Holly Scott Donaldson on Show #20: Trello, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Podcasts, Pen and Paper and Mindfulness

holly scott donaldson

Trello, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Podcasts, Pen and Paper and Mindfulness with Holly Scott Donaldson of Back 2 Biz magazine and the Back to Life programme.

What We Recommended:

Tools & Apps

Trello – “Trello I’m using for my big picture, what are those higher level tasks? Trello is very interactive. You’re making your little blocks of projects, but you can actually move them around your board depending on how you’ve arranged a column. If you have planning, doing, done, or to do, you can pull that task with your mouse and drag it into the relevant column. It’s very easy and interactive.

Slack – “Slack is something that I’ve been introduced to, and I’ve been loving. It’s a sort of project management communication tool. Apparently it’s one of the fastest growing pieces of software around at the minute. It’s very good if you are part of a team of people that are all virtual. It helps you not just instant message each other, but the whole group can share documents and see each other notes, or you can do them as private notes.”

Achievr – “There is a mobile app called Achievr which helps me with routine, ironically. What are the routines of the most successful people around? What do they do every day? And what do I need to do every day? Like the daily walk, spending twelve minutes doing mindfulness. Some of those non-work related, but success related activities I track on this app. That’s making me keep aware of the things that I often forget, such as mindfulness, which is a key part to success.”

Other Resources

Jin Shin Jyutsu – “Astrid Kauffman is a friend of mine, and she’s also a practitioner of something called Jin Shin Jyutsu, which is an ancient Japanese therapy I think, which deals with your own body’s energy levels. If you’ve got pain, you hold yourself a certain way and you will relieve the pain. For example, you hold the outsides of your ankles if you’ve got a headache, and the headache will go away.

I never gave myself into the therapy until my diagnosis. Actually, while I going through the diagnosis she said, “Okay, come and see me. I’m going to put you on the couch and I’m going to do these treatments on you.” I started to drift off into … I really understand what giving yourself over to peace and tranquility is, stopped thinking about everything. I think it’s such a big monster sitting in my head, I completely blocked it and thought of nothing.

Her treatments brought such a calmness and understanding and ease with it. It saved my sanity, it allowed me to get rid of that adrenaline junkie fix and to look at life through a completely different lens. Everybody who knows me before, during, and after said I’m a completely different person now.”

Influential People in the Entrepreneurial World – “I stay very close to a few people that I think are massively influential. That’s Simon Coulson here in the UK, and Ed Dale I mentioned in Australia. Through Simon Coulson there’s quite a good network of entrepreneurs, like Andy Harrington and Nick James

Books

Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley – “I found his book amazing”

Music

African Music – “I’m South African by birth, and I have African music in my bones as it were, and I’ve put on my African deep music and just lay there and think of nothing.”

Podcasts

Radio 4 – “I listen to Radio 4 driving around, because there will be topics that are completely out of my normal sphere and make my mind think.

Podcasts in General – “There are so many brilliant inspirational podcasts out there that when I’m doing the school commute or back from the school commute, I will listen to podcasts to get in the right head zone.”

Tips

Time Management – “I manage my day based off a spreadsheet, literally giving myself half-hour slots from 6AM to about 9-10PM. The first thing I do every week is block out where that children time is so that I’m not trying to be two people, I am one hundred percent with them. I’m pretty flexible in how I manage the day so long as I pre-planned it on my spreadsheet. Meaning, I’ve looked at the tasks that are mandatory through the week, I look at my spreadsheet and find the blocks of time that are open. Are not with the children, or I’m not having to go to the dentist, or I don’t have a work call scheduled. I literally look for pockets of time where I can fill in the tasks. That gives me my structure for the rest of the week.”

Starting the Day Well – “My aim is to be up an hour before they’re usually stirring. I do have about an hour to gather my thoughts, have a cup of coffee in the bath, think about my work day and plan my own agenda. That doesn’t always happen, but the definite thing is I am fully focused on them [children] until 9.”

Using Pen and Paper for Creativity – “When it comes down to being creative, I am a strong believer in stepping away from technology and using pen and paper. My brain operates differently when I’m looking at pen and paper and having to use my hand to write down than when I’m typing on a computer. I go into much more a mechanical mode at that point, and I lose the edge. I stop creative thinking, and I become functional.”

