Difficult Conversations Podcast
Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician
Episode 143 | May 11, 2021
Re-Invent Your Life
President of the Sharpe Alliance
Welcome to Difficult Conversations with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Today, I am delighted to have as my guest, Kathi Sharpe-Ross, who is a global brand and lifestyle marketing guru, President and CEO of The Sharpe Alliance and Founder of The Reinvention Exchange. Kathi is a sought-after marketing consultant, speaker, workshop leader, and philanthropist, who has been helping brands and businesses re-invent, build, and communicate for over thirty years. She is a frequent contributor to Huffington Post and Thrive Global and interviewed on podcasts and radio. Having grown up on three different continents, Kathi learned at a young age how to adapt, try on new circumstances, make new friends, roll with the changes, and create new tools to flourish in her world. In her new book, RE: INVENT YOUR LIFE! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? she is empowering people to embark on a journey toward re-invention of all shapes and sizes.
Kathi tells us about her herself and her journey. She tells us about her first entrepreneur experience that started when she was in college, and the meaning behind why she said, “Do it best, do it first, and do it loudest.” We learn how she got her first client by building a network, and the importance of practice and listening. Dr. Orsini and Kathi agree that communication techniques can be taught and how active listening is critical. Kathi tells us about her book, which contains thirty stories and twenty-six power tools. She shares her “A-ha moment” and explains why “knowing your why” is so important, which she talks a lot about in her book. We also hear an awesome story about how she got Quincy Jones to write the forward for her book. Kathi tells us about The RE: INVENTION EXCHANGE, that includes a virtual chat series, blogs, content newsletters, and a podcast she launched in January. We end with Kathi sharing with us the most difficult type of conversation that she’s had and how she navigated through it. If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit follow, and download all the previous episodes to find out more about what we do and how we teach communication.
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Kathi Sharpe Ross (1s):
But, you know, it’s so crazy. So many people could live this life If they wanted to, they just don’t realize that they were entitled. So people wanted to reinvent their life and do something else, have a different relationship, have more spiritual awareness. Work in a different career, there’s a million ways to live our lives. And a lot of people are stuck in a rut. And if you ask the average person around you, are you happy in what you do with your life? Most people will not say yes. I mean, there’s a handful of us that will, and maybe we fraternize with more people that do, but for the most part, people just don’t necessarily feel complete satisfaction in their life or some part of their life.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (42s):
There might be a very specific part of their life where that is in fact, the case.
Welcome to difficult conversations lessons I learned as an ICU physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Dr. Orsini is a practicing physician and president and CEO of the Orsini Way. As a frequent keynote speaker and author. Dr. Orsini has been training healthcare professionals and business leaders how to navigate through the most difficult dialogues. Each week, you will hear inspiring interviews with experts in their field who tell their story and provide practical advice on how to effectively communicate whether you are a doctor faced with giving a patient bad news, a business leader who wants to get the most out of his or her team members or someone who just wants to learn to communicate better this is the podcast for you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (1m 32s):
Well, I am honored today that the, our way has partnered with the Finley Project to bring you this episode of Difficult Conversations: lessons I learned as an ICU physician. The Finley Project is a nonprofit organization committed to providing care for mothers who have experienced the unimaginable, the loss of an infant. It was created by their founder, Noelle Moore who’s sweet daughter Finley died in 2013. It was at that time that Noelle realized that there was a large gap between leaving the hospital without your baby and the time when you get home. That led her to start the Finley Project. The Finley Project is the nation’s only seven part holistic program that helps mothers after infant loss, by supporting them physically and emotionally.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 15s):
They provide such things as mental health counseling, funeral arrangement, support, grocery gift cards, professional house cleaning, professional massage therapy and support group placement. The Finley Project has helped hundreds of women across the country. And I can tell you that I have seen personally how the Finley Project has literally saved the lives of mothers who lost their infant. If you’re interested in learning more or referring a family or donating to this amazing cause please go to the Finley Project.org. The Finley Project believes that no family should walk out of a hospital without support. Well, welcome to another episode of difficult conversations lessons I learned as an ICU physician.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 56s):
This is Dr. Anthony Orsini and I’ll be your host again this week. Today, I am absolutely delighted to have, as my guest, Kathi Sharpe Ross, Kathi is a global brand and lifestyle marketing guru and the founder, president and CEO of the Sharpe Alliance. She is also the founder of the Reinvention Exchange, which we will be spending a lot of time talking about today. As a sought after marketing consultant, speaker workshop, leader and philanthropist, Kathi has been helping brands and businesses reinvent build and communicate for over 30 years. She is a frequent contributor to Huffington post and thrive global and regularly interviewed on podcasts and radio. Although I’m sure none as exciting as this one.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 39s):
Australian born and having grown up on three different continents, she learned at a young age, had to adapt, try on new circumstances, make new friends roll with the changes, create the tools to flourish in her world and treat fear as an adventure. Now in her new book, Reinvent Your Life, what are you waiting for? She is empowering people from all walks of life to embark on a journey toward re-invention of all shapes and sizes. Well, Kathi, thank you. You are so busy. I really appreciate you taking the time to come on today.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (4m 9s):
