I say tomato, you say frittata

00443790I subscribe to Chris Brogan’s e-newsletter. For those who don’t know, Chris Brogan is a social-media/blogging/marketing guru. He’s an author and the creator of the blogs Chris Brogan.com and Human Business Works.com.  And by all accounts he seems like a pretty nice guy. He also says some really smart stuff. Today was no different.

Turns out Chris is in the process of submitting proposals to publishers for a new book project he and a partner, Julien Smith, are working on. Chris is already the New York Times bestselling author of Trust Agents, so pitching a new book should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. Here’s what Chris had to say about the process thus far:

We’re shopping it around to some publishers, and what we’re hearing back, I’ve gotta be honest, isn’t really encouraging. In fact, most people are saying that they don’t see what we’re getting at, and that they don’t understand why it’s not a clear jump from Trust Agents into what they want to have as Trust Agents 2.

I’m also in the process of trying to secure an agent for a book project I’ve been working on. I’m very early on but have had just enough feedback to believe that I may be on to something. Now, being “on to something” is a far off from getting a book deal, but I know the project I have in mind, and I believe I can find at least one agent who’ll share my vision.

What especially peaked my interest while reading Brogan’s post was that he and his partner are clear about not wanting to write a Trust Agents 2. He goes on to explain that if the publishers aren’t getting the clear message that he’s not trying to write Trust Agents 2 then his proposal might need some tweaking. But maybe not…

With that vision, with that understanding that we’re working on the right thing, comes a clear sense that no matter what we’re getting for feedback, we know that we’re on the right path, and just have to adjust and improve. Meaning, we HEAR the feedback, but WE are deciding whether or not they see what we see to begin with.  Put another way: if you’re trying to make an omelet, and someone comes along and tells you that you’re not making a frittata right, who’s wrong?

I think that’s a really great point to make. Everyone should be open to advice, to feedback, to making changes. But if you know that you want to make an omelet, don’t let anyone convince you to make a frittata instead, even if it’s the best frittata in the history of frittatas.

This sound piece of advice applies to so much more than writing books and book proposals. Whether your calling is entrepreneurship, the corporate world, teaching, stay-at-home mom or fill-in-the-blank, if it’s your calling, listen to advice, adjust your plans accordingly, but don’t let anyone (not even yourself) convince you that you should try your hand at frittata making as a career. You might end up making the world’s best frittata that no one, including you, is going to want to eat.

If only things were…

Thinking woman 3 Editor’s Note: I’m usually the “everything that’s supposed to happen does” person but lately I’ve been dealing with a little of the “if onlys” – If only I had more money, if only things had gone this way instead of that, if only I’d have had this or done that by the time I turned 40. If only things were different. Apparently I’m not the only one who finds herself in the occasional “if only” rut. In today’s post Esther Kane shares her thoughts on a different concept of happiness and being content with who and where you are in life.

Wherever I go, There I am

Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of stories from clients about how unhappy they are in their present circumstances, and if only they could have more money, land a better job, move somewhere more exciting, find the right partner,__________(fill in the blank), life would be oh-so-much-better. I am really good at this form of wishful thinking myself. Anytime I find myself bored, lacking enthusiasm, or lonely, I come up with some exciting life-makeover plan that will surely cure all of my ills (or so I’m convinced). (Photo: Flickr:Shayan)

Continue reading If only things were…

You’ve come a long way baby: 20 things I’d tell you now

baby grace cropped 20 things you need to know – Hey you, standing over there looking tough and cute the way little girls often do, it’s me, well you – in about 36 years. Some things haven’t changed much. With the exception of the ribbon, your hair looked a lot like that this morning, and that stance, you still got that. You often have that same ‘four parts curiosity, one part ‘what the hell are you looking at”  look on your face even at this age – And the legs…well, like I said, some things haven’t changed much.

I wish I could protect you from, and prepare you for all that lies ahead, but I can’t. No one can really. But what I can do is share some things that only I’ll be able to. Some people think the past, present and future are all happening at once, so who knows. I know you won’t understand everything I’m saying, but take notes, you’ll need them.

