The Hyphen: Vulnerability & “I Don’t Know”

Hi friends—

How are you doing?

I don’t know whether it’s the pandemic, or since turning 31, but I am feeling a shift in how I embrace and show my own vulnerability. I feel naturally more open, and it feels like a stark contrast to how I was in my twenties. Back then, I definitely had a barrier up; I didn’t ever want to show I was struggling to anyone other than my close friends, which is fine except it was pretty exhausting. I have signed up to a life coach (someone I’ve known for a couple of years and really trust) and I can’t wait to tell you more about it as I go along! Vulnerability came up a lot in our first session. Brené Brown is right: you are stepping into your truest power when you are ready to display your vulnerable side to the world.

It’s like one big exhale. I don’t pretend to be a certain way anymore — I’m happy to say “I don’t know”. I don’t feel like I have to chisel my opinions into stone anymore. I am fluid. I change my mind a lot. I am not afraid to ask questions, not afraid to get it wrong sometimes. If this is what growing older already feels like then it makes me look forward to future decades of vulnerability and acceptance.

Speaking of vulnerability, my debut novel OLIVE comes out in TWO WEEKS. I am apprehensive, nervous, ahhh — that bubbling feeling of nerves deep in my stomach. I really want OLIVE to get out there and reach people. I really believe in the story, characters, nuance and overall message but it’s been really hard to remain positive about launching it during the last few months. Celebrating any sort of life milestone during a pandemic *is* weird. I’ve been having nightmares of career tumbleweeds and Zoom promo events where I turn up accidentally naked.

I do hope OLIVE finds you. Wherever you are.

My hope is that you might connect with her like I did.

Hope you enjoy today’s newsletter. (If there’s anything you’d like me to share in next week’s newsletter, you can email me at

Emma xo


*Fun event alert!* I am really excited to be doing an online event with the brilliant How To Academy about my new book! I will be interviewed by Hannah MacInnes about OLIVE and I’m really looking forward to it! You can buy your ticket below!


What’s New on Ctrl Alt Delete Podcast?

This week's podcast is with Ann Friedman, one half of Call Your Girlfriend podcast and now author of the forthcoming book Big Friendship, out this month (July 2020).

This book is authored by both podcasters Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow and Big Friendship is the story of their own ten-year, complex, loving friendship. They share their highs, lows, and hard-won wisdom with honesty, hilarity and compassion. They've weathered life-threatening health scares, long-distance living - and they know: the most important part of a Big Friendship is investing in each other again and again.

Listen here (or via any pod apps!)

There is also a special bonus episode of Ctrl Alt Delete with one of the British Gymshark athletes, the wonderful fitness influencer Sophie Butler — someone I thoroughly enjoy following on Instagram and find extremely inspiring on every level. I jumped at this chance to collaborate with her for the podcast. You can listen HERE about her fitness journey and self-love in lockdown.


Things I consumed this week…


It's been 75 days since Breonna Taylor was murdered in her own home. The police officers have yet to be arrested or charged. Breonna's family have seen no progress in their fight for justice. Please consider signing this special super-petition. When you complete it, it emails every elected official and government office who can make a decision regarding this case. Link here.

I really enjoyed listening to Simon Sinek’s new podcast called A Bit Of Optimism. I enjoyed the episode with Seth Godin all about entrepreneurship (long time listeners of Ctrl Alt Delete will know I’m quite obsessed with him). They discuss how the word ‘entrepreneur’ is not what most people think. I thought it was an interesting conversation about work, creativity and courage. Listen here.

I probably would have deleted Twitter by now, if it wasn’t for Ayishat Akanbi’s tweets. She really makes me think for myself, beyond just mindlessly following other people’s popular opinions, and I feel like we need more of that right now. You can follow her here.

In Case You Missed It ☝️
You are invited to my online book launch for OLIVE!


Thanks for subscribing! I'm Emma, the person behind this newsletter. I am the bestselling author of The Multi-Hyphen Method and the soon-to-be-published novel OLIVE, and creator of the hit podcast series Ctrl Alt Delete. You can also follow me on Instagram here, and Twitter here. If you enjoyed this newsletter, why not forward onto a friend? xo

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