Google Apps, Facebook Groups, Themed Days, Staying Fit for Business with Lucy Whittington of ‘Being a Business Celebrity’, author of ‘Find Your Thing’.
What We Recommended:
Tools & Apps
- Google Calendar “we run our lives on Google Calendar”
- Google Docs “we use a lot of Google docs to share information or share, you know, lists and spreadsheets and project management stuff.”
- Facebook Group “as a team we have a Facebook group. Because we’re all on Facebook most days, so if there’s something that we thing we should look at or as an idea or, you know, we just go in and stick it in the Facebook group and then we know we’ve all seen it.”
- Teamwork a team project tool “handles all of the to do lists for all the different team members. And that’s what we’ll use as the basis of our team meeting.
- Metabolic Balance – “one of my clients who introduced me to metabolic balance, which is how we now eat in this house. But metabolic balance is something that really helps answer all of those questions about like, you know, what is actually good for me, what’s not good for me, what does my body like. Because it’s all scientific, you have a few blood tests, it works out what your body likes and doesn’t like and in what combinations, and it really just helps your body to work the way it’s supposed to.”
- ‘Find Your Thing’ by Lucy Whittington
- Seth Godin and Jennifer Manson (The Flow Writer)
- Marie Kondo and her tidying, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying“.
- “I try and have like a theme for the day so I know kind of what mode I’m in. So I’m either, you know, if I’m going to do loads of calls, I’d rather do them all in one day than have the odd one here and there because I find that really kind of breaks up your flow.”
- “So my secret ninja tips are, hire other people to organise you. I have a PA, I have a project manager, I have other people in my business who organise me and help me get things done. And also just knowing that other people are taking care of things, or even just knowing that there might be a hundred things to do on my to do list, but I only actually have to do three of them today, and not keep worrying about those other ninety-seven. That actually really helps.”
- “Having whatever system you need to only give yourself small pieces of, you know, things to do, or pieces of information, or learning or whatever it is, at a time, makes a massive difference. Because otherwise your head’s just too full of thinking about all the other million things to even focus on the two or three things you’ve given yourself.”
- “I consciously make sure I get exercise, I consciously make sure. Like for example, where I can, we’ll walk or bike the school run. So even if it’s like twenty minutes each way if we walk it, but it’s getting out, getting some fresh air. I love boot camp on the beach. I do that every Saturday whenever possible. It’s a kind of love hate thing, you know? Kind of hate it, but I kind of love the smug feeling I have after I’ve done it.”
- “On learning, I think what’s really important is you recognise what you need to know next and what you don’t know at the moment.”
- “I read a lot, I love to read. But I know also that if I’m going to do new learning I’m very much I have to be in the room person. So having bought several of them and always got to about class two and then never done anymore, I know that online learning’s not how I learn best. So I’d rather just go and spend a day with someone or, you know, sit in a room or attend an event or a retreat and do it that way, because I know that’s how I will learn best. But everyone’s different.”
To Contact Lucy
Jo: Today I'm interviewing Lucy Whittington from ‘Being a Business Celebrity’ and author of "Find Your Thing". So, hello,
Lucy. Thanks for joining me.
Lucy: Thank you for having me.
Jo: Great to have you here. We've known each other a few years now. But we haven't spoken for ages, so I'm going to be looking forward to catching up as part of asking the questions as well. Tell us a bit more about you, what you do and where you do it?
Lucy: I help people to find their thing, which is a real job, honest, I made it up. My background in marketing and my interest has always been in business and helping people to, you know, stand out in their market and get noticed. But I don't really want to just help people get famous for just anything, I want them to actually get famous for doing their thing, the thing that they're brilliant at. What I do is I help people who are either starting their first business or they've started a business but kind of know that it's not their thing, it's just something they're good at, to really find that thing they do that's brilliant and then help them with all the kind of marketing and business and strategy and all the fun stuff that goes with that. Well, fun if you're me. Not fun for everyone, but I find that bit fun. So that's why I do the job.
Jo: And just to position that, when you talk about what your thing is, what are some examples of the things that you've found for people or with people?
