Episode 11

Published on:

14th Mar 2024

Stop Excusing Bad Behaviour

We explore the common tendency to overlook or justify the negative actions of others, and why it's crucial to break free from this pattern. Join Sarah and Tazmin, as they uncover the impact of excusing bad behavior, discuss practical strategies for setting boundaries, and empower ourselves to create healthier relationships and environments. Let's stop making excuses and start advocating for respect and accountability.

About 'The SEO Mindset' Podcast

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The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that will give you actionable tips, guidance and advice to help you not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Each week we will cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics too including professional and personal development.

Your hosts are Life Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years of experience working in the industry.

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Sarah McDowell 0:06

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the SEO mindset podcast where your hosts are myself, Sarah and Sarah McDowell should probably give myself my last name as well. And my wonderful co host, Tasmin Solomon. Now how many times have you heard others excusing bad behaviour? Yeah, I think it's common at work but also in personal life and that is what we are talking about. Today, we are going to be talking about why we need to stop excusing others bad behaviour and even our own I suppose it's sometimes at some times, even our own sometimes. Now before I invite Tasmin to join me just want to remind you that if you are enjoying the podcast and what me and Jasmine are doing, you can support us. First things first, we are set up on buy me a coffee, which is a platform enabling creators like me and Tasman to receive donations, one off payments from yourself. So go and check the link out in the show notes. And we also would love it if you could share our podcast and episodes with anyone and everyone so the next time that you're listening to an episode and you're thinking, cor blimey This is a Corker. I want to share this with Sheila don't if you know Sheila you might not know Sheila, but you want to share it with someone find the link and do it whether that's in a WhatsApp message Facebook Messenger, or even ringing them up and telling them to There you go. Right. That's welcome Tasman to join in on the conversation. Hello Tazmin.

Tazmin 1:45

I do not know a Sheila.

Sarah McDowell 1:53

I know a Sheila. The reason why I have Sheila on my brain is it's one of Tash's family members and it's her birthday so everyone was saying happy birthday Sheila. So I've just got the name in my head.

How are you?

Yes, I'm good. We've both got our cuppas.

Tazmin 2:15

Important, important part of podcasting.

Sarah McDowell 2:22

Well, it has helped soothe the vocal cords does it it and my mug I'm repping Benny the dog. I realised that people who are listening that like they can't see anything so just imagine a mug with a dog picture, any dog keep breed.

Tazmin 2:45

I've got my husband's mug, as it has a H on it.

Sarah McDowell 2:51

How will Hussein feel about that?

Tazmin 2:57

He's one of the most chilled people I know, if people think I'm chilled, he is more.

Sarah McDowell 3:05

So something that we should probably say, and I feel really bad because I've forgotten what the word you say. You're meant to wish people this but it's fasting times for some of our listeners. So what what are you meant to say there's something that you're meant to say when it kicks off.

Tazmin 3:24

We would say Ramadan Mubarak. So it's it is greeting and wishing the other person a joyful and blessed Ramadan and on a slightly sidenote today I saw something that really hit me. It said there are different levels of fasting there's a physical, the mental and the spiritual. So the physical is about not eating or not drinking. But the mental ties in very well with our podcast is refraining from negative thinking. So that's pretty clever.

Sarah McDowell 4:04

It's very very clever.

Tazmin 4:06

No negative thoughts between the hours of sunrise and sunset.

Sarah McDowell 4:13

So all do that together. So yeah. Wishing all of our listeners who are taking part in Ramadan, good luck and what do you say good luck, best wishes?

Tazmin 4:26

And if you have any Muslim friends they may have a visit my mosque to have another word that you would use for breaking your fast the meal is called Iftar. So we have one on Saturday at our mosque and I'm going to after this go over to the next door neighbours and invite them along because there's there's a bring a friend bring bring your neighbor's meal with us today.

