shine theory

Shine Theory

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you’re a copywriter who sends a weekly newsletter about the power of words to a small list of interested humans.

And let’s say that you decide it’s finally time for that knee surgery you’ve been dreading.

It’s gonna have you out of commission for weeks. 

And as you think about it, you decide you might as well take a fantastic vacation before the surgery, because you only live once, right?

So what do you do about this newsletter?

You probably have a few choices:

  1. Keep writing it every week, rain or shine, because doggonit, people need it!
  2. Write 6 weeks of newsletters all in advance and cue them up. WE GOT THIS!
  3. Take a break. Put the dang thing on pause. Is there really ever a copywriting emergency?
  4. Reruns! It’s good enough for TV, isn’t it?

And if you’re really creative, you might think of option E:

  1. Ask 6 of your smartest gal pals to share a secret from their zone of genius to delight your audience while you’re out of the office. 

If you’re scared of competition and think life is a cut-throat, zero-sum game, Option E is a terrible idea. 

Because you might risk sending your subscribers somewhere else!

Lucky for all of us, my brilliant copywriter friend Paige Worthy is all about Shine Theory, and fearlessly  decided to go with Option E.

Shine Theory is a term coined in about 2013, by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman*, who co-wrote the book Big Friendship. 

From their website:

Shine Theory is a practice of mutual investment in each other.

Shine Theory is an investment, over the long term, in helping someone be their best self—and relying on their help in return. 

It is a conscious decision to bring your full self to your friendships, and to not let insecurity or envy ravage them. 

Shine Theory is a commitment to asking, ‘Would we be better as collaborators than as competitors?’

The answer is almost always yes…

It’s a practice of cultivating a spirit of genuine happiness and excitement when your friends are doing well, and being there for them when they aren’t.”

It’s like Compersion, but even more active in helping each other. 

So in that spirit, I’m letting you know that on May 16, I’ll be a guest contributor for Paige’s weekly Words Matter email. 

Subscribe to Paige’s newsletter to read what I have to say… Stick around for her weekly stories and spicy insights on messaging, brand voice, and marketing that makes customers feel seen, not sold to.

Because the world needs all the Shine it can get, doesn’t it?

Brilliantly yours,


PS – How can I help YOU shine? 

*Fun fact: I went to Guatemala on a writing and yoga retreat with Ann Friedman and her pal Gracy back in 2014, and it totally changed my life. I was already a writer, but now I’m also a yoga teacher, daily meditator, and person with a spiritual path. So yeah, I’m a fan of Ann & Shine Theory.

This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

Want sage advice on life and business in your inbox every week? Join the Magic Words of the Week email list.

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