Lucy: Sometimes people are doing something completely different, so I've got clients who, you know, were doctors and are now coaches. I've got people who've worked in corporate marketing who are now health and wellness coaches. That was quite a funny story because that person's last job was at Coca Cola, so that's quite a shift. But also I work with people who've realised that the thing they're doing might be what I called their ‘jam’. So it's something that they're really, really good at. One of my clients was really, really good at being a fitness trainer, but actually knew that there's more to feeling fit and well than just, you know, the exercise and actually there's more ingredients that kind of go around this jam, the thing they're brilliant at, that create a bigger cake. Obviously get the irony talking about health and wellness. But, you know, another example of that is someone who is a running a marketing agency and knew that when they went into businesses, even if the marketing plan was brilliant, they didn't always do it.
In the health example with the fitness, you know, she now talks about sleep and what to eat and other activities and how to chill out, and also the exercise. And in the marketing example, it's now about bringing the right energy into a business. So it's looking at their vision and their strategy and someone owning the projects and communication inside the business, so that when they get the marketing plan they actually make it work. That's the two kind of options really. It's either something that you've had as a hobby or an interest or just a way of doing what you do now but you know there's a better way to do it. Or maybe there's more things around it that make it get a better result. That's the kind of ‘things’ that I find.
Jo: Cool. And how does ...
Lucy: Or not find them, I mean people have them already, so I help them to see them. We don't go on some kind of like forage for them.
Jo: I have visions of you digging under trees trying to find that thing.
Lucy: Yeah, exactly. They're not like truffles. Yeah, you have to like, you know, sniff them out and stuff. It's something that people already do that's brilliant and most people totally overlook it, do it without thinking about it, filed it under common sense somewhere, and very, very often don't charge for it.
Jo: How does that manifest as far as how you work with people and where you work?
Lucy: Well, I'm either at home in my very nice office. I live by the seaside and I'm pretty smug about that, I usually mention it. I'll mention it at least five times. But I live by the seaside and I work from home because I like to be able to take my kids to school and hang out with them, and go and run around on the beach and that kind of stuff. So I'm either working at home, on Skype or online. I'm on Facebook probably too much, but, you know, it's all business and I'm connecting with people, I'm networking. But if I leave the office, I like to work in nice places, I'm unashamedly high maintenance.
So for example if I do one to one sessions with people, VIP days, I actually hire a really posh boat that's moored at the marina at the end of my road. I go an hang out on a nice boat for a few hours, if I'm running my retreats, it's always a really nice spa hotel, because that's where I like to hang out.
Occasionally I'll have to go and speak at someone else's event and, you know, the venue's not quite as posh. And then that's because I haven't chosen it. But I think, you know, I like to be in nice environments, I like to be surrounded by, you know, nice rooms, nice light, nice energy, have nice food, because why wouldn't you if you get to choose?
Jo: Absolutely. So when you're not gallivanting, how do you set your day up? You talk about taking the children to school, so I'm sure that's part of it. But do you have a routine that sort of gets you into the day and gets you into the work side of things?
Lucy: Yeah, I need my alone time, and anyone who has small children knows that you have to do that while they're asleep or out of the house. There's no chance of doing it while they're there, because within at least two minutes they'd be like, "Mum?" So where possible I try and get up before everyone else, like an hour or two before everyone else wakes up. I like to get up, it's harder in the winter when it's dark. But I like to get up, I like to have some time to myself, you know, make myself a, you know, cup of tea, or, you know, chill out, do some writing, maybe the writing's for myself, just some journaling some ideas, write down some kind of notes. Just kind have that time to myself to kind of get all my thoughts in order, you know, whether they're kind of more personal thoughts or whether they're like, "Right, what do I need to get done from a workplace?" Just kind of get that time to myself to get focused and centred and grounded.
If I'm , you know, if I'm feeling like a little five minutes of quiet, I might do a meditationy thing. Not every day, I'm not, you know, I don't do eight hours of yoga and all that kind of stuff. If I need ... You know, it's very practical kind of grounding, finding some space getting organised for the day. And if not, I'll at least have, you know, five, ten minutes where I just ... Before I kind of launch into everything, I'll just kind of get settled. So even if it's just five, ten minutes of just writing a to do list or checking through what I've got to do. I really try not to look at emails, Facebook, anything like that, until after I've got back from the school run.
Jo: Yep. It's very disciplined.
Lucy: Yes, distracted. You get distracted and then you get into work mode and you really need to be in remembering
PE kit or, you know, music things, or what sport is that day mode. So it's better to just, I'd rather just focus on the kids until they're gone, and then the minute they're gone, straight into work.
