I learned about bouncing back from the diet industry. This is not surprising. All the best research about personal development comes from the diet industry because there’s so much money to be made if you can figure out how to help people lose weight. One study that I have never forgotten is that if you are trying to lose weight and you have a bad eating day, you’ll be fine if you just tell yourself “I’m good at my diet” and you go back to eating well the next day. Read more

Last night at midnight, our theoretical family bedtime, we were listening to the most recent episode of our favorite podcast, Chapo Traphouse. And they started screaming at listeners to go to  New Hampshire to get people to vote for Bernie. “Go to Durham, New Hampshire! Bernie needs your help in Durham!”

I said to the kids, “We’re going. We’re going to Durham.”

The kids ignored me.

I said, “No really. Pack up your stuff. Boston is about an hour away from Durham.”

I had to look really firm in order to get the kids to believe me, but here is the thing: My oldest son thinks he wants to study political science, and he loves Bernie, and I don’t want him to try politics after he spends four years studying it. So I called an Uber and told the kids to pack Cliff Bars for breakfast and we left.

With the dog, one more important endorser of Bernie:

My youngest son said, “Wait. Am I bringing my cello?”

My older son said, “You’re an idiot.”

The Uber driver, “I need to stop for gas.”

I said, “Fine.”

I woke up when the car stopped. We were out of gas. At 2am in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire where gas stations were all closed. The Uber driver walked a block to a man sleeping in his truck. The man said that if we had cash, he would take us somewhere for gas.

My son said, “We’re leaving right now.”

I was so proud to have kids that could not only campaign but save their lives in an Uber disaster.

Even though I know you are always supposed to pack for the car breaking down, we didn’t. I gave my coat to the dog. As I watched the Uber driver getting into the red truck, I looked for the emergency number on the Uber app. It’s labeled HELP. I called to report that their Uber driver was probably being abducted. A recording said the helpline is out of service and will be fixed shortly. There was no other Uber in sight, but Lyft somehow popped up on my screen and offered to pick us up in 45 minutes.

Our hotel was two miles away, so we started walking.

I thought the walk would be scary but then I realized we are walking through a neighborhood of homes built in the 1700s. I pointed out architectural intricacies of the Live Free or Die colonists. I knew my kids were scared because they were genuinely interested in my proof that we were in a safe neighborhood.

Then the boys got bold.

They led the way and talked about how they will always remember how much I did to campaign for Bernie, and they will never call me a boomer again. Relief: I worried this would go down in the records as one of the times I  endangered the kids’ lives. (By the way, if Uber’s lawyers are reading this, I think actually it’s Uber endangering lives by making people think there is actually a help button on their app.)

We knew we were going in the right direction when streetlights made a median glow like an election oasis.

Our hotel was full of campaigners, presumably asleep but we knew we were in the right place.

The next morning my kids were up and ready to go faster than ever before. As I walked out the door with the dog, I noticed someone didn’t have underwear on, which I took it as a sign of excitement and we headed to Durham.

At University of New Hampshire, we found the Bernie people. My kids were nervous and excited and everything they should be when they are learning about themselves. I wanted to take a thousand pictures but I also wanted to model the importance of being useful, which is not my strong suit.  I said, “We are here from Boston. What can we do to help?”

The Bernie workers cheered and pointed the boys toward a table. I took pictures while the boys got training.

The boys listened and asked questions. And my older son said for maybe the first time in his whole life, “Mom take my picture too.”

When I was getting ready to go last night, I was so scared that I was making the wrong decision. Kids need stability. And I was telling my kids they can’t go to bed because we’re taking a road trip.

But I’ve spent decades writing about how you need to try a career to see if you’ll like it. Trying anything new is scary; I want my kids to be brave enough to try stuff to see if they will like it instead of pretending they know they will like it to put off the scary part for later.

I am actually shocked that my kids like campaigning, but to be honest I am shocked that I like blogging about campaigning: I support Bernie because the only way parents will to be able to spend time with their kids and earn money at the same time is if this country disentangles human value and economic value; we’ve been counting the wrong things, and voting for Bernie is a big step toward fixing that.

 

 

I coach lots of parents who look at scaling back work and worry about what they’ll do when their kids grow up. If you are one of those people, you are about to save the $350 coaching fee.

