Episode 202: Wendy Swart Grossman - Embracing Change and Turning Dreams into RealitySep 26, 2023
With a background in US and South African presidential politics Wendy is an adjunct lecturer at Boston University in Creative Innovation and Entrepreneurship. As a creative entrepreneur herself, she is a co-founder of Creative Re/Frame, infusing creative approaches with her clients from MIT, to the US State Department.
Wendy is a creative connecter, social impact and community organizer, thought partner and an all-around Get Stuff Done person.
She is a published author of Behind the Wheel: A Mother’s Journal of a Year on the Road, and is busy working on publishing her second book. You can find her writing on wordpress. https://absurdmusingsblog.wordpress.com/
Wendy holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science from St. Olaf College and a Master’s in Urban and Environmental Public Policy from Tufts University.
“Embrace adventure and face challenges head-on, knowing that you have the strength to overcome them.”
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Welcome back to your next stop. This is Juliet Hahn. In this episode I speak with Wendy Swart Grossman. Wendy is the author of behind the Wheel a Mother's Journal of a Year on the Road. She also has a blog absurd, absurd, absurd musing of the profoundly obvious.
You can find that at WordPress. You can also find Wendy at her company. She is the co founder of Creative Reframe. You can find that on all the socials. So creativereframe.com LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook.
And you can also find Wendy Swart Grossman on LinkedIn. We had a really awesome conversation. Wendy is also a lecturer at Boston University. She teaches creative innovation. And wait until you hear how she kind of landed that.
And it's because she's curious. It's because she has let herself be open to the world and hear what the world and the universe and God is kind of sending her and all the different pivots that she has done because of traveling and all these different things in her life are really cool. You do not want to miss this episode of your next stop with Wendy Swart. Grossman. Again.
Author of behind the Wheel a Mother's Journal of a Year on the Road. She is a lecturer at Boston University. Also has a blog absurd musing of the profoundly obvious that is WordPress. And creative. Reframe is her company.
You can find that on all the Socials. You can also go to their website, creativereframe.com. We'll see you again for another episode of Your Next Stop. I hope you enjoy this.
Welcome back to your next stop. You know, I say this every single time, I'm so excited to bring you a guest that has followed a passion and turned it into a business. Welcome. Wendy Swart Grossman. Swartz swartz.
Wendy Swart Grossman. You got it. You got it. Juliet Hahn, it's a pleasure to be you. Thank you so much for taking the time to work with me and to have our conversation.
I'm so excited. I'm excited too. So everyone can find Wendy is an author. She also is an entrepreneur. She has a company called Creative Reframe.
You can find that on the web. Creative reframe.com. They're also LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook. You can find Wendy also on LinkedIn and she's an author. The book.
And we're going to get into this, but we're going know first touch on your story, but behind the Wheel A Mother's Journal of a Year on the Road, which I cannot wait to get. And I know when I know a little bit of your story because Remy was the one that put us together, isn't that correct? Who was a client but also a guest. She knows that that kind of stuff just lights me up. So, Wendy, again, welcome to your next stop.
And I can't wait to dive into your story. Here we go. It's full of crazy stops and pivots and changes like life, right? We're all just kind of making shit up as we go along. Oh, excuse me.
No, you're allowed to swear. Yeah. Okay, great. This is a swearing podcast. You can swear if you can share a little bit about kind of your upbringing, where you grew up, and then we'll get into all your pivots and all wonderful parts of your life.
Yeah, I think the upbringing, like anybody, it's like our origin story becomes our leadership story, our human story. And so my story really began in Minnesota, where I was born and raised. But then we really were pretty parapetic. We moved out to Long Island, actually, in Huntington, and we moved back to Minnesota. And then my mom, we said goodbye to my bad dad, who actually we had a good relationship by the time he died, who, in the words of my mother, he didn't let the fact that he was married get in the way of his dating life.
