Welcome to Wise Words, a new feature on the Made of Words blog where I share the content that’s currently inspiring me to work better, faster, smarter.
“I need to stop buying books,” I said to my partner a few months ago, gesturing guiltily at the stack of unread novels gathering dust on my bookshelf.
We both knew I was lying. I buy books faster than I can read them - an expensive yet rewarding addiction.
As soon as I saw the beautiful cover and Lorraine’s cheerful smile, I knew I had to have it. There was just something about it that screamed: “read me”. And I’m so glad I did! Remarkability is a truly remarkable book. Aimed at early-stage entrepreneurs, it offers a framework for building a remarkable business and life.
Lorraine captivated me from the beginning. She started the book by telling her own life story - building up from childhood until the present moment. She wrote about her parents, her sister, her large extended family (35 cousins!), and her childhood pony. She wrote about moving to London, and then Australia, about failed relationships and falling in love, about the moment she first laid eyes on her (now) husband. She shared trials and triumphs, peaks and lows - including small details that most people purposefully omit, such as the time she lived in a 2-bedroom flat with 10 other people, or the phase in her early 20s when she was perpetually hungover.
All this storytelling served an important purpose. By the time I got to the ‘business stuff’, I felt like I could trust Lorraine. As soon as she started dishing out business and life advice, I didn’t think “who is this Irish chick and what does she know?”, but “I like this woman! I want to learn from her”. It’s not often a business book can establish that level of trust and relatability within the first few pages.
By Chapter 4, the business advice was in full swing - and I absorbed it all eagerly. Most of the book is straight-talking, practical advice that you can start implementing in your business, not tomorrow but today. Broken up into easy-to-read chapters, with handy summaries at the end of each one, it serves as a basic blueprint for getting your business off to a good start.
I loved all of Lorraine’s tips - but if I share them all it’ll be borderline plagiarism! So here are the five quotes from Remarkability that resonated with me the most. I hope you get something out of Lorraine’s words, too.
“Being organised puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life. Moving from being reactive to proactive is incredibly liberating and empowering.”
I love Lorraine’s choice of words here - she takes something as dull as a to-do list and transforms it into a tool for being remarkable, empowered, and most importantly, free. I’m the sort of person who thrives in self-imposed structure. The more I plan, the more I feel free - which is probably counter-intuitive to some, but I’m sure fellow organisational nerds can relate! I never feel “tied to my to-do list,” I enjoy filling it with rewarding and interesting tasks each day.
“As entrepreneurs we can reach a goal and rather than pausing to reflect on that fabulous feeling, we’re already on to what the next goal beyond that is. I have been guilty of this dozens of times. It’s so important to take even ten minutes to have a celebration for reaching an objective - it’s good for your soul.”
Guilty. I nearly missed Made of Words’ one-year milestone because I was so absorbed in achieving my next goal. I find that when I achieve one goal, I create ten new ones! I’m learning to celebrate my wins more and to remove the word ‘but’ from my vocabulary during these victory dances.
“I also believe in working kind. I could absolutely put in a few eighty-hour weeks, and probably get some immediate results from doing that. I know that’s not my style of working though, and that after a month of those hours I’d be a blubbering mess and a liability to the business, our clients, my team, my marriage and myself.”
Yes, yes, yes! Whenever I hear someone talk about ‘hustle’, I think but what about sleep? Some people hold up eighty-hour weeks as badges of honour, but Made of Words wouldn’t have celebrated its first birthday if I’d sustained those hours. Everyone’s different, but I definitely need plenty of sleep, nourishment, and downtime to produce quality writing.
“I firmly believe that the most remarkable entrepreneurs are the ones who are constantly learning. They never believe they know too much, and have what seems like an endless hunger for new knowledge.”
I don’t leap out of bed each morning for money or success or status - I leap out of bed each morning for curiosity. Well, when I say leap… I mean slowly stretch like a cat, put my hair in bun, and read a few pages of a book or write in my journal (working from home does have its perks - slow mornings being high on the list).
“People do business with people, not companies.”
An obvious truth to seasoned business owners, but one that I’ve only recently understood. I used to think of business as big, corporate, and terrifying. All sharp suits and boardrooms and powerpoint presentations. I’ve never been so wrong.
Business is everything.
Our lives are shaped by businesses every single day. The coffee you buy from your favourite barista every morning? Business. The music you listen to in the car? Business. The petrol station? The supermarket? The corner store where you pick up milk? Business, business, business. What I should write is people, people, people. Once you strip business of its many stereotypes and misconceptions, that’s what it comes down to - interesting people doing interesting things. Or as Lorraine would say, Remarkability.