WORLD-CLASS EXECUTIVE, TECH INNOVATOR, AUTHOR, WIFE, AND MOM: MEREDITH ARTHUR
February 2, 2022
My next guest for the podcast is Meredith Arthur. We met while working for an emerging product launch for Pinterest Live and I am very lucky to have had the opportunity of interviewing her and getting to know her better.
She shared her career journey including jumping from startup to startup and how she coped with it. Meredith has also written a book called “Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World” which we talked about as well. Beyond her career in tech and as an author, we also discuss a little bit of her home life as a mother with a full-time career and her Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnosis.
[00:00:00] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Hi and Welcome to the High Functioning Hotspot with me, Dr. Chloe Carmichael, I'm the clinical psychologist, author of Nervous Energy and of course your host of the High Functioning Hotspot. Today's guest is Meredith Arthur, who is a super interesting person. She's in charge of new products and experiences at Pinterest, especially in the area of mental health and wellness.
[00:00:21] She also is a mom who has a stay at home husband, she's also somebody who openly talks about her experience of being diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Plus she's the author of an amazing book called "Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World". It's a book I have myself and I really think it's a great book.
[00:00:45] So I hope you enjoy the conversation I had with Meredith. She was very open and very vulnerable. She talks about everything from being in weekly meetings with the CEO of Pinterest, to her personal journey as an editorial assistant in New York, long before she was able to find a great deal of success that she's been able to find today.
[00:01:05] So without further ado, I give you Meredith Arthur. Meredith thank you so much for joining me today on the High Functioning Hotspot.
[00:01:15] Meredith Arthur: Dr. Chloe. Thank you so much for having me. It's great to see you again.
[00:01:18] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah, it's great to see you too. It was a really good time that we had on Pinterest. How has your vision board been doing?
[00:01:23] Meredith Arthur: It's thriving. I feel like you really gave me some new ideas and it's like continuing to grow. I'm loving it.
[00:01:30] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: That's awesome. Yeah, I mean, I just have to say, as a psychologist, I was so excited that Pinterest was starting to just really recognize all of the psychology and really the power behind images and how they could stimulate people to just, you know, put them together in new energizing ways.
[00:01:51] Meredith Arthur: Agreed. I, you brought a whole new angle into things that I really appreciated. I thought it was just a little eye-opening of different ways to think about different types of brains. Like if someone is very meticulous, they can have one approach. And then if you're more loose and interested in sort of bigger visualization. That just was a great insight, I thought,
[00:02:14] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah, I'm just grabbing my notepad here because I should know when I talk to a high functioning person like yourself, there's going to be so many, like, little questions that I have and everything. So I, I'm really glad that that was fruitful for you. Cause I certainly enjoyed it.
[00:02:31] I also got a chance to appreciate some of your work with this wonderful book. Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World. Now I may have to admit Meredith, I'm still trying to connect the dots here. So I, I studied your bio and, I like, tried to learn, but I'm still trying to connect the dots like you. Can you tell me a little bit about your career journey?
[00:03:02] Meredith Arthur: Chloe. I like connecting the dots as well. It has been a very unusual career journey. So I started my career many, many years ago in New York in book publishing. I left New York, not knowing what was going to happen next, and moved to Seattle. Worked with authors there, moved down to San Francisco, not knowing what was going to happen next.
[00:03:26] Started working on a food magazine. And I basically. That food magazine was bought by CNET that was bought by CBS. I worked at CBS for seven years, building a site called ChowHound, and then went to the Food Network because I did both video and product. So I thought about how websites are built and worked with engineers and designers.
[00:03:48] And I also thought a lot about content. And then I ended up on a startup journey. I was at five different startups in three years. And in the middle of it, I was at long last diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and that was a week before I turned 40. And it was right before I was let go from a startup.
[00:04:10] So. I had sort of a reckoning moment in my life. That was fantastic actually, because I had had migraines, nausea, lots of symptoms my entire life, but no one had diagnosed me. I had gone to five different therapists and no one spotted like, hey, you're having physical symptoms as a result of perfectionism, overthinking and people pleasing.
