📝 Notes for the Curious: Edition #74


“How’s the slow down going?”, I hear you ask. Not quite as expected, truth be told. It turns out that removing things from my schedule just welcomed in other things to fill their place. And they have been brilliant things, don’t get me wrong, I have been amazed by the opportunities which have presented themselves. I headed to Dublin to attend the Facebook Gather conference for small businesses which gave me deep insights into future trends and also how small business is evolving across Europe. It is incredibly inspiring to be able to connect with so many other people who are building businesses which truly serve others.

From Dublin I headed to London to moderate a panel on Burnout, Self-Care and Resilience for Community Leaders. This is something I feel very strongly about changing the status quo on and I was honored to be able to ask all my questions to leading experts on the subject and help the audience find new strategies to become stronger leaders for their communities. The whole day event was a summit on Mental Health and Isolation for Community Leaders. It was thought-provoking, inspiring, emotional and contained some of the best speakers I have witnessed on stage in a long time - and I am privileged to see good speakers a lot. What came up for me again and again throughout the day though, was not just what an incredible range of leadership we have in our communities but how little support, emotional, financial, other, they receive for doing the work they do. Everyone is doing it in spite of the relentless exhaustion, in spite of the criticism, in spite, in spite, in spite they - we - keep going. We need to make some changes and I don’t know what the answers are but I am confident that in that room we started to find some of the solutions for the future.

What I I’m hoping for right now, though, is that February will bring with it a little more time for me to reconnect with friends and family. It feels like a deep craving, a need for me this month. I’m looking forward to indulging in it.

Now, let’s get on with the Notes…

1) Hands Up people-pleaser’s

This one’s for you. As a recovering people-pleaser let me tell you, giving up trying to please other people and living the life you want is going to be one of the most powerful choices you ever make. It doesn’t make you cruel, it doesn’t make you selfish, it simply means you have finally realised that you don’t have to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm (I wish I knew who this quote was originally from because it is brilliant). Give up the people-pleasing this year. Do what you want to do, the people who are pleased by that are the ones worth keeping around.

2) Building Mental Strength

January is a tough month, firstly, it’s eleventy billion days long. The stretch of the whole year ahead can feel daunting. If we’re going to bring our best selves to the rest of the year (and we must) then we’re going to need to flex our mental strength muscles. Here are 12 things that mentally strong people do, that other people do not.

3) Stop over analysing your projects

You know we love a good system around here. I do believe that if you find yourself doing something for the third time the it is something that needs to be created into a repeatable system. But, beware, spending all your time on systems can be a very good way of burying yourself in “busy work”. You know what busy work is, it’s the work you create to make yourself feel busy and productive but which doesn’t actually bring you any closer to your goals. You can have the shiniest systems out there, but if they are not moving you measurably closer to your goals then you only want to spend 10% of your time, no more, on creating them.

4) Become the leader you want to be

With this brilliant list of leadership books. Eleven books and eleven months left in 2019. Get cracking.

5) Time to slow that brain down

Life is fast. Our brains are working at an immeasurable speed. We are bombarded with hundreds of thousands of micro decisions every single day. It’s exhausting, I haven’t really been able to get mindfulness to click for me. I don’t know why, some bits here and there but not a consistent practice. So I am turning my attentions to modifying negative thought processes instead, starting with identifying where I extrapolate perceptions. Maybe that would help you too?

Until the next Notes,


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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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