Kristen Glosserman, IF IT’S NOT RIGHT, GO LEFT

Kristen Glosserman, IF IT’S NOT RIGHT, GO LEFT

Zibby is joined by personal and business coach Kristen Glosserman to talk about her new book, If It’s Not Right, Go Left, which combines memoir with some of Kristen’s top advice for readers. The two discuss which life events inspired Kristen to make decisions with the intention to change her life and who has been there to help her along the way. Kristen also shares why her family decided to open their restaurant, Hill Country BBQ, what clients need to know when seeking out a personal life coach, and the most important lesson she learned from Covid while completing this book. Check out Zibby’s Good Day DC interview where she recommended Kristen’s book here!


Zibby Owens: Welcome, Kristen. Thank you so much for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” to discuss If It’s Not Right, Go Left: Practical and Inspirational Lessons to Move You in a Positive Direction. Thank you.

Kristen Glosserman: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Zibby: It’s a delight. I’m sorry this has taken so long to schedule and do, but everything happens for a reason. Maybe we were meant to talk today. Your book is so great. I loved the pictures, but mostly, I loved the content, particularly the little boxes where you share your own personal story. I was like, I want more of that.

Kristen: Thank you.

Zibby: Why don’t you tell listeners about your book and how it came to be?

Kristen: Thank you again. My book, If It’s Not Right, Go Left, is a manual for anyone looking to move their life in a positive direction. I share all the throughout the book that if you spoke to me eighteen years ago around my thirtieth birthday, you would’ve met someone who was depressed and getting divorced, lacked career direction, and was being quite destructive. I made a decision that I was going to change my ways. That started one decision at a time. Here I am, forty-eight and married, have a career I love and four beautiful children. I wanted to share the help and the hope with anyone who wanted to hear it. That was really the inspiration for the book.

Zibby: Amazing. One through line of your story, which is so tragic, is the loss your brother when you were just thirteen. I actually was reading some of this out loud to my kids. My son was like, “If she was thirteen, how old was her brother?” Can I ask how old your brother was at the time?

Kristen: Yes. He was four years younger than me, so he was in grade school. As you know, and I’ve connected with your Moms Don’t Have Time to Grieve, when you go through something like that, it changes you forever. I feel it used to be a club that was relatively small. Unfortunately, that club seems to be a whole lot bigger now. So many of us are now having to manage holding that grief while living our lives. I say and I share that for a very long time, I struggled with that until it became an inspiration. Now so much of what I do is inspired by my brother Michael and his life.

Zibby: I appreciate you sharing. It’s not always easy, as you know. I love how you used it to show the family that showed up for you at the time who you’re still friends with, your friend Jen and how her mom was such a rock for you, and how sometimes what you need just shows up for you at those times and ends up being maybe not the people, necessarily, you thought, or maybe it is. The people who get you through those times, there’s something that links you forever, and not to push those connections away because that’s those family bonds. Your whole emphasis on nuclear family which pervades the entire narrative with you as a mom and your kids and your family and everything, growing up with your Catholic family and all of your traditions and the emphasis on family traditions, I love it. At my daughter’s school right now, every Friday, they have a parent come Zoom to the class about their family tradition. I finally got to go last week after all year. All year, my daughter was like, “When are we going to talk? When is your turn for family traditions? What are we going to do?” We talked about celebrating Shabbat. I gave out challahs to all the kids and everything. Yes, I totally loved that part too, the role of family and the role of support and all of that. Tell me a little bit about that and some of the ways you’ve found the power of family, your own or your friends or your adopted or whatever.

Kristen: I think family can be that large, as you share. Some of us have it under one roof, but some of us have this extended family and the families that we choose through friendship and work and our communities. Those are all pillars of our life. You know, four kids, how do you have four kids? I truly believe that it was the four of them that really filled that space, that hole in my heart after losing my brother. I draw so much inspiration from my friends and their families. Jen, my high school friend, she had her mom. She had her sisters always around. I remember just days after losing my brother, looking around that table at the laughter and the bond that they shared. They had also been through so much tragedy. Jen had lost her cousin. Then she had lost her dad. This was not a family that was, let the good times roll. This was a family that had been through a lot of tragedy, and they were happy. They were together. They were there for each other. I knew at a very young age that having that table was going to help. To bring it back to the book, there are things that we can do in our lives that can move us in a positive direction. It’s about knowing what they are and then creating a discipline to actually do them. In the book, it’s very practical. There’s a series of questions that you can ask yourself so that you can begin igniting those wants. Through those wants, we can then create some sort of a plan to begin doing them. Success is really an accident. I’m here today because of a lot of hard work and a discipline of positive direction that I documented, created, and now share.

