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A few years ago I worked with a woman who had been suddenly and brutally abandoned as a young girl by her father, who left her family for another in another country. As you might imagine, as a grown woman, trusting men in intimacy was extremely difficult. Every perceived threat of abandonment by an intimate — like a late returned phone call or decision to go somewhere without her — would set off a chain of reactions that felt real...

This weekend I celebrated the 50th year of a close friend. It was a momentous and intimate gathering, and many people who could not attend contributed their thoughts and feelings about the birthday girl via letters to be read aloud. As we sat around the candlelit table, sharing these heartfelt words of appreciation, I could feel what a profound and powerful gift was being exchanged. We were all deeply moved, ricocheting between bursts of laughter and tears. My friend saw...

The other day I saw a short video talk that reminded me of a dear friend who lives on the other coast. I Facebook messaged it to her with a little note. She messaged me back within minutes, expressing gratitude and adding a few comments and questions. We had a sweet little back and forth. Later that night, I was fortunate to see the Tony Award-winning musical, “Hamilton.” As I tried to comprehend what life was like during the time...

5:45 am is not my best time, especially if there’s no coffee around. But that’s the time I was groggily awaiting a tour bus to take me from my desert hotel to a sacred site in Australia, a very large rock in the middle of the Outback called Uluru.   Without an International driving license, a professional tour was really the only way for me to see an Uluru sunrise — a spectacular daily event as the light comes up...

I’ve generally kept my political views out of public sight — not as a matter of pride or principal; it is simply good business. I would hate to think that my political views propelled an otherwise inclined person to reject me as their guide through the self-confronting and rewarding process of stepping into one’s authority. But that choice was much easier before social media, before an intense polarization between parties, candidates, and ideologies was paraded before us via constant stream....

“I said to the abbot — I’ll get in the habit, but not in the habit” — Steven Sondheim  When I was a teenager, when you could still smoke in restaurants, I studied acting at a Summer Stock program with the soon to be famous actress Mary McDonnell. I worshipped her and thought she was the sexiest, wisest, most humble and talented woman on earth. In the mornings when I had to be up early for some lame apprentice task,...

Here we are, again at the start. So many new opportunities to lead in love, to hold your own while loving another. To love, without losing you. We look for impact in our profession, in our level of success: how much did we earn, how did we lead, what contributions did we make? But we often neglect to assess the direct impact we have daily in our personal world:     Impact on our children, our parents, our partners, our...

“One of the simplest paths to deep change is for the less powerful to speak as much as they listen, and for the more powerful to listen as much as they speak.” — Gloria Steinem Way back when I was a student and budding practitioner of psychotherapy, I took refuge in the wise words of writer/therapist Sheldon Kopp. He borrowed the title for his book “If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!” from an ancient Buddhist Koan....

In the middle of a risky conversation with a steady boyfriend, one in which we were confessing our doubts about moving to the next level, he brought up the dreaded N word. The other N word. He was concerned that I might be a narcissist. Gulp. I had just come from a conversation with a colleague who referred to the selfie stick as “the narcisstick,” complaining about our culture’s bloated obsession with self-promotion, and, since I do a fair amount...

  Do a search on Amazon for leadership books and more than 133,000 titles come up. In that saturated space, some authors will explain how to lead other people, small to very large groups of them, and others will teach how to lead within your own life. Read enough of them, and you’ll start to see a formula on how leaders should BE: authentic (hard for many to really know what that means); humble; curious; calm, empathetic, open, and funny.  You’ll also collect...