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245: Make Today Great (with Emma Isaacs)

Make Today Great (with Emma Isaacs)

If you’re like me, you love planning and scheduling and organizing your time. But 2020 has forced us to throw a lot of that planning out the window, so where does that leave people like us? My guest today believes that perhaps taking action right now is more important than planning.

Emma Isaacs is the founder and CEO of Business Chicks, author of Winging It, and mom of six. Her boundless energy and ability to see possibility wherever she goes inspires thousands, and her productivity hacks have made me seriously rethink how I look at my time.

In today’s episode, Emma shares what it’s like leading a global business while raising six kids and why starting off the day by asking what would make it great is so important. We’re talking about being time management ninjas, how to invest in our relationships, and the secret to feeling confident each day. If you want to be an action taker and not just a planner, this episode is for you.

The Vibrant Happy Women Club is closed for 2020, but you can sign up here to get on the waitlist for when we re-open in 2021! You don't want to miss all the new and exciting features we have planned. See you there!

What You’ll Learn:

  • The writing practice Emma starts each day with.
  • How Business Chicks came about and what drives her.
  • How raising children mirrors building a business.
  • Why and how Emma invests so much in her relationships.
  • The values Emma most hopes her children learn from her.
  • What helps Emma feel confident every day.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You’re listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 245. I’m talking with the author of a great book I recently discovered, Winging It: Why Action Beats Planning Every Time. If you want to be an action taker and not necessarily just a planner, this episode is for you. Stay tuned.

Hi, I'm Jen Riday. This podcast is for women who want to feel more vibrant, happy, aligned, and alive. You'll gain the emotional, physical, and spiritual tools you need to get your sparkle back and ensure that depression, anxiety, and struggle don't rule your life. Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast.

Hey my friends, Jen here and welcome back to the Vibrant Happy Women Podcast. I’m Dr. Jen Riday, your host and I’m so excited you’re here because I love this episode. We’re talking about planning and action. We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘fail to plan and plan to fail’. We have this idea we need to schedule our time. And I’ve lived after that model as well. But sometimes, like the year 2020, you come up against something that throws all your plans out the window and then what?

Well, I recently discovered a book called Winging It by Emma Isaacs. The sub line is Why Action Beats Planning Every Time. I love this book. I rarely come across a book that is unique, that the author, Emma, she thinks so uniquely that it kind of caught my attention a lot when I was reading it. She’s also a mom of six, so that’s cool. But she has some really cool hacks that she’s going to share in this episode that I think you’ll love. So, stay tuned for that.

But first I want to read an email I received from one of our listeners. So this is from Miriam, she wrote, “I have just listened to the Healing Power of Nature episode and it reminded me of a traumatizing time in my life when I had this strong desire to go out into nature. When my fiancé at the time left me two months before our wedding it felt like someone had pulled the ground out from under my feet.

I was in a clouded state and I was very agitated and I somehow had this huge desire to go out into nature and walk, and walk, and walk. Sometimes I stood in the middle of the forest consciously looking around me, breathing deeply and this immense strength would flush through me. In this forest I found the strong foundation I am walking on now. Since then I know I am strong enough to endure any eventual challenges that come in life. Nature is the best source to recharge my batteries, to listen to my heart and to find clarity for what comes next.

I have received so many answers while being deep in nature and there is nothing more beautiful than standing on a mountaintop overlooking the world. Thank you very much for this wonderful podcast, an amazing reminder how nature is supporting me every day, I had been taking it for granted and hadn’t been paying attention to it anymore. Miriam.”

Miriam, thank you so much for sharing that. I feel the same about nature. Sometimes when everything feels draining, and uncertain, and confusing I just need to go out and be around some big trees. It’s like a forest of family sending me the nurture, and the energy, and the positivity, and the clarity I need. I feel like I suck some good energy from those trees, or they give it to me, either way. I’ll admit it; I’m a taker when it comes to trees and nature. So thank you so much for writing that, Miriam. And everyone, if you haven’t listened to that, go back and check it out. It was a fun little episode.

