I didn’t catch a football until I was in my 40s. Mainly because no one had ever thrown me one. 

I was encouraged, invited (cajoled! Forced!) by my friends from improv class to be part of their coed touch football team in this actual league where you had matching t-shirts and everything. 

No. Way. 

You don’t understand, I said. I don’t know anything about this game. I will not be good. In fact, I will be a liability. 

They did not care, and they would not take no for an answer. Mainly because, well, they weren’t my career coaches–they were my friends and they were one girl shy of a full roster. 

If you could paint a picture of imposter syndrome, it was me in that stiff team shirt that first day. Everyone lined up and I wanted to wave my arms and say, “Stop! I should not be here. Can you not see I should not be here? I am an imposter and I’m about to ruin everything.” 

But I didn’t. I just ran around and pretended I knew what I was doing. Sometimes I was well into running an offensive route before realizing we were on defense. Oh, I was a mess.

And then, a few games in, I caught the ball. 

Then, later in that season, I scored a touchdown. Then another. 

We won the league championship that season. And the next. Though to be honest, I never know the score and sometimes have to ask after if we won or not.

Did I have a secret talent for football? God no. No no no. And I did not “follow my passion” onto the field, you can be sure of that. 

Guess what I became? A passionate and devoted member of that team. 

We’ve got passion backwards, and it’s making life harder than it has to be. Let’s talk about it:



Look, messaging is hard enough ON A GOOD DAY WHEN THE WORLD IS NOT BURNING. 

But during highly charged moments like this one, it’s worth thinking real hard about what you want to say, yes, but also why you think you want to say it. 

Anything you say can get a response you didn’t expect or intend—come off divisive or tone deaf or flat-out offensive. Even when your intentions are good, it can go very, very wrong. 

It’s easy to assume that you should go ahead and STFU about it. Nope. 

This piece in Crain’s points out how CEOs are awkwardly stepping up to the task—and how all BUT “these companies” have made some kind of statement. #busted 

I have no illusions about my own privilege here. I’m a half white, half Asian woman who grew up in suburban New Jersey in a 99% white community and went to an all-girls (and just about all-white) school. We had the luxury of not thinking about race, outside of what we studied…as an elective. 

So no, I’m no race relations expert—but I’m a messaging pro, and I can hear a wrong note from a mile away. Here’s where I think a lot of people go wrong in their often well-intentioned efforts to “speak out.” 

Where people go wrong with their messaging:

  • They think the answer is to be Captain Obvious. Sorry, no one gets points for ranting about how “racism is wrong” and “Floyd was murdered.” You might as well start arguing that the sky is blue. In fact, highlighting that you now believe racism is wrong makes us think THIS JUST OCCURRED TO YOU.
  • They claim they’re above racism. I’ve heard more than one of my white friends say that they just don’t see race and believe everyone is equal and why can’t everyone just get along. This not only makes you look more out of touch; it’s also unhelpful. Because in fact it’s your very privilege that has made race and any discussion of it “optional.” There’s not a black person in this country who isn’t reminded of their race, every day. To “forget” race is a luxury, and a dangerous one at that. As Robin DiAngelo points out in White Fragility, if you can’t see race, how will you see racism?
  • They talk about how hard they struggle to say something.  Now is not the time to focus on your struggle to find words, which, if that’s all you’re struggling with, is a privilege in itself.

What does work: 

  • Deciding that addressing racism is more important than proving you’re not racist. DiAngelo’s whole thesis is that white progressives are slowing, not quickening, the anti-racist movement, mainly because they’re too busy making sure everyone knows they’re not racist. If we’re all too afraid of being caught out as racist, we blame people and flubs instead of making substantive change. 


  • Making discoveries rather than pronouncements. No one is asking you to be a leader or expert on race. Nor does anyone need your apologia for being white and/or privileged. No one’s interested in that right now. Ask yourself, what have you learned through this and how might that moment of discovery spark that same eye-opening in someone else? What we’re craving right now is action and insight. What have you learned, and what are you doing about it? And what can we? 


