Pressing Pause Podcast episode 28 Who’s on your team?


Welcome to Pressing Pause, the podcast for overthinkers.

I’m Gabrielle Treanor and I’m here to share with you ideas, inspiration and actions to empower you to spend less time overthinking and worrying and more time enjoying your life.


Hello and welcome to episode 28. I had such a positive response to something I wrote about in my last weekly email that I thought it would be a good topic to talk about here. It’s the idea of having an imaginary team, an inspirational advisory board if you will, of people who you can call on, in your mind, when you’re feeling stuck or unsure.

Remember there was a trend for prints that said ‘What would (and then a famous name) do? So it could be a print for your kitchen that read ‘What would Mary Berry do?’ Or you might prefer ‘What would Hermione do?’ or ‘What would Einstein do?’ or any other person you can think of. The idea is that if you’re stuck on something it can help to imagine what someone you respect or admire would do or say in that situation. 

The idea of having a personal 'board' of figures you can have imaginary conversations with or look to for inspiration isn't a new one. I don't know who came up with it originally but it's a great idea that can work for anyone in any situation. Whether you’re feeling nervous before giving a speech, stuck on what to cook for dinner or wondering how to start a difficult conversation, there will be someone you can think of that could help you. Whether it’s something you’ve heard them say, a character they’ve played, or imitating their persona or physicality. 

This inspirational advisory board, the not so catchy title I’ve come up with, can be made up of anyone you choose. The members of your board, or team if you prefer, could be living or dead, they could be famous celebrities, historical figures, fictional characters, people you know from the past like a teacher, or the present such as a friend or colleague. 

What matters is that the people you choose are supportive, that when you think of them you feel like they’re cheering you on. They can be inspiring, wise, funny, irreverent… as long as you feel that, in your imagination, they're backing you all the way. Some members of your board might sit there for years, seeing you through life's good, bad and in-between times. Others might take their place for a particular dilemma or period of your life before vacating their spot for the next person. Your boardroom might be crammed full of characters or there might just be a couple sitting round the kitchen table of your imagination. 

This group of people is in your imagination so you get to decide who they are and how it works for you. Choose who you want on your board because you really want them, not who you think you should have on your board. Should really doesn’t come into this, it doesn’t belong in a lot of life actually but I talk more about that in episode 14 if you want a listen. Your board members are your choice to support you so you can pick anyone you like. And don’t get bogged down with wondering if they’d want to be on your board or if they’d get along with other members, this is all imaginary, it’s a fun way to feel supported so nitty gritty like that doesn’t apply here!

You might choose to keep your board entirely to yourself. Perhaps you find photos online for each team member, print them out and stick them on your wall so you can chat to them whenever you feel like it. Maybe you share your board on social media or start a conversation in the pub with your friends about who you’ve got on your team and why. 

There are different approaches you can take when you’re thinking about who you want on your imaginary inspirational advisory board. You could simply go for people you like and admire. Or you could be a bit more methodical and list out the areas of your life you feel are most challenging, or any particular issues you’re currently facing, and then think about who would be most supportive in these areas. Remember this board is people that you’re talking to in your head so you don’t need to get caught up in logistics like how you’d contact them if they’re super famous, if they’ve been dead 200 years or if they’re fictional. 

My husband and I were talking about who’s on our respective boards and he said that he finds it helpful to think of a quote to go with each person. So something they’ve said that he can recall when he’s stuck and looking to his board for inspiration. For example, one of his board members is Steve Jobs and a favourite quote is, “If you want to make everyone happy don’t be a leader. Sell ice cream.” Marie Forleo also has a seat on my husband’s board with her quote, “Everything is figureoutable”. So if there’s a quote you especially love and keep coming back to whenever you’re feeling challenged, maybe the person responsible for those words would make a supportive member of your team?

I thought it might help if I share with you some of the people on my own board. People come and go over time and depending on what’s going on with me but there are a few who have been around for a while. Starting with Anne Shirley from my favourite book, Anne of Green Gables. I think Anne was on my board before I even knew I had a board as I feel like she’s been with me for the last 30 plus years. Kristin Neff also has a seat, she is the leading authority on self-compassion, I’ve learned so much from her about the importance of being caring to yourself and how to do it that it really helps me to think of her when I’m being hard on myself. Monty Don, the gardening guru, is also on my board, not just for when I’m floundering with what to do with planting flowers or growing vegetables, he also has such a calming, gentle presence when I watch him on Gardener’s World that I feel he’s a soothing influence. 

And I have a chairwoman of my board, maybe she’s just my favourite person on the board but I wanted to give her a title, and she’s Nadiya Hussain. Nadiya won the Great British Bake Off in 2015 and she’s gone on to write books and present TV shows, she is a joy to watch and she comes across as so friendly and genuine. She’s talked openly about her panic disorder and how she had to deal with her anxiety to get to each episode of the show and how she’s still dealing with it now. Nadiya’s final words to camera after she won Bake Off have stayed with me ever since. She said: "I’m never going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never going to say I can’t do it. I’m never going to say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will." So when I’m feeling especially wobbly and unsure I think of Nadiya and what she would say to me if we were sharing a cuppa and a slice of cake. 

There’s more to my team but I thought I’d share those few to give you a little insight into my brain and in case it helps you get started with creating your own board.

Your imaginary inspirational advisory board can be whatever you want it to be. Your members can be male, female, gender fluid, human, animal, spiritual, living, dead, fictional, historical, a celebrity, a close friend – whomever you want on your team who will make you feel supported and inspired when you need it. You might talk to your board on a daily basis, call on them only when you’re in the midst of a dilemma or simply feel their comforting presence without needing an imaginary chat. Your board is there for your support so whatever works for you. 

If you’d like to share who’s in your team with me I'd love to hear about them, you can email me or share your board in my Facebook group. And if you'd rather keep your board to yourself that's all good too. 

I’ll link to episode 14 that I mentioned earlier and the Facebook group in the show notes which you’ll find at On my website you’ll also find lots more to empower you to overthink less and enjoy your life more, including the Nook of Inspiration free resource library and my online courses. 

Thanks again for listening, until next time, lovely people.