Sarah McDowell 4:54

Sounds wonderful. Sounds wonderful. I suppose we best get in to this week's topic, you know, we've been chatting for a while. And yeah, we've not, we've not even scratched the surface yet. So, in my very professional sounding intro, I introduced that this week's topic is all about stopping excusing others bad behaviour. So how many times has someone's behaviour been excused? So? How many times have you heard someone say, you know, you know what they're like, or they've got a bit on their plate right now, or their family, or they're the boss. They're the CEO. They're the founder. So however, it's packaged, we often Yeah, and I often hear this is where you hear excuses for others bad behaviour. Now, don't get me wrong. And I want to start with a caveat caveat. We all have bad days, yeah, we all have those days where something's gone wrong, something's happening, or something's not going quite right for you. And we snap at someone or we act out of character. Now, as long as we're always apologising, and taking accountability for that behaviour, then that's, that's a step in the right direction. But what I'm talking about here is where there's repetition of bad behaviour. So where it's a constant, yeah. And this bad behaviour can take different forms. So it can be manipulation, disrespect, aggression, or dishonesty. So yeah, it tells me it'd be really good to get your thoughts at this, this stage of what I've sort of said, so far, no,

Tazmin 6:46

I'm seeing a lot of this in my clients who are managed by people who are really great performers for the company, but are not very good people, managers. So they, they they're really impacting my clients mental health, sense of self. And it's excuse people in the industry, people in that company are excusing the managers bad behaviour, because it's, you know, they're really good at what they do. That's just the way they are. Because they don't want to rock the boat, they don't want the performance. But they are, you know, you would think that then they are willing to sacrifice a mental health of the direct reports. And it's just not okay.

Makes me makes me quite angry, because I feel like when managers are given their targets, or this is the strategy, and this is what we want you to achieve. Parts of it should be the happiness of their team, or the the mental health of their team. Because if we're going to take it seriously, is everyone says, oh, mental health is really important. We really care about your employees, we'll start putting all of that in your, in your strategy. So I sound a bit angry that exactly.

Sarah McDowell 8:10

And I know, I mean, passionate, passionate, and I'm with you like the whole reason, I came up with this episode. And this isn't really passionate for me to talk about as well, because it is important. And it's not just because so there's loads of research out there, which proves if you've got happy employees, then they're more productive the workers, the workers have a higher standard. And basically, the efficiency is better. But it's also important because it can help foster better relationships, avoid any toxic work environments, or toxic situations, or toxic vibes or atmosphere outside of work with you personal relationships and things like that. It can make sure that everyone is respected, and they feel that they're respected. You know what I mean? And they're not just there to do a job. They're a human being. They're a human being at the end of the day, right? And helps with mental health and well being, which is what you've already said. So it's so so important, because everything that I've just said is like, it matters, it matters to everyone at the end of the day. And that I think what's probably worthwhile doing now Tasman is sort of exploring some reasons why some behaviour can be excused. So I'm going to give some examples. But yeah, please interject with anything that you're thinking of as well. But I'm sort of thinking that maybe some people don't like confrontation. That used to be me. Yeah, I used to say so many times, or I don't like confrontation. I'll just, I'll just leave it it doesn't matter. And I Notice that I used to say that a lot, whereas now I don't. Because I know why it's important. I know that having self respect for myself is important as well. There might be this desire to avoid conflict or avoid any potential arguments or Fallout, maybe there's an element of people having low self esteem, which is, which is really sad to even think about, isn't it that someone who has self esteem, low self esteem issues is allowing that kind of behaviour and allowing themselves to be spoken to in a certain way? It kind of breaks your heart a little or another interesting aspect is societal norms. You know what I mean? Like that can be as an excuse. What do you think Tazmin?


One of the examples that I've been confronted with recently is an individual fated a report. And there was one part of it that was wrong. Most of it was right. But there was one part of it that was wrong. And the manager was quite derogatory about it. And because they said, Oh, yeah, but I did that. One thing wrong is you did, we all make mistakes. But that doesn't mean that you can excuse the behaviour. So they are almost saying, well, we deserved it. We deserve to be disrespected. Yeah. And that is not nice. Not okay.