  • Focusing on actions, not feelings. Yes, the “feelings” around this are very real, but they’re not the focus, and the point of change isn’t to help you or anyone else “feel” better. That undermines the enormous effort it will require to change age-old institutions, to make real sustainable change so that lives, not feelings, improve. 


  • Asking yourself not just what you want to say…but why. If you’re about to share something with your team, audience, clients, customers, readers, ask yourself very honestly why you are doing it. Despite what our egos tell us, the world is not hanging on our response to this. (Another mark of privilege, P.S.)At the same time, the people who listen to you are listening most keenly right now. Let’s be honest here: Are you trying to look good? Show people you’re not a racist? Not good enough. Messaging is lip service if it’s not paired with action. Don’t make empty promises; show us what you’re doing and why. How are you helping dismantle wrong ideas instead of protect yourself around old ones?
  • Share resources. This is when we turn attention toward the experts, the people who’ve been studying and teaching and fighting for an end to racism. Here are a few resources I’d like to share, and I’m reading along with you. Let’s keep the conversation going.

Years ago I went on a Segway tour of Austin. I was rigid with fear when I got up on that thing. It felt like standing on a vacuum cleaner and attempting to ride it. 

We all have some inherent understanding of what makes things go: A swing? Easy. Pump and pull. A bike? Work those legs. A car? Press the pedal away from you. 

To make a Segway go, you have to do precisely the opposite of what your brain wants to do: Lean into it. 

It feels like leaning into a ladder attached to nothing. 

But once I got going, I started to get the hang of it. An hour later? PLEASE. I was a pro. 

I felt like I legit became one with the Segway. I didn’t even have to steer it; it seemed I only had to think about moving in a direction and it would go there. It started to weird me out. 

Your work can feel that effortless. 

Another thing the Segway can do? Pivot. On a dime! 

We’ve each had to pivot—hard—in the past few months. And we’ve had to lean into this shit, scary and weird as it is.

Now, obviously, we all have things we hate and have to do, and that may never get easier. But you have a sweet spot, where you and the work move like one sophisticated machine. 

Man, that is the BEST. I love it. 

Which is why I take particular pleasure in creating the conditions for YOU to find that sweet spot, so that you can generate your best stuff. 

Look, they don’t let you get ON a Segway without a little practice time. What if you had some time to ride around on your idea, see where it can go? 

That’s specifically what my new workshop can help you do. And it’s this week! 

It’s called MOVE YOUR ASSETS (lol yup). 

The idea is: Intuition meets execution. Perfect if you feel stuck, unsure of what to do next with what you have, in need of a little more mojo. I got you. 

Get ready to lean into your work, find the sweet spot, and see where it can take you (and it’s further than you think). 

Hop on! Read more about it here.

This is a pic of me on a date with a man I met on New Year’s Eve in 2013.
He’s so goddamn gorgeous I only had the heart to cut out half his face so that his identity is kinda protected but also you can see him OMGGG.
He was a male model visiting from Germany (of course) and several (cough cough) years younger than me. This was not going to be a life match, nor did it need to be.
For someone who wants to settle down and get married, they’d say, what’s the point if you’re not going to move to Berlin? What a waste! Nope. Not at all.
There are lots of reasons to go on dates:
…Because you like to go out.
…Because it’s time to get back out there.
…Because this amazing outfit isn’t going to wear itself.
…Because you want to do more dating.
…Because you’d actually like to stop dating. (Sooner the better.)
…Because you’d like to get married.
…Because you never want to get married.
There is no “one” reason to date, and everyone has their own. The dating is a means to an end for some, and for others, it’s an end in itself.
The same goes for just about anything else you can think of—including writing and sharing content. And on the training I ran this week, I went over all the reasons why you might want to share more of your ideas via blog, book, podcast, whatever. And they probably don’t match other people’s reasons.
Here’s the thing: What you write, make, create and how successful it is, will depend on WHY you’re doing it and for what purpose.
For some, a successful launch, product, or piece of content is one that: Gets lots of views. Gets lots of shares. Or, brings in ONE amazing new client.
“Raising awareness?” not a powerful enough reason. I don’t go on dates so that more people are aware of me. I go on a date to connect…with one person. There’s a goal there. But we don’t have to get into that. Let’s just say the goal posts have a way of moving.
Want to hear more on this? Get the replay. It’s all cued up and ready. You can access it here.
The good news is that because you’re more in control of your content than you are of chemistry between humans, the content thing may pan out better than most dates. That’s my guess.

