#50 Ambition, Truth, Connection

Today's Guest: Lori Saitz

Today, I interview Lori Saitz, who says she was a timid child in public situations, hesitant to speak up in school. On the other hand, when she was at home, she was bold and outspoken.

In class, she didn’t have the courage to speak up or volunteer for fear of making a mistake. The expectations and competition in this setting were different from the comforts of home, where she was the firstborn and received lots of positive encouragement. While she didn’t naturally have a competitive side, she was hard on herself and began to strive for perfection.

She eventually let go of her perfectionism when it became such an impossible feat, not wanting to exhaust herself. She focused on quality of life, still doing a great job in school and also having a small group of close friends– which she maintains to this day.

She came into her own when she learned about the community broadcast station for her high school, and she decided to become a broadcast major in college, working in her campus radio station. She discovered the excitement of speaking for herself, and she was hooked by this fresh new experience. She ended up changing her major to copywriting, loving the idea of expressing herself and having true connection with people. She discovered the power of people helping each other and pushing each other forward by solving problems together.

Today, Lori loves to connect with people, showing individuals and businesses how to be still, get connected with themselves, and be intentional about gratitude. Helping people to be grounded, focused, and honest with themselves is her method of helping burnt-out, discouraged, depressed people find renewed purpose and make confident decisions about their lives.

Lori Saitz is the CEO of Zen Rabbit and host of the podcast “FINE is a 4-Letter Word.” She’s an award-winning writer, speaker, and broadcaster, and a nationally recognized expert in using gratitude and meditation as shortcuts to success. The most difficult thing she’s ever done is leave a 22-year marriage. That experience inspired her transformational F*ck Being Fine program. Through it, she guides corporate teams and private clients who are finished living in a “dumpster fire” to a place of unprecedented clarity, peace, and productivity. When she’s not working, you can find Lori in her sanctuary, aka the weight room at the gym. She also loves cupcakes, Thai food, and classic rock music.

Find Lori here: lori@zenrabbit.com

Watch the episode:

Connect with Lori Saitz

Transcript of Interview

Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast

Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing

Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com

Episode # 50 Lori Saitz

Ambition, Truth, Connection


(00:35) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Hi, I’m Dr. Doreen Downing and I’m host of the Find Your Voice, Change Your Life podcast. What I do is invite guests here who are willing to explore their past and reveal to us some sort of struggle that they might have had with finding their voice. Perhaps it was a family situation or something that happened at school, or maybe it didn’t really show up till later in life. What we’ve been learning here in these episodes is voice is actually something that keeps developing over time, you keep finding your voice. So, today, I would like to introduce a friend of mine, Lori Saitz, and let me tell you a few things about her before we get to discover more about her. Lori Saitz is the CEO of Zen Rabbit and host of the podcast Fine is a 4-Letter Word. She’s an award-winning writer, speaker, and broadcaster and a nationally recognized expert in using gratitude and meditation as shortcuts to success. When I say meditation, it makes me want to take a breath. Which I will. The most difficult thing she’s ever done is leave a 22-year marriage. That experience inspired her transformational Fuck Being Fine program. Through it, she guides, corporate teams and private clients who were finished living in a dumpster fire to a place of clarity, peace and productivity. When she’s not working, you can find Lori in her sanctuary, aka the weight room at the gym. She also loves cupcakes, Thai food, and classic rock music. Well, that’s wonderful. learning even more about you right here right now. Thank you, Lori, for joining me here.


(02:36) Lori Saitz 

Thanks so much for having me on your show.




(02:39) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Well, it’s about finding your voice. I always like to start earlier, any kind of memories that you have that come up that illustrate how you felt like you either didn’t have a voice or how it was stuffed down, if it was, just any stories you have about not having had a voice early in life?


(03:00) Lori Saitz 

Yeah, well, I was always very shy as a child. I don’t know, I think that we’re either born that way or, like I don’t think it’s a characteristic that you’re born with, like blue eyes, you know, some people are more shy, less likely to raise your hand in class, whatever it is. That was me. I was hesitant to talk to strangers, but at home where I was comfortable, they couldn’t shut me up. So, shy around people who I didn’t know. Yeah.


(03:39) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Wow. Well, that dichotomy, I mean, in some ways, it feels good that you had a sense of comfort somewhere. A lot of people that I talk to say family is the place where they don’t have a voice. So, what birth order, would you say?