  1. Some of the people in your life will disappoint you, lie to you, hurt you. Some of them are just stupid. Others are just evil. Forgive them all, stupid and evil alike, and move on. Remember what they did and learn from it. Don’t hold what they’ve done to you against anyone else.
  2. That thing you want to do with your hair in the eighties. Don’t. You leave dozens of grease spots up and down the east coast because of it, and Chris Rock will mock it mercilessly in a documentary he releases in 2009.
  3. Try to get that eating thing under control early – believe me, you’ll be fighting that battle for years. In the meantime, live your life and do the things you want to do, regardless of what the scale says.
  4. You’re going to have several really great ideas for businesses. Instead of talking yourself out of it, just do it. You are smarter, stronger and more resilient than you know.
  5. You know how they said it would be too difficult to be a successful, black, female journalist? Oprah’s like the richest person on the planet now. Seriously. Don’t listen to them. Continue reading You’ve come a long way baby: 20 things I’d tell you now

Kalin: On having an epiphany at her fortieth birthday party


Kalin Thomas is a television producer and writer who’s currently working on her first book. In her first guest post for Women at Forty, Kalin talks about an epiphany she had, on her fortieth birthday…

I started preparing for my 40th birthday 6 months in advance. I knew I was going to have a huge party and look fabulous — and I did!  However, looking fabulous is not the same as feeling fabulous.  Earlier that year I had been laid off of my TV job after 17 years, and at the same time a lot of the problems in my marriage were coming to a head (after being together 17 years and married for almost 9).  It’s amazing how being at home everyday can pull you out of marriage denial and force you to take action.  At 40 I not only expected to be further along in my career, but well on my way to my 10th wedding anniversary. I also didn’t expect the horrors of 9/11 to happen a few months before my 40th birthday.  That event brought many families and spouses closer together — sadly that didn’t happen for us.  But it did cause me to do a lot of soul searching.

Still,  I was “40 and Fabulous!”  — at least that’s what it said on my birthday cake — and I looked good, if I do say so myself.  My party was wonderful, but as I was enjoying the festivities something hit me.  It was like the epiphany that Oprah talks about.  I was having a good time, and I realized I didn’t want to be unhappy in the 2nd half of my life.  It was at that moment that I decided to get a divorce. Divorce isn’t an easy decision to come to — especially when there’s still love there, and both spouse’s parents have been married more than 40 years.  But it wasn’t the first time I’d thought about it, just the first time I’d made a decision.  And once I’d made that choice in my head, it felt like a huge weight lifted from my chest and I was able to really party the rest of the night.  I felt free and more like myself than I had in years. It’s true that at 40 you no longer put up with bull, and you learn to not just make others happy, but to make yourself happy.  So all in all, 40 was a good year!

Kalin Thomas is a television producer and reporter who’s currently working on her first book. The former CNN travel reporter and correspondent is also the owner and creator of See The World Productions, which provides a variety of travel related TV/Video Production and media services to clients.

What epiphany did you have at forty? Share it in the comment section, with our Women at Forty fans on Facebook, or tweet your epiphany to us @womenatforty.

Running Toward Forty, Maybe Too Fast and Too Hard

Today, guest blogger Tricia Amiel speaks candidly about reaching forty. Maybe, a bit too quickly…

Tricia Amiel Getting close…almost there, the golden age of 40.  I’m a single, divorced mom of two boys, and a daughter recently “adopted”, a former student from the high school where I teach.  At the moment, I’m consumed by the notion of transition, making decisions, planning for the life I promised myself I’d have at 40…

Somehow, on my 39th birthday this past July, a clock started ticking.  I remembered that I had stated some years ago that if I didn’t have my life together by the time I was 40, I would find the nearest bridge…  I see 40 as a magic age, when all the mistakes of adulthood thus far have been reckoned with, corrected, accepted, dealt with.  But here I am, less than a year away, and life is a muddy puddle of problems, fears, broken relationships.

So I started a mission… Continue reading Running Toward Forty, Maybe Too Fast and Too Hard