Oh, thank you so much for having me and never too busy to have the kind of conversations that I feel that really affect and impact our lives. I mean, these are the things that kind of ground us in all the craziness of where we are, what we’re doing, why we’re doing it. So it grounds me in all my craziness and hopefully we’ll do that for others that are listening. So it’s a pleasure to be here.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (4m 35s):
I’m really looking forward. We met by zoom a few weeks ago. I think maybe a month ago. My cousin James is a mutual friend and he texted me one day and he said, you really need to interview Kathi and then get to know her. So I looked you up and I’m like, wow, this will be perfect for the podcast. And we just kind of hit it off. I think we probably spoke for about an hour on the phone and I probably could have hit record.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (5m 1s):
So we would had a chance. Hopefully we can extract some of those nuggets today. So that’s great. And I think, you know, James probably mentioned me because he wanted you to read the book because as if you didn’t know him well enough already, but you know, he is featured in chapter 15 and so, you know, never hurts for him to plug it a little.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (5m 22s):
Exactly. So that’s fantastic. You know, communication’s all about relationships. And in order to build a relationship, you first have to find commonality and really relate to somebody on a personal basis. So I usually like to start the podcast off with having my audience, get to know you. So who is Kathi sharpe Ross. And how did she get here? And tell us about Kathi. We want to get to know you.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (5m 46s):
Absolutely thank you. And the mystery of the universe. Who am I, what I’m still trying to figure out. One of my chapters, actually, my book is called, hello? Are you still in there? Which I think is a great question for us to ask ourselves, but to go a little bit, you’ll notice I have a very light twinge of an accent. I’m Australian. I was born in Melbourne Australia, and when I was 10, my parents picked us up and moved us across the world. And we lived in Israel for four years. And that was interesting because it was actually during the time of the Yom Kippur War. So here I was going from this lovely, pristine all girls school, beautiful neighborhood, you know, very tiny neighborhood that I lived in to living in Israel during a war time, extraordinary life-changing eye-opening.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (6m 32s):
And fortunately for me, we have the means to be able to travel a lot because my father’s business. So I got to see a lot of the world at a very young age and four years after moving there, we moved to the U S and specifically to Los Angeles. So it was a really kind of fun upbringing for me. It was always an adventure. It was a question of where we going next and do I get to make new friends and more friends? And I think I started sort of collecting friends and people at a very young age. And, you know, I pride myself on my very large Rolodex today or databases. We now call it. But I think it’s because at an early age I was, you know, very outgoing or had to be outgoing in order to be friend people.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (7m 15s):
I was always the new girl on the playground and it was really a fun way to grow up and a very open-minded way to see the world, to know what was possible to understand how the other, the other half, but really the rest of the world lived. And just sort of, for me, was sort of really spoke to who I am today. My father was very entrepreneurial. My mother was very spiritual. My mother was teaching yoga when I was three years old. So I kind of had the yin and the yang going and old times in my life. And I have two older sisters and we moved to LA and I’ve stayed living in LA since, but I’ve always considered myself home as Australia.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (7m 57s):
My heart is in Israel. I’m a kind of a citizen of the world because we traveled so much. And I knew when I left college, that for me, I would have to continue to live life in that manner that it wasn’t going to be okay for me to just go get a nine to six job, put on a suit every day and go to work with my head down. That was so not in my DNA at that point. So I very quickly started my own business practically out of college. I was 24 when I started my own company and never looked back and 32 plus years later, I’m still doing the same thing. So it’s really been extraordinary for me.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (8m 39s):
You were an entrepreneur in college right?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (8m 41s):
That is right. I started making jewelry. It was sort of the crazy Madonna era of big hair, big rhinestones, big pearls. And I started a costume jewelry business that I think every sorority girl in college was wearing my jewelry to every function and every event. And that was really fun. And I had another clothing line that I started. And so, yeah, when I got out of school, I had a job, I was making money. I had a business. And so I wasn’t jumping through hoops to do those interviews and go get a traditional job. And so that’s kind of how I started in my career path out of college as well.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (9m 19s):
And your father being an entrepreneur, I bet you, that had a big impact on you.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (9m 24s):
A few tried and true lessons that sort of still resonate in my head today. And I will share one of them for all the entrepreneurs out there that are starting a business. My father always said to us, do it best, do it first and do it loudest so that, you know, don’t look over your shoulder, what everybody’s doing, and who’s trying to catch up with you and who’s trying to surpass you just stay focused, do it best, do it fast as do it loudest and get to market and make a statement. And, you know, I think that applies in a lot of ways to different types of businesses,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (10m 0s):
Keeping with the conversation themes. So now you’re 24, you’re starting your own business and you need a client. So how does that first conversation go when you get your first client and how long did that take you and how scary was that?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (10m 12s):