[00:04:35] In fact, I was such a people pleaser in my meetings with therapists. They'd be like, you're funny, you're great, you’re doing great. But, but, you know, I, I think did on a bus and I was getting sicker and sicker during the start-ups. So this moment of discovery for me was pivotal. As you can imagine, it changed everything.
[00:04:55] I started building a website for other people like me. So my neurologist who diagnosed me said, Hey I see three people in Silicon Valley every day who have these same symptoms, but most of them just won't listen to me. Most of them won't hear me and believe that this is what's going on. So I did like the second she told me I was like, I was right there for it.
[00:05:19] And started to just become very curious. So I built a website called Beautiful Voyager, which is Bevoya.com for people to come together and really share their insights. Because I knew that I couldn't be the only one, but I didn't. It took me a while to learn how to spot and over-thinker, which may be what you call high-functioning.
[00:05:40] I think it's super interesting that you said, for a high functioning person, and that's how I feel when I meet a fellow beautiful voyage or I'm like, I see you. I know how you are. So then after working on that and working on you know, I led the biggest, it's still in the editor of the biggest medium publication on mental illness or mental health really called Invisible Illness.
[00:06:01] And then. I'm the editor of the biggest publication on medium. So I, like, helped start that publication bring lots of new writers and connect people with each other. So I did that both on medium and I did that on my own site. And then after doing that for five years, In addition to my job, I always had a job.
[00:06:22] So my job was at the startups. And then I moved back into big companies. I worked at Zillow for two years, which was great. And then for Zillow, so I was a senior content marketing manager, really video PR. I was doing video production and writing in lots of different ways, working, working again with engineers and designers and you know, figuring out.
[00:06:45] What we were trying to say to people in particular, I was working on a campaign about being neighborly, which I loved, which was for Trulia. So it was how to build a more neighborly world, which really resonated with me and I loved it but then this opportunity opened at Pinterest. And I was about to publish this book that you mentioned, Get Out of My Head, and yes.
[00:07:08] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: It's a beautiful book. You know, anyone like that, some people are just listening. Sorry. I have like a blur.
[00:07:14] Meredith Arthur: Yeah. Yours is blurry here. Let me show, I can show, it's got a lot of hand done art. This is all handcrafted. And then there's a little book in the back
[00:07:24] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: I love it.
[00:07:25] Meredith Arthur: But the little book is supposed to be like a little piece of medicine or a vitamin for you. If you need it, you can just put it in your back pocket. And it also has original art by Leah Rosenberg, who was the former director of the Color Factory of New York.
[00:07:40] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: It's a beautiful book that was okay, I don't want to get too sidetracked, but I was going to ask you about that. But you.
[00:07:46] Meredith Arthur: We can definitely talk about that. We can definitely talk about that. I'll just finish that last piece for you, which is, I was passionate about this topic. I was working in this topic like at every moment outside of work, but one of the co-founders of Pinterest said, Hey, I'm looking for someone with Mental Health, Content and Product experience.
[00:08:07] And I was like, how many people like that? Can there be like, I'm that person and so I got, I got very lucky to, to connect with Pinterest and, and work on truly amazing projects there. And so now I've been there for a year and a half, I'm on the emerging products team. I work very closely with the CEO of Pinterest on emotional well being.
[00:08:27] So that's how you and I met because I was working on one of the emerging product launches for Pinterest live and we were, you and I were on a really great session that you led around creating vision boards and as the emotional well being person, that I was the one that got to be on that with you.
[00:08:47] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Which was super fun. Now, part of, you know, what I'm interested in for the High Functioning Hotspot obviously it's, you know, partly just to, you know, talk about this awesome book. But really it's also on the High Functioning Hotspot, I like to look at people even just choose life journeys have been ones that maybe other people wouldn't come out on top, so to speak, right? And so I'm curious, and I have some questions about what you shared that I hope could be illuminating for other people, you know, that are listening and trying to understand that. So but when one context question first, when you left New York and you had been in New York working in publishing, what were you doing in publishing at that time?