Jo: Yeah. Is there more sort of routine there or is it literally just whatever the first task is?
Lucy: No, I tend to do things on different days. That's worked really well for me. I have different days where I do different things during the week. For example, Mondays is the day where, you know, we have team meeting on a Monday. I'll do some writing that needs to get organised, you know, things that'll go out later in the week on a Monday. I might have some conversations with people that I need to get ... So that's the kind of get organised, get stuck into my business, do some writing, get things done day. I have a corporate client that I do work for and they have like their own days of the week as well. So if I'm focusing on like one bigger client, I might just, that's what I'm doing that day and I don't deal with any other stuff because, you know, it can wait. And I kind of get, you know, you get your head into a different mode.
Wednesdays very much my delivery day, so I have programmes where I work with people where we have group Q&As every week. So, you know, there's programmes where I'm helping finding their thing, and then there's also my kind of ongoing, you know, let me help you with your business thing. And they happen on Wednesdays, so then I'm in that mode of kind of, you know, answering everyone's questions. I'll do my newsletter and writing, so I'm in that mode that day. And then again Thursday, Friday might be meeting with clients, doing one to ones, doing other focused writing. But I try and have like a theme for the day so I know kind of what mode I'm in. So I'm either, you know, if I'm going to do loads of calls, I'd rather do them all in one day than have the odd one here and there because I find that really kind of breaks up your flow.
Jo: Yeah, no, I agree. I do much the same. And I guess that's why we're talking on a Wednesday.
Lucy: Probably why we're talking on a Wednesday. Correct.
Jo: Excellent. What about in the evening? So there's the sort of finishing work and winding down into evening and then sleep. Do you have any particular routines for that?
Lucy: I consciously try not to do screen stuff too late. I consciously try and have a break between, even if I do ... I don't do that much work in the evenings. So I'd rather do it earlier in the day. But if I do have to do, you know, an hour or two of catching up or writing, I try and have some non-screen time before bedtime. So I do like to read. I've recently discovered grownups colouring in, and I'm quite into it. I don't know whether that's a cool thing to do or not, but I really like it.
A client actually bought me a grownups colouring in book as a gift, and I was like, "Mmm." Because I'd seen them and I thought, "No, no, I'm not going to do that." You know? "What's that all about? What's that all about?" You know, it's that kind of mindfulness coming out, but I'm really into it, I really like it. So I kind of go and steal all my kids’ gel pens and, you know, I quite often even if the TV's on or I'm listening to something, I quite often add a bit of colouring in, chill out.
And I am completely not a domestic goddess in any way shape or form, but I strangely love ironing. I find ironing very relaxing. Please don't all send me your ironing now, I don't want to do any more than the large amounts I already have from my own family. But if I like, you know, having something on TV and doing a bit of ironing, there's something kind of, you know, very methodical and relaxing about it. I don't know. But I just, you know, I consciously try to either just, you know, watch something, you know, stick Netflix on or read something, but I actually will read before I go to sleep. So I won't have ... Like we don't have ... We only have one TV in the house. And, you know, we don't do the whole fall asleep watching TV thing. That's not good for your brain. But I do like to read, to be fair sometimes I'm that tired I'll read about four.
Jo: Yeah. Excellent.
Lucy: I don't have a problem going to sleep, I'm one of those people, like when I'm done, I'm done.
Jo: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Lucy: Off I go.
Jo: Sounding quite sort of mindful as far as doing some activities that are quite calming. I'm with you on the colouring thing, we'll have to swap notes on pencils later.
Lucy: Gel pens are the way forward. Gel pens are the way forward, trust me.
Jo: It sounds like you have very busy days and the fact that you're not working in the evening would lead me to think that you're managing your time well during the day? How do you do that? Please tell us.
Lucy: Well, you say that. To be honest, I've learnt the hard way. I'm not a super organised person, I will try and do a thousand things at once. I very much, if left to my own devices, will do things at the last minute. So my secret ninja tips are, hire other people to organise you. I have a PA, I have a project manager, I have other people in my business who organise me and help me get things done. And also just knowing that other people are taking care of things, or even just knowing that there might be a hundred things to do on my to do list, but I only actually have to do three of them today, and not keep worrying about those other ninety-seven. That actually really helps.