Say no more. She's very funny. And then off we moved to San Diego, and that's where we moved between my 6th and 7th grade, which is a rough time for anybody. But moving from Minnesota, the land of speedo bathing suits and the 17ft of snow, to the land of crocheted bikinis, it was a pretty wacky growing up. And in fact, my high school was Cameron Crowe, who was a writer for Rolling Stones magazine.
Went undercover my junior year of high school. And he pretended to be a senior so he could get all the info so he could write the book Fast Times at Ridgemont High. And I lived through that tale. It's a fascinating movie. It's a cult show.
It's a cult show. Right? Right. Almost. Was that it's one of our favorites.
I mean, I love that. Yeah. So that's where I grew up. And then I went back to Minnesota for college and then I came up to the Boston area. But really, I think what I grew up with was really the whole idea of community and the fact that we kept moving around a lot.
My mother kept trying to build community for us. My mother had a lot of pivots in her life as well. And so, as any parent knows that your children are watching you and they're seeing how they take on life's twists and turns along the way and figure out how you do it. So that then really influenced me in my life in terms of, okay, this is the latest shit show that's thrown my way. How do I deal with this and how do I grow from it and how do I make sense of it?
Right. I love that. So when you went to university, it's interesting that you went back to the cold. So you enjoyed the cold. You know what?
I love the cold. I don't know what it is. It's interesting, actually, most of my emails, I always start off like, oh, it's a balmy day in Boston, or here under a torrential downpour and whatever the weather is, I think it's interesting. They actually say that the most boring job in the world is to be a weather person on the news in San Diego. It's between 68 and 72 and slightly yeah.
I love the new and novel. I love the excitement. I love the fact that the cold weather again brings people together inside so that you have to use your conversation and your words and your own talents to actually help develop you. And also, I just love weather because it helps me mark time, and it's like, okay, here we come again. Here comes the fall.
I'm also a professor at Boston. I'm an adjunct faculty member at Boston University, and I love the know the fall means a new pair of shoes and going to class and starting over. So I love that. So what did you study in studying? It's so funny.
I tell my students now, it really doesn't matter what you study undergrad, right? Yeah. So I studied economics and political science, and I didn't really even know what either of them were when I signed up for them, but actually, it was fascinating. So growing up, when my mom said to my dad, enough already. I'm taking the four kids and I'm moving them, and I want a divorce, it was a wild change in economics.
My father had been a professional at the Three M Corporation that's like, come. We were living in Minnesota, and we lived in the nice neighborhood and all that. The minute my mom said, we're getting divorced, she knew that he would cut us off completely, and that's what happened. And so we moved to San Diego. Instead of being married and a Methodist in Minnesota, we ended up a single and separated family living in a shithole in San Diego.
And it's like, fascinating. So I always knew that economics were a big part of whenever, and that still happens to this day. So I was always paying attention to economics and disparity. And the reason I was able to go to college was because thanks to Pell Grants, right? And thanks to my illustrious career as a waitress, I've made a lot of money starting at the age of 15, working at a restaurant in San Diego.
It's called Bodie's Boomtown Restaurant, which based on the mining town of Bodie, California, where the patrons can come and sit down in the miners union or the jail or one of the three covered wagons that went through the middle of town. And I remember realizing that's when it's like, oh, people want a show from the waitress. And they didn't just want the mother load burger with the side of fries, they wanted to be a member of the town. So at every hour on the hour, the manager would turn himself into the sheriff, and the bus boy would turn himself into a bank robber, and they'd go running through the middle of town going, I got to catch the bank. It was a riot.
And then I realized, oh, I want to be a part of this too. So I changed my pitch. Walking up to the tables, instead of just saying, Hi, I'm Wendy. May I take your order? I started saying, Howdy, partner.
I'm your highfalutin rooting tooting, straight shooting waitress, Wendy Sue. You all decided on your vittles. I ended up making instead of making $30 a night, I was making $100 a night. And that's what actually was able to finance me to go through college. And that's when I and when I was studying economics, I did a deep dive into the welfare system, and they Aid to Families with Dependent Children.