[00:09:32] Meredith Arthur: I was an assistant editor at a book publishing house called Harcourt. And it was a different era of publishing. I mean, I could see that the business was struggling in general, like the business of a publishing, but I got to work with the most amazing writers. I was working with Nobel prize winners. I mean, I was just at this little literary fiction and non-fiction world of just incredible people and incredible editors.
[00:10:00] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Neat. And then how did you then get to a place where you were, for example, in San Francisco building a site, like most of us don't have this website building scouts. How did that come in?
[00:10:13] Meredith Arthur: So it, it, I got very lucky in the people that I met. I chose my mentors well so I looked for people that really resonated with me. And in particular, there was an amazing woman who was starting a food website called Chow. It was a really long time ago and she had worked at Rolling Stone and she had, she was so cool. And she just had unwired, she just had a really great editorial sense and she wanted to do something very different.
[00:10:43] This was before Instagram, this was before any of this. So she just had a really clear sense of what was missing in the market. And I, I just kind of signed up to work with her and she had editorial chops. She knew what needed to happen, and she knew what people would be interested in. And so we built the magazines, print magazines, but then we started to build a website on the side and got very lucky that CNET was looking for a brand to wrap around ChowHound, which was kind of discussion boards about food. This was a long time ago, but this was like what was happening then? So they acquired us. And through that, I got this experience where I got to try different jobs. I organized photo shoots, I organized video shoots. I, you know, I got to build a brand really from the ground up.
[00:11:36] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: So they just rotated you around.
[00:11:38] Meredith Arthur: Well I'm a generalist, I'm a generalist and I'm a problem solver. So. I kind of go, it's unusual in tech actually. I mean, I, I talked to people at Pinterest and they're like, who are you like, wow, this is so strange it is unusual and it has been both a challenge and success for me. I mean, it's been both, I can't say that it's always been super easy to be someone who floats into different worlds. And, you know, my core strength is as a producer, I know how to write. I know how to create interesting things. I know what I would want to see and how to make that happen.
[00:12:1n 3] So I have a very strong editorial background, but you know, I also love working with engineering and love working with design and love building. So I have been very lucky. I feel like Pinterest is a place where I've been able to do the widest variety of work that spoke to me.
[00:12:32] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: I want to highlight just, you know, what I'm noticing as one of the big strengths that I think is helping, you know, you to have made all these jumps just in my off the cuff noticing again, just with my obsession with high functioning people.
[00:12:45] So a lot of people, Meredith, have that ability to be really creative. But they don't have the ability to function within a business setting. Right. And so what you did that I'm noticing is, you know, you obviously just have that natural creative drive that comes to a lot of people, just very naturally, but what you were not, not necessarily me, but a lot of, a lot of artists, they have this God given wellspring of creativity, but, but what you did that you mentioned is that you also attached yourself and were willing to work under others and take direction from whether it be a mentor or a corporation or whatever that you were willing to kind of submit yourself and work within a bigger framework. That's very powerful that I think probably helped you to be where you are today.
[00:13:35] Meredith Arthur: I love that point. I think that is a really great point. I have learned after this long career that. My biggest success comes from when I get to be in a small startup, like setting in a big company. I mean, it's, and I've been very lucky to find those situations.
[00:13:52] It was like that at CBS, it was like that at the food network. The startups obviously were all startup-y and now I'm in a startup kind of situation within Pinterest. So,
[00:14:01] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: But that's a perfect segue because my next question is, as you said, you ran five startups in three years. I work with a lot of people you know, that are in some way they either have a startup or they're thinking about joining a startup or whatever.
[00:14:15] And people are always afraid to join startups because you know, there's not a lot of predictability, but then of course, you know, they're like, they love the idea of the freedom and the latitude and the startup energy. But they, they, you know, missed the security and the predictability of a corporate, you know, more, you know, established corporate job.
[00:14:34] Do you have advice for people that are evaluating a startup and trying to figure out is this one that's just going to be like totally chaotic with some kind of a brat CEO, that's just going to like yell at everybody and like, you know, there's, we're going to wish to God that we had an HR department, like, or is this going to be like one of those cool startups, like where it really works out? Like how, I wouldn't have a crystal ball, but how can people.