So whether you have to do that, you know, whether you just do that on your own and know that, well, you know, "I've got these hundred things to do, but these are the ones I'm going to do today." Or you just know that someone else is going to take care of them, or they're just going to keep them away from you until you need to do them. You know, that's why I have someone managing all my projects as well. But I think it's ... you know, if we all try to do everything we needed to do every minute of the day, then we would all freak out.
And, so, I just try and have as many tactics as I can to, you know, it's almost like even if I have to stuff it in the cupboard and I can't see it. Like knowing that it'll be dealt with when it needs to be dealt with kind of approach works for me, if I'm honest. And, you know, I don't want to miss deadlines, I need to get things done, but if other people are helping me make that happen, then that's all good as far as I'm concerned.
Jo: I think that's a real key point that piece about not feeling sort of emotionally bogged down by all the stuff that's still outstanding sort of thing, and how you choose to make that happen. Whether that be putting it all on a to do list or giving somebody else the job, or as you say, stuffing it in the cupboard, I think it's really important. Yep.
Lucy: I mean not stuffing the cupboard to ignore it, just, you know, having whatever system you need to only give yourself small pieces of, you know, things to do, or pieces of information, or learning or whatever it is, at a time, makes a massive difference. Because otherwise your head's just too full of thinking about all the other million things to even focus on the two or three things you've given yourself.
Jo: Yes. Yeah, exactly.
Lucy: You know, whether you get other people to help with that or you do it yourself, that to me, the whole head clearing thing makes a massive difference. I mean you can't do everything, so, you know, it's a good idea to not try and attempt to do everything.
Jo: Yes. Yeah, exactly. What about tools or apps or anything that you use to help you to do things better or quicker or whatever. Obviously we've got outsourcing as an option. Are there any things that you particularly use that you'd recommend?
Lucy: Well my team have used ... My team use ... No, I mean Google Calendar is ... We run our lives on Google Calendar, down to, you know, we have different colours in the calendar for like what I'm doing, what the kids are doing, all things like that. So everyone's got visibility of what everyone's doing and everything, even down to so that, you know, my PA sees when I've got, you know, parents evening or there's a little show on at school and things like that. So, you know, and things we need to remember for the kids. I'm a massive fan of Google Calendar.
We use a ... I don't know whether if it's an app or an online ... I don't know. I think I have got it as an app on my phone but I log into it. It's not my department. But we use Teamwork, we use a program called Teamwork that handles all of the to do lists for all the different team members. And that's what we'll use as the basis of our team meetings. You know, it's not an app, it's an actual thing, you know, we all actually jump on Skype every Monday and run through everything that we're doing and needs to get done and who's looking after each thing.
Anything that gets everyone who needs to know knowing about what needs to get done, even if it's just a list you share with your other half or whatever you need to do, can make a massive difference of just everyone knowing what's on everyone's plate. I think that makes a big difference. And to be honest, we use a lot of Google docs to share information or share, you know, lists and spreadsheets and project management stuff. We try not to over complicate things. Personally, if you make it too complicated for me, I won't do it. So, you know, if I've got a massive learning curve to understand how a system works, I probably won't use it. So it's always best to go kind of, you know, what do we already know that we can just like up a notch to make accessible to everyone or, you know, use reminder lists and things like that, then that's what we really do.
But honestly, it's like anything, it's not how fancy the app is, it's are you going to use it, or have you got someone who can use it on your behalf. You know, for me it's about any good software meets people where they're at, it doesn't try and retrain them to do what they do in a completely different way.
Jo: Yes. No, that's a really key point.
Lucy: So I kind of leave that to my team to go, "Right, we're using this now and it's really easy, you just have to click this." "Okay." "Okay, I'll do that." But, yeah, it's just about, you know, even simple things like as a team we have a Facebook group. Because we're all on Facebook most days, so if there's something that we thing we should look at or as an idea or, you know, we just go in and stick it in the Facebook group and then we know we've all seen it. It's not rocket science, but, you know, because we all know we're all on there most days, it's a place where we all know we'll all see it at some point.
Jo: Yeah, that's a good one. It's not one that's been recommended up to now.
