My expectations for Day 1 of my new job were insanely high & they were exceeded in every way. See the hearts in my eyes?! All the side hustling & creative struggle for all these years were absolutely worth it. And I’m so grateful. I’ll find a way to pay forward this joy. Thank you to all of you who have been on this ride with me. Your constant support means more to me than I have words to express.
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” -Rumi
We’ll be disappointed. Things won’t go as planned. Try another route. Another idea. Another pitch. These failures are all material. The detours are the journey.
If you want to really know me, listen to this interview. The big question for me in this lifetime is, “Does everything matter or does nothing matter?” A few months ago, I gave the most personal interview I’ve ever done. My friend, mentor, and storytelling hero, John Bucher, introduced me to Josh Chambers and Leiv Parton, hosts and producer of the podcast, How Humans Change. My interview is now live. our wide-ranging conversation includes career, science, sustainability, the health of the planet, biomimicry, dinosaurs, product development, therapy, curiosity, change, the economy and capitalism, time, technology, work, culture, implicit bias, life-changing moments, storytelling, writing, poverty, trauma, writing, my book, mental health, strength, resilience, therapy, fear, courage, my apartment building fire, how my plane got struck by lightning, and so much more. Despite these dark topics, there is a lot of light, fun, laughter, and healing in this interview. It’s the most personal interview I’ve ever given, and some of the details I reveal about my personal path and past I have never discussed publicly before now. I hope you enjoy the podcast episode and that it inspires you to live the best life you can imagine.
My friend, Dan, recently asked me if I would bring back my monthly newsletter because his social media feeds are overwhelmed. And because I love Dan and because I have a lot of fun creative projects happening, I’m doing it! It’ll be filled with my fun shenanigans like my storytelling shows, my book and journalism work, my travels, podcast interviews I do, various creative projects like my museum work, and plenty of inspiration and resources to help you with your creative work! If you’d like to sign up, just like this post or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. The newsletter will only be once a month (at about the 1st of the month) and this list will never be used for any other purposes so no spam worries.
A few months ago, I asked myself the question, “In 5 years, what would I like to be doing in my career on a daily basis?” I could only think of 1 answer: I want to spend more time with animals. While animals have always played an important role in my life, they’ve only once been a (very small) part of my career. I thought about working at a museum, zoo, animal hospital, or a nonprofit like the ASPCA or Wildlife Conservation Society. I explored those ideas and found that the jobs that match my experience are all administrative, and that’s not what I wanted. I wanted actual work with animals.
I care deeply about making our cities sustainable, living, breathing, joyful places. They aren’t now, and I think my passion for changing this coupled with my experience in product development and management, and business is not only helpful but critical.
So I began to think about how to bring my profession in business and product, and my passion for science together. Biomimicry—the study of biological structures and processes, and the application of their wisdom to our built environment—is that answer to my question. Biomimicry involves learning from the wisdom of all six kingdoms of life: animals, plants, protists, fungi, archaeans (single cell organisms found in extreme environments like boiling water), and eubacteria (single cell organisms mainly found in soil and other organisms).
This reflection was part of what prompted me to think about getting some formal education in biomimicry. That’s how I found the online graduate program, Master of Science in Biomimicry at Arizona State University. I’ve applied and am waiting to hear if I’m accepted into the program. They only take a small handful of people every year. Despite the odds, I put my best foot forward in my application. And in the meantime, I’m reading and learning everything I can about the field and its application.
I continually evaluate my life and career. Every day I ask myself if I’m happy, and I then I answer the question why or why not. This reflection holds me accountable to me. And even better, it also helps me find and follow my dreams.
I got to work today still tired from the very long week and my team told me, “Everyone at the company conference wanted to know how they could get you as their manager.” My sleepiness instantly evaporated. Take care of your people and everything else falls into place.
I’m having such a fantastic time at the PatronManager Community Meeting (and we still have 1 day to go!) What an absolute joy to meet so many of our incredible arts clients and to be with our stellar team members. My heart is so full. I ADORE my product team and I’m insanely lucky to work with them!
“It’s business, not personal” is BS. Businesses are made of people; they’re inherently personal. I recently got very emotional over a business issue because I care. Some people took issue with that. I’d do it again. Leaders need to see their team members as people first, employees second.
Being a heart-centered, empathic leader is what helps teams grow healthy and strong. Take care of your people and they will take care of your customers who will take care of your investors and shareholders. It’s that simple—give a damn and show it through your actions and words.
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~Thomas Edison
Look deeper. See what’s possible. Work like hell to make it a reality. Opportunity is not always bright, shiny, and finished with a bow. Many times, most times, it’s messy, chaotic, and murky. But look. Really look. Can your gifts and talents be of use, and if so could they create an environment that meets your standards? Don’t take yourself out of the equation just because it’s not perfect at this moment. It the potential is possible, go for it!
It’s a terrible thing to have someone work with you under the guise of collaboration, smile, and then swoop in and take credit for your team’s work. That recently happened to me, and I was in the unfortunate position of being the only one to sound the alarm about it. Very often it’s a lonely path to be the truth, to call out poor behavior and misinformation. And, it has to be done. If we don’t stand against injustice, if we remain silent, we become complicit. For all of you who stand strong, raise your voice, and take action in the name of equity and equality, I see you, I hear you, and I’m with you. And I’ll continue to be with you until we all have equal opportunities.