Howard Stern interviewed Gov. Cuomo recently. He asked him what he makes of all the fuss over him right now. 

“Are you shocked by all this unbelievable outpouring of love for you? Are you just blown away by this? You’re on the cover of Rolling Stone. You’re the sexiest man in America.”

Cuomo’s response:  

“I don’t understand it…I’m doing the exact same thing I’ve always done. I’m not doing anything different. It’s who I am. It’s how I operate.”

And then, this:

“I haven’t changed….The public’s appetite has changed. And their desire has changed.” 

THAT. That stuck with me. Why? Because it shows that good ideas and great leadership don’t happen in a vacuum—and depending on what’s happening, what we’re dealing with, and who’s involved, the game can change, and the attention can shift. 

What someone might miss on a perfectly normal Thursday afternoon will earn you a standing ovation on a day when the world changes. 

During a time when everything feels off the rails, we look to consistency, stability, yes, but different things also matter to us now. 

Cuomo has had a reputation for decades as a hard, even ruthless, guy. But right now what people are paying attention? His rare blend of competence and empathy. The country is starved for both. 

We are calmed by his competence, but also, warmed by his stories—of his family, his brother Chris who’s battling COVID, his own recognition of how he looks at life, even his children, differently now. All of that engenders trust. 

While Cuomo may very well be doing what he’s always done, he’s also leaning into where he recognizes need, the appetite as he says, for what people are hungry for. 

So. How are you doing that? In your own work? Where are you recognizing the need and appetite of the people you serve and rising to meet it in a way that only you can? It’s a question worth asking, especially now. 

Because you don’t have to be governor to have an impact on someone else’s life. This isn’t just business as usual, this isn’t just doing work from home if you normally work in an office. We have to see what we do in a new way, to understand, now more than ever, what need we’re serving. 

Remember a few weeks ago when I went on my friend Lisa Nickerson’s daily show #LunchwithLisa? It went so well she’s having me back! 

I’ll be on this Wednesday, April 22 @ 12:15p ET to discuss “Mid-Crisis Management: How to avoid management speak and sound like a leader.” 

(Join us by signing up for that free show here.)

Hope to see you there!

COVID, and the way we talk about it (all of it) has become a kind of Rorschach test. Ask someone what they think of it, and you learn something about them. 

Some say it’s a relief, a blessing, a balm. A much-needed reset button. A wake-up call. A reminder of why they’ve made certain choices—or, an opportunity to make new ones. 

Some say it’s Mother Nature shutting us down, or God with a message, or a thousand angels wagging their holy fingers at us.

For others, it is hell on earth. 

And even though we’re all in it together, there isn’t “one” experience of it. 

So, what do YOU see in…all this? 

One thing is for sure: You stare at the wall long enough or stay home long enough or lay awake long enough, you’re going to come to some conclusions. 

I was interviewed by a whip-smart woman the other day named Dr. Shelley James—a lovely, sharp British professional with a keen ear, a fascinating story, and a lovely silver ponytail. 

And Shelley very kindly invited me to be part of a free training series that may be just the thing that people sitting home, wondering what to do next.

It’s called Midlife Mastery: how to harness your wisdom to monetize your passion and create financial freedom

(Speaking of doing things next—this woman has always had a “next.” She trained in textiles, worked as a consultant, suffered a traumatic head injury (!) and THEN went on to earn a Doctorate from the Royal College of Art and works as a glass artist, lighting consultant and life coach. Oh—and she’s a ballroom dancer and year-round open water swimmer. What??!!). 

She asked me how to identify what you should do next. And I said that no one out there is interested in handing you money to do what you feel like doing.  Unless you have a rich uncle who likes to indulge you.

But. Monetizing passion, as popular as that phrase is, means one thing to me: SERVICE. How can you serve. That’s how I was able to work on my own after being laid off eight years ago and exceed my wildest expectations.

And it’s how I plan to make it through this mess, too. 

You can listen to that interview, and better yet, interviews with many other experts, here.

So if you are of a certain age (though I don’t think she’s carding), and wondering What Next, you might really like this. 

Here’s some of what The Midlife Mastery series will cover:

  • Get to the heart of your unique wisdom and genius 
  • Master your time so that you can beat overwhelm 
  • Gain the visibility and respect you deserve
  • Harness the latest online strategies to serve a thriving tribe 

Shelley’s goal? To offer “powerful, practical tools to thrive in uncertain times and write the next brilliant chapter of your life in ease and excellence.” 