Zibby: Wow. Just going up through your life story here, so you talk about how you ended up in this sales job that was very lucrative. You had a nice life. You had the studio apartment in New York. You’re feeling good. Sales for Xerox, sales for pharmaceuticals, whatever you were doing.

Kristen: Yeah, lots of sales.

Zibby: You felt so much pressure to — Xerox, right? Xerox? That’s what you said?

Kristen: That’s it, yeah.

Zibby: You felt so much pressure to get married, as so many of us, especially then, not now in the same way. I’m forty-five. Hitting thirty, it was like, oh, my gosh, who’s around? It’s like a game of musical chairs. Okay, our music is ending. Jump in what’s available. You did describe the chemistry you had with your ex and how even though you were warned, you were like, no, no, no, which I also feel like is so relatable because we all know the guys who are not necessarily the best for us, but why are we so attracted to them, especially at young ages? Then there you were divorced. The power of even making that decision, that’s a really hard decision to make. Tell me a little more about that.

Kristen: The most difficult. It’s exactly what you said. Back then, thirty and single, especially for an Italian family, I was feeling like a spinster. My sister already had two kids. Jennifa was having her kids. Everyone’s having kids, and I wasn’t married. Thank goodness a lot has changed. I have three daughters. I have a boy and three girls. My girls, marriage, they’re like, after I become an artist, after I do this and do that. I love how that dialogue has moved, and I feel, very much in a positive direction. That decision to go left, to make a major change, it was arguably the most difficult decision of my life because he wasn’t abusive. There wasn’t this, you have to leave. It was just this very, very strong feeling that we were not a good pairing. He did not want the same things that I wanted, this big family rooted in tradition. I’m so grateful that I had the insight and the courage to make that change. I think that that was really a defining moment for me. I talk about living directionally in the book. It’s the last life lesson. It’s about living with vision. This vision of what I wanted and what I had was so far apart that that was the motivation for the change.

Zibby: Interesting. My dad has this saying, life’s too short to be miserable. I always think about that. These decisions are not easy to come by. Although, it did make me want to ask you for a picture of your ex because I bet he was pretty amazing. Anyway, I’m kidding.

Kristen: He was pretty cute.

Zibby: You go into your marriage and your love affair with Marc, your husband, and the way that he inspired, from day one, all this positive change in you, which is amazing, from getting you to stop smoking — maybe I’m giving too much away.

Kristen: No, no.

Zibby: And how you were willing to change one of your habits to kick because you realized it was just getting in the way of something so amazing. Raising your kids Jewish even coming from a large Italian Catholic family and your son’s bar mitzvah and all of that, you made that happen. You made it all happen, but it could easily not. I mean, I guess anything with life, you could say that, but I feel like this was so purposeful in how you had to make the decisions that got you to, ultimately, where you wanted to be, which, of course, you’re trying to teach everybody else.

Kristen: That’s exactly right. You just summed it up perfectly. This was very conscious. Your ability to live the life you want is a very conscious decision. Once you can get clear on what that is, then you can actually say, each and every day, am I moving closer or further away from what I want and what I see? Really, it sounds so simple. Once you learn these fundamentals of living directionally, it kind of is. If I want to be in this loving marriage, how am I showing up today? Am I being loving, or am I coming to the day with resentment and anger? Once we can really get clear on what it is we want, we can then make those decisions. Marc, for me, was really taking advantage of this amazing opportunity. Marc is the smartest, kindest, most loyal, and sincere — his friends would be a mile long. Marc is that guy. I’m just so lucky that when I met him, actually a second time because we knew each other in a previous life, that I was ready to really go there with him. I do think that everything happens for a reason, and I believe that we make things happen when we’re ready for them.

Zibby: Very true. Wow, I love it. Now you also work with him in the restaurant world as well. You do all this coaching. You’re running back and forth to the restaurant. You have clients. You’re dropping off the kids. Is that basically what life looks like for you?

Kristen: Yeah, and I’m sure you too. How many hats do most of us wear, right?

