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Well, hey, there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and as always, I am absolutely thrilled that you’re tuning in. I know you’ve got a lot of options when it comes to podcasts, so the fact that you’re tuning in today means the world to me, and thanks for doing so.
Okay, so, here’s the deal. Where are my Oprah fans out there? I feel so silly saying that because isn't that everyone in the whole entire world, or is that just how my mind works? I mean, I can't imagine you not being an Oprah fan. So if you are a die-hard Oprah fan like I am, then you would have watched the docu-series called Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes. Ah, it was so good.
So if you watched it, then you remember a woman named Sheri Salata, who is an executive producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show and also co-president of Harpo Studios and OWN, Oprah's network. She is a powerhouse, to say the least. I remember watching Sheri and her bulldogs, because there was a scene where she was at her house, and she was waking up in the morning, coming into The Oprah Show, and I was watching her, thinking, “How does this woman do it all? How does she keep it all together?” She was amazing. Well, guess what. She still is amazing, and she's on the show today.
So, Sheri, is real and raw and smart and funny. She’s one of those girls that I just want to go over to her house and have a glass of wine with her and laugh and talk and tell stories. That's the kind of woman she is. And at the same time, she's so frickin’ smart that you want to listen to every word she says. Well, you can listen to a lot of words she says because she just wrote her first book. It's called The Beautiful No: And Other Tales of Trial, Transcendence, and Transformation. And we're going to talk about her life transformation after working with Oprah for 20 years.
Besides being a new author, Sheri is also a podcaster. She co-hosts The Sheri + Nancy Show—you'll hear me reference it, like, four times in this interview because I frickin’ love it—with her best friend, Nancy. It's a really fun podcast to listen to, and they talk about an approach to life that they call The Pillar Life. So check that out, too. It’s really, really good.
But before we get there, a few things. Number one, as always, a listener shout out. So this is a shout out to RB5934—I know that’s weird, but that’s their name on iTunes—who left a sweet note and said:
“Amy and I aren’t strangers; we’re just friends who haven’t met yet. She always knows the perfect thing to say to encourage listeners and to truly equip us with the tools that make me want to pursue my dreams. I'm always so much more motivated to work when I know how to do a good job. And Amy provides all the steps. I love that as I'm listening to Amy, I can tell she's smiling as she teaches.”
I am. That's like my little secret. I always try to smile when I teach.
“That's the sign of someone who truly wants people to succeed, and that's why she's my very fave. You're awesome, Amy Porterfield, and I'm so thankful for your trainings.”
Now, look, it’s a little bit weird to sing my praises on my podcast, but I like to do these shout outs because, first of all, thank you so much for writing them. Thanks for taking the time to do so. And also, I just really appreciate you finding the value in what I do, and I just want you to know that it truly lights me up. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Okay, before we dive in, a quick word about our sponsor for this episode. I've been getting a lot of requests to do an episode about LinkedIn because many of you have realized it's a powerful platform that will help you attract your ideal customers. So that episode is coming in the near future. As a precursor to that episode, let's talk about LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
When it comes to marketing your business, it's all about reaching the right audience at the right time, and connecting with them when your message will resonate the most. So if you want to target your customers where they're engaging every day and when they're ready to make a decision, I want you to consider LinkedIn. So when you advertise on LinkedIn, you are attracting potential customers and fostering relationships that often translate into high-quality leads, website traffic, and higher brand awareness. Now, with a community of over 575 million professionals on LinkedIn, you have access to a diverse group of people searching for the things they need to grow professionally. So LinkedIn has the marketing tools to help you target your customers with precision, down to their job title, company name, and industry. As you know, better targeting equals a message that will resonate at a deeper level, which, then, in turn increases that trust factor. In fact, four out of five customers who are on LinkedIn are decision makers at their companies, so if you can build those relationships, you can see some incredible traction with your LinkedIn ads.