Well, today I am talking with Emma Isaacs author of Winging It: Why Action Beats Planning Every Time. And let’s go ahead and jump in, you’re going to love some of her tips, and hacks, and tricks that she uses in her life as a mom of six. Let’s dive in.

Jen: Hi everyone. I’m talking to Emma Isaacs today and she’s the founder and global CEO of Business Chicks. A business owner by the age of 18, property investor by 19 and self-made millionaire by 23, Emma Isaacs has entrepreneurship and achievement in her DNA. As founder of Business Chicks, a thriving global community that operates on two continents in 11 cities, her team produces more than 100 events annually with past speakers including Sir Richard Branson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brené Brown, Diane von Furstenberg and Kate Hudson, among others.

And as a committed philanthropist has now raised more than 13 million dollars for various non-profits. Emma is also the author of the bestselling book, Winging It, released just last month. And it’s endorsed by Seth Godin, Mark Manson, Elizabeth Gilbert, Arianna Huffington and many more, and builds a beautiful case for going after your dreams without having a perfect roadmap to get you there.

Emma’s also a mom like I am a mom to six kids aged 11 down to four months, and recently live streamed the homebirth of her sixth child from her living room with tens of thousands of viewers tuning in to watch his peaceful arrival. She doesn’t believe in work life balance, preferring to advocate for a full life where people are in constant evaluation of what they truly want from it. A fearless leader with seemingly never ending courage to spare, Emma inspires thousands with her boundless energy and ability to see possibility wherever she goes.

Emma, welcome to Vibrant Happy Women.

Emma: Hello. Hi Jen. Can you believe we have a dozen children between us?

Jen: I know, it’s amazing. When I saw your bio I thought, oh, there’s someone else doing this, it’s so fun.

Emma: I feel exactly the same about you.

Jen: So, Emma, you sent me your book, Winging It and I picked it up and immediately, I’ll be honest, I’ve receive a lot of books as a podcast host. Immediately I was drawn in because (a) you have six kids like I do and (b) you’re able to manage that show with your six kids and have a business. So I was instantly curious about how you do that. So one of my favorite parts of the book, I want to start with your idea that every day you take a sheet of paper and write “what would make today great” at the top. Tell us how you came up with that and how that is changing your life and other lives?

Emma: Listen, I believe, I’ve been running my own companies, as you said in that short bio, since the age of 18. And I’ve never really worked for anyone else before. So when you are an entrepreneur I suppose by trade, you have to hustle like nobody else. And you have to come up with solutions and strategies to get ahead because you’re not reliant on that paycheck each week or each month. And I have experimented with every single type of productivity hack and, you know, from journaling, to apps, to whatever it is, I’ve definitely tried it.

And one of the things that’s really worked for me is to be able to sit down at the start of the day and try and just write down a few things that would have you think about yourself at the end of the day. And asking that question, what would make today great kind of sets you up for that, so instead of the day running you, you get to choose and you get to run the day. And for me it may not be just work commitments. It might be having a conversation or a fun call with a dear friend. It might be just starting the first couple of paragraphs in a new book I’m writing or a blog post or whatever it is.

But it’s really starting with the end in mind and trying to reverse engineer that and work out what you want to get from your day. So yeah, that’s one of my little things I like to do and it always sets the day up beautifully I find.

Jen: I’ve been using this method, what would make today great. And I was skeptical going into it because, like you, I’ve tried a lot of things. But what fascinated me was as soon as I started to write on my page my brain shifted into the feeling of already having accomplished it, it generated such a positivity. And we all know that when we feel something positive we’re way more likely to take positive action. So it was amazing and I love this method. So everyone try it when you start your day, instead of a to do list write what would make today great at the top. You’ll be shocked, it’s amazing.

Emma: You’d be surprised. Good, I’m glad you’re trying it, I love that.

