Sunday 12 April 2020

Interview With Mary-Anne - HeartyNotes

Mary-Anne is one of my favourite people to connect with on Instagram. I discovered her as she is the creator of HeartyNotes. Mary-Anne puts little heart notes around central London with inspirational quotes on them. I started to see them at the beginning of this year during my commute to my new job, I always take pictures and send them to people I feel need to see them. There has been many days when I've needed words of inspiration myself and this has really helped me! (Take a look at her website here

1. Firstly Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. You know I love HeartyNotes can you tell us how you started this and why?

I started HeartyNotes in September 2019 after returning from Burning Man Festival in Nevada. If you are not aware of Burning Man, it is a spiritual and art-focused week-long festival in the middle of the desert. It is always a very creative and grounding experience for me. There is so much creative expression in one place, whether that’s outfits, music or the incredible art projects. 

In a vastly digital world, it can be challenging to feel a sense of “self-worth or self-love” as there are so many ways we can compare ourselves to others and wish a change in our own lives. As an Instagram lover, I have always spent a lot of time on the platform. What I began to recognise is that in this digital world, we often forget to connect with people in the “real” world. We sit on our sofas browsing the lives of others and wishing things could be different, offering a “like” here and there but without any real human connection. We also forget that some of what we see online is a “highlight” reel of people’s lives, 10% of who they are and what they have been through. We all have different experiences in life that offer us different perspectives and no two journeys are the same. For me, this journey has brought with it so many lessons in self-love. I have learnt more in the last three months than I ever did before. As much as you can discuss challenges you're facing with friends and family, the real work has to be done by you, and you alone. I recognise that words, affirmations and quotes have an incredible impact on my state of mind. So I have focused on only following those types of accounts on social media, reading those types of books and listening to those kinds of podcasts.
In shifting my environment to one filled with more positive words, an idea formulated in my head. Out of my attempt to amalgamate the two things I was very passionate about (human connection and self-love), #HeartyNotes was born. I write down things that come into my head, things that have inspired me in the hope that they will inspire others too. When I have built a little pile of inspirational hearts, I stick them around Central London. 

2. Can you explain your journey and progress on self-love? I feel like this terms is used a lot, yet many people still struggle with it. 

I have always used inspirational words or quotes to get me through difficult times. I just love how a few words can change the focus of your entire day. In 2015 I was 21 and had just started working as an admin girl for a mobile accessories manufacturer and distributor in Coventry. The business I had joined was only eight months old, and the owner had huge ambitions about creating a brand bigger than Apple for mobile accessories in the UK market. I accepted that job as a way of paying my way through a law degree with the Open University. As this was my first office job, I realised that I had a lot to learn so I knuckled down and focused on watching, listening and learning from this incredibly talented owner. Over 5 years I had watched and mirrored his every move and what began as an admin job turned into so much more for me. Working to improve my communication, sales and presentation skills in an intense, non-stop, hands-on training environment I began pitching and presenting to top tier retailers, and succeeded in securing some of the biggest deals the company had ever achieved. In 2018 I was invited to become the Sales Director of a business that had grown from £0 sales to £14million in revenue in 2019. To say those five years were intense would be a HUGE understatement and naturally, I was so incredibly proud of all I had achieved.
In 2018, I had decided that if I was to progress quickly in the Company I would need to adopt a “fake it till you make it” mindset – it worked! I shadowed the owner, watched his every move heard every conversation and made meticulous notes. I practised pitching in my bedroom mirror and made pretend sales calls in the car on the way to the office each day. I had completely and utterly evolved into a mini version of the owner. I could sell like him, talk like him and act like him. In May 2019 I decided it was time for me to move on and use all the skills I had learnt to start my own business. What I quickly learnt was that my strategy of “fake it until you make it” had given me so very much, so many incredible business skills, but, what I hadn’t learnt was one extremely important thing.

I was in a yoga practice at Burning Man festival in Nevada, when the yoga teacher Donovan told us all to stand up, wrap our arms around ourselves and say the words out loud “I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you” - I couldn’t do it! With tears streaming down my face, I didn’t know how or why I felt like that. I had no self-love! What I began to understand was that I had spent so many years feeding on the gratification of others that I actually didn’t know how to give that to myself. I had spent so long “faking it until I made it”, that I had allowed my self-belief, my self-worth and my self-love to be reliant on what others thought of me rather than what I thought of myself. It was at that moment that I wondered if anyone else had experienced that.

Learning to love yourself is not surface level stuff, it’s deep. Through meditation (Sarah Blondin ‘Self-love’ meditations) yoga and reading I have learnt more and more about the way I treat myself. That inner voice, the inner critic we all have. Loving yourself is not about being self-obsessed or egotistical it is about treating yourself with the same affection and respect that you would treat anyone else. When you start to notice the words you use towards yourself it becomes easier to change those habits. What once was “oh you are useless” can become “it’s a great start but you need to learn X or Y” . Our minds fascinate me, they really do, they can be our best friend or our worst enemy.

3. I'd love to know more about journaling and feel like now is the bet time to start a new routine, which can then continue when life gets back to normal. What are your top three tips?

I've got to be honest. I don't think I could recommend one habit enough. Morning pages or morning journaling have dramatically changed the way I start my day and ultimately live my life.  My 3 top tips would be. 

  1. Start with morning pages – which simply is writing 3 pages of whatever falls out of your head as soon as you wake up
  2. Make a promise with yourself and stick to it! Every morning, the first thing you do is pick up that book. (leaving it by your bed on top of your alarm/phone makes it so obvious you can’t forget!)
  3. Have no judgement – just write whatever comes out of your mind and when you're done, shut the book. Sometimes your notes won’t tell you anything at all and that’s absolutely fine. 

4. Do you have any new plans for HeartyNotes in the future?

LOTS of plans! I have a lot more art at the tips of my fingers at the moment so I’m going to focus on that for now. I have ideas falling out of my head in the middle of the night haha my notebook is full of them! Who knows where it will go! For now, I’m enjoying the ride.

5. What's your favourite HeartyNote so far?

HARD question. It would have to be ‘you can choose happiness even on the darkest days’ this was my most shared heart. I had so many messages from people thanking me for changing their mindset. It was so incredible I cried! Haha

6. I'll be asking everyone this question. What one piece of advice would you give to people to remain positive? 

Take a step back and observe the way you are consuming information. Where /Who is it from? Would they be in your life if we were not going through a crisis? Do they impact you in a positive or negative way? Once you have answered, you know what to do. Step away from the NO’s and move gracefully into the YES’s.

I hope you love this interview as much as I do! Come back next Sunday for the next one and you can read my last interview with blogger Nicole Sage here



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