life(dot)next 7: the cure
april 7-10, 2016

It is hard to imagine that I’ve (we’ve) been doing this for seven years.

For seven years, we have been together on this yearly journey- using the onset of spring to create space for deeper conversation about where each of us wants to go next. From the very beginning, my vision was to host experiences and build networks of women in their 20s – 60s so that they could really commit to their inner awesome and move forward in new ways.

Since the turn of the year, I’ve been in especially deep reflection about what it means to make transformational experience possible, even probable, for myself and those around me. How do I set the stage for real change and healing? To begin answering that question, I wanted to offer up some of the insights previous retreat participants have shared:

This retreat made me nicer! In the days following my return to real life, I felt happier, more empathetic, more patient, and more eager to listen to other people. I think it was a combo of the cool ladies and that clean desert air, but I felt great.” – Stephanie

I was stuck in the birth canal of my new life and it took 25 women to pull me out.” -Linda

[This opportunity] came at a time when my world was opening up to new possibilities, after years of sheltering myself… I really had no idea what I was walking into, but it turned out to be this warm, beautiful, sunny destination filled with even warmer, beautiful ladies… My immediate thought was YES! But really the bigger gift was the environment that was created for this safe, respectful, loving, accepting space. I was in awe for most of the weekend as to how over 20 women come together, many who don’t know each other, and connect and move and draw strength from one another.” -Robyn

Each event has given me one of these moments which have presented themselves in a variety of forms: anything from an impulsive frolic in the ocean to a serene moment of meditation under the sun. They each have given me a moment to fully live and experience life.” -Tammy

“Very well done. it was clear that a lot of time and energy went into planning this retreat- it was a good balance of directed activities and free time.”

I am longing to be back in that space of self-improvement and introspection… the weekend was filled with: sun, warmth, laughter, windmills, crafts, talismans, blanket forts, disco balls, kaftans, goddesses, connection… visualization, meditation, exploration… Fellow attendees- I fell head-over-heels in adoration of all of you.” –Elaine

life(dot)next #7 is about the cure we want for ourselves and how we build the recipe for it. By employing aspects of bodywork, art therapy, coaching, introspection, and that all-important idle time – it is my hope that each participant leaves with a roadmap for their own healing and inspiration.

You can register here!

LDN 5: The Story – Coming this February to Desert Hot Springs, CA

You are going to need this come February.

It is getting dark early; your scarf collection is in full rotation.

What's your story?

You were giddy at New Years but now you are suddenly in a staring contest with 2014.

Your to-do list is a mile long.
Your wish list is even longer.

Give that list (and your mind) the space it deserves and join us.

life(dot)next #5 is about the power of Story and our even bigger power to craft it. We often ride the same arcs — tell the same stories over and over until they are deep furrows — untilthey feel like the only real thing. But when we begin to notice and adapt them – we can create a new path and transformative narratives about the future we envision for ourselves.

Somewhere in the desert empire sits an entire resort reserved just for you. Mineral fed pools, sunny expanse, mountains. More air.

(Thank you, SoCal, for turning February into a less miserable experience.)

You can register here!


Save the Date: 9.19.13 in Austin, TX!

life(dot)next III : desert directive (photo credit: momjeanz)

I’m crazy pleased to announce life(dot)next IV – which will convene this fall in one of my most favorite places in the whole world:  Austin, Texas. Due to high demand, I’m instituting an application process for the retreat. If you’d like to come, please  A P P L Y   H E R E.

And if you’d like to get up close and personal with the way these retreats work, look no further than this photo-filled testimonial.



On freedom and support

A tension I feel keenly as a manager and an individual is between structure and flexibility.

As a product of over twelve years of parochial schooling, I’m no stranger to structure. (And lots and lots of rules. And nuns.) Academically at least, kid-me thrived in that highly logical and carefully mapped set of routines. But by nature, I’m an adult who wants every day to feel new and different, who kind of hates predictability.

How does this translate to career? I see organizations struggle with leaders who cannot seem to earn the respect or best effort of their people because they:

-fail to provide basic vision
-micromanage unimportant things
-micromanage too-important things
-are simply sleepwalking — never seeing the strengths of the team right in front of them. (That’s a huge fear for me — that I’ll have a blind spot to some talent on my team.)