So, here's the deal. If you want to redeem a free $100 LinkedIn ad credit and launch your first campaign on LinkedIn, go to linkedin.com/amy. That's linkedin.com/amy for your free $100 ad credit. Terms and conditions apply. So there you have it. I hope you'll take LinkedIn up on their very special offer, and then let me know what you think.
Okay, so, let's go ahead and jump in. Sheri, welcome to the show. I'm so excited to have you here.
SHERI SALATA: Amy, this is a red-letter day for me in my life.
AMY: I love it. I love having you here. I am a huge fan. I absolutely love your podcast, and I love everything that you're putting out there, but I especially love your new book, The Beautiful No: And Other Tales of Trial, Transcendence, and Transformation. So, first of all, congrats on the book.
SHERI: Thanks, Amy. Oh my gosh. It’s my first time, so it is quite a big deal.
AMY: I bet. I mean, can you believe how much work went into this book? Every friend I have that wrote an amazing book says, “Holy cow. That was all the blood, sweat, and tears I have in me.”
SHERI: I feel a little bit like I’m walking through the world without skin, if that gives you any idea.
AMY: Yes. Okay, so, that makes me not want to write a book. However, when I read your book, I thought, “Oh, I get it. I get why she had to write this book.” So, we have so much to cover, but if it's not so weird, I was hoping I could read just a little bit from the opening of the book, chapter one, page one. Can I go there?
AMY: Okay, so, guys, listen up. This is what it says. It’s really short.
“It’s eight thirty a.m. in the morning, and I’m still in bed. Bella and Kissie, my English bulldogs, are snoring in unison. Outside, birds chirp in what sounds like an a capella choral arrangement, interwoven with the far-off buzz of neighborhood lawnmowers. Haven't heard those sounds on a weekday in ages. I feel as if I've woken up in another dimension. Where am I? Who am I? What's happening? The sun is up, morning has broken, and I have nowhere to go, nowhere to be. My calendar is empty for the first time in decades.”
Ah, that just hit me. I mean, that is a powerful opening, especially knowing that you are 56 years old on that morning, you had just retired from your dream job—executive producing The Oprah Winfrey Show and running OWN—and you call it day one of life after Oprah.
SHERI: That’s right.
AMY: Oh my gosh. I’m, like, right there with you.
SHERI: I just got chills.
AMY: It’s so good. That opening is just brilliant. Okay, so, you got to just take me there. Really quick, give me just a flashback, like, a day in the life of Sheri Salata before that day happened. What did that life look like?
SHERI: Well, really, Amy, there were two different lives. By the time I had risen through the ranks and was the E.P. of The Oprah Show—the executive producer. And I was the executive producer for the last five years of the show—that kind of life was, oh my gosh. You know, people say, “Well, it's not brain surgery,” when they're trying to kind of put you in your place of how important you think you are. But for those of us who worked with Oprah on The Oprah Winfrey Show, it sure did feel like brain surgery. It felt like we had millions of people all around the world who were counting on us, and certainly, for me and the staff, we felt that Oprah was counting on us, and we took that charge very seriously. It was a sacred trust for us.
So, that life was very much like seven in the morning until ten at night, we taped two shows a day, and they were like primetime specials. And in between those tapings, we were preparing for the next day, the next week, the next month, and the rest of the year. And all weekend long, things would be happening because life happens—people have to cancel, movie stars can't get into town. And it was quite a ride. And I have to tell you that it was maybe one of the—next to running a 7-Eleven—the most stressful job I've ever had. It was really tough.
AMY: I can imagine. I know—and I need to put this out there, and I already said this in the intro—I know that my time with Tony Robbins was a sliver based on what you did at Oprah. I realize that. But I often tease, being in that environment with a high-energy person, going, going, going, I feel like I might have lost a few years off my life.
SHERI: For sure.
AMY: Yeah. So, I can only imagine if I felt that way, what you would have felt like in this humongous position that you held.
