Emma Isaacs, my ultimate woman crush. Emma Isaacs has inspired me for years now and not just because she leads the epic Business Chicks team but because she honestly and frankly does it all in her signature #WingingIt style. She was the lovable, charismatic and humble Zoe Foster Blake before Zoe Foster Blake left mag world to exercise her entrepreneurial muscle. Emma Isaacs is an entrepreneur, mother, author, investor, kick-ass woman and fierce supporter of women in business.
In a snapshot...
Book? Winging It
Author? Emma Isaacs
Premise? Half autobiography, giving you an insight into Emma Isaacs life and career. Half advice on careers & achieving success.
Should I buy or borrow? I was one of the crazy people that pre-ordered but you can really borrow or buy this book. But warning; you will need A LOT of Post It notes.
My key takeaways from Winging It
Be pragmatic, not dramatic
I swear I am going to chant this in my head all day every day. I aspire to be measured and pragmatic, however, I can be quite fast-paced, passionate and headstrong. These four words will hopefully remind me to slow down (a little), remove the emotions and find the most well-founded and logical answer.
“The trick is to take the emotion out of your challenges and not seek unnecessary attention or sympathy.” - Emma Isaacs
I am particularly glad I read this at the time I did because lately my confidence has taken a bit of a battering and I find my decisions being more emotion-based. Why? Because low self-confidence = ego. “Be pragmatic, not dramatic” was a great and timely reminder.
Calmness is a superpower that you can learn
“Calmness can be a superpower…. Over the years I’ve practised reacting calmly to any and all situations, and now being calm is just second nature.” - Emma Isaacs
Calmness does not come to me naturally… at all. But this reminded me that calmness can be a learned skill if I put my mind to it and practice regularly.
Remember that done is better than perfect
In the business/entrepreneur world, countless examples of the ‘done is better than perfect’ mantra exists but I particularly love the example that Emma uses in the book.
She refers to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and his attribution of success to their high-velocity decision-making. If they have 70% of the key information, they are ready to take action because, as Jeff Bezos says “if you wait for 90% or more, you’re probably moving too slowly.”
Remember, quality is the goal, perfection is unnecessary.
Success is achieved through perpetual motion
As someone that beats herself up if I am lacking motivation or if my output has been low, this gave me some much-needed perspective.
“It’s about putting one foot in front of the other and keep walking, no matter what. You can have bad days and rest, and you can slow your walk down to a shuffle, but you can’t just stop. The secret is to build the discipline (until it’s second nature) to find a tiny way to move the game forward each day - an email here, a call there, even a session in the park, giving yourself the space to dream forward. That’s all moving the game forward.” - Emma Isaacs
Don’t let your goals smother you
I have discussed goal tunnel vision before and how you should not let your goals blind you from other opportunities and Emma Isaacs discusses this in her book as well. She refers to Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar story and how the empire began… as a single column in a newspaper.
There is no way Sarah Wilson could have known where the I Quit Sugar story would end up.
“Instead, she went with the flow, maximising opportunities, and as a result, I Quit Sugar became the success story it did.” - Emma Isaacs
Don’t let other people’s fears become your own.
Emma’s mother used to always tell her birth horror stories, so when it came time for Emma to give birth. She was terrified. And then she gave birth to her first daughter and it “ignited a love of birth” in her. Proof that other people’s fears do not need to be your fears
Be a swan
“Peaceful and in full control above the water, but below the surface, the legs are moving at a rapid pace.” - Emma Isaacs
Small actions will add up over time
And you need to learn to take the little wins when they come to sustain you.
Make more moves and less announcements
Let your work and actions speak for themselves. If you are hustling towards your purpose and moving at a rapid pace, you don’t need to (or have time to) tell the world.
Don't be afraid to exercise your ‘no muscle’
And other time-saving techniques like never double handle emails, do the worst first (in other words, eat the frog), make everything a game (not only will your inner child love it, you will push yourself to get more done), play to your strengths...
… the list could go on and on but you should really just trust me and read the book for yourself.
I will leave you with this…
“Try new things! Make mistakes! Experiment! Laugh at yourself! Imagine ‘what if?’ Shout ‘pick me!’ Jump in. Help each other. Have a try even when you don’t know how. Be the first one on the dance floor. Smile at strangers. Fail epically. Ask dumb questions. Say no to negativity. Try again. Don’t overthink.” - Emma Isaacs #LifeMantra
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