Zibby: I don’t have a restaurant. That wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Kristen: I’m laughing now, but it has not been easy these last few years. It’s been incredibly challenging during COVID. A world of thanks to Marc and our teams for hanging in there and staying with it. When I finally started dating Marc and getting serious, he was at that pivot where I think a lot of people are finding themselves right now. He had just moved back from London after deciding to move out of his last business overseas. He was going to grad school. He was at Columbia getting his MBA. He came to me with this big idea of opening this flagship barbeque restaurant, Texas-inspired by his mom and dad who met at UT. I say, if it had come to me at any other time in my life, I probably would’ve looked at my boyfriend and said, are you crazy? I was knee-deep in my coaching and really living this idea of whatever it is that you envision, you can do, so I jumped on board with him. We’ve spent the last fifteen years building this brand and this flagship on 26th Street. Yes, so much of our life has been running back and forth between the restaurant. Fortunately, now it’s a bit of an institution where we’ve got our partners and our teams. I think our guests know what to expect from it. A lot of hard work. I’ve got to just give my husband all of the credit because that has really been his baby while I’ve been raising our four. I’m just glad that I was able to be a part of it with him and the team. I love our Hill Country family.

Zibby: Has it stayed open? Did you do outdoor dining and all of that? Yes?

Kristen: Our New York flagship has remained open the entire time on delivery and outdoor dining. Now we’re back to booking events and music and really starting up again, which is great. Thank you.

Zibby: Where is it? I have to come to this restaurant.

Kristen: 30 West 26th Street between 6th and Broadway, Flatiron.

Zibby: Awesome. Perfect. Amazing. I’m going to come. I’m sure most people have already been. Since COVID, I’ve been very reluctant to leave my house at all times for basically anything.

Kristen: I think so many people have been. The great thing about New York is, as many people have been there, whenever I meet someone who hasn’t, I’m like, great, more people still to discover. That’s why we live here, because it never gets old.

Zibby: It would be fun to do an event there. I’m trying to plan a bunch of events coming up.

Kristen: Hit me offline.

Zibby: We can circle back. I hate that expression. I don’t even know why I said that. Anyway, so I have to say, when I got to the part in the book where you ran the half marathon, I was like, well, maybe I’m starting to hate her a little bit. Now I’m just feeling really completely out of shape. What can this woman not do? You’re doing all the things and running your business and mastering your body. It’s really amazing. Talk about how your physical life and your exercise — you talk about how important it is and how much you get out of it, not the vanity, the emotion from it. Tell me about that.

Kristen: For me — we all know what that is. For some people, it’s a good book. We draw energy from that. For some people, it’s a vacation or time alone. For me, it’s always been very physical. I was an athlete growing up. I just loved that feeling of the game and the score and the win and competing. That has always fueled me. How do we find that later in life through movement? To your point, Zibby, I do this on Instagram all the time because if I make it look easy, I apologize. It’s absolutely exhausting. I have my days where I crash and I spend the whole day in bed. On Sunday, I said to the kids and my husband, “Pretend I’m not here.” I’m not a good traveler. I don’t like to go away. I look at women on girls’ trips and retreats. I think that’s so amazing because that’s, for me, a real area of grow. That’s not something that I gravitate towards. I actually have to just let everyone know to pretend I’m not here so I can have a day to refuel myself. It’s so much work. If it’s important to you, you make time for it. The physical is really important to me. I lock it in my calendar at the beginning of the day. I did my squats and my sit-ups before I jumped on the phone with you. Even if it’s just forty squats, something to get my heart rate up and to feel like I moved my body in a meaningful and purposeful way, that’s important to me. I think it’s important to a lot of people.

Zibby: Last thing. I’m jumping through your life. There was so much stuff to discuss. I feel like we could have episodes on each little area. You talk about dyslexia and how you needed help even with this book and how that’s affected your life. Here you are an author. Tell me about the impact of that.

Kristen: I highlighted that because I wanted to inspire anyone who had something to say or to tell to please ask for help. I write about help in my book, chapter four, Do What Works, because help is a sign of strength. Knowing where to go to get support is only going to make you better. I have always gravitated towards getting help. I recognize how much that has assisted me in every area of my life. I had a really hard time in school because I recognized — I knew I was smart. I was always very capable. I was a leader. At the same time, things were not sticking in terms of, when I would read, it would go in one brain and out the other. I’d have to use a piece of paper to line the reading. I went to public school. I went to a big public school. I was never flagged probably in the way I would’ve been now and in the way that my daughter was very early on. I’m sure that I had some sort of learning challenge, mild to moderate dyslexia. My husband will tell you I write everything backwards. One of our funniest stories — we were going traveling early in our relationship. He was asking me to look for Route 69. I took us all the way to Route 96, which was two hours in the opposite direction. I recognized that these things did not come easily to me. I wanted to share this information. I got help. I got someone to help me write this material. I used technology. I say help is often just a phone away. I used dictation devices to get a lot of these ideas on paper. Now the tools that we have — I just downloaded a dictation reading device to help me get through books and articles a little bit quicker. If there’s something that’s preventing you from getting to where you want to go, whether it’s personally or professionally, look around to your community, to your network, to your friends, family, colleagues. See who can help. That’s how you’ll move forward.