Writing Discipline – “Also being very disciplined about not stopping writing. Even if you can’t think of what to say, writing things like, “This is a stupid exercise” sort of keeps the brain ticking. Suddenly you’ll find something trips, and you’ll have a whole load of content you need to write down. Unless you keep going it doesn’t happen. It’s like this beautiful door that you step through. What most of us do is sit and think, not doing anything with our hands, and not do anything except try to force the thought, and it doesn’t come. This continuous writing plays a trick on you and helps bring that flow through. It really works.”

Kanban – “a Japanese task management system. Using yellow sticky notes on a big whiteboard in a set structure, it helps you to very clearly pick out the task that needs to be done by the value it’s going to add to your business going forward. That’s changed my life. It really does help me. Not just the things I like doing, but the things that are really going to add value to my week and to my business.

You have to make sure that every sticky note is at the most granular level of any task. We all tend to do our planning at quite a high level, like complete the website, or contact clients. Actually when you break that down as about six or seven mini-tasks underneath all of that. Ed Dale’s taught to me to really not just look at the big task, get down to that granular level and see how many of those I can physically, realistically, get through my week. They go into a holding column for the week. On a daily basis I only ever pick up one sticky note, but it in my actual doing box, do that box until I can move it to done. I pull one task at a time on a daily basis.”

Stopping the Chaotic Lifestyle – “About over a year ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that moment everything stops. You go through surgery, you go through treatment, and you have to recover from the treatment. I made a massive promise to myself, to my family, to my children, that I would stop that chaotic lifestyle. Everything was run on adrenalin. Now relaxation and time are very important things to me. The first primary is special family time.”

Gardening for Relaxation – “I’m in a rented house, but it has a wonderful garden that I’m responsible for, which I’ve always found a burden because it had to be done, it had to be done, when actually now I’ve chosen to go back into it. Spring is here, and it’s such a wonderful stress reliever. I make sure I’m not really thinking work while I’m in there. Creative ideas come, you can never stop that. But I’m certainly not thinking about deadlines and all that horror.”

Mindfulness – “very definitely a big one. I continue with my Jin Shin Jyutsu with Astrid. She’s got a website called flowsforlife.com where she puts lots of self-help techniques. I don’t physically to see her, I can actually practise it at home.”

Sleep – “Sleep, Sleep, major thing. From the times of that adrenaline junkie day, I don’t even know how many hours I slept if I ever really properly slept. I’d wake up with ideas and have to write them down and never really switched off. If I need to go to sleep I will take a half an hour or an hour, and I make sure I’m getting at least eight hours every night. Otherwise I crumble and I get a stomach ache. It started to physically affect me, which I never thought I’d feel before. I never felt before. Maybe I did and I didn’t notice it. Those are my warning signals, my stomach starts to be sore, and I’m like, “Okay. That’s fatigue. Stop, take care.” I Listen to myself.

There are days when I can sit in a chair and fall asleep anywhere. I use some of Astrid’s techniques from the Flows For Life website. She has a special way you can hold … You put your right hand on your head, and your left hand on your sternum, in the middle of your breast, and just breathe while you’re gently holding onto those two places and you’ll be amazed. It’s like a curtain that comes down and just says, “Okay. Now you’re allowed to relax and go to sleep.”

Avoiding Newsletter Overwhelm – “One thing I did find is if I read something of someone I really liked I subscribe to what they had to say, and I ended up having fifty E-mails a day from really inspirational people, and I felt overwhelmed. I’m never going to achieve all of this because it’s too much to do. What I’ve tried to do now is I keep aware of the main thought streams that these people have, but I stick close to only a couple that really everything they have something to say, it’s worth sitting up and listening to.”

Sticking to Successful Models – “I have a wonderful client who he’s ex-military services and suffers from post-traumatic stress, and he called me up and said, “I really want to build a website for my new business. I want to get this up and running, but I can’t go to a physical class, I can’t read a textbook. I just need help in bite sized chunks.” We set up a plan of half an hour every week for about two months, and also because he’s ex-military if you tell him an order, give him an instruction, he follows it no question. We made more progress in the two to three months, I’ve got his website up and running, and he was earning money through it than any of my other clients who want to question why or find a thousand reasons why they can’t do X, Y, and Z. I’m not here to force them to do anything, but he proved the fact that if you just do things in a simple, logical order without questioning it until you’re up and running, you’re going to succeed. He showed me to remind myself about that was with the people I follow.”

Living More – “It’s usually the days I’ve cooked pancakes with my kids. Pancake and pajama day if we’re in this country. Just being together, or we will actually go out and do something. Go swimming. In the last three weeks on holiday I’ve had the benefit of packing a picnic for their tea or supper, and going to the beach and flying a kite, and getting completely full of sand before we go back and have a bath time. Those are things that you can’t buy, they’re things that if you’re seriously ill and you can’t get out of the door and go and do, and every single possible opportunity that I have to go and do that right now, I’m going to do because who knows one day I might not be able to get out of the chair and go and do it.”