Jen: Yeah. Now, another section in your book, Winging It, is your time saving hacks, so just talk about some of those.

Emma: Well, obviously running a global business and running the household at the same time, and writing books, and doing all the speaking I do on the side means that I have to be a time management ninja. So I’m always looking for ways to buy back a bit of time. And that time is the one thing that I got with my absolute life. So I’m always looking for things to reasonably delegate to someone else. I’m always looking for ways I can outsource something in my life. I’m always looking for someone who can do a job better and faster than I can.

I have zero ego with delegating to others and asking for help. Saying no, I say no to so many things that cross my desk because I want to protect my time and I need to be productive and my time is given to my family or my business. So some of the things in the book, I mean I talk about three little words that add up to so many more and that is just ‘do it now’.

So when you think of a task or a little something that needs to get done, don’t write it on your list and then spend time thinking about it. Just get it done in that moment, just get that email done in the moment, get that phone call done in the moment. Make the bed, whatever it is on your mind, just do it now. So that’s one of the things that I advocate for as well as outsourcing and delegating.

The science tells us that we should not multitask, and of course we should not multitask when our work requires us to be immersed on the one task and focused on it. But when it comes to multitasking around the home, I’m always someone who’s reading the kids a story while they’re taking a bath. Or I’m always someone who’s trying to do my shopping while watching the kids in the pool. I’m always trying to do two things at once. So yeah, when you need to, you obviously need to focus and not multitask.

But if you do have aspirations of running a global business and having six kids there are going to be many moments in your day when you need to multitask. But I’m always looking for the shortcut in things and I’m really, really fond of the saying, ‘done is better than perfect’. So a huge thing with the book is about abandoning perfectionism at all costs and just doing our best in every single moment. So I think when we start out with that idea of done is better than perfect that also helps when you’re trying to eke back a little bit of time and find some more hours in your day.

Jen: And you also mentioned controlling your environment, tell us how you do that.

Emma: Yeah. I mean I have never been someone who’s watched a lot of TV. I’ve never been someone who has a habit of opening up social media or the news in the morning because again, it’s similar to what we started this conversation talking about, what would make today great. And it’s the idea of we control the day, don’t let the day control you.

So I’ve just been really, I suppose, self-aware with where I spend my time and how I control what information reaches me. And so that means a few things, I don’t reach for my phone in the morning to check the news or check social media, I make sure that that’s not one of the first things I do. I don’t watch TV as a habit, my husband does. But again I’d rather be spending time working or being with my family.

I think it comes back to the idea of being aware of where you get energy from and what takes it away from you, and knowing that we have choices when it comes to the content that we consume. And that goes for people as well, so we can choose the people we want to hang around with. We can choose the people that come into our environment. We can choose to make those people positive. So I think that’s another little way we can control our environment.

Jen: So you created Business Chicks quite a long time ago. Tell us how that came about and how you knew that’s what you wanted to do with your life. And then on top of that, how you knew you wanted to have six kids beside that, yeah.

Emma: Yeah. I mean so my story is that I come from a very, very academic family, of all the grandkids I’m the only one without a university degree, so much to my parents’ horror and dismay. I went to university for six months. I dropped out because it wasn’t going fast enough for me. I met someone out just socially at a barbecue that very weekend and she asked me what I was up to. And I said, “I was studying a business degree.”

And it turns out that she was looking to hire someone in her little recruitment company or a staffing agency that she’d just started. So I went in for an interview the next week, got the job and a few weeks later she and her business partner parted ways. And he, as he was walking out of the door he turned around and said to her, “If you’re going to offer equity to anyone in this company you offer it to that kid sitting over there.” And he pointed at me.

So that was my first opportunity to buy into the business. I did that with some savings that I had from doing some waitressing throughout school and uni. We just got going in building that business. So I was in that company for seven years and we won a whole host of awards, and we put it into a really beautiful culture and had about 40 people working with us before I exited.