I recently had the privilege of working with one of the top financial advisors in the country. She wanted to rebrand her firm, and with good reason: It didn’t reflect who she really is, and what she and her team really stand for. Common problem.

And who could blame her? She’s a little too busy running her company and managing millions in assets to worry about her website!

She had, until now, looked at her website the way most people do: A cross between a file cabinet and a billboard.

On one hand, a place to simply put all your stuff, in case anyone wants to go rifling through it (they don’t).  

On the other, a digital sign that says to all the world, “Hey, here’s my file cabinet, in case anyone’s looking for it.”

Unless you’re conducting business online (selling merchandise or online programs, for example), the purpose of a website is still kind of unclear for most people. What should I put on there? What should it say?

After we had deconstructed and reconstructed her messaging, and crafted a fresh approach to how she presents her brand online, this client said something I’ll never forget.

“You approach a website differently than I’ve ever seen,” she said. “You approach it as, well, a love letter.”

She’s right. I do.

Think of the last time you received a love letter.

I bet you hung on every word. I bet you read it more than once. Why? Because it was to YOU and no one else, and you knew it. Those words were written expressly to connect with what you needed and wanted to hear, and most importantly, the person who wrote them, meant it.

Can you think of a better way to treat your website? Your brand? All the tiny touch points of it—the emails, blogs, the freebie pop-ups?

This is what’s missing, I believe, from most websites. You know, the ones that feel wooden or flimsy or a little too slick. They may have cool logos and graphics, flashing, moving parts. But what are they saying? What do they mean? Why do I care?

Here’s how to use the love letter approach for creating more powerful, compelling messaging on your site (and everywhere else).

Ask yourself:

Am I a bad date?

Most people’s websites are like terrible first dates: They’re all about THEM, and how great they are. They never ask you a question. They never show an ounce of concern or even mild interest in you. (Trust me, I’ve been on a few of these this year.)

I tell people that their websites shouldn’t simply be mirror images of themselves.

No one’s coming to your site to watch you preen in front of it. They want to know what you have to offer them. Simple concept, hard to execute on, especially if you’re not sure yourself.

Think of it, instead, as a way to connect with the person you’re looking to attract. What are his or her concerns, fears, struggles? Where are they at right now, and how can you help? The real skill is in being able to make a reader “heard” when they’re not even the ones doing the speaking.


(Psst…want to find out how to approach YOUR content? Check out my free training, Rekindle Your Content: Fire up your creativity and fuel your marketing efforts.  And discover how to think about content in a way that doesn’t make you die inside.)

What do I most want to do for this person?

And please don’t tell me to improve their lives, because that’s a given. Unless someone out there is publicizing their efforts to ruin yours, you can assume that most people, whether they’re bookkeepers or coaches or personal trainers, are always trying to help.

I’ll add that there’s a kind of mealy-mouthed aspect of this that I can’t stand, and it’s when someone wants credit for wanting to help. That is your job.

If you weren’t purporting to solve a problem for me and in so doing improve an aspect of my life, then you don’t have much of a business. So get past this and instead focus on what you can do for me, your one true love. Haha.

Do I actually love them?  

If you don’t love the person you’re trying to reach, good luck getting and keeping their attention. Seems obvious. But if down deep you’re annoyed at, judgy of, or otherwise impatient toward the people you want to help (for instance, if you think they’re stupid and that’s why they need you), trust me, it will show.

I remember an interview with the actor John Goodman about his role in the film 10 Cloverfield Lane, in which he plays a conspiracy theorist-slash-survivalist living in a bunker. He’s a terrifying, loathsome character—and Goodman said that the only way he could face playing him is if he found something, anything, likable about him. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know he basically nailed it.

Now, you aren’t terrifying or loathsome, and neither is your audience. I hope. But when you think about what you truly want to do to help these particular people and why, connect to that part that appeals, that draws you in, that makes you excited to help.

Because if you don’t love them, at least some part of them, you by definition won’t have a love letter. Just…a letter. And that’s no fun.