Okay, so that was your life then. We’re going to talk about what happened afterwards, but before we get there, I want to talk about this book because you were actually Oprah’s Book Club producer at one point, and now you’ve actually published a book yourself. So, two questions: How did you come to the place where you decided to write the book, because that’s a really big decision? And did your role as being a part of that Book Club producer and being the producer there speak into how you actually wrote the book? Like, did you learn some things along the way?
SHERI: Well, honestly, I would say, I have so much respect for authors because of that Book Club experience. I hold them in reverence. So, I mean, the crust for me to think that I have something to say _____(11:14). But in a wonderful, meaningful conversation with a literary legend, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, and Karen Rinaldi, who is the publisher and editor of Harper Wave, an imprint of HarperCollins, they felt like I had a story and I had something to say, and I actually did, Amy.
I felt like—listen, people think that, like, I hatched out of an egg, and I was running Oprah's companies. But nothing could be further from the truth. I was 35 years old on day one at The Oprah Winfrey Show in an entry-level position. It was about the third, fourth, or fifth time I had started completely over since graduating from college. And up until that moment, I felt like a total and complete failure, I was broke as could be, and I had begun to think that dreams just don't come true.
AMY: Okay. I need everybody to hear that because when I was doing my research and I read you were 35 and you had just started the position in an entry level, I thought every single person listening needs to hear that. You get to reinvent yourself at any time. You get to start over at any time. And you are proof because you did it again when you were in your fifties. So, you are such proof that you can always be following dreams and doing things differently. Okay, so that part pretty much blows my mind.
Now, I do have a question for you, and then we're going to get into some of the specifics of what life looked like afterwards, but when you thought about writing this book, and people came to you and said, “You've got a book. I know you've got a book. We want to publish it,” when did you realize you had a story in you to tell?
SHERI: Well, I’ve always been a writer, and I've been a storyteller since I could stand up in shoes. So the art of storytelling, storytelling was always a part of my life. And I was always a bit of a producer, and when you're writing tales, you're also a bit of a producer. So that's kind of been the B-track of my life is storytelling. Nothing moves me more than when somebody gets really vulnerable and in a funny, humorous way kind of reveals their foibles and their lessons. And I thought, “Wow. I’ve got a bag of those.”
AMY: You tell such great stories in this book. I mean, you guys have to get your hands on it.
But, okay, so, I've got some questions for you. You decided to do some deep soul searching and reinvent your life to be your own dream-come-true life. I love what you wrote in your book. I got to read—I'm a little bit obsessed with the book right now—but I got to read one more part. You said:
“It takes courage to choose to dream rather than simply to continue down the same path. For many of us middle-of-lifers, we have thought and behaved our way into such big ruts that we don't even know we're stuck in them. We can't see how routinized”—
Did I say that word right, routinized?
SHERI: Yeah. I say routinized.
AMY: I like routinized better.
“We can't see how routinized our expectations have become.”
Okay, so talk to us about your process of reckoning.
SHERI: Well, here is the truth. Let's break down what a rut really is and why it's so insidious and dangerous. The truth of the matter is, Amy, you don't know you're in a rut until you're out of it. So you can spend years in it. And I had the kind of career that people would pluck out an eyeball for, but, oh my god, once I was out of my rut and raised my eyeballs up and saw what was going on in the world, I thought, “Wow, you can even have that career-lottery-win kind of job I did, and still, for ten years, it's the same way to work, the same way home from work.” And you get into these routines where you don't even realize you’ve choked off the life force from running through your own body, that you do everything the same way because there's no time to think up anything new. And it's not until you force yourself to jump the track and your head goes up over those _____(15:30—canyon-y) sides and you breathe new air, and you say, “Wow. Life is much more interesting than I thought.”