And around that time I got invited to a Business Chicks event. And for me that name was completely insulting. I’m a feminist. I’m a professional businesswoman. I’m an entrepreneur. And I just thought that name was really derogatory to women. And I said that to my friend, she said, “You need to get over yourself and come along and experience this thing.”

So in I walked to this Business Chicks event and I fell head over heels in love with it. I just loved the concept, the music was playing. The women were so positive and happy to be there. And they were like high-fiving and hugging each other. And it was just a very, very different scene to anything I’d experienced in networking before, when you had to put on your beige colored suit jacket and say the right things, and appear a certain way. And it’s almost like you’re going into battle or having to put armor on.

So I love this concept and I ran back to my staffing agency and I passed around my credit card and I said, “Everyone become a member to this organization, I want to get behind this.” And we went on to the next event a month or so later and I heard the business was for sale. And I ran up to the lady at the end and I said, “I want to help, you know, I really want to buy this thing.” And I’d never run a membership organization and I’d never produced an event before. But I just knew deep in – I don’t know where it was, it was definitely a gut feeling. Every cell in my body was activated.

I started getting really excited about this idea. So you asked the question, how did you know? And I think as women what we can often do is over-analyze and over-think a lot of things. But I like to listen to that very, very, very first reaction we have, that one that sort of makes us light up a little bit more and makes us lean forward. And you can’t stop thinking about it and you want to tell your friends about it. And they’re all great clues that you’re on the right path and something’s there.

So it wasn’t as if I started out as a 20 year old or thinking I want to build this great women’s community that now has over 500,000 people involved in it. It wasn’t like that at all. I like to reverse engineer it and just do what feels right. And it was a slow build over 15 years. We started with 200 members and now as you say, we’re in two continents and still growing 15 years on. So I didn’t know. It wasn’t as if I knew, I felt that there was something there. I felt that I could give it a really good shot.

I never had these sort of huge grand visions of reaching one million women or 500,000 women, it was just that I had started and gone on my way and it built over time. And for me the numbers aren’t really what excites me or motivates me. People often ask me in interviews, “How many members do you want to get to?” And for me it’s never been about that. I’m driven by the impact we can create. I’m driven by the stories I get told from our members. I’m driven by the success that they’re able to achieve.

It’s not for me about attaching to this, you know, reaching this certain amount or this goal for me. It’s really about trying to be really present in every single moment and try work to my strengths as much as possible and do the best I can in every moment, that’s what really motivates me and gets me out of bed every day, for sure.

Jen: And so you had that gut instinct to start your business and it’s amazing and you’re changing lives. How about the decision to have six kids? People ask me that all the time and I thought I would ask you.

Emma: I don’t think we ever made that decision. I think what happened with us, I was never a hugely maternal person. And by that I mean a lot of my identity when I was younger was tied up with being an entrepreneur and running businesses. And I was very, very fulfilled with that, it had given me a lot of fantastic opportunities and I’ve met some incredible people.

So it wasn’t as if I sort of from a very young age as a child had this grand idea or ambition to have a very, very large family. But we had the first and obviously fell in love with her. And then we just kind of accidentally had the second and we just really enjoyed the ride of parenting. And I suppose the intensity of parenting — it sort of mirrors building businesses in a lot of ways, the ups and downs and the chaos, and then you get some calm. And I love that, I love the intensity of parenting. And yeah, before we knew it was sort of four, and five.

And we had five miscarriages in there so I think they also teach you how precious life is. And yeah, and before we know it, I mean we didn’t really discuss it. And we have a funny joke with our midwife who we call every time we fall pregnant. And she’s like, “How long have you been planning this one for?” And it’s like, “No, we did it again.” But I think somewhere along the way, you know, it’s funny about parenting. And I’m not sure if you can echo this.

