Originally published on

Originally published on


“I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be.” DvF

A few years back American Express aired a commercial featuring Diane von Furstenberg and  her distinct accent sharing those profound words. I was thrilled to hear a woman, an icon, identify what is truly the beginning for so many of us — WHO do I want to be when I grow up, rather than, WHAT do I want to be when I grow up?

I was reminded of the quote when I read Gwyneth Paltrow’s interview with DvF and thought I would add a few thoughts of my own.

For many of us, beginning with the “WHO I want to be” is a great start. Getting a 30,000 foot ariel view of what you want your life to be about and then working backwards to identify what each year, each month and each day needs to look like to become that woman is a great start. But the problem is not with the big picture or even the year to year, it’s actually the day to day.

So many women I have worked with start with the WHAT instead of the WHO and never take into account what life will look like on a daily basis. Here’s a quick little exercise that’s worth your time and considers HOW you arrive at the woman you want to become. And for the record, you are never to old to decide WHO you want to be when you grow up. If you are still on this planet, there is still work to be done.

1) What does your average day look like? Are you earning frequent flyer miles or staying close to home?

2) What hours will you keep? Be honest, realistic and healthy when answering this question, not enough time and you loose momentum and too much time and you burn out quickly and other areas of you life suffer.  

3) Who do you want to surround yourself with? Who do you want to interact with? Are they hip and tech savvy, well-educated and cerebral or creative visionaries? (BTW, these are not mutually exclusive but I needed to make a point so forgive the generalizations.)

4) Where would you like to work from? What do your surrounding look like? Are there people there to interact with or are you alone with your thoughts and your computer? Is it your home, a retail venue or a high rise?

5) Who are the people you serve? We all serve someone, whether and author serving her readers with great tales, a philanthropist serving those she is passionate about empowering or an accountant keeping her clients financially healthy.

6) What does this dream venture provide you once in motion? What are you ultimately hoping to accomplish? Are you in it for the money, the flexibility of schedule or fulfilling a deep passion? 

If you are thinking these question are basic, and only for those poor lost souls who have no clue what they want out of life, stay with me. I assure you, understanding HOW you get to the WHO is just as important as WHAT you do to get there.

So, how did you fare? Are you surprised by your answers? Does the day to day led you to the end you had in mind? If not, what needs to change? Is it a matter of circumstance (I have triplets under 24 months).  Or does the WHO need to be achieved by taking a different path (I want to motivate people, but I have a hard time connecting with people one on one.)?

 I would love to hear your answers. Email me at and let me know WHO you want to be when you grow up.