Emma Isaacs is a force of nature. She’s a serial entrepreneur and is best known as the Founder and Global CEO of Business Chicks, Australia’s largest community for women. I remember when I first got to know Emma many years ago at a luncheon. That night I sent her a gushing message telling her that for me, she transcends inspiring. I told her that she was simply ‘necessary’.
And if there was ever a necessary manifesto for women today, it’s her new book, Winging It. It’s part autobiographical part guide for women who want to have it all and live their best life, sans the guilt. Emma believes that taking action trumps careful planning and that the secret to success is ‘just doing it’.
Emma should know. She took over Business Chicks when it was a fledging networking group and has turned it into a highly engaged global community with an eye-watering events schedule that has seen the likes of Richard Branson, Sophie Amaruso, Bill Gates, Diane Von Furstenberg and Arianna Huffington grace Business Chicks stages all over Australia and the United States. Oh and she’s had five children along the way and relocated her family to Los Angeles.
Winging It is a brutally honest, refreshingly candid and at times hilarious account of Emma’s journey as an ambitious entrepreneur, peppered with the first hand advice from the amazing people she’s met along the way. It’s a compelling read brimming with practical strategies and ideas that are not only easily implementable, they inspire you to take immediate action.
And ultimately, that’s the key message in Winging It. Emma argues a convincing case for ditching the business plan and five year goals, rolling up the sleeves and going for it. She believes in failing fast, learning from experience and sharpening the strategy and adjusting the plan as we go. In business and in life.
Refreshingly, Emma doesn’t believe in work-life balance, or atleast she argues that it’s useless to subscribe to someone else’s idea of balance. Emma shows us that often the only thing holding us back is ourselves and that we sometimes just need to give ourselves permission follow our dreams and dare to shine. Starting right now.
This Book in 200 words
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
This is one of Emma’s guiding questions and the challenge she poses to herself to encourage bigger thinking and hard-core action taking.
Whether you want turn a dream into a job, turn a job into a business, network like a champion or just get fired up not ground down but the kids-career juggle, Winging It will give you some serious inspiration and ammunition to just go for it.
Underpinning Emma’s ability to have it all and do it all is her can do attitude. And despite not subscribing to a textbook work/life balance ideology, her approach is based on her ‘four burners’ theory, where you imagine your life as a four-burner stove. Each burner represents friends, family, health and career. She admits that it’s not possible to have all four burners raging and proposes that it’s really only sustainable to have two running hot and two simmering at any one time.
This analogy comes as a refreshing insight and makes you realise that Emma isn’t the high octane superhero tornado people might assume she is in order to juggle and achieve what she does. Winging It is about focusing on what’s important and removing the guilt that arises from the inevidable trade-offs that we’re all faced with in life.
Three Things to Action from this Book
- Get what you want by helping other people get what they want. Emma’s caring, generous and kind nature shine through authentically in every page of this book. She is living proof that as an entrepreneur you can unapologetically hustle but do it in a way that demostrates care and kindness to those lucky enough to be on the journey with you.
- Do the thing that scares you. Emma encourages rapid decision making in order to create momentum and is a big fan of grabbing a comfortable chair way outside your comfort zone. Once you read Winging It, you will be spending more time there.
- Protect your time and control your environment. While Emma is clearly someone who cares deeply about the people in her world, she also values her time, guards it fiercly and is very deliberate with who she spends time with. She outlines the hacks that enable her to get more done than the average human (even those that don’t have five offspring to care for). These include outsourcing almost everything, focusing on what you’re good at and dumping such as non-productive meetings and commute times.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Winging It and didn’t disappoint. Emma writes as she speaks and it’s a book that is difficult not to devour in one sitting. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll have bucket loads of ‘a-ha’ moments but mostly, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief to know that you’re not the only one ‘winging it’.
Emma is living proof that success is achieved through perpetual motion and choosing to play the game of life on a bigger court. It’s about putting one foot in front of the other, even on bad days and even after setbacks. Don’t wait, just do it and life life boldly, bravely and loudly.
Winging It is a bible for bravery and for women trying to have it all, as necessary as Emma herself.