We had the good fortune of connecting with Penny Casselman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Penny, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I don’t believe in work-life balance—I prefer to call it work-life compromise. In 2017, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, there was no such thing as work-life balance—it immediately became 0% work and 100% self-care (life). Even if you’re currently experiencing a solid 50-50 split between the two, it can quickly teeter off-balance when an event exception comes along—think canceled flight, health crisis, urgent client deadline, kids on summer break; you get the idea. Learning to navigate work and life is a delicate dance and an aspect of my client’s journey I’m thrilled to help them uncover; because the better we are at learning when to lead and when to follow, the transition back and forth becomes much more enjoyable and less stressful.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
What sets me apart from others is my story. My story isn’t any better or worse than yours; it just happens to be exclusively mine. For example, should I happen to meet someone who shares my age, academic credentials, and career title, the unique paths we took to reach this destination would look nothing alike. What also sets me apart are inherent traits; my sense of humor and my Olympic-level optimism—both of those traits shine while I coach clients—and those traits are routinely referenced as reasons people work with me.
The on achievement I’m most proud of is my memoir titled How To Get a Free Boob Job—and other insights from a breast cancer adventurer. Written with openness and a conversational tone, I bring readers along my journey and give them a peek under my shirt of what it’s like to navigate the wild unknown of a genetically driven breast cancer diagnosis. My story aims to remind everyone that change is a constant aspect of life and that learning to embrace it helps them to live life with happiness and excitement.
Regardless of one’s affiliation with cancer, it’s my hope that readers walk away with nuggets of insight, sparks of inspiration, new perspectives, and heaping scoops of gratitude. Never in a million years did I think I would write a book or look good with a shaved head, but, surprisingly, both are true!
How I got to where I am today is quite a long and harrowing adventure, so I’ll attempt to give you the short version; you’re welcome. In 2016 I quit my corporate job due to the prolonged and relentless pressures to deliver with less and less. I took a few months off, and in 2017 I leaned on my life coach certification and ventured out as an entrepreneur. One week after launching my business, I discovered I had breast cancer—buzzkill, for sure. So I put my business on hold and took the next two years to return to total health; today, I’m in remission.
I’m passionate about helping my coaching clients evolve because they shouldn’t wait for a life-changing event to create a life that excites them. I bring over two decades of professional experience navigating corporate America to my clients. Using my MBA and life lessons, combined with my life coach certification, I help professional women reimagine their lives. My clients have learned to rebuild their confidence, land their dream job, create an exciting life in a new city, and more.
Authority Magazine and Thrive Global featured my work, and I’ve appeared on The Courage Wolf, Also in Pink, and The Fearless & Successful podcasts. When I’m not laser-focused on my clients, you’ll find me kicking back by gathering ingredients to shake and savor the latest craft cocktail. My favorite cocktail as of late is The Last Word!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We’re all familiar with the saying there’s no better investment you can make than one in yourself. And I’m a firm believer in that! After finishing college, I chose to continue investing in my learning by pursuing and subsequently receiving an MBA. Then, still harboring a deep thirst for knowledge but knowing I had no desire to further my university education, I dove head first into personal development. A saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” That quote has always stuck with me, so I continually invest in myself through online courses, programs, and workshops, that keep me surrounded by people with similar intentions. But, beyond my knowledge, I walked away with strong and deep connections with people inside those programs. And to those individuals, far too numerous to list here, I say thank you. You have enriched my life, offered new perspectives, and cheered me on as I continue to chase my dreams!
The books that, early on, sparked my passion for personal development include the following: The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, Essentialism by Greg McKeown, and You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Those three books resonated so profoundly with me that I’m committed to being a lifelong learner within the realm of personal development. I love sharing what I’ve learned along the way with others so that they might find that same spark of inspiration, focus, and optimism that I carry with me daily.