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In this episode of MarieTV, we do have some adult language. So if you do have little ones around, grab your headphones now.

Marie: Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and welcome to The Marie Forleo Podcast. Today we’re talking with one of the most creative, accomplished producers in the world, Sheri Salata, and today we’re talking about her new book, The Beautiful No. 

Now if you don’t already know Sheri, you are in for such a treat. Here’s her bio. Sheri Salata is a writer, producer, and co-founder of The Pillar Life and co-host of the podcast The Sheri and Nancy Show. Her current ventures are the evolution of her 20-year career with Oprah Winfrey. Her action-packed days as an executive producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show were chronicled in the acclaimed docu-series Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes. Sheri has also served as co-president of Harpo Studies and OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. She’s been named by Fast Company’s 100 of the most creative people in business, the Hollywood Reporter’s Women and Entertainment Power 100, and the 2017 Feminist Press Power Award winners. 

Sheri is a proud Iowa Hawkeye living happily every after in a magical town in northern California. 

Sheri Salata, thank you so much for being the Marie Forleo Podcast, woman!

Sheri: Marie, I feel like this is the reunion of all reunions! 

Marie: Yeah. This conversation has been a long time coming. I love and admire you so much. I have this memory of us, it was years ago, it was I believe right after The Belief premiere––

Sheri: Right.

Marie: And you were the one to ask me, “Marie are you available on April 9, 2016?” And I was like, “I don’t know, but pretty much yes, Sheri. Anything Sheri’s asking me, I’m going to say yes to.” And I just, I have this memory…

Sheri: Was that your Super Soul Session?

Marie: It was. 

Sheri: Yeah.

Marie: And the smile on your face and the warmth with which you invited me onto that stage, I will just never forget how you’ve always treated me. And I have so much love and respect for you. So I just wanted to say that to you.

And, congratulations on this beautiful book! The Beautiful No and Other Tales of Trial, Transcendence, and Transformation. I know I texted this to you, but you are such a killer writer and your storytelling ability, oh my goodness. I am so excited for folks to get their hands on this. 

Take me behind the inspiration behind this book. What’s the why? Why this book? Why now?

Sheri: Yeah. I mean, I think my why is a little bit clearer now. At the very beginning it was a creative venture. I had met a woman who launched an imprint with Harper Collins, who is my publisher and editor, and she’s in the middle of her life. And she is like, when I look at her life I go, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool.” She started surfing at 40. So we kind of got each other. And she felt like I had this point of view and this perspective to share.

And then, Marie, off I went for two years and let nobody tell you that writing a book is easy! I mean, the first year totally sucked. And I really, I woke up… There was a Christmas Eve just over a year ago when as I went to bed I’m like, “I’m giving them their money back. Take your advance back. I’m not doing this. Who needs this? This is way too hard! I don’t know exactly what I want to say.” 

And then I woke up on Christmas morning, so this is a spiritual story. Christmas morning I wake up and I almost feel like it was my mom coming to me from the other side. She said, “Do you know how many people would love a bonafide contract with a really good publisher? And the opportunity to put words on paper and have people read them?” And I’m like, “Yes! There’s many people.”

And then I realized, “Wow! What an amazing opportunity. And if I so choose, this can be a cathartic, beautiful experience.” And then all of a sudden, it was! So I had a great year writing it.

Marie: Can I tell you how relieved I am to hear you say this? Because I told people about my journey writing Everything Is Figureoutable; which is not my first book, right? The first book I wrote was years and years and years ago and I was so young and naïve that I didn’t know any better to be stressed, right? I just sat down and did it.

By the way, P.S., Josh reminded me, “Oh no! You stressed out over that one too. You just forgot that you did, but this one is different.” But I want to say this to you Sheri because I think it’s important, you are a brilliant writer and producer and you’ve been crafting stories for well over two decades. And I consider myself a pretty good person at what I do.

Sheri: Yes!

