The Business Part of Business

Why is Penelope Trunk in Therapy?

Who is Penelope Trunk? Why is Penelope Trunk in Therapy? And why on earth would you care one bit about Penelope Trunk’s psychological health?

I’ll start with the answer to that first question. I have no idea who Penelope Trunk (really) is, and a few moments of Internet research only made that statement truer. The woman born Adrienne Roston has gone through several name changes over her life, with some legal and others … other. I’ve been aware of Penelope’s work for a few years, and I read enough of it to have been surprised when this piece spurred me into writing about her and I found that she’d never come up here before. And yet, I still hadn’t ever thought about who Penelope Trunk is.

Which might be the point of this story. In fact, I’m pretty sure that despite her long history of ruminating on the subject, Penelope Trunk isn’t very sure who Penelope Trunk really is. Which, says me, goes a long way towards answering that “Why is Penelope Trunk in Therapy?” question.

Like Penelope Trunk, I’m not a licensed therapist. Thus, also like Penelope Trunk, I’ve the luxury of cutting to the heart of matters as I see themTell me how you feel about that.

If you’ve ever been in therapy, you laughed at that last line. We’ll get back to it in a moment.

During her career as a writer and prognosticator, Penelope Trunk has made a habit of not pulling punches. At least, not with what she feels about others. But she points out in that piece I referenced a moment ago that she’s bad at calling herself on her own bullshit. And that, as she also points out, is the essence of therapy. Until you stop BSing yourself, all the therapy in the world won’t help you. And once you do, you don’t need therapy.

Penelope Trunk is a master of BS. And that’s why Penelope Trunk being in therapy wouldn’t much help her. It’s also why Penelope needs a good therapist.

And why she’s fine just the way she is, too.

If your sensibilities are anything like mine, Penelope Trunk is entertaining. I think of her in the same stream of consciousness as I do James Altucher. James is entertaining too. And smart. Depending on how you read it his bio says he’s either really successful—or not. And James Altucher doesn’t care what you think and neither does Penelope Trunk.

Tell me how you feel about that.

Penelope Trunk in Therapy

Other than by leaning on what I said about the difference between being a credentialed therapist and the kind of counselor that both Penelope and I operate as, I have no opinion about whether Penelope Trunk needs to be in therapy. But I do believe in that whole “tell me how you feel about that” thing—and that ultimately it’s pretty much the only really useful thing you ever learn in therapy, formal or otherwise. IS Penelope Trunk in Therapy?

Are you? Should you be?

One question I always ask new business change clients is “Tell me what you want to be when you grow up?”. It’s me being flip and exposing my no-formal-therapy-training style of counseling clients. People with a sense of humor get it, while others can find it off-putting. You mean you think I’m childish??!!??

I think you’re enough of a grown-up to hear that question and pull the meaning out of it. Regardless of our ages and experience, we’re all growing up every day.

Tell me how you feel about that.