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Holly Scott Donaldson

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Read Full Transcript

Jo Dodds: Today I'm interviewing Holly Scott-Donaldson of Back 2 Biz Magazine and the Back to Life programme. Welcome, Holly. Thanks for joining me.

Holly Scott: Thank you very much for having me.

Jo Dodds: Tell us a bit about you, and about those very interesting sounding businesses, and where you run those businesses from.

Holly Scott: Okay. I am, in essence, an online business coach. I focused a lot, recently in the past couple of years, in emerging technologies for online businesses such as in the mobile space. I've fallen in love with the mediums of digital magazines and content apps. So, mobile apps that deliver content to niche markets. I love helping people understand that technology, and help them to see how they could actually build a business based off a life experience or their story.

This all came about only in the last couple of years. Historically I've been working the corporate world. I used to be tech marketing for some big software houses, as dull and boring as that was. Through the change of young children, and how it affected my work life balance, I decided not to be doing all of that anymore and started doing some freelance. Eventually when I was made redundant from a project, I decided, "Hey. I'm going to make a go of running my own business properly and helping other people to set themselves up online.

I've been doing a couple of years and teamed up with some great people, like Simon Coulson of the Internet Business School. He's taught me so much, and I'm now an official coach through him. That gives me quite a good audience to be able to help other people. Then working with local businesses and local families here in Wiltshire who want to start getting up and running online.

Jo Dodds: Lovely. Sounds really interesting, and right up my street. In fact, we met at a Simon Coulson event, didn't we? A few weeks ago.

Holly Scott: Absolutely, where you were an excellent speaker, might I say.

Jo Dodds: Thank you very much. Tell us more about where you run your businesses. Do you work from home, have you got an office at home? Or are you a digital nomad, as they call them?

Holly Scott: I am running it from home. I've been, even in my corporate days I've done about ten years of home working, which actually got very lonely. So I've started up some local networking groups to have an opportunity to get out and meet people. Where they're all home working people, and we sit together and celebrate some successes. It's called The Woodborough Entrepreneur Group. Yes, in general I am from home and aim to be a digital nomad, to be able to go back and live in South Africa with my family as soon as I’ve cleared my British debt.

Jo Dodds: Excellent. Do you have an office in your house, or do you work wherever takes your fancy?

Holly Scott: Yes. I'm living in a ... I'm renting ... It's a nice, large property. I've got three children, so they've got their own space, and hidden in a corner is a hidden room that I've changed into an office, and it's fabulous. It's got a great big window looking in the gardens, got light and space, and creative space.

Jo Dodds: That sounds nice. Tell us a bit about how you set yourself up in the mornings? With three children it sounds like it's probably a bit of a nightmare. What are their ages?

Holly Scott: I have an eight year old, a four year old, and a two year old.

Jo Dodds: Oh, sounds even more of a nightmare than I imagined. Do you have a morning routine, and how do you transition from family into working?

Holly Scott: It's an excellent question, and I ask myself that every day. I did actually laugh when I read through some of your preparation questions. It's a routine ... Do I have one? Do I really? I have to say both my morning and my evenings are cut out very clearly for my children. They are all so young still, and all have different needs. I try to muddle it all through. I used to in my corporate days I would have 7AM calls, and try and do those conference calls before the kids got up, and then try to do an E-mail while I'm packing their lunch boxes and things like that. I've absolutely stopped all of that.

I manage my day based off a spreadsheet, literally giving myself half-hour slots from 6AM to about 9-10PM. The first thing I do every week is block out where that children time is so that I'm not trying to be two people, I am one hundred percent with them. I would say from about 7 till 9 it's completely children focused; getting them dressed, getting them fed, getting them with the right [inaudible 00:05:10] and the right lunchbox without the fight over who's got what lunchbox, you know that one. Then just get them to school. I try and get up ... My aim is to be up an hour before their usually stirring. I do have about an hour to gather my thoughts, have a cup of coffee in the bath, think about my work day and plan my own agenda. That doesn't always happen, but the definite thing is I am fully focused on them until 9.