(03:56) Lori Saitz 

I’m the oldest. I’m the oldest for my parents and I was the first grandchild for both sets of grandparents.


(04:06) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Kind of a special place. So, what do you think what happened at school that it felt “less”, you’re less able to have a voice there?


(04:17) Lori Saitz 

I think it may have been a matter of confidence of just feeling like it. I didn’t want to look stupid. I didn’t want to not look like I knew what I was talking about. So, even if I knew the answer, I would be reluctant to raise my hand and I certainly was not the one to like scream out of turn. But I think that’s really what it was. It was being afraid to make a mistake.


(04:48) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yeah, I think in our families, we’re safe. We’re kind of like a little environment where especially being the firstborn, I was also the firstborn. It feels like we have lots of positive attention and well, for those of us who got it. But when we go to school, it feels like there’s a whole another set of expectations. We’re in a different environment. Not only that there are peers, other people and to me, it feels like maybe early on were already starting to compete.


(05:25) Lori Saitz 

Yeah, and I’m not a big one on competition. Like, I wasn’t an athlete. I mean, I played some sports, but I didn’t have a super competitive drive. That’s not something that motivates me– if someone says, all right, we’re doing a contest and whoever, it doesn’t really motivate me and never did. Yeah, competition to me. I’m much, much more comfortable in collaboration.



(05:53) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yeah. Well, also, what happens in schools is that we start going for the grades, not necessarily competition, but ooh, there’s this kind of drive to get somewhere. Did you have any kind of like speaking, a lot of times people talk about teachers who make them stand up in front of the class until they sweat.


(06:16) Lori Saitz 

No, I don’t have any memories of that, that kind of humiliation or anything like that. No. So– I don’t remember this, but I remember my mom telling the story over the years– that I came home from first grade with a spelling test and I was in tears, because I had gotten a 96 and not 100.


(06:42) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Oh, that’s saying a lot right there, early on. Oh, my. Yeah.


(06:49) Lori Saitz 

So, I had this perfectionist drive and I feel, in a lot of ways I’ve overcome it, because perfection is that’s not attainable. Now that I’ve reached this stage of life, I realize that and do it, making the effort, doing the best you can, working with what you’ve got, and moving forward from there, creating, like, version 1.0 so that you can then go to version 2.0 and version 3.0. But it doesn’t have to be perfect straight out of the gate.


(07:25) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yeah, well, that is certainly a learning life lesson that somewhere along the line you picked up because at that early stage, 96, oh, no.


(07:38) Lori Saitz 

Yeah. That’s crazy to think about. She knew right away, she said, she was like, where did this come from?


(07:47) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Well, moving into just the right along now into high school. I know that in college before I get there, and you were on the radio show, but in high school, any kind of sense of like you said, you weren’t into sports and we look that– we can see that grades were important to you. Anything else about that time period where we’re starting to be more social, it seems like and kind of leaving the nest a little bit more the family and being out in the world a little more during high school.


(08:20) Lori Saitz 

Yeah, I had a close group of friends and I always have had that. In fact, I still have some of those high school friends, a couple of girlfriends. We do girls weekend every year. We’re still in touch. Actually, since pandemic, we’ve been doing Zoom calls every two weeks. So, the three of us that– we had a very tight knit group of us that hung out together. I was not in the popular crowd. I wasn’t a cheerleader, I wasn’t– I didn’t feel like I was among the popular kids but I wasn’t ostracized in any way. But I wasn’t– I was kind of like middle of the pack. Actually, when I wasn’t in honor society, either National Honor Society, I kind of got to a point where I was like, all right, I’m not going to– if I have to work all the time, really hard to be straight A student not going to do it, is not worth it to me. Like I didn’t see the payoff of doing that. So, I got good grades A’s and B’s. But I didn’t work so hard all the time to make it into National Honor Society and that just didn’t bother me at all. But I wasn’t in there and it hasn’t affected my life. Success did not mean “National Honor Society”. So, yeah, but I mean high school was– I think for so many people, it’s hard because you’re figuring out who you are and how do I fit in into the world? How do I– there’s so many hormones and emotions and stuff going on. It’s just so your natural, growing and developing, but I think it was pretty average experience. It wasn’t horrible and it wasn’t like the best time of my life either.


