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Power of the Parent 4: S3 Ep4: Holly Curry – Saffy Digital

Power of the Parent 4: S3 Ep4: Holly Curry – Saffy Digital

Holly is the Queen of helping you start and grow a sustainable business. An advocate of boundaries, staying curious about your relationship with social media and tenacious approach of deconstructing the overwhelm, Holly Curry is a total beacon of light with her website design expertise, business coaching and consultancy services.I’ve known and worked with Holly in some capacity for the last four years and I was overjoyed when she said she’d come for a chat – we explored everything from using your strengths, the importance of boundaries (and how they flex), re-brands and being a parent.

I hope you love the insights as much as I did! You can find out more about Holly and the beautiful work she does on her website or through Instagram.


Episode Transcript

Charlotte Speak  0:06

Hello and welcome to Power of the Parent, the podcast. I’m your host Charlotte speak, I’m a level seven CMI accredited coach, a strength scope Master Practitioner, Mental Health First Aider and talent consultant and I’m also the face behind power of the parent. In this podcast, I’ll be speaking to parents in the workplace. Some of them are in traditionally employed roles, others are running their own businesses. And we’re having conversations about life in general, insights about being a parent and having a career and exploring the strengths that parenting has awoken for people. We will talk about things like the value that they’re bringing to the workplace, as well as my guests very generously sharing their personal stories and anecdotes about everything life can throw at us.

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of Power of the Parent, the podcast. Today, I am joined by the queen of helping you start and grow a sustainable business from all angles of what we mean by sustainability, an advocate of boundaries, staying curious about your relationship with social media and tenaciously deconstructing the overwhelm. Holly Curry is an absolute beacon of light with her website design expertise, business coaching and consultancy services. She is also a mum to two gorgeous humans. And she’s actually one of my friends now, whether she likes it or not. I’ve worked with Holly for a long time and I’m so excited to be able to bring her story to you and just have a bit of a general catch up with her actually. So welcome to the podcast, Holly.

Holly Curry  1:45

Thank you so much. What a lovely introduction.

Charlotte Speak  1:49

You’re very welcome.

Holly Curry  1:50

I’m beaming.

Charlotte Speak  1:53

It’s all true, because I was thinking back over actually how our paths crossed. And it was when we were both in very different places with businesses, you with a different business and me with Power of the Parent kind of starting out and figuring out what on earth I was doing. And a lot of those chats were kind of around the mission that we were both on and then it kind of merged into some website chat, because when I say website design expertise like that massively under calls it because it isn’t just, I mean, you are gorgeous at designing them, but also, it’s everything that sits behind that in terms of, you know, some of the most amazing functionalities and how to do the tech side of it but more so than that, you really get to grips with the business that you’re working with, I think you want to really understand it. It needs to be kind of aligned to your values and all that kind of stuff. So, I love it, anyway, I’m talking way too much. Have I missed anything off that introduction that your kind of like, oh, there’s a bit more about me that you wanted to share?

Holly Curry  2:55

No, you really perfectly summed it up. So much so, I might pinch that as my elevator pitch. [Absolutely.] I think it’s really hard to succinctly tell other people what you do when you do a variety of different things. So actually, hearing you say it back’s really nice, because it was really consolidated and covered exactly what it is that I’m trying to achieve.

Charlotte Speak  3:24

Working brilliantly on it, I think, but you’ve gone through some transitions in your business, haven’t you? So, it hasn’t always been what it is today. And I think one of the things that often comes up with clients that I sometimes work with, there aren’t loads actually that go on to set up by themselves. Most people are returning to an employer, but every now and again, my paths will cross with somebody who is doing that. I think sometimes, I suppose it also works in a corporate setting too but we kind of feel like those career steps that we make is going to define us for a really long time or, with a decision that we make today, it’s got to be relevant for the next like three or four years. And that’s just not the case, that’s not reality, is it? Because you can shift and change. Is there anything kind of that you’ve taken from the last few years in particular that have helped you move through some of those transitions and kind of know when it was the right time to change direction?