[00:15:03] Meredith Arthur: I would say Dr. Chloe you can never think it's gonna work out. I mean, you should assume it will not work. You should be going into a startup for a different reason. And that reason should be which skills can you acquire and you should be thinking of it that way you should enter the startup thinking okay, I'm here to build. My own content program, for example, or I'm here to get to work more closely with the CEO in order to get that skillset or, you know, to build a financial model, like whatever your love desire is, it should be to achieve that thing and know that like the rest.
[00:15:40] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: And then have this start out, work startup works out. That's just the cherry on top.
[00:15:44] Meredith Arthur: I mean, you're, that is like one in a million to me. I mean, I don't know. I've been at five of them. Like it's one in a million that it's actually going to work out. So you should really be pretty ruthless about your own learning agenda and the story you plan to tell when you're done, you should say to yourself, okay, you know what I'm interviewing at my next job. I built this financial model from scratch.
[00:16:08] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Who told you to think about it this way? Cause I love this way of thinking about it.
[00:16:12] Meredith Arthur: No one ever told me to do this. This is a hard-won experience. This is just being in the thick of it. And you know what, honestly, Dr. Chloe, it's survival instincts.
[00:16:23] Like a lot of it, this for me, the, like, when you say, like, how did you come through this? It was, it was horrendous. Like the five startups were very, very hard. And I had many people in my life saying should you just leave tech? What should you do? But I just didn't see it as an option. I didn't know how to leave.
[00:16:43] Like to me, this was what I was doing. There were elements that I loved and yes, I was running into brick walls over and over. I was at three startups in one year. It was horrible.
[00:16:54] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Do you mind sharing, like what your parents do and how your childhood shaped you to be someone that would just naturally have that insight that you just described?
[00:17:04] Meredith Arthur: Absolutely. So my father was a lawyer who was sort of self-made. So he came from a more challenging background in Ohio. And built his own law practice in Defiance, Ohio, and had a very strong sense of like standing up for the little guy, that was the line. He would always say, I'm here to stand up for the little guy.
[00:17:27] And he just had a strong individuality. I would describe him as a bit of an entrepreneur as well. And didn't care what other people thought of him. Like just, he was his own, you know, charismatic, charming person who actually went to dental school and it wasn't working out. So then went to law school and that gave him a special sauce himself.
[00:17:46] Like he had this medical background, but also as a lawyer. So, you know, it definitely had an impact on me. I always thought I would be a lawyer, but some of those traits were definitely there. And my mother was a speech therapist who was stay at home and really accessible for my brothers and I, and I think that you know, was, I feel very lucky for that grounding. I'm very lucky to have had that sort of two parents being around taking care of us.
[00:18:16] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: She was a speech therapist.
[00:18:19] Meredith Arthur: She was a speech therapist first and then left to be stay at home mom. But speech, everybody likes, still came in a lot. Like we she'd mentioned it a lot. And, but the interesting thing was. You know, my father was very focused on my education and it could be because he didn't kind of have that support growing up, but he was always pushing to get me into the best schools and the best places. And I went to boarding school, which no one ever went to from Ohio.
[00:18:46] Dr. Chloe Carmichael:What age did you go?
[00:18:48] Meredith Arthur: Went so actually earlier than that, he pushed me to go to France over the summer. And because I had a French teacher who said, Meredith will never learn French. And he was like, I beg to differ. So she's just not a language person. So he sent me to France, living alone with a family, you know, speaking no English for a summer.
[00:19:13] He did lots of things like that. He sent me to a military camp because he thought it was going to be a great experience because the neighbors did it, but it was horrible. But I pushed through, I was like, I'm going to stay for the rest of the summer. Even though I, I always had this, like I have to see it through.
[00:19:29] And I actually wonder in retrospect, if it was because when you do have anxiety, you, I just always had this like I gotta fight it. I gotta fight this. I got to push through.