Lucy: Yeah, it's just one of those like, "Hang on a minute. Why don't we just put it on here?" "Oh, yeah. That's a good point." And that's the thing, I think sometimes it's like, you know, forcing people to ... You know, all of us sit at our desktops most of the day, you know, and if we're out and about on our phone we also, you know, have Facebook active. Rather than having another app, to just have it in there made sense for us.
Lucy: Yeah. Ironically having worked in software marketing for a very long time, I try and keep things as simple as possible. But then to me that's always the beauty. Anything that's really, really good, is usually very simple, in my head.
Lucy: It's like, you know, to me that's the beauty of brilliant engineering, is if you can simplify it to the point where, you know, you almost can't see it working, then that to me means you've done a good job.
Jo: Yep. And then we go back to Google. Or at least that's what I'm attempting.
Lucy: I know. But, you know, that's where we already are, and I think that's it as well. It's about, you know, "Where is everyone already? So what's going to be easier for us to actually use." Because like I say, it's about using it to make it work for you. You know, it can be as fancy and complicated as you like, but if you're not going to use it, you know, then might as well not bother.
Jo: Exactly. And Google's a good example of that, because I used to use, you know, Word and Excel quite a lot and then I picked up Google a bit on the Google drive using, you know, their spreadsheet and Word documents. But I didn't really like them, the functionality I didn't think was good enough, but over time I started to use them more than the Excel and Word ...
Lucy: Yeah. I very rarely ... I still have to use Word for writing. But ...
Jo: But they're sort of harder to access, aren't they?
Lucy: Yeah, but pretty much every worksheet, you know, every spreadsheet I use will be in Google now.
Jo: Partly because it's easy to share and partly ...
Lucy: [inaudible 00:19:19].
Jo: It's there, isn't it. Yeah. Interesting.
Lucy: They're much easier.
Jo: Outside of work then, or maybe inside of work, you might tell me, what sort of things are you doing to relax and keep healthy and sort of make sure that you're, you know, you've got enough energy to do all this work that we've been hearing about?
Lucy: It's interesting because that's something I'm very conscious of. A lot of people ignore it, but I'm very, very aware that in order for, you know, part of me being able to do my thing really well is for me to be as, you know, healthy and in good energy as possible. So, you know, there's the kind of mindfulness, spiritual connection side of it. I have my woo-woo moments, and there's also the kind of physical, eating, exercise side of it, that I'm very aware of. Also helps that I have quite a few clients who that's their thing, so, you know, I can never really not pay attention to it because I'm very interested in what they're doing.
And actually one of my clients who introduced me to metabolic balance, which is how we now eat in this house. Well, the kids kind of do, the kids still love their carbs because they run around a lot. But metabolic balance is something that really helps answer all of those questions about like, you know, what is actually good for me, what's not good for me, what does my body like. Because it's all scientific, you have a few blood tests, it works out what your body likes and doesn't like and in what combinations, and it really just helps your body to work the way it's supposed to. So, you know, we follow that eating plan. It's brilliant, you get to eat loads and it's all good food and it's all really nice. And, you know, we're both ... I have a metabolic age significantly lower than my actual age. In my twenties I am metabolically, which I'm very happy about.
And, you know, it just works for us as an eating plan. And it's all the stuff you know anyway, it's like, you know, the more processed something is, the less it's going to be good for you. And it's just about finding what works for you. But it is something that we consciously pay attention to, like I consciously pay attention to drinking loads of water, I drink loads of herbal tea, I actually don't like coffee, which is handy. And also me on caffeine would be frightening for anyone I think. That would be too much for the world to cope with, I think. But, you know, I consciously make sure I get exercise, I consciously make sure. Like for example, where I can, you know, we'll walk or bike the school run.
So even if it's, you know, it's like twenty minutes each way if we walk it, but, you know, it's getting out, getting some fresh air. I love boot camp on the beach. I do that every Saturday whenever possible. It's a kind of love hate thing, you know? Kind of hate it, but I kind of love the smug feeling I have after I've done it.
Jo: I always feel that smugness when I read your newsletter and you've got pictures of it and you're saying how you’ve been doing it. Because it's the last thing I'd be doing.