But coming from a start in business and coming from having learned a lot about building companies, everyone says to you, “You’ll be fine, when they come along you’ll be able to balance it all and you’ll be able to get the help you need and you’ll figure it out. And it takes a village”, and all that sort of stuff.

But what they don’t tell you is you’re actually going to fall so deeply in love with these little beings and that you’re going to want to spend as much time as you can leading the way for them. And however that manifests, whether it’s sitting with them on the floor doing blocks, or taking them for an ice cream, or picking them up after they’ve fallen over. So I think we just fell so deeply in love with each of them and it becomes a little bit of an addiction. But I will say I think we are done, Jen.

Jen: Yeah, six is great.

Emma: We’re going to leave it there. What age ranges are yours?

Jen: 19 down to seven, yeah, similar, I had six over the age of 12. I had six miscarriages. That’s super interesting.

Emma: Yeah, I mean it’s something I never have shame talking about it. I think we’re so, so, so blessed, I’ve had so many of my friends struggle with fertility issues and not been to conceive. So we’re very, very blessed. But yeah, there are a number of really hard times in there and it makes it all worthwhile doesn’t it, when you’ve got that [inaudible] I suppose?

Jen: Yes, for sure. So you strike me as a person who has a lot of energy. And one of the high energy things you invest yourself in is your relationships. So in your book you talk about a friend who went somewhere kind of remote and you were able to get a chocolate cake to them. Or your brother-in-law and sister got engaged and you made this huge fabric ‘happy engagement’ banner for them and put it in the garden. So you like to go big. Where did that come from and how do you manage it with your busy schedule?

Emma: Yeah. I mean I’m trying to find the argument, but I mean you’ve read the book so you know this. But I came from a very, you know, pretty lower middle-class family, beautiful, beautiful childhood and upbringing, my parents are still together to this day. And I took a lot from them in the way they conducted themselves and their values in life. And they’re always the first ones to do a favor for a neighbor. We didn’t have money, we didn’t have a lot of resources, but we certainly had whatever, you know, I’d walk with my parents in the morning, they’d say, “Good morning”, to everyone.

And I remember when I first met my husband, and we’d go for a walk in the morning and I’d say, you know, I’d greet everyone I met. And he was so shocked by that, he’s like, “Why do you do that?” And it’s like the exchange of energy between two humans is something that’s just so underestimated. And we need nothing other than to just see people and to be kind to them. You don’t need a lot of money to do that or a lot of time. But it’s something that I have seen time and time again work in my business life.

So having no experience and not having the legacy of worked in a corporate career or having anything to rely on, a deep network, or money, or connections, or experience. I’ve had to make it up as I’ve gone along. And so what that meant is I only ever had my enthusiasm, I had my effort. And that turned into a lot of relationships. So I’m always someone who’s tried to see things from another person’s perspective and trying to do things for them all the time.

Like when my daughter first started in her kindergarten class a few years ago, the teacher asked me what I did and I said, “I run a business.” And she said, “I’ve got a little business on the side.” So of course that afternoon I went onto her website, I bought a couple of the products that she was selling and I gave them to friends. And of course that made the teacher think it’s a lovely thing to do. And that was beautiful and obviously set us up for a great year together and we’re still friends to this day.

But I’m always trying to find ways to, yeah, I don’t know, just put a little bit of joy in people’s days. And people remember that, I do it because it makes others feel good. But also there’s a payoff and a byproduct of that and they remember that.

And then, you’ve read the book, so there’s a part in there where I talk a beautiful quote that Dr. Lois Frankel says. And it says this, “When you need a relationship it’s too late to build one.” And I love that because you should be always, always, always investing in people, and your relationships, and your network. And not just wait until you need something, and then you start doing these things.

So it certainly has played out beautifully this year with the pandemic because we had to pivot all of our live events obviously to a digital delivery. And I wasn’t able to, you know, our ticket price went down, some would charge a couple of thousand dollars for the events that we were running. They went from those sort of prices to $24 or most of them were free. So I didn’t have the sort of budgets that we had at the live events.

