Five Tips For Women On Boosting Your Confidence

I am a fan of the type of confidence that is humble; a quiet strength that needs no announcement.

Confidence comes from following a path in step with your passion. Confidence comes from true belief in oneself and one’s work. You know what you are building is powerful–you continue down that path even in the face of skepticism.

Whether you are a female entrepreneur or working your way up the corporate ladder in your job, confidence is essential to moving forward.

Confidence is a funny thing. Some of the most seemingly confident people are actually quite insecure, but have become very good at managing their own fears. While physically looking the part can help, true confidence comes from the inside. It comes from your core. And unshakable confidence is something developed over time (for most of us).

Below are five tips that will help you boost your confidence and help prepare you for any situation.

Five Results-Proven Tips for Female Confidence Building

1. Whisper sweet nothings to yourself. We talk about empathy in the business world, but what about empathy toward ourSELVES?  I encourage you to talk to yourself the way you talk to your favorite pet. How do you react when your pet falls down? Do you swear at your pet? Probably not. That being said, you should be as gentle with yourself as you are with your pet. Or think about how you would talk to a best friend if she were to fall down. It is said that what you believe will eventually come true. If you believe you aren’t enough you won’t go as far. This is true because if you think you aren’t enough you won’t push yourself as far as you would if you thought you could achieve anything. You won’t go for that opportunity, job or guy you think you really deserve. It starts with how you talk to yourself. I want to hear sweet nothings ladies! I want to hear self love from the roof tops!

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Confidence comes from preparation. Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Let’s use surfing as an example. If you’ve never surfed before, and you take your board out and you can’t stand up–of course your confidence will take a hit. But if you practice on the beach for a while before you go out there, and study up with some other surfers, your confidence levels will improve. You know you’ve got some tools in your surfer belt to be successful. Get it? Make it easier on yourself by heading out to the waves with the right amount of preparation.

3. Move. I honestly don’t know where I would be without the ability to sweat. Probably on a curb somewhere. Every single day I wake up and go move my body. It gets my chemicals flowing and puts me in a positive place. While I try and abstain from talking about exercise on Facebook, the truth is it’s a really important part of my day. I run with my dog Athena constantly. Running is a great way to get rid of toxic energy. Additionally you get some of the best ideas when you’re running. Take your dog if you can. If you hate to run (like my boyfriend does) I don’t care if it’s aerobics, jumping on your bed, or kung-fu–get out of bed and get moving. You will notice how much better you feel about yourself.

4. Follow your passion. When you focus on the aspect of your job that you love you’re enthusiasm will clearly shine through. If you don’t love anything about your job, you should probably quit. Life is too short. When you talk about why you love what you do, and why it’s personally meaningful, people around you start to light up too. That said even if taking out the trash is your favorite part of your job, find one thing that lights you up and talk about it. People are attracted to other people who are lit up!

5. Everything you do, do your best. Do you know people who try hard at everything they do? Some people call this a Type A personality or a perfectionist. I have been called a Type A before, although in no way do I see myself as that. I just can’t stomach the idea of not trying. Trust me there are days when I feel that way and I have to talk myself into trying (harder). We all hate to lose, and winning comes from truly applying your focus to everything you do. You’ve got one chance. Make it count!

What can you add to this list? What helps make you feel confident? Please feel free to comment below and share with me.

10 Things Happy Women Do

I wrote a post last week called “Why Women Feel Like Crap About Themselves.” A lot of you read and commented on that post. That is news to me that I need to write more about how to not feel like crap. I know there have been times in my life when I felt amazing and times when I felt like…crap. So here is a list of the top ten things to do to feel great. If you can take one nugget here and apply it to your life, I will be a happy blogger.

1. Getting involved in the community.

We women are connectors. While not all of us are the same personality profile eg. extroverted versus introverted, most of us benefit from getting out there and meeting other people. The best contacts, friends, clients I’ve made have all resulted from going out. So leave your house, get out of your sweatpants and go get involved with your local community. I joined Team In Training East Bay six months ago and it was one of the best experiences of my life. It was the best thing I could do to get involved in my new Oakland community.