And I'm like, oh, this is vital. This is important. This is a lived experience. And that's when I took my first job out of college. I was working, actually.
The Ralph Nader organization called the PERGs. The Public interest Research Group in New York, it's niperg. In Massachusetts, it's massburg. California. It's Talperg.
And I was offered a job as an organizer, as a student and community organizer. And they said, you can live in any one of the cities where we have offices. And it was like, oh, it's like kid in a candy shop. OOH. Which do I pick?
Do I want to live in Boulder. Do I want to live in New York? Do I want to live in San Francisco? And I thought, I want to live in Boston. I'd been there just briefly to Boston once, and I thought, oh, I just love the idea of, again, a northeastern city where you'd have big changes in weather, a lot of colleges and universities and just things like a lot of young people.
And so I came out to Massachusetts, and I was a community organizer at Bridgewater State University and also at, UMass Amherst and living in college campuses and had a fascinating experience for those nine months until I realized, I can't do this anymore. You don't get paid enough money.
I learned enough in that nine months that I could just take that and run with it. And then I spent the summer actually riding my bicycle. I've also been a big adventurer, and I rode my bicycle that summer my grandfather had died and left me $3,000 and just one girlfriend and I, we took our bicycles on People's Express to London and found a bucket shop so we could get a ticket down to Athens, Greece. And for the next three months, we rode 1447 miles from Athens, Greece, back up to London, which was fascinating. And that gave me such incredible strength.
Like, I can do anything. I can run away from anything. Because, of course, there's a lot of weird shit that happens when you're on two women traveling alone on their so anyway, so I got back to Boston after that experience. Wait, I want to yeah, I want to pause for 1 second. So how old were you when you had that for that first nine months?
Was that like, directly out of school? So you were, like, 22 years old? Yes. I spent one year working for the PERGs, and then I was on my bicycle when I was 22 years old, riding my bike back in Boston. I got a job back in my first profession as a waitress.
But I knew that I wanted to figure out how to use my voice for the people who couldn't advocate for themselves. I'm a college educated white woman living in a racist society. I have a voice. I have a sense of social justice. I understood organizing from my years, my one year working for the PERGs, but I couldn't figure out how to break into how do you get a job?
It's like, I didn't know anybody in Boston. My family wasn't from there. I didn't go to college anywhere near there. So I started to work in tables. And once you work tables, I think that's the best profession anybody can have, because you are constantly summing up, okay, what's my section?
What's my know? How can I make the people like me so that they'll give me a better tip? Right? And so I had Molly and Salipsky, who came every Tuesday for the two for one special, and they always wanted to come sit in my section because I was chatty, and I would ask them a million questions. They showed me pictures of their kids, but they never asked me a single question about myself.
Until one day, I was chatting with a busboy in French, and all of a sudden, Molly looked at me with all new eyes, and she says, Wendy, why do you speak French? And I'm like, Well, I took three semesters when I was in college. And she's like, you went to college? I'm like, yeah. And she goes, did you graduate?
I'm like, yes, I graduated. What did you study? And she said then she looked at me and she said, Why are you a waitress? And I'm like, well, this isn't like the end. Like, I'm just trying to figure out what it is I want to do.
And she said to me, what do you want to do? And I said, I want to use my voice for folks who don't have a voice of their own so I can help advocate, to help make a more just world. And she said, this is how it's done. I'm a volunteer for Michael Dukakis, and he's running for reelection as governor. They are just gearing up their campaign, and they will be hiring staff, go down and be the best volunteer that they've ever had.
And when it comes time to hire those positions, they're going to look to their volunteer pool. And I said, fabulous. And she said, I'm like, where do I go? And she goes, I'm going to give you a name and number, but don't call tomorrow because I'm going to go down there and I'm going to let them know that you're calling them. That's called a warm contact.
I didn't know what they didn't teach me that it's like a warm contact? What does that even mean? So I did. The two days later, I called, I talked to the campaign director. They invited me in.
