Don’t stand in the back row.


Earlier this year, my family and I did a whirlwind trip to NYC during Thanksgiving Week. It required a ton of effort to schlep all of us out there—packing, repacking, coordinating everyone’s schedules, braving the airport during a frenzied holiday week, and so on—but it was totally worth the effort.

Seeing the holiday lights twinkling as we strolled past swanky Manhattan shops… spending time with my sister… doing an impromptu photo shoot with my husband… our trip including so many peak experiences that I won’t ever forget.

But the peak-iest of the peak experiences was watching my teenage daughter Emily show me (for basically the millioneth time) that she is a fierce, feminist force to be reckoned with.

I watched her do something so brave, so assertive, that I basically blushed from head totoe in a “proud mama” glow.

Here’s what happened:

Emily desperately wanted to see the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, a show about the life and work of Alexander Hamilton, one of the “Founding Fathers” of the United States,creatively re-imagined as a “rap musical.”

When Emily first described the show to me, I was like, “Excuse me, huhhh?” It sounded totally bizarre. But she insisted that it was the greatest musical in the history of everything ever and begged for us to go, so I got us a pair of tickets and we decided to make it a mother-daughter NYC date.

The show did not disappoint. It was sensational. After the show, Emily wanted to hang out by the stage door—the semi-secret door where cast members leave the theater after each performance—to meet the entire cast and collect all of their autographs.

“Sounds like a great plan!” I told her.

Unfortunately, Emily was not the only person with this particular plan.

When we got to the stage door, a huge crowd of people was already hovering around. Tons of eager fans, at least eighty or ninety people, all waiting for their chance to snap a Selfie with their favorite singers from the cast. I eyed the crowd and groaned. Uh oh. I felt bad for Emily. She wanted to have her special “moment” with the cast members and clearly, it was going to be tough for her to do that. There were so many people already gathered there… and we were waaaay in the back row of the crowd!

Emily, however, was unphased. She assessed the scene. She created a strategy. She noodled her way up to the very front row of the crowd. She wasn’t violent or pushy, she just confidently wriggled her way forward.

When the cast members emerged, Emily was perfectly positioned, front and center.

She knew details about everyone in the cast, including really obscure information about their various bands and musical side projects,and she asked interesting questions about their work—I could tell that they were impressed and surprised. She got Selfies and autographs from every single member of the cast. She made a powerful impression and she got exactly what she wanted!

hamilton collage

The most amazing thing about this whole situation, to me, was the fact that Emily created the exact moment that she wanted without pissing off any of the other fans who were gathered around her. She was enthusiastic, bubbly, engaging with people and making friends the whole time. She was assertive, but not pushy or disrespectful—which is not always the easiest thing to pull off!

Emily gave me a big reminder, that night, which is that if there’s something you want, really badly, you cannot hang out in the back row.

You have got to assert yourself, stand tall, and wriggle your butt up to the front.

Emily would not have gotten her dream—to personally meet and chat with all of her favorite performers—if she had quietly lurked in the back row. She had to actively, fiercely CREATE the moment that she wanted. And that’s what she did.

How about you?

What’s a dreamy experience, result, or reward that you’re craving?

What do you want? Really intensely?

What’s your strategy?

Are you hanging out in the “back row,” apologizing to the people around you—“Oh, ‘scuse me, sorry, oops, sorry, don’t mind me”—or are you moving your way to the front?

As Emily proved, that night…

Being passive gets you nowhere. But being courageous and assertive will get you everywhere.

Take a cue from my daughter (who obviously is going to run the world one day, even more so than she already does!) and do NOT let opportunities slip right by because you’re too timid to just GO for it.

Miracles don’t happen when you lurk in the “back row” of life.

Get your butt up there, sister. If you want it, go get it.

Claim what you crave.

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xoxo, Susan


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