Sarah McDowell:

Yeah, I mean, especially in the SEO industry and SEO sector. Like things happen, mistakes happen, or sometimes situations happen. They're outside of our control. So core algorithm updates. I mean, Google just announced one this week, which means that some people will be worrying because they'll see a drop in website traffic, but it's never an excuse to talk to employees or your team in a way that's not respectful. Because they it's just, it's just not on is it and if anything, it will just end up causing resent. And also, surely it's better to foster sort of an environment where risks can be taken. And if it doesn't work, or if a mistake is made, you're not shouted out, or you're not treated the bad way, obviously, take accountability and be like, Yeah, look, my bad. But it's all about fostering a safe environment for people because that's when they thrive, isn't it? And that's when they feel most at ease to be awesome at their jobs.


Also, if you flip it, flip it. So using the work environment, again, if you're a leader or a manager, and something has gone wrong, and you shout at that member of your team. All right, they might fix that. But what have you achieved? Have you increased their trust in you know, have you increased the likelihood that they're going to go that extra mile for you? Now, we had that episode about loud and quiet quitting. Remember?

Sarah McDowell:

I do. I'm going to, again, add it to the show notes. So then people can find that, but that's a great shout.


So you've actually lost out. And if we use a personal example, if you're a parent, and you have shouted at your child because they have made a mistake, or if you're in a relationship, and you have shouted at your partner, because they've messed up with something that's still somebody that you're living with. So what does that do to the relationship? There's no need for it, there is no benefit to it. I know, like you said, caveat, sometimes you have a bad day. And if you've had a bad day and you've shouted at somebody, well, you know, take responsibility of that. Do your apologies, and work on that.

Sarah McDowell:

Completely completely. And it's okay to admit fault in those situations as well. Because again, it fosters this whole. It fosters that behaviour of apologising for bad behaviour, doesn't it? Because at the end of the day, how you make someone feel is really important that I would hate if my actions or my comments or anything like that had a negative impact on someone and that ended up affecting their self esteem because that's just awful, isn't it at the end of the day. So yeah, so I think we've come to a nice break, a nice pause. But yeah, I just want to reiterate that really, no one's winning with bad behaviour. Yeah, I that's the main sort of takeaway here. Like, it's a lose lose situation if you are excusing bad behaviour. So what we're gonna do is me and Tasman are gonna take a short break. But when we are back, we're going to give you easy to implement strategies of how to deal with bad behaviour. So we've addressed it, we've said it's bad, it needs to be fixed. Join us for part two, because we'll help you fix them. Thank you for joining us back for the second part. Tasmin. Did you enjoy your nice little siesta was what I was going to call it, but that's not the proper use of that.


I did not have a siesta. I actually have my thinking cap on. Because wasn't there another episode on that's relevant on emotional intelligence? We had one. That was a good one.

Sarah McDowell:

Yeah, yeah. Definitely. So again, check the link in the show notes for that, because there's so many, I think, because this podcast has been going for over a year now, isn't it? We've got over 80 episodes.


Two years, nearly two years, second year birthday soon.

Sarah McDowell:

Oh yeah, we've got over 80 episodes. So there's always going to be sort of crossovers isn't there in the conversations and stuff. So yeah, check that out. So we've got the quiet and loud quitting in the description now in the show notes, and also the importance of emotional intelligence. Okay, so are we ready to fix bad behaviour Tazmin?


Let's fix it.

Sarah McDowell:

Okay, I've got some steps to walk you through. Talk about, please do interject at any time. So first things first, recognise the bad behaviour? Yeah. So reflect. If you come away from a situation or a conversation that doesn't sit right, right with you, or you can feel in your gut, like your gut is there for a reason, right? Gut feelings are there to protect you. Listen to your body. Listen, it's self awareness. So if you feel like you've been treated in a poor way, or someone's behaviour has a negative impact on you recognise it, and take time to recognise it as well. Journaling is always a good one. So you could get your thoughts out on paper, and explore why it affected you and the feelings and talk about that bad behaviour.


Because, the second brain, your gut.