I came down. I was the best volunteer they ever had. I made sure everybody knew I was waiting tables, but I didn't want to be waiting tables. After six months, they hired me as the receptionist. And I'm like receptionist.
I wanted a better job than that. But my boss said to me, look, at the end of the day, no one's going to remember the job you do. They're just going to remember if you're any good or not. So I took the job, and very quickly I saw the volunteer coordinator was not good at his job. He was somebody who was not a people person.
And the job as the professional staff volunteer coordinator is to have wide open arms and say, welcome, so glad you're here, and explain things to make people feel special. And so they don't just come in that first time, but they come back. And so I was just quietly doing his job behind his back, and the campaign manager saw what was going on, fired him, put me in that role. And then at the age of 24, michael Dukakis won his reelection. I was invited to come and have an exit interview with him.
And there I was at 24, and he was saying to me, so, Wendy, you're a fabulous employee. We'd love to see what kind of job there might be for you in state government. I'm like, Wait a minute, I was a waitress a year ago, and now all of a sudden I'm having a private meeting with the governor. So I ended up doing refugee and immigrant policy work, which was fascinating. And then he decides to run for president.
They pull the staff back in, and now at the age of 25, I'm the national director of volunteers for a presidential campaign, and he then won the Democratic nomination. I went out on the road. I was organizing congressional districts around the country. It was fascinating, but it was all because I had an answer from Molly Lipsky when she asked me, so you don't want to wait. What do you really want to do?
Right? But it also brings me to you were open to communicating and getting to know other people. And I think that's something that a lot of times people don't do. They get stuck in where they are, and they don't let themselves open up and ask those curious questions or be curious for themselves, because either it's fear. They don't know what they're doing.
But you are like, I'm going to live. I'm going to take these experiences. And that kind of takes me back to how your mom raised you guys. You're like, we can just pick up and move, right? And one of the things I tell my clients or friends or talk about on the podcast is we're not trees.
If you're not happy where you are, you can get up and move. You can get up and change things. But if you sit there and wait and wait it out, your life's going to go past you and you're never going to find the path that you were meant to know, that you were meant to be on. In the words of Deepak Chopra, intention brings attention. And if you don't know where it is that you want to go, or if you do know where it is that you want to go, then pay attention to figuring out how you're going to move those pieces to make it happen.
We are the masters of our own lives. How do we want to put these pieces together so that the world makes sense in a way that fills you up so that you have that combination of what the world needs, what you're good at, what makes money and have that personal purpose. Yeah, no, exactly. So when you're on the presidential campaign doing that, I want to definitely get into how you became an entrepreneur and when you started writing the book. So if you can kind of take us through.
Yeah. So after the presidential campaign, I then ended up also then working for the White House under the Clinton administration, doing a lot of advanced trips under the White House office of scheduling in advance. And then at the same time, I was actually going to graduate school at Tufts University, doing public policy again, using that graduate school as an opportunity to pivot and to get some different skills. Because after working in campaigns, it was know you can do that for a while, but I kind of saw my future, which, if you work professionally in campaigns, it's like usually at that point, it's like it's a lonely life and not a healthy life. A lot of pizza, a lot of donuts.
I did spend a year also though, working for Nelson Mandela because I then was honing all my skills in nonprofit management from graduate school. So I was invited to work with the Fund for Free South Africa, which was a Boston based organization run by a bunch of folks living in exile in the United States who are part of the ANC. And they were trying to figure out how they could be helpful with Nelson Mandel's first free and fair elections in South Africa in 1994. And they asked me to submit basically a white paper. What would they suggested?
And so what I suggested, because he needs money, but it's against the law in the United States to raise money for a candidate in another country, but we can raise money to help support voter education. So we started the Fund for Free, South Africa. Excuse me? The Fund for Democratic Elections in South Africa. And they asked me to be their national campaign manager.
So I ended up having a fascinating year doing that. And then that's when I pivoted to nonprofit. So and that's also a very portable career. And at that time, somewhere in there, I got married. Somewhere in there, we had a kid, and somewhere in there we started moving again.