So I had to call in all those favors from guest speakers. And every single one of them said, “Absolutely, Em, yeah, I’ll speak for you at no cost or a very, very small fee.” And that’s because for the last 15 years of building my business I’ve been investing in people and relationships, so it’s really set us up beautifully.

Jen: That’s really amazing, yeah, seriously. Well, tell us the chocolate cake story. I’m sure they’re like, “What, you had a friend in a remote area and you sent them a cake?”

Emma: I keep forgetting your questions, it’s because I’ve had about three and a half hours sleep and experiencing, like all of us, a little bit of election anxiety. But it was – I can’t even remember if it was her 40th. I’m going to say it was her 40th birthday and she was traveling, yeah. I mean she has a factory in China that she visited and she was in some remote province. And I was able to track down where she was by a super sleuth. I didn’t ask her directly because everything I do is with an element of surprise. Because I think again, surprising people is just such a beautiful gift.

And again, to make someone’s day is awesome. So yeah, I tracked her down, we had to get a translator because they couldn’t speak, there was no one in the five people I spoke to that could speak English. So they got on the phone and couldn’t understand me, I knew zero Mandarin. And yeah, we colluded to – I ordered her a chocolate cake. I even got it personalized, would you believe. And for her 50th, I did something similarly, I made 50 of her favorite treats and yeah, well, actually I lie, my mom made them for her. So I outsourced that.

But again, I believe that life is a series of memories and moments. And if we can do that for other people it just, it makes life so much more enriching for us but also it just makes life a little bit more beautiful for others. So yeah, I love doing that, it’s a complete joy for me.

Jen: So for your kids, what values do you most hope they will learn by watching you or by your teachings to them?

Emma: You know the one thing that I’m noodling like nonstop at the moment and it’s because most of my workforce are millennials, so they’re sort of from mid 20s to I suppose early 30s, is the idea of how we breed and raise resilient kids. How do we equip our kids to be able to deal with things, and deal with uncertainty, and deal with the unexpected twists and turns that life is going to throw at us? That’s what I’m completely obsessed with at the moment. I’m trying to practice it every day because it’s really hard as parents to do that.

This morning I made my daughter’s lunch and I knew she didn’t, you know, we had a conversation, she was like, “I don’t like what’s in the lunch.” And I’m like, “Well, kind of too bad.” And she said, “Can’t I get some money to buy a salad from the local store?” I said, “No, darling, this is what’s for lunch today.” Anyway off she goes to school, my husband dropped her and she deliberately left her lunchbox in the car.

Jen: Oh. Yeah.

Emma: Yeah. And immediately she texted me, she says, “Mom, I’ve forgotten my lunch.” And I said, “Did you forget it or did you leave it in the car?” And she said, “Yeah, okay, I’m sorry mom, I lied, I really took it out of my bag and left it in the car.” And she says, “Will you come and drop a salad or can you drop some money or can you pick me up and we’ll go and get the salad?” And I said, “No, absolutely not, (a) you did something really dishonest and (b) I don’t just come in and swoop and fix your problems.”

So the poor kid, I mean you don’t think I’m sitting here all day knowing that she’s starving at school, I mean she is. But she’s got to learn those lessons. So I think resilience is the one thing that I want to teach my kids. I’m also really, really interested in how we build diversity into our family and how I introduce them to people from all different backgrounds, and ages, and careers. Because I think it’s really, really important to raise kids with a global view and to have a perspective that’s different to our own.

So be able to celebrate that diversity and it’s certainly one of the things I love most about living in Los Angeles, it’s just it’s a very diverse city. And we have opportunity to do that. So yeah, I’d say they’re a couple of the ones that are really important to me, resilience, and kindness, and yeah, just having a global perspective, they’re some of the things.

