Change the View, Change the Perspective

No matter which way you drive into San Francisco it’s via a bridge and the perspective is starkly different depending on which bridge. From the Bay Bridge you get the phallic onslaught of Salesforce tower or the Transamerica Tower and even my old apartment at 88 Howard.

The Golden Gate perspective is, depending on the fog, an unveiling of beauty like a utopia.

When I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge the first time it was December, and we had come from Boston where it was grey and dark and gloomy.

San Francisco beckoned like a magic wand, white buildings gilded by the sun, a red bridge, trees upon trees, and water from every direction.

Here was Kubla Khan or an epic William Blake poem, a dream come to life. A city ready to welcome you and encourage dreams, or spit you out into the rocky coast.

For me, San Francisco was the gateway to entrepreneurship. Or really, embracing my renegade self and enabling the full picture of me to come to view.

Sometimes we require a different perspective to re-focus, get clear on our goals, or to remind ourselves who we are. Or perhaps to understand who we are in the first place.

One of the fastest ways to gain new insight, and perspective, is to literally change the view via travel.

golden gate view bridge from the east bay
Golden Gate bridge from the perspective of the East Bay

An Attitude Shift

Something happened for me this past Fall, I let go of the love story that was San Francisco (and an actual love story which turned out to be an illusion).

I had many iterations of myself in San Francisco, friends, jobs, companies I ran and sold, and a few friends who have stood the test of time. But when I returned to Boston in November of 2023, it seemed like the end of that entire era.

The only problem is, I wasn’t entirely ready to let go.

Last Friday I went back to the Bay Area. The primary prompt was my friend Kim saying goodbye to her amazing dog Lilo.

As Kim said,

“We have witnessed each other’s evolutions.”

When I arrived at Kim’s house in the East Bay, the first thing I noticed was a view I had never seen of San Francisco: bridge to bridge, and the entire Embarcadero, the last places I lived, my current HQ for my consultancy, the residence made infamous in one of Tim’s books, a life.

An entire life contained in a view.

With my friend by by side.

A person can awaken you.

Kim Pfabe and Julie Elaine Brown

Time to Awaken

Kim embodies the following quote–and actually, anyone in my inner circle does:

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating.

The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness.

Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it.

They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children.

And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.”

― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

It is never the place…it is always the people and their perspective.

You Cannot Think Outside The Box In a Box

None of my good ideas have sprouted from an office: they have emerged from the Silverado trail or Point Reyes, Crissy Field, the Filbert Street stairs.

Look back on your own sparks of wisdom, did they happen in small rooms with fluorescent lights?

We cannot feel free when we trap ourselves–both in the literal sense, when we are attached to plugs and desks, but also in the sense of spirit. It’s a love song to the outdoors, nature, freedom.

Numerous studies have correlated the link between hiking or walking outdoors and EEG power. One in particular discovered “outdoor exercise increases neuronal activity in brain regions related to creativity.”

It’s literally a superpower.

During my brief trip back we hiked around neighborhoods, hiked in Berkeley amongst Eucalyptus trees, and we meandered around a winery. Each ambling brought about a different perspective: here was the great summer city from a winding path behind Kim’s….here were pinot noir grapes viewed from a swing at the top of a hill.

Each view helped me put everything I was experiencing into perspective. It’s the scents and the feeling of your feet on the ground, the sky, the wind or the “Sh!” of a little river (cue my favorite DH Lawrence poem).

These are the things that bring the Earth life and rejuvenate our minds.

I healed more in one weekend than I had in 6 months in Boston, where I hibernated in every sense of the word.

In wine country, I found myself alone in a wine cellar (this likely does not surprise people who know me), and I allowed myself to feel.

It was time to stop trying to understand why some things in my life had ended. Time to stop feeling sorry for myself about love lost, dreams disrupted.

Here I was, drinking wine in Saint Helena on a Monday. Looking at wine country from glorious grounds, surrounded by love.

Jotting ideas in a notebook for new chapters in my book, new business ideas, new approaches to the way I go about things.



A mindset shift. A new perspective.

Saint Helena, CA, wine country. An entrepreneur playground and the site of many a wedding (not mine, yet) and celebratory times in my life.
The view from my roofdeck in Boston.

A Shift In Perspective

Some of you know I was struggling with my book, and the focus on gaslighting in healthcare.

I almost hemorrhaged to death because I was dismissed by medical professionals for years. For years I hibernated and lost touch with my own intuition; I ignored my body.

That was the prompt for my book, and 40,000 words later, I know the book is about much more than this. I mean, almost dying is, intense, but….the big picture is about how I got there, and it’s almost universal amongst women.

It is about shutting ourselves down; our emotions, intuition and body.

For me, it is about how, when I finally got in touch with myself again, I recreated my love story to be about how I FEEL. To realize the absolute most important thing is to live a life of freedom.

I surround myself with entrepreneurs who take risks to pursue their passions–but they don’t see what they do as risks, they simply MUST pursue what drives them.

When I returned to Boston, I found myself on a patio talking until 2am about liberation, adventures, and travel.

We talked about some of the people I know who have literally changed the world (and continue to do so). None of them set out to make money or claim fame.

They had experienced freedom and wanted others to do the same.

That was always my bigger goal, and it made me question the focus on my book. After all, the real goal is to help women feel empowered and liberated.

Suddenly, I gained a new perspective.

per·​spec·​tive pər-ˈspek-tiv 

a: a mental view or prospect to gain a broader perspective on the international scene—

b: a visible scene especially one giving a distinctive impression of distance VISTA

a: the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed places the issues in proper perspective also POINT OF VIEW
b: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance trying to maintain my perspective

stark contrasts


In the Bay Area, I stood behind Kim snuggling with her dog, Lilo. I knew I was saying goodbye to Lilo, and to a version of Kim. I remember when Lilo came into her life, and the walks we took with our dogs.

Goat Rock Beach. Bernal Heights. The Embarcadero.

That day we thought we saw a snake or a bear or who knows and screamed running, causing the dogs to panic.

Walking around the Castro attempting to explain my surly dog, and why Lilo has no hair.

How Lilo never really knew how to be a dog, and his way of playing with toys involved chucking a toy at anyone with his mouth.

All these versions of Lilo, of Kim, and of me. How despite all these years, our core values are the same, yet we evolve. And WE are still here, with a friendship that has truly stood the test of time.

In Boston, the patio I sat on looked at a view slightly different from my view. And I was with someone who has already changed my life because his perspective is so unique.

We get older and we realize how rare it is to form connections with people who inevitably change our lives. When we soak it up, as an adventure, we create a story that naturally unfolds.

When I was younger, so many of my belief systems were in a box.

It took moving to California to experience a world where it was ok to be an entrepreneur without some some of pedigree. People looked at me with new eyes and I re-wrote my story.

Then, it took going back to remember the perspective I had that first drive across the Golden Gate, and it took me going back and seeing that bridge from an entirely new view to shift my perspective again.

So it’s time to re-write the story. The only way that feels right, which is it (my life, book, purpose) was always going to be a love story on perspective.

What’s the love story you’d write for yourself, and the world? Start there, with the feeling. Everything else will follow.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top