Marie: And I’ve been building this company, writing these emails, writing all the web copy, creating programs, being a teacher for almost two decades, so I had this assumption. I was like, “Well, I write all the time. It’s going to be a fairly easy process.” So I’m…

And meanwhile, I got my ass kicked right, left, and center by this book. Same thing. I had that thought. I was like, “You know, do I really need to do this?” And even though I didn’t go very far down this thought train, I absolutely considered… I was like, “What would happen if I gave my advance back and just said, whatever! I did the Oprah talk, that’s enough!”

But I want to say this for anyone listening who might be in the throws of writing, struggling right now. You’re hearing from two women who are accomplished at what they do and they found themselves thrashing around.

Sheri: Yeah! You know, the best advice is keep going. Push through it. Just keep writing!

Marie: Yeah! Yeah. Eventually you do make it through that hump.

So one of the things I love that you shared, you said, “I had a dream come true career, but not a dream come true life.” Can you tell us more about that?

Sheri: Oh Marie, oh my gosh! Well that was my really big epiphany. So until I had a moment, until the first days after my Oprah career and I could kind of quiet myself for a minute and be like, “Whoa!” It’s like getting off of a speeding, speeding train that’s circled the globe a million times. And just say, “Okay, let’s take a look at what we’ve created here.” And that’s when I had that epiphany that I had manifested a dream come true career, which believe me, I wanted.

I mean I didn’t start with Oprah until I was 35 years old, so I wanted a dream come true career and I had fully manifested that. One of the most dreamy careers ever, but I had not manifested a dream come true life.

So there I am at 56 years old and it’s my life is completely lopsided. I had all of this achievement and all of this accomplishment by cultural standards. And my life itself, though, it’s like all my little dreams are dried up, stuffed into drawers, and virtually unlived. 

And honestly Marie, the only way I could take a sober truthful look at it was to find my tenderest, most compassionate lens. And my tenderest, most compassionate voice and say, “Okay, girl, let’s go through it. How have you done here? And let’s figure out what you really want.”

Marie: That’s one of the things I find in my own work that can be one of the most challenging hurdles to overcome for all of us. Is being able to identify and articulate clearly what it is that we really want. And I really love that you found yourself in this space, right, after this mega career.

And let me… I wanted to ask you this, did you know I feel like sometimes in our lives when a big change is coming, we almost feel it like it’s in the distance? You know what I mean? We know it’s coming, but it might not be ready yet. And I’m curious if you sensed––you might’ve been so busy you didn’t feel or you didn’t sense it coming––in terms of moving on to a next chapter. 

Did you feel this big change in your life coming? Or was it one day that you woke up and sometimes your life just feel rearranged and you’re like, “I need to make a change. This is time for me to move on.”?

Sheri: Yeah. I mean, I absolutely could feel that a change was going to come. I think about the conversations I’d have with one of my BFFs, Nance, in my backyard on our second and third bottle of Chardonnay, and it was dreamy! It was like, “Oh can you imagine if we started our own company? Can you imagine? And what would it look like? What would we do? Would we do storytelling? Would it be a media company? Would we do branding work?” 

And also Marie, quite frankly, one of the things that was getting me all riled up was meeting you and Kris Carr and others like you who are megawatt entrepreneurs. Like of course Oprah’s and entrepreneur! But she… But to me that felt like lightning in a bottle. And then all of a sudden I meet you and I’m like, “Well she’s running an empire. Wow! Okay. And it’s her own empire.”

And you know, I was just starting to get this little bit of feeling like… of incompletion. And that’s still unconscious about my… what state my health was in, what state my love life was in, all the things that were… all the things that had really not been tended to.

But yeah, I was starting to… some dreams were starting to bubble up for sure.

Marie: Yes! Yes, yes, yes! And I think that’s so important for all of us to hear and to recognize. Because all of us go through so many stages in our life where maybe we start to feel or sense a change coming on and that’s scary. It’s very scary because we get in these patterns and we have these habits and ways of being. And of course, with a career which for most of us is the largest part of our lives, it’s where we spend the most time day in and day out; to make a major change like that it can feel really intimidating.