[00:19:41] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yes. Now you I also are a mom yourself. Right. And so I, I, I'm not going to get totally lost on tangents cause they do have my notes.
[00:19:51] I'm going to come back to where we were. But I do want to just follow up on what you said a moment ago, which is your mom gave up her career as a speech pathologist to be a stay-at-home mom. And that you found that helpful. You're a mom, I'm a mom. We both have careers. So do you mind sharing like kind of what that's like for you and if you work mainly from home or how much you have,
[00:20:16] Meredith Arthur: I have a stay at home husband. So my husband is the stay at home mom and our family. He does work, but not very much so only a couple of months a year. So he is incredible. He is the reason I'm able to do what I do. He has supported me through, like, many twists and turns and he's always seen my potential and he's always, he's always been on our side, but my side, he sees his job as to take care of my daughter and I .
[00:20:43] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: That's so beautiful. I mean, I'm, I obviously work, but I will say that since having my son I've worked much, much, much, much less. Like, it's just, it's been like a, like a really big change for me. I think that might in part just be, because my son is four. Like I don't imagine it always being like that, but you know, my husband is not a stay at home husband, but he does work from home often.
[00:21:10] So if I have situations. You know, like, I want to do something, it's not a big deal. And I actually, of course, think it's really healthy for kids to have time and interaction, you know, with both parents and even for my son to just see me doing what I do. I think that's great. But anyway, back to you, so I want to go down to the other questions that I had about what you shared earlier, which is that you saw several therapists and because of, you know, you're people pleasing or, you know, whatever it was that they, they had missed, you know, this underlying diagnosis.
[00:21:45] Do you, I'm just curious, because one of the things that I try to do is educate the public about choosing and evaluating therapists, because I think a lot of people, they just, you know, the first person they call who seems available and relatable, they just they start talking to that person and they don't even really know like how to evaluate a therapist credentials. Do you recall the credentials of those therapists or do you think that?
[00:22:12] Meredith Arthur: I mean I went to trusted sources and got recommendations and when I was really young in Seattle, you know, it was a little more random.
[00:22:22] It was sort of like who, who could I find? And then as I got older, I was a little more intentional. I think the biggest struggle was that often when you go to therapy, you're asked like, what's wrong and I didn't actually know what was. I didn't know it was anxiety. So I would be like I don't know. I mean, I didn't really know why I was there.
[00:22:44] I kind of generally must have felt something, but I could certainly couldn't articulate it and was very disconnected from it. I would describe my thinking feels like a balloon that I'm holding. And my head is very disconnected from my body. Like I kind of could say that, but I just, it's really hard when, when, and I really feel for people that are looking for a therapy connection, if they don't understand these things about themselves, because often you're asked like, well, what's wrong, or what do we need to do?
[00:23:14] And if you don't know, That's one of the biggest challenges. Those are the people I really am always trying to reach.
[00:23:21] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. I'm going to put a thing in the show notes. I do have an article called how to choose an online therapist. And so I kind of talk a little bit even about how to interview a therapist and things like that. So I'll make a note to do that. So. I know again, I love that you're so open and, you know, share that eventually, like you got this ADHD diagnosis.
[00:23:40] Meredith Arthur: It's Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
[00:23:43] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Is there, do you feel like there's actually in a weird way, like a plus to that side of you.
[00:23:50] Meredith Arthur: I've thought about this a lot and I tend to say, and I feel like this might be different. I still need to read your book and I'm really looking forward to it. I feel like this might, I think that there, I don't think anxiety helps me very much. Like I think that anxiety is an obstacle for me to overcome. That I learned to live with in harmony or, or as best I can to really like spot it and understand it in myself. When I was first diagnosed, I would say that it helped me like, oh, this is my super power, but I actually think I was kidding myself.
[00:24:28] Like when I first met the artist who worked on my book, she was like telling herself all these things about how anxiety was helping her. And I was like, I don't think anxiety is helping you. I don't think it's helping you be better as an artist. I think you are amazing. And you're doing all of this despite anxiety, and it's hard to say how our early experiences informed who we are.