And it's like, okay. So we were in Boston, then we moved my husband and I moved to San Francisco, where our first kid was born. We moved Bastabus and then down to Atlanta, and then all these different places. I was constantly remaking myself. And this is something that I've been seeing my mom do, remaking herself.
I'm like, oh yeah, I know how to do know. And I can always get a job as a waitress, but luckily I didn't have to. Not that waitressing is bad, actually. I love waiting tables. In fact, it's my goal to actually be to work a bar somewhere that would be so fun.
And then my husband had an opportunity to start the international for a tech company. And he comes home to me. We were living in Roswell, Georgia at the time. We had two little kids, and he's like, what do you think of going? Absolutely.
And so after we went to London, and we lived in London for six years, and there again, I remade myself as a music and movement teacher for the Under Four set. I know all the words to every small kids song that you can possibly imagine, and I play the guitar, and it was a riot. It was a lot of fun. But then I also saw what was happening at the kids'school. The American School in London is where my kids were going and what we thought were going to be there for two years, we ended up being there for six.
And over the course of that time, I was able to the American School in London is a nonprofit organization, our most independent schools. And I'm like, oh, this is interesting. And they have a big fundraiser. And I'm like, oh, of course the school needs money. But so it was rich people giving other rich people money for their rich kids.
This is my disparity, and this is so not right. There's got to be a lot of there were some fascinating people there, but given my background coming into London, which was all high level finance people, my husband was the Odball doing tech. It's know, I can use this as an opportunity to help people to pull back that there's a lot of need right around our community. And so we started I teamed up with a friend because it's always so much fun to do things with a friend, jill Friedlander, who I was, and we started organizing. And as a community organizer, I'm like, yeah, I know what we need to do.
We need to start community service days where we started with a couple of different sites, getting families together to work together and volunteer to help do cleanups at battered women's homes at different schools and low income districts, and just help people to make connections with the city that they were living in, but in a very different way. And by the time we left, we had twice a year community service days with, like, 500 people each. And it's keeping I'm not too sure what's happened since the Pandemic, but it was just beautiful. And then I was also working, organizing with the museums, working with the Science Museum, working with the Museum of Natural History to help the museums help harness the power of volunteers in a deeper way to help them move towards their mission. And then my husband's job disappeared.
And yes, I was making money as a nonprofit NGO person, but not enough. It's an expat. It's a beautiful little package. They paid for our kids tuition. So it's like, okay, this is 2009.
We have no job, neither of us. And my husband did get a small Severance, and we thought, well, let's live on the severance. We did actually own a home in London. We sold the house. We'll move back to the US.
Our parents were getting older. It'd be nice for the kids to get to know America, but why settle down someplace and just get dobbs and buy a house? Why don't we have an adventure? And my husband and I have a history of moving and changing, and we also have a history of I'm the ideas person and he's the make it happen guy. And so once I say something, next thing I know, he had booked the what did we call it?
Shakeupthefamily.com website. I was like, okay, yeah, I've always wanted to write a book. I'll start blogging. And then we sat down with our kids and like, okay, instead of they were going into second grade and 6th grade, which was the perfect time for all of, okay, our time is running out in London. We've had a beautiful opportunity to be here for this long, but we're off for our next adventure.
But instead of just getting a house, let's get an RV and home school and use the national parks and public libraries as our campus. And so that's what we did. And we laid out what they were interested in. So our older son was interested in polar bears. So it's like, okay, where can we drive to see polar bears in the wild?
And it turns out it's Churchill manitoba up on the Hudson Bay. And our younger son was interested in anything that blew up. I'm like, of course, who is? So all the different geysers all around the world. And then my husband was interested in statistics and baseball.
So all the minor league. And for me, as a gatherer and a community builder, I was thinking, this is an opportunity to go back and reconnect with our friends and family that we haven't been around for a long time. So we got our 29 foot itasca impulse and we started in Vermont. And over the course of the night we thought we were going to last a full year. But it was really lonely in that RV and I was going to kill somebody.
