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‘Clinton’s Thriller Novelist Venture Is A Lesson In Reinvention’

This is the headline that caught my eye the other morning, as I was squinting at my iPad on my balcony in the early spring sunshine, which was making it hard to read the headlines as I caught up on the news in preparation for this digest.

This wasn’t click-bait, but something I felt a deep interest to explore further. Which Clinton has become a novelist? Well, that would be Hilary.

Why not become a novelist? Why should that be branded as a reinvention? After all, she has already written seven books. However, reinvention is not for everyone and also it's probably quite uncommon at 73 years old. But I wondered further: 'reinvention' may simply be someone exploring a hobby or interest from their past. From an outsider’s perspective, it may look unrelated to the protagonist's life or career, and yet, the roots could be deep.

Typing these words just now, I realised that I got a front-row seat to the reinvention of a septuagenarian when my father closed his medical practice to enter the Faculty of Theology at Geneva University, at the bright young age of 75.

Thanks to his life travel and experiences (more on that another time), he could speak Hebrew fluently, so found himself more at ease than most studying the Old Testament in the original text.

I remember him telling me he had had a very strong faith and was moved to become a protestant minister in his teens, plans which were suppressed by his mother who treated him to what I heard described as 'a year of silence' until he changed his mind. With good grades in science, a deep love of the natural world and a desire to connect with people, what else could he become other than a young communist and then a doctor - in this order?

Back to Hilary. Did she harbor dreams of becoming a novelist at a younger age?

With the notion of reinvention pulling at me, I considered my most recent podcast, fresh from the oven, with communications coach Dr Andrea Wojnicki. Upon discovering each other's shows and a common interest for all things communications with a side of psychology, we decided to interview each other.

After having read up a bit more about me, Andrea warmly branded me a 'renaissance woman' which I thought was a deeply flattering term. Now I should note that I may have been unclear about what it meant until I looked it up this morning. Renaissance - from the French - renaissance, means born again, right? Sure, I do find myself to be someone adept at reinvention and relatively comfortable with change, technology, etc. Looking it up though, I saw the synonym 'polymath'. It felt like an invitation to explore the theme some more.


Like my father, although a few decades before him, I reinvented my life when I went freelance, with the 'work from anywhere concept' as its cornerstone.

At the same time, I found myself deeply thirsty for more knowledge, and I started to throw myself into online courses. One at a time back then, I now am binging online classes as if they were Netflix shows. The 'Learn-from-anywhere' platforms were barely emerging and I could see the huge opportunity, for me, a new lifelong learner.

In building my working week, my agenda, I challenged myself to find a way to fit in my passions or interests, as opposed to only prioritising client work. It's still not that easy by the way, the internal dialogue tends to rationalise against my personal interests.

Exploring this today, I remember that as a teen myself, I was a very keen reader of a wide variety of texts including novels, philosophy, and psychology. I gobbled up Freud's early texts, particularly his studies around hypnotherapy, as well as American and Scandinavian thrillers, whilst lounging around in the garden trying to tan my obstinately white skin. Back then, essays were my forte, and I wrote eloquently in French (sadly this bateau has sailed). Shortly after, profoundly disenchanted with university courses, I dropped out, and never finished my degree in Philosophy, English and Psychology. I was far more interested in singing and working for a living.


Fast forward to my 200-hour yoga teacher training, which in my rational mind was linked to deepening my practice and an eventual opening of a studio in the future. During the course, what I fell in love with was yoga philosophy, cosmology, the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras and non-dual Kashmir Shaivism.

Somehow, I was following my instinct, even though my understanding of how these different passions would blend into my life and my work was still fuzzy. Of course, the resulting podcast, Out of the Clouds, is one of the expressions of this blend, as is this newsletter.

Some people find it hard to understand what I do - or even what I did - because I have held various roles, from Saturday girl to general manager to head of global communications. So depending on what title they remember, they'll describe me as being a business or a communications person for example. It's a bit confusing indeed because I guess that as per my earlier title, I am a 'generalist'. I did a lot of a lot of different things: a lot of PR, a lot of social media, a lot of sales strategy, a lot of business development and partnerships. But technically I am not a PR per say expert, I’m not a digital media marketer, I am not a VP of sales... you get the drift.

I am a well-rounded blend of all these roles that I took on over the years, which is why I probably feel comfortable connecting the dots between people, across departments. Such diverse and also in-depth experiences offer a different perspective.


As I advance in the development of my studies, and my work, I realise - as you may have - that I already sit quite squarely between business, communication and mindfulness. I've certainly done the 10,000 hours of the first two and I haven't counted the third, but I am well on my way there. And thanks to the thousands of hours of music I played, I come to you via audio as well.

Research supports that switching between skills and subjects is good for us. After a few hours of effort, our brains reach a saturation point. Same apparently about solution finding. Doing a couple of hours of Italian (or cooking, a course in Photoshop, substitute as you wish), will boost our overall productivity. It also may land us to bold new ideas and even breakthroughs, as we start to excel in more than one discipline. And according to recent studies (and this Observer.com article), people with ‘too many interests’ are more likely to be successful. The good news: it’s easier and faster than ever before to learn a new skill.

Last summer, one of my Bento Society buddies mentioned a post, from Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, one of the most popular comics of all time, which touches on the modern polymath. No surprise then that it popped up in my research this morning.

Quoting from Michael Simmons, in his Observer article:

‘Scott Adams, [...] wasn’t the funniest person in the world. He wasn’t the best cartoonist in the world, and he wasn’t the most experienced employee (he was only in his 20s when he started Dilbert). But by combining his humor and illustration skills while focusing on business culture, he became the best in the world in his niche. In an insightful blog post, he nails how he did it and how you can too:

If you want something extraordinary [in life], you have two paths:

Become the best at one specific thing.

Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things'


That is a question that was asked in a workshop I attended recently. We’d been given a fantastic interview of jazz bassist Christian McBride to colour or open our perspective with his creative lens. He dropped some knowledge around how he would blend ‘licks’ (in his words, obviously) from r&b or other musical genres in his jazz performances. I felt the connection in his example.

So to the previous questions, my answer is that I imagine that we sound integrated; more whole. We pull from any or all the facets that make up our prismatic personalities, we become more genuinely ourselves. Because all parts have their place.

So I guess somehow, in my own roundabout way, I found a path to pull from most, if not all, of my own parts, merging my earlier passions with the experience I have gained, and am paving my way to another form of my renaissance future.

So here’s to pulling all our parts together, being a modern day polymath, reinventing work. And to life-long learning.