[00:24:52] Like, did I have the Issue that I built muscle around and like, what did that do for me? It's hard to know, but I can say that if I had known when I was younger, how to work around it and live in harmony with it, I would have been better off than some of the experiences I went through.
[00:25:17] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. Yeah. Well, thanks for that. You know, really candid and open, vulnerable answer Meredith. Really admire just your openness where you, was it always easy for you to be open and talk about this?
[00:25:32] Meredith Arthur: That's a great question. So when I was first diagnosed, I was so curious about this topic and I was really interested in it. Like I don't feel stigma around mental health. I feel fascination and but I didn't know how to communicate it with others. There's this story I tell about my husband and I being at my daughter's school for a mindfulness class, and everyone was supposed to go around and talk about their experiences with mindfulness in the past. And when it got to me, this was right after my diagnosis.
[00:26:01] I said, well, I have generalized anxiety disorder, so blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I started talking in Michaels, my husband's face just sort of like a melted, like, what are you doing? These people do not know you, you cannot. And it was, you know, it's, it was awkward. I was awkward about it because a lot of people around me have associations and those words have meaning to them.
[00:26:23] And it's kind of scary. It wasn't to me, but it was to other people. So I had to learn. I always say you have to be gawky to get to graceful. Like I started gawky and I mean, you know, I've always been pretty open about stuff I like to find, I love comedy. I like the humor and things. I, people are fascinating to me, so I never felt like embarrassed or ashamed at all, but I was gawky originally.
[00:26:52] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. Very well said. And I would just see as well, like, you know, to your point about the person who's like, oh, anxiety is helping me. And you're like, oh, I don't really necessarily think so in that, you know, you weren't sure like. You know, if anxiety really was like a superpower for you? I would just share my take because of course I literally wrote the book.
[00:27:08] So I would just say like, in my experience with the people that I've worked with anxiety is not necessarily helping them. You know, when it's mismanaged or misunderstood within them. And they're just trying to shout it down or stump it out or, you know, control it or whatever.
[00:27:24] Then it just, it does put them, you know, in, in a battle with themselves. But when we can understand that, actually the healthy function of anxiety is to stimulate preparation behaviors. A person without anxiety would not look both ways before they cross the street. Right. So learning to understand and recognize the healthy function of anxiety and also to recognize, you know, where's the tipping point where we're going haywire with it, but also what do we do with it to really harness the healthy power of it for me, like that was kind of the inflection point that.
[00:27:58] I think what's helping the people, you know, in my practice and you know, what was, what eventually prompted me to write a book. But I would love to know. I'm sorry.
[00:28:07] Meredith Arthur: The colleagues that I'm working with at the Yale center for emotional intelligence certainly agree with you. Like I've had this discussion with them where I always try to gently push back, like, well, that anxiety is every day, anxiety and separating, like, as you said, that tipping point of everyday anxiety with an anxiety disorder is super important. And I think a lot of people that are looking for that, like, it's helping me. I have a friend here who's always, always saying like, it's helping me. It's helping me. And I'm like, Hm, you have an anxiety disorder.
[00:28:44] Like, I'm not sure it's helping you, but it sets spectrum. And I think it's really interesting to see. Certainly one that I have many times with many, many people. I actually think it's maybe one of the most controversial things that I pushed for, which is like, anxiety is not helping you. Many people want to believe it's helping them.
[00:29:03] But again, I'm talking about anxiety disorders, so there could be this other world and I do need to read your book by the way.
[00:29:11] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: I would be so curious because. I would, I would say that I think anxiety almost like morphs into that really weird, you know, pathological side of anxiety when we don't know how to handle and deal with and respond.
[00:29:28] Meredith Arthur: That I certainly, and I agree with, yeah, that happened for me as a kid obviously, like there was a time where I didn't know how to handle, I didn't have those tools. Just went directly into migraines and my body, like that's
[00:29:41] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: This is obviously definitely not healthy. Yes. And you know, also I know that there are even people, as you said that even if they know that they're handling it in a pathological way, That they can still feel attached to that pathology that there is even, you know, almost like a person with bipolar can get attached to the intensity of the ups and downs.