Well, I was sort of meddling in the business already because I was helping my sister with her company. So I had started to build a network. And when I realized that I wanted to start my own agency, I just started talking to people and literally just putting it out there that I was starting a company. The funny thing about it was that I was also about to take off on a six week honeymoon and I was getting married. And so what I did was I teed up clients saying, I’m starting a new agency. I’d love to bring you on board as a client. I’d been, you know, sort of networking and schmoozing. I mean, I was that person that had got up at six in the morning and went to the, you know, tip networking meetings to meet people.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (10m 52s):
And, you know, I made a living out of connecting and giving out my business card and telling people what I do for living. And it took that kind of diligence. It took creating, you know, go into the chamber of commerce, mixes, getting into rooms with people I didn’t know, and talking to them about what I do for a living. So when I started my business, I actually came back from my six week honeymoon to start working with full clients right off the bat. And it was just really, I guess the gift of the gab, it was communicating, it was putting myself out there. It wasn’t going to happen if I was a wallflower, fortunately for me, I wasn’t. So it was about having a level of confidence in what I knew I wanted to do with them.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (11m 33s):
And in those days it was purely public relations. It was working with media, writing, press releases, putting on events, helping promote them. From there it started to grow very quickly.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (11m 43s):
What advice do you have for that young entrepreneur? You’ve already given some, but what advice you have for that young entrepreneurs, a little nervous about starting those conversations and putting themselves out there and cold calling or going to these meetings, any advice for them?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (11m 58s):
Yeah. Practice. You just have to do it over and over and over again. And you may go to functions and events and be in rooms with a lot of people and not walk away with business cards or a conversation that you thought could turn into business, but you never know. And I was steadfast on the communication. I would follow up with everybody. I would write them a note after I met them within 24 hours thing was so lovely to connect. Let’s hop on a phone call and talk a little bit more, or grab a cup of coffee. If it was a business I wanted to learn more about, I did my homework. I did my research before I got back on the phone with them. I figured out who they were. And I have to say, you know, the internet wasn’t exactly at our fingertips 24 years ago.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (12m 42s):
So it wasn’t as easy. But perhaps there were people that I would know who knew the company or someone who had invited people that would know more. And if not, at least be able to get on the phone and ask them questions about themselves. And often it wasn’t about who am I, let me tell you who I am and what I do and what I can do for you. It was asking them about their business and understanding what they were trying to solve for. So listening, it’s not always about talking. It’s about listening and then being able to go, Oh, now I understand what your business is about, what your challenges are. I’d love to give that some thought, maybe I can come back and we can talk further about how we might collaborate and work together.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (13m 25s):
So there was a lot of that, and there were probably lots of hits, a lots of misses along the way, but not every client is for you either. And yet that client may not work out. And then three months later, you get a phone call saying, Hey, remember we had this conversation. Well, I’ve got a guy who wants to talk to, or I know a person who needs your services. So you just never know where that next conversation is going to come from. And it’s funny because there was a time probably midstream in my business where I would marvel, as I was kind of tracking the three, four, five, seven relationships, you know, they kind of where something emanated from.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (14m 6s):
And so you just never know you’ve got to put yourself out there. And I think you have to have a level of confidence, even if you feel like it’s the imposter syndrome creeping in. And that is such a challenge for so many people. I never knew what that was. I never knew that I wasn’t supposed to be proactively talking about the business and going and doing things like that because that’s what I just sort of created that as my path to build a business and do what I love. Nobody said that you can’t do it. There. Wasn’t all this banter and rhetoric about having an imposter syndrome. So I suited up every day. I literally dude it up every day.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (14m 45s):
I never went to work in a pair of jeans and tennis shoes in my life until this year, literally, or maybe casual Fridays. It kind of seeped into my life, but I suited up every day, ready for business, ready to be serious about what I do for a living and taught my team to be the same way and take it that seriously as well.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (15m 6s):
Getting dressed up every day, even during a zoom call, reminds me of the work by Amy Cuddy. I don’t know if you’re an Amy Cuddy fan. She’s the famous psychologist with the Ted talks.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (15m 16s):
No, I’ve not, but I will make a note too. So yeah,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (15m 19s):
She has a wonderful book called presence and she’s a body language person and she’s showed using actually blood tests and everything that if you stand in front of a mirror for a few minutes before an interview that not only do you do better in the interview, but your stress levels go down in your blood and it’s pretty cool stuff. So getting dressed up and getting ready to go. One of the things that I learned in, I guess it’s 10 years now, teaching communication to the healthcare industry and now some businesses is that communication can be taught. And you alluded to that just now that you know, we can teach people how to do this. Doctors don’t have the reputation for being the best communicators.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (16m 1s):
