2 min readJun 19, 2018


I am often asked where my empathy and heart comes from.

This is an enormous question and one that I can either speak to on a very high-level without much substance or one that I can get deep into the nitty gritty and share the real deal.

Here is one story of the real deal… it’s not pretty. But it’s true.

The fact is, my past is filled with stories where I took myself off the field and tossed myself onto the bench. Not once or twice but many many times in my life.

I used to be a nationally ranked junior tennis player back in the day. I practiced 6–8 hours most days. I was great at practicing. And tennis was something I thought I was committed to. However come match time, I would throw the games.

My attitude was disastrous. I would say such terrible hating things to myself while playing. I would miss easy shots, double fault, not move my feet….and every time I failed, I would say these awful things about myself both out loud and non-stop inside my head.

I was abusive to myself and I could not come to a peaceful place with myself at all. I didn’t think peace or success was in my cards actually. I only thought I was someone with potential. Sounds lonely right? It was.

I would smash a racket from time to time, or even smash myself with that racket. Ugly sad times playing a game I really loved.

I turned on myself in a big way.. And this was only one manifestation of how I used to give up on myself.

It took me a long long time to recognize, reconcile and heal from those years. I worked hard (the work never stops) on getting to the underlying reasons for my self hatred, and then I began to work hard on forgiving myself for what I had done and how I had treated myself.

In walking this walk, my heart opened to the pain all of us know. In doing the work I was able to feel, sense and see that my journey and strength could help others that were lost in the muck of self hatred and shame. I have many stories for another day.

Today, I have the great fortune of being here now. Being present, open and alive! For me, empathy comes from my journey and knowing I am not the only one who has been there, struggling. I am parts of you. And you are parts of me. And because of this — we feel one another. It’s true. Universally.

Today, I share my heart and stories with all that care to listen, so that their swim to the surface to find peace may not feel as lonely or long.

With so much gratitude xo


Heart Leader. First Chief Heart Officer. @VaynerMedia. Emotional Optimist! Always have a song in my head!