And for me, that was, like, I’d wander in—I thought everybody was going to be my friend, and this is shortly after I left OWN. I walk into the bank, “Hi, friend. Hi, everybody. I’m Sheri,” and thinking that we're going to be friends, and I'm going to see you, and we're going to get to know each other. And that was such a fun thing for me because for years my beloved assistants would run to the bank and cash checks for me because I couldn't leave my chair. And I’d go into coffee shops, and I'd see these entrepreneurial people literally running empires from their laptops or writing screenplays from their laptops. And I thought, “Wow. This is a whole new world that I had no idea this was going on.” And that's what it felt like for me. When I broke out of that rut, I thought, “Okay, here's the truth, girl. You've had a dream-come-true career, but you do not have a dream-come-true life, and you are going to have to do a serious reckoning with the tenderest of hearts to get to the core of the kind of life you really dream of.”
AMY: Oh, so good. So good. I know there are so many people in my audience that can relate to this idea of waking up and realizing, wait a second, something's not right her. And also, a lot of my listeners talk about playing it safe, and we have this theme this year that we keep talking about, going big and being a big deal, because it's so easy to play it safe and choose the path of least resistance. So it does take courage to make a big change in the direction of your life. So what can you tell someone listening who is hearing your story, and they want to make a change but they're frozen in fear, or they don't even know where to start?
SHERI: Well, this is one of the things. So, my podcast co-host, Nancy Hala, and one of my best friends of thirty years and my business partner, my entrepreneurial business partner, she raised two great kids. She had a freelance writing business and brand strategy, and she and I were sitting there—we used to call it Chardonnay dreaming—on our second or third glass. We'd really say, “What is it you want? What is it you want?” And, you know, we both were kind of like, okay, we've got some really strong areas, but we haven't made our dreams come true all the way. And we came up with a mission statement, and it was this: it's never too late to make the rest of your dreams come true, and if not now, when?
Now, mind you, I had a front-row seat to the most prolific wisdom keepers of our time, Deepak, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Yamma, Marianne Williamson, the list goes on. And the little footnote to that meant, for me, was, and if not now, maybe never. If not now, when; and if not now, maybe never. And that's the thing. You only get a now. You get the day you wake up in and that's it. You know, tomorrow is not promised. And I think, you know, for me and for many people who are in this frozen moment, there is a part of you that started to believe that you can't dream big and that you can't have the life of your dreams. And what I know is true is that we're all supposed to live the life of our dreams. And so for me what that means is I need to excavate and figure out, what are those things that create the joy ride for me? What's personal for me? Because that's the path to the life of my dreams, and it's true for everybody.
AMY: Okay, so, you've actually done a lot of work, so I'm glad you're talking about this, because you've done a lot of work to kind of figure out what you want. And at one point in the book you said that you were in the desert at a detox spa, and you learned the key to renewal was letting go. So talk to us about one of those lessons you learned along the way.
SHERI: Well, listen. I was in a shamanic ceremony in the middle of the desert, and I was like, “What in the hell are you doing, girl?” But I started to realize as the chanting began and the desert-y winds were blowing that, okay, here’s going to be one of the secrets to your new life, Sheri. You have to let go of your hurts, you have to let go of your heartaches, you also have to let go of the top-of-the-mountain experiences. In order to start with a fresh page, you can’t be clinging to this past. You can’t be, like, always about the past and, like, “Well, at least I did that,” or holding onto resentments and grievances. You are going to have to let go of everything and clear the slate and start to stir that dream pot again, just starting to get that little bit of hope that everything you want can manifest.
AMY: Okay. This is good. Letting it all go. So, tell me what you said again about you have to let go of the top-of-the-mountain moments.
SHERI: Well, listen. I could cling to that I was the E.P. of The Oprah Show, until the cows come home. You can hang quite a few hats on that statement. And Lord knows, that opportunity and those experiences changed my life forever. It was as good as you imagine. But also, too, to begin to forge my own way and a new life and my own company with Nancy and our podcast and writing a book and creating a whole new vision for my life that isn't surrounded in to-do lists and strangled by to-do lists, really, it's like you got to let go of all of it.
AMY: You have to.
SHERI: It was great, and you appreciate every minute of it, and now it’s over. So what are we doing today?
