OMG! I Did It!

Time to read: Less than 1 minute.


Hi Rebels,

The Moth Story Slam was last night. It was one of the most amazing nights of my life.

Here's how it works: You put your name in a hat and then before each story teller leaves the stage, they draw the name of the next story teller. So, you don't know if you will get to tell your story until it's your turn. Then each story is rated by a panel of audience judges like the Olympics - 9.5, 8.4, 7.9. (Don't even get me started on how much I hate to be judged. Thank you negative ego.)

I was #7 of 10 story tellers, which is a good strategic spot. You don't want to be first when the judges haven't calibrated a good story yet. And last is not great, because the audience is tired.

When they called my name, I floated to the stage. The lights blinded my ability to see the audience, which was good. The story was ready through diligent feedback (thanks, Anne!) and practicing (thanks to my dog for listening over and over). Telling the story was like being in a state of conscious unconsciousness - deeply present, completely immersed, and separated from the reality that there were 200 people in that bar. They laughed. They clapped. They cheered. It was incredible.

The moment was a triumph over terror into joy. And as always, I think about what this experience means to you. Here it is:

  • Do that thing that you've always wanted to do. Even if it terrifies you.
  • Find your negative ego boring. In the week leading up to last night, I started to fixate on my fear and anxiety (courtesy of my negative ego). What if I freeze on stage? What if no one likes my story? After a couple of days of this, I decided not to indulge my addiction to worry and simply replaced it with visions of getting on that stage and having fun.
  • It takes discipline to push past fear. The fear and anxiety lurked around the edges regularly. Living free from fear takes a thousand small reminders and choices. You have to choose it.
  • Living free is worth the work. Doing the work to push past your fear and live big is worth it. I'm higher than a kite today. It's amazing.

To top off the night, I won.

It was a victory to muster the courage to walk into that bar. (Remember when I couldn't even click the link on The Moth website?) It was enough that I got on that stage. Now I get to move on to tell another story from the Guthrie Theater stage in October among the 10 winners of the other slams.

Many of you have emailed to ask how it went. A couple of Corporate Rebels surprised me by coming last night. (Thank you, Adam and Cheryl - You're the best!) I'll post the recording from the Moth in a few weeks.

Thanks to everyone who as emailed and held space and cheered. It means a lot to me.

I can't wait to hear about your triumph!

With rebel love,


P.S. Do you know someone with a dream (and the subsequent paralysis from fear)? Send them this newsletter. I hope my journey from terror to victory will inspire them to take the first step. They can join here.


What to do when what you really want is a nap.

Estimated read time: 2 minutes.

Here's one of my favorite images from the interviews. This one will be live in July. Don't we look like we're having fun?!

Here's one of my favorite images from the interviews. This one will be live in July. Don't we look like we're having fun?!

We've established that I have busted my butt for the last three months producing the amazing Corporate Rebel Series.

What I really wanted this afternoon was a nap. I didn't have it in me to do one more thing.

What I needed to do was conduct another interview and write this newsletter. To say that I didn't feel like it would be an understatement.

This got me thinking about you and all the times you don't feel like (fill in the blank).

Another story: When I was in a leadership program a few years ago we had to do all these terrifying things high in the trees, where we could, like, fall and die.

One of them was this balance beam that felt like it was 6 stories tall. We had to get from one tree to the other by walking the balance beam. As I was scooching across, legs shaking, stomach hurting, doing everything I could not to look at the ground (oh so far down there), our leader yelled out, "This is what commitment looks like!" My first thought was, "Nah. I'm a mess." Then I got it. That moment has stuck with me ever since.

Commitment is not pretty. It's not certainty. Commitment does not require you to feellike it. Commitment requires you to show up even when you don't feel like it.

Commitment requires you to focus on your purpose, your bigger reason for being. For me that means remembering the people in offices who are wondering if they are crazy... who crave the freedom to be themselves while still succeeding at work.

So I put on my mascara, conducted an awesome interview with an expert on executive presence and sat down to write this newsletter. This work matters. Yourwork matters. Let the mattering carry you forward even when you don't feel like it.


P.S. If you know someone who would like to receive this newsletter, they can sign-up for The Corporate Rebel Video Podcast and Newsletter HERE.

A humbling look behind the scenes!

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

The official production studio for the Corporate Rebel Series (note the requisite Nerf blasters and penguin audience)

The official production studio for the Corporate Rebel Series (note the requisite Nerf blasters and penguin audience)

The Corporate Rebel Series is finally on its way! Alleluia, praise baby Buddha, thank you, universe!

The truth is I feel so vulnerable having this series out there that I can hardly breathe.

Today, I want to pull back the curtain to show you what it's been like on the inside so you can see that:

  1. I struggle with the same things you do.
  2. You can see what's possible when you face your fear, make a commitment to something big, and keep moving.

Sound like a plan?

First, the Corporate Rebel Series required me to face my fears.

