MY LOFTY VISION
I have a vision of a world where smart, creative, unique an innovative people no longer hobble themselves with fear, timidity, addiction, perfectionism or avoidance. A world where we value and nurture each person’s brightness, creativity, quirks, and innovations. Where it is safe to bring our best selves to the fore.
I guide women in academia and other folks involved in intellectual and professional pursuits who are frustrated because procrastination and perfectionism is getting in the way of completing important project and living anguish-free, proud and hopeful.
Rachel Z. Cornell became the first legally blind visual artist to receive an MFA from the University of Michigan. Cornell enjoyed a successful career as a professional artist, showing her work throughout the US and Berlin before changing courses to become the Professional Nag.
As a graduate student instructor at the University of Michigan, she developed and taught the interdisciplinary course, How to Create Your Life. This planted the seed that eventually blossomed into Cornell’s road-tested methodology which became her own thriving business, ProNagger. Thanks to Cornell her clients create what they want and finish what they start.
New York Times Best Selling Author Barbara Sher says, “Rachel is the most skilled motivator I’ve seen in my 40+ years of working with groups and individuals. I have never seen anyone who was as skilled a natural motivator as Rachel Cornell, also known as ProNagger. She’s funny and she’s kind, but all the same, Rachel gets people to move like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Rachel gets you into action and, even more amazing, to stay in action until you reach goals beyond your wildest dreams.” “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need what ProNagger has.”
In just two weeks you have helped me to transform — radically — my entire approach to my dissertation. Your approach is incredibly efficient. You’ve taught me incredibly effective and yet very simple techniques, and I feel more confident than ever that I’m making and I will continue to make really clear progress towards a finished dissertation. So I just want to say thanks — not for the last time, I’m sure. -Angiras A
Just call me Dr S!!!!!!!!! – Sharifa S
Thank you!! It’s over, and it went well, and I got good feedback. I even survived the Q&A. There was the inevitable technical snafu at the beginning but all ended well. Thank you so much for your support throughout, it has been SO HELPFUL! -Laura G, Now PhD Candidate Brown University
I heard about Rachel, the ProNagger, from Kerry Ann Rocquemore, who runs the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. I attended a workshop here at the University of Illinois run by Kerry Ann last spring, on the topic of mid-career productivity and goal-setting. I recently took my first conference with Rachel.
It was inspiring and butt-kicking in a good way! I have already taken concrete steps to achieving what I’ve recently realized is a major career/life goal. I also have prioritized my goals better. The skills she teaches and reinforces are vital to any type of creative enterprise–whether in academia or elsewhere. – Laurie Johnson, University of Illinois
I can’t thank you enough for the month of nagging. I had no idea how much more there is to it than just a “nag.” You have taught me so much about my work process and how to get past the barriers to writing that I face. – Jessica M
Such a clever technique, these bookends. It’s like duct-taping my butt to the chair and hiding my browser. – Patty Newbold, Marriage expert
A more personal story about my road to you –
It happened in the frozen food section at my parent’s local supermarket. She could no longer keep up niceties. She was a woman melting down because she just wanted a frozen dessert. Cancer got the best of her while standing in front of the ice cream looking for Neapolitan.
Right there in aisle 5, sat a tragically beautiful woman. I was helpless to give her ice cream, or more time, or any answers about what was happening to her, but I had, in a heartbeat, grown into the daughter who could hold her and bear compassionate witness to the remainder of her life. And that’s what I did.
My mother had advanced colon cancer. A surgery performed in an attempt to remove the cancer resulted in the need for a colostomy bag. There would be rounds of radiation treatment and chemotherapy to follow.
The cancer marched on, breaching boundaries and moving into her liver where it would take her life. But not before she could find purpose in cancer by agreeing to be a part of research. She was, as I remember it, part of an early trial group using a chemo-pump. The pump was a 4″ x 8″ device she wore in a fanny pack around her waist. It connected to a treatment port in her chest. With the pump, her treatment was delivered more slowly with less side effects and it allowed for fewer trips to the cancer center.
Cancer also played to her strengths as a natural and gifted teacher. She began volunteering to help other people with colostomy bags learn to take care of themselves.
The way my mother negotiated cancer taught me there is no part of my person or my challenges too awful that it can’t be used as a meaningful path to service. I saw I only needed to play to my strengths to face my fears or shortcomings. Anything I’m willing to face becomes a means to be of service.
Before my mother’s diagnosis I had little confidence in myself or anything I did. I repeatedly sabotaged my efforts and opportunities. But from the melt down to her death bed, my mother’s examples saved my life.
Two weeks after laying her to rest, I returned to college at age 32, to complete my undergraduate degree. I went from dropout to graduating magna cum laude. I continued my education to become the first legally blind visual artist to receive an MFA from the University of Michigan.
Every step of the way I used (and still use) challenges and character defects as the compost for my strengths to find ways to grow possibilities I can share with you.
I created my business, ProNagger.com, because I know there are people, like me, who have valuable things to offer and can’t get them done and/or out into the world because of some type of emotional paralysis (usually presenting as perfectionism and procrastination). The same kind of paralysis that once crippled me more than any visual impairment could. Please don’t let anything cripple you. We need your special kind of goodness in the world. I know how to show you how to make it happen.
PS: Recently my friend, the beautiful and powerful poet, Ilyse Kusnetz passed away. I’m crying as I type this. Her most recent works integrated soul, science, cancer and dying into her poems and prose, because writing was her strength. Her words will resonate in hearts and minds forever.
Our difficulties become the fodder we can use to favorably contribute to the world. Or in other words, “there’s no reason to feel ashamed or shy away from your sh*t.”
CLICK HERE to read more about Rachel’s eye sight and what “legally blind” means.