Then I very quickly have to get back into the working mindset. The luxury is I'm my own boss, I'm running my own company even though I do have some contracts with companies where I have massive deadlines, and there are structures around that. I'm pretty flexible in how I manage the day so long as I pre-planned it on my spreadsheet. Meaning, I've looked at the tasks that are mandatory through the week, I look at my spreadsheet and find the blocks of time that are open. Are not with the children, or I'm not having to go to the dentist, or I don't have a work call scheduled. I literally look for pockets of time where I can fill in the tasks. That gives me my structure for the rest of the week.

Jo Dodds: That sounds really structured, and something I sort of aspire to and never get anywhere near achieving. I do take those pockets, but I tend to do it on a very adhoc basis. I have got plan the week in my diary on a Sunday evening, but quite how much planning actually happens I'm not sure. That sounds really helpful.

As you say, it gives you that chance to be in the moment with whatever it is you've planned to do, rather than constantly worrying that you've got things you haven't done yet.

Holly Scott: Exactly that. I found it very difficult as a solopreneur to manage all of it. From the sales to the actual doing of whatever work it is, to the administration and the finance, and all that rubbish in the background. I was constantly stressed in which bit I'm dropping. This way I make sure that those mandatory things, like sending the invoices or chasing invoices, are written in so I know they're going to get done through the week. Then I can take a creative step back and say, "From a working on the business perspective, and building content for attracting new clients to me, or any of that creative stuff that I need to do, which are the most important to do, how long do they take, and how much space have I got in the week?" And pull out those most compelling tasks by value.

That's a trick that I learned from the wonderful man, Ed Dale, who's an online marketing guru. He's taught me a technique called the Kanban, a Japanese task management system. Or run yellow sticky notes on a big whiteboard in a set structure, but it helps you to very clearly pick out the task that needs to be done by the value it's going to add to your business going forward. That's changed my life. It really does help me. Not just the things I like doing, but the things that are really going to add value to my week and to my business. Then I plan through into the holes that are available in my crazy schedule.

Jo Dodds: Do you do daily planning as well on top of that weekly scheduling?

Holly Scott: Yes. You have the week idea, what you need to get through, and you have to make sure that every sticky note is at the most granular level of any task. We all tend to do our planning at quite a high level, like complete the website, or contact clients. Actually when you break that down as about six or seven mini-tasks underneath all of that ... He's taught to me to really not just look at the big task, get down to that granular level and see how many of those I can physically, realistically, get through my week. They go into a holding column for the week. On a daily basis I only ever pick up one sticky note, but it in my actual doing box, do that box until I can move it to done. I pull one task at a time on a daily basis.

I might get three or four of those micro tasks done on a day. It's great because you suddenly see a lot of volume in that way going through into your done box, and you feel a lot more satisfied and feel like you're achieving something.

That picking out those most valuable, granular tasks happens on a daily basis.

Jo Dodds: Yes. It sounds quite paper based as far as planning. Do you use any technology to help with that? I know you were ... Trying to think of what that tool is that does use the Kanban.

Holly Scott: Trello.

Jo Dodds: Say again?

Holly Scott: Trello.

Jo Dodds: Trello, yes.

Holly Scott: Trello and Slack. They're two very good tools, again introduced to me by Ed Dale.

Trello I'm using for my big picture, what are those higher level tasks? Trello is very interactive. You're making your little blocks of projects, but you can actually move them around your board depending on how you've arranged a column. If you have planning, doing, done, or to do, you can pull that task with your mouse and drag it into the relevant column. It's very easy and interactive. When it comes down to creative, I am a strong believer in stepping away from technology and using pen and paper. Again, another Ed Dale-ism. It's proven to be so successful for me. My brain operates differently when I'm looking at pen and paper and having to use my hand to write down than when I'm typing on a computer. I go into much more a mechanical mode at that point, and I lose the edge. I stop creative thinking, and I become functional.

I do most of my things on paper and at some point I revert it onto the computer. But the pen and paper is my king at the minute.

Jo Dodds: Yeah, that's really interesting. It's not something I do much of, but certainly I've read quite a lot to say that it's helpful, as you say, from a creativity point of view. We certainly had some guests already who've recommended it. I was at a mastermind meeting a few weeks ago, and we had to do a bit of brainstorming onto Post-it notes. It is interesting how much more tends to come out. Partly because you're under pressure to create a load of Post-it notes, but also as you say, you do get more granular with it.

Holly Scott: Absolutely. Timing yourself on the amount of time you have to do the task helps a lot. Also being very disciplined about not stopping writing. Even if you can't think of what to say, writing things like, "This is a stupid exercise" sort of keeps the brain ticking. Suddenly you'll find something trips, and you'll have a whole load of content you need to write down. Unless you keep going it doesn't happen. It's like this beautiful door that you step through. What most of us do is sit and think, not doing anything with our hands, and not do anything except try to force the sword, and it doesn't come. This continuous writing plays a trick on you and helps bring that flow through. It really works.