Holly Curry  4:24

Yeah, I think most of it has been either forced change because of circumstance, or gut feeling, really, I haven’t particularly got a sort of roadmap that I followed, and it wasn’t done in a specifically intentional way. But I think when we especially talk about work, I think we have a hang up that’s from a previous generation that you have to stick at it. You can’t quit, you can’t drop what you’re doing. You’ve got to keep working. Yes, it’s hard, it’s called work for a reason, all that sort of keeping up appearances and not looking like a failure and not looking like a quitter. And I think that now there’s so many things to do, you can be anything you want to be, everything’s much more accessible than it was. And we’re celebrating that ability to do lots of different things, we call it multi hyphenated, and there’s lots of things that we can do. So, I think letting go of that idea that change is not good, or change is bad, or it’s too soon to change, or you haven’t tried it for long enough. Letting go of that idea definitely helps you move more into what feels right and where you want to be and what you want to do. I didn’t necessarily work myself; I think if it would have been easier to stay in work, I would have stayed in an employed role. I’ve not got that sort of burning desire to be an entrepreneur, I do it for the flexibility for my family. That’s it, the flexibility for my family. That’s why I do what I do. And I think, getting to grips with that, shedding away everybody else’s goals and everybody else’s expectations and getting to grips with why I am actually self-employed, running a business, however you want to label it. Why I’m doing that is because first and foremost, I want to have that flexibility to be with my family when I choose, not when somebody else lets me or gives me the time to do that. That’s my primary goal. And it’s been quite a bumpy road to get to that realisation with lots of things thrown in, like they need to grow, they need to scale, they need to do this, they need to do that. If you get rid of all that and think, why am I doing that and everybody has a purpose, whether that’s doing something like a wider mission to help the community or, earn lots of money or have flexible working, any of those reasons. Everybody has one core reason why they’re doing what they’re doing. And when you focus on that and forget about everybody else’s reasons, it becomes so much easier to do what you want to do, because you’ve got that finite time to do it.

Charlotte Speak  7:29

The thing that I take away from that is that your ‘why’ is as unique as you are, it really doesn’t matter externally what that ‘why,’ lots of people want to know your ‘why,’ but I mean, it doesn’t. You can have your ‘why’ for whatever reason you need it to be, and it has such a scale and spectrum. But it is the ‘why’ that we do need isn’t it, that we need to know what we’re aiming for, and that those aims are going to look so different, aren’t they? And I’ve been reading a book called burnout, one of the stories that they share is about a study that was done, I think it was in America, there were two sets of participants, and they were asked to get a mouse out of a maze. And one group knew that they were aiming for some cheese and one group was being chased by an owl. And the group that was aiming for the cheese got there massively quicker than the group that was being chased by the owl. [Isn’t that interesting.] Yeah, there’s a far more scientific and eloquent way to regurgitate that story and I would massively recommend the book so far, which I will link in the show notes. But that for me just summed up when you know what you’re working towards, when you’ve got your definition of success defined, and let’s remember that success is not all jazz hands and cartwheels, there can be a lot to be said for neutrality that is way more powerful than this feeling of threat and fear and we’re both coaches, we understand that. You don’t have to be a coach to understand it, but I mean, you do generally go through this process as a coach of knowing the impact of things like fear and fight, flight or freeze on people don’t you and their decisions and all that kind of stuff. And that exactly sums up what I could say to so many people; clients, friends, family, myself actually at times, that you, if you’re running from something as opposed to working towards it, the psychology is completely different.

