As busy mothers, wives, daughters, friends and business owners, women are often pulled in so many different directions that ‘Me Time’ is the stuff of pure fantasy. Project Me creator Kelly Pietrangeli decided to change all that by helping women regain their balance through her website, workshops, online mentoring and her new book, Project Me For Busy Mothers which focuses on health, love, happiness, friendship and wellbeing
Kelly launched Project Me five years ago in response to feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed in her own life. With two small children and an endless ‘to-do’ list Kelly chose to swim not sink and is now helping others do the same.
We spent some time with her ahead of her Project Me Live! wellness event in London on October 6 to ask what inspires her;
You like to teach women to ‘thrive’ and ‘not just survive’, was that one of the reasons for creating Project Me?
Yes it was. I launched the website to be a hub of tried and tested tools and strategies that have helped me in all areas of my life. Too many of us are drowning in never ending to do lists, pulled in too many directions and we need to stop and think about a different way of living. When we become professional problem solvers within our own lives, we can see the challenges as surmountable. Once you rise above the day to day struggles that we all face, you can start setting personal goals that are just about you and that are going to give you personal fulfillment.
Who is Project Me for?
I feel there are plenty of books and support for how to be a mother and deal with all sorts of parenting challenges, so I always wanted Project Me to be for and about the mother herself. My book and website are especially useful after your child or children have started either nursery or big school because this is the time when you are finally able to put the focus back onto yourself. So it’s all about helping mothers to carve out essential time each month to check in with all areas of their own life so they don’t lose touch with themselves in the wake of everything else that always seems to need their attention.
Women in today’s world are incredibly hard on themselves, it seems we all have a never ending ‘to-do’ list. How do you cope with that in your own life?
Well first of all by accepting that my to do list IS never ending and by seeing this as a positive. I tell this to everyone – you are a vibrant, active woman with lots going on – celebrate that and stop with the ‘I’m so busy’ mentality. Instead accept that you have an exciting life with a lot going on (obviously as long as you aren’t drowning!).
I use a brilliant App called Trello to organise my to do list into categories; deadline related, urgent but can wait, etc. Trello acts as my master list where I take things out of the back of my mind and park them and it also means I don’t have to keep rewriting to do lists! It’s been the biggest game changer in organising my life.
I then also use Design My Day Action Sheet every day. This way I am not constantly overwhelmed by the master list and can focus on what’s important for that day.
Why did you think the world needed Project Me?
I’m passionate about empowering women to live with flow and purpose and to feel connected to themselves, their friends, family and ultimately the Universe. Too many of us live feeling unfulfilled and I want to change that. Also, mothers set the temperature in our home: If mama’s in a bad mood – suddenly everyone is kicking off. Getting yourself into a happier, calmer state is a gift for your whole family, so Project Me is far from selfish.
The Project Me global movement is all about mothers figuring things out and moving forward instead of complaining and doing nothing about it. It teaches you how to get systems in place and the first step is by putting out a positive energy. That energy is magnetic and you will attract it back.
How has helping other women ‘overcome the overwhelm’ shaped your own life?
I actually have to walk my talk! I can’t tell others how to live a well-balanced life if I’m not living one myself. It’s made me super aware so if I’m ever tipped out of balance or I’ve taken on too much I use my own tools and resources to get back on track. Project Me keeps me on the straight and narrow.
Tell us about your day-to-day, what’s the one thing you do every day that you feel grounds you?
I meditate every day using the Insight Timer App. I wake up before I have to get out of bed and I’m like a little kid in candy store as I choose a guided meditation topic on the app. I started with the three minutes meditations and now I do longer ones. Some give me journal prompts but whichever I choose, it really gets my juices flowing and it has enhanced my life in ways I would never imagine. I used to say I had a monkey mind and couldn’t meditate but I was wrong and I am officially hooked. In fact I’ve just completed 700 days in a row!
What have you learnt about women on your Project ME journey?
So many of us beat ourselves up for not being a good enough parent, wife, friend, employee, business woman. There is too much perfectionism and control freak tendencies so that when it doesn’t go right, we blame ourselves. I’ve also learnt that these same women, when they start tuning into themselves and listening to their intuition can make magic happen. They stop being so hard on themselves which makes it easier to accept the imperfections in life and relax more.
What do you say to the women who think; “I’ve already got enough to do I don’t have time to read a book or do a course…”
You make time for what’s important. By investing small or little chunks of time you’re ultimately saving yourself time and energy. It’s an investment that pays off.
Can you tell us a little about the event?
What this event is not is a conference or exhibition. It takes place is a peaceful private member’s club where we have the whole space to ourselves. From the moment you arrive you’ll feel grown up, pampered and the focus will be on you. It’s being held in a gorgeous light filled room with one workshop at a time so you won’t have to run from one speaker to another and risk missing something. I’ll make sure you have thinking space and time to work on your Project Me Actionbooks so that you write down the take-aways that are keyto you and create your own game plan for how to implement when you get back home.
What will be the highlight?
Everyone will have their own favourite I’m sure, but I’m especially excited that everyone will go home with their Actionbook that we will have worked on all day and they’ll leave feeling empowered. We will set the intention and work as a team: turning Project Me into Project We.
Is it true that we’re all out of balance in life just a little?
We have to remember that it’s not about trying to be perfectly balanced every single day. It’s about setting up a monthly check-in with the Project Me Life Wheel® tool which gets you to notice the ebbs and flows of life. Project Me gives you the opportunity to do a self check in so that you see which areas are consistently tipping you into feeling overwhelmed and unhappy, and then the tools to do something about it.
We just have to ask about your former life before Project Me too, Johnny Depp’s press assistant? Please tell us more…
In my life B.C. (before children) I had a string of ridiculously glamorous jobs in Hollywood and yes, one of them was as Johnny Depp’s Press Assistant. It was when he was in TV, before he became film star famous, and my job was to open up his mountain of fan mail and ensure he personally signed photos for selected fans. We used to sit next to each other as we worked through the pile of photos with me telling him what to write and him writing. I remember the day when he told me he was leaving the TV show to pursue a film career. I told all of my friends he was crazy to leave the show at his height in fame and that he’d never make it! I’m still eating those words.
And finally, what’s your life mantra?
No one else is in charge of my happiness but me. If something isn’t working, it is up to me do something about it, or to accept it and not let it affect my happiness.
THE FAST FIVE
The best advice you can give a mother returning to work?
Get systems in place before you go: meal planning, child care, shopping etc, before you’re on limited time because of work.
What’s your go-to trick for organisation?
Trello! And the Project Me Design My Day Action Sheet – could not keep my head above water without both of those.
Your favourite way to unwind?
I love to climb into bed early, light a scented candle and prop myself up with pillows and a good book. Bliss.
Is there a gadget or app that you can’t live without?
Insight Timer Meditation App for personal growth. Trello for time management and productivity. One feeds my soul and the other gives me the time to do that.
Your best pick me up song to pop on if you’re feeling low energy?
Beautiful Day by U2. I end up belting it out with heart and soul!
To buy tickets to Kelly’s Project Me Live! wellness event in London on October 6 click HERE