Jo Dodds: Yes. Yup. That's Trello as far as technology, and obviously lots of paper and pen as we've just said, and interesting as a digital entrepreneur that there is that pen and paper. What about other technology? Other tools and apps that you use and would recommend?

Holly Scott: Slack is something that I've been introduced to, and I've been loving. That's S-L-A-C-K. It's a sort of project management communication tool. Apparently it's one of the fastest growing pieces of software around at the minute. It's very good if you are part of a team of people that are all virtual. It helps you not just instant message each other, but the whole group can share documents and see each other notes, or you can do them as private notes. Working with Ed in Australia some of our outsource team are in in South Africa, our clients are in England, and Germany, and America. It does take a good piece of technology that is not too difficult to learn, and everybody can jump on board quite quickly, and Slack had certainly proven to be that.

Jo Dodds: There's lots of integrations, isn't there with Slack now and more coming along as well, which can make it even more valuable for people?

Holly Scott: Yup. It's both on my desktop and on my phone and iPad. It's seamless, it's beautiful. I like elegant tools, and it's certainly elegant.

Jo Dodds: That's true. Any others?

Holly Scott: My kings at the minute ... Trello is certainly being that big master board. My own whiteboard in my office, with all my sticky notes on it. There is a mobile app called Achiever which helps me with routine, ironically. What are the routines of the most successful people around, what do they do every day, and what do I need to do every day? Like the daily walk, spending twelve minutes doing mindfulness. Some of those non-work related, but success related activities I track on this app called Achiever. A-C-H-I-E-V-R. That's making me keep aware of the things that I often forget, such as mindfulness, which is a key part to success.

Jo Dodds: I use something called Momentum that does something similar. I haven't quite managed, apart from taking my tablets in the morning, and maybe my ‘Todoist’ planning, I don't think I managed to get a streak of more than three or four days on anything else. My daily walks don't always happen. Going to get by eleven o'clock, that doesn't always happen. It's interesting, isn't it to see and just will prompt you ... One of the things I do daily French stuff. Vocabulary and things like that. I hardly ever miss that because it's quite easy to do the vocab stuff.

When I'm checking Momentum at the end of the evening I think, "Oh, well I haven't done that." I go off and do the French thing even if I've missed the walk, for example. It's useful in some ways.

Holly Scott: It's very good to do those little achievements through the day.

Jo Dodds: Yes.

Holly Scott: [inaudible 00:16:54]

Jo Dodds: We talked a bit about mindfulness, let's talk about bit about what you do when you're not working, what you do to relax and switch off. Obviously you've got the children, so I guess that's not so much relaxing, but definitely switching off from work.

Holly Scott: I have to say, had you asked me these questions about two years ago I wouldn't have known how to answer them. I had a business to set up, I had bills to pay, significant bills to pay, and children's activities to pay for. It was all about earning money, and every waking minute if it wasn't about getting a child to school it was sat at my desk focusing on just making money. It all came crashing down. It needed to, that's not a healthy way to live.

About over a year ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and spent ... At that moment everything stops. You go through surgery, you go through treatment, and you have to recover from the treatment. I made a massive promise to myself, to my family, to my children, that I would stop that chaotic lifestyle. Everything was run on adrenalin. Now relaxation and time are very important things to me. The first primary was special family time.

I've just been away for three weeks with my children to South Africa, and while it was tough, my husband couldn't come with us, I travelled by myself and had to amuse three children on a daily basis. It a completely different change in routine from here. Just getting sun cream on three children, getting to the beach, getting back from the beach without tears and tantrums was relaxation in itself. It really was. Our biggest problem was the beach of the pool. Special proper family time is definitely my number one relaxation.

My second is my garden. I'm in a rented house, but it has a wonderful garden that I'm responsible for, which I've always found a burden because it had to be done, it had to be done, when actually not I've chosen to go back into it. Spring is here, and it's such a wonderful stress reliever. I make sure I'm not really thinking work while I'm in there. Creative ideas come, you can never stop that, but a new article I might do. I'm certainly not thinking about deadlines and all that horror.

Jo Dodds: Yeah. I'm really interested to see how you made that switch. Obviously understand that the cancer diagnosis and the treatment was a massive shift in your life anyway, which naturally leads to things being different. Actually doing some of the things you're talking about is still quite difficult if you're that driven person who needs to keep at it because that's what you've always done. How did you make that shift?

