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The Best Time Is Now: Dr. Wendy Borlabi, Performance Coach for the Chicago Bulls, Talks About Writing Her Book

Dr. Wendy Borlabi Psy. D.

A busy solo parent to two twins, renovating a house in which her parents can live, and coaching professional athletes on their performance mindset doesn’t leave a lot of room for Bulls Performance Coach Dr. Wendy Borlabi to entertain writing a book. But when she met Chicago sports reporter Annie Costabile on an interview, they both knew their shared connection as professional women working in a dominantly male world was sparking an important narrative. Wendy was interested in writing about the lack of minority women with board seats, but as they started to work with me as a book coach, we found there was an even deeper narrative at play; the mindset around why women are underpaid, and missing lucrative opportunities often only afforded to men. After a year of writing and coaching, they are preparing to pitch the book, confident it will have legs in the marketplace.

Here I speak with Wendy about her experience writing the book and how she knew the time was now to do so.

Kim O’Hara: Let’s address first the most obvious question. Based on your schedule, why would “now” look good in the decision-making process to write a book?

Wendy Borlabi: It had a lot to do with finding out more information about a board seat, how that happened and how we were being left out as minorities. I was surprised, thinking I am a highly educated person and I have no knowledge this opportunity is out there. If that is the case, then so many other women minorities are missing out on this opportunity. I knew somehow this information needed to get out there, and a book would be a great way for that to happen. 

Kim O’Hara: So, you came in thinking you would write this book about a board seat, but it became so much more than just that subject. Tell me a little about that moment that you knew you had to dive in a little deeper about what women are going through, not just minority women.

Wendy Borlabi: When Annie and I first started writing, and we were talking about the climate for women getting a board seat or an opportunity, she stated “this is what it is.” She knew very clearly her obstacles and mine, and therefore we don’t need a book to rehash them, but to talk through our stories about what to do about them.

Kim O’Hara: You didn’t want to write a guidebook to getting a board seat. You wanted to talk about as women we can hide behind all these situations that could hold us back and call them out. Is that what you are doing? Calling out the mindset?

Wendy Borlabi: Yes. And talking about how they were developed from society and family but most importantly how we let them become a part of who we are through those entities. We have the information we have learned about ourselves, but going through this process, we saw too many times we were accepting of how we were from our conditioning.  Now we want to make change, not complain about it, but rather do something about the way we can earn in society.

Kim O’Hara: You coach women privately. Does this come up… being underpaid and what is some of the advice you give to people you coach in that area.

Wendy Borlabi: The topic that has come up with women is the struggle of feeling like they can’t do or have everything. They have to choose one or the other. And then they feel like less than because they can’t have all of it. I have the conversation with them that’s okay to want career and family. I go through my personal experience to where I realized I wanted kids and a big career. Women will stop at a certain high level professionally because they have a family and think they have to stop there to focus on their family. The difference with men and women is we all have these thoughts, but men let the thoughts go and women nurse them and feed the emotions until they feel like they don’t have options.

Kim O’Hara: Once you are done writing, it takes a few years to get an agent, find a publisher and go to market with the book.  What is your goal in speaking about the content of the book in light of waiting for it to be published?

Wendy Borlabi: When I did the Change Maker piece for Forbes Summit, I brought in philosophies from the book, and that I was a solo parent and also have a big career. I want to continue to show that I am doing what I want but I am also struggling and that is okay. It’s okay to have these thoughts and feelings and you can still move forward.

Kim O’Hara: What was is like to write with another woman who wasn’t your age, not in the same situation as you? What were some of the epiphanies about your similarities and your differences?

Wendy Borlabi: Content-wise, the obvious similarities were working in sports and having to deal with being in a male dominated field and how that affected us as we grew into that space. At first, we assumed we had parallel experiences, only to learn that we had different experiences. Both being women in sports didn’t make us bonded. What did was sharing information with her that she didn’t know about how the industry worked, and her sharing her perspectives and experiences with me. 

With writing, the biggest difference was we both worked very differently so I needed to figure out how I could work in that space. I took it on, and it goes back to what we are talking about in terms of emotional resistance. Just because our different schedules were hard, or how we chose to contribute writing differed in style, that didn’t give me permission to not push through and do it. I never let differences cause me to not achieve at the next level. I had to parallel process and experience it as I was doing it. At the end of the day, our finished product is exceptional.

Kim O’Hara: If it was easy and simple, the book wouldn’t be as powerful as it is. You have strong a voice, and so does your Co-Author Annie. What would you say to someone who hasn’t written a book before that were the aspects of writing that surprised you.

Wendy Borlabi: That I even was a writer. That surprised me. Once I sit down and look at what I need to write and process it, the ideas come and they flow together. What is even more powerful, is when you put yourself in a situation to be vulnerable by writing a book, that self-awareness is huge. The bonus of writing a book is another couple layers of self-awareness.

Kim O’Hara: Is there any advice you would give someone interested in writing a book who is as busy as you?

Wendy Borlabi: Two things. One, I have always been told you should write the proposal first, and then write a book. I would say not to do that. I think for me, I would have gotten bogged down in the enormity of the proposal. Then you have to face the enormity of writing the book. When you start with the book, you don’t even realize you put all that stuff in there and then you have a book!  The second piece of advice is just like you would interview a therapist or any other coach, you have to find the right book coach. Just because someone says they are a book coach, doesn’t mean they are. Get references. Don’t just say oh yes, because it may not be what you want and need.


Written by Kim O’Hara.
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Kim O’Hara
Book Coach to Best Sellers™ Kim O'Hara has guided over 40+ coach/leader/executive clients through the daunting journey of book inception to publishing. Through her exclusive brand, she illuminates and inspires authors to find their core narrative message. Called a book sherpa and guardian angel by her clients, Kim provides clarity about a book’s purpose and the foundational structure to execute a vision to a wider audience.


Kim O’Hara is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. For more information, visit the author’s website.