Notes for the Curious: Edition #51


I'm back, and more than a little jet-lagged from a whirlwind trip to San Francisco where I was a guest of Facebook as part of their Leader series. The Leader series is intended to bring community leaders to meet with the teams involved in driving Facebook's new mission "To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." so that they can talk about their challenges and successes and how Facebook can help develop solutions. Having run a community group on Facebook for nearly 8 years now, it is an incredible experience to actually walk on to the Facebook campus for the first time. The sheer size of it is amazing in and of itself. I visited just two of the campuses and they were both vast. Packed full of people and so busy. Quite the culture shock when you are used to working from home or from the Amsterdam Mamas office both of which are beautifully quiet and calm spaces with only a few people in them (most of the time!).

I've come back feeling both inspired by what is possible and also a little deflated that all the fun is over. For most of February I have been completely immersed in the topic of community leadership. I've been in London and in San Francisco to learn from and speak with one of the largest organisations in the world about how they want to facilitate more community in the world.  It has been inspiring and motivating and so validating to be around so many people who understand what drives you to do the work you do in the world. I'm craving more of it, now I need to work out how to make that happen.

While I do that, let's get on with the Notes...

1) The greatest productivity lesson

One of the lessons that was hardest for me to learn but which has had the biggest impact in recent years is that I need to do less to do more. Counterintuitive? Let me explain, as a high-achieving individual it has always been hard for me to dial it down a notch. I would push myself more than I would ever push any member of my team. I demanded more of myself than any boss has ever demanded of me. If I wasn't working, I was slacking, in my oh so educated opinion. It took a long time for me to realise how much better I could do when I kept things simple. Here are 7 ways that you can slow down so that you can be more productive.

2) Battling the Green-Eyed Monster

It's so hard watching the success of others, even those (sometimes especially those) who are close to you. We have all experienced it but not many of us talk about it. In this short video comedienne Chelsea Handler explains how she has experienced jealousy during her career and what she does now to counteract those feelings.

3) Can we have a quick coffee?

Hands up if someone has asked you recently if they can "pick your brain"? *waves hands wildly in the air*. It happens to me a lot. It was actually the reason I started my consultancy. I was asked so frequently if I could give people advice on their business idea that I was in serious danger of spending more time improving other people's businesses than working on my own (and developing serious shakes from over-caffeination in the process). But it is so hard to say no when people are asking for help. Just be aware of how much you are giving away for free...

4) Stop the world, I want to get off

While I was in America I saw an incredible amount of beauty, progress and all-round good. I also witnessed a substantial amount of pain, need and brokenness in a relatively short period. From the homelessness and mental health issues on the streets of San Francisco to the endless news cycle commentary on the Parkland school shooting. What I experienced in just a few days would have felt overwhelming and exhausting to me if I was confronted with it on a daily basis. There is so much going on in the world right now that it's no wonder that we want to switch off sometimes. Sali Hughes offers her guidance on preventing a personal meltdown by indulging in guilty pleasures

5) Books from around the world

When you were growing up. was there a book that you had to read at school? Something that formed the core curriculum of your education? For me it was Hamlet. I read Hamlet at GCSE level, I read Hamlet for my A-Levels. By the time I read Hamlet as part of my university degree I could perform the entire soliloquy perfectly from memory, without any prompting like a bizarre literary party trick. "To be or not to be, that is the question..." asked their global community what the classic required reading book was in their country growing up. Answers poured in from around the world and TED gathered some of the responses into this article. It's fascinating and also a great reading list if you are looking to broaden your library.

Me, elsewhere...

Just a few more days until the Families in Global Transition in the Hague on the 8th of March at which I will be talking about leading the change you want to see in the world. Will you join me there? And don't forget, Spark Women 2018 in Amsterdam at which I will be moderating a panel discussion on the Winding Path of Entrepreneurship. If you haven't got your ticket yet then use the code: SPARKFRIEND to get a discount on the full ticket price.

Until the next Notes,


P.S. I've been writing a lot more on Instagram these days. It feels more immediate than blogging for thoughts and conversations. I'm starting to work out how to do Instagram Stories as well, previously a total mystery to me. It definitely feels like the most social of all the platforms I am on at the moment. I'd love it if you would join me there, @that_emmy.