Jul 10, 2023
Hear why a big part of life is having a life worth living, even at work.
Today I spoke with Lori Pine, a 25-year corporate VP turned certified executive leadership coach. What Lori teaches us is something we maybe all innately know but often don’t recognize: that a big part of life is having a life worth living. To many executives on that hamster wheel, this is a big statement. Yes, moving up the ladder and advancing your career are certainly worth pursuing, but we shouldn’t overlook the importance of self-care. As Lori tells us, creating a community, finding soul connections, doing simple acts of kindness, and just simply getting enough rest are all part of the path to a happy life. Listen in, learn and share!
Watch and listen to our conversation here
In our conversation today, Lori touched on several key insights we can all learn from:
Andi Simon: Good day to all of our fans out there. I’m so excited to do another podcast. Remember, you have brought us to the top 5% of global podcasts, and so I can’t thank you enough for being such a great share because you take the podcasts and share them with others and they get opened all across the world. So my thank you.
Today, I’m On the Brink with Andi Simon. I have a wonderful guest for us. Lori Pine is a beautiful woman who’s here to tell you about how she can help you do what I like to help you do: see, feel, and think in new ways so you can get off the brink. Let me tell you a little bit about Lori and then she’ll tell you about her own journey because you’re going to be fascinated by how life is not in a straight line, as you know, and hers curves and twists and so can yours.
So who is Lori Pine? Lori is a 25-year corporate VP, turned certified executive leadership coach. And that’s not without importance here. She helps female executives establish healthy leadership pattern practices with the goal of creating thriving professional and personal lives, working with global powerhouse brands like Anheuser-Busch, a Coca-Cola company, and Campbell’s Soup. Lori learned firsthand the preciousness of being a woman on the rise. And today with Lori’s guidance, clients can develop curated action plans that prioritize self-awareness, empowerment, and even a little self-care, allowing them to spend more time enjoying their lives and this time not feeling stuck.
So she’s going to tell you her journey because it’s a really cool one, and then we’re going to talk about how she can help you see, feel, and think in new ways so you get off that stuck-in place. And whether you’re an executive or a rising executive, you’re going to find it very interesting to listen to Lori. Lori, thank you for joining me today.
Lori Pine: Thank you so much Andi for having me. I’m so glad to be here.
Andi Simon: Tell our listeners: who is Lori Pine, how did you get to where you are now? Because the journey is an interesting one, important for them. It tells people who it is that we’re listening to. So who is Lori?
Lori Pine: So I’m a girl from Maine. I grew up in pretty humble beginnings. Small town, one traffic light. My family owned a restaurant and so I grew up with a really strong work ethic, close Irish Catholic family. And I couldn’t wait to leave. I had big dreams. I wanted to see a city, I wanted to see the world. And as soon as I was done with college, I was off on a plane and I really had aspirations to be a corporate VP, to climb a corporate ladder, to see the inner workings of business and companies and to have an impact, to work with smart people.
I wanted to work on big projects and all of that, to experience what was out of the state line of the state of Maine. And I really got to do that. And from Maine, I went to Tampa and then I would go on to seven more states and it was a tremendous career, in working for three really big global brands and the training that came with that and the people and the friendships and the experiences. I mean, I got to do everything from go to the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia to every imaginable NCAA final four to the Super Bowl that you can imagine with some of these big brands.
And in the meantime, I really wanted to be this female who made other female relationships and helped other women rise. But you know, if you think about it in the nineties and the two thousands, this was kind of a new concept and there was a lot of competition and there was a lot of, who’s going to get the job? Is it you? Is it me? And with finite positions, it wasn’t always friendly fire. It’s a limited number.
We can operate in an environment like that if all we do is work, but that’s not all we do. We’re human and we’re having personal lives as well. So I would go on to get married. I would have two children, and then I would also go on to get divorced and become a single mom for seven years until I ended up remarrying. And there were times in there where there were some really dark times where I was crying myself to sleep at night, not knowing who I could turn to, not knowing who I could trust.