Holly Curry  9:35

Yeah, absolutely. And interesting about the fight, flight and freeze because fear does make some people freeze and even if we look at that in sort of slow process just, like, trying to get out of that place of fear is hard work in itself. So, you’re using so much more energy to get out of what you don’t want to do rather than knowing where you’re going and you’re going to the delicious cheese, it’s so interesting, isn’t it? It’s taken me such a long time to sort of acknowledge why I’m doing what I’m doing. And it’s really hard work to not care about other people’s goals, because they’re in your face all of the time, so it’s really hard to say, oh, actually, I don’t want that. I don’t want to be on a beach. I don’t want a Bentley, like, I mean, I don’t want these, those things – other people might want them and that’s absolutely fine and that’s wonderful. And that’s your cheese. But my cheese is being there to be with my kids. It is easier, you’re so right, it’s easier to make a success of my business, when I hold that ‘why’ in my head. And that’s my personal ‘why.’ And the ‘why’ of my business is quite different. Because my kids aren’t anything to do with my business. So why I do what I do, in my business, is also another bit of cheese. Yeah, I like that analogy.

Charlotte Speak  11:10

And I think that’s an important distinction as well, that you can have more than one ‘why.’ And that ‘why’ kind of manifests in different ways. I have some overlap in my ‘why’, but I also do have some distinct areas. So part of the reason why I work for myself is because of the reasons that I would identify as with you with that different type of flexibility that I can, you know, I’m more answerable to myself, obviously, I’m answerable to clients, but I know that the work will get done, and it still has to be done, but I can do it in a far more agile way than I’ve ever been able to work in an employed setting. But then absolutely, the whys of why Power of the Parent exists are totally different. And yeah, I really like that kind of call out that, you can have more than one. And they can be really distinct as well. It’s not as, it can sometimes look and feel really intertwined, which it kind of is, I suppose, but also, it’s okay for it to be separate.

Holly Curry  12:13

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that there will always be overlap, and there will be those which will be informed by each other, I guess, because that’s my lived experience. So, yes, they’re different, but definitely influenced, because that is what I’ve experienced in my life. And that’s the decisions have been made on experience.

Charlotte Speak  12:40

Yeah, absolutely. So, part of your business right now is the website stuff, it’s still in there, thank goodness. But the inclusion of, kind of, the business coaching side of things that can sometimes have an interesting narrative that surrounds it, because of the way that it’s been marketed, I think over the last few years, and I, you know, I’d say some of this stuff, myself, I know some incredible business coaches, I also see a lot of rubbish being talked about, and standards and expectations being held up for people, particularly on social media that drive a culture that is about, you know, unhealthy comparison and making you think that you should want this, because who doesn’t want a six figure launch and all that kind of stuff. And I know that offline, you and I talk about boundaries all the time, and well, not all the time, and they’re interesting conversations. But I’m just wondering now with your current business hat on how you navigate some of that yourself, when you’re, kind of, sometimes you’ve got to be your own client, haven’t you? And that’s really quite difficult but that, kind of, again, that transition of, I’ve got a new part of my business. How does that show up for you? What are some of the things that can go through your head to honour your boundaries and set yourself up well for that?

Holly Curry  14:15

Ah, that’s interesting. So, I guess the coaching for me is quite new. I just qualified last summer, and I’m right at the beginning of my coaching journey. So, I’ve got lots and lots to learn, which is really exciting. So, when it comes to boundaries, that’s a tough one that, I think it’s about understanding, isn’t it? Going back to that ‘why’ and understanding what you need? And I’m a huge people pleaser so this is really hard for me, but understanding what I need and then connecting that with what other people need and trying to make that connection work for me and the other person. Because I’ve learned this a lot over the last six years, seven years, it’s really easy to say yes to everything and bend over backwards to please other people. But that in itself erodes your own boundaries, even if you’ve put some in place, that sort of need to please and that ‘oh, yes, okay, yeah, that’s fine,’ or, ‘you can’t do the times I’ve got, okay, no problem, let’s do whatever you need,’ that that kind of gradual erosion. That’s a really tricky one for me and I see it creeping in all the time and I’m much more aware of it now. So, I guess I just go back to ‘why’ am I doing this? And do I want to feel as stressed and overwhelmed as I did when I didn’t have those boundaries in place? No. Okay, so what do I need to do and go back to that again, and I am actually getting much better at putting those boundaries in place. And I had, I’ve had my own business coaching, my coach rephrased people pleaser, because that’s quite negative when people say, she’s a people pleaser, or I’m a people pleaser, we say it in a negative way, and it’s got a negative connotation, and she reframed that as a super delighter. So, it’s okay to be a super delighter and have all your boundaries in place. And it’s just how do you delight your clients, whilst also making sure you’re safe and you’ve got your boundaries there and that flexible working and that ‘why,’ to be around my kids, it’s everything spiralling around that. So, is that going to give me the flexibility that I crave? Or need? No, okay, so don’t do that. It’s going back to that.