So we got out after about nine months. I was perimenopausal. Our older son was going through puberty. My husband doesn't really talk that much. It was anyway, but we had an incredible time and we learned about that.
You can camp in the Walmart parking lots. They actually for free. We learned to live on a tight budget. Our older son was the CFO of our trip, keeping us to $109 a day. I had to submit my receipts to my son if I ever wanted to run away and get a Starbucks and pretend I was somewhere else.
So it was fascinating. And during the time too, we were trying on the different communities. It's like being from Minnesota. We'd pull up in a friend's driveway and try on okay, how does it feel to live in Minneapolis? We had friends in Seattle, Washington.
How does it feel to live there? Portland, Oregon. My father lived in Hood River and down to Palo Alto, where my brother and sister in law lived. Austin, Texas. Really trying on all these different places.
But we decided really purposefully to move to Boston, where it all started for you. Which exactly? It's like the public schools my kids went to here in Brookline. We could walk and ride our bicycles.
I and I pivoted again, my career, once we landed unpacked and I turned myself into a book writer. And along with my help of my husband, who's just an incredible cheerleader, I published my book as self published, but it's on Amazon and I used all my PR marketing skills. I ended up being interviewed on NPR. I put together my different book readings at different independent bookstores across the country, again gathering my friends along the way. Where do I have a critical mass of friends who could show up if I do a book group or book reading?
And again, it was fascinating for having my kids watch me. It's like, what? You're a writer, mom. Well, I am now. Right.
And how old were they when you guys landed back in Boston? Yeah, so second grade and 6th grade is what we taught in the RV. And then so they started third grade and 7th grade when we were here in Brookline. Right. And they got fascinating stories to tell.
I really do feel that life is just a series of adding more chapters to the book of our lives. Our older son, by the time he was twelve, he had lived in San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, London, and an RV. Which is so fun, and it's. His stories, right? It's his stories that he can connect with other people and share.
I think that's I think, you know, it's really important for women and men to hear that we can pivot, right? There's things that life brings us. And if we can come together and kind of calmly daydream what we want to do and not panic, like, oh my gosh, okay, we don't have the income. Let's really just sit down and kind of see where it is. Because I think, again, so many people get stuck because they go with the fear, and that's how they get panicked.
And they're like, oh, my gosh, I just have to do this and this, but it's really not what they're meant to do. So if anyone takes anything out of this story, I want them to really take out that. If you just kind of sit in it for a second and say, okay, what are my dreams? What can I do? Because if you can dream it in your head, you can make it happen.
And I truly believe that every single person, they can dream something. You can make it happen. You just have to listen. You have to be curious, and you have to take those steps. Is absolutely curiosity and generosity is what I tell all my students.
The importance of being awake and aware, paying attention to who are in the spaces around you. Pay attention to who it is you have synergy with and the skill sets that you come to the table with that's like, okay, this is what I come and be with. People who have a different set of skill sets because that way you can help each other. And it's like, oh, my God. I always, always have this vision of people are standing around a great big table and we're all standing there and it's like, okay, put your hands in your pockets and pull everything out of your pockets.
And let's just put it all in a big collective in the middle and play around. Like with a big thing of Legos or a big swap of Halloween candy after you go trick or treating. It's like, oh, I don't like the mouthfets, but I really like the M Ms. So I'm going to swap this, but using that with skills instead. And how can we play together so that we can build something even better that any one of us as an individual could think of?
And that's what it when. So when I landed here in Boston, turned myself into the book writer, but at the same time, I was back hustling, looking for nonprofit clients. But then this is the awaken aware part. My son comes home from school, my younger son, he's like, yeah, a girl came up to me, and she said, hey, you just moved here. I bet you don't have any friends.
I'll be your friend. Hooray for Claire Gilliman. And so next thing I know, Claire comes over to the house to meet Miranda the Hamster. And then a week later, I was raised Christian. My husband was raised Jewish.