We can all just admit that. And when I first started training doctors on how to form relationships, how to put their patients at ease, how to give bad news, you know, I remember my boss said to me, you know, Tony, not everyone can be you you’re missing this. And I always remembered that him saying that, and I said, no, I disagree with you. I was a shy kid by nature, and I’ve learned, and one of the reasons why I started this podcast is that I realized that the doctor patient relationship is very much like the leader, employee relationship, the team member, relationship, the client relationship. And so it’s all about communication, right?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (16m 41s):
Yeah. And I think we take for granted what we know and our skillset in certain ways, but active listening is critical. Doing your homework and knowing who you’re talking to and what is important or resonates, or is something that you can relate to each other on is important. I think there was a day where, you know, going on LinkedIn felt very sneaky before you got on the phone with someone. Now it’s almost like what you haven’t looked at my profile before you got on this phone with BG and how much time we’re going to waste talking about my background instead of being able to get on the phone and say, Oh my word, I see that you actually worked at XYZ company.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (17m 22s):
I have a colleague there. I did business with them right off the bat. You’re starting with the common area of interest and doing your homework also really just shows that you’re genuinely interested in what you’re about to talk to. And that you respect somebody’s time
Dr. Anthony Orsini (17m 39s):
And communication techniques are not only able to be taught. What I tell everyone is steal from people. I got advice many years ago, which was the best piece of advice I ever got and says, stop looking at the people who are not good at stuff. And look at the people who are good at it and then steal from them. And I tell people all the time when I’m training, I’m doing communication. I see I’m giving you clues on how to do this, but now that you know, what’s good communication, what’s bad communication. Find somebody. Why is that doctor have 95% patient satisfaction and this doctor doesn’t, why is that person closing sales and why? And learn from that?
Dr. Anthony Orsini (18m 20s):
Why does this boss have employees that will walk through fire for her and the other boss they wouldn’t give her the time of day. So I always say, just steal from them and you’ll learn from the best. So I thought that’s great advice. So let’s talk about the book because that’s what I really want to get to. I loved your book. I know what it takes to write a book and you’re running a massive business. You’re working out of two continents. You just told me it’s three, o’clock your time. And you have a whole bunch of meetings still left. I know how much time it takes to write a book. Cause I have one. First of all, how’d you find the time in, what was the push for you to do it?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (18m 59s):
It’s such a precious story for me because I think this is so indicative of moments that we all have and we either hear them and seize them. And what I call these aha moments when we don’t, we might later in life or the, we may have many versions of this. For me the book is called reinvent your life, what are you waiting for? And about, thank you. Thank you. That was not easy to come up with believe it or not, although it feels so natural. What else could it have been made? Had a working title from day one and then, you know, went through the process that one does just making sure you’re really nailing it. But about 11 years ago, I was having dinner with a dear friend in New York. And because of this kind of fun as I call a playground life that I’ve always had doing what I do with companies and businesses that I love as a global marketing agency, I was talking about how people constantly say to me how lucky I am.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (19m 50s):
You’re so lucky you have the slide, you do what you want. You traveling, having a good time. You seem to be making money or whatever. You’re seeing happy and successful or whatever that means to you, but you seem okay. And I thought, you know, it’s not luck. It’s been hard work since I was in college, as we just talked about, and I never stopped working a day in my life since, and I did choose to engage in a business and a practice that I would enjoy. I did choose to create my own business. It was never a thought to go work for another company. I was courted many times over the years to potentially join venture or be absorbed or be acquired. And I just never wanted to be beholden to anybody else.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (20m 31s):
So that was just kind of, not in the cards for me. And as I was having this conversation and talking about this with my friend, I said, you know, it’s so crazy. So many people could live this life if they want to do. They just don’t realize that they were entitled. So people wanted to reinvent their life and do something else, have a different relationship, have more spiritual awareness work in a different career. There’s a million ways to live our lives. And a lot of people are stuck in a rut. If you ask the average person around you, are you happy in what you do with your life? Most people will not say yes. I mean, there’s handful of us that will, and maybe we fraternize with more people that do.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (21m 14s):
But for the most part, people just don’t necessarily feel complete satisfaction in their life or some part of their life. They might be a very specific part of their life, where that is in fact, the case. So it made me realize that I really felt that there was just an opportunity to share this thinking with people and that if people could put on rose colored glasses and see the world through a different lens, perhaps in fact that they would have this experience. So entitlement became a very big word in that conversation. If we knew that we had the permission or create the permissions within us and around us in a positive way that we could go and do that. So in that moment, I said, yeah, I’m going to write a book about this. And it just came out of nowhere.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (21m 54s):