[00:30:03] And they can be afraid that if they lose that. That it's in some way, you know, gonna take away the edge of their work and everything. So I definitely want you to check out my book and cause I, I really, I think Meredith that we probably actually things like the same way. You know, getting back to books, especially with your book.
[00:30:26] Can you talk about like what the writing process was like for you, how you came to write, how you came to publish what life is like? all that stuff.
[00:30:35] Meredith Arthur: This also felt very idiosyncratic. So when. About a year in, on working on the Beautiful Voyager. I met with an old friend who a literary agent, because that's what happens when you started your career in books, you have people in your life who are already in the book world.
[00:30:49] And I said to her, you know, I'm, I'm obsessed with this topic. Like I can not learn enough. I'm constantly reading. And she said, well, let's talk about a book. And I had so many ideas, Dr. Chloe of these just massive undertakings I wanted to do. I wanted to commissioned research studies around the world to look at different ways that anxiety had presented itself in different communities.
[00:31:14] And I wanted to thread through like learnings from all those different communities. I just had so many thoughts and started to work on it. And the thoughts just got bigger and bigger. I was clearly overthinking it. And my, I mean, I'm still fascinated by those topics by the way, but it was too big. And my literary agent Daniel. I said, you know, let's set it aside for a little bit. Let's just see what happens. She's so smart. And four years later, I was in a conversation with someone who wanted to write a book and I was just talking them through, like, here's some things to think about. Let's think about this. And I realized like, Hey, you are ready.
[00:31:55] You want to do this? So I started by taking that five years of writing that I had done and pulling it up the threads that interested me and trying to lay out what that might look like. Just trying to think about the structure and what those threads were. And it happened very quickly from there. Like it was, you know, January is when I started, I sold it in early March and it was published you know, a year after that
[00:32:24] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Awesome, audio book version as well.
[00:32:27] Meredith Arthur: Yes, there is. I love, I love it. The only thing I love doing the audio book. It was so fun. I worked with this amazing sound engineer who had done the Beastie boys audiobook right before mine. I was like, this is what's his name? Jake J. What is his last name? I should remember because I lost it.
[00:32:44] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: That's okay. I was just curious. Cause I, I feel like it's not the same person I worked with Scott Sherratt and he did I think like some other people's books, but anyway, yeah, I thought we might've had the same audio engineer for a sec there,
[00:32:56] Meredith Arthur: Bet that'd be so fun.
[00:32:58] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah. Well, Meredith I know that I promised you that I wouldn't keep you all day. So I want to be respectful of your time, but is there anything that I have not asked you about that you would like to share?
[00:33:10] Meredith Arthur: I just love talking to you and I'm so grateful to you for wanting to connect. I love that. You said like, after I met you, I felt like we would have more to say and I, I definitely feel that's true. And I'm just, I just want to express my gratitude to you for feeling that and following up.
[00:33:28] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Oh, well the pleasure is truly mine. Honestly. That's one of the greatest fun things for me with the High Functioning Hotspot is like, it gives me like the right format and the right platform that when I meet someone like you, where I'm like, wow, what an interesting high functioning person, I can do this.
[00:33:42] I'd love to ask you some questions. Finally get the chance. So thank you. And I just want to say again, Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World, trying to get out of the blur, there Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World. And it is a beautiful book. You said that the color it was sent by the.
[00:34:02] Meredith Arthur: Director of the Color Factory, she is incredible. She did it with pen by pen and then rise the graph. The work and it's, we, we just spent a lot of time talking about these different chapters and how they should feel. This was really, this element was really, really important to me. I ended up commissioning the art myself and commissioning and designer to work on it too.
[00:34:24] So the three of us met weekly because I wanted to, I wanted to be in contrast. To some of the other books on anxiety out in the world that I had seen that caused me anxiety. Like they didn't seem to understand how to unlock this feeling of curiosity that I had. And it was through art that I thought that that helps unlock the feeling I have.
