Category: life advice

You Can Pull People Up The Ladder Behind You

Want to empower women? Be a mentor? Pull people up the ladder behind you. No matter where you are in your career or life, you can use these 10 ideas to help others. I’m sitting in the sunny corner of a coffee shop in Minneapolis, tucking into a late afternoon latte when my friend slides into the seat across from me. She slaps the table with both hands, leans forward and whisper shouts “You will NOT believe what just happened.”

“Tell me everything!” I whisper shout back.

My friend has been going through rough patch in her business. Like a “I don’t know if I can make my half of the mortgage, should I sell these boots on Ebay” sort of rough patch.

She’d been invited to pitch a project to a new client in Los Angeles. She sluethed a bit and discovered that the woman she was pitching was A Big Deal. Yale MBA, started her own company in her twenties, the whole thing.*

Feeling both intimidated and broke, my friend readied herself for the pitch call. After a few minutes of chitchat, my friend explained how she planned to run this project and shared her quote: $7,000.

There was silence on the other end of the line.

And then a sigh.

Firmly but kindly, the Fancy L.A. Lady said, “I’m so tired of women undercharging for their work. We had $40,000 set aside for this project so I want you to rewrite your proposal for that amount and send it through again. I’ll present it to the board along with the recommendation that we hire you. And I want you to promise that you’ll raise your rates.”


When I shared this story, the nearly unanimous response I heard was “Someday I want to be able to do that for someone.”

Friends, we don’t have to wait till we’re millionaires or CEOs to help people. We can start where we are, with what we have, right now. No matter who you are, where you live, or how much you earn, you can pull someone up the ladder behind you. Click To Tweet

10 ways to pull people up the ladder behind you


How to turn a bad day around (even if it’s 8 pm)

Want to turn around a bad day? It's possible! Even if it's 8 pm! Click through for ideas about how to get back on track, no matter what happened this morning.

Have you ever played that super fun game called “Well I Already Screwed Up So I Might As Well Really Lean Into This Mess”?

I bet you have. I spent most of my twenties and my early thirties playing this game several times a month! Here are the rules:

  • Set some unrealistic expectations for yourself
  • Do something slightly out of bounds
  • Throw your hands up in despair, decide this day is a waste, and you’ll start over tomorrow
  • Double down and spend the rest of the day doing dumb, self-defeating things

Ate three donuts for breakfast? Welp, I guess I might as well eat this whole pizza and wash it down with a tube of cookie dough!

Missed that deadline? Today is officially dedicated to blowing things off, watching my entire Netflix queue, and ignoring my inbox.

Since I started the day by gossiping about my coworker’s divorce, I’ll throw myself headlong into some celebrity gossip and then I’ll call my best friend and complain about my partner for 45 minutes!

How do you get back on track? How do you turn a bad day around? My answer is going to sound suspiciously easy and succinct. I’m telling you anyway.  No matter what happened during the day, you can spend 10 minutes at night setting it right.

How to turn a bad day around


Two words that will make you happier, calmer, and more certain

Want to maintain boundaries, save money, have more energy, or happier relationships? Creating 'personal policies' might be the answer! Click through to find how to do it and + why they work!

“Well, I’m certainly happy to take this to the tenant advocacy group if need be,” I say tartly. I tap my finger meaningfully on a highlighted section of my lease and raise my eyebrows.

It’s 2011 and I’m tangling with my landlord. He’s trying to make me cover the cost of repairing a phone jack that didn’t work when I moved in (?!?). I’ve pulled the appropriate paperwork, researched my options, and generally made him rue the day he messed with the blonde in 7A.

If you need someone take concerns to HR, call the president of the condo board, or convince your boss you deserve a raise, I am that someone.

(I mean, just as an aside, I don’t think they let friends negotiate raises but you see where I’m  going with this.) 

Since I’m the captain of team “I’d like to speak to the manager,” you’d think that would translate to other parts of my life, right?

For a long time, it didn’t.

For years, I would happily confront anyone, anywhere if I was backed by a “policy.” If I could print something out and point to a specific sentence, I was fearless. Backed by structure and bureaucracy, I felt confident taking on my boss, my landlord, my insurance company, my cell phone provider.

And I could summon the same tenacity when I advocated or negotiated for other people. You will regret the day you tried to overcharge my friend, because I am going to have words about it!!!

But when it came to advocating for myself in tenuous situations – situations where I was only backed by feelings, not paperwork – I’d wilt into a milquetoast wallflower. I’d make a mumbled, half-hearted request and then fade back into the carpet.