I, there was I never in my life. I mean, I write for a living because of what I do and I’ve written my whole life in business. So communication has definitely been a skill set of mine, but I’ve never thought, Oh, I’m going to write a book. And I journaled when I was kid, but I had stopped doing that when I was about 15 years old. So there was no more of that. And then even then it wasn’t like one day I’m going to turn my diaries into a book which would make for another, that will be the next book because the stories are crazy, but it was kind of that moment. And I thought, well, this is not really about me and my reinventions. This is about finding all the great reinventors that are out there. This is about curating stories about men and women from all walks of life who have had different experiences, whether out of the opportunity, whether out of adversity to find that aha moment and say, I’m going to pursue that.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (22m 47s):
So for me, the book was kind of a moment like that. I was living that journey for many years. I was writing content, doing blogs for thrive global and Huffington post to start with then thrive global. I was doing speaking engagements. I had a blog and a newsletter. I was putting out there and I created the re-invention exchange, which was a website. And that sort of was my quote media company that I was going to start to build content around. From there as I was writing and writing, I was creating a lot of content and I, there was a book in the works, it wasn’t until I started working with an editor that it really started to take shape. And I was able to hand her hundreds of blogs and articles and content and say, please go make sense out of this and gave her a list of chapter headings and sort of, really sort of the subtext to it.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (23m 39s):
And long story short, it did take 10 years. I was raising my children. I was running a company and I was on nobody else’s deadline, but my own, which I think is really important for people to hear, because there were moments where you’re like, what am I doing? I’ll forget it. It’s never going to happen. Forget it. Or this is a dream. I’m going to do it. I’m not going to guilt myself, make myself feel bad. You know, turn everybody else’s life upside down for this, but I am going to make this happen. And it will happen in due time. And it wasn’t until a girlfriend asked me about six years into it. And she said, why are you writing this book?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (24m 19s):
And I had never thought about that. And funnily enough, I talk a lot about the why in my book, in the conversations that I have on my podcast and my virtual chat series, which is knowing your why, because the moment you understand your, why it pulls you through to the other side of what it is that you want to do. And it’s that reminder on the hard days, the tough days, the busy days, the crazy days, they all forget about it. My dream doesn’t matter. I’ve got to focus on X, Y, and Z. You know, one day, those are the moments when you need to remember your why. And for me, that was the moment with this girlfriend who asked me that very simple question. And I looked at her and I said, you know what?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (24m 59s):
I cannot see you right now. I don’t know. I just don’t. I want to do it. She goes, that’s not enough. And three days later, I called her up and I told her why. And then from that point on, I was on a mission. And within three years that was published
Dr. Anthony Orsini (25m 16s):
Simon Sinek, knowing the why. And she really helped you through it. It took for five years. People kept saying to me, you have so much content, write a book. You have so much content, write a book and look, I don’t have time. I don’t have time. So I started, it took me three years, but writing a book is funny. I said, it I’ve never given birth, but it felt like giving birth.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (25m 36s):
Yeah, definitely and I can tell you that for sure.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (25m 40s):
Kathi Sharpe Ross (25m 40s):
And it’s a beautiful journey and you’re enjoying the moment, but you can’t stop until it’s done. Like you can, you know, stay pregnant forever. You’re gonna have that baby. And you know, I think there are definitely reality checks along the way. And you know, whether it’s the environment, the people around you, the other jobs, we have all of those things, but it’s sort of your baby and it’s yours. And it’s really precious in that moment. Ironically, the moment of my pub date was March 7th last year, which was, as we all know, the very Eve of the pandemic,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (26m 17s):
Oh boy, well maybe good timing because people had nothing else to do to then. Right?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (26m 21s):
Well that, but also re-invention and pivoting has been like, you know, the 11 o’clock news for the last year and you know, weather for store invited. Everybody has had a shift in their life in some ways, somewhere somehow. And so this book is being called the guide book for now. It’s very much between all of the power tools, which are exercises throughout the book. And other people’s stories that just help you understand that if he can do it, I can do it. If she can do it. You know, there’s a bit of that in me having a re-invention in your back pocket, you never know what’s around the corner, personal experiences, all kinds of epiphanies and moments that you can have that again, as I said earlier, if you listen to yourself, you will hear those aha moments.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (27m 13s):
And sometimes it’s just a question of when or how you’re going to act on them.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (27m 17s):
One of the themes that I talk about in this podcast all the time is that every critical moment of your life starts with a difficult conversation. And these aha moments are really the difficult conversations you have with yourself that many people don’t want to have do the?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (27m 34s):
Exactly. And they sweep it under the rug. I mean, how often have you thought I wish I could do this. I really would like to do that. I, you know, we sweep it under the rug and we chalk it up to being too busy, being responsible for all the people in our lives that we either take care of or in service of or whatever that is. Oh, I’ll do it in a year. I’ll do it in three years. But the reality is if you put that re-invention roadmap together sooner, rather than later, you put that money in the coffee jar. If you stop having your Starbucks for five or $6 every single day, and put that money aside, you will wake up into three, four, five, seven years, whatever that might be. And there are short term, there are five minute reinventions might be like, I’m going to learn a language and you download babble on your phone and boom, every time you take a walk, now you’re listening to a new language or there are these ten-year plans.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (28m 25s):
