Here today with Emma McNally of Achieve Your Greatness who’s going to be helping us all be great… well, more great. Greater than great. All the greats. Take it away Emma Mc…

24 fingers: Hi Emma. 

Emma: Hi, how are you doing?

24 Fingers: Really good. It’s Friday, we’ve got the A-level results out of the way – I’m literally winning right now. Apart from the pandemic, Covid, global recession, kids’ futures screwed, apart from all that…

Emma: Apart from all that it’s all good. 

24 fingers: Thank you very much for your time today, so shall we begin? What’s your favourite word?

Emma: This was a tricky one because I love words, but combobulated is my favourite word, as opposed to discombobulated. I love the way it sounds. 

24 fingers: I think Kevin at Digital Technology Labs had one of the other. 

Emma: Yes, it’s so cool. I love it. 

24 fingers: What gets you up in the morning Emma?

Emma: A number of things. Firstly, the love of what I do. During the week when it’s a work day I get such joy from training and helping people, so that gets me out of bed. On a weekend, it’s usually my husband going: “are you ever getting up?”.  

24 fingers: I can tell that passion, it’s brilliant. Okay, what do you truly think of social media? Be honest. 

Emma: Originally I hated it, really just was not my thing at all. However, I’ve grown to love it and see the uses and benefits of it, so yeah, I tend to do quite a bit on social media, and it’s become my friend, from being like: ‘really, I’ve got to do that?’ to now I really love it. I love the groups where you can share things and be part of a community, especially during this time, it can be really powerful. 

24 fingers: I think when it’s used for good it’s really powerful. Kindles or books?

Emma: Okay, always books – but saying that when I go on holiday, I don’t tend to have suitcases big enough to carry all the books I want to take. So my natural thing would be books, but Kindle means I can still take shoes on holiday AND have books. 

24 fingers: I’ve never been a shoe girl but in lockdown I went a bit mad and bought seven pairs in one day. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m even buying stilettos and I don’t even wear them. 

Emma: I don’t take so many away with me now, because on one holiday I took 12 pairs and we nearly didn’t get our luggage back. After that I’ve cut down. We’re obviously doing a swap here and you’re taking on my mantra. 

24 fingers: Just for anyone thinking “oh my god seven pairs” they were all very cheap, about a fiver each, so I didn’t go hugely mad. 

Emma: We need to go shopping, you and me. 

24 fingers: Thelma and Louise in the shop store. What do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry, as you said, you’re a trainer and a coach. 

Emma: In terms of the NLP industry, I think it’s still getting out there what NLP is and how powerful it is and how you can use it for good. I think that’s the biggest challenge because it sounds so vague I guess, because it’s performance psychology and applied neuroscience – what does all that mean? It’s getting that message out, which is why I work with people like you my lovely to get that message out clearer to people in terms of the benefits and what it can do for a person’s individual performance, life, business etc. 

24 fingers: The thing about NLP is its tangible, it’s not woo. It’s actual techniques and strategies. 

Emma: It’s tools, it’s techniques, it’s strategies, stuff you can apply practically every single day in your life and in your business. That’s the challenge to get out there and that’s what I’m personally working hard to do. 

24 fingers: So, what did you want to be when you were growing up? Didn’t want to be a trainer, I guess?

Emma: No I didn’t even know what NLP was. I wanted to be a nurse, which is hilarious because I never really liked blood. I wanted to help people and I guess that bit hasn’t changed. I wanted to be a nurse but it’s much better that I help people in this way. 

24 fingers: I can see that, in terms of the empathetic nature, being a nurse, I can see how much you really do want to help people change their lives, so that figures. What led you to your current career?

Emma: It was 10 years ago last month that I discovered NLP. I was working in local government and I had a corporate job, many people that I’ve talked to had that sort of background. I had a difficult situation that was going on in my personal life as well as my career, and I discovered NLP and it completely changed everything for me. I left Essex six years ago to write children’s books, and this was what NLP was about for me, to give me choice. I transformed what I did, my career went from strength to strength while I was there then I changed to go set up my own business, and then it was through demand. People asking for NLP and that’s why I started the training company. The plan wasn’t to launch a training company, it was just to write children’s books, and then all of this has just come from it. It was almost like the universe or whatever you like to believe, or serendipity, events that created it. It’s pretty cool. 

24 fingers: It’s so funny, I was thinking about this at the weekend. When I was growing up I wanted to be a teacher and a writer. But I couldn’t have dealt with the noise volume in schools, but now I train and write social media so it all  works out in the end, doesn’t it?

Emma: It does, absolutely. 

24 fingers: So your favourite word was combobulated, can you use it in a sentence?

Emma: I think that a lot of people during Covid and lockdown have felt very discombobulated, and how it’s important to find some space so we can all become more combobulated within our lives. 

24 fingers: Well done that woman. Now this is a hard one: can you make it rhyme?

Emma: I had to write this down. I’ve done a little rhyme for you: If you want to feel more combobulated, find some space that is less populated. Sit for a while under a tree, and give yourself time just to be.

24 fingers: I think you should become an author.

Emma: There’s an option. 

24 fingers: So what advice would you give to younger Emma?

Emma: Just go for it, you’ve got this. It’s going to be an awesome ride, enjoy it and have fun. When you see the bigger picture, it’s like: ‘yeah!’. Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

24 fingers: What’s the best thing anyone’s ever done for you? You’re going to say something really soppy now, aren’t you?

Emma: I am – it was when my husband proposed. I met him in a car accident, the whole circumstances around meeting him was hilarious-ish. So yeah, him proposing. It was the most amazing thing. We were out on a boat and it was very romantic. 