Charlotte Speak  16:54

Oh, my goodness, I love that. What a brilliant reframe. [It’s a good one, isn’t it?] I think it really is. And I think part of it is, because it’s part of your identity, being when you identify as being a super delighter for a kind of, ‘people pleaser,’ in inverted commas to kind of wrench that away from people and say, it’s a bad thing. That can have been a huge part of somebody’s identity and that then, you’re kind of asking somebody to give up a bit of who they are. And, you know, it’s the reason that I like the super delighter reframe is because I think it helps you maintain the good stuff about what you’re wanting to do and where you want to get to and what leaves you feeling good and energised but helps you put that boundary in to say, where does this go into overdrive? Where does it stop? Yeah, where do I need to kind of stop and put the brakes on? Because you forget, and I definitely have done it myself. I have absolutely viewed people pleaser as a negative. [Yeah, we do.] Of course, [definitely.] And I think because of the impact that it can have, and you kind of see the negative side of being a people pleaser, very quickly, and you can feel it physically, can’t you? [Yes.] So, I think it then does get demonised when actually, it’s not as binary as that is it? There are so many shades to it but that’s what we’ve got to be able to embrace.

Holly Curry  18:21

Absolutely. What you say about it being part of somebody’s personality. I think it’s going back to that idea of taking on everybody else’s goals and not actually listening to your own internalised goals. And my coach asked me a question, and she said, do you like making other people happy? And honestly, with my hand on my heart, it’s literally the purpose I’m on Earth for; I absolutely love making other people happy. And I think that sort of demonisation of being a people pleaser, and we see it on social media, and you get the same with limiting beliefs and it’s noise coming from people who don’t necessarily have the experience or the understanding, or that same sort of idea of it being all different shades of grey, rather than black or white. And that’s what we see a lot of on social media, just white or black. It’s so binary and nobody sits on the fence, nobody sits in the middle. Nobody is ambivalent, like we need that ambivalence, because in that ambivalence is where you get all the different colours. And I think I was listening, when I was sort of trying to figure out what my business was going to do, who it was going to serve and what I enjoyed and where my boundaries were, I was listening to people saying being a people pleaser is bad for business, get your boundaries in place, don’t ever say yes to everything, and I was swallowing it up and getting the point and churning it out and I feel much more confidence to say, I love pleasing people, I’ll please people for as long as I want. And the same with other people’s goals, and then that sort of idea that if I don’t want those things, that’s a limiting belief rather than I actually don’t want them. I think when you really look at what you want your life to be, and you mentioned neutrality earlier, I couldn’t agree more. I just want my life to be quite foreign, is that the right word? But I don’t need it to be like, Instagram 24/7 beaches and flexible working and, you know, fancy cars and stuff. I just want like home and happiness, and all the good stuff that you can actually do over and over again, every day. The big stuff’s nice, but the everyday stuff is where the magic’s at, I think.