Then 11 years ago, I lost my mom. When your world starts to kind of fall out beneath you, you start looking around saying, where do I turn? And I don’t know if I just wasn’t aware of the coaching industry or they just weren’t presenting themselves to me, but I wish that I had had a coach who I could have confided in and trusted, who understood what it was like to be in my industry and in my workspace, to really help me get through some of those dark times, sleepless nights, knotted stomachs, big presentations. But I didn’t have that.
So learning to navigate all of that on my own brought me to an experience two years ago where I was in this corporate VP role. We were in a global pandemic and my youngest son was really struggling through the pandemic. It became kind of this pivotal moment for my family where I actually made a decision to become a stay-at-home mom when he was 17 years old. And it was one of those experiences and moments in time where I never could have predicted it. If you had told me it was going to happen, I would’ve told you, there’s no way. But here I was and it made all the difference in the world for my child and for our family. And it gave me some space to hire a coach and to say, what do I want to do next in my career? And so here we are today.
Andi Simon: How interesting, because you’re talking about your perspective of that rising star in a corporate environment that challenges, amongst others, men and women, for fewer and fewer slots. Sometimes they complain that the pipeline has nobody in it, and sometimes they don’t realize that they jumped off because it wasn’t exactly a great journey to get someplace.
And did you really need to be there, but sometimes you don’t know who you are and what you’re looking for. And that sounds like your epiphany, which was, oh man, where am I? Why am I doing this? Is this really me or what I want to do? Your aha moment was a catalytic moment with your son and that transformed him and transformed you. Because now you are a life executive coach, correct?
Lori Pine: Yes.
Andi SImon: And in that training, I have a hunch, you went through your own self discovery, did you not?
Lori Pine: Yes, for sure. And I have been on a journey of self discovery for probably two decades. You know, when you go through a divorce and your children are two and four, you kind of say, I need to be self-aware of what is happening here. So it had been almost a two decade journey of self-discovery. But in my executive coaching program at Rutgers that I went through about a year and a half ago, it took me through some really profound exercises with my cohort and the instructors and you’re taught to really ask these profound questions. And some of those questions are like, wow, unnerving. So yes, it gets to some really deep stuff.
Andi Simon: Well, sometimes we can only move forward not by going backward, but by going inside. It was in that room inside. And I have a hunch in your executive coaching now, you help women do the same type of dig inside to know not the past, but where the future is coming. Am I right?
Lori Pine: Absolutely. You know, I think the therapy field really works on the past. That’s not my expertise. It’s an inside job and that’s what we really try to cultivate.
Andi Simon: Well, in that process, what are some of the things that you’re discovering? You don’t have to cite anybody, but I have a hunch that the process itself is a bit abstract for our listeners or our viewers. So what does an executive coach like yourself do? You’re not helping them grow the business, you’re helping them grow themselves.
Lori Pine: Yes. Grow themselves, understand themselves. You know, who am I, who really am I as a person? And where am I willing to bend and where am I not willing to bend? Where are my boundaries? For a busy, either rising star or executive, where’s my self care? I can’t be all work, I can’t be all mother, I can’t be all wife. I need some self care of my own. And, what does that look like?
And I really talk to my clients about that., I’m not just talking about a day at the spa or a mani-pedi, I’m talking about your boundaries, your ability to say yes and your ability to say no, that are to things that are meaningful to you. Your ability to be able to discern when somebody’s taking advantage of you and to be able to identify your ability to raise your hand and ask for help and not to see that as a sign of weakness. Also, your ability to be able to speak your truth in a way that’s not whining or complaining, but it’s your truth. And to do that so that it comes across empowered.
And so just those things alone can be impactful and change a trajectory for somebody. One of the things that really was important to me as I built this coaching practice was, I really thought about the young woman I was who was crying myself to sleep at night, who didn’t know where to turn, who was so busy that she could hardly eat lunch at my desk with a Diet Coke and a bag of pretzels. And to think about that time-starved, energy-starved person who’s probably now Googling at night or watching something on TikTok for a solution. But what she really needs is somebody to hold her hand who’s been through it and knows what she’s experiencing. And so that’s really what I’ve tried to do.