2. Toastmasters

My life changed when I joined Toastmasters. If you’ve read my blog before, you already know this. Sorry. Toastmasters connections are magical because the people there are interested in working on themselves–they are naturally compassionate and non-judgmental. Toastmasters is an organization that changes lives. It gives people confidence, it teaches them how to be better speakers. Everyone can benefit from going through the course and getting their Competent Communicator award.

3. Exercise Daily

I work out every day. Most people might think this is crazy, but exercise has been a constant in my life for the last decade. I depend on exercise to be happy, to stay sane, and burn off all the cake (it’s usually not cake but you get what I’m saying). I exercise in the morning, and if I don’t get my work out in I don’t feel right. I have no clue how people work desk jobs and don’t work out. If I didn’t do this I would implode.

If you don’t currently work out don’t be intimidated by other people’s regimen or goals. Do what feels right for you. Even if that’s just 15-20 minutes a day. Eventually you can build up to more time if you are interested to do so. If you are looking for motivation a great way to start is to get a work-out buddy or join a local walking/running group.

3. You Are What You Eat. 

There was a period when I decided to only eat Weight Watchers meals. Oh man I felt so sick. All the chemicals and microwave food. I wasn’t sleeping well during that period either. I saw a picture of myself from that time and I look very washed out. It’s hard for me not to believe the chemicals in the food weren’t making me sick. Now I go to the Farmer’s Market every Saturday and we eat a lot of produce and generally healthy food. I do cheat (I eat a small dessert every evening) but I am done with processed food for the most part. Remember the diet industry is a ten billion dollar a year industry, and a lot of that is processed food. That is not what I call “health food.” Part of this is eating a good breakfast every morning that starts your day off right. I notice if for some reason I skip breakfast I end up eating more at night, and snacking. Lastly, don’t starve yourself! Generally restrictive diets lead to binging. Some people just “forget to eat.” Whatever your reasoning, don’t go too long without a snack. It will hurt you down the road.

4. Self Affirmations

Self-Affirmations are a great way to focus your mind. I went to a meditation last weekend with a group of about 30 women. We read these affirmations aloud. Feel free to take a few to help you get through your day. Read them out-loud to yourself.

5. Meditation

Every morning after I start boiling the water for coffee, and toasting my one piece of whole wheat peanut butter toast (with banana) I go sit on our couch and meditate. I do this for five minutes. While five minutes isn’t very much time, it is the most important five minutes of my day. During this time I focus my intention and relax. I do this before eating, or showering, or exercising or anything. I do only five minutes because for me that’s achievable. You need to set goals for yourself that are within reason. These five minute moments makes a significant impact on my week.

6. Get out of your sweat pants and go out!

I said it before but I can’t stress this enough. Get out there and meet people.

I’m a homebody. I love being in my cozy clothes. I hate sitting in traffic, I hate wearing uncomfortable dresses and commuting to an office. I know this about myself. I also know every new friendship I have forged here in California, every new client I have signed, every new relationship (the one I’m in) and good memory has been created by me leaving the house. You know that cheesy bumper sticker “Life starts at the end of your comfort zone”? It’s sorta true. We are social beings, not meant to sit on Facebook and Twitter all day waiting for our lives to start. Put your technology away and go out and meet people.

7. Build something.

I love to cook. You know that because it’s all I talk about. I love chopping and using my hands to create something to be enjoyed. Cooking isn’t for everyone but I want to emphasize here that any project where you are creating something is gratifying. While most corporations don’t have any kind of “arts and crafts day,” just because we’re not kids anymore doesn’t mean we shouldn’t build things and have play in our lives. I don’t care if Color Me Mine is lame to most people. It’s fun. Get your hands dirty.

8. Dogs

Dogs have a very neutral and gentle energy. Even seeing dogs walk by at the park can really just neutralize angry energy. If you don’t have a dog, and you are feeling down, go walk a friend’s dog, go to the dog park, watch YouTube videos of dogs. I’m not kidding. Dogs are man’s best friend.

