation to go in again to look at that and to not fall into that trap of saying, well, that's not how it's supposed to work because you know what? It's going to work however it's going to work whether we like it or not, because the world changes all the time with these new generations.

[30:25] Lou: Thank goodness it does.

[30:26] Lou: Thank goodness. I know. I love it. I love it. And I've got two daughters and they don't I was never excessively polite, but they are much more sure of themselves in having conversations about all of these things than I was at their age.

[30:46] Lou: And I noticed it in my sons as well around our dinner table. I find it really fascinating when we talk about all the isms that we live in today. We have racism and ageism and they are so on top of all of that and then they're very forthright about talking about it and I applaud that. I think it's fantastic.

[31:08] Lou: Yeah, I do too. And it's interesting where we are getting crossovers in that and government is very rarely ahead of everybody else. But even things like the legislation that's come to pass recently, where I think that you have to be able to openly talk about what you earn, whereas and I'm a bit wooly on the legislation, it's very recent, whereas every workplace I've ever come through, it's been absolutely forbidden. Like sackable offense, you do not talk about your salary. Now, that's a massive whitlash culture shock for it is a lot of people of a certain age and a lot of organizations, but government have recognized that businesses have to keep pace with the expectations and also to make sure that we're being fair people.

[32:01] Lou: It's very hard to fight for equality, isn't it, when there is so much of the information shrouded in no, we don't talk about that.

[32:10] Lou: No.

[32:12] Lou: Amazing. We have gone off in a few different directions and I have loved our chat. What I would like to know from you is where do you see yourself going? Is your article is this kind of it for you? This is my point of view, this is my experience. I'm popping it out there. I hope that it makes a difference. Or do you see yourself with a little bit of a bigger role now in this. Conversation.

[32:39] Lou: I'd like to have a bigger role in the conversation. My day job, I be MV and publisher of Evolution Media Group. And we're a content house and we specialize in content for financial empowerment, which is great. And this is a big economic issue.

[33:01] Lou: Huge economic issue.

[33:02] Lou: Yeah. So it fits very neatly into what I do for work. But I'd love to I will keep writing. I'm trying not to be prescriptive with myself, but I will keep writing if I feel like I have something valuable to contribute. I would like to turn this and some of the other work I've done into a keynote, I think, at some point, which is around something like Anatomy of a Woman at Work. I'd like to keep having the conversations, but at the same time, if this is it, if just writing that article has proven to be a catalyst, that's fine, too. Yeah.

[33:45] Lou: I love that you let yourself go through all of those experiences. And I highly recommend anyone that hasn't read your article that they do. I'm obviously going to link through in the show notes to that because it is such a journey. The article really is a journey, and it's a journey that so many women have been on and not documented. And when you don't document it, you don't really get that sense of how big a journey it actually is. And I really love that you're coming to this with a well, if this is my contribution, I'm happy with that, but if it's not, I'm here for what comes next. I think that's a really beautiful place to be in.

[34:23] Lou: Yeah. I'd like to also share a message. I didn't share this with you before when you were saying, what did I want to cover off? Is that there are lots of good things about menopause.

[34:36] Lou: Yes, there are.

[34:37] Lou: Yeah. And and one of I said at the beginning, I wrote this because I lost my job. I'm not sure I would have also had the courage to write it at 45 because of where I'm at in my life. And part of that is just the effects of menopause. You've just got a bit less estrogen flow around your system and a little bit more testosterone. And a little bit more testosterone. And I love that.

[35:08] Lou: And that comes up on my podcast quite a lot, actually. I speak about it all the time. I love the space that opens up for you after postmenopausal. And there is definitely an empowerment and a freedom. And I like to say we have literally run out of ***** to give.

[35:28] Lou: And I love the way you say that, and it's so true when you talk about what I want to do, what other people want to do, or something I'd really say strongly is that women who are perimenopausal menopausal, post menopausal, we have so much that is of value to say. And a lot of people of my generation tend to say, sort of about the big issues facing the world, the climate, what's going to happen in the future. They say things like, I guess our kids will do something, or I feel sorry for them. It's our job to keep doing it with them completely. And particularly if we're feeling more empowered and less ***** to give, we can be really powerful allies for them. And I do think however we do it, certainly my feeling is it's incumbent on me to do more than I've ever done before to help.

[36:26] Lou: I love that. I think that's a beautiful note to finish on. Lou, I have loved chatting with you so much and I really, truly hope this is not the last chat that we ever have. And as I've already said, so grateful that you wrote this incredible article. So I wrap up all of my conversations with one question. What are you reading, watching or listening to right now that is bringing you joy?

[36:52] Lou: I have just finished reading a fabulous book called the Encourageable Optimist Club. It's a novel and it's all set in Paris post World War Two and it's amongst a group of political refugees from Eastern Europe. And it's beautiful. It's it's a book that pops up on those must read lists every so often. So I had it on my list from the beginning of last year and I finished it just at the end of the year. I'm also really loving lindy Cohen is a nutritionist and funny.

[37:27] Lou: Well, I know who Lindy is.

[37:28] Lou: Yeah, well, Lindy and I worked together when I was at Murdoch because she just released her reading her new book, which is an anti diet book, and it's called Your Weight Is Not the Problem. And I'm fortunate. I mean, I had my sort of little dance with disordered eating for a very brief period of time when I was at uni. But I'm lucky enough that I have not felt like that for a long, long time. But it's so good and it's one of those books that I've just been reading bits out loud. So to see a work like that out in the world yes. And to see Lindy posting and talking about the impact she is amazing. She's incredible. And you can see actually, my face is lighting up talking about it. That's given me immense joy.

[38:23] Lou: I love that. And Lindy is actually on my hit list of podcast guests, so I might have to get you to help me hook that one up.

[38:30] Lou: Yeah, she's about to have a baby a second. Yeah, she's absolutely fabulous. And maybe you could pop the link to her Instagram.

[38:41] Lou: Absolutely. I'll link through to both of those books. Amazing. Lou, thank you so much for chatting with us today. As I said, I'm going to link through to the article in the Show Notes. I'll link through to your business website as well. And yeah, I hope we get to chat again. Soon.

[38:58] Lou: Yeah, likewise. It's been an absolute pleasure, and thank you for everything that you're doing.

[39:03] Lou: Thankfully.

[39:04] Lou: Yeah, it makes a big difference. All right, well, until next time.

[39:11] Sonya: Thank you for listening today. I am so grateful to have these conversations with incredible women and experts, and I'm grateful that you chose to hit play on this episode of Dear Menopause.

[39:24] Lou: If you have a minute of time.

[39:26] Sonya: Today, please leave a rating or a review. I would love to hear from you because you are my biggest driver for doing this work. If this chat went way too fast for you and you want more, head over to Stellarwomencom Au podcast for the show Notes. And while you're there, take my Midlife quiz to see why it feels like Midlife is messing with your head.