Sarah McDowell:

Yes. It's an important one. Then next up is setting boundaries. Yeah, very important to set boundaries. So here, you need to think what your boundaries are. Okay. So where do you draw the line? What is acceptable? And what is not? What can you ignore? And what can't you ignore? Yeah, and this is personal to you, you're not going to get this wrong, because it's how you're feeling? Like, don't feel like you have to call everything up. But just what are your boundaries around this? What are the what are your non negotiables? And what boundaries do you need to set in place and have a think about what those boundaries are like, maybe it's a certain way that you're being spoke to maybe it's terms that are being used? Yeah, your boundaries are your boundaries, set them and they should be respected. People should respect your boundaries, because they're your personal boundaries that you've put in place. Next up, and this is a tricky one is addressing the behaviour directly. And again, I'm going to recommend a nother podcast episode because this really nicely links in and it's when we had Loretta Milan on the podcast to talk about how to handle difficult conversations. So again, that link is in the show notes. But if you listen to that episode, it will help you to address that behaviour. But some things to say here. Have a conversation with that person. Make sure it's not in the heat of the moment. Yeah, make sure it's not when all the emotions are rife and raw. Take time for ya. Have some time to breathe, both take yourself away from the situation. And it also gives you time to plan how you're going to address the bill. If you because what you don't want to end up with is a massive argument or conflict happening now, you can't control everything, you can't control how that person is going to react. But again, you can control how you want to react. So you can have a very calm conversation with them. But if it starts to feel like it's getting out of hand, or again, listen to your gut. Yeah. If it's starting to feel like it's getting a bit, tensions arising, stop, and just say, let's, let's pause, let's stop, because again, you don't, you don't have to stay in that situation. If you're trying to address something and you're not, and it's not getting anywhere, or that person is defensive, or they're shouting, You don't have to take it. Yeah, respect yourself. And it also leads back to those boundaries that you put in place. Yeah, you can just say, I don't want to talk about this anymore. I'm, I feel uncomfortable, I'm going to walk away. Or if it's on teams, and the call, what you must do is give a chance for that person to have their say, Yeah, listen. So obviously, you have your say, and that person needs to respect you and your boundaries to listen to what you have to say. But make sure that you're giving them the same respect back. So when they are sort of, I don't know, they're explaining or they're given their point of view, listen to them. Now. Obviously, you again, it's going to lead back to your boundaries. But you've got to kind of think, what do you want out of this conversation? Yeah. So is Do you want a sorry? Do you want to? Do you want an apology? Do you want to set some sort of consequence? Do you want to put in place a strategy, so it doesn't happen again? So yes, why you need to listen to them. You also need to think what you need to get out of it. Because if when they're just talking, they're just giving you excuses, again, why they why they behaved in a certain way? Yes, it's good to know, but make sure that you're getting what you want. Yeah, that you're respecting your boundaries, and that person knows what you want, as well. Seek support. So obviously, these conversations are tricky. These kinds of conversations are hard to have. So who can you lean on? Is there someone? So if it's in a work setting? Is there someone that you can talk to at work? Is there support there? Like find out, find out who in a work professional setting can have your back? Outside of the work? Setting? Who can you talk to it a partner, a family member, your best mate, for example, always have your support, because, yeah, you're going to, you're going to be feeling a lot of emotions. And you need to be able to confide in someone, and talk about how you're feeling and get it out. Get it out of your system, don't push it down. And you also need to focus on your own self care. So what can you do to make yourself feel good? What is it after? So after the situation has happened? What can you do to make yourself feel good? Is that taking yourself for a walk getting out to get some fresh air? Is it watching your favourite Netflix? TV series that you're watching? Is it reading a book? Maybe it's having a biscuit? Do you know what I mean? Whatever it is, it's kind of make you feel happy. Do it and do it straight after the situation has happened. But also after you've had this conversation, because even if the conversation goes well, and ideally it will, you're still going to have some emotions and feelings to deal with. And the last step is always know when to walk away. So there are some people that are just stubborn. Yeah, there are people in the world that won't want to hear your side of it. They for whatever reason, they're just stuck in their way of thinking and they're not budging. Yeah. It there always comes a point where you need to think to yourself, is this worth it? I'm bending over backwards here. I'm trying to get my point across but it's just not working. It is okay to walk away. Yeah. You don't have to fix everything. And again, you can't control how that other person is going to take the feedback, the information or anything like that. So It's okay to walk away. You don't owe, the only person you owe something to is yourself. Yeah. So Tazmin, what'd you think, anything to add?