So together we go to the Unitarian Church, and we go to the Unitarian Church, and there's Claire, who's popped up in the choir, and she's like, it's going to you know, I bet you don't have any friends either. Why don't you come meet my mom? And so I met her mom, Jen, who's just frigging awesome. And we're just immediately just like we're finishing each other's sentences. We couldn't talk fast enough.
Went out for a drink, and she said, what do you really want to said, I really I'm just a know, stand up comic. I want to teach. I want to have the set group of people that I can play with. And she's like, well, she happened to know working at Boston University, where she was the director of the School of Visual Arts within the College of Fine Arts. And she said, I've been asked to actually submit a new class.
What do you think if we do one together? And immediately I'm like, oh, my God, how fabulous. So with her background in arts and my background as an activist, we proposed this idea of the artist is activist class which then morphed into cultural entrepreneurship which was all about harnessing the skills of artists and giving them the business skills that they need to launch their ventures at the intersection of arts and culture, business and technology and social impact. Just at the time that Boston University was getting their wings under them around their whole innovate innovation and entrepreneurship spaces. And then we started following the money.
I'm like, the art schools are wonderful, but they don't have the money. But the business schools do. And so anyway, so they were breaking ground. They saw the work that we were doing. We were invited in to give a TEDx Talk if you can see it online.
So we gave that TEDx Talk, and through the that's another great thing for people. If people have an idea we're sharing, do a TEDx Talk. There are so many of them around. Just the experience of going through that process really helped us to crystallize and boil down what it is that we really do and how to talk about our work. And that was really the creation of Creative Reframe, the company that we started in January of 2020.
And we basically creative Reframe infuses arts and creativity into nontraditional spaces, mostly working with higher education places to help really bring the idea of creativity into the room as a launch pad for innovation. And it's been a wild ride. Yeah. And it's because of someone, a kid being curious and you being open, because you could have been like, oh, now I'm uncomfortable. I don't want to meet any new friends.
But because of who you are and how you were brought up and what you bring to the world, you were able to embrace it and run. I think that's amazing. And again, when people listen to this, I want them to really think about where they are in their life and what they maybe need to change and really go out and be curious. Because I teach my kids this all the time. So I love that you said that, to be aware about what's going on around them, because you don't know.
And I believe in God, but whether you believe in the God or the universe, I do believe we all have a path and not all of us find it, because not all of us let ourselves be open to the curiosity of seeing what's around there. And I also find it really important to find that space that you can daydream. Some call it meditate, I call it daydream. I can't sit on a mat because then I think of the laundry and the things that I'm supposed to be doing. Absolutely.
So I have to move. I have to move and I do it. When I walk my dogs, I do it. And I love the life that I'm living, but also times I'll be like, okay, what else do I want? What else am I missing?
Is there something that I need to kind of be aware of? And I daydream and just let myself go. And it's really cool when sometimes you have a thought and then all of a sudden you find yourself in town talking to someone and that thought is like something that they're connected with and you're like, wait a second, I need to ask more questions about this. I need to be curious about this. Was this like kind of a sign that was sent to me that I need to follow?
And that's how a lot of my stuff has come out. And so it's really important to think about it and then also think about your own personal story right. To go back and think about things that inspired you at some parts of your life and your ages. Because those things sometimes before you had life happen right. Are beautiful things that maybe that's what you're supposed to be doing.
So I love what you're doing. Thank you. And I think it's vital that we have these check ins with ourselves because life can sometimes be overwhelming and it's not something that you don't need to do it every know that'd be just too exhausting. But it's like every once in a while, basically like, see myself. It's like, oh, there you are, Wendy.
Is this still working for you? What's missing? What's going to make your heart really and it changes. It changes all the time. And depending on where your family is, where your friends are, what your health is like, there's so many different factors.
Money is a huge one, but always being able to go back to what I think are your core values, I have basically three pillars that I try to look at my life through that I like, ideally. And I've got the trifecta. And the trifecta for me is community, social impact, and creativity. And if I can get those three jamming all at the same time, that's my real happy place. But sometimes I'll throw one to the side.
