Find me in le club

Find me in le club

There’s nothing more exciting than the birth of a dream project. Especially when you know how freaking awesome it’s going to be! 

 

Which is why you must check out the Business O Féminin Club coming to Paris next month and read my interview below with its founder, Véronique Forge-Karibian. 

 

I met Veronique for coffee a few months ago at the suggestion of my good friend Ajiri and we hit it off immediately. Véronique and I chatted about our past careers in marketing and journalism and how we’re both passionate about helping women express their full potential professionally. 

 

Six years ago Véronique launched businessofeminin.com, a dynamic media hub devoted to women in business, and it’s been her dream ever since to bring her platform to life.

 

Apollonia Poilâne fell in love with the idea and decided to lend Véronique a gorgeous space down the road from her family's famed Parisian bakery in order to test the concept from October 1st-18th.  

 

The pop-up will consist of a café serving Poilâne treats, a shop stocked with innovative women-owned brands, a library of empowering reads, a lovely lounge to chill and chit-chat and an inspiring events series of workshops and conferences to accelerate women’s personal and professional development. 

 

I’ll be participating in the project by hosting two vision board workshops on October 11th and 18th.

Ziplock back discovery

Ziplock back discovery

For the first time in my adult life, I did it. I truly checked out. Didn’t squeeze in any work calls. Didn’t outline any blog posts. Didn’t respond to any emails. FOR FOUR FULL WEEKS! 


It was the first time I was fully present for all of my Big Fat French Summer Vacation. I realize that for my American readers, this “achievement” may seem like a twisted joke. “How freaking hard can it be to enjoy your month off, lady? Lemme get out my handkerchiefs and cue the violins.” (you need to say this with a strong Brooklyn accent)


But truly checking out of everyday life, of the emails, the notification pings, the to-do lists, and the nagging voice in your head wondering if you’re doing enough, if you really deserve your break, is much more complex than it seems. 


So much so that before I signed off for the summer I not only created “The Self-Love Summer Road Trip” guide for you, I also committed to doing it myself. 


My “road trip” took me down to the South of France to visit my mother-in-law where I played tennis for the first time and learned I was actually pretty good at it. 

Then I traveled to my native NY where I saw extended family I hadn’t seen in decades, visited the college campus I attended 25 years ago, and spent two nights in Brooklyn in a house I hadn’t entered since 1995. 


But the highlight of my trip was what I found at the bottom of a giant green storage bin filled with my old stuffed animals. 

Self-love summer roadtrip

Self-love summer roadtrip

What if this summer became your self-loving springboard to the rest of the year? A map to your emerging tastes and desires that you can unpack once the pace picks up again in the Fall.

Summer is a prolonged, precious break from reality. A time when routines change. When everything slows down. When you give new things a try. Reconnect with friends and family. Hike, swim, drink litres of rosé. 

But how many times has summer’s special glow been zapped away your first day back home? 

What if this year you decided to freeze-frame summer’s most essential parts and use this season to truly get to know yourself?

Since the stakes are low and the pace is slow, summer is the ideal time to dissect your daily decisions to see who or what’s driving your everyday moves. 

Guts you don't regret

Guts you don't regret

Tis the season of report cards, graduation ceremonies, and mid-year reviews. A time to appreciate the gradual yet often excruciating achievements of the year (like future tense conjugations in French).

 

It’s also the time when a big day shows up in my calendar. Not my birthday or wedding anniversary or my kids' birthdays. None of that. 

 

It’s July 6th. The day I did something so scary I literally thought my heart would explode in my chest. Even thinking about it now makes me quiver a bit. 

 

On July 6th, 1999, I boarded a one-way flight from NYC to Paris, leaving behind my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my four cats, my job, my apartment, and my beloved Brooklyn. 


And for no real reason.


I mean, there were reasons. But they weren’t life-or-death reasons. This wasn’t anything like the exoduses my ancestors took to save their skin generations ago. 

 

It was just that I had this nagging feeling in my belly, this constant, flickering sensation since childhood that I had to live in Paris. 

Need a diploma?

Need a diploma?

I drafted my first official diploma a few weeks ago.  