Sound good to you? You might be into it—or someone you know might be into it. Feel free to share! 

REGISTER FOR MIDLIFE MASTERY HERE   ⇒ https://www.powerthroughtransition.com/signup/terri/

 

“What inspires you?” 

Ugh. This question. My problem with it? It assumes we need to be inspired to do a thing. Or worse, that we should feel inspired right now! I’m not. 

Having free time can be incredibly inspiring—at first. “Oh my! Now I can do anything. I can do EVERYTHING!”

Yeah, that thrill peaked two weeks ago. 

And while some people really are crushing Masterclass and writing novels or learning sew their own clothes (bravo, btw), the rest of us, well, aren’t. 

say this to relieve you—of this idea that you should somehow be more inspired now, just because you have time for it. Nope. Not how inspiration works! 

Inspiration is like your fancy Aunt Helen who swings by with her designer bag full of butterscotch candy and extra cash, leaving a trail of French perfume in her wake. It’s so great when she shows up! It’s also…occasional.

She comes when she damn well pleases.

A few weeks ago, I put together a guide called “5 Ways to Unlock Your Creative Genius.” The goal: Share the approach I use in my workshops and consulting work to help people access—and notice—their very own best ideas and concepts, which they tend to overlook or flat-out ignore.  Because therein lies the key to brilliance. 

…It’s also the key to their: TEDx talk, book idea, new project, new business, killer copy, you name it.

I thought you might find it useful—and fun—to try doing this too, especially when your work-work doesn’t always give you the chance to do it. AND to replenish that precious resource when you start feeling tired, blocked, and bored.

Anyway—it’s yours if you like. And it’s free! You can read it, or listen to it, or both. 

⇒ Access “5 Ways to Unlock Your Creative Genius” download & audio guide here

In it, you’ll discover: 

  • Ways to shift your approach to the blank page
  • How to face off with your inner critic
  • A writing prompt and exercise to focus your attention
  • Insight into critic-free feedback via the Gateless Method

I do hope you find it useful, and would love to hear what you think!  

P.S. The audio guide is less than 20 minutes and pairs well with snacking or laundry. #multitask

As a rule, I’m a woefully impatient person. Put me behind someone on their first day of TSA precheck, and I will very possibly lose my cool. Someone blocking the exit at 42nd St. on the 2 train? Jesus, take the wheel. 

And yet. 

I’m built for quarantine. I just am. 

I get that not everyone is. But as an introvert Gen-Xer who grew up with four channels, five TV shows, and didn’t have email until after I could legally purchase alcohol, I believe I’ve trained my whole life for this.

Still, the reason this is weird and hard is because a) we have no power to change what’s happening out there, and b) we have no way of knowing what will happen next. 

What’s funny? That applies to everything, all the time. Pandemic or no pandemic. 

Since when did we have the power to change what’s happening? When did we ever know what was happening? 

One woman wrote to me that she wanted to be part of this 30 Days on the Page programI’m offering for people who want to really dig down into their work, their writing, in a creative, interactive environment…but that she worried that now wasn’t the time because things were so…unpredictable.

Financial struggle is REAL right now. No doubt. 

But it raised a question: Were things ever predictable? 

The pandemic doesn’t in and of itself make things unpredictable; it serves as a potent reminder that life always was. 

That’s the mean trick of unpredictability: It gets us just when we think it’s a regular Friday. 

Now that we know things are unpredictable, are they? Because in fact, much of our life, for the foreseeable future, just got REAL predictable. 

And if we ever thought anything was totally under our control, we were dreaming. 

I’ve been reading The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Was Letting Go Can Empower Your Life by Judith Orloff, M.D. She’s fascinating—a conventionally trained psychiatrist AND full-blown intuitive empath. 

The concept of surrender is fairly foreign to me, as I like to take action, and sometimes, pick fights. (It’s not my best quality.) 

But she reframes surrender—not as a weakness, failure, or capitulation, but as a source of strength, because you can stop muscling through and actually put yourself “in flow” with something larger. 

The effect of surrender? Calm. Clarity. Strength. Yes. Sign me up for that. 

Logic and reason are often cold comfort. Times like these, we need to lean on that steady, internal rudder, our intuition. 

