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Photo credit: Kristina Leonardi

At the end of December 2009, I felt unusually annoyed with so much chatter about New Year’s resolutions — mostly having to do with diet and exercise — when the timing was just not right for so many reasons. Because of our consumer, materialistic society, especially here in NYC, the majority of folks operate out of harmony with the flow of nature and give in to the pressure and/or blind credence to an arbitrary calendar and overall commercial hoopla to their detriment. For some reason, that year it pushed me over the edge!

Back then I had been coaching professionally for just over two years, which overlapped with running The Women’s Mosaic, so I hadn’t spent much time or effort marketing or creating my own coaching/speaking brand, but it was getting to the point where I should have at least had some sort of newsletter. I basically decided to channel my frustration with the New Year’s shtick by saying, OK I’ll write this down and send it out. And that, my friends, is how PGG was born on January 5, 2010, with the essay New Year’s Message: Don’t Believe the Hype (which you can see didn’t make it on to my website until April 4, when I finally realized I should have one!).

I never thought of myself as writer. I’m somewhat dyslexic, barely read books, have terrible grammar/syntax and a limited vocabulary. (Looking back, I did like essay writing and research papers in school, although those seem very different to me.) But I had something to say. I had a built-in audience from my clients/TWM and needed content. So I wrote. And got some positive feedback from that initial blast.

I kept writing each week. Each one took me a long time — initially I gave myself a limit of 500 words. (Clearly I gave that up after a couple years!) The topic had to be relevant to the season or what was happening in the world. Every essay took me a minimum of 8–12 hours to write and edit, and it could be painful! It became the only thing I did without fail on a weekly basis; it turned into a discipline — something I never had before. And the more I wrote, the more I found my voice, and a certain kind of format. I began to think of them as my art, and I still do.

Then an interesting thing started to happen: People I considered good writers, wordsmiths, bookworms, aficionados and literary-type folks reached out to tell me I was a good writer. This puzzled me greatly because, like I said, to this day — although scratch that, for 2020 I am claiming it! — I had never called or considered myself a writer.

Then, after maybe four or five months of sending out the weekly PGG, I went to an event with over 75 people in the audience. We were instructed to introduce ourselves to the person next to us, and after I said, “Hi, I’m Kristina,” the woman I met responded, “Leonardi?” Shocked and bewildered since she did not look familiar at all, I said, “Yes?” and she said, “I get your emails. They really help me.”

So, like my public speaking, which I also do because I have something to SAY, not because I’m very good at or comfortable presenting (I’m actually an introvert and more of a behind-the-scenes kinda gal) — even though I feel these are not my core strengths, I kept getting such positive feedback I couldn’t ignore the fact that people were benefiting, so I kept doing it.

After not missing a week for two years, I realized I could repeat PGGs and reduce my original writing to about once a month. (I think I’ve only skipped once or twice due to extenuating circumstances.) After four years I thought, Hey I have enough essays, I should compile them in a book — mostly for myself so I could hold something in my hands to represent all of the time and energy I spent on them! Nearly five years and 131 essays after that fateful January day (since then it’s 10 years and 167!), I published them in a very beautiful, fun and useful book, which you can buy on Amazon or take out from the New York Public Library.

I won’t repeat myself here about my process, which I described in last week’s PGG Year in Review, but know that even if I am not writing an original one, I am very thoughtful and intentional about the PGG that lands in your inbox. I want it to be relevant to the what you may be currently experiencing and provide an aha, hope or hmm, chuckle, useful tip/tool, or perspective that is enjoyable to read and helpful to digest and implement.

The most common feedback I get is a simple reply to the PGG email thanking me because it’s exactly what they needed to hear that day, with a sentiment of “how did you know that’s just what I was gong through??” It’s uncanny. Those responses make me so happy because someone took the time to affirm my intention to be meaningful and inspire:

“I love your messages, Kristina!”
“I love the Friday updates!!”
“Thank you for all your articles.”
“Love this! Grateful for you and your wisdom
.”
“Your writing inspires me to think and write myself. I like seeing how the week’s events get incorporated into your musings…”
“I love your PGG newsletters — one of the only ones I actually read in its entirety. They are excellently written, and spot on.
Thanks for being so inspirational and reflective!”
“It has the perfect pick-me-up stories; they keep me centered or inspired.”

“[love] the uplifting, inspiring messages!”

Over the decade, I’ve also heard how a particular PGG has helped you, how it might have spurred you to take action: Like a client who told me she reached out to an old friend she hadn’t been in touch with after she read People Who Need People; or a client who said Leap of Faith was the affirmation she needed to make a big move. Several people tell me they now hug for Six Seconds. Others say they journal because they read Write or Die. Several African-American women thanked me for my understanding and articulation of a difficult topic in Carte Blanche, long before the term “white privilege” was in the vernacular.

Some of my favorite PGGs are just because I love alliteration and making random connections like: Moonies, Mormons & Muslims; Batteries, Bunkers & Bonding; and Zombies, Xenophobia & Xanax.

Many pay tribute or reference historical figures or recent passings: You Say You Want a Revolution, They Might Be Giants, For Weddings and a Funeral, An Unlikely Trinity, or Shake Your Groove Thing.

Other favorites are the ones that describe how I understand life: The Rhythm of the Saints, It Takes Two to Tango, Tangible Schmangible, or Something’s Gotta Give.

There were also some extremely personal PGGs, like Peace Out, about when my mother passed; or political ones, like Bubble Burst, which so many people said helped them process the 2016 election; or my anger and frustration at current events like Beauty and The Beast; Get Up, Stand Up; Rage Against the Machine; or What Lies Beneath.

Some fan favorites are: Thank the Turkeys, Too! | Smile in Your Liver| Truth №2 | Don’t Worry, Be Happy | Election | The Fog of War | Happy | Let Love Rule | And S/he Was | Polar Shift | Labor Pains | The Present of Presence | One Day at a Time | All That You Can’t Leave Behind | Wherever You Go, There You Are.

And last but not least, of course there are the ones that talk about my work as a coach: Fruits of Our Labor | All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself

There are so many PGGs to choose from — like 167! — which meant compiling this list was not easy. How do you choose your favorite children? It’s an interesting thing to look at your body of work. Yes, I have a body of work! As I write this, I realize that’s a pretty cool thing to have. Over the past decade, I have gotten a teeny bit faster/better at writing/editing, have gained more confidence about expressing myself in all areas of life, and have excavated a whole part of myself I didn’t know existed.

So THANK YOU, dear readers, for being an integral and essential part of this journey. I wouldn’t be here without your encouragement, and I look forward to having you along with me for the next leg of the adventure!

As always, I welcome any comments and suggestions, and don’t forget to see below for 5 ways to show your support and interest in my work and keep PGG going and growing!

Get this delivered to your mailbox as my PGG newsletter.

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Check out this very-roughly-edited-not-the-best-quality video of uninterrupted remarks wrapping up the workshop “Lead Yourself to Success (in Work & Life!)In this excerpt covering the final ten minutes, I summarize my thoughts about confidence, being a leader in your own life, maintaining your individuality and humanity in the times we live in, and why the world is relying on you to be successful.

Click here to watch video

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person! Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today.

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Read more about me and my work in these past PGG’s:

All Roads, Same Place | And Now, A Word from Our Sponsor | Strong Medicine | 10,000 Hours | A Decade of Doing What I Do | Express Yourself

Speaker,Coach,Writer.Very Tall. Expertise:People. All kinds, what makes 'em tick, how they fit into the world, how they can best connect to themselves + others.

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