In order to create this series, I had reach out to people I didn't know and ask them to be part of it. (Even for an extrovert like me, this was terrifying.)

I spent 2 weeks hitting send on email after email (139 to be exact). There were people who seemed so big and so important, I couldn't bring myself to contact them. With the encouragement of my friends, I finally did. Many of them said yes! (Amazing people like Ann Betz, Dr. Ron Friedman, and Henry Kimsey-House are part of the series.)

After 39 emails and 5 live conversations, the next hundred got easier.

Second, this project has required me to stretch beyond what I thought I was capable of.

I had to figure out ethernet, learn to edit videos, conquer YouTube, and handle Skype glitches. (I'm no tech wizard.) I had to stay focused so my children continued to get to school and our dog got walked. I even managed one tea date with a friend and talked to my husband on occasion.

Then there was the &%#@$* opt-in video (the one on the sign up page. You can see it here). I've never done anything with video and certainly, nothing that was going to be public. I recorded about 100 takes, took the feedback from my coach, and did 100 more.

And then as soon as the #$&%*$ video was live, one of my best friends called to say it "sucked." After wondering for an hour if I should get a new best friend, my BFF and I re-recorded the video and now it feels like me.

Know what I discovered? I can handle the technology. I can put a video into the world. I can plunk a huge project into an already full life and still keep the wheels mostly on the bus.

Third, working on this series has forced me to let go of any illusion of perfection.

There are a couple of glitchy interviews. A broken link in an email? Yep, have that. Hair sticking out - got it. Dog whining at the door during an interview? Yes, that, too. Sucky opt-in video? Check!

Action over perfection is the mantra that got me through. (Feel free to steal that one.)

Fourth, I had to face rejection.

People declined to participate. I survived.

Fifth, the Corporate Rebel Series has reinforced that the world is a good place, people are generous, and all you have to do is ask.

Putting together this series has been like a giant scavenger hunt. Even the most famous experts, the ones I was afraid to contact, are lovely, normal people. They are thrilled to help and to be part of something that supports our mutual mission to make the world of work better for the people who go there everyday.

I have been surrounded by guardian angels who share their feedback honestly and love me enough to tell me the truth.

Their generosity has been inspiring.

The Corporate Rebel Series has grown legs. With each speaker, an ecosystem has developed of people who care deeply about the work we do and how we can bring heart and sanity to our workplaces. Now, the series is running on its own and the audience is gathering.

A number of people have asked me where this is headed. The truth is, I have no idea. At this point, I'm along for the ride and having a blast.

And I'm ready for a few more tea dates.


P.S. If you know someone who would like to receive this newsletter, they can sign-up for The Corporate Rebel Video Podcast and Newsletter HERE.

My ugly story and what you can learn from it

Estimated read time: An entertaining and real 1.75 minutes.

Photo of my brain on fear, courtesy of Anne Lippin.

Photo of my brain on fear, courtesy of Anne Lippin.

I hired a coach this year to stretch me in my business. In our first meeting, she did exactly what I asked her to do. She stretched me. How did I respond?

I freaked out.

This wasn’t just a little bitty, genteel lady freak out, either. It was like my vital organs were going to fall out of my body. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t work. I was thinking about giving up the whole coaching gig for a job at Whole Foods.

I was in a bad way and even as I laid on my couch crying to my friends, I was thinking of you and hoping to glean some redeeming value from my misery. Here's the value:

When you stretch yourself – you go for the big promotion, you take on the leadership role, you say the risky thing in a meeting, you hire a coach – you are going to feel afraid. If you’re not afraid, you’re not stretching.

I imagine you’re thinking, “Great. You’re telling me I have to feel like my insides are going to fall out?”

Yup. That’s exactly right. If you want to go big, you will be afraid sometimes and fear shows up in your body before your head can catch up. That’s a fact. The good news is there is a lot you can do about it.

Here are my hot tips, hard won from the couch:

  1. Having periods of doubt and fear are part of the journey. A vital part of the journey. Through them you learn valuable things about yourself, develop more capacity, and know what it's like later to feel great!
  2. Recognize your process. When faced with fear, some of my clients get overly analytical, apathetic, or avoidant. Recognize if panic (my favorite!) is a place you stop on your way to clarity and action. When your process is familiar, you can celebrate the freak out and know it’s an important stepping stone to your success.
  3. Remember that you will not be stuck here forever. As your self awareness grows, you’ll be stuck in fear less often and for shorter periods of time.
  4. Have your self care plan ready to go at all times. Mine involves a book, the couch, and my dog. Oh, and calling a bunch of friends. And meditating. And crying.

It’s not about preventing the freak out which is a good thing as that's impossible. It’s about recovering from it. Fear is a sign of growth. What you need is awareness, a self-care strategy, and you're ready to go.

Be afraid and keep going!


P.S. If you know someone who would like to receive this newsletter, they can sign-up for The Corporate Rebel Video Podcast and Newsletter HERE.