📝 Notes for the Curious: Edition #68


November already? How did we make it here so fast? We are in the final weeks of the year and what a year it has been. Have you taken the time to reflect on everything that has happened to you and for you this year. If you haven’t, I would strongly recommend grabbing your diary right now and finding a time when you can do that.

At the beginning of this year, exhausted from 2017 and having just navigated a loss in our family. I sat down with my calendar and intentionally blocked off December 2018. Then I planned my financial forecasting to close my year at the end of November. Blocking this time felt more tangible than just saying “oh, I’ll take some time off in December” No. This block has big, bold capitalised letters all across my calendar to remind me every time I think of replacing it with “just another small piece of work” or “squeezing in another client” that there was a reason I blocked this time. Which isn’t to say that I am not working at all. My existing clients still have their time in my diary, but it is intentionally reduced, communicated in advance and I have managed to hold the rest of the space clear. that feels like a gift.

As we enter the season of gift giving. What gift will you be giving yourself now or in 2019?

And now, let’s get on with the Notes…

1) Making tough decisions

Humans are decision making machines, from the moment we wake up until the time we go to sleep we are making thousands of micro and macro decisions every. single. day. Some of them are easy, trousers or dress today? Some are harder, what to have for lunch, for example. always a personal challenge. Others speak to the very core of who we are and what we are doing in the world. Very tough. It’s no wonder so many people report feeling a degree of decision fatigue these days. For the toughest decisions, you want to really be sure that the choice you are making is as good as it can possibly be. This 10/10/10 rule has been helping me navigate tough decisions I’ve been making recently.

2) Staying in love with what you do

Growing a business is hard, only for the lucky few do clients fall out of the sky, at the right rate (time/money) asking you to only do the work you truly love to do. For the rest of the time, you’re going to have to dig in and do the work of staying in love with your business. If you feel like you’ve fallen out of love with your business, these guides will help you navigate your next steps. Also, please know that the end of the year is often a time when people do fall out of love with their business, for many reasons, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all is lost it can also mean that it is time to re-evaluate what you want from the coming year. And if you truly, genuinely have fallen out of love with your business, it is also the right time to reflect on what happens next so the steps you take towards your next chapter are driven by knowledge and not by “anything but this”.

3) Setting clear boundaries

One of the biggest reasons my clients fall out of love with their business is their clients. Of course there are bad clients out there, but there is also bad management of your clients. Humans love boundaries, it is part of creating safety and trust. It is never too late to start deciding where your boundaries lie with your clients, and once you’ve decided then you need to make sure you a) communicate them and b) uphold them.

4) What to say when you’re called out/in

Western society is in a time of great change. We are redefining, I believe, how we want to live out the next chapter of our history. Part of that is understanding how marginalised many members of our society have felt and still feel. Unpacking that, especially if you are starting from a place of privilege is likely to create uncomfortable feelings and difficult conversations. And you’re going to need to do it anyway. Inevitably, we’re going to make mistakes. I know I have, I’ve spoken when I should have listened. I’ve caused unintentional harm by my actions and when pointed out to me, I did not always handle it gracefully. Building community means not always surrounding yourself with people who agree with you or who defer to you. That’s a good thing. It’s necessary. And when they call things to your attention that you might have overlooked or been ignorant of it can make you feel very vulnerable. Our human instinct tells us to deny and deflect “No I didn’t. What happened was…” if you can move past that knee jerk reaction and dig into the conversation, that’s where the connection happens. Here are some phrases you can use which open the conversation up, rather than shutting it down.

5) Writing a LinkedIn bio people actually want to read

After a wonderful WIT Regatta Amsterdam, my LinkedIn is filled with brilliant new connections. People who resonated with the panels I participated in or led, people who took the time to dive into conversations with me about challenging topics. It was wonderful, my LinkedIn profile though? Still not so wonderful… Never fear! It’s not to late to give your bio a little love so that people actually want to read it.

Until the next Notes,


Who am I and who do I help? I’m Emmy McCarthy and I make small businesses better and help people create leadership in their communities.

❓ Do you have a burning question that you think I can answer? I don't have all of the answers, but that just gives me a good excuse to learn more. Hit reply to this email to send me your question.

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