And really long-term things that are going to take mentors and advice and education and research and raising money and all kinds of other things. But if you start doing it in baby steps, there is a way forward. There is a way to do that. And it may seem daunting if you look at the whole picture, but the ability to break that down into little bite sized pieces and to really acknowledge when you actually do those things that you are moving towards your goal, your dream, whatever that is, it’s pretty special feeling.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (28m 58s):
And the book is I think 30 stories, correct people,
Kathi Sharpe Ross (29m 1s):
30 stories and 26 power tools. And I am proud to say that Quincy Jones, the famed Quincy Jones, wrote the forward.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (29m 10s):
You stole my thunder. I have that right, right over here. Tell me about Quincy Jones. Like how did you meet him?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (29m 18s):
So through my business, and it’s really been wonderful to see the way my business has supported what I’m doing on this conversation and how being visible all of this year around this topic where I’m helping companies reinvent their businesses have really fed off one another. But because I was involved in a huge concert event that we did in Rome, about 14 years ago, I had the pleasure of working very closely with him and his entire team and continued then coincidentally, be involved in a major charitable organization called the keep the memory alive foundation, which is affiliated with the Cleveland clinic. And we do an annual event in Las Vegas every year called the power of love.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (29m 58s):
And Quincy was an honorary chairman. And we actually did a huge event years ago with him and Michael Kane. They were both celebrating their 80th birthday days and Larry King who interviewed the two of them. And they were having the greatest conversation about all, about what it’s like to be 80 and what they do to get by and true that, and just the ongoing relationship that we maintained, just managed to have this incredible relationship with him, worked on a couple of other business ventures with clients, brought him in and connected. And when knowing him and his personality, his spirit, and talk about an inspired individual who has just done so much and just dared to dream, it was really special.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (30m 40s):
And I reached out and you know, I come from the school of, if you don’t ask you don’t get.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (30m 46s):
I believe that to the worst that could happen is they say no.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (30m 49s):
And he was at the very first person that I thought of. And I thought, you know what? I’m going to ask him and reach out to his team and to him and ask if they would, and you know, said yes, and then wrote the most beautiful foreword for my book. And just, you know, I feel like almost after you read his forward, it’s like a drop mic moment. You’re like, okay, we’re done.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (31m 11s):
We don’t have to read the book. What I love about the book is that there’s some practical tools. It’s not just a philosophical book. You give practical tools. And I want to talk about those in a moment. But before we talk about the tools, there’s really two kinds of pivoting moments. There’s the conscious conversation that we talked about that you have with your life. And you talk about it in your book where you say, I’m not happy with my marriage. I’m not happy with my job. And you make that decision. I’m going to change something. And then there’s the reinvention as you spoke about with COVID, whereas they say the universe nudges you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (31m 51s):
And we had Kathy Caprino on very early on this and Kathy’s fabulous. And she had a moment where she wasn’t happy in her job and she was very successful. And then one day after 9/11, it was gone and now she had to reinvent herself. So which one’s harder? I think the one that you have to consciously do might be harder. What do you think?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (32m 15s):
You’re right when you’re reacting to something you’re sort of forced into the momentum, right? It shows up and you’re going to get carried along with it. And yes, you have to make very specific decisions and you have choices, or you may not have choices. I believe we’re all at choice. Even not making a decision is a choice about things, but the momentum that it takes to proactively create a re-invention moment in your life can be equally hard if not harder. And that’s because it takes everything that you’ve got to change the course that you’re on. Whereas in the other case, something is already changing it for you.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (32m 56s):
It’s just a question of where you go with it and which direction you move. So I do think that what we don’t realize individually is that we do have the power and the ability to shift the course that we are on if we need to or so choose to. And, you know, you can be at the top of your game and love what you’re doing, but still create beautiful reinvention moments in your life, create an add and enhance the things you’re doing. It might be spiritual. It might be personal. It might be hobbies. It might be relationships, but really looking at where we may not be as fulfilled as we’d like to be. I mean, I think, you know, we’re all guilty of looking at social media and going, Oh, look at their fabulous life.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (33m 39s):
And I wish I was doing that. And I wish I had that. And I wish I could go there. And you know, I mean, who, hasn’t had a moment of some sort, and that’s not a very healthy place for any of us to live because clearly those people are only posting the good moments and not all the hard moments that got them there, perhaps. But I think it’s really important that we give ourselves the grace to question. And I mentioned this at the beginning of the show that, hello, am I still in there? Am I living the life that I really want? And who did I want to be when I was 12 or five or 18? And I, you know, I speak of a story of you want it to be a rock star, but maybe haven’t picked up a guitar in 30, 40, 50, 12 years, whatever that is.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (34m 27s):