Andi Simon: You know, you mentioned to me before we started about resilience, a tremendous amount of discussion about women’s resilience now, and you had some ideas about how you help them believe that they can be resilient. You clearly found a pathway that wasn’t easy.
What are some of the things that stressed-out women should think about to allow them with or without a coach to begin to resolve some of these complexities? Some can afford a coach, some may not even know where there’s one, as you did. But, I have a hunch you can give them some wisdom.
Lori Pine: Yes. You know, I think it’s important to have a group of like-minded women that you talk to, that you surround yourself with, whether it’s a networking group or a peer group in your work. Lots of HR departments have employee resource groups to be a part of something where there’s like-minded women that you’re talking to a friend group, where you’re going out and you’re talking at night and you can share: Hey, here’s what’s going on.
Those soul connections can be just so enriching to our whole life. Andi, you have those groups in your life. I know you do. So that is the opposite of isolation. You know, when we stay isolated, there’s very little room for resilience because we stay really stuck. So to get out of the isolation, to be in connectivity, to be in collaboration with women who are very like-minded, that helps with resilience.
Also, a simple act of resilience is to rest. Sometimes that’s very counterintuitive for us. We don’t want to rest. We want to keep on going because that to-do list is so long, but simply getting eight hours of sleep can change everything for us.
The science of well-being, that’s the most popular course I took. I had to. The Denver Mental Health Center is my client and they said, before you work with us, you have to take the science of well-being. As I listened in…remember these are Yales, they worked really hard to get into Yale and this is their most popular course, because they’re depressed. I laughed.
So what does she teach them in the science of well-being? This is all in your hands. This is not that hard. One of the first things is acts of kindness. They gave people money and said, You can keep it or give it away. The people who gave it away had a huge soar in their well-being. And those who kept it had nothing.
And they did it in Africa. And the same thing happened. It was human, not a particular culture. And then they found that not only acts of kindness, but gratitude are things that we know. You send out three notes at the end of the day and your self-worth goes up and their happiness goes up as well. It doesn’t take much to have a gratitude diary. Oprah will sell you one for $29. Or you can just do things that give you gratitude.
Like you’re saying, you must eat and sleep. The human body needs peace and they need exercise. And it is a mystery to us why we’ve put ourselves in such a bad state. Bad enough. We’ve lived alone during the pandemic and we haven’t been able to get out and have community, but we really haven’t realized that it puts us into a depressed state. We have no one to talk to.
Humans are hurt animals. We need to have other humans. We need to celebrate with them. Share with them. And, I have a hunch, both you and I, between our spouses and our family, realize that the community doesn’t fatigue us. It enriches us. So one resilience tool I have is, build a community of friends you can trust, and enjoy them. Yes. And don’t live alone if you can help it.
Andi Simon: Agreed 100%. You know, the opposite, the end of it gets to be burnout. And we’re hearing so much in the media and Harvard Business Review about these studies on burnout and that seems to be like the end of the scale.
In terms of this resilient scale, when we get to that point of burnout, it’s as though we’ve left ourselves so untended for so long trying to please everybody else that there’s nothing left in our gas tank. So at some point, we have to stop and say, how do I put fuel back in my own gas tank? There has to be a flag in the ground with all of the things that you just said and a sense of worthiness that says, I’m worth it.
Lori Pine: I am disturbed that corporations, like the ones you talked about, whether it’s Anheuser-Busch or Coca-Cola, don’t realize that they have a responsibility to allow and enable their employees, men and women, to have a life worth living. And part of that is having some time, some community. Those ERGs [Employee Resource Groups] are far too formal to be communities.
People are getting community fatigue. This is not a mystery for them either. And so a little note of gratitude coming from a senior to a junior person is not so terrible. And beginning to get people to have a little lunch together and just sit and talk about life or the baseball game with women and not to keep them out of that beer party on Friday night that the guys go out to. Bring them in, even though they have to go home and watch their kid play soccer.