And sometimes you almost don’t want to hear that a change is coming. Sometimes, Sher, when I’m fielding questions from MarieTV it’s really a commonplace to feel at a crossroads. And to go, “Oh my goodness,” even for someone whose built their own business. Sometimes they say, “I don’t think I want this one anymore.”

Sheri: Yeah.

Marie: “I think I’m ready for something else and what does that mean about me?”

So that’s why I think there is so much value in your story. And there’s so much value in the book that you’ve wonderfully put together. Because what you’re showing us is a path ahead of hope and of creativity and adventure and of what we might encounter when we start to listen to those whispers of our heart.

Sheri: Right.

Marie: So one of the things I love too, that you wrote in the beginning, was just about how our culture looks at women once they get past 50, right?

Sheri: Right.

Marie: Even from a business perspective. The business sides of advertisers. It’s like, “Well, we don’t really give an f about any woman once she gets past 55.” I forget, you may know the demo better than I do, but it’s so sobering.

Sheri: Yeah. It’s to 54.

Marie: Yeah.

Sheri: And like 25 to 54 is the big sweet spot. I just, Marie honestly, I’m just going to tell you that whether… I have no data to support this, but really big juicy leading edge brands are going to toss that out the window.

It’s going to be a psychographic. It’s going to be like, these are the attributes of the people we’re going to advertise to as opposed to their age. I’m just sure of it. Because it’s so freaking archaic.

Marie: Yes.

Sheri: And the problem is, for the people in my group… I dubbed it, Nancy and I call it, the middle of life because we like that better. And because it’s kind of like, “Whoa! You still have a whole ‘nother half to create!”

Marie: Yes.

Sheri: But super important too, even if you’re super… If you’re well read and you’re well educated and you feel like you know your own mind, it’s really important to make sure that you discover which cultural messages have landed in your bones that you’re not aware of? And by that I mean, are you willing to see yourself at 40 and 50 as just about in the middle? And what else are you going to do? 

We’ve all met the person who had their glory days in high school. Or their glory days in college. And it’s like, it’s over! It’s all downhill from there. But it’s ours to design. It’s ours to design. So even someone like me, who had whoa, these 20 years of working for Oprah, I would like to think that those were the beginning of my glory days and the real glory days are yet to be created.

Marie: Yes! That is where it’s at. And I will tell you, as the years go by for me, I still have this inner sense, Sheri, that I am just getting started.

Sheri: Yeah.

Marie: Like, that’s how it feels for me. And it feels that way year after year. And of course, to my logical mind that doesn’t make sense, but to my soul it really does.

So this is something else I loved about your book. So going back in time… I don’t know if people realize this, you mentioned it earlier, but I want to highlight it again. You didn’t start at Harpo until you were 35. You had an adventure after an adventure.

Sheri: Oh my God.

Marie: You were in Texas for a while. You were trying all kinds of jobs. And the reason I want to bring this up first is because so many times people put so much pressure on themselves. If they’re not making that 30 Under 30 List, right? 

Sheri: Right.

Marie: If they don’t have it all figured out. If they don’t have the big bank account or the notoriety or the clarity on their career by the time they’re 30, they think they’re somehow behind. I’m like, “That’s so not true! All of us find our way. We’re on a such a unique path and our unique timelines and we have all of these unique transitions in our life.”

And I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about your early days, even before the Harpo.

Sheri: Oh Marie, you’re exquisitely insightful there. And I got to tell you, I would have made no 30 Under 30 List of any kind! Except the person who’s f-ed up the most.

Marie: Yeah.

Sheri: I mean, it was a sad state of affairs. I had two cents to my name and at one point I was living in my parents’ basement. As they… They were upstairs terrified that I was never going to make anything of myself.

Yes. And I do, I write about the adventure. I graduated from the University of Iowa. I ended up at Texas. Only job I could get was typing in a typing pool. Then I got promoted to a bigger typist. Then I was going to go to law school and my dad said I could go at night. And I was like, “Well forget that!”

And next thing you know I was managing a toy store. And then my stint at 7/11…

Marie: Yes!

