Launch

112: Whose Voice is in Your Head? Perfection Detox Round Two with Petra Kolber

112: Whose Voice is in Your Head? Perfection Detox Round Two with Petra Kolber

I am beyond lucky to have the brilliant Petra Kolber as one of my best friends in New York City, and just delighted to celebrate her book launch this week!! It's been a long journey, and one that forced her to confront the very message of her book: overcoming the inner critic and imposter syndrome because "the world needs your voice, not your perfect silence."

As I wrote in the show notes for our first Pivot Podcast interview in January 2017, Petra just radiates joy and truly walks her talk. When she enters a room, it lights all the way up with her positivity, passion for life and joie de vivre.

But that doesn't mean she hasn't wrestled with her own dragons, particularly around perfectionism (as have so many of us). Coming from decades in the fitness industry, Petra struggled with the pressure to be perfect in looks, body, business, and beyond. 

As a two-time cancer survivor, she is passionate about waking people up to the precious gift of time. Her mission is to inspire people to move more and to fear less, so they can stretch their dreams, strengthen their courage muscle, and build an inspired life full of joy and gratitude. In this follow-up show we explore her book publishing process ups and downs, moving past the mirror, the platinum rule (a favorite new concept!) of self-compassion, and much more. 

109: Personal Pivot Update—My Big News and the Decision-Making Process Behind It

I'm sharing some big personal pivot news in this week's solo episode . . . I am starting a two year Masters program at Union Theological Seminary this fall! It's a partner school to Columbia here in New York City, and if it seems to come out of the blue for you, don't worry—it did for me too! I got the idea, applied and accepted in a matter of weeks earlier this Spring. It seems fitting to share now, given that my 7-year solopreneurship anniversary was just yesterday — I'm looking forward to seeing where these next two years take me :)

This week I take you behind-the-scenes into my own pivot process around how I arrived at this decision—unpacking tools like intuition, following hits of curiosity, weighing pros and cons, taking just the one next step, and accepting remaining unknowns. As I shared in Episode 100, I have no idea where this will end up, but I'm putting myself in the path of pivot—immersing myself in a new environment and seeing where it takes me :) 

Want to follow this back-to-school journey even more closely? I encourage you to join us in Momentum, where I'll be sharing more details along the way in my twice monthly Q&A calls, and possibly even creating a spinoff book club from my reading lists from class :) 

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/union. Enjoying the show? Make my week by donating just $1 an episode at Patreon.com/pivot.

Topics I Cover

  • Following curiosity rabbit holes

  • Taking the one next step before making a major decision; no need to decide before it’s time

  • Connecting with friendtors like Dorie, Dev, Kamara; looking toward mentors-from-afar (Krista Tippett's On Being podcast, Oprah's Super Soul Conversations)

  • The “what would I be proud to share?” test

  • Intuition, putting yourself in the environment to get a body reading

  • Risk/reward - is it worth pursuing, even with remaining unknowns? 

  • Developing expertise based on strengths and interests (spirituality, reading) 

  • Overlap between my personal interests and area for development, greater expertise

Personal Pivot Update: My Big News and the Decision-Making Process Behind It

Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloudYouTubeOvercastStitcher, or Google Play Music:

Resources Mentioned

Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesGoogle Play or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly(ish) #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

Want to support the show and become a founding member of the Pivot Podcast community? Join us on Patreon here.

106: Music Without Sound—How Mandy Harvey Rebuilt a Thriving Singing Career after Losing Her Hearing

106: Music Without Sound—How Mandy Harvey Rebuilt a Thriving Singing Career after Losing Her Hearing

It was love at first listen when I first heard Mandy Harvey perform at a fundraiser for Erik Weinenmayer's No Barriers summit coming up here in New York City in October. Erik, a previous guest on the Pivot Podcast (Turning Pain Into Purpose: Blind Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer on Kayaking the Grand Canyon, Climbing Everest and Building No Barriers), said Mandy was a must-meet, and he was right. Her performance was exquisite, and I was mesmerized by her signing while singing and sharing her inspiring story with the audience. 

With lifelong dreams of being a musician and music teacher, Mandy was devastated to lose her hearing completely ten years ago during college. You might already know her story if you are one of half a billion (with a B!!) people who have watched her America's Got Talent audition—that's a MUST before you even listen to this episode.

I cried when Simon Cowell asked what motivated her to be there, and she said at “After I lost my hearing I gave up. But I want to do more with my life than just give up.” I assure you, there was not a dry eye in the audience either as they give a standing ovation midway through, including the judges! Even Simon came out of his curmudgeonly shell to say, "I’ve done this a long time and that was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and heard.” I hope you enjoy this conversation with Mandy as much as I did—which she did with the help of a live captioner while we were on video Skype. 

100: Ten Lessons Learned in 3+ Years of Podcasting

100: Ten Lessons Learned in 3+ Years of Podcasting

This week marks a big milestone for the Pivot Podcast, as we celebrate the 100th episode! This has been more than three years in the making, from the show's early, scrappy beginnings in late 2014, when I got the book deal for Pivot, to when I started publishing weekly in earnest in 2015.

Podcasting is a labor of love, but the biggest surprises for me have come from the priceless benefits: connecting more deeply with my author heroes, with all of you who are here listening, and learning every day along the way. 

In addition to the countless content nuggets of wisdom I’ve taken away from these 100 interviews—on everything from cyber security to finding one's home frequency (check out the full show archive here)—in this week's episode I'm sharing 10 behind-the-scenes lessons from three years of podcasting. As I’ve always said with blogging, which I did for nearly ten years before switching to this format, what you see (and hear) today is the result of 1,000 tiny iterations over time. 

Defying the Odds: Jason Wang's Pivot from Prison to Helping Others Transform Their Hustle

Defying the Odds: Jason Wang's Pivot from Prison to Helping Others Transform Their Hustle

Jason Wang knows a thing or two about being an underdog. Growing up as an only child of two immigrant parents living through poverty and abuse, he knows all too well the challenges of overcoming obstacles to transform generational legacies of poverty, crime, and violence.

I had the great pleasure of meeting him earlier this year at a mentoring night for Defy Ventures, an organization that teaches entrepreneurship to men and women with criminal histories to help "transform their hustle." (Find a volunteer opportunity near you here!) Jason's radiance, joy and contagious positive energy blew me away. And then I heard his powerful comeback story and knew I had to share it with all of you. But first, a little context about what brought me to that mentoring night . . . 

In the years since Pivot launched, I have developed a strong desire to work with those who aren’t fortunate enough to pivot by choice, or who are perhaps embarking upon one of the greatest pivot opportunities of their lives: rebuilding after poverty, homelessness, and prison.

Earlier this year, I blazed through Defy founder Catherine Hoke’s book, A Second Chance, with an urgency that I couldn’t explain. Simultaneously, I read books on addiction, ADD, and the mind-body stress-disease connection by Dr. Gabor Mate. Next I sought out further reading on our incredibly broken criminal justice system, and read dozens of stories of people who had been wronged or disadvantaged because of their race and economic circumstances in runaway bestsellers like Just Mercy, The Other Wes Moore, The New Jim Crow, and Hillbilly Elegy. I read about Father Gregory Boyle’s inspiring work to employ and empower former gang members in downtown Los Angeles in Tattoos on the Heart and Barking to the Choir.

Many, if not all, of the people described within the pages experienced unthinkable trauma as children. Drugs and criminal activity were not the problem, they were their attempted solution to the pain of disconnection. Their stories made me cry, and cracked my heart open in a thousand new places. Stories of intense physical, mental, and emotional abuse. One parent’s form of childcare for her son? Putting him in the dryer until she was ready to let him out again. Another’s involved asking her six-year-old to “just kill [himself] already,” for being such a burden, before dropping him off at an orphanage saying she had no clue whose child this was. Or like Jason whose father tried to kill him three times before he was ten years old. 

As the authors above illuminate, many of these people never had a true first chance at life, let alone a second. Father Boyle describes as “a compassion that stands in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than in judgment at how they carry it.” It is with this reverence for the resilience of these incredible souls that I bring you Jason's story, and hopefully many more like it moving forward.  

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/defy-jason-wang. Enjoying the show? Make my week by donating just $1 and episode at Patreon.com/pivot.

Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference with Kathleen Kelly Janus

Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference with Kathleen Kelly Janus

You all know how I love serendipity—well, this week's guest, Stanford professor and philanthropist Kathleen Kelly Janus, and I met in one of my favorite ways! Sitting next to each other on an airplane. Kathleen was traveling to New York City to meet with publishers to try to get a book deal, Pivot was about to come out, and I had known her agent Lisa DiMona for many years (she represented Seth Godin at the time I met him). 

I'm thrilled to share that in the two years since we met, Kathleen's book, Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference, has launched! In this episode we dive into what makes fundraising for non-profits different from for-profit businesses, why so many hit revenue plateaus, why success is based far more on measurable inputs and small experiments than having a "genius" founder, and how to get involved with causes you care about if you find the vast array of volunteering and donating opportunities a bit intimidating. 

Former CIA Agent Michele Assad Returns: On Transforming Insecurities Into Intuition and Faith

Former CIA Agent Michele Assad Returns: On Transforming Insecurities Into Intuition and Faith

"Though trepidation has haunted me every step of this journey, I have a trusted force that I cannot see." —Michele Rigby Assad, Breaking Cover: My secret life in the CIA and what it taught me about what's worth fighting for

When faced with life-or-death situations on a daily basis, Michele Rigby Assad knew she had to turn to something greater than herself for support. Drawn toward international affairs as a child obsessed with reading National Geographic, she later spent 10 years working undercover in the CIA, interrogating terrorists while stationed in the most dangerous war zones across the Middle East.

Michele's journey is a fascinating one, and I loved our first conversation so much (listen here) that I asked her back for round two to celebrate her book, Breaking Cover, launching this week!! After a seven year journey with this project, we talk about finding courage in unexpected places, trusting that puzzle pieces are falling into place even when she felt stuck or blocked, and how allowing herself to "be shaped" has provided far greater blessings and guidance than she could have ever imagined.  

What Happens After You Pivot? (New Paperback Afterword)

What Happens After You Pivot? (New Paperback Afterword)

What happens after you pivot? In today’s episode I’m sharing the afterword I wrote for the paperback edition of Pivot, that I recently recorded for the audiobook version. That’s right, Pivot is on Audible, read by yours truly in case you want me to read to you as you cook, commute, clean, etc! 

In this short audiobook snippet episode, I share a little bit about the audiobook recording process, then dive in to two post-pivot stages that you might have missed if you read (or listened) to the first edition of the book: the pilot derby and surfing the void. I also share an approach that helps me better navigate both: Don’t-Know Mind, from the Korean Zen tradition. 

On Plan Z, Creative Finish Lines and the Graceful No—with Alexandra Franzen

On Plan Z, Creative Finish Lines and the Graceful No—with Alexandra Franzen

"Please remember that every person you love and admire—every author, every artist, every business owner, every luminary who seems to 'have it all together'—just remember that their story is filled with hundreds of awkward firsts, too."
—Alexandra Franzen

It was love at first read when I encountered Alexandra Franzen online, and it has been ever since. She's a delightful, talented, prolific writer and thinker who seems to always write just what I need to hear. I love how Alex has pivoted her business over the years, and she's someone I love looking toward for inspiration and insight.

In this episode we talk about opening a brunch restaurant with her boyfriend, why she finds it helpful to dive into details on her Plan Z, how she makes time for art (so she doesn't feel "squished and sad"), her best tips for getting clients over their creative finish lines, why she quit twitter, how she says a graceful no, and so much more. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did! 

Finding Faith, Courage and Confidence as a Secret Agent—Michele Rigby Assad's Pivot from CIA to Author

Finding Faith, Courage and Confidence as a Secret Agent—Michele Rigby Assad's Pivot from CIA to Author

"Was it hard to be a CIA officer with all of the challenges and change that entailed? Yes. Scary? Of course. But if I was going to fulfill my life mission, I had to conquer my instinctual tendency to freeze in place. Fear would get me nowhere. Faith, however, would take me to places I could never have imagined."

—Michele Rigby Assad, Breaking Cover: My secret life in the CIA and what it taught me about what's worth fighting for

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle in, because this weeks guest is a fascinating one, a one-of-a-kind woman I'm lucky to call a friend. Michele Assad was a self-described "sweet, faith-based southern girl" in high school, the last you'd expect to become an international undercover agent for the CIA, interrogating terrorists while stationed at war zones across the Middle East. But that's exactly what she did for ten years with her husband in a real-life Mr. and Mrs. Smith situation.

In this conversation we dive into what it was like to work as a woman in interrogation rooms even when everyone told her she'd only succeed behind the scenes doing paperwork; the role of faith in Michele's career, how she honed her skills around intuition and reading body language, and what it's like for her to "come out" and try to build a public-facing platform after so many years of being required to keep her entire life secret.