Food for Thought

9 Of The Tastiest Insights from a Year of Breakfasts

By Kate Pumphrey


We’ve spent the past few weeks hounding some of our most inspiring members for their best advice.

In a bid to match their generosity, here are my reflections on a year of breakfasts - the 9 things that I have learnt, observed or (finally) understood.


The recommendation that we should “do something uncomfortable every day” is sound.

I sent a cold email to someone who had inspired me on Desert Island Discs at the beginning of the year, asking if I could meet her. It was deeply awkward to write. It has been responsible for 90% of the best things that have happened to me this year.


We give a lot of attention to answers, and very little to questions, but the skill of asking great questions has never been more important. No one has any time or any attention. You can’t waste either with lousy questions.

Annoyingly ‐ but reassuringly ‐ it seems that the skill of questioning is not one that can be hacked. Nor is that of conversation (although these articles on words that can turn a conversation around and how to be a more considerate conversation partner come close).


No one seems to regret meditating. Or therapy. Or sleep.

Arianna H sets her alarm clock for whatever time falls 8 hours after she goes to bed. What more permission do we need?


The most magnetic people at Hot Breakfasts are those with a certain lightness of being. They aren’t bogged down by what they’re doing, no matter how weighty.

(I used to think that success led to that lightness, but it's at last dawned upon me that it’s the other way around. It’s an attitude and it breeds success.)


Understanding that you can be an introverted loudmouth has been a personal revelation.

Introversion and extroversion are two forces in the fascinating play of group power dynamics. Those dynamics shape the outcome of everything from a team coffee break through to your Christmas lunch. We’ll be writing more about them on this blog in the near future.


The advice that anyone gives you (about your career, your business, your anything) tells you a lot about them and very little about you.



There are some things you should not do. Do not ignore a phone call from a friend, even if it's the day that you re‐launch your business, even if you’re frantically busy. She could be telling you she’s been diagnosed with a life‐limiting medical condition.

Do not say yes to everything. Do not underestimate the power of branding. Do not come up with a plan to run an Advent Calendar campaign on 30th November.


You can know a man by several things.

One of those things is his choice of breakfast.


There are some nonsensical truths that you just have to accept.


One of them is that lists are more tempting when they are odd numbered.