Zibby: Love it. I am going to put that on my do-list of something to look into.

Kristen: Yay, do-list, I love it.

Zibby: What is it called? That’s really neat. Do you know what the app is called, the dictation thing?

Kristen: Oh, gosh. Now I’m going to have to tell you. It just popped up.

Zibby: Send it to me. It’s very cool. In terms of your coaching business, let’s say someone’s listening to this and they’re like, oh, my gosh, can this woman please help me? I need her help. What should they do? Who are people who you’re like, “This is my sweet spot. I would love to help this type of person. I’m your girl”?

Kristen: The first thing I want to say is when we’re working with coaches, I play a lot with word choices. When we’re talking about coaching, we’re saying, I want a coach. I want you to be motivated. Really, having a coach, it’s such a luxury. They make you better. At the same time, not everyone can have that. The first thing is, in the book, If It’s Not Right, Go Left, there are coaching exercises with each chapter. You will feel like you’ve got me on your shoulder after you read a chapter and work yourself through those questions. A lot of coaching is the art of asking questions. You can get that just by being with the book and being your own wellness coach. That’s the first thing I want to offer to people. Really, do some of the work with yourself and get started. Then if you want to go deeper, you can go to my website, Ask for a thirty-minute consult. That is something that I offer to anyone who wants to learn more about coaching and more about my practice. That is available.

Then you can look on the website further to see different packages or different offerings. I do a one-off called a Hash-Out. That’s a quickie, forty-five minutes. You know you’ve got a big meeting tomorrow. I really partner with people and their businesses through my executive coaching practice. A colleague of mine was flying to close a round of funding. She’s like, “You know what? I just want to hash this out with you about how I’m going to show up, the questions I’m going to ask, what I’m going to do, what I’m going to not do. I just want to get really clear on my meeting.” We’ll do a Hash-Out. Then I have other clients that I’ve been working with for two years. I feel like I’m part of their lives and their businesses. We meet once a month. We’ve been doing that for over a year now. I’m really working with this young individual to craft her vision for her life and her business. There are different ways that I work with people. If you are a person that wants to create positive change and you’re really committed to it, then I think it’s worth exploring with me or anyone else that’s available.

Zibby: How do people know if they need a coach or a therapist?

Kristen: That’s a great question. I’m glad we can highlight that. Coaches, executive coaches, life coaches work with healthy, high-functioning individuals. We are practitioners of positive direction, life choices, decision. I’m a goal-setting strategist. I work around mindset, discipline, goal setting, and accountability. That is different than someone who feels they are or may be clinically depressed. That is a different path. I think understanding that is really important.

Zibby: Now that you’ve gone through the book process, what is the short version of how you went from the idea to getting it published?

Kristen: As you know, you get it all on paper. You get your outline. You have a rough manuscript. You begin shopping it out. You begin talking about what you’ve created to people. One of the things I talk about in the book is not recreating the wheel. If you’re doing something, there’s probably someone out there that’s done something similar. Ask for help. I went to my good friend, Margaret Zakarian, who is an author and has done books. I said to her, “I have this manuscript. What do I do with it?” She said, “I have a few people you can call and talk about it.” I made those calls. She gave me her publisher’s name, who so politely and graciously passed on the book. I said, okay, what other doors can I open? I wound up going with an amazing partnership publisher in San Francisco, The Collective Book Studio. We just hit it off. We started brainstorming about not only what was written, but what could be added. This whole idea of adding my personal story, that came through collaboration. I think once you give energy to any project, it sort of takes on a life of its own. Over the course of two years, we came up with If It’s Not Right, Go Left. It’s my self-help manual that I’m offering and sharing.

Zibby: The photography is amazing. Who was your photographer?

Kristen: I had two great — do we have time for this quick story?

Zibby: Yes.