AMY: Okay, so, that actually perfectly leads me into the next question I wanted to ask you, which was about your entrepreneurial journey with Nancy. So one of the areas of your life that you wanted to rewrite was your work life. So you discovered that your best friend, Nancy, and you had lots of dreams that converged, and one of those was work related. So talk about how the two of you embarked on the entrepreneurial journey that you did. Shout out to Nancy. I love her dearly, and I love listening to your podcast together. You girls are so much fun together. So how did that all come about in terms of the work stuff?
SHERI: Well, listen. This is how serious we took—we made our work making the rest of our dreams come true and making radical self-care our number-one priority. That was going to be the move. That was going to be the business we would build. And if anything professional came out of that, well, that's great. And we took it so seriously that she literally moved out of her condo at the beach and moved into one of my guest rooms at my house in Los Feliz, with her dog, Percy. And every morning, we'd get up and say, “Okay, what are the pillars of our lives? What are our dreams in these pillars? How can we make our friendship intentional and support each other and upliftment to make those dreams come true?
And I have to say, that, I think, is the new way. It's the new way to relate to people. You know, it's the only conversation I want to have, Amy, is what we're talking about now. That old way of commiseration and getting everybody to agree that, yes, in fact, your life is miserable and you've been wronged by everybody you know, that's not the path to the life of your dreams. I can say that for sure.
AMY: Amen, sister. Amen. Okay, so, in the book you wrote:
“Every bit of content we create is about the helpful ideas we are uncovering as we begin rising up in our fifties to manifest new dreams.”
Okay, so, where we have a similarity is, I only teach what I do and what I know. I don't teach anything that I haven't tried, been in the trenches and experienced. Now, I teach marketing, so it's very different than yours, but that's why I love what you do because you all are doing it, and then you're reporting back. So, first of all, it’s so cool. I recently listened to the podcast episode about the green lifestyle with Keto.
SHERI: Yes. Keto Green.
AMY: Keto Green. So good. I absolutely loved it. But you and Nancy were talking about, look, we're going to do this. We're going to report back in a month. We're going to tell you guys about it. And to me that's the best type of business you can create, where you're living it and sharing it. And so you've done that.
But here's the deal. You were in a whole different world, and my listeners who feel like you can't make this change into the online world, listen up. You were in a whole different world. Now you're in this world where you're creating a website and a podcast. And I know this personally because you and I got to have a talk about a year ago or so about list building. And at the time you're like, “I don't understand what that's all about.” Like, you were starting from scratch. How the heck did you figure all this out?
SHERI: Well, that’s the dream, that someday we do figure all this out, Amy. But honestly, no, it is really a crackup, I mean, I have to say. There were times in all these different categories. You know, I had teams and teams and teams of professional, trained, motivated experts and people and staff that were figuring all this out.
So, here's the truth. The truth is, Nancy and I are not tech savvy, and we don't want to be. So once we uncovered that, then we realized, okay, we know as much as we know. We're probably not going to become super technophiles, so let's start reaching out and availing ourselves of the tools that there are online. For instance, as you know, I've taken two of your courses. Here’s what's hilarious. Everybody else I'm sure is doing it all digitally. I've got to print out the PDF’s and put them in three-ring binders—
AMY: My kind of girl!
SHERI: —with a highlighter because that's how I learn. But you really can avail yourself. There is the most fantastic information on how to build things. And also, here the truth is, Amy, is that I spent years and years with that very masculine energy of got to make it happen, make it happen, pushing boulders uphill. And in this new phase, I really want my energy to be magnetic. So, my philosophy is I want to do what I love with people I love for people I love. And if it doesn't fall in any of those categories, I'm not interested. So now it's more of a flow. It's more of a flow. My life is more integrated. I don't have a work life and a personal life; I have one life. And I work to make that one life the life of my dreams.
AMY: Oh, we can learn so much. All of my listeners, we can all learn so much from this philosophy that you're living by, because you've been in the other place, you know the difference, and you're walking the talk, which I love.