But what if you picked up the guitar and, you know, buy one on eBay, go on YouTube and take lessons. And maybe the guys down the hall or the gals down the hall that have working with you, your colleagues feel the same way about life. If you will, and you put a garage band together and you’re playing on Saturdays, you may not mind coming to work every Monday anymore because you’re going to have a skip in your step. You’re going to nurture your soul. There’s a story in the book about the man with the violin, Scott, who works at Mattel and had this amazing job. And, you know, he would go literally decided he wanted to play the violin and would go across the street and sit in the park and practices violin every day because that nurtured his soul.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (35m 11s):
And that was his thing. And there’s more to that story. It’s precious, but just the fact that he recognized that he could do something like that for himself, just because
Dr. Anthony Orsini (35m 20s):
You really got to get moving. My Jewish friends out there are probably gonna call me after they hear this and tell me that I got it wrong. That grew up in a neighborhood. There were a lot of Italians, a lot of Jewish. And I think the Jewish saying goes, if you’re dreaming, wake up already. And I love that, you know, stop dreaming and doing right. Yeah. Well, that’s it,
Kathi Sharpe Ross (35m 42s):
You know, that tagline on my book, what are you waiting for? We’re never too old. It’s never too late. There are so many parts for our lives that we can explore more wholeheartedly. And I think fortunately in the last year, that big pause button, which I speak so much of throughout the book, it’s given us that ability to just kind of take a breath, whether it’s one less week, because I’ve been vaccinated, I’ve been out or five nights in a row, all of a sudden go, Whoa, wait a minute. Where’s my quiet time gon you know, how did I so quickly go back to that schedule? And it’s not a regular thing, but obviously there’s a lot of opportunities right now to do that a bit more.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (36m 23s):
And I think we just need to remember that we need to remind ourselves that it’s okay to take a breath. It’s okay to sit and listen to ourselves, to take a walk, to pause, to just reflect on what we are doing with our lives and question what else we might want to do. And it isn’t too late at any point to create what we need or want to have around us or within our lives.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (36m 48s):
Yeah. Your book is very inspiring and tell us about the re-invention exchange and how does that help people who really read your book and they want to take it to the next step.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (36m 59s):
So the website where you mentioned exchange, it was created to really have a place for communication content I have in the last year, when, well, when I couldn’t do my book tour because of the pandemic, I decided to bring the book tour to me. So I launched what was called the reinvention virtual chat series. And I was doing them three times a week for the first, probably four months, summer came along and I thought, okay, who on earth wants to be on front of their computer on the Saturday? And the weather was getting nicer and people were finding ways to get outside with their masks on during the summer. And so I scaled it back to long story short.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (37m 41s):
I’ve now done 84 re-invention virtual chat events since March, which is basically a reading from the book. It’s an interview, but the fabulous guest, it’s a little Q and A, I call it a little business therapy, a little personal therapy, and it’s become a regular place on Tuesday afternoons for people to come on a zoom live call. It’s also on Facebook live. And all of those are actually on the website on the re-invention exchange. So lots of great guests in there. And then I launched a podcast in January and all of the podcasts can be found on every podcast platform, but they’re also there. So it’s kind of a catch-all for blogs, content newsletter, inspired thinking other people’s websites that have inspired content.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (38m 27s):
I want to curate these conversations that help other people figure out what resonates for them, what aligns for them, who they resonate with so that they can just fill that inspired moment to kind of go, Hey, I guess can do this after all. Or I never thought about it that way or geez, that’s how she did it. I’m going to do that to talk to people who will, you know, Wolf of wall street, kind of people who just, you know, had this crazy life. And now a professor at NYU friend who was living the crazy agent Hollywood life, who decided to open a very small boutique retail concept, did it for a year, discovered that it really wasn’t what she thought it was going to be for her and went right back to what she was doing, but in a better version of it.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (39m 14s):
And so there is no wrong, there is no failure. It’s really about finding your way forward. As a matter of fact, the more things we learn along the way when things kind of go, oops, that wasn’t how I planned it even better. That’s how we learn. That’s how we grow. That’s how we learn more about ourselves and evolve as human beings. And in our life,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (39m 36s):
This book is really a large majority of this podcast. Audience is from the healthcare profession and we all know how hard they’ve been working, especially lately, even before the COVID crisis. You may not be aware but burnout among healthcare professionals at an all time high, up to 60%. And that was before COVID physicians had the highest rate of suicide of any profession. And we often joke that every physician now is looking for a side gig and it is very common for physicians as they get older to start thinking about reinventing themselves, you know, in order to become a physician, you, I mean, I was laser focused, right? I couldn’t wait to graduate college.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (40m 18s):
Then there’s four years of medical school and another seven years after that, and you’re dedicating your life to medicine and I love every minute of it. But as you start getting up there in age and you start to feel that burnout. So your book really speaks, I think, to the doctors and nurses or feeling I really love this, but I can’t do this till I’m 70. You know, and, and in many ways, this fulfills me this communication training and doing these podcasts with you. So I think you’re really speaking to the healthcare professionals right now.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (40m 49s):