(10:10) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Well, I like hearing that you had intimate relationships with these friends, which made it feel like you were comfortable, and you weren’t isolated or having to hide and have insecurities it felt– like I kind of get that just even some of our conversations it’s like we’re friends easily, you make friends easily.


(10:34) Lori Saitz 

I do when I can have real conversations with people. So, this is the thing as an introvert, and I use that term, there’s so much baggage attached to whether somebody is an introvert or an extrovert or whatever. But as somebody who I like to go deep, versus having, 100 friends, I’d rather have 10 friends who are really close, but what ends up happening is I actually have more than 10 friends that are really close that I could call in the middle of the night, and I’m so blessed and grateful to have that. But I think that is also because I have the willingness to go deep into a conversation, instead of just keeping it superficial.


(11:15) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yeah, that capacity is where connection lies, I think. You are reconnecting kind of superficially, or from our hearts or from the realness and that’s partly why I wanted to invite you today is because you are somebody that to me feels like, can go deeper. I love the conversations also. So, tell me what when you got into college, you said that you became a radio host that had to be– there must have been some transition there.


(11:51) Lori Saitz 

When I was in high school, and I don’t have a super clear memory of this, but there was a community broadcast station, like do you remember back in the day they had– they were like cable community cable stations, I guess. I have no idea how we got involved. I think my mom might have been volunteering there or something and she would bring me and I fell in love with the whole broadcast TV station thing, I was like this is amazing. So, when I started college, I started as a broadcast major. I specifically remember– and I think I might have shared this with you pre show– the moment my parents drove away from dropping me off at college. I went immediately to the campus radio station. I mean, not at campus TV station, first, campus TV station, and I was like, how do I get involved? How do I sign up? Where do I go? What do I do? I think they had tryouts. Like they had some kind of little show, like a news show and they had tryouts. I didn’t– I think what happened is I didn’t get chosen to do a part on the TV show. Then I ended up at the radio station and they were just looking for tons of people to take over because I don’t know if it was a 24/7 station, but they needed people to do shifts and so first semester freshman year, I had a show on that radio station, and it didn’t broadcast past the campus. It was only on campus, but it was music and it was fun.


(13:29) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yeah, if people could– whoever’s listening, let me tell you, Lori has such a great big smile on right now that we’ve tapped into her fun button. Wow.


(13:40) Lori Saitz 



(13:41) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yes. Well, also, what I’m getting and want to pass on to listeners is the fact that you were– it almost feels like the excitement of moving towards something. If you’re not excited, kind of like you say, I’m not excited about getting grades, or at least being the Honor Society. I’m not going to do it. But look at broadcasting and what is there? So that that sense of paying attention to what calls you and where your excitement is?


(14:11) Lori Saitz 

Yeah. Well, the interesting thing about that whole journey was, so first of all, because I was typically so shy when my parents dropped me off. I think what happened was, it was like a switch flipped. Nobody else is going to be around to talk for me. No one else is going to speak for me, I have to speak for myself and they drove away and I’m like, I’m free. Not that I was feeling trapped. But I knew that I was going to have to speak for myself now. I was kind of excited about it. I guess at that point, maybe a little fear and excitement mixed in because that’s what– college is all new experience I was away, four hours away from home.


(14:52) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yeah. Well, I think what you just said, leads to something down the line which I read in your bio about helping people break out of, and that moment where you just said the freedom to be whatever happens to whoever you happen to be. But also, what I got was it was like you just said, if I were going to have a voice, I had to use it. I had to be it. Nobody else was going to speak for me and I would like to move forward then to how the transformation into a– where did you start working and how did you get to be somebody who is so Zen Rabbit? What is the journey?


(15:39) Lori Saitz 

Yeah. So, I actually didn’t graduate college as a broadcast major. Two years in, I had a conversation with somebody who was working professionally at a radio station and he told me, okay, so here’s what your career path is that you can expect, you can expect to move to Iowa and work overnights for $10 an hour and that’s how you start. That’s how we all start. I was like, I’m going to school in the nation’s capital. I’m not moving to Iowa for $10 an hour and I changed my major. I changed it to public communication, which was like public relations, really. So, when I started my career, I started more in advertising and then I thought, okay, I want to be a copywriter because it is all about still expression. I’m a great writer, and expressing myself in words is– okay, we all express ourselves. Well, not some people could express themselves in physical movement and stuff. But words are the last choice whether spoken or written. I love words. So, yeah, so I started. Again, it’s finding the right people. The connection piece of connecting with people and networking started in college if not before. Of recognizing that connecting with other people is how you get to where you want to go. Like, nobody’s running. Nobody’s– you talk about self-made people, like self-made millionaire. No, everybody has to have help from somewhere.