Now, I want to talk about a topic that you and I have both struggled with, and we've both publicly talked about it, which is weight and issues with our weight and struggling with weight loss. And you go deep in your book about your journey. But one thing I loved and would like you to share with my audience is how you came up with a list of words to help you rewrite your story around physically taking care of your body. So tell us about that and how it ties in with your overall mission statement.
SHERI: Well, for sure. When I did my reckoning, I’m like, “Okay, you had a front-row seat at Dr. Oz for years. And you know the information. You don’t need one more bit of information, girl. You need to decide that someday is today,” because everything would get put off to my someday list—I’ll quit smoking someday, I will go plant based someday, I will—and I would have ferocious workout things. I'd train for half marathons and go through that grueling thing for eight months, and then when it was over, it was over.
So I had to switch my story. My story about working out involved gruelingness, struggle, I don't want to, maybe next Monday, I don't enjoy it. I’d just repeat that story over and over and over to myself. And what I realized, and this was true, it’s true of my body as it is of my love life or anything else that I really wanted to manifest new dreams in. And I was like, “You have got to start telling a new story. You are a storyteller. You have told some of the most important stories on the planet. So tell yourself a new story about why this matters to you, and come up with a new language that inspires you instead of depletes you.”
So, I just found words I liked. They were words like power—I love the word power—and strength and resilience and flexibility and renewal and transcendence and recovery. And when I'd start to tell myself that story, then, all of a sudden, I could lace up my tennies and go out to that workout and think, “This is who I am now. It isn't what I do. This is who I am. I am now a woman who is a worthy steward of her own well-being. And I'm not perfect, and I backslide all the time, but overall, that's where I'm headed.”
AMY: Ah, so good. And this whole idea about, you mentioned the mission statement, and you say that the stories we tell ourselves are what makes our dreams come true. So, you're saying if I tell myself a new story, that's like my mission statement of who I am and what I'm all about, and that's how I'm moving closer to the dreams that I want?
SHERI: That’s right. That’s right. And that’s where you have all the power. You're choosing your thoughts. And, you know, sometimes we think our lives are thinking us instead of we're thinking our thoughts and creating our lives. And it's just not so. We are—our thoughts our creating our lives. Our thoughts are creating outcomes, our moods are creating outcomes, and the sooner that we can begin to put some focus on that and some care around that and choosing our language so carefully and really looking and seeing what voice am I allowing to play in my head; is this the nasty, judgmental voice that tears me down all the time that I'm so familiar with? Or is it the tender voice that says, “Come on, let's go. You can do this. You feel better when you do this.” And it's super important which voice you give airtime to.
AMY: Super important. So true. Okay, so, that leads me to another area of the book, very similar in the sense of I was reading it, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is me,” more so than I’d like to admit. And you talked about this idea of misery being your compass. You said:
“Feeling awful was my only trigger to make a change. I had unwittingly”—
How do you say it?
AMY: I don’t know what my problem is today. “I had unwitt—“ I can’t do it, Sheri! Say it for me.
SHERI: “I had unwittingly made misery my compass.”
AMY: Even better when she says it.
SHERI: I remember that one, yeah.
AMY: And that is exactly how I do. It’s almost like sometimes I tease I’m like a caveman, where I have to touch the hot coal—“Ooh, that’s hot”—and then I touch it one more time—“That’s hot”—and then, I’m like, “Okay, I’ve burned myself enough times. I’m going to stop doing that. I’d rather not touch it at all.” Is that possible? Are you saying that's possible?
SHERI: Yeah. What I'm saying is that, first of all, awareness is everything, as you and I both know. And I was not aware that I had made misery my compass. I just would keep going down the wrong road until I was so miserable I couldn't get out of bed, and then I'd be like, “Oh my god, I'm so depressed.” But the truth was I had many, many signals and red flags earlier on that, whoa, this isn't the happy road. You're not on the joy ride now; get back on the path. I would take—and mostly, like, career stuff, I would stay in a job, and I would turn a job that was meant to be a stopgap to pay some bills into my path to retirement, instead of seeing it for what it was and saying, okay, but what's my real dream here?
