1 AM.

I was wrapping my ankle when I remembered how it changed my life.

Every morning, I would get up and run. I would run hardest and fastest at the start. In the cold, the rain, the beautiful days, the brooding days. The days when I didn’t want to run, I would run. To feel happier, I would start my days this way. Somehow along the way, I didn’t pay attention to the injury in my ankle that later led to my ankle surgery.

I believed you had to plow through everything. No excuses.

It led to me lying in bed because I couldn’t walk for a few weeks after my surgery. And as I stared up at the ceiling in the soft bedroom light, I realized, “What am I doing? I’m not happy.”

In a weird way, my broken ankle saved my life.

There is a difference between being happy as a part of your personality. And the other part of happiness tied to your everyday — something about the everyday had lost its zing some time ago.

A few months later, I moved to New York. It was a place I always wanted to live since I was a little girl watching Sesame Street. Or reading in every book flap I loved, the author bio always ended with “x-writer lives in New York, NY.” As a kid, I started to believe that you could be anything if you just moved to New York. And I have come to find the most driven about their field are here, as well as some of the most gentle, kindest folks.

You can do the things you want most in the world. In some crazy way I don’t understand, it works out.

I’m saying this because in trying to plan out moving to New York — I found it daunting and impossible.

I also feared that by not taking the risk, that was a far riskier option to my life as a whole. Sometimes people do what they think is “safe”  — but it can be a risk if you are not knee-deep, heart-all-in. Life is not just about your career I learned quite late. It is also about your heart, your passions, your experiences and most importantly, how you care for those you love. One has to keep jumping off mini-cliffs, because after you feel like you have accomplished one hurdle, there is another you never foresaw after it.

It keeps you humble.

I feel like i am getting a chance to live in a truly amazing city and I don’t ever want to take it for granted. It is not always easy. For things you want more than anything, you find a way. It is possible.

Sometimes the things we take leaps about because we can’t help it, change our life.

I just ask you not to be scared.

I wrote this also because I wanted to share about NYU’s School of Professional Studies, where I  teach classes to professionals who are  truly gifted, driven adults, working toward changing their lives, their careers, and it is something I strongly believe in. I just wanted to spread the word that if you ever wanted to explore training classes to change the direction of your life or enhance your career, it is worth looking into, hopefully one of my digital classes 😉 (but also sharing the other offerings at NYUSPS).

Keep learning. Keep loving what you do.

When you stop feeling your heart dance, take notice – quickly. It matters.

We sometimes take the small steps of every day lightly.

You never want to blink your eyes 10 years later and wonder why you didn’t make a change sooner. So grab the now, even if you are not ready.

I will end with this, as I was land-sliding, free-falling, and parachuting my transition to New York — my mom sent me this wonderful quote late one night while I was at the gym that said:

“Great people do things before they’re ready.” – Amy Poehler

Do what you want. Live how you want. All that matters is the happiness of your heart.


Email Piper at [email protected], for more information about my design and digital marketing classes at New York University, visit bit.ly/piperclasses. Sign-up is going on now! Scroll to the bottom of the link below for classes:


  • Piper Nichole teaches at New York University's School of Professional Studies. She creates a wide variety of advertising and marketing for national, local and international clients. Piper's digital and design projects include: NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, NYC Media Lab (which works with major media companies, Verizon, NBCUniversal, Bloomberg, AP, Audible and more, as well as universities across New York), Newmark Knight Frank Capital Markets, New York Community Trust, Estée Lauder Companies, Eventive Marketing, Roper Technologies’ Transcore, e-commerce sites and much more. Her background includes: Digital Project Manager at NBC12 and working with Raycom Sports designing advertising for the ACC, Atlantic Coast Conference, which reaches millions of households. She was also Special Projects Manager for Raycom Media, one of the largest broadcasting companies in the US, recently acquired by Gray Television for $3.6 billion. She previously managed the NBC12 website and spent time running the ABC affiliate site in Richmond. Piper also teaches at the University of Richmond SPCS and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She was a journalist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and is the author of three books published nationwide. Her paintings have been carried by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery store, Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and other galleries. Email: [email protected] // bit.ly/piperclasses