24 fingers: Very sweet. What’s been your career-defining moment – you may not have had it yet?

Emma: Oh there are many. Finding NLP was one, because that completely shifted from being stagnant and stale to bringing life to be able to use it to help people. It’s got to be the career-defining moment. More recently it was setting up the limited company, I was a sole trader for a while. Those are the big things – leaving corporate to set up on your own – it was a seat-of-your-pants kind of time. 

24 fingers: I don’t know what you’re talking about…

Emma: But it’s fun. 

24 fingers: If you won a big award of some kind, who would you thank?

Emma: It has to be my husband John and my mum as well. My husband is amazing. He’s so supportive of everything I do. We’re chalk and cheese so it’s really fun. My mum is so supportive, she comes on my courses, she’s always there. 

24 fingers: Love it. Can you give us a time-saver of the day?

Emma: I’m going to give you two: the first is know what you’re good at and not good at, and find someone to do the stuff you’re not good at or don’t like doing. The second is to-do lists. If I have one and cross it off I’m so much more efficient. I’m a list kind of girl. 

24 fingers: You and Kathy are going to get on so well. I really agree with you about doing what you’re good at and following your strengths. I’m working on a project led by three of us and we’ve each divided what we’re good at and I can just go do what I do and be happy and not cock things up like I could when I’m doing things I’m not good at. 

Emma: Absolutely, it takes hours, doesn’t it?

24 fingers: Where do you see the NLP industry in 24 months?

Emma: We’ve gone through quite a big change and shift because of Covid, so the awarding body are allowing us to do more online, and I can see that carrying on. Also being able to reach a wider audience and very much in terms of corporations. I do a lot of work with big corporations and local government, and they’re starting to see the power of NLP. I think the next 24 months is going to be fascinating to see how it’s going to become more and more embedded  in big and small corporations because the success that it’s bringing through the projects I’m working on at the moment is super-exciting. 

24 fingers: Where were you 24 months ago?

Emma: I’d just become a limited company, I was probably on holiday, knowing me, and I’d probably be training. In a face-to-face rather than using Zoom. 

24 fingers: You’ve adapted really well. Tell me, what’s an interesting fact about your company?

Emma: The training company was created through demand, but we also have this other element that I write children’s books. So there’s a hidden element within Achieve Your Greatness. I wrote The Sock Monster Ate My Favourite Sock, The Adventures of Howard Huxley, we’ve got the little sock monster characters, and all of that cool, crazy stuff as well, the creative bit that people don’t know that much about. 

24 fingers: If you could have a 24-minute Zoom call, who would it be with?

Emma: It would have to be with my dad. He’s no longer with us, so definitely him. 

24 fingers: What’s the one word you’d like people to describe you with?

Emma: Just the one? These are so tricky – I’m a woman of words. Integrity is what I’d like. 

24 fingers: I think you’re the third person on the bounce who’s said integrity and they were coaches and coming from a place of abundance. I think that’s brilliant.  Would you mind taking a selfie for us? Brilliant. Emma, what’s your favourite social media campaign?

Emma: Of course yours, obviously, but I also like The Female Lead, they’ve got some interesting stuff on LinkedIn. I don’t always agree with all of it, but a lot of the content is really, really good. 

24 fingers: What’s one quote that defines your work ethic?

Emma: It would be: “do to others what you would like them to do to you”, so all about kindness, compassion. I like to live and breathe that. 

24 fingers: 100%. I think when you come from a place like that, you get it back. People are so willing to help in turn, rather than a place where you don’t want to share and it’s all about money – I’m not saying you can’t be profitable or make money, but when you’re shining with that different light, good things really happen, I feel. 

Emma: It does and you attract like people. If I look at my clients, I love all my clients they’re the most amazing people. I got some beautiful reviews through on Google and it was just like: ‘oh my word’ and they’re such beautiful people, and I think if you run your business like that, that’s who you will attract, having those beautiful clients that you love to spend time with. They’re like a big family to me, we’ve got a big NLP community and it’s fun, right?

24 fingers: I was talking to someone this morning and they asked how I overcome ‘X’ objection and I said all the people around me wouldn’t even see that as a thing because we’re all like-minded individuals and we all want to give back. One of them is you. What’s been the best part of your day so far?

Emma: Obviously the interview here, and just before I had a quick chat with my mum. As I say, she’s really involved in the business, we’ve got a course coming up. 

24 fingers: Finally, anything to plug?

Emma: Yeah I have indeed. I’ve got so many courses – on the 27th and 28th of August we’ve got Excellence in Teaching with NLP, it’s a course I put together with my colleague Elizabeth, and we’re basically bringing some tools to help in terms of performance and help people involved in looking after young people in terms of their education. Whether that’s home-schoolers, parents, teachers, tutors, it’s two days, online Zoom event, we’ve got a special offer because of Covid, to help give them some tools to help their own management in terms of communication, behaviours and emotions. I’m super-excited about it, it’s going to be an awesome two days. That’s my plug. 

24 fingers: I think I know someone who would really enjoy it. I think teachers going back in September – it’s going to be really difficult for them in terms of children really since March and April haven’t had a consistent framework and there’s a lot of time and stuff to regroup and it’s going to be challenging for teachers and anything that you can give them to ease their path back into schools is going to really benefit them and the children. 

Emma: We’ve widened it out so if parents, who are involved in homework, can make that easier, that’s got to be a good thing, right?

24 fingers: I’m just pleased my homework days are done. Emma, thank you so much for your time.

Emma: It’s been awesome, thank you.