Now that’s what I call serendipity...

It’s been some week, friends. Let me tell you about it.

First, you may have seen my recent story about witnessing a horrific accident on my way to lead a writing retreat in Colorado, and the reminder that came from it about enjoying this precious life.

I had already learned that lesson the hard way, when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Watching that accident woke me up all over again.

Who would have guessed that two days after the accident was my brain tumor anniversary?

15-year anniversary as a matter of fact.

That these two life awakening and affirming events would somehow be linked.

That day I was in the Rocky Mountains coaching writers on building a meaningful career doing what they love most. I felt sensitive and emotional, on the verge of tears, and in between sessions would stare out the window and walk around the Airbnb touching the arms of friends who were among the retreatants. They would look up and smile, unaware of why I was stopping them mid-sentence at their laptops. I couldn’t explain it either but felt compelled to reach out to them all the same.

That night we all gathered in the living room to read stories, and for some reason I decided to share ones from my book, I’m scared & doing it anyway, about driving to the hospital for my first surgery and the epiphany in the ICU that changed my life forever.

It wasn’t until I was getting ready for bed, that I checked the date and saw the shocking serendipity of it all. Exactly 15 years ago I was on that drive, in that hospital bed. Could that have been why I was so sensitive? Could my body have remembered before my mind caught up?

It felt that way.

One week later serendipity struck again.

I was invited by HOBY New York East to return to a blast from my past.

Haviland Middle School in my hometown of Hyde Park, NY.

They were hosting a leadership program for ninth graders and asked me to share a few words. And as luck…fate…something would have it, the event took place in Haviland’s cafeteria. The same one where I sat as a thirteen year-old learning the hard way about mean girls, unrequited love, and nervous teen angst.

Back then I brought a brown-bagged lunch every day, too afraid to stand up and cross the room while anyone was looking. Afraid to be seen, of what someone might say. Wanting to be praised as an A-student by my teachers, while simultaneously wanting to blend in with everyone else.

What are the chances I would ever return there?

As I stood in front of them, all eyes on me, one of the first things I said was a warning to never say never, because being in that cafeteria again felt like proof of what happens when you do. Strange, funny and poignant things.

I also told them about being scared & doing it anyway. About hugging like they mean it. About how much power we’re all sitting on even in situations, like middle school, that feel out of our control. We get to choose what we think and feel about what’s happening, how we talk about it, and ultimately what we do about it.

I learned those lessons after my surgeries, and was reminded after witnessing the accident in Colorado and again while in the middle of that cafeteria….wait for it…exactly 30 years later.

I realized that anniversary on my drive to the speech, walking my way through the math. Fifteen years since my surgeries and 15 more since I was sitting with my half-eaten lunch waiting for the period to end so I could stand up without being seen.

I wondered if one of the teens I met needed to hear what I had to say, or if this was about closure for my younger self. It felt important to be there, though I’m still not sure why.

What I do know is serendipity and right timing are everywhere. Even for those who consider life pretty arbitrary, there are still moments that seem too coincidental.

What do YOU do about them?

How do YOU explain them?

I’m curious about the stories you tell yourself about these moments. How you mark mysterious milestones and fascinating happenstances. We get to choose how we think and feel about them, just as I told the students during our time together this week.

I choose celebration on anniversaries, including the ones that don’t yet make sense. Cue the cupcakes, champagne and hugs.

But first, a few dumbfounded head shakes to consider how all of this could have come to be.


Who did you want to be when you grew up?

“I have a secret to tell you."

"Kids are SMARTER than adults."


Mass uproar. 

It’s intimidating to stand in front of 250 wiggling balls of energy at an elementary school assembly for Women's History Month and explain how your journey to running a business included a brain tumor (note the cartoon representation). 

It helps though when you tell them how smart they already are. How, right now, they know things the adults in their lives are trying to figure out. It helps even more that it's true.

What did you love to do when you were young? Who did you want to be?

It may surprise you that many of the conversations I have with clients about changing careers and growing their businesses involve recalling those years when things seemed more straight forward. When they just did what they liked, and drew, sang, danced and dreamed in their own ways without worrying about other people's opinions.

Who you were back then says a lot about who you want to be now.

In fact, reconnecting with your Younger Self might be the most important thing you can do. Chapter 2 of my book, "SIMPLY LEAP: Seven Lessons on Facing Fear and Enjoying the Crap out of Your Life," highlights that concept. 

Your Younger Self can remind you how to lighten up and trust your instincts. Just as she knew what she liked and did it back then, you can do more of that now following her lead. 

She can help you:

  • Edit your wardrobe (wear what feels comfortable and pretty)
  • Develop meaningful relationships (it feels good to be around people who treat you well)
  • Invest your time / money / energy (do more of what you like and less of what everyone else thinks you should do)
  • And so much more

Because she did all of that naturally, remember?

She's still inside you. Let her lead. 

This isn't just a fun assignment, which it is. Being more aware of and true to the little person you were in elementary school can change your career and business for the better. It can make your decisions easier and it can grow your confidence.

What an honor to kick off Women’s History Month with JV Forrestal Elementary School in Beacon, NY and celebrate women leaders and change makers everywhere, including the young ones in the audience.

I'll leave you with the socks I wore at the assembly. Believe it or not, I own TWO pairs. Gifts from clients and friends who know my love of socks and desire to enjoy life fully.

I bet my Younger Self would approve. 

What does YOUR Younger Self want you to do this week?