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Business growth & learning corner (December 2019) | Contact Magazine

Photo: Ian Schneider / Unsplash

What have you read, watched or listened to lately that has contributed to your growth and development as a businessperson?

Published in CONTACT Magazine


Lara Quentrall-Thomas

Chairman, Regency Recruitment and Resources Limited

Brené Brown, researcher and author, focuses on shame, empathy and vulnerability and the effect they have on the way we build relationships. I particularly identified with her presentation at 99U, an education platform, on “Why your critics aren’t the ones who count”.

She discusses the idea that taking risks and moving forward as a professional requires courage, and that courage has consequences. If you are brave enough to put yourself in the arena and take risks, you may encounter failure or criticism.

Sometimes the harshest critic is yourself. You have to learn not to compare yourself to others and to value the work that you do. The video is also about which critics you listen to, and how to weed out those who may not have your best interest at heart. She says if someone is sitting on the sidelines and has not done the work, put in the effort or taken the risk, if they are not in the arena or have not walked that journey, then I should not be interested in their feedback.

When you put yourself out there you are vulnerable, and with vulnerability comes fear, anxiety, and also a pathway to creativity, love and joy.

It takes courage to show up, to be seen, to be heard. Courage has consequences both good and bad, all of which are learning experiences you grow from. View the video here.


Jillian Martin

Chief Executive Officer, Davyn Limited

Recently, I came across an article by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist, on developing mental strength: “Mentally strong people: the 13 things they avoid”. This list of things which strong individuals should not do really spoke to me as an entrepreneur:

  1. Waste time feeling sorry for themselves
  2. Give away their power
  3. Shy away from change
  4. Waste energy on things they can’t control
  5. Worry about pleasing others
  6. Fear taking calculated risks
  7. Dwell on the past
  8. Make the same mistakes over and over
  9. Resent other people’s success
  10. Give up after failure
  11. Fear alone time
  12. Feel the world owes them anything
  13. Expect immediate results.

The point which particularly resonated with me was “not to give away my power”. This is critical because, as business leaders, how we respond to situations in the workplace impacts everyone around us. We have to be able to manage our actions and emotions in order to effect the right outcomes.

Rather than shy away from challenging workplace interactions, we should stay mentally strong, step forward, and avoid giving others the power to make us feel inferior or bad. You can change the dynamic of any situation by controlling your behaviour: your strength is your ability to manage the way you respond. Read the article here.


Roanna Maraj

Managing Director,

Dame Anna Wintour is a British-American journalist and editor who has been editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988 and artistic director for Condé Nast, Vogue’s publisher, since 2013. She is one of my mentors – a businesswoman who has dominated the industry she works in.

In a podcast leading her first Master Class for leadership and creativity, she said: “You are driven by your heart, by your talent, and you are driven by your instinct … and if you start to look at what people are doing to the left of you or to the right of you, you are going to lose that clarity of thought! Own your decisions, and own who you are, but without apology …”

This quote resonates with me as I am learning that I need to work “twice as hard” as a female entrepreneur, and to be focused, determined, creative in my thinking. There are lots of people out there who will say “no”; I have to figure out how to get around that, believe in my gut feeling/instincts, and not be afraid to firmly demand what I want – and make it happen! Listen to the podcast here.



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