Thank you for that opportunity. Because for me to know that some of what we’re talking about is going to resonate with someone who’s going to say, wow, I never really thought about it that way. And yeah, what could there be in my life? I want to keep doing what I’m doing or how do I an earth other passions so that I can have other things going on in my life that will make me feel more fulfilled. I mean, that’s an honor for me to know that I may, in this conversation with you touch other people’s lives in that way,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (41m 18s):
And you touched mine as I read it, it was, everything was resonating. And you know, and it doesn’t mean that you’re giving up medicine. It just means there’s something else like playing violin on the bench. It doesn’t mean. So I think you’re really speaking to a lot of people in this audience. So thank you. I’m not sure if I warned you about this question during the pre-interview, but I asked this question to every guest, as we finish off with it, what is the most difficult conversation that you’ve had or type of conversation that you have, and please give us some advice to the audience on how you navigate the most difficult conversation.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (41m 56s):
Well, you know what I think what’s difficult is when I’m having these conversations with folks and I’m very, let’s say Pollyanna about, Oh, you can go out there and create your own life. And I think the hardest thing for me to hear in those conversations is when someone says, I don’t know what my passions are, and I don’t know how to put my finger on what else is possible. And I don’t have the answer to that. I really don’t. What I do have is I think tools to help people open up their mind, their heart, their soul, their psyche, their memory banks, you know, hello, am I still in there and exercises to help explore what those things will be, but it, it is a hard conversation because it all sounds great until that one person feels that way.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (42m 54s):
And they’re like, okay. And I’m just going to stay here forever because I can’t even figure out how to figure out what I might be interested in doing. And I want to have the answers to that. I want to be able to say, Oh, just, you know, go to the book page 25. It’s not that easy. That’s the individual work that people need to do. And I can’t be there to do it with every one of them to help them work through it. I think the tools open up a lot of that thinking combined. I wish I could do more in that space. And that would be kind of a hard conversation for me.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (43m 29s):
That’s a hard conversation when people say, Kathi, I’m just stuck. I don’t want to do this, but I’m just stuck. But what I like about what you said in the book is you may not be timing. This might not be the right time, but you could still do something little, right? I mean, you don’t have to, you know, get divorced, quit your job and run away to Alaska. You can take little things at a time.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (43m 50s):
Absolutely. And you want to be careful that you’re not impacting other people’s lives in a negative way. You’re being thoughtful. And you’re accountable to one another. If you’re in a relationship that, and this is also a challenge for many that, you know, they’re going to go to a partner, a spouse, the kids and friends, and say, Hey, I’m going to embark on this journey. And most of them are going to look into the you’re out of your mind. So those are the people you don’t want to be listening to.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (44m 19s):
Absolutely. So Kathi, this has been so much fun.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (44m 20s):
I loved this conversation.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (44m 22s):
Every time we speak, I have a great time. I feel like I’ve made a new friend and I hope maybe we can work together someday, but we’ll definitely keep in touch. I promise my audience the same thing every week to be inspired and to learn valuable communication techniques. And you’ve certainly fulfilled that promise you made my job really easy. I thank you again. What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?
Kathi Sharpe Ross (44m 46s):
Way to reach me is a catchall is the reinvention exchange.com. My marketing company, my global marketing company is called the Sharpe Alliance, but the website is just Sharpe Alliance. And that’s S H A R P E Alliance. You can access me through all social media. So it’s Kathi Sharpe Ross or the re-invention exchange on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. So pretty easy to track down. And I welcome anybody who wants to reach out. And my book is available on Amazon and Apple in ebook or in paperback. And if you get it from me directly, which you can do through the website, I will autograph it. And I even had branded face masks that I am sending to everybody is a little extra gift.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (45m 34s):
Dr. Anthony Orsini (45m 34s):
I bought the Kindle version. Maybe I’ll get the hard copy, hint hint.
Kathi Sharpe Ross (45m 38s):
I’m going to definitely be sending you the sign copy. with a mask.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (45m 41s):
Thank you. And all those links will be on the show notes. So if you’re driving, please, don’t try to write them down. This has been amazing. If you enjoy this podcast episode, please go ahead and hit follow. It used to be subscribe, and now it’s follow. And please download other episodes. If you’d like to hear more about The Orsini Way and what we do, you can reach me at Theorsiniway.Com. Thank you, Kathi This was amazing
Kathi Sharpe Ross (46m 5s):
So much for having me and I can’t wait to have you on the re-invention virtual chat series.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (46m 12s):
I’m excited. So thanks again. And we’ll be in touch real soon. Well, before we leave, I want to thank you for listening to this episode of difficult conversations lessons I learned as an ICU physician, and I want to thank the Finley Project for being such an amazing organization. Please, everyone who’s listening to this episode, go ahead, visit the Finley Project.org. See the amazing things they’re doing. I’ve seen this organization literally saved the lives of mothers who lost infants. So the find out more go to the Finley Project.org. Thank you. And I will see you again on Tuesday.
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