Sheri: My smock-wearing months training as a 7/11 store manager. Delivering a baby in a parking lot. And then finally realizing that, “Oh God, I’m just barking up all the wrong trees.” And at 27, packed up, went home, and moved into mom and dad’s basement and really was thinking, “You know… Maybe dreams… Maybe I don’t have the promise that I thought I did.”

So you are absolutely right. We’re all on our own timeline and anything can happen. But… Go ahead.

Marie: No, I was just gonna ask you because I thought it was so interesting, once you made it back home and you were with your parents, I’m curious if you could tell us more about how that advertising job came in?

‘Cause when I was tracing back through your history I’m like, “Oh, people who write ad copy, people who understand advertising…

Sheri: Right.

Marie: Like there was some magic in there. I was like, “Oh, this is how it all started coming together!”

Sheri: Yeah. Well this is, you never know who your angels are and the cooperative components the universe is lining up to lead you on the path to your dreams.

So basically the only skills I had were retail skills. And I had decided I didn’t… Retail wasn’t my dream. And my best friends fiance, who I had met maybe once or twice over the years ’cause I lived in another state, was the executive producer at a mid-size ad agency in Chicago. And he heard about my living in the basement and being out of work and he invited me down to the city for a big fancy lunch. White table cloth, really super fancy. I think I wore something new and there were tags on my suit! I mean, it was just a sad state of affairs.

Marie: I love that.

Sheri: And he was… What happened was in those moments there were some combination of words he said where I literally could see he believed I had a bright future. And that something really good could happen for me in Chicago.

So when he asked me like, “Hey, do you know what you want to do?” And I’m sure, like in the moment he regretted it instantly, and I heard the words come out of my mouth, “I want to do what you do.” And he went, gulp. And he’s like, “All right. Well, let me see.”

I later found out he went back to the agency, moved some people around, and made a spot for me as his secretary. ‘Cause he had called me and said, “Do you know how to type?” I’m like, “God! I’m an expert typist!” Not really. And he taught me everything. 

He taught me how to edit. He taught me how to shoot. How to produce music. How to produce voice overs. How to look at something with a discerning visual eye. He was very awesomely talented. And he gave me that blessing. That’s really the only way I can describe it.

It was like he was the universe helping me get ready for a big dream and he blessed me. And I think about… I think about, you know, wow! That changed everything.

Marie: And so let’s talk now about the fact that you did apply, right, for a job at…

Sheri: At the Oprah show? At the Oprah show.

Marie: Yes. And you got declined.

Sheri: Oh yeah! Just summarily rejected. I applied for an entry level position as a promo producer being in… Because by now I was a, not… I was gonna say big time. That would be completely deceptive. I was an accomplished and seasoned advertising commercial producer. 

And so I sent in my reel of commercials and my resume and I got home one day and I was like, “Oh my God, this is it! This is how I’m going to bring meaning into my life. I’m going to get a job at that Oprah show!” And there was a message on my machine, we had answering machine with tape back then, and it was like, “I’m sorry, this is so and so, I’m sorry you’re not what we’re looking for.”

And practically I understood that because the two disciplines were very, very different. But it was a heartbreak. I was like, “Shoot! I really thought that was it! I thought that was my next move.” 

And a while later I was in the title story of the book, The Beautiful No, is about… I was broke again. I was freelancing, which is dialing for dollars to my way of thinking, and I hated making those calls. “Do you have any work for me? Okay, thanks anyways!” And I was up for a big staff job at a big huge agency for, at the time, lots of money and benefits and stability and security. And I really needed the job.

And I had a spectacular interview! My friends and I all celebrated wildly, but turns out prematurely, and then I get a letter saying, “We’re not hiring.” And it was shortly after that where another message comes on my answering machine, “Hey, this is so and so from the Oprah Winfrey Show. We were cleaning out an old closet and found your resume and your reel of commercials. Will you come in and freelance?”

Marie: My goodness!

Sheri: I know!

Marie: I mean, come on Sheri!

Sheri: I mean, it’s a freaking miracle! It’s a miracle, but you can see how the universe starts lining things up for you.

Marie: Yes.

