Creativity Coaching

Sage Advice from a Hollywood Wizard, Krista Vernoff

By Valery Satterwhite | Posted 10/7/09 | Updated 4/7/24

I was sitting at my table enjoying the pile of fruit on my plate at an early morning breakfast meeting when all of a sudden I recognized a Wizard before me. I was there to listen to guest speaker, Krista Vernoff, Emmy-nominated, Golden Globe-winning head writer and executive producer of the television show "Grey's Anatomy" talk about her road to success.

I had been to many such gatherings over the last several years and while I've learned a lot from the various successful people I've listened to and met at these events, it is always a wonderful delight when I'm in the presence of someone who is fully centered in the truth of who they are, firing on all cylinders, joyfully creating the art and life they've always known would be theirs.

As I was munching away at juicy strawberry I witnessed Krista's magic. I knew within three minutes of watching and listening to her speak that she was a person who knew how to fully express the Wizard within. She started by apologizing for being a bit late and disjointedly started to ramble about her early childhood beginnings moving from one place to the other as a child of divorced parents. You could see her mind struggling for what to say next.

And then it happened. Clear as the big lucite pendant that hung from my neck, Krista stopped for a brief second, centered herself, tapped into her inner power and spoke directly from her heart to reveal the Wizard within her. The words did not come from her, they came through her — effortlessly. As if she shape-shifted right in front of me her face took on a different light and her voice a different tone.

There is nothing more authentic, more engaging, than the fullest expression of your truth. Inner knowingness comes from the heart not the mind. Animated and comfortable in her own skin, Krista delivered her secrets on how she became an enormous success while others continue to struggle. She learned how to acknowledge, value and honor her natural gifts as a writer. Krista learned the confidence and power that allowing yourself to pursue and do what you love instead of what those who love you say you should do.

"When I was trying to be a successful actress in local theater I was always desperate for validation and positive feedback. I never could get to a feeling that I was good enough. When I gave myself permission to be a writer, do what I love to do, I didn't give a sh*t what anyone thought about my plays." —Krista Vernoff

Wizards such as Krista hold the wisdom, the knowingness, of what is possible for them and magically know how to turn their deepest dreams into vivid reality. They know that where energy and focus goes, experience flows. They devote all of their energy and stay focused upon that which makes their heart sing. Greatness, for a Wizard, comes not from fighting for position up the ladder of success but from being in complete alignment with who you are and what you really want to create for your life experience. It's showing up in life from a place of personal power swimming in the flow of life instead of fighting uphill battles against the stream of self-doubt and fear.

"Throughout my tortured childhood I was comforted by the quiet knowing, a voice that told me I would be wealthy, sane and successful. I knew that every difficult experience I had purpose and would give me the ability to provide value for myself and others." —Krista Vernoff

A Wizard's life is magical. Krista got a big break at a time when she wasn't even in the room! She was going to attend an event that was also frequented by big entertainment industry movers, shakers and influencers. It was an opportunity to get in front of people who could make, or break, the career of an aspiring writer. Krista didn't show up. She couldn't. She was home sick in bed. For many this would be a tale of a missed opportunity.

Not for a Wizard. While Krista was sniffling in her kleenex, Krista's boss was talking to one of the big honchos about this talented writer on her staff and suggested he take a look at Krista's work. That's how Krista got her agent. In Hollywood, many people pound the pavement day after day exhaustively searching for an agent who will help become a success. Krista got one seemingly effortlessly without having to lift a finger, let alone knock on one agent's door after another in a desperate search.

"Take the note — especially the one that pisses you off." —Krista Vernoff

If Krista discovers that she is in a circumstance that isn't working, is sucking the life energy out of her, she "rips off the band-aid", detaches and moves on to something that feeds her soul. If her work is criticized, if she is told that a story line doesn't work in some way she takes the note. Criticism, to a Wizard, is a wonderful opportunity to stretch and learn.

Krista takes a lot of notes and rewrites what doesn't work in her scripts and in her life. Not willing to waste her energy on what delivers a veil of darkness, she prioritizes the moments in her life by what will shine light upon herself and others. Having met Krista, I can tell you that there is an aura of light upon her that takes the breath away of those who are blessed with her presence and captivated by her work.

After the talk, I bought Krista's book The Game On! Diet: Kick Your Friend's Butt While Shrinking Your Own, and walked up to her to introduce myself. After a our conversation she took my book and wrote: "Dear Valery, Play to Win! —Krista"

Exactamundo! Those a Wizard words. To a Wizard, work is play-time if you're doing what you love. Life is a game. If you want to win you have to play! Playfully follow your heart, honor your truth, rip off the band-aid when it's not working and take the note that will help you create excellence in every area of your life. Wizards love games and play with what they love to create magic.

Next: The Tao of Pippi Longstocking, Enormous Creative Being

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