September 2019

For many of us, September is a time of transition. We come back from summer vacation or summer “slow downs” in anticipation of hitting the ground running. It might be heading back to work. It might be that the kids are back in school. But it’s definitely a change. Sometimes those changes are clear, but oftentimes, transitions are a bit fuzzy. It certainly helps me during these transitions to take a conscious pause. A breath.

Transitions are a time to remind ourselves of “the power of the in-between.”

What do I mean by that??

Nearly 50 years after coming into this world, I began my life for a second time. I had been CEO at several different advertising agencies in New York City and was a single mother of two daughters. I considered myself an energetic, healthy and vibrant woman with a bright future. Then, in one year, I lost almost every piece of myself. During the 2010 recession, I was diagnosed with recurring cancer and was ignominiously replaced in my job because of it. To top it off, my youngest daughter left for college, so that I was on my own again. It was a trifecta of setbacks. I lost all context, grounding, and perspective.

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This trifecta, and the deep vulnerability I felt during that time of transition, made me start experiencing my relationships in a different way. I started to respond more to other people’s vulnerabilities too. I started to hear other women talk about feeling embarrassed about being in-between jobs or express hypercriticism about their less-than-perfect bodies, or voice worry over never finding a satisfying personal relationship. Listening to people who were facing some of the issues I was struggling with, and having them say it out loud, made me feel less alone. It also set me out on a quest to reground myself. It was through that experience of breathing and looking inward during a transition that I found the inspiration to start Parlay House.

I was finally able to move forward because I allowed myself:

• Space for non-clarity
• Time to experiment rather than just rush into the next thing
• Permission to express my vulnerability, which encouraged others to be vulnerable and sparked real conversations and connection

I saw that making room for the in-between in your own life and for other women creates a cascade of support that gives us room to grow. In my Parlay House salons, I observed that one woman finds herself in a position to help another through kindness, empathy, generosity or encouragement, and the woman who received that help then replicates it, passing it on to another woman. That’s what I call “the Parlay Effect.”

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And now I’m ready to step into my next “space in between”, and probably my most vulnerable expression to date. I’ve decided to share my story in my new book, The Parlay Effect: How Female Connection Can Change the World. The book is based on the idea that small actions can create a cascade of positive experiences and change. For me, that change began with a pause.

With or without the book, sharing your story about your transition will undoubtedly have meaning for someone else. To get that Parlay Effect started:

Share your story by pausing: The next time you go to a social event, rather than presenting yourself in can-do mode, take a deep breath and express vulnerability as a way to connect with someone. Tell them how you are feeling, what you are worried about or that you are at a crossroads.

Share it big: Post a photo of you in your “space in between” with the sentence: I’m not sure about where I’m headed, and I’m a bit scared about it. Or make up your own version.

Share it small: The next time you have a conversation with your best friend, put aside your need to be “on”, and just let the conversation flow in the space in between. Who knows where the two of you will take it by letting go.

Share it with me: Send me your story of a pause, a breath, or a conversation made richer with truth and vulnerability. I’ll add it to my growing collection of proof that we are so much stronger when we are connected.