Jen, to be honest, I don’t know if I’m doing well. I mean I don’t know if I’ll, you know, I feel like I’m failing every single day in some way. But you know what, those kids, they’re very securely attached, they’re very deeply loved, they have a lot of – we have a lot of light in our lives and a lot of fun. So again, I’m doing my best in every single moment and that’s a mantra I try and tell myself, I’m doing my best. I’m doing my best. I’m doing my best.

Jen: Yeah, that’s a great mantra. On the opposite end of that you also kind of have a mantra you mention in the book of failing spectacularly. How do you put those side by side?

Emma: Well, I didn’t originally. I mean, culturally failure is nuanced in very, very different ways, where you come from in the world. So in Australia, failure is met with a lot of shame, it’s something you don’t really talk about. You don’t put it on your résumé. You don’t really talk about it openly. It’s something that is considered to be better discussed behind closed doors.

Here in America, I moved to the States five years ago now and I really failed spectacularly the first time trying to get Business Chicks off the ground here. And in talking with so many of my mentors, and advisors, and friends here in my States, I came to see how differently they viewed failure. And it’s not for everyone of course. I’m not saying that, but certainly in the business world. And there’s a lot of even Silicon Valley investors that won’t back you unless you’ve had one or two big failures.

So I think that tells you something about how this country, particularly on the business scene views failure. So I think the better anecdote or lesson there is about getting up quickly and it’s about not burying the failure, it’s about trying to kind of excavate what you learned from it. And it was my greatest fear in this year with the pandemic, that we’re all going to go back to exactly the way we were living before this happened. And I hope we take some of these lessons and really use them to live in – I don’t know – just better ways, just kinder, better ways, that’s just it isn’t it?

We’ve just got to keep going, that’s our only choice is to pick ourselves up and keep on keeping on.

Jen: Yeah, and to treat failure as a learning opportunity, yeah.

Emma: Yeah, totally.

Jen: So looking forward what would be your 1, 5, 10 and 20 year goals? Do you have a vision that extends that far?

Emma: Listen, I’m a recovering perfectionist and I am also someone who, every single year on January 1 would sit down and write my goals and write out a huge plan for my year. And as the kids came along and the time I could spend doing those sort of activities lessened. I came to relax into every moment a lot more and try to enjoy every moment a lot more rather than just being high achieving at every single turn.

The reason I talk about planning and, you know, I suppose is because I’ve been in business for over 20 years now and I’ve seen the planning cycles have just shrunk year, on year, on year. So 20 years ago you could start a business and write a 10 year plan and you could sort of map out where you wanted to go.

And these days with the advent of technology and the way the world has moved so quickly, and competitors, it’s just really, really hard to look much further than really – in our business we plan quarterly. So four times a year is our planning cycle. And it’s more project based rather that doing these sort of long term grand plans. I certainly have a vision for my future. I have a vision for the organization. But I’m not tied up in having these perfect plans.

And the reason I suppose I talk about this is because I’m in a unique position having worked alongside some of the world’s most successful people. For the last 15 years I have been able to study how these people go about life and how they achieve what they achieve. And I think what we do with successful people is we put them on this pedestal and we think they have it all. We think they have it all sorted, they have this perfect plan for their lives. They have this roadmap that they follow. And what I learned from is they’re exactly like us and they do not have that perfect plan.

What they have taught themselves is how to back themselves into situations of uncertainty, how to have the confidence to do that. They have taught themselves how to say yes and figure out the rest and say, “Go.” They have taught themselves to say no to the stuff that doesn’t fulfill them and drains them of energy, and takes them away from doing what they want to be doing. So I’ve started to see all those things emerging about these highly successful people.

And a lot of them, we look at them, we think that they have this huge plan and they just don’t, they make the most of every single opportunity in front of them. And they’ve worked out how to develop more confidence and move forward in the face of uncertainty. And in a lot of ways this year has been the year of that, it’s been the year of saying, “All those plans we made, come January 1, we had to throw them out.”