Sheri: And if you would only… That’s what I… The Beautiful No is become one of my most profound spiritual understandings. And I began to say, “If I could only collapse time and when I get the no be like, okay I can’t wait to see how gorgeous this is down the road!”

Marie: I love it! And thank you so much for telling that story. Because so many times I feel like folks will show up on my doorstep, virtual or otherwise, and just say, “But what’s wrong with me? Nothing seems to be working out.”

Sheri: Yeah.

Marie: And I try and share this with them. I’m like, “We’re looking in the middle of the movie!

Sheri: Yes!

Marie: You have no idea…

Sheri: You’re so right!

Marie: …how this is going to turn out. Right?

Sheri: Right!

Marie: It’s kind of like if we were sitting there eating popcorn together in that theater and all of the characters on the screen, just nothing is going right, and you just decided to walk out and you’re like, “Well, that’s how the story ends!” It’s like, “No! Wait! You’re missing all of the good stuff!”

Sheri: No! You’re right. It’s the middle of the movie. And if you want to get to that fantastic, dreamy, miraculous conclusion faster, it’s going to have to be by harnessing your positivity and hope and optimism and expectation in that direction.

Marie: Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes! I love that! And obviously you spent the next two decades just creating so much magic for all of us…

Sheri: The honor of my life, man! It was the honor of my life. So fun!

Marie: Yes. So fun! And I love in the book how many stories you tell about that. And obviously the big kind of finale show and just all of the magic you guys pulled off together. Just so incredible! And those memories and all of the fun and also who you got to become in the process, right? Seeing how powerful you really are and your ability to make shit happen. I mean, come on, Sher!

Sheri: I know! Well you know, yes you know what it takes. And yes, that is very true. But I will say, hands down, no kidding, the ultimate company benefit for me was getting paid to build this spiritual life. That’s the truth.

That was… That was like… It was like having a window on the quantum field. And getting to hear the language and the theory and the ideas from some of the foremost thought leaders of our time. And that just felt like that .. Like, “Gosh, I’m getting paid. I’m getting paid to take this in. Really amazing.”

Marie: So cool. And obviously, you’re just a really good storyteller. And I love how you emphasize in the book that stories have such a power over all of our lives and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

And the most crucial stories are the ones that we tell to ourselves, right? When I glance around at women my age range, I can so clearly how we are each telling ourselves different stories about what’s possible for ourselves through the way we move. And through the way we eat. And through the way we speak and create.

Sometimes it’s really funny… I love my mom and I hope she’s going to listen to this one. Sometimes she doesn’t listen as much to the Podcast because she’s always like, “What are you wearing this week!” She gets very excited about MarieTV. But sometimes my mom who is, God bless her right, she’s in her early 70’s, she’ll say, “Rie, you know what I mean, I don’t have much time left!” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? You’re going to be around for a while.” And obviously we never know, right? None of us know how long we’re going to be here. 

But to your point about the stories that we tell ourselves, and so what I thought was also so brilliant, was the story that you were telling yourself after you were like, “This is my new chapter. I am now ready to take all of that spiritual wisdom, all of these brilliant ideas, and put them into practice in a way that I haven’t done before.” I was like, “Go Sheri! This is going to be awesome!” Especially around your self care, right?

Like that was… To me I just loved how bravely and candidly shared, “Hey, look. I have not been the best steward to my body up to this point and I really want to investigate this on a whole new level.”

Sheri: Oh that’s for sure. And I mean, that’s why in many ways, listen, my story and the stories I tell in this book, yes rallying cry! Let’s go! Let’s come on tribe mates, let’s stir up our dreams! But it’s also a bit of a cautionary tale.

I mean, I had all the information. I mean I had more… Information was coming out of my ears. But until I decided that I was willing to embrace the practice of consciousness and staying conscious and staying present and not numbing myself, or disconnecting because I thought my feelings, it was going to be too hard to feel them. Or it was going to be too uncomfortable. Or I just didn’t want to. I’d rather eat cheese instead. I just don’t want to.

Marie: Yeah.