This line of Orloff’s stood out: 

“The only thing that stands between you and intuition is the incessant chatter in your brain.” 

To find any peace, we need to stop the chatter FOR A SINGLE GODDAMN MINUTE.

Problem is, we feed it with a steady diet of bad news. 

But what if you fed that other part of you, the part that’s, well, wiser, clearer, calmer? You can. It requires a blend of focus and freedom. 

Now, for 30 days straight, I’m going to help feed your intuition, via a series of prompts and timed writing sessions, that we’ll do together, quietly and collectively. 

It’s called 30 Days on the Page.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a writer; that’s not the point. The point is to use the act of writing to tap the part of you that isn’t panic-eating while watching Lester Holt. 

Through this very specific approach to writing called the Gateless Method, you’ll get a taste of how it feels to feel free and focused doing one of the most productive things you can do with your time: WRITE STUFF DOWN. 

If it whispers to you in any way, join us. It’s 20 minutes every day, if you want, my voice and you on the page. Easy.

Here’s a video where I talk about it.  

And it’s $1/day. Don’t wait.

At a business conference in Orlando a few years ago, we were given after-hours access to Epcot’s mission:Space ride.

I squeezed into a space vessel the size of a bathroom stall alongside three women whom I’d just invited to connect on LinkedIn.

Inside was a 3-D monitor, a control panel of blinking lights, and a set of branded barf bags. The door sealed shut and I grabbed the arm of the woman next to me, a project manager from Sacramento.

“Carolyn, please tell me we’re not really going into outer space.”

She peered at me through her Warby Parkers and spoke very slowly. “We’re not going anywhere.”

But tell my brain that.

Because based on what my brain told me, I WAS 100% CATAPULTED INTO OUTER SPACE.

Thank God for Gary Sinise, who guided our mission safely back to Earth seven minutes later. After which, I wanted desperately to lie down.

What we’re experiencing right now is no amusement, nor is it a simulation. And it’s not a short ride.

The mission:Space ride is in some ways a fitting analogy for what this feels like:

We’re confined, and yet hurtling out of orbit. We’re home—and yet, far from home.

Depending on your line of work, you might be very stressed—or you may be feeling stalled and unproductive. Or both. However you define it, the coronavirus has launched us into the vast, dark unknown.

But it’s also hit the RESET button—and given us an invitation to reflect, to consider, to explore.

This opportunity may be whispering to you in different ways: To explore new skills or hobbies, new job opportunities…or maybe a new line of work altogether.

A friend of mine started making friendship bracelets. A lot of friendship bracelets.

What if you dedicated time to do some writing?  

Writing isn’t just for people who majored in it, or who get paid to do it. It’s a powerful tool for accessing your best ideas.

Join me for 30 Days on the Page.

Every day, you get an email from me with a 20-minute audio program. All you need to do is sit down, press play, listen, and WRITE — and you get the sense of accomplishment that comes from spending time on the stuff that matters to you.

Seriously, it’s $1/day! Don’t wait.

The other night, as we all hunkered down in our respective homes away from COVID-19, a friend told me she was going to stay in and “do some writing.” 

Wait, what? 

This woman had never, not once, expressed an iota of interest in writing! 

As an office manager, she doesn’t have to do “content” for her job. But she feels called to write. 

I love this. And, while I’m surprised, I’m kind of not. 

Writing isn’t just a job—it’s an act: A powerful way to tap your creativity, but also to take back a sense of control. 

And when so much feels out of our control, writing empowers, grounds, and pushes back against fear. It’s an exercise in sovereignty and sanity. 

I think of it like running. 

I run, but not because I’m good at it. I’ll never be the best at it, I’ve never won a race, and that’s not the point. 

The point of running, for me, is to run—because of how it makes me feel, because it reminds me I have a capable body and one that feels best when it’s used. 

That’s what writing is like. 

It feels good to do—but not when the goal is to win a race or a contest. Yuck. It feels good when it makes you recognize what YOU are capable of. 

Since no one is going anywhere, anytime soon, what if you took some time to do some writing, too? 

Join me for 30 Days on the Page.

I designed 30 Days on the Page for you—wherever you are. Every day for 30 days, you get an email from me with a 20-minute audio program. All you have to do is sit down, press play, listen, and WRITE.

That’s it! I’m with you the whole way.

