Reflecting on success and mourning, Kate Spade & Anthony Bourdain

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This week we lost two talented and beloved icons to suicide, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.


I watched my Facebook feed blow up. People were shocked, sad, shocked.  Me, too.

Kate was an inspiration on so many levels. During my time supporting women entrepreneurs I often heard them reference Kate’s path as one they wished to create for themselves. She laid down the groundwork for new dreams to emerge.  Her fashion gave us joy.

Anthony Bourdain was special. Not just because of his food expertise and travels, but because of his point of view. When I watched him, he made my world feel bigger, more bright and connected. When I felt bored or limited, I’d watch his adventures to plug back into my enthusiasm for life.  

There’s a lot to grieve. My heart goes out to their families, especially their teenage children, and to the community that feels their loss.

The falling of these two icons delivers a poignant message, a cry, to all of us trying so hard, working longer, striving to get to that next level:achievement, fame, and money aren’t enough.

I coach “successful” people every day who look like they have it made on the outside. They’ve got the title, the car, the home, the family, the vacations - but on the inside there is suffering.

If you’re suffering, know that it’s a normal part of being human. And just because you have so much to be grateful for - it doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to suffer.

But know that you have more control than you think. You can transcend your suffering but it may take some support. Perhaps opening up to a trusted friend, a mentor, a coach, a therapist could help.

The key to us living the life worth living is to get clear on who we want to BE, not just what we want to achieve.  You can achieve great things and still feel empty.  But how you want to be and stand on this earth - being that person will ultimately drive the kind of success that fills your soul and gives you purpose. The good news is that with each new second you get a new beginning, a new opportunity to choose to be that person.


Here are some resources for anyone who may be struggling:

If you sense that you may be dealing with mental illness or have had thoughts of suicide, please seek out support immediately - the world needs you.  Here’s the national suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255.


If you’re not in any danger, but want to talk out your suffering -  I’m here. I’ve made space in my calendar. 
You can book an appointment here: meetme.so/workhappiness

If you just want some inspirational reading or to gift a book to a friend going through a difficult moment, these are wonderful:

Tears To Triumph by Marianne Williamson

  • The internationally recognized teacher, speaker, and New York Times best-selling author of A Return to Love argues that our desire to avoid pain is actually detrimental to our lives, disconnecting us from our deepest emotions and preventing true healing and spiritual transcendence.

Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer

  • With wisdom, compassion, and gentle humor, Parker J. Palmer invites us to listen to the inner teacher and follow its leadings toward a sense of meaning and purpose.

The Book of Awakening: Have the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo

  • Mark Nepo is a poet and his words will take you places. He provides small doses of what really matters, simple truths and stories from everyday lives, plus inspiration from the great wisdom traditions.  


Beaming love and hope,
Stella