Kristen: We were working on this book pre-COVID. Liza Gershman was my photographer. She’s very, very talented. I tag her a bunch on my IG. She was flying in to do the project. We had mapped out that it would probably take four days of photography. I wanted to try to capture Manhattan. Then I grew up on Long Island. I consider myself very much a Long Island girl, so I wanted to capture some of that as well.

Zibby: What part of Long Island? Where on Long Island?

Kristen: I was raised in Dix Hills, Exit 50. We spent summers driving back and forth to Montauk. I talk about the East End and the incredible impact that that area has had on me and my life and my family. Finding your happy place is such an important box to check. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. When things are getting rough, I know exactly where to go. Anyway, so Liza flies in. We do the first day, but the climate in New York is really concerning. People are starting to talk about this virus and what’s happening overseas. I’m getting texts from — I have this wonderful woman in Italy who found me and I have this beautiful virtual relationship with. She was telling me how bad things were getting over there. The voice of concern was like — I didn’t know if she was being alarmist. She was trying to warn me on what was coming. It just seemed so extreme from where we were in that actual moment. This is going back to March. Day two of the photo shoot, my makeup artist cancelled. Liza was, “I don’t know if I can get there. I think I should book flights home.” I got an email from my neighbor in the building that she was pulling her kids out of school and leaving to New Jersey. Literally, in twenty-four hours it felt like the whole city — do you remember that moment?

Zibby: Yes.

Kristen: That was the second day of our shoot. It was like we felt the whole city closing. We went out to the park. We took some morning pictures. Liza just shut down. She’s like, “I have to go.” I said, “You know what? You have to go, and I have to go get my kids.” It was just clear that it was over. No matter where we were and how important and all the time, effort, and energy we had put into this project, it was over a day and a half into it. At that point, we all went into survival mode. We had no idea what was going to happen over the next few weeks. I guess part of me thought the project was dead or at least postponed to an — we just had no idea. Then my publisher said, “Do you want to just go with what we have?” This is where my grit — I’m like, “No. It’s not even halfway done. I haven’t gotten this far to turn around halfway up the mountain.” I just said, “Let’s sit on it. I’ll use this time to edit,” which was a beautiful thing because I had something productive to work on during a really, really tough time. Then we picked it up again when it felt right. We wound up bringing in a second photographer from the East End, Madison, and somehow got it finished. I hope the book is not only helpful, but really, it’s such a message of resilience and determination that you just keep going. Even if the steps are really small, you just keep going.

Zibby: Wow. Thank you for sharing all that. I really got so much out of your story, of your book, of your lessons. I literally am reading this after I’m saying, I should’ve asked for help for this stupid back thing. I’m like, okay, okay. Sometimes you have to go through it to internalize it. Just like you were saying with COVID, I had people warning me too. They were like, don’t let anyone in your house. I was like, what are you talking about? I’m having a book event in five minutes.

Kristen: That’s the good news. I actually think you have to go through it to learn from it. If you’re going through it now, know that there’s the lesson in that. There’s the strength in that. You’re just not through it yet, but you will be able to draw from it.

Zibby: One day, we should meet up in New York and get all four of our kids together and see what happens.

Kristen: It would be chaos.

Zibby: Right? Let’s just throw them somewhere.

Kristen: How old are the kids, Zibby?

Zibby: Seven, eight, and fourteen and — almost fifteen and almost nine and seven. How about you?

Kristen: You lose track, right?

Zibby: Yesterday, I think I got one of the ages wrong, but don’t tell anybody.

Kristen: An age or a birthday. They’ll think, that’s not my birthday. Nine, eleven, thirteen, fourteen.

Zibby: Awesome. Well, goals. Thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for being so patient.

Kristen: Thank you for having me. I hope this helps. Feel well.

Zibby: Thank you, also, for bringing Michael into our lives. When I read this to my son last night — it said, “In loving memory of my brother Michael John. I miss you and think about you every day, and I’ll hold you in my heart always.” I said to my son, I was like, “And now we’re holding him in our hearts.” That’s just the power of having this picture and the message. Now we went to bed thinking about your brother. The power of sharing.

Kristen: Thank you. Thank you so much for that. Thank you.

Zibby: Thanks a lot. Buh-bye.

Kristen: Buh-bye, Zibby.

Kristen Glosserman, IF IT’S NOT RIGHT, GO LEFT

IF IT’S NOT RIGHT, GO LEFT by Kristen Glosserman

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