[00:34:49] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: I love it. Yeah. I really love that. And I do, I just have one more question for you as well. So, you know, you mentioned, for example, like getting into. Pinterest position kind of through networking. And then that, you know, you knew this person that was able to, you know collaborate with you on the art. Another area that I work with, people just a lot around and talk about a lot is networking.
[00:35:13] And, you know, I personally as well, I'm very thankful to my own network and I mean, can you share with people that are thinking to themselves? Damn, I wish I had a network like Meredith has, like how, how did you any tips for people out there that are thinking that questions?
[00:35:29] Meredith Arthur: I do have a tip. You don't have to know everyone. You just have to know the people that you find the most fascinating. I think it's a matter of I mean, I've always chosen my people along the way. I mentioned that around the woman that I worked with on the food magazine, but to me, I try to tune into like, whoo I'm in. I want that person and people who have done that to me too.
[00:35:56] And I'm always really appreciative. It's very intentional. It's not, I'm going into a room to know everyone is. Like, is there one person in this room that I'm super interested in? I just think it's helpful. It narrows your focus and it has served me incredibly well to sort of tune into that side because I genuinely want to connect with that person.
[00:36:17] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Okay. Then once you target who that person is, any tips on how you actually translate that into actually, you know, striking up a conversation and knowing the person.
[00:36:27] Meredith Arthur: It's a good question. I mean, by the way, podcasts are a good way to do it. Like I also have a podcast and I do the same thing you do where I'm like, I just want to, you're interesting to me, you have something interesting going on.
[00:36:40] That's like a nice entry. I tend to just focus on what they are interested in and just, I don't know. I try to be funny. I try to be like, not non businessy. I think being businessy is a turn off for me. I just do what like would make me interested, like try to like speak in the way that would make me interested. If I hear someone
[00:37:06] being like fun and vulnerable. I'm like, that's the person I want to be near.
[00:37:10] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: Yeah, definitely Meredith, well, you're an interesting person to me. And so thanks again for taking the time.
[00:37:19] Meredith Arthur: Thank you so much, Dr. Chloe. I love getting to know you.
[00:37:23] Dr. Chloe Carmichael: The pleasure is mine. Bye. Bye.
[00:37:26] Wow. That was an amazing conversation. And it's kind of a rare find, honestly, to meet somebody like Meredith that is, you know, such a straddler of the creative side, but also of the business side, it was really such a privilege to just, you know, see how her mind works and have the chance to ask her about everything from, you know, networking to mental health, to marital life and everything.
[00:37:50] I mean that woman is kind of an open book, shall we say? And so, you know, just one more time talking about books. I know my screen is blurred, but I just want to hold this up one more time for Meredith's incredible book. Yeah. Out of my head Inspiration for Over thinkers in an Anxious World. I honestly think it's a really great book.
[00:38:07] So I want you to check out my book of course Nervous Energy Harness, the Power of Your Anxiety. But I think also Mary's book is a really excellent book as well. So thanks again for watching. I hope that if you enjoyed the episode, you will like, comment, subscribe, share, etc. it helps me a lot in all of the algorithms.
[00:38:25] Thanks again, and have a good rest of the day.
- The High Functioning Podcast Homepage - www.TheHighFunctioningHotspot.com
- Dr. Chloe’s Homepage - http://drchloe.com/
- Meredith Arthur’s Website - http://www.mereditharthur.com/
- Meredith Arthur’s LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/mereditharthur/
- Meredith Arthur’s Twitter - https://twitter.com/mudaba
- Meredith Arthur’s Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/bevoya/
- Beautiful Voyager’s Website - https://bevoya.com/about
- Beautiful Voyager’s Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/bevoyaa/
- Beautiful Voyager’s Twitter page - https://twitter.com/bevoya
- How to Choose and Online Therapist - https://www.drchloe.com/for-clinicians-blog/how-to-choose-an-online-therapist
- Get Out of My Head: Inspiration for Overthinkers in an Anxious World - https://www.amazon.com/Get-Out-Head-Inspiration-Overthinkers/dp/0762497696/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1569968179&sr=8-4