(17:16) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yeah, well already. Listen people, listen to Lori having a voice here from your life lessons and passing those on so easily and the whole idea of you being somebody who heads out into the world and makes that same kind of choice, that I talked about before, no to this. Yes, to that. No, to this. Yes, to that. That feels like one of the patterns I’m picking up today, that seems to be partly who you are, but also a model for some of the things that we need to– lessons and guides we need in our life around what to say yes to and what to say no to and listening to that voice inside of us.


(18:00) Lori Saitz 

Oh, my gosh, that’s so important. I have not always done that. When you recap and you look back at 30 years, it looks like it was easy to make a choice to go this way, and then that way, and then do this other thing. But it was never like that, really, it never felt like that in the moment. However, where I am now, I mean, this is what I talk about all the time now is finding, connecting to your inner voice is so important. I think even more so in today’s world because we have more outside influences coming into our minds than ever before. I mean, when you and I were coming up, there was media, there was TV, there was radio, but there wasn’t social media, and constant 24/7 chatter going on outside trying to like I was going to say “force”, but trying to influence what you’re thinking, and how you’re acting. We have to trust our own inner self, get quiet enough to hear what our own inner voice is saying. To know what path is the truest, most authentic one for us.


(19:15) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Beautiful, beautiful. I was going to ask you; it sounds like you naturally went there. When we’re talking about inner voice how to find it, her, him, they and listen, and then trust all of that. So, say just a little bit more about finding the inner voice.


(19:38) Lori Saitz 

My method of choice for finding the inner voice is meditation. That’s where I take people all the time, is in meditation. There are other ways to get there. That’s not the only tool, there’s a lot of paths to the center of the circle, if you will. Mine is meditation. So, actually, my mom took my brother and me to a meditation course when I was 10. So, I was introduced to meditation at a very young age. However, I then did not use it for the next 35 years. It wasn’t until she passed away in 2014, that I came back to consistently meditating. It wasn’t right away. But it was within a year or so after she passed, I found meditation again, and started practicing consistently. That’s where I find that you can get into that space where you– I was going to say, where you can quiet your thoughts, and a lot of people struggle with that of, I can’t quiet the thoughts in my head. So, I’m not good at meditation. But part of a meditation practice is recognizing that those thoughts are constantly zooming around and go and hold on just a minute. You take a back seat, and then you get quiet again, or come back to your breathing or whatever, listening to the meditation teacher’s voice, and then maybe you need to do it again in 10 seconds, or another 15 seconds, but it’s part of the practice, you get better at it as you do it.


(21:15) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Whoops, Lori, I just lost your sound. What we’re doing here is talking about meditation and Lori got to share her process about finding and connecting with the inner voice. I would say that, yes, getting quiet. There are also– she talked about many kinds of options for finding your voice and meditation is definitely one way you can still and I think to me it reminds me the visual is kite’s flying and what you can do is yeah, the kites are going to fly. But you can also hold on to the string and stay to the ground. Are you back, Lori?


Lori Saitz 

(21:56) Yes, that’s such a good metaphor, because grounding, is exactly what we’re doing. Grounding, finding your place of groundedness and your center of calm, no matter what else is going on around you.


(22:13) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Right. I love center of calm. Why don’t we just tell the people right now who are listening, just take one breath. Yes, not only one breath, it’s a long breath, full breath and find the center of calm to saying that. You might notice my voice has just dropped down on the octaves, too. It’s just fun being with kind of like playmates out there in the world with. So, speaking of out there in the world, we’re getting close to the end and I really want you to talk about either the podcast or this whole program that you’re doing Fuck Being Fine program.