9. Wear Flattering Clothing

How many times a day do you walk by a glass window, look in the reflection, and think “oh God I look awful.” First of all, I recommend you try and stop judging yourself when you walk by these windows. Just don’t look next time. Do you see guys looking at their profile and saying “oh my butt looks so big!” No they aren’t. In addition to not judging yourself in the mirror, I recommend you wear clothing that’s flattering and you feel comfortable in. If you have clothes that are too tight, that make your thighs or butt look big, don’t wear them. Wear clothes that make you feel beautiful. That doesn’t mean you have to go buy a new wardrobe, but if you wear clothes you feel good in, you will walk taller. A lot of women have great bodies but don’t highlight them well with the right clothes and as a result, they add pounds. If you don’t know what looks good on you, take a fashionable friend shopping or go to a store and get a personal shopper to help you. It’s really important that you feel like you look good. Also, throw out your skinny jeans. You are never going to fit into them. Get rid of them!

10. Spoil yourself a little.

When I lived in New York I was always exhausted. To give my “broke-ass” a treat I would treat myself to ten minute shoulder massages while I got my nails done. It was a dollar a minute. You can’t beat that.

A lot of us carry our stress in our shoulders and back. A massage can help get the lactic acid out of your back and make you feel better. It’s also a welcome replacement for chocolate or booze, another comfort to the stressed out career woman. If you can afford it I recommend a nicer massage, but if you can’t ten minutes of shoulder work can really leave you feeling refreshed.

Ok so that’s it from me for today. Go take on the world!!

POV. How A Point of View Makes You–and Your Brand–Charismatic.

This weekend in a workshop I co-taught one of the attendees mentioned she was recently in a new role. She was having trouble stepping into her power for the job and was frustrated about it.

I’ve asked many powerful women if they ever had fear of stepping into their power, particularly when it came to getting on stage and speaking to a crowd. I always got the same answer back:

“My work is my passion. When I talk about my passion I lose any sense of nervousness.”

While some of us start businesses or hold jobs that we don’t always feel emotionally and spiritually tied to, the key to is to find the one aspect of the work that we feel excited about.

I watch a lot of Food Network Star, a reality show where a group of contestants compete to win a new show of their own. Having a Point of View (POV) is one of the qualities the contestants are judged on. Each contestant must stand for something, and weave that back into everything they present.


People who are great leaders, salespeople, or motivators are passionate. They are able to distill their passion for their work down to an easy to understand POV. For example politicians tend to say the same thing everywhere they go. It’s their POV, and they are known for it (remember “change you can believe in”).

Susie Fogelson, SVP Marketing and Brand Strategy, The Food Network

While I don’t recommend you try and speak like a politician, standing for something is an important aspect of personal empowerment and branding.

Additionally, if you are building out your brand leveraging social media and content, everything you post should reflect your POV. This can be related to your mission statement, or your products, but should ultimately reflect your own personal point of view.

Understanding yourself and what attracted you to a particular role or project in the first place can help you feel more at ease when presenting to groups [or even creating a content strategy for your brand]. You don’t need to read anyone else’s script or syndicate content just because other people are doing it.

With regard to public speaking, people gravitate to presenters that emit excitement and confidence. If you start with the “why,” you will find your passion, charm and charisma will come across loud and clear.

Speak Like the Iron Lady

I just saw The Iron Lady, the film about Margaret Thatcher’s life starring Meryl Streep. It’s an incredibly inspiring film, and I recommend all women see it (and men too).

However this blog is not about politics, nor is it about Margaret Thatcher the former Prime Minister. It’s about public speaking.

I went to Toastmasters in 2008 because I wanted had to improve my speaking skills for my job where I had a podcast.

I ended up loving Toastmasters and even ran the club for one year. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in my recent past.

I went from being terrified of public speaking, to relishing in it. I had have a lot of opinions, and having the opportunity to speak them is addicting. I love a good debate.

When I watch other people women speak, my heart goes out to them–because for so long I too wasn’t cognizant of how I came across. I hadn’t studied, practiced, rehearsed. I wasn’t self-aware of the perception I exuded.

The truth is we all need feedback, particularly women who haven’t had the grooming opportunities that others have had.

If there are a few things to consider next time you get up to the microphone, I ask that you mindfully be aware of the following suggestions. As you continue to practice getting up to the microphone, you will find your strength improves, and the impression you make on others. I am committing to going back to Toastmasters as well. We can never stop learning, and working on ourselves!

1. Dress conservative and savvy. I am the first to tell you I don’t like suits. However, I’m somewhat mindful of the fact that the first thing someone will see about me is my attire. I want to look modern, put together, and sophisticated (I don’t always achieve this, but I try).

