An interview with Shari Leid is like a warm summer day ~ Inviting, comforting, and refreshing, all at once. I asked the author and life coach about the latest book in her inspiring Friendship series, Ask Yourself This, the benefits of journaling, female friendships, and more.
Before getting to the interview, let me introduce you to Shari.
Meet Shari Leid
She is a former lawyer-turned-life coach. She is all about promoting life-changing conversations to better relationships with both the self and others.
Her latest book, Ask Yourself This: Ultimate Life Lessons From And For My Girlfriends (A 60-Day Journal Challenge), is the final one in the series. It features 60 questions that stimulate conversations about yourself, your girlfriends, and community. Think of the life lessons you can give and receive with your galpals!
The new book encourages healthy female friendships, as well as a positive mindset. The journaling prompts in the book offer a powerful way to achieve these goals.
As research for the book, Shari spent the last three years talking with 144 different women ages mid-20s to mid-70s. The friend dates led to stimulating conversations and a celebration of female relationships. Their stories, as well as Shari’s, are a central part of the book.
Ok, now, onto the interview!
Interview with Shari Leid
Thanks for being here, Shari! Let’s start by talking about your latest book, Ask Yourself This: Ultimate Life Lessons From And For My Girlfriends (A 60-Day Journal Challenge). The pages hold several questions for the reader.
What is the purpose of the 60 questions posted in Ask Yourself This?
I am an advocate for the power of journaling. I believe that it is the best self-coaching tool available. The purpose of Ask Yourself This is to deliver this amazing tool in a way that is not only easy to digest but also life-changing and habit-forming.
It takes about 60 days to form a habit, and journaling daily through the 60 questions in the book takes the reader on a chronological life journey that begins with reflecting on her past with questions such as, “Who taught you how to ride a bike” and “What do you love about your parents?” to questions about the present and the future such as, “If all jobs paid the same, what would you do?” and “What do you want said in your eulogy?”
What did you discover during your conversations with friends recently that surprised you?
For this book, I met one-on-one with 51 women who each answered one of the first 51 questions in Ask Yourself This by candidly sharing their thoughts and feelings about the question. These happen to be women whom I personally know, some life-long friends and others more recent acquaintances. These questions are questions that we never ask our girlfriends and each meeting I was not only surprised by their answers and thrilled to learn more about my friend, but also realized the positive impact these intimate conversations had on our friendship.
Each meeting deepened my connection to the woman I was sitting across. This powerful connection that was made through these conversations surprised me, and I’ve taken this practice into my personal life – recognizing that because of this experience, my ability to connect quickly with just about anyone has been heightened.
How does journaling help with nurturing relationships?
Journaling helps a person gain an understanding of their unique value. When someone recognizes their unique value, they become a more effective leader and friend.
In fact, people who are most admired are those that have one thing in common—they know their unique value and are not afraid to show up as their authentic selves—which allows them to build relationships built on trust.
What makes female friendships so special, in your opinion, Shari Leid?
There is nothing more beautiful than a solid female friendship. Women are multi-dimensional beings who can raise children, take care of aging parents, celebrate friends’ birthdays and milestones while being leaders in their community and the workplace. And women manage to do all this each day.
The love between two female friends is truly magical and hard to put into words. It is a feeling of being supported and understood that brings a sense of value and love that can only be found in a friendship. Female friendships take on even more beauty as physical beauty starts to fade, and the wrinkles slowly come in as friends become one another’s support system through the sometimes-difficult experiences that come with menopause and aging.
What do you hope readers will gain from Ask Yourself This?
Upon completion of the book, I want the reader to feel that she has taken a journey of self-discovery that has given her a better understanding of her unique self which provides her with a level of confidence that is even greater than what she had prior to picking up the book. I also hope that through the stories that are shared by myself and 51 diverse women in the book, she feels a deeper connection to the people around her, including those that may not appear at first blush to be like her.
If you could offer a tip to a woman who seeks new gal friends, what would it be?
Make the first move. What is the worst that can happen? You can’t lose a friend that you’ve never had – and every friendship starts with a “Hello.”
I’ve been amazed at how receptive people are to meet with me to share a meal. It can feel uncomfortable to ask someone new to meet, and [the] conversation may start a bit awkward but trust me – it gets easier with practice, and the dividends are great!
Who is this new book meant for?
Women, ages 30-70. The women whose stories are included in the book represent this age range and come from different backgrounds and carry different belief systems. But, as the stories reveal, the common experience of moving through life’s ups and downs and twists and turns is what connects us all.
What prompted you to create this book?
As a life coach and friendship expert whose clients are women in their middle-aged years, it is important to me that I do all I can to help foster personal growth and human connection, and this book allows me to globally provide a tool that is both affordable and works!
What else Shari Leid wants you to know
In 2023, I’ll travel to each of our 50 states to share a meal with one woman I either do not know, have never met in person, or have had little contact with over the past 30+ years. I am expecting the experience to be transforming for both me and the women I meet with.
I’ll document these travels on social media, and hopefully, a book sharing my experience and what I learn through these conversations about female friendships, aging, families, and community will follow.
That future project sounds amazing, Shari! I can only imagine the experiences that will come from the travels. Thank you for taking the time for this interview.
I’ll be reading the three books in the Friendship series soon. I will post reviews here after finishing them.
Over to you ~ Do you find it difficult to form close female friendships? Are you a fan of journaling? Why or why not?