Lucy: Yeah, but it's kind of fun and a lovely group of people. Again it's like anything, it's finding what works for you. Like I love to go for a walk, you know, I'd rather go for a really brisk walk along the beach. And yet, you know, my husband runs, he'll happily just trot out for a ten K two or three times a week. And I'm like, "Oh, gosh. No, I'd rather do anything than do that." But that's his, you know, his exercise thing. It's like find what you like to do, if you like to dance, do that. If you like to jump on your bike for a couple of hours. It's just finding what you like to do, but making sure you do it.
Jo: Yes. Yeah. I was listening to a podcast yesterday and they were saying exactly that, that they ... and both of them being fitness trainers over the years and how they've changed what they do considerably based on that very thing. That pushing yourself to do stuff you don't want to do is of no use to anybody anyway.
Lucy: Yeah. It's like it's better to go out for a walk for half an hour every single day than go and do, you know, one exercise class that you hate once a week. Why would you do that? But I think it's just about being aware that if you are your business, part of your responsibility in running your business is to look after yourself. You know, I can't do my thing if I'm not well. And, therefore, you know, I can't make a conscious effort to do some exercise. I'm not a fanatic by any stretch of the imagination, in fact if you ever saw me at boot camp you would see that that is clearly ... I'm clearly not an athlete. But I do it because I know that, you know, it's making my body stronger, it's making me healthier.
I like being outside, I'd rather go for a big walk, you know, along the beach or in a park or something, just, you know, go and have a run around in the woods and things like that. I'd rather be outside, just go for a walk for two or three hours than go be in a gym with no windows, you know, and sweating for half an hour. I just, I'm not a big fan of that. But I still make sure that I am moving somehow. I haven't got quite to that point where, you know, you get one of those treadmill desks yet. I'm not sure about that. But, even that I can see the point.
Jo: Yep. Yeah. And I have a stand up desk, but I am currently sitting down, so maybe I'm not following it enough. What about learning and improving yourself and, you know, moving things forward? You sound like you probably do quite a lot of that. What sort of things would you recommend to improve yourself? Or how you improve yourself should I say?
Lucy: Well, I've pretty much cured myself of my seminar addiction. So that's good.
Jo: Me too.
Lucy: You and me both. I think what's really important is you recognise what you need to know next and what you don't know at the moment. I used to be very much like, "Oh, my gosh. I need this latest magic bullet special thing. This person has it." And I've got a lot more confident in “look, I do things my way, I know what works for me, you know, I know how I like to do things” and I really look more for skills gaps now or just to deepen my understanding. So rather than feel like I'm missing things, I now go and look for new things that interest me. So I might think, "Oh, I'd love to know how to be great on video. I'd love to know how to be a better speaker. Or I'd love to know how to, you know, tell stories better." Things like that.
That would be something that I would go and look for and learn from a person who's thing that is, rather than feel, you know, because there's a thousand different ways you can market and do everything. You know, everything in life has a thousand different ways of doing it and I think, again you can create overwhelm in yourself just through being in constant like, "Well, until I've learned all thousand of them I don't know which one I'm going to do." And I’m very much like, "You know what? I know plenty already, but I'm going to enjoy learning new things." So I'll either, you know, I quite happily watch a webinar about something if I don't know about it yet. But I won't feel I have to watch every single webinar I get invited to.
I read like it's ... Well, I'm kind of looking around my office going, "Mmm, it's like a small library in here." I read a lot, I love to read. But I know also that if I'm going to do new learning I'm very much I have to be in the room person. So having bought several of them and always got to about class two and then never done anymore, I know that online learning's not how I learn best. So I'd rather just go and spend a day with someone or, you know, sit in a room or attend an event or a retreat and do it that way, because I know that's how I will learn best. But everyone's different, you know, some people need a coach to point out to them what they already know and give them confidence. Other people need a mentor who can give them all the shortcuts and has been there before them. And it's just about recognising what you need and also how you learn best. You know, I've stopped myself buying loads of online courses because I know I never find the time to do them.
And yet if I, you know, book a ticket to go and be in a room with someone for the whole day, I stay there for the whole day, I do all the work, I, you know, get loads from it. So it's really just about being okay that you're never going to know everything, that's the first thing. And then I personally have just chosen to learn new things as they interest me rather than from a place of, you know, fear of missing out. That was a big distinction for me, because also when you learn from that place, you know, it's a never ending quest of there's always something else to learn. Of course there's always something else to learn, but enjoy it rather than panic about it.