Here are some easy ways to avoid these pitfalls and strike a balance between freedom and support. (Hint: they apply to you as both an individual contributor and as a leader).
Try these methods with yourself or together as a team.

If you default toward chaos, and need more structure:

  • Each week, write a brief but explicit list of goals: three short term, two longer term (developing them as a group makes you all more accountable!)
  • Take 10 minutes to make a skills and strengths inventory (don’t over-think it). Share the lists and name the ‘masters’ of certain skills or work areas.
  • Gamify team or self improvement. Create a list of things you want to be better at. Then, build incentives (a latte!), deadlines (even arbitrary ones), and calendar appointments (so you aren’t interrupted) to encourage progress on areas needing improvement.

If you default toward routine, and need help innovating:

  • Specifically schedule an hour to experiment with new ideas, brainstorm, test, flip, let yourself fumble. (Do this in a room that isn’t your office).
  • Go talk to someone you don’t agree with, ask them an honest question – initiate a creative debate!
  • Create micro-pauses. Build tiny breaks in your day where you take a deep breath and clear your head for 5-10 seconds. Presence yourself. Either set your phone for a recurring alert 3-4 times per day or better yet, tie the pause to some habit you already have (like turning the key in your office door).

What boundaries keep you creative? I’m curious – let me know what you think.

Everything I Needed to Know About My Dream Job I Learned From Some Style Blog

My amazing friend Laura asked me to write a guest post for a women’s entrepreneurship blog Women With Moxie. Once I accepted I then proceeded to panic just a wee bit wondering what advice I might possibly have to give you all. Then it came to me: spend more time on Pinterest. Enjoy!

Everything I needed to know about my dream job I learned from some style blog

If you don’t spend a chunk of your day on design blogs, HGTV, or obsessing on Pinterest, you are missing out on some good stuff. It turns out that their advice on the perfect balance of a room or the appropriate size of an armchair—is handily applied to something more heavy-duty: your work. Here is some universal wisdom I’ve learned about designing your own career.

go DIY
It’s the best ethic you have in your arsenal. No one is going to hand you your dream job on a silver platter, because chances are your dream job doesn’t exist yet. You have to craft it. Roll up your sleeves, gather your raw materials, put on your safety goggles, and buckle down to create something just a little bit above your skill level and outside your comfort zone. Because nothing you truly love comes “readymade.”

understand Proportion
We all deal with problems of scale – (it’s not just a problem for sofas anymore, ladies). While we assume that the rapid growth of a business equals success, (as when I launched an editorial services company back in 2006) it is sometimes more difficult than having no growth at all. Ask yourself: what is the size of the thing I want to do and how will that fit into the room of my life? Will I have to take the door off its hinges?

reject Scarcity
It’s fake. It’s all in your head. There is an abundance of opportunity waiting to greet you. Have you trolled Craigslist lately for “vintage bar cart?” The issue isn’t lack of supply, but rather the overabundance of choices and possibilities. Our brains don’t know what to do with all the chaos, so we sometimes default to our old jealousy narrative about begrudges others their “finds” (e.g., “If she gets her dream job, then that’s one less dream job available for me.”) Wrong.

identify Patterns
It takes a while to consciously recognize what you like (e.g., I pretty much hate polka dots and toile). Apply this to your work-self and make time to reflect on your own work preferences, habits, proclivities, what you can expect of yourself. Recently while coaching one of my employees about missing deadlines — we uncovered that she was massively overbooking herself (and feeling like a slacker for not getting it all done at once!) But all she really needed was to temper her strong work ethic with the proper amount of down-time for herself in order to create her best work product.

just Curate
Be selective. Be thoughtful. You can only have so many knick knacks. Do you really want this vase as part of your tableau? So too with your menu of services and your network of clients. A colleague once told me that if I spread myself too thin, my own gifts could be diluted. The solution to this is to continue to choose wisely: network with everyone you can, but invest deeply in those with whom you identify a spark and want to build a long-term relationship with, be it a company, a client, or a coworker.

embrace Purpose
Purpose is the most important thing of all. In the interiors world, it means every object having a real job to do. In your work, it means having clarity around each thing you put your energy into, each task, each job, and each relationship. When I lead a team, host an event, or organize a meeting – I make the purpose explicit both to myself and to the people I am inviting into the room. Everything deserves meaning.