The program will help you break new ground on your new ideas, and gain momentum in developing, fleshing them out, and making them real and ready to share with the people you most want to reach.

Seriously, check it out. The sense of accomplishment you get from spending time on the stuff that matters to you is like nothing else.

And it’s $1/day! So don’t wait.

How do you feel about the word “cute?” 

Maybe it makes you think of babies or puppies or Hello Kitty backpacks. Small, harmless things. Or, miniature replicas of larger things. 

Maybe “cute” to you is just shy of pretty and a few blocks from gorgeous.

My friend, writer Becky Karush, believes cute is underrated. 

Becky hosts a refreshingly different podcast called, “Read to Me,” where each week she reads a short literary selection and shows us how to listen for what we love. In a recent episode, she read a children’s book by Juana Martinez-Neal and said:

“There is a place for cute,” she says. “It’s undervalued, I think. Sort of commodified as a way to sell things or devalued as just a girl thing. But the sincerity and passion inside cuteness, there’s a real thing there. Someone should write an essay about that.”

Ok.

Cute, at first glance, is … is appealing, attractive, approachable. But the closer I look, the more there is to it. Because what’s most interesting about cute is that it doesn’t know that it is. 

Trying to be cute? Not cute. Humble brag? Not cute. Self loathing? no. A little self deprecation? Sure. A blush of self-consciousness? Yes. 

True cute isn’t self aware. It doesn’t know it’s cute, which is, of course, partly why it is so damn cute.  

It’s why cat videos dominate online: Because cats aren’t trying to be cute. They’re going about their business quite seriously—and it’s very adorable. 

And: Cute is everywhere, if you know how to spot it in the wild.

Catching someone in the moment of cute is to see someone being so fully themselves, so unguarded and rapt, so sincerely present to whatever they’re doing, that we kinda fall in love with them (but not in a creepy way). Which is why someone can be cute when they’re eating…or raving mad. 

I’m lucky because I get to see people at their absolute cutest—a lot. 

When I work with people (in a workshop, in a private session) I give them spill-proof conditions for their sincerity, creativity, vulnerability, and strength to safely emerge. 

They take great care in writing their ideas down, then read them out loud to me and each other. 

No one is trying to be cute. But it is a very real side effect. 

Here’s why: There is, in cuteness, an inherent trust. When someone’s being cute, they’re showing you who they are, trusting no harm wil come to them. There’s beauty and vulnerability in that. 

Now—contrast that with our modern culture and its reflexive snark, its snorting and eye rolling, its irony and indifference—all of it a coping mechanism for mounting despair.  

Cute brings us back from the edge of being “over” everything, and helps us reengage in a fresh, vital, even innocent, way. 

You can’t aim for cute. But I do think that kind of un-self-awareness, the ability to be open and to trust and just be you without trying to be any other thing. That is undeniably cute. In fact, it’s something to aspire to.

…I have created a place where people can be cute and disarming and 100 percent themselves. And for you, it’s right in your own house.

It’s called 30 Days on the Page.

This 30-day audio program will help you break new ground on your new ideas, and gain momentum in developing, fleshing them out, and making them real and ready.

Let me tell you, finding freedom on the page can uncork all kinds of brilliance, if you’re willing to trust it—and yourself.

Seriously, check it out. Because you’re kind of adorable. And it’s $1/day! So don’t wait.

People seem to have no problem voicing their desire to buy a good pair of jeans or go bird watching. 

I detect zero self-consciousness from the person who tells me she wants to go see Mean Girls on Broadway. Or enroll in improv classes. 

But.   

When people want to write, they don’t say it loudly; they whisper it to me. 

They say it quietly, as an aside. They send me a note from their personal, not their business, email. They’d like to write. They used to, and want to do it again. But. 

Always a but. 

BUT…

…they worry they wouldn’t be any good at it. 

…they aren’t sure where to start. 

…they don’t have time. 

You know the excuses. The thing I find curious though is that whisper, that urge, that desire to do it but also be quiet about it. 

What’s that about? 

I believe it’s because writing speaks to something kinda sacred, and so incredibly personal. 

I don’t think you have to be special or an A student or even particularly gifted to make good and powerful use of writing in your work. 

Far too many of us are stuck (not to mention wounded) by the experiences we had in school. Those red pens left scars, and made us think we should be careful instead of creative. 

That’s a damn shame. 