Charlotte Speak  20:57

Joy in the small things is the phrase that springs to mind. But, actually, for lots of us, those seeming, again, it’s all about context and it’s perspective, it might not actually be small things, like they can be really massive things that make such a huge difference. I’ve recently treated myself to a Joyous Journal, in the show notes as well, I’ve never got into journaling, and it isn’t journaling like as in bullet journaling. I’ve recently met the founder and that’s what made me, I fell in love with her story and her completely, but she’s got some cards for kids as well that I’ve got for the girls, that is everything from like, for the kids and I’m like, right there on my desk at the minute, called Joyous Kids Cards. So, it’s about self-care, and kindness to others and love of our planet. They are probably a bit of you, actually, but that’s something that I think some of that is about building some of these practices into your day to day. And it is it’s about recognising the importance of them, and also knowing that it shouldn’t just become wallpaper, because then, what I mean by that is that we just walk past it every day, and we don’t really notice it anymore. And sometimes, that’s what I then find, when I’m working with people where we will talk about the difference between needs and wants. And sometimes things that should be needs get bucketed into this wants column, because it feels a bit frivolous to factor some of this stuff in and, is it a want? Or really is it a need? And we kind of go down this conversation of deciphering where basic needs aren’t being met. And there are so many things that get overlooked that then remove some of the joy from every day for us. So, I think yeah, I think it’s a huge conversation.

Holly Curry  22:53

Yeah, absolutely. And those cards look amazing, I definitely want to go and look at those. Yeah, you’re so right about the needs and wants and I think that’s just a conversation that we’re not having on socials either and I know I’ve mentioned social media a few times. But we’re all on it, all the time and I think we underestimate the impact of the messaging that we see. And I think we’re taking the messaging as gospel. We’re assuming that because it’s there, it’s expert advice. And I’ve been guilty of this myself, and I’m trying to do lots of other things at the minute like listening to audiobooks, listening to podcasts, I bought a newspaper the other day, I can’t tell you the last time I bought a newspaper, and it’s eye opening, when you start actually looking outside of that tiny space that you feel is massive when you’re in it. There’s so much other conversation being had. And I think though that idea that, like sometimes, we’re not even drinking enough water, we’re not eating enough food or the right food or you know, those things that were just like we’ll solve later, we’ll solve later, we’ll solve later. Because you’re on a treadmill, you just don’t do it.

Charlotte Speak  24:24

Yeah, completely. And I think that was where I was going when I mentioned the Joyous Journal. This is not a sales pitch for them in the slightest, but it’s like front of mind. That’s one of the things that it’s helped me break a habit of, so there’s blank pages in there for you to fill in and write whatever you want. I’ve started doing some pages around what joy means to me and trying to reconnect with that a little bit. And I’m not consistent with it but if I feel like writing then I’ll do it. But then in there there’s also some mindful colouring, there’s a word search. I have been absorbed in this word search and loved it and what it’s done is help me break a habit of scrolling quite so much. And I’m not, you know, I still go on social media, and I definitely still consume stuff on there. But I’m not really looking to break away from it 100%, I just want to reduce it. And exactly what you’ve articulated there, remember that there is more and there’s more kind of stimulus that you can get. And, you know, picking that up, I get to use one of my favourite coloured highlighters to find the words, I realised I sound like, you know, a kid here, but that’s part of it isn’t it, it’s about reconnecting with your inner child and finding that joy, and I love, I’m in my element, if I can get my pens out and do something and just be so absorbed in it. But that’s sometimes the headspace that we don’t always have and it can sometimes, I’m speaking for myself, because that can sometimes feel like more effort than picking up a phone and an app to scroll through but the consequence of me doing that is that there’s a downward spiral that I have fallen into that trap of taking something as gospel and then you think, you’ll read something somewhere else, or something else will come up on the news or wherever else you might get some information from that completely contradicts. I’m not living in a vacuum. I can’t live in a vacuum. [Yes. Yeah.] So, it’s a real, as a business owner, and a parent, or an employee in a workplace, you’ve got all of these different sources of information that they require boundaries, don’t they? And they require some reconnection with yourself.

