'We are designed for acute episodes of stress, but what we're not designed for is chronic episodes of stress. That's stress after stress after stress, and that's what most people are living with, day in day out.'
Looking back, Sarah Sparks can see that her body was trying to tell her there was a problem. But she didn't listen: she kept on working crazy hours under immense pressure while trying to be the perfect new wife, and eventually her body stepped in to give her a message she couldn't ignore: she collapsed and was hospitalized with burnout.
Since then she's made it her mission to stop other people getting to that place, with her STOP model for combatting chronic stress. As she developed her model she realised the next logical step was to face her fear of writing: the result was an award-winning book.
Ever wondered why people don't immediately shout 'Of course!' and shake you warmly by the hand when you share your new idea with them? It's because we find new ideas hard to take on board, especially when they contradict things we've believed up until now. So how as a writer can you help people get past that initial negative reflex and take your ideas on board?
Marketer Phil Barden experienced this for himself, when he discovered that everything he thought he knew about advertising was wrong. In this week's conversation he shares how what he learned about how decision science transformed his own approach to marketing, and also how you as an author can help your readers take your ideas on board more effectively.
'How do I .. move from being a curator to a creator? That was a big shift for me, and I think I got there in the end.'
People often talk about the value of the finished book - for the author and for the reader. Less talked-about is the value of the process of writing: the connections you make as you research and discuss the ideas, the deepening of your thinking, the shift that you make as an author from consuming and curating other people's opinions to setting out your own.
Joy Burnford has been a 'curator of confidence' for many years, researching how women in particular build and sustain confidence at work, and developing her own in the process. But she realised that this is only one part of the equation: no matter how confident the woman, if the system at work is stacked against her, she cannot make the contribution of which she is capable. And when that happens, everyone loses out.
A fascinating conversation on gender equality in the workplace, but also on how writing a book doesn't just change those who read it, but its author too.
"Of course we want to predict, what's the world going to be like in 5, 10, 15 years? How can I, as a brand, put myself in an advantageous position to thrive in this hypothetical future? But through taking a human-based approach, we're going to ask a different, and I think complementary question: not what's going to change, but what's going to stay constant. And if humans are your primary customers, the most relevant constants are going to be the constants of human nature."
The science of branding is undergoing a revolution as we begin to better understand the neurology of decision-making. Matt Johnson and Tessa Misiaszek interrogate this new world of branding with a ruthless focus on what the implications are for businesses. You might love your brand, but if it doesn't mean anything to your customers, sorry, it's not a brand.
As well as this fascinating insight into the frontiers of marketing, we discuss the creative conflict (and the cocktails) involved in writing a book from two different perspectives, the challenges that presents and the reasons why it's so worthwhile.