Holly Scott: I will lay all the success to my wonderful friend Astrid Kauffman. Astrid is a friend of mine, and she's also a practitioner of something called Jin Shin Jyutsu, which is an ancient Japanese therapy I think, which deals with your own body's energy levels. If you've got pain, you hold yourself a certain way and you will relieve the pain. For example, you hold the outsides of your ankles if you've got a headache, and the headache will go away. I had for years before my diagnosis, Astrid had said to me from time to time, "Holly, you are running on such a low energy level. It's full adrenaline, which you're never replenishing yourself. You need to come and see me for forty minutes. I'll give you a free treatment, I just am worried about you." I said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever."

To please her, and to be able to see her for a cup of coffee I would go and sit down. I never gave myself into the therapy until my diagnosis. Actually, while I going through the diagnosis she said, "Okay, come and see me. I'm going to put you on the couch and I'm going to do these treatments on you." I started to drift off into ... I really understand what giving yourself over to peace and tranquillity is, stopped thinking about everything. I think it's such a big monster sitting in my head, I completely blocked it and thought of nothing.

Her treatments brought such a calmness and understanding and ease with it. It saved my sanity, it allowed me to get rid of that adrenaline junkie fix and to look at life through a completely different lens. Everybody who knows me before, during, and after said I'm a completely different person now. I'm actually ... The things I do I do with purpose, but I'm not doing everything. I'm only doing the things that A) are making me happy, and B) have a purpose and a value rather than try to please everybody else.

I will say no, and I will step back from things for my own health sake, but more importantly my children's sake. I've got a two year old. She was one year old at the time. To leave a one year old child with no mum because I'm too busy to look after myself is just ridiculous. My own mental reality check, plus Astrid's Jin Shin Jyutsu techniques that gave me calmness and tranquillity saved my life.

Jo Dodds: Really powerful and interesting. When you've got the whole adrenaline thing going on your cortisone levels are high, and all that sort of stuff, it's physical as well as mental isn't it? It's not just about you feeling like you have to, or just being so used to doing something. Your body is actually driving you to do it as well.

Holly Scott: I would very little sleep, lots of caffeine ... Unless I had a deadline on a project to do I didn't think I was succeeding in anything. It's very dangerous. Apart from burn out, which anybody in any corporate position can get. For some reason society has got us into this pace of you've got to always be doing something to achieve it. Actually, I've achieved so much more in my new life by stepping back, calming down, thinking about it, just being and being real. It's been a valuable thing.

Jo Dodds: What about generally keeping healthy? I guess it's really top of the mind for you with everything you've been through in the last nearly eighteen months and so one. What sort of things do you do to look after yourself other than, obviously as we've said relaxing and the mindfulness and so on?

Holly Scott: Mindfulness, very definitely a big one. I continue with my Jin Shin Jyutsu with Astrid. She's got a website called flowsforlife.com where she puts lots of self help techniques. I don't physically to see her, I can actually practice it at home.

I still have ... So my baby's two. Everything hit me once she was only one, and I haven't got my figure back so I'm on quite a strict regime to feel a bit more like me again. That Pilates and an exercise class, and a deep stretch class with a lovely lady in the local village. Sleep. Sleep, major thing. From the times of that adrenaline junkie day, I don't even know how many hours I slept if I ever really properly slept. I'd wake up with ideas and have to write them down and never really switched off.

I have found now, also fatigue that hits you after chemotherapy and radiotherapy and the stress of having cancer has knocked me a lot more than I ever thought it would. I've had to give myself over. If I need to go to sleep I will take a half an hour or an hour, and I make sure I'm getting at least eight hours every night. Otherwise I crumble and I get a stomach ache. It started to physically affect me, which I never thought I'd feel before. I never felt before. Maybe I did and I didn't notice it. Those are my warning signals, my stomach starts to be sore, and I'm like, "Okay. That's fatigue. Stop, take care." Listen to myself as well.

Jo Dodds: Do you have any techniques for getting to sleep? For having those naps, or is it you're so tired it's quite easy?

Holly Scott: That, yes. There are days when I can sit in a chair and fall asleep anywhere. I use some of Astrid's techniques from the Flows for Life website. She has a special way you can hold ... You put your right hand on your head, and your left hand on your sternum, in the middle of your breast, and just breathe while you're gently holding onto those two places and you'll be amazed. It's like a curtain that comes down and just says, "Okay. Now you're allowed to relax and go to sleep."

