May 22, 2019
In this episode, we meet Megan
Macedo, writer and marketing entrepreneur on authentic
story-telling, knowing yourself and being an artistic
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Megan grew up in Northern
Ireland at the tail end of The Troubles, an experience that has
shaped her story and career.
She runs a marketing and
storytelling consultancy in London and writes and speaks about
authenticity in marketing and taking an artistic approach to
She created the short
film, Becoming Yourself In Your
Business, and a
video interview series, The Business of
Megan hosts workshops and
retreats in the UK, Ireland and the US and has shared the stage
with the likes of Jay Abraham and Perry Marshall.
In this episode we talk
- Authentic story-telling and actively being
yourself in the world;
experimentation to find out who you really are and what you care
most of us are artistic entrepreneurs trapped in traditional
corporate bodies; and
fear of scaling our ambitions.
Connecting with Megan
You can reach Megan on
LinkedIn and on her
Thanks to Perry Marshall for recommending Megan.
On what growing up during The
Troubles taught her
internalise the environment that we grow up in. People go through
traumatic things and it changes how they interact with their family
and their loved ones. It changes how children are raised. How it
relates to my work is that I have this understanding, or curiosity
at least, around this stuff and around Northern Ireland because I
grew up in it, and I can see the stuff playing out at a cultural
level. I can see it playing out at a family level. I can see it
play out at an individual level.
often, there's a whole bunch of stuff that doesn't get spoken and
there is a whole side of ourselves that we don't show out in the
world, and our work suffers as a result of that.
On having a sense of
people feel unfulfilled in their work, or they feel like something
isn't quite right, I think a lot of that is because they are not
letting themselves be seen in their work. I think that one of our
most primal needs is to be seen and to be known.
Erikson did a lot of the seminal work around identity formation. He
talked about something called psychosocial reciprocity, which says
that in order for us to have a fully mature, grounded sense of
identity, it's not enough for us to know who we are on the inside;
we also have to have the world respond to us as that
have to actively be ourselves in the world. And then the world gets
to see who we are and respond to that person.
- But...most of us are in some degree of kind of
misery because we keep that part of ourselves a secret. So we show
up as some kind of professional persona in the world and that's who
the world thinks we are.
On the value of having an
you take a load of vitamin tablets, most of it will just end up
down the toilet. Your body will pass it because it doesn't
recognise it as food. This is why it's better to eat the whole
food. In a way, the story combined with the work that we do, are
like the whole food.
of us strip our story out of our work and out of our skills, and
that's what stops people seeing our value. But if you put your
story back in, it's the story that makes your skills and values and
talents available to people. That's what makes them connect with
you and understand who you are, your context, your perspective, and
then they become much more interested in what you're actually doing
in your professional life.
so my clients go through the process of telling their story and
usually come away with this much deeper understanding of who they
are and where they want to go and why they want to go
On knowing yourself
you're a child, you have parents or authority figures. Essentially,
they give you an assigned identity, which is made up of part of
their identities. They hand down these values and beliefs to
we come of age, we're supposed to interact with different people
who have different worldviews and different identities and value
different things. And each experience that we have acts as a mirror
and we get a glimpse at a little bit more of ourselves. So we learn
what values and beliefs we agree with or disagree with.
- Eventually, we get to a point where we have a
grounded sense of self. And that identity could be exactly the same
as the one you were given as a kid, or you might completely reject
it. The important thing is that you have acquired it for
some things you will have direct experience of and you can speak
from a position of power on those. But other things you don't so
you experiment and ask for help. And it's through years and years
of living like that that you get to expand your field of genuine
expertise and wisdom.
think one of the things that people should do first is to ask
themselves, “What questions do I care about?”
On being artistic in your
business and career
think there are two types of entrepreneurial thinker. You have the
traditional businessperson type, and they are really passionate
about the game of business and the whole corporate game. And then
you have the artist type entrepreneurial thinker. And they are
really passionate about the actual work that they do, about
building a body of work.
actually think that more of us are the artist type than we think.
We are trained, both in the education system and then how the
working world works, to be the traditional business type, but the
artist type I think makes up most of the population.
artists work is that they start with some kind of curiosity or some
kind of question they have about a topic that they're interested
in. They'll go and research that and then they make a piece at the
end of it.
On getting away from it
will quite often go to the park for a walk for 20 minutes and then
I'll pitch up in a café or a pub, and I'll write for an hour, or
until I run out of steam. It's during the walk that I actually
process everything and figure out what I'm going to
- Something else I do is go to the cinema. I find
watching films, immersing myself in someone else's work, to be very
restorative, and it fires off all kinds of ideas in my
On choosing a
think it's important to lean on mentors for advice on ideas. Get a
sense of permission from them if that's what you feel like you
need. Or just have a sanity check and bounce it off them. But it's
really about getting that confidence to take action.
reason that I went to my mentor and not some other people is
because I looked at his whole life and thought, "That's a guy I
could along with." A lot of the other mentors that were around at
the time were workaholics.
On the fear of the scale of our
order to do the things that we really want to do and have the
impact that we really want to have through our work, we're going to
have to show ourselves, make ourselves vulnerable, and that is
- Instead, focus on how you are going to take the
next step today. Think about the person that you think you're going
to be when you get to that goal and how you could be that person
Her final message of wisdom and
think that having the courage and willingness to share your story
and your wisdom from a place of direct, lived experience is the
most important thing.
Books and resources mentioned
in the episode