Sheri: And again, I mean what’s important for me to say is it’s still a process. I’ll have a day when I’m like, “Wow! You are so off track today. Now lets take a look at how you’re feeling.” And I’m like, “Oh my God, I feel awful. I feel hopeless, despondent.” And it’s like, “Okay, let’s put the pieces together there!”

That those little practices that you put into your life, those self care practices, those are the things that create that good feeling. That stir up the hope pots; the hope soup pots. That kind of get you going to think, “Gosh, what else?”

Marie: So one of the things… One of the places that I think you and I share some DNA is our willingness to go all in. I was laughing so hard at you and I think Nance signing up for these torturesome fitness classes, right? 

Sheri: Oh my God.

Marie: You’re like, “I’m going all in, baby!” Oh my goodness, can I tell you how many times I’ve done that and recently I have been working on getting my strength and stamina back, ’cause I am no longer a Nike Athlete. That used to be true at one point in my life. And I was just like, “Oh my goodness…” I was laughing, I was crying with you guys and I loved the point that you came away with.

Which is like you’re done with these kind of mainstream, one size fits all regimes. And now it’s really about you tinkering for yourself what feels good for your body, right? What’s going to really feel good for you and what’s going to work for you. And then continuing to observe what’s working and what’s not and giving yourself permission to tweak as you go.

Sheri: Oh my gosh! Well isn’t personalization everything?

I mean here’s what I think, Marie, and I consider you a wisdom keeper, a teacher, and expert. At some point you really do want your students, you really do want your students to become the experts on themselves.

Marie: Yes! Always.

Sheri: Right? And to make their leaning on you less necessary. And I think about from that control room seat all the experts I got to see and all their… the programs and the kind of like… You put a program on like a suit of clothes. And I have certainly been a program girl. Which is, give me a program ’cause in my mind I think that’s the answer. And what the answer is, is customizing your own program.

Exposing yourself to ideas and to other people’s programs and steps and then saying, “Wow, this one would be a good one for me. This I feel good. This resonates with me.” And then putting together your own little recipe, tweaking it every day, paying attention to it, and literally becoming your own coach.

Marie: Yes! Absolutely! But I really appreciate how honest that you are in the book about all the different things you try. Which brings me, of course, to your desert hot springs adventure.

Sheri: Wooooo!

Marie: That was big. You were there for how long?

Sheri: Well I’ve been there several times now. So I think I’ve been there a total… maybe three or four times. It’s We Care Resort and it’s kind of a Hollywood insiders secret, but people come from all over the world and it’s very… It’s not super duper fancy, but it’s very, very warm. 

And you basically go there, you’re on a fast and you’re getting a colonic every day and doing Yoga and it’s very supervised and healthy. But you really get very clear. You get very clear! And I remember… Like I was like, “Oh my God, how am I not going to eat for eight days?” And especially if you have some addictions; like to caffeine, and to alcohol, and to food.

Marie: Yeah.

Sheri: It gives you really a chance to, in a safe way, to go through a little over a week and to kind of reassess and reset your relationship with those things.

Marie: I thought what was so moving was when Rene asked you to draw two pictures. Can you tell us about that?

Sheri: Yeah. Yeah. So I’d signed up for the weight loss, or hypnosis for weight loss, because I was like, “Well I need something to do all day if I’m not eating.” And they were these sessions with Renee Cardenas, who just is a brilliant, brilliant woman and she brought out some paper and some crayons and she asked me to do a drawing. She goes, “Don’t think about it, just draw.” And I was kind of like, “This is stupid. Oh my God. This is coloring. Where’s the watch in front of me? When am I going to feel hypnotized?”

Marie: Yes.

Sheri: And the first… So she asked me to draw myself as I saw myself right then. And not… Here’s another piece of paper, now draw yourself as you wish you would be. And then she told me to look at the pictures side by side.

The first one was this haggerdy looking woman with two blue crosses where eyes were and a red cross where the mouth was. And basically it was a woman who did not want to see or speak about her state. Her wornoutness and what was happening to her.

