By Mary-Anne Da’Marzo
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 that 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 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 absolutely 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.
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 change in our own lives.
As an Instagram lover, I have always spent a lot of time on the platform. What I began to recognize 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 3 months than I ever did before. As much as you can discuss challenges you are facing with friends and family, the real work has to be done by you, and you alone. I recognize 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. So … My message is, when you see one, I encourage you to stop, take a picture and share that with someone you think might need those words at that moment in time. And that someone could also be you. After all, we are not on this journey alone, but together! We all have the power to make a difference to the lives of the people we connect with every day. Thank-you for reading my little story and I hope you enjoy seeing these little #heartynotes around the streets of London. They are an expression of a journey to self-love for us all. www.heartynotes.co.uk