I took a piece of white paper out of the closet, got out my favorite fountain pen and chose a canary yellow marker for the “official stamp” that I drew above my signature. 

I spent some time on that stamp. I really wanted it to look like foil. The kind glued to passports and birth certificates that screams THIS IS OFFICIAL BUSINESS!

No, I haven’t started a side hustle as a notary public or an administrative assistant. 

I just decided right there in my office that my client deserved an official something to move ahead despite her fears. 

You see, French culture believes in certificates. In official stamps. In procedure. 

If something comes easily, that means you’ve done it wrong, cheated your way to the top, gotten a free ride, missed an essential piece of knowledge along the way.

It’s got to be painful to be worthwhile.

And that goes for pretty much everything— from getting into a top-notch business school and opening a bank account to returning a T-shirt at Monoprix. 

Beware of the chairs

Beware of the chairs

Chairs. They provide comfort. Security. A soft spot to land a tired tush at the end of the day. And if you work at a desk eight hours a day, they definitely know your butt better than you do. 

But they’re deceptive objects: they support us, but they also condition us. Leaving us a bit numb and indifferent to spontaneous opportunities and whims.

Did you know that the fewer chairs you have at a party the happier your guests will be?

I learned that at my previous job in marketing where we regularly hosted events for our community.

Events were the glue that kept our community close. Without them, the social seams that we worked so hard to build unraveled quickly. Needless to say, we became damn good at party-throwing.

As soon as we entered a venu we removed all chairs in sight. 

Stacking them up in closets, behind bars, under blankets, so that when the first guests arrived they they had no where to hide. (If you’re wondering, the second most important thing is to have the music playing by the time people show up. There’s nothing sadder than a music-less party, ami right?!).

Speaking of parties. I held my first little gathering for my coaching clients a few weeks ago. It’s been a dream of mine since before I became a coach to build a community of awesome, inspiring women.

Five Empowering Life Lessons From Michelle Obama (That You May Have Missed)

 Five Empowering Life Lessons From Michelle Obama (That You May Have Missed)

I’ve had Michelle Obama in my ears for the last month. In the morning as I walk to work, doing my groceries on the way home, heading off to meet friends for dinner, on the park bench while watching my kids play soccer.


She’s become a trusted advisor. A wisdom whisperer. A funny pal. Her impeccably articulated stories now etched into my day-to-day memories.


In the fifteen hours that I’ve listened to her a few key moments stand out. Not the rousing moments woven into her sold-out live book tour performances (that I loved, BTW!), but softer moments.


Subtle and quiet, they show shifts in perspective as Michelle takes more and more responsibility for her own happiness and fulfilment.


Learning how to take charge of your own happiness and fulfilment is a theme that means a lot to me. Why? Because it’s the bedrock of the coaching journey—the springboard that creates big leaps forward.


So in a celebration of subtle springboards, I present you with:

Michelle Obama’s Five Discreet Life Lessons On Taking Charge Of Your Own Happiness and Fulfilment (That Didn’t Make It To The Book Tour)


Lesson 1: If You Want To Find Your True Self You First Have To Stop Worrying About What Other People Think Of You

Michelle Obama lived the first 28 years of her life as a happy control freak, following a strict recipe of hard work and determination. Even her stuffed animals were stiff. When the question “Am I good enough?,” regularly popped up in her head, she pushed herself even harder to prove her worth to others. Following a success-driven path on a straight-and-narrow road landed her in the corner office of a swanky law firm with the prospect of climbing even higher up the lawerly ladder. But then she met Barack, a late to meetings, unpredictable, out-of-the-box thinker with a wild drive and no clear path. Falling for Barack was a challenge ideologically and emotionally. It meant rebelling against predictability. Against the establishment. Against the perfection impression she hoped to project. Allowing herself to fall in love with him was the start of her swerve off the predictable path into a windy, challenging, imperfect, but deeply more satisfying one.

In Michelle’s Words:

"This may be the fundamental problem with caring a lot about what others think: It can put you on the established path—the my-isn’t-that-impressive path—and keep you there for a long time. Maybe it stops you from swerving, from ever even considering a swerve, because what you risk losing in terms of other people’s high regard can feel too costly."

Click over to read the rest