Great branding, website, copy, all of it, should do one thing: Connect. And so yeah, there’s a little romance involved. And by romance I don’t mean “sexy”; I mean the kind of romance that draws you in, makes your audience feel wanted, and heard. That kind of romance.

Your job is to create meaning and value for the person whom you can most successfully serve. If you can do that, over and over, you’ll get the best kind of response from fans and prospects that you could hope to: “Tell me more.”

Content is king. Right? That’s what people say. 

Is it though? Because I’m kinda thinking content is…queen. Sure, the king rules the land, calls the shots. He’s the authority. 


The queen is the master of content. The king pronounces; the queen whispers. The king talks; the queen listens. And she doesn’t miss a trick. 

In chess, the king can move on square this way or that way (I think). The queen, on the other hand, is a magical sorcerer and will knock you off the board. 

The king has authority—and we all know why that matters, especially in establishing a brand presence. But it’s not the crowning feature. It’s context.

Authority isn’t exactly a regulated term, and I think it’s dangerous to rely on context over content. It’s nice that you’ve done this, that, and the other thing. But what matters most is what you’re saying right now.

If we approach content assuming we’re all “kings” if we use it, we’re missing point.

The best content doesn’t demand attention; it earns it (something a king never has had to do). 

Content is seduction, not conquest. And yes, there’s a difference. You’re not out to corner people with your content; you’re kinda trying to invite them back to your place. Ok, that may have crossed a line. Too much coffee.

This week, I’m hosting an online training event designed to help you see content in an entirely new way. 

It’s called Rekindle Your Content: Fire up your creativity and fuel your marketing efforts. 

Here’s some of what we’ll cover: 

  • How to approach creating content without dying inside
  • How to think about what you’re saying now vs 3 months ago
  • Why there’s no such thing as a boring topic (not even yours)
  • How to write content that people actually read and respond to
  • A method and framework you can use to create content EVERY time

Register here, even if you’re not sure if you can make it. 

Yassss queeeeennnnn.

Years ago, I spent the weekend at a friend’s ski chalet. It had a hot tub. So, around 9pm, we grabbed some beers and got in it.

One of the guests was a man I’d never met, and I was trying to decide if I found him appealing. I figured it out rather quickly.

We were introduced, and rather than make conversation, maybe get to know me a bit, he stopped at my job title—magazine editor (this was years ago)—and launched, I kid you not, into a full-tilt pitch for his client.


The hot tub bubbles fizzled.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I actually love to talk shop. But not usually two beers in on a Friday in a hot tub in New Hampshire when we’ve never had a conversation before.

I felt as though I’d been dragged out of the tub and was shivering in a conference room while he walked through his pitch deck.

I don’t remember his company, or his name, and I never talked to him again.

Surprised? Me neither. Swing and a miss.

My point: The key to getting someone, anyone, interested in anything is to start with a conversation. Not a pitch. And certainly not a pitch executed in a bathing suit while perspiring from hot tub heat. 

This is why content matters: Because it has value on its own.

Content is not a “platform” (gag). It’s how you engage and sustain a conversation with people who might like to hear from you. That’s it.

I like to hear from you, for instance. That’s why I write you all the time. I like when you write back, but it’s ok if you don’t.

And while this isn’t likely the first convo we’ve had, it’s also likely not the last. (Unless it is, in which case, ok bye! Thanks for coming!)

So let’s have a conversation about that conversation. It’s a bit meta. But I think it’s a conversation worth having. Don’t you?

Step on into my digital hot tub this Thursday 5/14 @ 11am ET for a newly revamped Rekindle Your Content masterclasswhich NOW includes a free writing session too (optional! No presh!) so that you can start creating your content right then and there.

Doesn’t matter if you can’t come live—register anyway and you can watch it from your own tub later if you like.

Here’s some of what we’ll cover:

  • How to approach creating content without dying inside
  • How to think about what you’re saying now vs 3 months ago
  • Why there’s no such thing as a boring topic (not even yours)
  • How to write content that people actually read and respond to
  • A method and framework you can use to create content EVERY time

Let’s not just talk. Let’s do it. 

