“A person who inspires is a person who changes the world in a million ways they will never know.” – Sheri Salata
A budding talk show host doesn’t often get big chances. But what if you get to interview the former Executive Producer of the Oprah Winfrey Show and the President of both Harpo Studios and the OWN Network? You take it! Sheri Salata may be the author of the fabulous bestseller The Beautiful No, but for me, this was a Beautiful YES!
And what an apropos time to share her wise words.
Life is unpredictable. It goes to the beat of its own drummer. It’s up to us humans to adapt along the way – to learn to sing a new tune. At this very moment, we are experiencing one collective “Aha” moment as most of our lives have hit the pause button. Our proverbial universal treadmill has forced us to hit the emergency brake all at once, leaving us scrambling to find our way into some semblance of a new normal.
Who could have predicted this moment? Certainly not me. Yet, one thing I know for sure (wink wink, Oprah!) is that even in this crazy chaotic cosmic soup of uncertainty, there’s an awful lot of divinity happening. A slice of that divinity is showcased in today’s Mastering Modern Midlife Podcast with Sheri Salata, a woman who sat alongside Oprah Winfrey as the Executive Producer of the Oprah Winfrey Show. Sheri is the epitome of the Modern Midlife woman in the process of her own personal reinvention – an intentional reinvention. She made a conscious choice to leave her dream job in a dream world, a conscious choice to hit the PAUSE button big time to begin designing her life, her way.
I had the great fortune to meet Sheri in person at an intimate dinner and book signing in LA. Her latest reinvention includes adding author to her expansive resume. Sheri is the author of The Beautiful No: And Other Tales of Trial, Transcendence and Transformation. Think of it as a Modern Midlife Playbook chock full of wisdom, insights and valuable tools to implement during our collective time out. Perhaps this beautiful universe has our best interests at heart. Perhaps this gigantic global Pause moment is exactly what we need – wide open white space to be filled with intention to redesign and redefine this “Middle Life” – this juicy part of our lives waiting to ignite our hearts desires.
Back to life and its unpredictability. Sheri and I shot this show last fall. We planned to release the season a few months ago before I was sidelined with a severe case of pneumonia. Forced to hit the pause button and spend time recuperating, we’re finally releasing it now. It couldn’t be more perfect timing. It feels like divine timing to me. Why is that? Sheri is loaded with wisdom. She hit the pause button long before we did. Her book, “The Beautiful No” and today’s podcast are like having a personal guide, your very own sherpa, ready to light the way for you – to help you to see this time as an opportunity to begin creating your life your way.
It’s a bit serendipitous as we link arms globally in this collective moment as we social distance together. Many of us are searching for hope, for light, for inspiration – for a fierce warrior to the light the way and guide us through. Sheri is that warrior. She’s fierce. She’s courageous. She’s raw, real and vulnerable. Her 20 plus years in the Oprah Universe allow her a unique vantage point on life. Her spiritual tool box is overflowing with tools, tools she openly shares with our viewers and her readers. She has lived in Oprah’s powerful orbit surrounded by just about every mystic, master, inspirational author and enlightened guru on the planet.
It isn’t every day that you have the opportunity to interview a woman who made magic happen alongside Oprah Winfrey. “The Beautiful NO” is Sheri’s personal journey. It is chock full of “Middle of Life” wisdom. It’s witty. It’s inspirational and insightful. It’s a mixture of light and dark. It’s the essence of fierce vulnerability. On this show, Sheri talks about “stirring the fires of hope.” Isn’t that what we need at this very moment?
Sheri has her own perspective on Midlife. Rather than calling it Midlife, she refers to it as the Middle of Life and “red zone territory.” It’s a pivot point, a time when a woman shifts from being a seeker to becoming a finder – from without to within – from searching outside ourselves for the answers, to turning within where truth resides. Overtime, Sheri’s definition of success has changed. Her new definition includes a life of meaning and purpose. It also requires you to live your life at center stage – to be the star of your own life! If you aren’t the star, who will be?
I believe many of us were surprised to learn that Sheri chose to walk away from the Oprah Show – from a dream job and career many of us couldn’t begin to imagine. That takes Moxie. Sheri is about as Moxie-ful as they come. She opens up about sensing a “quickening”, a feeling of urgency, to hit the pause button to create the space she needed to begin building a new life, one on her terms.
Today’s show is exactly what we need in our global, collective pause. Sheri describes the process she went through – not so different from the process many of us are experiencing at this very moment. Given all this white space, this freedom, what do we do with it? How do we fill it consciously, intentionally and begin creating an “integrated life.” Sheri’s story helps us to see that sometimes receiving a “NO” is the biggest YES the universe can give us. Sometimes NO isn’t the closing of a door but the opening of a window. Sometimes, being forced to pause is exactly the gift we need to begin focusing on ourselves and creating the life of our dreams – the one that lives in our hearts – the one that’s been waiting for us to accumulate life’s gift of wisdom from the first half and integrating it into the second half. Now, that’s a beautiful life.
You find out more about Sheri’s work and message, including her fabulous podcast on her website, Sheri Salata.