Author Sheri Salata will be at Napa Bookmine at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, to discuss her new book, “The Beautiful No, And Other Tales of Trial, Transcendence, and Transformation.” (Harper Wave; June 4, 2019; ISBN: 9780062743190; $26.99; 256 pages)
She will be talking with long-time friend Coral Brown of Brown Estate Winery.
For 20 years, Salata focused on her dream job at The Oprah Winfrey Show, Harpo Studios and the OWN network, helping tell stories that helped others transform their lives. At 56, she decided to rewrite the story of her own life.
“I had manifested the career of my dreams but not the life of my dreams,” she writes in her book, the story of how she decided to “produce” her own life transformation and how readers can, too.
Launching her mid-life reinvention, Salata realized that much of the cultural messaging for women in their 50s and beyond was about “winding down the party.”
“In our culture, once women hit 54, nobody cares what we think. The media industry stops tracking our opinions, viewing habits, our spending. At 55, I ran a television network that, from a demographic perspective, could not have cared less about me.”
Salata says it takes courage for women in the middle of life to re-envision their lives rather than continue down a well-worn path. “Having the courage to step out and think up new possibilities having lived through decades is very different from the wide-eyed hoping of a kid who wants to someday become someone.” On top of that, she says, “many of us are steeped in generational beliefs that will challenge the idea that we are even supposed to make the rest of our dreams come true.”
Salata embarked on a year of committed radical self-care. She outlined the areas of her life where she would begin to make new dreams come true” — body, health, spirituality, relationships, romance and sex, and new professional dream to chart her own course as the cofounder of a media company with her best friend and podcast cohost, Nancy Hala.
Step 1 was establishing “the foundational premise that being selfish is not even in the same universe as narcissism. Acknowledging and cultivating your own well-being must come first — it’s the very best offering you can give the people in your life, your community, the world.”
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Salata acknowledges that the recipe will look different for each person and life can present challenges — maybe the kids are still at home, parents are depending on you, you’re burdened by debt, she writes, “but your own quest begins right where you are and it’s never too late to rewrite the story of your life.”
Her own quest begins with a serious focus on her health:100 pounds overweight and aging biologically at warp speed, she sets out to heal herself physically. This process she describes against the background of humorous travails, including detoxing in the desert and braving humiliation at Hollywood’s favorite fitness studio.
She reveals her twisty-turny career path — the failures, disappointments, frustrations and ultimately success: from the typing pool to managing a 7-Eleven store to the high-flying Hollywood glamour of producing television commercials while harboring a seemingly impossible dream to one day work for Oprah.
Salata encourages readers to view the “nos” in their own lives as big glorious gifts that allow what’s better to unfold.
She weighs in on the work-life-balance conversation: “I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe in work/life balance. The very nature of balance is about being out of it and coming back into it. Rinse and repeat. Now you’ve set yourself up for a wobbly game of maneuvering back and forth on an imaginary Twister mat to make your life “right”. ‘Am I in balance? How’s this?’ Saying goodbye to that thinking has settled something inside of me. It has quieted that voice of mine that says ‘You’re not doing enough here there or everywhere.’
“I’m discovering at this stage of life is that there aren’t going to be a whole lot of ‘new’ things showing up at my doorstep to surprise me. So, I will have to dive into “new” as often as I can to make sure the life force keeps on flowing by adventuring, learning, discovering—doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s unfamiliar territory.”
Salata is a writer/producer, cofounder of the inspirational lifestyle brand, The Pillar Life and cohost of the podcast The Sheri + Nancy Show.
Bookmine is at 964 Pearl St., Napa.