And it was a really long time, and it was probably sometime once I was inside The Oprah Show, and I was filled with happiness. Every day was a happy dance for a long, long time. And what I realized is, oh, this is how it's supposed to be. You make happiness your compass, not misery. So when happiness is your compass, you are keenly aware of what feels good, and what feels good is almost like your connection with the divine, the force, or however you define it, guiding you and leading you toward where you really want to go.
And so I was like, “Okay, that feels good. Okay, that was fun. Okay, that felt easy. Okay, that was fulfilling. Oh, wow, that felt really meaningful.” Those are all your clues that you're going down a road where the destination’s going to be lovely and wonderful, and vice versa. So I would just ignore all those signs that, “Wow, this is really miserable. Wow, this does not feel good at all. Wow, I am not happy one little bit.” I would just kind of gloss over it, as you described, Amy, and keep marching down the road because I’d already put the time in, and I can’t quit this job now because I have two thousand dollars in my 401(k).
AMY: Oh my gosh, I have so been there. I’ve so been there. I think we all need to look at those areas of our life. Why are we telling ourselves we need to stay with something or stick with something if we genuinely, you know in your heart and your gut when it’s not right anymore and it’s time to make a change. So, I love the idea of happiness is your compass, and I’m really going to take that with me, because that’s one area I can definitely work on.
Okay, so, tell me this. The book is called The Beautiful No and it comes out next week, so you can preorder it, and I’ll tell you guys how to get your hands on it. But before we get there, I really love the reason why you called it The Beautiful No. Will you talk to us a little bit about that?
SHERI: Well, that title story is the story about how I got the job at The Oprah Winfrey Show. And what the beautiful no was, the show had already rejected me years before. I had applied to be a promo producer. They said, “No, I'm sorry. You're not what we're looking for,” and they said it nicely. And I'm sure I wasn't what they were looking for. I was an agency producer spending three months on a thirty-second spot, and in television, you're turning things around overnight. But still, I felt a little humiliated. I was disappointed because I was like, “It really felt like I was supposed to be there. Okay, well, let me keep on down my advertising road and let me keep going.” And I was up for a big, huge job at a big agency. It was a juicy, sexy job. Tons of money, great benefits. And I was literally down to my last nickel.
I mean, it was so bad as a freelancer because I was not good at it. “Hello, this is Shari. Will you give me work?” And people would be like, “Yeah, we’ll call you in a couple of weeks.” “Yeah, okay. I may be home. I might not be.” You’ve got to be a real good salesperson to do that, and that was not my gift.
And so, there I'm at this big interview, and I'm like, “Okay, this is great.” And he says, “You're the perfect fit. Give me a couple days to pull something together.” And that night, I literally celebrated at a victory party with my friends. We were popping the champagne corks because I had no money, people were bringing me casseroles. I was nervous that I was really going to go right down the tubes. And of course, a week goes by, nothing. More time goes by, nothing. I get a letter from the advertising agency that says, “I'm sorry, we're not hiring right now.”
And I have to tell you, at that point in time, I was 35, and I had started over more times than even seems possible. And I was about as low as I'd ever been in my life. And I was like, “Well,”—I opened my hands. I'm like, “Well, I don’t even know what to say now. I just release all this. I don't know what's going to happen, what's going to become of me. But nothing seems to work out.”
And shortly after that, there was a new message on my answering machine, and it said, “Hi, this is so-and-so from The Oprah Winfrey Show. We were cleaning out an old closet and found your résumé. Will you come in and talk to us about freelancing here?”
AMY: Come on.
SHERI: Yeah. It’s a total miracle. A new person was hired. She wanted people with more advertising experience. And honestly, years later, I had this epiphany. And I'm like, “You know, if that guy had hired you for that fancy job, and you had gotten that big salary after being so scared about how you were going to pay your rent, you never would have quit that job to freelance at The Oprah Show. You would have told yourself I need security.” And so then I realized, oh my god, that was the most beautiful no I've ever gotten in my life.