I don’t want to look like a pop star. I know it’s confusing seeing women on T.V, such as newscasters who appear like they are going clubbing. It is better to be respected than to look “hot.” Do you want someone to remember what you said or that your bra straps showed? This does not mean dress frumpy, old lady-ish, or teacher-ish. But it means you are not looking for a date (at least you shouldn’t be in this scenario), you are looking to make an impact. That means no shirt wrinkles. Remember dress for the job you want.

2. Be prepared. All the speakers you see on T.V.–the pundits, the late night T.V. show guests, the late night hosts–are all prepped. They are fed questions beforehand. They are groomed by publicists who tell them what to say and how to dress. There is often a team of people who help support one person with a 30 second television spotlight. The good news is you can appear as natural and well-versed as these pundits, but you don’t have to hire a team to do so. You can just make sure you have your notes. It’s even better if you’ve rehearsed in the mirror, on a recorder or on a video camera.

3. Do not fidget. Unless you are on a stage where you can walk back and forth to make both sides of the auditorium feel involved, do not move. Do not hold a pen in your hand and flick it at the podium. It’s distracting for the audience. Do not distract the audience from your words with nervous movements or shifting from right foot to left foot.

4. Make eye contact with the audience, and smile. If you don’t look like you are enjoying yourself, it’s likely the audience will be uncomfortable as well. By being comfortable with yourself, you make those around you comfortable. Find a few friendly faces in the audience, and every few seconds, look up and make eye contact with them.

5. Do not read a piece of paper.
There is nothing worse than having to listen to someone who buries themselves in their notes because they did not prepare, or feel uncomfortable at the mic. Practice your talk enough so you don’t have to read your notes. Have topic areas and bullets written out for yourself, but keep your speech as natural as possible.

6. Engage the audience. Don’t talk at the audience, talk to them. Ask the audience questions. Give the audience members opportunities to raise their hands. Even a “how is everyone doing tonight?” question is appreciated. Or ask someone something that is locally relevant. Even the weather will do. Maybe Margaret Thatcher wouldn’t do this, but most of you aren’t addressing a cabinet of officers. And hopefully you won’t have “iron” in your nickname. Don’t hide in your powerpoint, or talk with your back to the audience. In fact, if you can just throw out your powerpoint, even better. People hide behind crappy presentations with too much copy and lame stock-photo images. Unless the powerpoint enhances your talk, don’t use it.

7. Omit “like” “um” “ah” “you know” from your vocabulary.In toastmasters we are docked points for using these filler words. For those of you from California, you are going to have to work extra hard to get rid of them. They are abominable during a speech. Be cognizant of these killer fillers. Don’t sound like a valley girl if you can avoid it.

8. Be cognizant of the tone of your voice. When I started my podcast series, I noticed my voice would end on an “up” note. It wasn’t very Terri Gross of me. It was very California of me (and I needed to adjust to the New York dialect). I practiced a deeper tone. Less screechy, more serious. Over time it stuck.

9. Speak deliberately. Your words matter. If you don’t believe your words count, and you don’t speak with conviction, no one else will feel that way either. Speak with conviction.

This is the real Margaret Thatcher. This video is called No No No. Conviction, illustrated.

10. Take a breath. Before you start, especially if you are nervous, take a moment. You don’t need to dive in and start talking a million miles a minute. Speak slowly so the audience can understand you, and don’t be afraid to pause. Think of Obama, he makes deliberate pauses and they add to the drama of what he is saying.

11. Stick to three points. There are studies that show people can only remember three pieces of information from a talk. Don’t overwhelm people so you can feel good that you hit every single point. As a speaker you are part entertainer, part educator. Don’t forget that! You are providing an experience. Let people soak up the experience, and make it easy for them.

12. Organize your talk. Although we are note reading our talk, it should have a clear organization so it’s easy to follow.It should include an introduction, a statement which somewhat tells people the three areas you are going to hit, and then a clear closing statement that summarizes when you spoke about.

13. Get feedback. Always. Always. Always. It hurts, but it’s the only way we grow. Choose growth and not hypersensitivity.

And just for fun….