Jo: Yeah. No, I think that's really good piece of advice. You talk about reading a lot, so have you got any books that you'd recommend and perhaps move onto films and music if there's anything particularly there for people to learn or inspiration, enjoyment, just enjoyment?
Lucy: Well, obviously I'm going to recommend my own book. This is the embarrassing part.
Jo: Yes, this is your moment.
Lucy: Well, look I've written a very good book called ‘Find Your Thing’, and I would highly recommend that to anyone who wants to find their thing.
Jo: As would I. I've read it too.
Lucy: In terms of reading, I think again it's important to recognise what you need in that moment. Sometimes you need a book of instructions, sometimes you need more of a story that helps you see where you're going wrong. So I don't actually have one book that I recommend. I mean I love people like Seth Godin, I love his books, he's always got something fabulous to say. One of my friends and clients actually, Jennifer Manson writes the most incredible books. Both story books and kind of, I guess they're more like philosophical books. She's the flow writer, she's brilliant, she writes amazing books that even when they are fiction they're story telling books and you start running parallels to what you're doing.
I think it's always important to read a book that just resonates with you, where you are in that moment. That sounds really woo-woo, doesn't it? I think if you read the wrong book at the wrong time, you know, some books read like they're a set of instructions, which may mean you're not reading them properly. Whereas other books you can read and go, "Oh, it's like they're talking to me." And I think that just really depends on where you are and what you're doing. Like, you know, I've had a bit of theme about simplifying things recently, so I've, you know, I'm completely obsessed with Marie Kondo and her, you know, her tidying, "The Magic of Tidying." Still not represented in my office, by the way. But, you know, books around kind of clarity.
I love people who have a simple idea and give you practical ways of making it happen rather only talk around the idea, because sometimes we just want to know how to do it. So I love books like that. But, yeah, really for me it's about knowing what you want to do next and kind of ... And also not to take every single process and system verbatim as well. I think that's a problem that a lot of us has is that you read something and you think that's the only way of doing it. Or then the new book comes out and you're like, "Oh, I've been doing it all wrong. I need to do it this way." And actually just take what you want from it and blend it up with all your own stuff.
Sometimes we're very worried that we don't have anything different to do or to say, but actually for most of us, this happens when I talk to people about their thing, they think, "Well, but I haven't had that eureka moment where I've invented something brand new." And it's not ever about that, it's about taking everything you've ever learned, heard, understood, filtered, you know, had a thought about and just bringing it all together and presenting it as your opinion
and your way of doing it. So, no, I'm not going to give you one book apart from mine.
Lucy: I think that's making it too simplistic, sorry.
Jo: But you do put some recommendations in there, so I have got some from you.
Lucy: You can sneak through those, but, you know, that's a ... Yeah.
Lucy: But, yeah, I think it's important that with everything, I don't think there's one answer to anything. So it's just about, you know, picking up ideas where you find them.
Jo: Yeah. Cool. What about on a day when things don't go right, how do you deal with that?
Lucy: Well, there's always cake, isn't there?
Jo: I knew you were going to say that. Cake does help.
Lucy: Obviously now I make, you know, amazing, sugar free and gluten free ...
Jo: Metabolically balanced cakes.
Lucy: Yep. No, I'm only allowed cake on treat days. Actually, to be honest, when things go wrong, like everyone has bad days. You can have a bad five minutes, you can have a bad day, I mean sometimes you can have a bad week. But for me it's usually just about perspective. Like if you're in the middle of something and something's really, you know, riling you or it's just not working, then honestly the best thing you can ever do is to, you know, walk away and come back later. Whether that's, you know, go and have a cup of tea ... Like honestly, when you're really, really busy and freaking out, and like sometimes the best thing to do is go and do nothing for half an hour. Like go for that walk, or, you know, go and make a cup of tea or go and do the ironing, or go and ... Just sometimes it's better to walk away and then come back, so when you come back you just, you either see the problem or you fix it.
Most of us have the ability to fix all our own problems, but just it's very hard to do it when you're very angry or you're very, you know, fixed on the problem. It's always best to give yourself some kind of diversion tactic I find. Go off and do something else and then you'll be like, "Oh, I just need to do that, don't I." Or just put it in some perspective as to like how bad is it really. It's like, "Okay, so it might seem like a bit of a disaster. And that's broken and that's crashed and this isn't working," but, you know, unless someone's died or something really bad's happened, everything's fixable. It might take a bit longer or it might cost a bit of money or it might do anything.
