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WW#023: What Makes You Fly Higher? (with Sarah Furness)

Have you made any resolutions this year?

I wonder how many of us plan to start the year with sweeping changes – fitness, work routine, the whole works – that we inevitably bin after a couple of weeks: there’s not enough time to go for a run, never mind the fact that it’s pouring with rain; anyone who advocates for a sensible work/life balance clearly hasn’t seen my to-do list… we know all the excuses, and we also know that we end up feeling a bit rubbish.

Hardly a great leadership mindset, hey?

Having a foolproof strategy and killer acumen is only going to get you so far in scaling your business – the rest comes down to your mindset and learning how to form new habits.

We all know those people doing a Tough Mudder every other weekend, at the top of their game and still having time to read the kids a story before bed – do you think they’ve got a magic wand that they wave every time they want to achieve one of their goals? No!

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right,” – Henry Ford

It’s as simple as this – with the right mindset, you can achieve anything. Tell yourself you can do it, and you can. Tell yourself it’s all too difficult, and you’re on a path that is going to make everything very difficult.

However, we all know the challenges of positive thinking and habit forming. Often our actions today have a delay in the outcome (& we humans struggle to connect something we did three months ago with a good outcome today). That is why forming longterm habits is so important.

Personally, this year has already started with a success. Our first Catalyst cohort that started yesterday (& sold out) has 6 women and 4 men (we had 8 men when we started two years ago). It’s great to see the balance swing and a richer shared perspective in the group as we learn new business scaling habits over the next twelve weeks.

So, with that in mind, I’m super excited to share my first WiserWednesday Fireside Chat with Sarah Furness. Sarah spent 20 years as an RAF helicopter pilot and learned some powerful lessons in that time:

  • Intelligent capable people don’t always feel as strong as they look
  • Performance under pressure is NOT instinctive
  • BUT humans have an amazing capacity to adapt, grow AND lead even in the toughest conditions…when we know how.

She recently released ‘Fly Higher’ – part memoir, part training manual for the mind, and I don’t mind telling you that I really resonated with it! It’s a deep dive in the psychology of belief systems and forming habits that harness your strengths.

In this first fireside chat with Sarah Furness we learn key concepts about mastering mindsets, including… – How we think and feel is a choice – Sitting with difficulty is a skill – We are born with only two fears (falling and loud noises). All others are learnt, so can be unlearnt! Hopefully you feel like you can go out there, push harder and move bigger mountains this year as a result of listening 🙂

Find out how I could help you with planning, mindset, culture & scaling in as little as 1 hour a month...

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James Potten


On a mission to democratise entrepreneurship by providing access to best practice, helping startups sustainably scale up.