I recommend her website to anybody that's struggling with anything. It just helps you immensely.

Jo Dodds: Brilliant, thank you. Moving on a bit to thinking about learning and improving yourself. You sound like you probably do that a lot, you've already mentioned a couple of mentors that you're working with. Obviously your business life has changed considerably over the last few years. What do you do to learn and improve what you're doing?

Holly Scott: I stay very close to a few people that I think are massively influential. That's Simon Coulson here in the UK, and Ed Dale I mentioned in Australia. Through Simon Coulson there's quite a good network of entrepreneurs, like Andy Harrington and James ... Forgive me, I can't remember their name.

Jo Dodds: Lavers

Holly Scott: Say again, sorry?

Jo Dodds: James Lavers? No, he's not the UK one.

Holly Scott: They have business growth systems Dan Bradbury and Nick James

Jo Dodds: Yeah.

Holly Scott: Now Nick has his own company called Seriously Fun Business.

One thing I did find is if I read something of someone I really liked I subscribe to what they had to say, and I ended up having fifty E-mails a day from really inspirational people, and I felt overwhelmed. I'm never going to achieve all of this because it's too much to do. What I've tried to do now is I keep aware of the main thought streams that these people have, but I stick close to only a couple that really everything they have something to say, it's worth sitting up and listening to.

Simon and Ed, whatever E-mail comes out, whatever video they produce, I am there. I read it, I listen to it, and I act on it. Ed certainly has things that come out, even in just one quick ten minute E-mail, or video, it's usually an instructional thing that if I do that it will make a big difference. I don't ask questions anymore, I do what he says and it works.

Jo Dodds: They say that's a big thing to learn as an independent entrepreneur, that actually if you invest in something, or you learn from somebody who's doing something well, that doing what they tell you is the sensible plan. Because we have a tendency to see what other people are doing and think we can tweak it, and generally that's before we actually know enough of what it's supposed to do to actually be able to do that in the right way. I think that's always a good learning point, isn't it? That if you value what somebody says, just do what they say.

Holly Scott: I have a wonderful client of mine who he's ex-military services and suffers from post-traumatic stress, and he called me up and said, "I really want to build a website for my new business." He's changed to training dogs. "I want to get this up and running, but I can't go to a physical class, I can't read a textbook. I just need help in bite sized chunks." We set up a plan of half an hour every week for about two months, and also because he's ex-military if you tell him an order, give him an instruction, he follows it no question. We made more progress in the two to three months, I've got his website up and running, and he was earning money through it than any of my other clients who want to question why or find a thousand reasons why they can't do X, Y, and Z.

I'm not here to force them to do anything, but he proved the fact that if you just do things in a simple, logical order without questioning it until you're up and running, you're going to succeed. He showed me to remind myself about that was with the people I follow.

Jo Dodds: What about other opportunities for inspiration and learning? Things like books, films, and music. There's anything you recommend in those genres?

Holly Scott: Recently I found myself in the trend amongst those online gurus. They're all writing a book all of the sudden. I mean Andy Harrington has brought out Passion into Profit. Simon I know is working on one. There's the Key People of Influence, I think it's Daniel Priestley?

Jo Dodds: Priestley, yup.

Holly Scott: I found his book amazing. What was great is I could check off a few things, "Yup, I do that. I do that." Felt pretty good about that. I've been reading books from the people that I follow.

Then music is a big thing. Particularly when it comes to mindfulness I have quite an eclectic choice. I'm South African by birth, and I have African music in my bones as it were, and I've put on my African deep music and just lay there and think of nothing. Music is a great way of changing my mood and my attitude. I usually find, do I call it ethnic music, you know non-pop culture music does that a lot better for me where It really gets into your rhythm as opposed to shout about beat music. I listen to radio four driving around, because there will be topics that are completely out of my normal sphere and make my mind think. Also, I forgot the world of podcasts. Being a guest on a podcast, that there are so many brilliant inspirational podcasts out there that when I'm going the school commute or back from the school commute, I wanted to get my going up to some training session, I will listen to podcasts to get in the right head zone for it.

Jo Dodds: As you know I'm a big fan of podcasts. The one thing I've had to learn is they're a bit like with books, you don't actually have to listen all the way through. There's so much out there that I try to consume loads of stuff, and I realize I'm not actually enjoying this particular one. I don't actually have to listen to this one because there's many more out there that I can listen to instead. I think that's a top tip.

Holly Scott: Yeah.

Jo Dodds: What about if things don't go right, if you have one of those days where it all goes a bit pear shaped? What happens? How do you deal with that?