I mean, there’s a time now for a cultural transformation. Employees have earned the right to control the environment in which they are working. Employers, if we want to keep the talent better, wake up to see this is a new world. And if you don’t take stock soon and do something, does anyone at the large companies actually think about your behavioral health, your mental health, your well-being as part of their job?
Andi Simon: Yes. I think that they did. And I think that there were certainly initiatives for that, but it became very much a mixed message. So on the one hand, they’re thinking about it: there’s programming, there’s initiatives, and then on the other hand, every two years, like clockwork, there was a reorg. And there was a restructuring and people were let go and it created such anxiety. Were you going to be let go? Were you going to have a job? Were you not going to have a job?
But the flip side of that was, were you going to have a job without all of the support of the people who were just let go? And so every two years you were going through this learning curve of either a new role or learning to operate with fewer people. And this whole mantra of, We can do more with less. And, you can until you burn out. And so it always contradicted the other. And that became just an expectation that this reorg was coming, this downsize was coming.
Lori Pine: That all of corporate America seems to buy.
Andi Simon: You know, with the advent of AI and the fear that this is going to lead to job changes, if not job losses, I think we’re going through the next transformation, which makes the work you’re doing for women and perhaps for men too, extremely timely. And how do we prepare for them?
I teach a program on the fast-changing times. How do you adapt to thrive in fast-changing times? Because the times are not getting slower. And if you don’t understand why change, humans hate change, they like their habits. They would rather do yesterday’s today rather than think about learning something new. So that’s who we are.
Now the question is: the times are changing and now as you look forward into the future, do you see anything coming that you can share, other than how you’re going to help people to survive in this?
Lori Pine: Yeah. I think that openness, willingness, kind of setting aside everything we think we know, is how we’re going to operate because it is coming so fast. I mean, if you just think about what’s happened in the last decade, how much technology has changed, how much all of our working styles have changed, what the pandemic alone did to working styles. Now hybrid work, hybrid work in-office work.
I mean, every day there’s a new article about hybrid versus remote versus a hundred percent in the office and which way is it going? So I believe it’s willingness and openness and the more we can educate ourselves, certify ourselves, and be willing to pivot, it better prepares us.
Andi Simon: And maybe a little executive coaching could help you prepare to pivot. Every two years for the reorg and now the reorg’s every day. Life is a reorg.
Lori Pine: It does feel like that. And if you look at the headlines, somebody’s reorging. Some major companies are reorging every single day. 10,000 jobs, 12,000 jobs, 25,000 jobs. So it’s happening right here. And people are afraid right now. So how do people preserve themselves, help themselves?
Andi Simon: Wonderful. Lori, this has been such a pleasure. Can you share with our listeners even two or three things you don’t want them not to forget?
Lori Pine: They have more autonomy and power than they think that they do. The answer is within, it is not without, it is within. And self-care is more than a mani-pedi. We can learn to take care of ourselves in many ways that are life-changing,
Andi Simon: Those are just beautiful. I was hoping you would say those for our listeners and our viewers. You know, Lori has gone through her own great transformation. Her journey has been not without bumps and bruises. And now she’s here to help you see, feel and think in new ways so that you can get resilient. But the times are changing and how do we prepare ourselves for something that people by and large, humans hate change. Lori, how can they reach you if they’d like to talk to you?
Andi Simon: I think that’s just great. The joyful CEO I think is so much fun. For my listeners, thank you for coming, as always. I truly appreciate it. Many of you have gotten my book Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business or On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. So many of you have called and emailed and thanked us for the wisdom we try to share.
My new book comes out in September. You can pre-order it now. And I urge you to, Amazon loves pre-orders. It’s called Women Mean Business, and it’s under Andi Simon. And it is a time for us to realize that women do mean business, not simply because they’re moving up that ladder, but because they’re building businesses that are productive and financially very remunerative and really successful in different ways.
They lead differently, they see the world differently. So we have 500+ insights from leading women in that book, ready to help you turn a page and change your life. It’s a time for change and you’re going to enjoy it. Lori has a great smile. Lori, thank you for coming today.