I mean my vision for this year was kind of more of the same. I was going to grow my business. I was going to take a bunch of vacations with the kids. I was going to write my second book and all of that. It’s obviously been thrown out of the window. I would just be happy, you know, I mean I’ve got one kid going to school a couple of days a week. I’d just be happy with kids going to school. My needs and goals are really low, Jen.

Jen: I’m with you. I’ve wanted school as well. Oh my goodness. Well, a final question, you mentioned confidence, what helps you to be your most confident each day?

Emma: You know what it is? I think it’s practicing, I think it’s just practicing over, and over, and over. It wasn’t as if I was born with this huge amount of confidence. I’ve always tried to put myself in situations where I feel a level of discomfort or a level of fear. And I’m always looking for – I think it’s always been my future that I fear in some small way, whether that’s giving a speech, or whether it’s – I don’t know – it’s just a social situation. I’m always trying to sort of up my game when it comes to developing confidence.

And I’ve really worked hard over the years on my self-talk. I really try and catch myself before I start going down into that spiral of, but you’re not enough of this, or you’re not enough of that, or you didn’t come from this, or you didn’t come from that. I really try and watch my self-talk.

And I think it’s also wonderful if you suffer with self-confidence or self-doubt too. Ask the people around you how they see you, how they view you, because I can guarantee you they see things in you that you don’t see. And it’s just a beautiful sort of mirror or reflection back of what your unique strengths or abilities are. So I always encourage people to do that. But again, it’s just practice, just practice being a bit more confident each and every day and doing things that scare you, and putting yourself out there a little bit more.

And being the first person to ask the question and speaking up when you might not have spoken up before. And again, practice, practice, practice. And it doesn’t need to be starting a new huge empire, or business, or it might just be writing the first chapter of a novel you’ve always wanted to, or picking up the phone to a relation that you know you need to heal, whether it’s a friendship, or a relationship with someone in your family.

So I think action can find itself in so many different little – I don’t know – little tasks in a day. That’s how I’ve certainly built my confidence, by doing the things that scare me and starting small.

Jen: Stepping out of the comfort zone.

Emma: You got it.

Jen: Sure. Well, everyone grab the book, Winging It: Why Action Beats Planning Every Single Time by Emma Isaacs. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. And I think our listeners would really particularly love this book. If any of you listening want to kind of step into an up-leveled version of yourself for 2021. My hand is raised. I think you’re a good leader in that way. So I really appreciate your book, Emma.

Emma: Thanks Jen, that’s really kind of you, appreciate it.

Jen: If people wanted to follow you where should they go?

Emma: Yeah, sure. I am on the socials @emmaisaacs, so at Business Chicks, drop me a DM. And pick the book up on Amazon or any of the indie bookstores. But yeah, I really appreciate your time today, Jen, it’s been great.

Jen: Thank you. Take care.

So that was so much fun talking with Emma. I really admire her and after I turned off the microphone I said, “You know, Emma, I don’t know why your book stood out so much to me. But it really impacted me and I think that’s because you live very uniquely in the world. You look at it very uniquely. And it pays off.” So if you want to kind of start your 2021 with a new way of looking at your life, a new way of showing up, check out her book, Winging It: Why Action Beats Planning Every Time.

Also try that tip that she mentioned first thing which is what would make today great? Write it down on your sheet of paper and answer that for yourself every morning. And you’ll be surprised what shows up on that paper and how it makes you feel, so positive, so motivated. What would make today great? And just do those things, so simple. Take action instead of just planning to take action.

Well, my friends thank you so much for listening today. Go make your day great. And I will see you again soon. Take care.

If you enjoy this podcast, you have to check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. It’s my monthly group coaching program where we take all this material to the next level and to get you the results that will blow your mind. Join me in the Vibrant Happy Women Club at

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About jen

Jen Riday is a mom of 6 and life coach who loves to help women experience massive happiness as they let go of stress, sadness or other chronic emotions of negativity.

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