Cooking Up Social Good at My New Employer TechSoup Global

The best job I ever had, was the one I wasn’t paid for. It was my role as President of New York Toastmasters.

The universe was pulling me toward non-profit, but I couldn’t see it.

Eventually the universe sent me enough signs (yes I just said that).

Omens directed me toward the world of social good. My aha moment and subsequent discovery was TechSoup Global, a nonprofit founded in 1987 on the belief that technology is a powerful enabler for social change. I will be the Social Media Manager for TechSoup Global–an organization that manages product donations of commercial hardware and software to more than 80,000 non-profit organizations in 23 countries.

Some numbers showing the impact TechSoup global has made

Why Non-Profit Is Hot During A Recession

Here’s the truth.

The world needs more help than it ever did. Additionally there appears to be more grassroots activism unfolding as a result of access of free “connector tools” (we can call this social media) and innovative support systems.

My generation–Millennials–according to researcher Bruce Tulgan–are more “hopeful” than any other generation in history.

What do you have?

A planet in need of extreme fixing. A generation of young people who want to help.

In my opinion it’s just a matter of connecting those who need help with the tools and resources to make it happen. Win Win Win.

Who Runs TechSoup Global?

TechSoup Global is run by three CEOs, Daniel Ben-Horin, Rebecca Masisak, and Marnie Webb. I will be working with Susan Tenby, the Director of Online Communities,, and Non-profit Commons in Second Life.
I read an article from 2009, where CEO and founder Ben-Horin talked about the importance of looking for opportunity in times of turmoil. While most people wouldn’t assume non-profits would flourish during tough times, history shows us quite the contrary.

After the dot com bust TechSoup had a surge in applicants.

Founder and CEO Ben-Horin said, “There was this increasing feeling that something was missing, that selling toothpaste on the Web was not enough. I see something similar happening today, where giving is a way to validate your role in a world in financial turmoil.” While Ben-Horin said this in 2009, I believe it is very relevant today.

Onward and Upward

I see this as not only an opportunity to help those in need, but an opportunity to put my passion to use. While consulting has been an incredible growth process, I know this is the right move for me at this time.

On Susan Tenby’s team I will be working with Michael DeLong, Susan Chavez and more amazing, incredibly generous people.

Below are a few of the case studies from non-profits in New Zealand who have been supported by TechSoup.

*Thank you to friends, family, clients and former colleagues who have supported me in my own journey. Thank you to Jacob Morgan who has been there for me through thick and thin. I am a very blessed person. I am also a person who is more ready than ever to role up her sleeves and dive in.

**If you will be in New York next week and want to find out more about TechSoup Global I will be at CRM Evolution. Please attend my session on Wednesday, August 10th at 8am where I will be talking about Managing Gen Y alongside Jon Blum, Chief Illuminator for Infinite Green. I will be in Australia Aug. 18-30th and will have access to email. I will be formally starting with TechSoup Global September 1st.

Changing the Molecules of the (Board)room

Every Monday night in a cozy Brown Stone on 39th street a group of New Yorkers congregate. I was once one of these New Yorkers. At exactly 6:15 PM I would climb on the small stage, strike my gavel and start the Toastmasters meeting: 

Good evening and welcome. The mission of New York Toastmasters is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which we all have the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

People, even Wall St-ers, showed up every Monday. Despite being kicked out of our original home at JP Morgan headquarters, our club doubled in size. At the height of the recession there was a market for self-actualization.

Facing the Fear of Public Tyranny–and Having A Party In the Process

Our club did not just offer best practices to better public speaking–we offered transformation. The mix of practice, constructive feedback and a supportive community-environment, helped our members grow to their full potential. By the time each meeting had concluded at 8:15 PM the molecules in the room had changed.

By the time a Toastmaster finished their journey they could transform from being a script-reading speaker into an Obama-esque story-teller.

A few members of NY Toastmasters, May 9, 2010 at Columbia University at the Annual Toastmasters Conference

I tell you this story because some companies are doing exactly what Toastmasters does. They help people self-actualize-and generate profits in doing so. This culture is precisely the culture that get’s social media. It is all related.

Your Internals Are Showing

Last week I wrote a post “the Corporate Social Strategist Can’t Move Fast Enough.” Reader responses validated the notion that we need to talk about internal management practices before we talk about technology.