So much. So, one of the things I wanted to add to addressing the behaviour directly, lots of really great points that you had made. One I wanted to add is write down, write down the key points that you want to bring up. Because in the heat of the moment, you may forget what you wanted to say. And stick to just that incident. Don't bring up everything that happened in the past. There is a space for that. But keep this example just to that incident, focus on self care, absolutely, we've got another episode, the different types of self care, they'll be can link in the show notes. But this is something that we should be doing every single day. self care is not what you do when you are breaking. It's what you do every day, to help you from breaking. And I wanted to add an example one of my clients, now she was working with somebody who was very toxic, and something happened. And she and I had been going through different strategies, and I was so happy and proud of her, when she relayed to me what had happened. So she, she made a good move, and her manager came down tonne of bricks. And she said to her manager, there is nothing that you can say that I am not already saying to myself, can we postpone whatever you want to say now till tomorrow, because I have to fix this. And I'm going to be able to fix it better without the lecture you're gonna give me. So we'll set up a time for tomorrow. So she said, I sat down, and I fixed what I needed to fix. Then the next day, they had a conversation. recognise that actually, she wasn't entirely at fault. And even when the manager went through those things, they also messed up saying, oh, you know, you have to do it like this. And then when they dived in deeper, who actually know, I've also made a mistake. So then she said, If you who've been here 10 years, and making a mistake, how do you expect me to get it right? The first time. And I've been trained on this one. And I wouldn't, wasn't you and it was a handover that situation. And six months later, I get asked to do this job, how am I going to get it right? And then she used that example to say to her manager, you always say to me, when I'm stuck, come to me with, you know, with the problem. But if this is the way you're acting, why would I want to come to you. So she, she then showed the manager the consequences of their behaviour. And said, actually, what we need here is a procedure, we need a document that everybody knows how to deal with this report. So that again, made me really proud because she took the emotion out of it, and said, Here is the job, here is why it didn't work for you. Or for me, this is what we can put in place. And when you threw me under the bus in front of your manager and his manager and her manager and, you know, King Charles as well and everyone else. You've now impacted my reputation in front of all of these people. So now what do we do? And then they set up a meeting with the managers manager to talk about the incident and get that ironed out.

Sarah McDowell:

I mean, round of applause for that person. Wonderful. I mean, that's textbook how to deal with that kind of situation, isn't it? But uh, and it goes to show you the positive outcome can come out of it as well.


But you know, they've had to, yes, you know, absolute everything you've said is true. But they've had to go through crying they've had to find help they've had to wrangle through this situation. And something is I say a simple I'm not saying that it's easy, always for everybody. But teaching your managers about emotional intelligence, teaching your managers about how to navigate this situation and deal with their direct reports or anyone with respect and empathy and on To standing is going to save your company so much money because you'll need less money for all of those mental health plans that you put in place.

Sarah McDowell:

And I think, yeah. And I think another thing as well is that you have to take your own your own feelings away from it. So say for example, I'm just saying. So what I mean here is say, for example, someone's come to you to address some bad behaviour. So maybe you've upset someone, or you've made someone feel a certain way. Never make that person feel silly or small for bringing how they're feeling up. Because just because you're used to a certain way of working, or just because you're thinking, wow, that won't offend me. It's just, it's just work at the end of the day. That's you. It's not that other person. And isn't it much better to have a much more supportive, welcoming until toxic environment for everyone at the end of the day?


You won't get me disagree with any of that zero. I completely agree. Yeah.

Sarah McDowell:

And, and it just all and I mean, I get that, because that's sort of their excuses that I call, I don't have the emotional intelligence. So I'm not that empathetic. Do something about it, then. Do you know what I mean? Especially if you're a manager, or especially if you are a CEO or owner of the company, because how your employees or how your team members or your colleagues feel is so important. It's essential, like, sort it out.


Absolutely no excuse. No excuse,

Sarah McDowell:

No excuse at all, especially with the essay mindset podcast, right? Because we've got a plethora of episodes. Yeah. If you want to learn about emotional intelligence, there's one in the show notes. There you go. Share that with your boss, if you need to.


Drop it into the conversation. I think this is really good, too. As you know what the SEO mindset podcast should be on all organisations set of resources.