So I think if you always have contingency, whether it's a case of, you know, whether your contingency is someone else can look after the kids for a couple of hours or you can get up a couple of hours earlier or you've just got a bit of money you can pay someone else to fix it. You know, whatever the problem is, if you build contingency into your life, there's usually a way of dealing with it. That sounds really simple, doesn't it? I know when you're in the middle of it then it doesn’t feel like that. But, you know, if something breaks, and even just simple things like, you know, we have a kind of, you know, a maintenance fund for like, you know, we just put a bit of money in every month so that when stuff breaks I don't freak out about it, that's going to mean I can't fix it.
It's like, "Oh, well, you know, we need new tyres. Fine. That comes out of that." Or, you know, "The boiler's broken. Okay, fine. You know, let's pay for the boiler”. I mean that's one really simple example, but it means that it never turns into a catastrophe.
Jo: Yeah, and I think that's good advice. Definitely. As you say, really that walking away and coming back when the emotions gone can help.
Lucy: Yeah, and asking for help.
Lucy: And asking for help, you know, that's why you have friends or, you know, business colleagues, or ... And I, look, I
have ... There are different people I will phone about different disasters. And like, you know, everyone has their little list of people. Like this is the person I'm going to phone if I just need someone to tell me I'm awesome because I'm having a bad day, right? And this is the person that I'll see if they've got ten minutes for a chat if I just need them to put their practical head on and tell me to stop being so emotional. Or this is the person ... You know, it's good to have different people that you can call on that ... We all know what they're going to say before they say it, but we want them to say it to us.
And that's why we phone them, we want them to, you know, tell us we're just being silly, or, you know, tell us that that's not important and this is, and that, you know, whatever ... And, you know, you almost know what they're going to tell you before they tell you. You just kind of want them to tell you, because telling yourself never seems to work quite so well.
Jo: No. It's when you disagree with them that it doesn't work either.
Lucy: Hang on, you weren't supposed to say that.
Jo: So flipping it then, if you think about a day when you end the day knowing you've had the chance to live more and that's where I talk about doing the stuff that you want to do and not the stuff that you need to do or you feel that you should do. What have you done? What's that day look like?
Lucy: Well, ideally it's going to involve a beach for me, I'll be honest. Ideally it's a day where I've been outside, I've been with my kids. Some of the best days for me are the days where I actually haven't done, in inverted commas, any work. But I get back to a message of like, "I've just read your book," or, you know, "Your talk this week was brilliant." You know, or a Facebook message going, "Oh, I've just read this," or, "I've just listened to this," or, "I've done something." So the best days for me is where I know that my contribution is like out there in the world. Like my message, my ideas, my value is being consumed without me having to deliver it and people are getting it and they're sending me messages. So I'm getting to do the things I love to do, so I'm out probably, you know, running around on the beach or with the kids or going for a nice walk, or I'm on holiday, I'm away and I know that even when I'm not there I'm still helping people with their thing.
That's what the best days are like for me. Obviously you have to spend some days making those things so you can have those days. But that's what gets you through those days where you're like, "Oh, please don't make me edit my book another time." Or, you know, recording videos and all the text going wrong and you're having a bit of a swear fest and all that kind of stuff. It's like the days where you get to just go and be you and do that and know that you're still helping people, they're the best day. They're the best days.
Jo: No, I love that. Yeah, and as you say, those days do need effort to get to, but, you know, there is that sort of balance,
that payoff. Yep.
Jo: Love it. Okay.
Lucy: The other good day is when you get sent your royalty check or ...
Jo: Yeah, those ones too. Excellent.
Lucy: Those ones too. Yeah, let's not forget the getting paid part as well.
Jo: I've really enjoyed talking to you today, Lucy, not surprisingly. I knew it was going to be a great interview. How can people find out more about you and connect with you?
Lucy: The best place to go actually is my books website, which is findyourthingbook.com. And there you can, there's articles and you can read the first chapter for free and have a nose around and see what I think about things. And there's a contact form there as well, so that's the best way to get in contact with me, I know that'll come straight into my inbox.
Jo: Brilliant. Thank you so much.
Lucy: You're very welcome. Thanks for having me.