“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”
-Oliver W. Holmes
Personal struggle is an experience familiar to us all. We endure hardship; in many ways, it defines us. We have an incredible ability to resist life’s continual onslaught, shouldering our burdens and traveling onward. Sometimes we know it is time for a change. Other times we resist. In our effort to weather the storm, we can blind ourselves to opportunity and squander our efforts in seemingly beneficial but ultimately unproductive pursuits. Often, we need someone like Bobbie McMorrow to help us find our way. She counsels in opening one’s perspective to understand that change, even unwanted and difficult change, is inevitable, but with the right outlook and tools, even the most complex change can open new opportunity. Bobbie’s own personal struggles have indeed shaped who she is today. Bold, compassionate and engaging, Bobbie is truly gifted at helping others rise up to be their best selves.
In 2011, on a beautiful ranch in Santa Ynez, California, Bobbie created her “Rise Up!” movement as a means of empowering women to create the lives, relationships and careers that they were meant to have. It was named after Bobbie’s ability to find possibility and opportunity in the midst of change and even crisis. Through one-on-one sessions and group workshops that she has done since 2008 Bobbie has helped participants reach their own epiphanies. Throughout the process, Bobbie offers practical tools and techniques that act as catalysts that grab and enable you to re-connect with what truly matters most in your life.
For over three decades, transformation has been at the heart of Bobbie’s story.
Inspired by her own challenging experiences of family systems and addiction, the subject of her acclaimed memoir, “Seven Days,” Bobbie has spent the last thirty years studying with some of the greatest minds in the fields of psychology, spirituality, quantum physics, divinity and biochemistry. These studies, deepened by her personal challenges and professional successes, provide the foundation for her unique process for sustainable transformation.
Bobbie is the co-founder of the highly prestigious consulting firm McMorrow Savarese. Recognized as one of the leading mergers and acquisitions professionals in the country for over twenty years, she has been profiled in The American Lawyer and on Lawdragon. Her writing has appeared in the Daily Journal, California’s largest legal news provider. Her clients are the most successful law firms in the country and the lawyers that run them.
A proud mother and grandmother, Bobbie and her family live in Santa Ynez with their dog Misty and a white buffalo. With an extended family that includes many beloved friends, she embraces change daily and never knows who to expect for dinner.
What are you working on right now?
I am always working on teaching and inspiring transformation to a diverse clientele until they have the tools to fully become who they are meant to be. I keep a daily journal for developing ideas for my workshops, website and newsletter that outline both the benefits and challenges of transformation.
Specifically, right now I am fine-tuning a piece for my group workshops and one-on-one consultations: “The Ten Steps to Turn Every Experience into an Opportunity.” These are practical techniques that assist in facing life/work/career/relationship problems, and actually have the ability to lead participants to deeper questions and solutions that sustain personal growth.
I am very excited about the possibilities for transformation I’ve found in them as I’ve developed the steps with many different people.
Where did the idea for the Rise Up! movement come from?
Rise Up! is the result of my own professional and personal transformation. It came out of over fifteen years of reflecting upon my experiences, creating unique transformation processes and sharing them. From CEOs and inner-city organizers, to mothers transitioning to professional careers and young adults entering the world after college, I knew that the tools I had developed could really help a diverse group of people.
My idea also springs from an abiding sense I have of being in love with the world and what we are trying to become: something amazing that only our imaginations and belief in ourselves can make real!
What does your typical day look like?
I never have a “typical” day! I wake up with a rush of motivation for whatever is ahead, whether it is waking up early to speak with clients on the east coast or boarding a flight for a meeting.
No matter what the day brings, I always make time to breathe, stretch and re-calibrate. No day is complete without meditation, aerobics, weight training or simply a walk.
Since every day can be over full, I make sure to deal with only what I can to reduce stress and keep up my energy. Transformation takes an alignment of body, mind, spirit and emotion. We must frequently remind ourselves to maintain balance.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Imagination, imagination, imagination. If I can’t visualize it, it won’t become a reality.