Sarah McDowell:

Yeah, yeah. Well, big plans. Yes, Your mindset is going to take take over. But yeah, right. I'm very sorry. Because this is a very passionate I could tell. Our listeners could probably tell that this is very important to us. But we we are running out of time, we are running out of time. So Tasmin. As always, I'm going to ask you, what is your main takeaway from today?


If you feel that you are being mistreated or spoken badly, don't put up with it. It's not worth your own self respect. It's not worth your mental health. It's not okay. No matter what you did, no matter what happened, no matter who your manager is, it's not okay. And don't put up with it. And hopefully, you've got some tips and advice and action points from this podcast that will help you deal with them.

Sarah McDowell:

100% and I don't know why. But Aretha Franklin, came into my head because that would be a good anthem for this episode when it respect yourself. Right? Yeah. I just had to check that about respect, right. R E S, P E, C T.

Great takeaway. Great summary. Thank you, Tasman and thank you for joining in on this conversation. And as ever, you're wise golden nuggets are always a wonderful addition. Now we are at the end, we are at the end of this week's episode, but we wanted to talk about something first, which is very exciting as a stuntman. So excited, like we need a drumroll.

Take it away Tazmin.


So you want me to talk? Oh, wow. So for those who know I'm on the spot here. Sarah and I are doing another live podcast in Brighton. So this is something we started last year in April as a whim, it'd be nice to have a live podcast and suddenly it happened, didn't it it, Sarah, in no time at all. And then we did another one, was it September or October?

Sarah McDowell:

I don't think it really matters.


We're doing another one. Another one, I believe April the 26th. Oh, Sarah, Sarah.

Sarah McDowell:

It's the, sorry, it's the Wednesday before brightonSEO.


24th of April. At Brighton the night before brightonSEO kicks off. We'll be doing another live podcast, same place. You can put link in the show notes for this.

Sarah McDowell:

Yes, there will be a link in the show notes.


And we're going to be talking about how to be authentically yourself and unapologetically, energetically, authentically, yourself. It's going to be a great night.

Sarah McDowell:

Yeah, so if you want to join us, I mean, if you're in Brighton, you don't have to be attending Brighton SEO, you might just happen to be in the Brighton area. So come on down and join us there's going to be we're feeding you there's free pizza, free drinks. We're also trying to sell out a musician as well. So it's a great, great event. And it'd be wonderful for you to join us. So yeah, definitely check the link in the show notes as you'll have all the information there. And you can register yourself as spot because once tickets are gone, they are gone. And they're already going quite quickly, aren't they?


I think everyone who has been to one of these events has said how relaxed it is, how cosy it is how it's that safe space and what blows me every single time away is that when we do the Q&A, people are happy to talk about their experiences. They share tips, and it's such a lovely atmosphere.

Sarah McDowell:

Yeah 100%. So, join us come we'd love to see you there. Right Tazmin. Let's say goodbye and in next. And until next time.


Goodbey everyone. Thank you so much for listening.

Sarah McDowell:

Take care of yourself.

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About the Podcast

The SEO Mindset Podcast
Personal growth tips to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms!
The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that gives you actionable, personal growth and development tips, guidance and advice, to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms.

The podcast is dedicated to talking about important topics that aren't often spoken about in the industry such as imposter syndrome, burnout, anxiety, self awareness etc. Sarah and Tazmin, along with their special guests highlight important topics, share own experiences as well as giving actionable solutions. Basically we have open, honest and frank conversations to help others in the industry.

Each week we cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics. We will help you to not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Your hosts are Mindset Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years experience working in the industry.
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About your hosts

Sarah McDowell

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I've been in Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for around 10 years, currently working as the SEO Manager at Captivate (part of Global), the world's only growth-orientated podcast host. I am a self-confessed SEO nerd (I find the industry fascinated and love learning how search engines like Google work) and a bit of a podcast addict (with this being the fourth podcast I have hosted). I am also a speaker and trainer. I hope you enjoy this podcast!

Tazmin Suleman

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I am a Life Coach, helping people grow and thrive, however my background has included careers in Development, Data Integrity and SEO. Through coaching, mentoring and teaching I help people build happier more fulfilling professional and personal lives by changing their mindset and habits. I teach courses on these topics and have incorporated a lot of the teachings in this podcast. I hope you find it useful.