(22:54) Lori Saitz 

Yeah, well, the podcast is called Fine Is The 4-Letter Word because we live in a society where people walk around and we talked about superficial conversations, how are you doing? I’m fine. They’re not fine. They’re like, we’re conditioned to just say fine everything. As you said in my introduction, there’s really a dumpster fire going on. Until we can share what we’re really feeling with people, we’re going to be still feeling like we’re disconnected. So, allowing people to see who you really are what’s really going on. I mean, sure, you have to discern whether you dump all your issues on somebody or not, is it appropriate, but let’s be real with ourselves first, and stop lying to ourselves that I’m fine. When you’re not.


(23:44) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Nice. Yeah, I like that idea of starting with yourself not lying to yourself just really telling the truth and that goes along with what you said about meditation and coming to the center of calm because that’s where you can listen. You can listen to what’s really going on. Yeah, maybe it is the whole sense of a dumpster fire. But is there something else? Of course, if you’re sitting in the center of calm, there is something else, by the way.





(24:13) Lori Saitz 

All right. So, even if you have a dumpster fire going on, if you can take five or 10 minutes, even to get yourself centered through meditation, and like you said, breathe and just center it for those 10 minutes. You’re not paying attention to all the other stuff that’s going on and that’s so valuable.


(24:36) Dr. Doreen Downing 

So, what about this program where you help businesses like I imagine and you do coach also.


(24:42) Lori Saitz 

What I do is I bring workshops into businesses, to teach them about using gratitude and meditation as a compliment as an additional tool to working hard. Because we again live in a society that says the only way to success is to work hard. Most people are already working as hard as they can and still not at the level of success that they’d like or to the place of success as they define it, that they’d like to be. So, I like bringing this this is my big vision is to bring this knowledge about gratitude and meditation to businesses so that people can use it for business success, as well as personal success, because real success can only come when those two are meshed together.


(25:31) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yeah, well, the idea that success, that we’re already working hard, we are working to capacity, and then you’re saying, hey, folks, you could add something. But what you’re adding is something that quietude nourishes you and increases something else. Right? Isn’t that, right?


(25:53) Lori Saitz 

Right. So, a lot– one of the things I hear all the time is I don’t have time to meditate. Right. But the thing about meditation is, it reminds me of a quote from Abraham– I think it was Abraham Lincoln, who said, If you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I’ll spend the first four, sharpening the axe, that’s what meditation does. So, instead of giving you another thing to do to add on to your stuff, when you can come from a place of groundedness and it makes you more effective at decision making, it makes you more focused. So, you actually spend less time in the doing, because you’re more efficient, and focused there. So, it’s actually giving you more time. So, spending 10-20 minutes in meditation gives you more time on the other end. Because the rest of your day doesn’t take you as much to get as long to get through the tasks you need to do.


(26:49) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Your explanation is so clear, especially the image of Lincoln sharpening his saw and then this the sewing takes a few minutes. So, what we can do to increase maybe even the joy of work in the busy by gratitude. That was the other thing, not only meditation but feeling gratitude. To me, it takes me down to my heart, I guess. Is what I feel like and I am even smiling right now just feeling my heart might. The corner of my lips went up and I’m very, very happy. Happy is what it feels like with gratitude. Gratitude leads me to happy.


(27:37) Lori Saitz 

Because gratitude is the highest energetic vibration you can reach. We’ve got attitude and love together. But they’re both but they’re pretty much the same.


(27:49) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Well, it feels like partly gratitude and appreciation comes from a place of what you love.


(27:55) Lori Saitz 



(27:56) Dr. Doreen Downing 

About another person or about something or about yourself. Oh, well, you just keep opening up more doors that I’d want to go down. But we’re going to need to come to it. How do people find you?


(28:09) Lori Saitz 

Now, you can find me on my website is zenrabbit.com. I’m on LinkedIn all the time. The podcast is Fine is a 4-Letter Word and Instagram Zen_rabbit.


(28:25) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Great, well, I’m going to give you the floor for the last words here.


(28:30) Lori Saitz 

I’m going to encourage people to find gratitude in whatever situation when you can slow down, find some gratitude, take that deep breath that Doreen advised earlier and whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, just stop. Okay, take a deep breath in. Let it go. What am I grateful for in this situation right now in this very moment? Now move on with whatever you– with your previously scheduled program.


(29:02) Dr. Doreen Downing 

Yes, well, it’s very easy. They say easier said than done. Now this is easy and done. Lori, thank you so much for sharing your voice today on our podcast.


(29:19) Lori Saitz 

My pleasure.

Also listen on…

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.