What you want to do for work when your kids are young is not what you want to do for work when your kids are grown. For one thing, you can’t imagine what will be available when your kid is 18. Also, you can’t imagine what you’ll be like when your kids grow up.

Shortly after I raised $500,000 for Quistic, I realized my kids needed a lot more attention than I was giving them. I tried to adjust how I spent my time, but more pressure made me feel more crazy. So, finally, at a board meeting, I explained to investors that running a startup is so intense that it’s actually as inflexible as working 9 to 5 (which is really 8-7)  in an office, and I am missing too much of my kids’ childhoods.

I assumed the investors would replace me as CEO, but they told me to just slow down the growth of the company. “Take a few years break,” they said.

We agreed that when the kids got older I’d start scaling the company again. I was relieved to not have to give up everything permanently. I could go back.

But now the kids are older, and going back to that life feels like taking a step back. Last year I forced myself to try something new and I offered a one-year writing program. I loved it. All year long I talked with people about their writing, and books we love, authors we hate. It was exciting to watch people in the course become great writers over twelve months’ time.

Earlier in my life, I taught one-day writing courses at Brown and Cornell and told everyone my real job is launching startups. I have changed. That’s how I know you will, too. You will do something you did not consider before you had kids. And you will be good at it. It’s just so hard to imagine until you give it a try.

Another industry I said I’d never be a part of is publishing. It didn’t make sense to me when there was so much more money in startups. But I’m offering the one-year writing program again this year, and I’ve added something really special: a book deal. The best writers from this year’s program will be published in an anthology. I’m excited for the book to be special and important to the writers who are published. I want the book to be nice to hold and fun to read; it should be the quirky book people leave out on the table to share with their friends.

I am so happy to have spent the last year cultivating a group of writers — many of whom had never really written before. And I am happy to offer the program for a second year to people who want to be part of my writing program. We will all grow together because I’m still growing into my new choice too. As a startup founder, I used my platform to promote other startup founders and their companies. This year I will use my platform to promote other writers and their stories.

This turn of heart is not anything I expected years ago when I admitted I had to scale down my career. At that time I was disappointed and terrified. But I didn’t need to be so scared. It turns out each of us has a new episode in our career when our kids get older.  We get a new chance to decide what we want. And we get to look
at the world in a fresh way as we enlist people to help us get what we want.

Not all of you have thought about writing before, but many of you have. And I hope you’ll consider joining me for this year’s writing program and all the potential that comes with it. For all of us.

Here’s the information about this year’s writing course. The price is $1550 now, but the price will go up February 1, 2020. Sign up now!

I had a friend in high school whose mom wrote her papers. At the time I thought: messed up family.

Then I became a mom who practiced cello three hours a day with my son. And I thought: messed up family. Read more

For my next career, I decided I want to be a professional gamer. My kids will grow up and move out and I’ll get great internet and stock my apartment with all the food gamers want. And I’ll recruit an awesome team because they can live rent-free and play together in one room. Read more

When Squarespace contacted me and asked me to collaborate with them, I said yes. I usually say no to everybody. But, everybody I know uses them for their sites and their sites all look so good. And I thought it would be really good for my brand to be working with Squarespace. So I said yes. Then I did a lot of thinking about the best way to do the partnership with them, because I had a million ideas and you can do anything on Squarespace.

My grandma had a children’s book store. I helped her do the book buying to open the store. I got to pick the books for the kids my age.

I remember thinking this is so fun. And also, why does she get to have a store and I don’t? Read more

People who love their career are people who will always figure out how to love their work. There are people who love to work and people who love to do other things. Read more

Summertime is when all the music teachers and students disperse to various music camps, institutes, and conferences. The music teaching world is very local. The summer music world is location-independent. Read more

This course includes four days of video sessions and email-based course materials. You can purchase this course for anytime, on-demand access. The cost is $195.  

Sign up now!

My editor is an INFP. He is crazy, but he doesn’t know he’s crazy.

The first crazy thing he did was email me out of the blue and ask if he could be my editor. This is what he wrote, “I have no experience editing but I love your writing and the only way I can figure out how to be able to read more of it is to be your editor.” Read more

Where’s the return on investment for that a bachelor’s in art history or an MFA? How do artists support themselves. What can I do if I’m a visual thinker?

You can answer those questions with, “Get a day job.” But there’s a lot more you could do besides that. Here are some career paths that are open to visual thinkers, whether or not you have a degree. Read more