Holly Curry  26:43

Yeah. And the boundary around social media is such a good one, because I agree with what you’re saying. I’m not going to come off it, and I think it’s really important to say there are some amazing people on social media, some real experts that are, you know, doing huge things with that voice and that platform and I think that’s fantastic. But it is putting those boundaries in place for yourself, what feels good, how much do you want to be on there? Like, what content do you want to consume? And I did a session with the lady called Cassie Widders. She’s just on Instagram as Cassie Widders, and she does, like 90-minute digital minimalism intensive and that’s what she’s all about, like, how do we use social media better and that was really brilliant, because I was feeling a bit sort of grumpy about social media. And she really helped me reframe how we use it for business and all that good stuff. So yeah, I think there’s, there’s so much that we need to learn about boundaries around social media, and how we can use it for business, for pleasure, in a really good way that feels good to us. And then when you talked about your pens, I recently got some watercolour pens, which are just amazing, I’ve got really into that, so much so that I’ve now booked myself onto watercolour class at Leeds City College, on an evening for 10 weeks, you know, like adult learning. And it’s honestly little things like that. I did, when I first got them, I just did some doodles one evening and I could feel it myself. I was so like, full of joy and excitement, I felt like a kid. It was brilliant and it was yeah, it was just lovely. But it’s all about finding those little things, giving yourself permission. Because you have to buy the pens, find the time, do the drawing and you think I ain’t got time for that nonsense. There’s socks to be washed and laundry and all that nonsense. But there is time, you’ve just got to give yourself permission. And that goes back to boundaries as well. Like how can you put some boundaries around making sure you give yourself the time to do what you want, because the rest of the time you just have to give yourself permission and all these things are really hard work. All these things like they take, well, for me personally speaking from experience, the years and years of sort of, we’ll say work but not work, but years and years of getting to that point where I’m starting to feel that it’s easier to put those boundaries in place and knowing that I can still be a people pleaser, super delighter. And super delight myself.

Charlotte Speak  29:42

Yeah. I love that. And it is practice, isn’t it? Because we do live in a world of ‘follow these five steps and you’ll get this result’ and it’s, we kind of make it really like sequential and yes, it’ll absolutely happen that way. And that doesn’t work for nuanced humans, and it might, somebody will see a result at some point, but I would really be interested in looking at how long just some of those impacts last afterwards or after those first couple of weeks of seeing and feeling the difference. Has it got some longevity to it, because I think, you know, some of this is about rewriting you, isn’t it and figuring out what is going to last?

Holly Curry  30:29

Absolutely. Yeah, and making sure that again, going back to that reason, what makes your life the best life it can be. And they don’t have to be huge things, they can be microscopic things, but knowing, listening to yourself first and then listening to all the noise, because I think it’s good to look out and, you know, see what’s going on in the world. But listening to yourself first, having that as your baseline and going back to that. That works for your business ‘why ‘as well. Once you’ve got that business ‘why,’ as long as everything you do, you keep going back to it, it’ll work.

Charlotte Speak  31:19

And I think that is a really good place to end the conversation because I think you summed up just brilliantly where we all need to be putting some focus and attention. Thank you so much for joining me today. I’m sure there’s going to be loads of people listening that are now like, oh, I need a bit of Holly Curry coaching in my life, or I’ve been putting off doing my website and now is the time and I would thoroughly advocate for working with Holly, obviously. So where can we come and find you?

Holly Curry  31:50

I think this is going to come out after I rebrand.

Charlotte Speak  31:54

Quite possibly.

Holly Curry  31:57

So, my new business name is Saffy Digital. And that’ll be saffydigital.com and the Instagram handle will be @saffydigital.

Charlotte Speak  32:09

Well, we will link everything in the show notes. [Thank you.] Very easily go and find Holly in her new home of Saffy Digital, which I can’t wait to see. So, thank you so much again, it’s been an absolute pleasure.

Holly Curry  32:23

Thank you, thanks for having me.

Charlotte Speak  32:24

You’re very welcome. Take care. Bye.

Thanks very much for tuning in to Power of the parent, the podcast. I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, please rate, review and subscribe. And if you could tell all your friends about the podcast that would be wonderful. If you’d like to get in touch, you can find me on Instagram. Just search Power of the Parent. See you next time.

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