March 2023


I spent my career in advertising but never would have imagined that I’d find myself in front of the camera. No, not a TV camera or a film set. I found myself videotaping a post for TikTok.

Times have changed and so have the ways we communicate about ourselves and our businesses. I’m doing my best to stay current.

Last week when I finished recording a post for Parlay House and replayed my message to make sure it was decent, I found that the words were right, but something else was off.

I sounded like I was rushing.

Speaking too fast and forgetting to breathe, my words sounded jumbled, urgent, and intense instead of the enthusiastic, warm, and welcoming tone I was going for.

Deep sigh. I deleted the recording and started again.

But before I hit “record,” I gave myself some much-needed coaching.

Slow down and take a beat.

While I still don’t like seeing myself on camera, slowing my pace allowed me to take a moment to add emphasis where it was needed and to communicate much more clearly. The second take was better.

* * *

Fast forward to yesterday.

I drove from San Francisco to Sacramento to launch Parlay House in our newest city. I’m the Founder of our organization with a huge interest in having it succeed, and I was also the guest speaker who wanted to do a good job.

I was excited but felt the pressure, too. I needed to draw people in and create a picture of the almost indescribable positive energy and sense of belonging that happens when we gather. I needed to tell my story in a way that was meaningful and relatable.

Of course, I’ve talked about my personal journey, the founding of Parlay House, and my aspirations for us as we grow, hundreds of times before. But as I learned from the TikTok playback, in order to be effective, I needed to slow down, breathe, and remember the power of the pause.

Pauses cause people to lean in.

They lean in with anticipation. They lean in to hear something that feels a bit more suspenseful. They lean in to absorb.

Sadly, I’m not a natural pauser.

Sometimes I rush my delivery because I’m excited. Oftentimes I plow through because I fear that I’ll forget the points I wanted to make if I don’t get them out quickly enough. Occasionally, I lose sight of the journey and just want to get to the end. But maybe most often, I rush in a competitive way – like finishing first might somehow make me the “winner.”

I do the same sort of rushing in other parts of my life as well.

I love exercising and participating in activities, so I stubbornly refuse to slow down, even if I have an injury. My fear about pausing is that I’ll never get back in shape, that I’ll never regain my motivation, and that other fitness freaks might get ahead of me.

Pauses feel scary, especially if you aren’t certain about what comes after the pause.

With the exception of my final role in the corporate world, I’ve never paused between jobs.

Despite my success, I always worried that leaving a job, even an unsatisfying one, might mean that no other employer would want me. I worried that a gap in my resume would signal something negative. I worried that people would view me as a quitter if I left without having something impressive to move to.

So I plowed through until I could pick up the baton at my next role to keep running as fast as I was running at the last place.

And while I did a little bit better in the arena of love, leaving a failed relationship before looking for the next one, I still heard the quiet murmur of negative self-talk that suggested no one would want me or that I would need to settle for someone who couldn’t give me what I was looking for.

Am I enough without that job, that partner, that fitness?

The truth is: my failures to pause have been strategic mistakes driven by competitiveness and insecurity.

While I’ve been pushing to continually surpass my “personal best,” I could have been working to become my “Best Person.”

Personal best means doing better than you did before. Faster, stronger, higher.

Best person means letting your own hierarchy of values be the measure of whether you’re enough. Not “enough” as defined by anyone else. Enough as defined by you.

Being your best person leaves room for pause because it requires time to stop and assess. To reflect and feel. To adjust and to dream. To let go and start again.

I may never get used to TikTok. But I’m getting much more comfortable with myself now that I’ve paused long enough to remember what really matters

* * *

Share it Small: Can you define your own values that are your guidepost for being your own best person? Once you do, write those values on a slip of paper and place them on your bathroom mirror, next to your bed, on a bookmark inside your book, or wherever else they will be a reminder of what makes you feel best about yourself.

I have “empathy, kindness, generosity and creativity” on a sticky note hanging inside my closet, and that reminder gives me a moment to think about whether my focus is where I want it to be.

Share it Big: This one is easy: When you are living as your best person and all that means, you will already be spreading the love and setting an example for others about how to live life with pause and purpose.

Share it with Me: We all learn from each other. If you have had a revelation, a breakthrough, an insight, or a triumph, we can learn from you so please tell me about it here! I’m collecting stories of these cascades of good for ongoing community building and to track The Parlay Effect in action. I would love nothing better than to hear how you lifted, were lifted, or observed something in others that made you feel good and recognize your power.