Clo S. is the founder of This Too Shall Grow, a platform that helps you have healthier relationships with social media and tech devices. She started her career as a UX designer and UX researcher as a freelancer, before taking the leap and starting her own business. Clo is growing her newsletter while offering coaching and workshops through This Too Shall Grow. Recently, she released Tech Bliss, a workbook and cohort course to reclaim your time, attention, and wellbeing from your devices.
Can you start by telling us a bit about your background: where do you come from, what kind of family were you born in, what did you want to become when you were a child, what were you doing before deciding to work for yourself?
I’m from Paris, born and raised! Growing up, my parents put a lot of importance on my success at school, even too much for my taste. I loved maths, physics, chemistry, philosophy, but I wanted to study them on my own terms. This desire for autonomy has struck with me ever since: I supplemented my Masters by completing 10+ online courses, I went freelance only one year after graduating, I moved to Berlin alone and without speaking German, and I am forging my own path in a field that most people are unaware of: digital wellbeing.
As a kid, I wanted to be a psychologist. At the end of high school, when the time came to pick a degree, I was most interested in psychology and philosophy. I ended up going to business school, which felt dull, but I managed to find my way back into my passion. I studied Digital Business, worked first as a web project manager while learning UX on the side. Then I went freelance and worked as a UX researcher and UX designer. In 2020, I started working on This Too Shall Grow on the side of my freelance work, and in 2023 I’m finally making the move to work on it full-time!
How would you define “tech wellness” and what does it mean to you?
To me, tech wellness is striking a healthy balance with your use of technology: leveraging it to support your goals, your productivity, your wellbeing, and being serious about not letting it get in your way. I want to stress that tech wellness looks different for each and every one of us. Even though it affects our hormones, sleep, eyes, and attention in similar ways, a usage that helps me thrive could be counterproductive to someone else.
What inspired you to work in this particular field?
I was attracted to this field because I could see the room for improvement. On one hand, I was seeing the impact of tech and social media in particular on myself and others around me. On the other hand, being a UXer and working “in the kitchen”, I was seeing how much better we could do. In a sense, I wanted those of us working in tech to do better by our species.
Can you tell us a bit more about the name “This Too Shall Grow”? How did you find it?
I remember that the name came to me in the middle of the night, as I was lying awake in bed, and it felt like a eureka moment. It’s a play on words with the English expression “This Too Shall Pass”. I like this idea of inescapability, that whatever happens, this too, shall pass. Since my business is all about helping people thrive and improve, whatever that looks like for them, I had the idea of “This Too Shall Grow”. As an added bonus, I really enjoy the nod to the living world, to flora in particular. With this name, I picture a small plant growing towards the sun.
What is a common misconception about digital wellness?
The main misconception is that it’s too difficult or unreachable. It’s very much attainable, as I’ve seen in myself, in friends, and in coaching clients. It requires some work, which is the case for any significant life improvement, but the benefits are long-lasting and transformational.
Do you have an example in mind of a case study of a customer who made significant progress thanks to your support?
I do, but for confidentiality reasons, I can’t share it =). I will say, though, that it doesn’t necessarily take long. After one or two coaching sessions, you can already see profound change in your behaviour. It’s always very humbling to me.
According to you, what’s the secret for a healthy tech life?
Self-awareness and intention, which is probably the secret for a healthy life in general! Self-awareness gives you knowledge of how your apps and your phone affect you. Intention is the motor for change, to discover new practices that will work better for you. Finally, self-awareness helps you evaluate whether these changes work, and course-correct.
You just published an ebook. How does it differ from sending a bi-weekly newsletter? Did you find it more difficult?
Writing the Tech Bliss book was a long process, especially since so much research was required. As with any science-based book, you first have to check sources and dig up academic papers to verify what you write about. It took me 6 months to write on the side. It was an arduous but very rewarding experience. With the newsletter, I only need to make it all coherent at the scale of a few hundred words. The workbook is 121-page long, which is another piece of cake.
What are your goals for 2023?
First of all, I’m very excited to be running my very first cohort course soon. It follows the Tech Bliss book, except we’ll be going through it together, supporting each other while we implement new healthy digital habits.
I’m also looking forward to organising workshops, and in particular to meet more people there. One of my favourite aspects of my job is to meet so many interesting people with similar passions to mine.
Finally, I want to keep growing my newsletter, Digital Wellness. I recently crossed the arbitrary but still very sweet milestone of 1K subscribers. I have many ideas I want to experiment with!
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