I write out what I think. I like to play with ideas on my white board.
I then try my idea out with trusted advisors, revise it and sleep on it. I never fear changing the whole thing because dreams and strategies should be as flexible as the brain!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
I love seeing a growing force of women, minorities and diversity overall. The most important question here is: “What is the nature of being human in the world today and into the future?”
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I worked for a small employment firm for three months before I started my own company. It was unfocused, unappreciative and uncaring, but it did teach me that I could be an entrepreneur. Until that job, the business world was foreign to me, but I loved the challenges it presented. I realized that I was a creative and energetic problem solver, a skill and passion that continued within me since my previous life as a teacher of young children.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would try to better understand my own strengths instead of apologizing for them. I would perceive the difference between those who really want to support me and those who are using me to make themselves successful. Then, I could surround myself with people who really are on my team.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
• BE BOLD and do not let anything scare you away from your dream.
• DO YOUR HOMEWORK so that you know the framework of the business you strive to create.
• FIND ADVISORS YOU TRUST (like we do for people who join Rise Up!) to buoy you, tell you the truth and help you identify the fears that may be limiting your vision.
• BE AWARE of the three blind mice: illusion, delusion and denial. These seductive little rats are always around.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I started down paths that were not aligned with the steps I outlined above. This cost me valuable time and money. However, nothing is ever really lost. With guidance, you can turn those mistakes into opportunities. I realized that I could not assist others until I was ready to transform every experience into an opportunity.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could SEE the effects of a major change (a father’s illness, a mother going back to work, or a child leaving home for college) on the entire system of family?
Someone should create an app that lets us know the full effect on ourselves, our families and the world every time change upsets well-made plans. Who would be most/least affected? How would change increase or relieve pressure on the whole? We can’t stop or resist change, but it would be helpful to know how it would balance or unbalance the system.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would prevent fear from holding us back from our own best interests and our highest goals. Fear can be a great teacher, but I would not allow it to enslave us.
Tell us a secret.
All of the issues that we discuss in Rise Up! are ones that I have faced myself.
We have all heard many people say that we are all “one,” but very few people actually believe it. If we all understood that statement, the whole world would change.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Just ONE? I would have to say Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu because it best describes the energetic flow of universal power. Two other books that have changed my life are Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. I read those repeatedly.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I recommend that everyone follows Rachel Maddow. No matter which side of the political coin you are on, she is so intelligent and deep-thinking that you should know what she is saying. I also recommend Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, because her current work on vulnerability is a timely and important conversation.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh out loud daily. It is usually caused by my own human foibles or the antics of my grandsons.
Who is your hero?
My heroes are people who have taken risks and transformed their lives into something amazing, brave, beautiful and successful.
If I had to choose, I would say my daughter, Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
What does it take for a woman to be “successful” in the world?
1. Know what game you are playing. Play by the rules and row the boat in the direction it is going! When you do, be confident, face your fears, find allies and be wise enough to know when and how to bend the rules.
2. Do not sign up for a game you do not understand or one where someone is hiding what the game really is! There is no way to win in a situation like that.
3. Find out the rules of the game. Make sure you shake the board, read the directions (written AND unwritten) and make sure the dice are not loaded. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out the unstated rules. You may still want to play, but at least you won’t be fooled.
4. Don’t take yourself too seriously, or no one else ever will!
As women evolve and come to earn the professional respect we have worked for so long to achieve, where do you feel your greatest contribution can be made?
I believe it is imperative for me to assist women in understanding who they are as individuals how they serve as potential sources of power for each other. Even now, it would be foolish to believe that the boys are going to turn over the keys to the kingdom. I teach that we must align ourselves mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally using the tools for transformation that I have developed over twenty years.
Rise Up! is a living testament to the power of women to be their whole selves and realistic, clear-minded authentic participants in every role they choose: sister, wife, mother, executive, artist, doctor, lawyer, and yes, Indian Chief. The future will be about diversity and context. I have an unusual grasp and deep experience of those dynamics, and a passion to share what has taken me a long time to learn, earn and develop.