And, Amy, what I began to realize as I looked through my life, the events of my life, and the people I love, and even people I meet now, it's like tell me about your big heartbreaks. Tell me about the times when life really kicked you in the gut and you just didn't think you could go on, or you felt ashamed or embarrassed or scared. And every single time those no's are beautiful, because those are the very things that kind of propel us, get us to turn, propel us, to the road that really holds the treasure.
And what I realized for myself is what spiritual growth and what a way to make happiness my compass, if in the moment of that no I can already know it's beautiful and spare myself the three months of heartbreak and disappointment.
AMY: Yeah. I was just thinking that. I thought, when you say all this, I think about all the times that I got the no, and okay, it was for me, it was happening for me not against me, but the real work is in the future when I get the no, and to sit with it and say, “Okay, this is a beautiful no, and I'm going to treat it as such.” That's kind of life changing, not to be dramatic, but it is.
SHERI: Yeah, it really is. I just used it. I just used it at an airport counter the other day when my fifth flight was canceled.
AMY: I saw that on ____(39:02).
SHERI: I'm like, “Can I get on another plane?” She said “No.” And I went like this, “Okay, beautiful-no girl.” You know? And here's the truth. When you're talking about air travel, I don't want to see what would happen if I would have gotten on that plane. I'll take the no, and call it beautiful.
AMY: Exactly. Okay, guys. The next time you get the no, you say out loud, “Well, hello, there, beautiful no. I see you. I see you.” Okay, that is just a great lesson. If you take nothing but that from this episode, that’s where we’re going to wrap it up because I feel like we all can grow in that, right there. That can make such a big difference.
Sheri, I loved the book. I’m going to tell everybody to read it. The Beautiful No, it comes out next week, June 4, but it’s available everywhere books are sold for preorder now. So, guys, in the show notes, I am going to link to where you can grab the book. You can preorder it. So if you go to amyporterfield.com/265, I’ll link to the book so you can preorder it right now.
And then also, Sheri, tell people where they can learn more about you, because you’ve got the book, but you’ve got other things going on. So where can they find out more about you?
SHERI: I encourage everybody to come and listen to me and Nance at The Sheri + Nancy Show on all podcast platforms. That’s a lot of fun. And our digital platform is thepillarlife.com.
AMY: Thepillarlife.com. We’re going to have to have you back because that’s a whole other conversation that I want to dive into, those pillars. They’re so good. So can we have another conversation down the road?
SHERI: Yeah! Oh my gosh, absolutely.
AMY: Great. I can’t wait. Thank you so very much for being on the show. It was truly a treat.
SHERI: Thanks, Amy. Thanks, everybody.
AMY: Okay, so, there you have it. I hope you loved this interview with Sheri as much as I have. Get your hands on this book. I think you're going to love it as much as I have.
Now, I hope you’re subscribed to this podcast because I do not want you to miss an episode. So if not, go do that right now. Subscribe to the podcast because I want you to get a notification when next week's episode comes out. Why? I'm going to share an unconventional copywriting method that is a game changer for writing promotional material. So if the thought of copywriting has you wanting to run the other way, join me next week because this method flips the script on traditional copywriting. I can't wait to see you there.
And before I let you go, I wanted to remind you that LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is our special sponsor for this episode, and they're giving away a $100 LinkedIn ad credit so that you can launch your first campaign. Go to linkedin.com/amy. That’s linkedin.com/amy to get your $100 LinkedIn ad credit and get going with your first campaign.
And I've been getting so many questions about LinkedIn because it is definitely a place where you can laser focus on your perfect, ideal customer Avatar, and you can get down to the job title and the company name and the industry when you're targeting your audience with LinkedIn. You can't do that anywhere else. And remember, people are on LinkedIn, searching for the things that they need to grow professionally. So if you feel that your business is a good fit for LinkedIn, do not skip this opportunity. One more time, linkedin.com/amy.
Okay, guys. Thanks again for tuning in. I can’t wait to talk to you again, same time, same place, next week. Bye for now.