It's like, okay, I can get two out of three. That's not bad. But ideally, it's like, okay, what's not missing? What's am I not connecting with enough people? And that's why there's an incredible book called The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker that has really been helpful to me, too, just to help me.
It's like, oh, yeah, that's right. I am a gatherer. I love to be able to use what I come to the table with as vessels for people to come together and to curate the vessels.
There's a lot of young people in my life because I teach, and a lot of them are musicians. And I'm like, okay, how can I help these incredible musicians? It's like, I can move all the furniture out of my house and create a music venue for them, which I love. And I invite everybody from the mailman to people I meet on the bus to all my students and old people, young people. And I love it when people meet people that they wouldn't normally meet in my house or in my back garden or we also have porch fests here in Brookline.
I don't know if they have them where you are, but it's where people who have porches volunteer their porches and musicians volunteer. And basically it's an outdoor music festival that happens once a year. Oh, that's amazing. Love dancing with strangers in my driveway. To me, that's like, whoo, no, that's the best.
And I can feel your energy, and I love it. So take us through a little bit your blog and what the importance of that is and tell us a little bit how that came about. Yeah. So after I wrote the book behind the Wheel, I've always been a writer. I started off writing letters and really ridiculously long letters to friends.
And because I traveled so much, and then I really started journaling after we traveled, and I used to only do it when I traveled, but then I'm like, you know what? There's so much that's happening. It helps me to make sense of my world, and it helps me to another check in with myself is my journaling. And then I realized, like, oh, but I've got some ridiculous stories that have come out in my world, and I love to be able to share my writing with others and being incredibly truthful with my writing because it can then resonate with others. And maybe other people can learn from the ridiculous stupidity that I've gotten myself into.
And I just wanted a place for these pieces. So that's when I started my absurd musings blog on WordPress and it's just a place just to tell. Again, as a fellow storyteller, it's a place for me to tell stories that I can share with a bigger world. For people to have a connection, to have an authentic connection is what I love. And I'm happy to use myself as an example of ridiculousness to help them, as then other people will then feel, oh, this is a safe space, I can tell you my story too.
That's wonderful. Then it's like, oh, that's what it's based on. And where can people find it's? [email protected]. Perfect.
And again, your book, behind the Wheel a Mother's Journal of a Year on the Road, which is amazing. And then they can also find you at Creative Reframe, and that's reframe.com, but also on all the Socials, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and they can also find Wendyswart Grossman. I said that, right? Perfect. They can find you also on Know.
Wendy, I just I thank you for joining your Next Stop and sharing your story, loving your energy and your enthusiasm for life. You can totally see that, loving what you're doing. Those kids that take your class know, so fortunate that they get to spend a little time and feel what you do and how you live your life each day. You're really setting an example for so many people. And so many people, how they should live is being curious and opened and just out there connecting with people.
I think more people need to do it. It's something that I love to do as well, and I love being connected with others that find that a passion of theirs. So thank you again for joining your Next Stop. Oh, it's been my complete pleasure, Juliet. Thank you for giving me a platform.
Yes. So, you guys, you know what to do. Like, rate, review and share. You might have listened to this and you might be saying, oh, that's such an interesting story, but you don't know who in your life needs to hear this. You don't know who in your life right now is at a crossroads.
Who in their life needs to hear a story? Who in their life maybe wants to get an RV and travel the world, but they don't know what to do, and they can listen to this and get a little inspiration from Wendy. So, again, like, rate, review and share, and we will see you for another episode of Your Next Stop. I hope you liked this episode of your next stop. Please subscribe to my channel, share with your friends, and join in each week.
My focus is entirely on helping you follow your passion, even when you feel like you've got stuck in crazy town. There is a way out, its me helping you. You don't have to ditch everything in your life that is making you feel overwhelmed and stuck, you just need some help to navigate it.
WHEN YOU FOLLOW YOUR PASSION YOU WILL NATURALLY ENRICH THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE