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When Someone Tries to Crush your Dream

When Someone Tries to Crush your Dream

I became a creativity mentor and writing coach because of a conversation with another writer in my 20’s. I was making inroads in my career as a professional screenwriter but struggling mightily with my confidence when another writer said to me, “Maybe you aren’t...

How to Create when You Feel like a Fraud

How to Create when You Feel like a Fraud

Have you been feeling unsure of yourself recently? I know my confidence has certainly taken a hit lately. For me, it’s connected to the pandemic -- the social isolation has triggered old stories of not belonging and my weird goofiness being too much. How about for...

How to Create During a Pandemic

How to Create During a Pandemic

If your creative self is feeling flattened by the pandemic, as is mine, consider this email a treasure chest of creative care and feeding from my creative heart to yours. Light one of the scented candles you got as a gift for the holidays, put on some music, and...

What’s Your Root Story?

What’s Your Root Story?

I recently taught a webinar called How to Fail at Business Without Really Trying and I wanted to share a key takeaway from my talk that transcends business and is important for getting out of your way so you can make more of what you want in life. Which is… What’s...

The 5 biggest mistakes I’ve made in my business

The 5 biggest mistakes I’ve made in my business

I’ve worked for myself for nearly 30-years. I had a straight-job for only a little over a year after college, working at a famous talent agency, and then I started writing screenplays, then publishing books, speaking and teaching, and in 1999, creating online...

How to Take Action on the BIG issue without Getting Overwhelmed

How to Take Action on the BIG issue without Getting Overwhelmed

In my last blog, I talked about ditching climate shame, and how important is it that we become activists for big system changes because while it is important to change our own consumption habits, it can’t alone alleviate the crisis. Greta Thunberg went to Davos in...

Ditch the Climate Shame

Ditch the Climate Shame

In my latest book, Why Bother?,  I wrote about how I had been dodging my desire to do more about the climate emergency. As someone who has followed the climate crisis since high school (yep, that long), I had gotten in the habit of throwing up my hands and giving...

How Do You Balance the World’s Horror with your Calling?

How Do You Balance the World’s Horror with your Calling?

Anybody else horrified by the events at the U.S Capitol on January 6? The shame of seeing white supremacists in the People’s House brought me to tears of rage and grief, and the leaden grief of not being surprised and not being in denial. It all feels so big, my mind...

Why New Year Planning Fails

Why New Year Planning Fails

When I close my eyes, I can see the room at the retreat center. My student and I sit opposite each other. Everyone else is napping or hiking or reading. The silence has a physical presence I recognize as a sign of the sacred. “Everybody else gets what they need,” her...

A Bright Pick Up For Your Heart And Mood

A Bright Pick Up For Your Heart And Mood

Let’s start with a hug, because I miss them. Try this: next time you pretend to air hug someone from afar, hug yourself and have them do the same if they wish. It feels good. It’s grim in our world right now. So I figured the best thing I could offer this week is a...

Why “Just Do What’s Most Important First” Can Backfire

Why “Just Do What’s Most Important First” Can Backfire

We’ve all heard the advice: do the most important task first thing in your day. It’s fine advice, but I often see it backfiring with people I work with. Why? You have to know what’s most important. Which means you have to be willing to name and own what you want....

Jen’s Gift Guide for You

Jen’s Gift Guide for You

Hello, Holidays! Oh yes, holidays are coming even if we may not be with our people. That absence is making me think about gifts and delighting my friends and family from afar a bit more than usual. I’ve made a list of things I love in hopes it inspires you, and I made...

Hope is harder for the human brain

Hope is harder for the human brain

The day the U.S. election was called I was determined to savor my joy!   https://vimeo.com/477522042/933be27758 The day after, I wrote this on Facebook: Torn between the rush of this new beginning--wanting to clean my dirty floors! Organize office! Start...

My Favorite Books

My Favorite Books

Reading is my solace, my excitement, my learning, how I ground myself. I read very widely, so get ready for an eclectic list of books. Some are new, some are not. I’ve only included my raves, because I have no desire to be a critic. Writing a book is too hard, as I...

Resignation – That Mood that Kills

Resignation – That Mood that Kills

I recently wrote about how good it is to remember you are not your mood. Today I wanted to talk about a particular mood that nobody likes to admit to being in. Resignation. Yuck. So passive, so glum, so Eeyore. And so deadly. Resignation kills change, kills desire,...

How To Ask For What You Want

How To Ask For What You Want

A friend was telling me about how hard it is for her to ask her family for what she wants. “I mumble and kinda slide from the room, hoping I can get upstairs to my writing before anyone asks me for something.” I got halfway up from my chair and mimicked creeping from...

You Are Not Your Mood

You Are Not Your Mood

Long ago when I was in my ontological coaching training, I learned this interesting theory: humans are always in a mood. Moods are the background tone of our lives, but we easily forget that we are in a mood and, instead, we believe we are our moods and that our moods are fixed and will never change.

Together, Let Us Thwart the Despair Mindset

Together, Let Us Thwart the Despair Mindset

Since writing my book Why Bother? I have developed a new skill: sussing out the despair mindset.

I instantly spot it in conversations with friends, on social media, and in op-ed pieces.

It’s so tempting to agree with a  friend complaining about her marriage, with someone saying the election in the US will be stolen, or with my own mind whispering, “Everyone pays attention to so-and-so’s new book and not yours, so just give up.”

Are You Lacking A Desire For Desire?

Are You Lacking A Desire For Desire?

Margaret Talbot, writing for The New Yorker this week about boredom, quoted Tolstoy, “boredom is a desire for desires.”

When I read that, my entire body came alive. I had to get up and pace around my office. Because what I know with all my being is we fall into boredom, ennui, existential “why bother?” when we lack a relationship with desire.

As a culture, we mostly have no idea how to want, because desire has become so perverted. It’s something we have to own or perfect or excel at or dominate, or it’s only for certain people.

It’s okay to give up for now

It’s okay to give up for now

This has been a year of cancellations, disappointments, loss, and a lot of “well, that’s-not-going-to-happen either.”

At first, I fought this. I kept scheming, “If the April retreat won’t happen, surely the September one will,” and “The spring family trip for Aidan’s graduation can’t happen, but we can all get together this fall.”

Stuck? Scattered? Procrastinating? This might help!

Stuck? Scattered? Procrastinating? This might help!

I am clearly NOT a believer in boot camps, pushing yourself relentlessly, or any kind of yelling at your sweet self.

Because that kind of approach never produces the long-term results you want and often sends you skittering back to draining habits, self-judgement, and procrastinating as a way to manage your anxiety.

All the research shows self-kindness and self-compassion are much more effective for making real change.

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