This is precisely what I designed The Intensive for: People who want to write, to reengage with their work in a fresh, exciting, and fun way, without feeling bad about themselves. 

And having three days away with a small group, in an environment specifically set up for tapping your creative genius can change everything. 

April 30 through May 3, we’ll be hunkering down in a gorgeous, sprawling ranch just outside of Austin, Texas. And if this sounds like it could be a fit for you, I’d love to talk to you about it. 

⇒ Extended early bird offer – Save $1000 on The Intensive for a limited time

This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard about The Intensive from me. But it may be the first time you’ve really HEARD it. In a way that makes you think, “Hmm.” 

I’m looking for people who feel that impulse to write, to go deeper into it and emerge with thrilling new insights. Who are tired of ignoring that urge to express themselves and want to do it in an incredibly safe and supportive space. 

Sound like you or someone you know? 

Go ahead. Whisper it to me. 

P.S. Wondering what it’s like? Take a look at the video and see if it appeals.

 

Two things I love about my friend Jenn Lederer: She’s got an open mind and sharp opinions.

She’s cool with whatever you want to wear, do, pursue. “You do you, girl,” she says, waving her hand at everyone and no one.

But don’t get her started on footwear.

“Wedges? Fine. Clogs, cool. Tennis shoes ok. Rock a 4-inch heel if you want. But—” and here, the chin drops, eyebrow lifts, a long finger slices through the air like a blade.

“Do not come for me with your kitten heels.”*

It’s not just that she doesn’t prefer that shoe. Oh no. It’s much more.

“They enrage me.”

It will not surprise you that Jenn is, among other things, a comic, and so taking issue with harmless inanimate objects is part of the gig.

The problem with kitten heels?

“They put the heel at the center of the heel, not at the back—the most painful and annoying place to put a heel. It’s just an awkward way to walk for no reason at all. Though watching you walk toward me at full speed in them will be hilarious.”

Oh, she’s not done.

“They’re noncommittal,” she says. “It’s not a flat, it’s not a wedge, it’s not a heel. I just don’t know if I can trust your judgment if you wear this shoe.”

Ah! And there it is.

Pain. Awkwardness. The fact that they’re “noncommittal.”

THAT is what she ACTUALLY hates! Those qualities: undue pain, half-assed-ness.

This tells me about her values, and one of the things I admire about her—and I like to think we have this in common—is that we don’t half ass things. We go ALL in on what we do.

People who go full-tilt want that same commitment from others…and where that trust comes in is fascinating: Because she does not feel she can trust someone who won’t do the same. Shoes or no shoes.

I bet you didn’t think of that as the lesson here, and neither did I—until I started to unpack it.

Is there anything, literally ANYTHING you want to do (and really want to do, not just feel you “should”) in your life or your work that you can get by being half-committed?

NOPE.

Yeah, going full tilt means taking a full risk. But going halfsies on risk will yield about as much reward.

And one thing I’m sure we can agree on, tastes in shoes notwithstanding:

You do NOT want a kitten-heel version of your best work, your best ideas, your best anything.

Maybe you think the kitten heel version is…safer, because it’s lower to the ground, or more practical, or more comfortable. But in fact, they’re not! They’re just a smaller, less interesting version of an actual heel.

What would things be like if you chose the best version of what you want to do, instead of the safer version?

Now, God knows we can’t stomp around all day in stilettos. But at least a sneaker isn’t trying to be anything but a sneaker. A clog is like, Yo, I’m a clog. Not trying to hide it. Wear what you want! But wear it.

(Fact: I have had more than one kitten heel in my life. So, no judgment from me if you’re curling your toes inside a pair right now.)

I think you get my point.

The hard part isn’t doing the thing. It’s committing to doing it in a real way, not a safe, side-steppy, cute way. Half-assing isn’t cute.

Decide you’re all in. Don’t pamper yourself with excuses. Don’t tell yourself you’re too busy. Excuses are the kitten heels of life.

And please. Do not COME for me in your kitten heels.

…One way to go all in?

Join me for 30 Days on the Page.

This 30-day audio program is designed to stoke your creative flame so you can set the world on fire.

It draws on the principles of the Gateless Writing Method, which quiets the critic and invites ease into your creative process.

You get to get out of your own way—and feel your own work expanding, instead of feeling constricted by fear and self-criticism.

Seriously, check it out. It’s $1/day! So don’t wait.