The book Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow by CEO of Joie De Vivre Chip Conley reminds us that the base of the pyramid has been mastered. Post industrial revolution we have become so adept at fulfilling our material needs that many of us can’t even see the top of the pyramid. It is not built into our business plans. We see no incentive to climb up to the top of the pyramid to see the view. But a handful have and are reaping the spiritual and financial profits.

Thomas Jefferson, as noted by Peak author Chip Conley, wrote the “unalienable rights of man” to be “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” But today we have forgotten about the last part of the sentence. We are only interested in talking about accountability–literally meaning “ability to count.”

There is a problem with “accountability.” While this might make businesses feel better about being able to create fancy diagrams, statistics and ROI campaigns, some things cannot be counted–and they have been left on the table. Only a a few companies have decided to find out what is possible at the top of Maslow’s pyramid. Here are a few examples of companies who have benefited from this mind-set.

Let My People Go Surfing

Founder and Owner of Retailer Patagonia Yvon Chouinard, author of Let My People Go Surfing, doesn’t believe in strict schedules. Conley highlights this case study in his book and reports that near the Patagonia headquarters when a “surf swell is on its way, you may see a mad dash out the door of both line-level employees and senior executives.”

This is only one example of the many ways Chouinard creates a culture of trust and openness within his organization. As a result of his management principles the company has almost no turnover and very high customer satisfaction.

City of God

Another company highlighted in Peak is Semco, Brazilian manufacturer of centrifuges–equipment that aids in process of making vegetable oil. Ricardo Semlar is the CEO of Semco-a private company that grosses a quarter billion dollars in annual sales. The company questions everything about status quo management. Employees are encouraged to choose their own salaries, set their own hours and not use titles. Semco has almost zero turnover.


The focus on short-term profits appears to be the biggest inhibitor to creating a more open corporate culture–one that embraces social. But Costco’s James Sinegal, co-founder and CEO, knows what it’s like to focus on long term gains. He is laughing all the way to the bank with Costco, a $59 billion-per-year company. Sinegal is quoted as saying “Wall Street is in the business of making money between now and next Tuesday.

Peak highlights the fact that Sinegal only makes $350,000 dollars per year.

Tipping My Hat to Zappos

Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh operates in a similar model, and pays himself less than $40,000 dollars per year. While we might know this is not the full picture–it sends a message to employees. You might argue that this hippy dippy idea of “self-actualization” is something limited to the privalege of being a knowledge worker–however if you watch this video you will see that Zappos employees who work in the factory are just as happy as those sitting in cubicles.

*More from me regarding   Tony Hsieh of Zappos in a piece released next week on CMS Wire.

The Vanguard Group

Another example of a great company highlighted in Peak is the Vanguard Group, the second largest mutual fund company in the world. John Bogle, CEO and author of The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism said that “stock market investors have increasingly taken a short-term, profit-taking perspective toward their investments.”

Conley agrees and writes:

There is an ongoing conflict in companies between the theory espoused by legendary economist Milton Friedman who advocated “fundamental capitalism,” and what I believe are more enlightened leaders who embrace the philosophy of the long view.

Companies like Whole Foods, Zappos, and even The Vanguard Group who’ve managed to take–what others might see at risks–and are seeing the profits. And it has to do with changing thinking about profits.

Maybe one day companies will disprove Conley’s claim that “the classrooms of graduate business schools and the corridors of Wall Street still focus on market fundamentals more than human fundamentals because business has a natural tendency toward the tangible and rewards short-term performance.”

We are too nervous to not do this now. It’s hurting the economy.

Closing Thoughts About the Pursuit of Happiness at Work

I recently reviewed the Gallup Happiness Poll. The poll’s findings included the fact that the happiest days of 2009 “were on or close to holidays, consistent with previous mood index scores showing that days with more-than-normal time dedicated to socializing with family and friends enhance people’s happiness and enjoyment.”

Maybe one day companies will create cultures that change this statistic. Where self-actualization, at the top of Maslow’s pyramid, is something that happens inside companies. So on this Thanksgiving contemplate the idea of happiness–and how we can bring this feast of pleasures to our workplace.

A wise-man recently told me, there are no rules. “We are just making up reality as we go along.”