And in the second one was this energized, flirty looking, smiley, sparkly-eyed woman who was in love with life. And then she… She asked me how I thought… How could this woman become this woman? And asked me to draw a picture.

And I ended up drawing… It was like a door with some fringy grass, some stars in the sky. It just was a door and there was a little sign that just came from my subconscious and it said, “Now just walk through.”

And I remember I spent the rest of that week staring at that, “Just walk through,” that door. I’m not a great drawer either, so it was a very crude drawing of this doorway, imaginary doorway. And what… The poignancy to me, Marie, was, “Oh my gosh, I’m not alone here. I wonder how many of us are staring at that door? To the life of our dreams and we’re scared?” We possibly don’t believe it. We don’t have the courage. We… Maybe we don’t even have the energy to walk through that door, to the life of our dreams. 

And that was really, for me, the beginning of, “Well what if you did, Sheri? What if you did walk through that door? What happens then? And then what happens then? And what if you can still manifest the life of your dreams? What if you really believed that?” And that was the beginning of, really, a brand new life for me, I got to say.

Marie: I loved it! And I loved the simplicity and I also loved the inner resistance. I always find that whenever I’m on a little journey of growth, whenever I’m kind of the mean girl in my mind, or the super hyper judgmental part of my mind, it’s like, “Oh this is stupid!” Kind of like what your mind was saying with the drawings? It’s like, “That’s usually stuff I really need to pay attention to!”

Sheri: Right! Right. Exactly! It’s resistance with a capital R!

Marie: That resistance. That resistance with a capital R is usually like a light bulb or a glow stick. It’s like, “Go towards that, whatever that thing is!”

Sheri: Oh I know. 

Marie: So you also wrote about work/life balance. I thought this was really insightful. And about if that phrase makes you feel like a failure every way you turn, or you have to put a drop ceiling on your dreams, you have to actually stop using that phrase altogether. And I just want to say amen to that!

Sheri: Amen.

Marie: I really can’t stand that phrase. Some people are like, “Marie, how do you do it all?” And like I actually don’t and I don’t give a shit that I don’t do it all. I love my life so much it’s probably the most unbalanced thing that you’ll ever see. All I care about is am I healthy? Am I happy? Am I joyful? Do I feel like I’m contributing? If I can check those boxes, I don’t care how all of that happens, it just happens, right?

Sheri: That’s right! That’s right!

Marie: Yeah.

Sheri: That’s right. And I mean, I just don’t believe it’s possible.

Marie: Yeah.

Sheri: The concept of balance is that you’re out of it and you come back into it and you’re out of it. And I get what some people are intimating by that phrase. 

Marie: Yes.

Sheri: They’re saying that don’t go unconscious about certain areas of your life, which I certainly have many times. But I think for me that like, how do you achieve work/life balance feels like failure, failure, failure, failure, failure! And there’s such… And there’s no way to succeed at that and it just makes me feel bad about myself.

And I was just like, “Well are you really trying to achieve work/life balance? Or, or as Marie just spoke about, are you trying to manifest a joyride?” And it’s going to be comprised of lots of things. 

Marie: Yes!

And you’re going to ebb and flow your attention as you are intuitively guided. As how you see fit. As what feels good and what brings you the most joy. Is that maybe… That’s the life you’re trying to live and not this artificial construct that is really quite impossible.

Marie: Yes! Yes, yes, yes! And it just feels so strange and static and kind of dead to me, in a way. And I love you wrote, “Maybe there’s a different way to see things,” your words. “One life integrated, connected, and whole.” And I was like, “Yes, Sheri Salata! That is exactly right!”

And it just gives us permission to flow and to actually play. And I’m so kind of tired and done with, you probably know this about me, I can’t fit myself into any boxes. You know what I mean? It’s like I don’t need one more thing to try and live up to or one more box to try and fit into. It just does feel so artificial.

And I loved your follow up too. You said, “But how…” If someone asks you, right, if you’re talking or you’re speaking in public, “But how do you spend your free time?” And you said, “All of my time is free time determined by my choices.”

Sheri: Right.