Holly Scott: I've learned this new habit, and I struggle with it, so I'm still learning. Forgiveness. Stop beating myself up. It is okay that things are not tickity-boo, and things don't go according to plan. I no longer sit with some line manager above me who's going to either shout and scream at me, or dock my pay, or one of those terrible demons. It's only myself pushing me, and what I'm trying to do is inspire other people. If I allow my less successful moments to be show stoppers, then how can I be inspirational?

A year of cancer has shown me a lot. It has shown me how to get up and keep going in adversity. If that can't stop me, a down day is certainly not going to stop me.

Jo Dodds: Absolutely.

Holly Scott: Just keep going.

Jo Dodds: On a day when you ... I know you've had the chance to live more, so you've had that day where you've done the things you wanted to do rather than necessarily the things that you had to do. What have you done? What do those days look like?

Holly Scott: It's usually the days I've cooked pancakes with my kids. Pancake and pyjama day if we're in this country. Just being together, or we will actually go out and do something. Go swimming. In the last three weeks I've had the benefit of packing a picnic for their even tea or supper, and going to the beach and flying a kite, and getting completely full of sand before we go back and have a bath time. Those are things that you can't buy, they're things that if you're seriously ill and you can't get out of the door and go and do, and every single possible opportunity that I have to go and do that right now, I'm going to do because who knows one day I might not be able to get out of the chair and go and do it.

Jo Dodds: It does focus you on taking those moments, and I think relishing them while they're happening isn't it? That's something I've tried to do more in the last few years, certainly. Really enjoying that moment rather than thinking about what I could be doing instead, or what I've got to do later.

Holly Scott: In a work space I've found really brilliant days, really successful days, are those that I've got up, gone out, and being with a group of people. By coming to Simon's platinum day a few Sundays ago, getting back into a group of people that are the same mindset that are striving for success, that are sharing experience. That really fired all my systems for me, and got me re-motivated again. Those are brilliant days.

Jo Dodds: Definitely. I'm interested in the networking that you said you've set up locally. I used to do lots of networking when I first started my business, and I haven't done local networking for about three and a half years, and I just went and set up a breakfast meeting a few weeks ago. I just came back so enthusiastic and energized, and inspired by the people that were there. It was so good. It reminded me of what I've missed the last three years.

Holly Scott: It's very important particularly from a sharing of success and mutual motivation. It does the heart and the power of good.

Jo Dodds: It was quite funny because we have a number of therapists whose stories were very much, as is often the way, that they'd been ill and had issues, and that had taken down the route of receiving treatment and then retraining to deliver the sort of treatment that had helped them so much. They were telling some really compelling, emotional stories as they were introducing themselves around the table. Then one of my business friends I've known for a good number of years who used to come to my networking group a few years ago was up next. My question was, "Trevor, what story do you have about why you fix microwaves?" He has a microwave shop and he sells spares, and they mend microwaves. He does a great job of it, and he's a lovely chap and service provider and everything else, and were just laughing as we left that he's got to come up with a story that's really inspiring about a microwave.

Holly Scott: [inaudible 00:38:11] journey getting ... [inaudible 00:38:13]. You never know though. You never know.

Jo Dodds: Exactly, exactly. It's come to the end, and it's been really enjoyable Holly. We've covered lots as ever. Loads of great resources and recommendations, so thank you very much.

How can people find out more about you, and connect with you?

Holly Scott: Okay, so the first place is my digital magazine, which is available in iTunes. It's only available on Apple devices at the minute, and that's Back2Biz. B-A-C-K-Number Two-B-I-Z. That's full of inspirational stories of people who have faced some time of adversity and changed the way that they do work, or gone back to work after life changing events. Through there you'll find all of my contact details. Otherwise my website, which is hollyscottdonaldson.com. I think it had a glitch while I was away on holiday, I'm going to try and fix that today. That's sort of a portal into all the things I'm doing with apps and digital magazines, and starting to talk more about the Back to Life programme.

Jo Dodds: Lovely, excellent. I'll make sure those link are in the show notes so that people can go and have a look and see what you're up to. Thank you very much.

Holly Scott: Thank you. Very nice speaking to you again.

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About the Author

I work with business owners and leaders to improve their wellbeing, in these days of overwhelm, whether that be physical, mental or digital, using my POWER to Live More 5 Fundamentals of Simplify, Systemise, Share, Self Care and Sustain. I also work with business leaders to help them to improve their organisational employee engagement and wellbeing. I believe they are interlinked in a lovely virtuous circle.

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