Apparently this is quite common. A 2016 study showed that women negotiate better outcomes when they’re negotiating for others than when they negotiate for themselves.

I was the same. Until I started creating ‘personal policies.’


How To Make 2018 Awesome

Want to make 2018 awesome? Looking for goal-setting, habit-making, productivity tips? You're in the right place! Click through to learn how to stick to your resolutions and make 2018 the best year ever!

It’s a sunny, blue-skied winter day and I’m sitting on the couch, cuddled up with my journal, my cat, and a cup of peppermint tea. I stare into the middle distance, nod at no one in particular, and then write something wise and insightful in my notebook.

Juuuuuust kidding!

That’s what I wish planning for the upcoming year looked like. I wish it was sweet, intentional, and cozy!

Often it looks more like one enormous Google doc filled with 17,243 bullet points. It’s arranged in no particular order. “Finally figure out that software I bought three months ago” is nested directly below “More quinoa” and “Nut cheeses???”

This year, I’m committing to doing better and I’m bringing you with me. To that end, Tiffany Han and I put together a cost-free, pitch-free live workshop to help you make 2018 awesome!

You’ll learn

  • Our 3-part process for evaluating the past + how to apply that knowledge to the new year
  • How to stick with your plans and create habits that support your creative vision
  • What worked for us (and what didn’t!) in 2017…and what we’re focusing on next
  • A beautiful 15-page workbook with journalling prompts and tools

It costs $0 (for now) and it’s totally pitch-free! We won’t try to sell you anything at the end of it 😉 It’s just a group of lovely, like-minded humans getting serious about 2018.

Know someone who could use a bit of help laying out the coming year? Send them a link to this post! The more the merrier!

Hope to see you there, friends!

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Are you Paying the Authenticity tax?

The authenticity tax is the price we pay for intentional living. It's not cheap, but it's absolutely worth it. Click through to read more.

This is exactly the kind of stuff we talk about in my course Put Your Money Where Your Happy Is. Registration opens November 6th. Click here to get on the waitlist!

It’s 2011 and I’m at a bonfire with friends. I’m about to leave for a 10-month trip and we’re all drinking and eating in honor of my impending travel.

Talk turns to dating-while-traveling. A married friend takes a long swig of his beer and levels his eyes at me across the fire.

“Aren’t you afraid that if you keep traveling you’re not going to meet a nice guy?” he asks loud enough for everyone to hear.

I blush and mumble something unintelligible, but by now I should be used to questions like these.

This not-particularly-polite-question is an example of the authenticity tax. It’s the price we pay for living a life that’s right for us.

The authenticity tax is the price we pay for living a life that’s right for us. Click To Tweet

The truth is, anytime you make a choice that’s right for you but runs counter to expectations, you’re going to get pushback. Family members are going to ask you about it at Thanksgiving. Friends might elbow you after a few drinks. Co-workers will look askance. Maybe the neighbors will talk.

These questions and comments are frustrating, condescending, and sometimes downright hurtful. But the truth is, they’re usually par for the course if you’re living your life on purpose.


How To Be More Self-Aware Of Your Knee-Jerk Bad Habits (Or: Poker + Depression Pasta)

Want to be more self-aware? Break some bad habits? It starts with actually realizing what your go-to bad habits are! Click through to find out how!

I’m at a bar in Alaska, nursing an eight-dollar screwdriver, when the bartender asks if she can change the tv channel. I’ve been absorbed in picking apart my cardboard coaster so, no, I don’t mind.

She surfs through the channels, skipping Fox News and a fishing show, till she finds what she wants: a live broadcast of a poker game.

I know less than nothing about poker. How many cards do you get? How much are those little plastic coin things worth? Why is it fun to watch a bunch of dudes play cards?

I pick at my coaster and half-listen while the announcer says “Now, that’s a common tell. We’ll have to see how this plays out.”

And my former English teacher ears perk up because TELL IS NOT A NOUN WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???

So I do what anyone in 2017 does: I google “poker tell.”

In poker parlance, a ‘tell’ is a change in a player’s behavior or demeanor that is claimed by some to give clues to that player’s assessment of their hand. A player gains an advantage if they observe and understand the meaning of another player’s tell, particularly if the tell is unconscious and reliable.”

There are huge listicles and even entire books devoted to spotting these tells.  Experts have written thousands of words about unconscious behavior changes that belie someone’s belief about their state of mind.

I thought about the ‘tells’ in my own life, the things I unconsciously do when I’m tired, frustrated, or unhappy.