Marie: I was like, “Oh okay, Sher!”

Sheri: I know.

Marie: I love it!

Sheri: But listen, I was that… the choir of misery too where you’d be like, “I have to, I have to.”

Marie: Yes!

Sheri: And it’s just like, yeah not really. You’re pretty much, it’s all your free time. You’re not trapped in the gulag, girl.

Marie: Yes! Oh my goodness, I need to send you the book ’cause there’s this one part I have in the book where we’re talking about excuses specifically around time, and I wrote this piece around like, you choose it! You choose all of it! Every single bit of it.

Sheri: Yeah.

Marie: And when we start to see that, I know when I see that… It was funny, I was complaining to myself the other day, or whenever I find myself going, “Oh I have so much work,” I literally check myself, Sher. And I’m like, “Oh, and guess who created all that? Me!”

Sheri: Yes! Yes!

Marie: Guess who is… Guess whose whipped all of this up? It is 100% my responsibility, so I was like, “You either be joyful in this or you make changes. Those are your two choices.”

Sheri: That’s right! That’s right! That’s right, Marie.

Marie: Yeah. 

So I want to wrap us up today with the last chapter in your book, I love the last chapter; you are what you dream. I love that you write, “The story is ours to write.”

So it’s been about three… Is it three years right now for you?

Sheri: Yeah.

Marie: Yes. Yes! So tell us, what is your story feeling like right now? ‘Cause I know even though you have this beautiful book, which is incredible, your life continues to evolve even after you handed in this manuscript.

Sheri: It does! It does continue to evolve. And it feels like nets on some games. And what I mean by that is, I will take three steps forward and then a step and a half back. And then I have learned to stop and focus and go, “Hey! That’s one and a half steps forward!” Instead of browbeating myself into not wanting to attempt anything.

Marie: Yes.

Sheri: And consciousness. I mean, three years ago I made a very, very radical, for my age group, decision culturally that radical self care would be my day in and day out. And so, that’s what it looks like every day.

That everything that feels good and healthy and joyful comes first. And that I really, really focus on letting go of those old tapes in my head that just stressed me out. Or made me feel incomplete, unworthy, or bad about myself. And replace it with a voice that’s encouraging and tender and loving. And everything else flows from there, Marie.

Like from there I’m inspired to do creative things and innovative things. And from there I’m inspired to meet new people and forge new relationships. But it all comes from that foundation of, “What am I going to do to feel good today?”

Marie: I love it! And for anyone who’s listening right now who suspects it’s time for them to start writing a new story for themselves, what do you want to leave them with today?

Sheri: Do it! Do it! Be it! That new story is waiting for you to write. And you can actually take very, very small steps to help you through the fear; through the fear of change. But once you start to get those dream fires a blazing, all of a sudden you do have the energy and you do have the courage and you do have the inspiration to go in the direction you need to go.

Marie: Love it! Love it, love it, love it so much! 

And I’ll just add one more question for you because this was something that made me cheer in your book. You heading to Italy anytime soon? Because you and I both have our happy place in Italy.

Sheri: Oh my… With my eight months of Italian lessons, I know!

Marie: Yes!

Sheri: I’ve got… Well listen, I would like to go. My dream is, when Bella and Kissy go to the great dog pasture in the sky, I have a little dream of maybe doing something like living and working from Italy for a year. So maybe you can join me in that?

Marie: Oh yeah! We’re going to share some notes. And I’m going to… I’ll fly and I’ll send you some of my favorite audios in terms of Italian lessons because Josh and I have been going back and forth driving, like when we’re driving out to Long Island or whatever, listening to these things. And I’ve got some villas that I’m going to turn you on to that are awesome!

So I think you and I may be having some… Our little caprese, or a little vino, or a little whatever in Italy sometime very soon!

Sheri: Oh my gosh I would love that! That sounds so good, Marie!

Marie: Sheri, thank you so much for coming on today! Thank you for this beautiful book, The Beautiful No, and I look forward talking to you again soon.

Sheri: I love you, Marie! Thank you.

Marie: Love you too! Thank you. Bye!

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