(And no, that’s not what I said to the guy in the hot tub).

I mean, we can yakkety yak about writing and content but it means squat if you don’t apply it.

So. I’ll also be leading you through a real-time writing session which could be a game changer for you. 


Hand me that towel, would you? I’m turning into a raisin in here.


**PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT goes to…the Texas Hot Tub Co! I found this image HERE on their blog post about crafting your own hot tub date night. 


I’ve had aquatic life on the brain lately. Don’t ask. Everything’s weird. 

But you know what we could all use a little of? Octopus Time. A little OT. 

This is how Sy Montgomery describes the way her experience of time changed while she had her hands in the tank of a giant Pacific octopus named Athena. 

She writes about it in her (fabulous!) book, The Soul of an Octopus:

“…as we stroked her in the water, we entered into Athena’s experience of time—liquid, slippery, and ancient, flowing at a different pace than any clock.” 

Ok. So how do we get some of THAT magic, without an octopus handy? 

“Feelings of awe are known to expand the human experience of time… So does ‘flow,’ the state of being fully immersed in focus, involvement, and enjoyment.” 

The key? Mirror neurons—“a type of brain cell that respond equally whether we’re watching another person perform an action, or whether we’re performing that action ourselves,” she writes.

Spend an hour watching a video of a calm person doing a watercolor, and you’ll feel calm. Spend weeks in lockdown with a person whose brain is on perpetual spin cycle, and, well you know what happens. 

Montgomery says she wishes she could stay with Athena forever, in all that strangeness and beauty…but an octopus tank is FREEZING, man. Her hands go red with cold and she has to call it. 

“Taking our hands out of Athena’s tank felt like breaking a spell. I was suddenly desperately uncomfortable, awkward, and incompetent…It was as if I had trouble returning to the person, the writer, I was before.

We’ve all been submerged in a kind of octopus time, whether we want it or not—we’re in that floaty space where we can’t tell what’s up or down. It’s disorienting and strange.

We may emerge from it not quite knowing who we are, wondering if just the world changed, or if we’ve changed, too.

People say we need structure right now. Not everyone loves structure (including me). It’s not about the structure in and of itself; it’s about what it holds. 

When I run my workshops and classes, I talk a lot about creating the “container”—it’s what holds that space apart from other space. We need it. Not just because we “like structure” or need it, but because we need it to hold the work we do. 

I’m pretty strict about it with a group—and on my own. 

And I’m hardly a “structured” person!

You don’t have to love structure. You have to decide that there’s a tank you’d like to climb into. 

My OT happens between 7:30 and 11am. I try not to get tangled in email threads too early in the day. That’s when I do my heavy mental lifting, which for me is reading and writing, which I then use to make sense of stuff and to move my own work forward. 

Maybe for you that’s … 5am (God bless you!) or midnight. Whatever!

You really CAN create some octopus time, if you’re willing to block everything else out and put yourself in the path of a delicious trance, even just for a little while. 

You and I likely don’t have access to an octopus, but what’s amazing is how much we can be like them:

We can pour ourselves into a thimble of time, and then emerge, stretching our tentacles, tasting the world with our skin.

I know. I’m touching my face!
This was back in January, before doing so became verboten. Please know that no one got hurt during this photo shoot.
(My photographer DID very nearly pass out–but only because he didn’t eat lunch. I TOLD him he should eat. He doesn’t listen.)
I feel really awkward having my picture taken. This picture sums up how I felt the whole day. I don’t spend my days having my picture taken. So why would I be good at it?
There’s this pervasive belief that we’re supposed to be good at stuff that we have NO reason to be.
One advisor wrote to me:
“Marketing’s not my strong suit.”
Why should it be, Bob? I asked. You’re an advisor, not a writer. You’ve spent your life getting really good at other things.
Why do we think we “should” be able to write copy or roast a chicken or build a website or speak Spanish by now? We may never do any of these things.
You don’t have to know how to sew a button to use a button. And you don’t have to be some kind of ingenious marketer to make great and better use of marketing in your work.
And if you’re amused by any of this, then I can guarantee you’ll love the training I did on brand messaging, which you can access immediately here:
Let me know what you think!