📝 Notes for the Curious: Edition #69


I am a seeker of patterns. Someone who looks at the world and tries to see the connections between the seeming randomness around us. I like my life to have rhythm and flow, for my years to be filled with adventures which are hung like diamonds on a core of predictable moments or traditions if you like.

As I write this I am sitting in the bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence, part of what has become an annual trip for my husband and I, an early-stage tradition, if you will. I am listening to the rain beating down upon the glass roof and gentle jazz songs playing in the background. Above me hundreds of paper birds, float from brightly coloured festive lights as part of the hotel’s festive season decor.

This time is a gift. A rare chance for peace and reflection before the oncoming storm of the end of the year. In previous years I have viewed this time as an island within the sea of our normal lives. This year I am asking myself, “Why should this be an island? Why can I not design my life so that the calm I crave is not just limited to fixed moments in the year? Could It be possible to also find that calm within my day to day life?”

I’m not sure yet, but I am certainly curious to find out.

Until then, let’s get on with the Notes…

1) Stop the self sabotage

Throughout this year I have been working with Tanya Geisler as part of her Academy mentorship programme. I started working with Tanya because I knew, I knew, that I didn’t need to do another business course, I didn’t need anyone to teach me something else that had worked for them but (probably) wouldn’t work for me. What I needed - more than anything - was to get out of my own way and start pursuing the work I really want to do. Working with Tanya has been transformative and I’m not done yet. I’m heading back into the Academy for another year next year as I continue to figure out exactly how I want to show up in the world and the impact I want to make with the work I do. I’m unlearning years of self-sabotage because busy people do self sabotage their success, and if you want to stop that cycle, here are four ways you can start.

2) The mentors you need

“Everyone can use a mentor” a bold statement but one that I believe to be true. Don’t just take it from me though, as a mentor I have an obvious bias, listen to the experts at TED because they believe that there are five different mentor types that you need in your life and now is always the right time to start looking for them.

3) Move others

No matter what we do, at some point we need other people to buy into what we are doing. This talk from Dan Pink at the RSA starts with a focus on sales, but the lessons in here are very applicable to any situation. If the words you use to describe selling are overwhelmingly negative - pushy, manipulative, slimy etc. then this will really flip your understanding of why we don’t feel good about selling. If you want to understand how to move people in a way that makes them feel good about the outcome, without persuasion or manipulation but with a genuine alignment of mutual goals, this is a 17 minute must watch.

4) I like you

The way I navigate the world is to assume that everyone is likeable until they give me a reason to believe otherwise. It is also true, though, that I used to spend a disproportionate amount of time worrying about whether other people liked me (I don’t anymore, but getting there has been a long road). Isn’t it incongruous that we will extend trust to others that they are likeable but we will not believe the same of ourselves? This study backs up my experience and confirms that despite it being a common concern that other people don’t like us, that concern is largely unfounded however, it is persistent and pervasive. And do you know what changes our minds about what others think of us? Conversation. How we converse with others has a direct impact on how likeable we perceive ourselves to be in their eyes. How could you shift your conversations so that other people understand how likeable you find them to be?

5) Girls and confidence

At the recent WIT Regatta in Amsterdam we talked extensively about confidence and the gap between those who have it and those who don’t. In doing so we dug back in time to identify when we, as women, last felt completely confident and secure in our place in the world. For many people it was childhood, that golden time when you feel invincible before the world makes you question your place in it. Puberty is often a crisis point for girls and their sense of self. If we are going to build strong female leaders for the future then addressing confidence issues early is going to be key. Confidence breeds confidence. If we can start building confidence and reinforcing it through the periods when our self-confidence is at risk then the outcomes can only be good for us all.

Until the next Notes,


P.S. Due to my annual winter slow down, a full client roster and other projects needing my attention, I am not currently taking on any new client work. That means that the Notes for the Curious is truly what it was always intended to be, just me sharing information that I found interesting and thought you might too. There’s no angle, no sell, and in a time when everyone is trying to get in your inbox to try to get you to buy what they are selling I think it makes the Notes fairly unique that the only purpose they serve is to connect me to you and hopefully, bring something interesting or inspiring into your inbox every two weeks. However, it also means that helping people find the Notes is getting increasingly challenging, there’s no marketing strategy for the Notes because they aren’t part of a sales funnel. There’s no opt-in because I don’t believe that bribing people to sign up for the Notes creates a good starting point for what we are building here. In fact, I make every edition available to read directly on my website without sign up so that people know what they will be receiving if they give me their email address. If I could ask you for one favour, it would be to share this Notes with one (or more) other person this week. I would love more people to receive the Notes for no other reason than I love compiling and writing them. If you can think of someone who would enjoy reading them, please send them this edition and encourage them to receive future editions by signing up at Notes for the Curious.

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.

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