Business

In Our 60s, It Is Time To Recreate Ourselves!

After a rocky start to the year, my head is getting straightened out.  Am realizing that changes need to be made to continue my journey of being more fully my fabulous self.  Finally letting go of “Dr. Pat, Inc.” the company that has been my safety blanket identity since I finished my doctorate.  No matter how little or how much it succeeded, it existed.  And that existence took energy – writing a blog, doing paperwork, talking to potential clients, working with clients and otherwise catering to its multiple small business demands.  Like children, friends, and pets, owning a small business takes more time and effort than one expects.  With my constantly shrinking and limited energy, and the serious belief that my separate online coaching business’s time has FINALLY come, I am in the process of dismantling the world of Dr. Pat and welcoming the new Dr. Patty.

It is going fairly well.  As I tell my existing coaching clients, they are taking the news well.  They understand I will always remain there for them, but won’t be handling new clients.  My wonderful accountant for Dr. Pat and I have decided to talk once a year, even though our business relationship is ending with my 2016 final return.  My social media/marketing wizard is OK with new work opportunities including doing something in our online coaching business and its upcoming new launch.  In reality, the disappearance of Dr. Pat isn’t having much of any impact at all.  My sister – whom everyone knows who reads this blog understands I am close to, didn’t even know my Dr. Pat business was separate from E-Coach Associates (ECA), the owner of QwikCoach, our online coaching tool.  Obviously my professional identity wasn’t clear, strong or differentiated.

When we identify with a definition of ourselves that is not current with where we are now, we limit our ability to reshape our identity to new realities.  By holding onto Dr. Pat Inc., I was limiting my ability to be “all in” with our online coaching business.  I had to divide my professional self when in reality I have barely enough energy to do one business well.  Since ECA is having a new launch soon, I need now to focus my energies there introducing myself to new clients as the Chief Content Officer of this enterprise.  That new title speaks differently to people who now will know that my most important professional role is making sure our QwikCoach product has the best content possible.  And that is what I want them to know.  My LinkedIn profile will definitely be reframed.

By re-naming ourselves, we re-create ourselves and hold ourselves accountable as well as “explain” who we are.  And this is happening personally as well.  Until now I had a business card/personal card that had my Dr. Pat business on one side and FabulousOver60 on the other.  The Fabulous side of the card listed me as Patty Gill Webber, Co-Creator of FabulousOver60.  That card is no more – and I am thinking when I do have a new card, my fabulous identity will be left out.  No one will know me in my fabulous incarnation except those reading our blog on Facebook or on our site directly – which is fine – we have been promoting FabulousOver60 for years and have a following we are happy with.  No need to keep pushing this identity.  And, as Cathy and I have stated before, we are not sure if we are going to float on from this blog when our 60s are behind us.  That is getting closer since we both will be 68 on our next birthdays.

I’m calling myself Patty now professionally – at my Church, in my neighborhood and in nearly every new situation I find myself in.  When we first joined 10 plus years ago, I was Pat and Dr. Pat and did some work for the Church under that identity.  Now, I don’t want to be more than a helper at Church – wanting my newly selected volunteer work to have me meet and mingle as just an individual person – so Patty it is.  Patty is my childhood name, my most casual name, and a name that says: she is perky and nice and maybe smart and maybe sophisticated and maybe fabulous (but not necessarily style conscious).  But Patty is someone to get to know – the name doesn’t say much except born in the 1950s. It is a humble name, and I am ready more than ever to be humble.  Running a business didn’t feel quite right as Patty, while volunteering and focusing on others’ needs it seems perfect.  I am even ‘Grandma Patty’ – so much softer than ‘Grandma Pat’ – don’t you think?

Identity is a powerful thing.  I have spent most of my adult life trying to be seen as equal to men, a professional heavyweight, independent, capable, kind but tough when I need to be, woman.  Other than being the Chief Content Officer of our online tool, I just want to be someone who lights up other people’s lives, and in doing that lights up my own.  When not working part-time for ECA, I want to love and be loved as a friend, sister, aunt, mom/grandmother, neighbor, a member – not necessarily leader of any band.  I want to be accepted and judged by how human and humane I am and how much I give away emotionally and spiritually.  Only thing I want to keep from that earlier self is my fun side – my slightly wacky personality that has served me well over the years both professionally and personally.  I, Patty, will try to keep people relaxed and laughing, for no other reason than it makes me happy.

I have to ask – who are you now??  Yes, time to rethink about that.

Patty

On Second Thought

Long story short, the part-time work I am doing turned into “full time” work for a time.  It is happening now, as I write this. In fact, I am beginning day 2 of the second set of days – did 10 days earlier in the month, then had a 5 day break. Now back “on the job”.

Working “part-time” as you know can mean anything from staffing the volunteer booth at the hospital 6 hours a week, to working 4 days a week as a litigation attorney in New York City.  My part-time work has gone on for years.  It consists of coaching a few clients at all times, and working anywhere from 8-24 hours a week writing.  All work for years has been “from home” or at my convenience, except for scheduled coaching sessions and very occasional meetings with my partners or clients in my online coaching business.

Already, on day two of working in LA, I am getting déjà vu – all over again!

Up early, hit the gym, small breakfast, read/reply to emails and changes in issues for the day-long video creation work.  Already my partner is delayed in LA traffic.

At the gym this morning, a 25 year old guy put the treadmill next to mine on the highest setting and pounded for 35 minutes – while I strained to hear a little morning news going 3.5 on my own treadmill.  This didn’t bother me when I was 55 – now I was dreaming of getting to go workout outside of when working people do.  It’s busy in there at 7 AM!

Last night after work was done, I was pretty beat.  Bill is with me on this trip – that’s my retired husband for those new to the blog.  Naturally, we needed to go out to dinner – which we did, nearby, casual place. But I did have a glass of wine and we tried to keep to our commitment not to discuss the President and also chatted about the pace and issues of the workday.  In my consulting days, I could work alone for a time when the formal workday ended, order room service and not drink or talk or do anything till dawn the next day.  That was sort of a drag in one sense, but it helped me keep stay in shape and stay focused.  I remember one of my clients once sharing: “you know Pat I thought my life was boring until I met you”. OUCH!

We are starting shortly, so we have already been reviewing scripts – 60 pages of which we hope to film today – and I am already getting that full-time work feeling I haven’t had in a long time: Is it Friday yet??

On second thought, doing lots of full-time work may not be as great as I thought it would be.  Although I have to admit there is a certain charge and adrenaline rush when you are up, with a full face of makeup, in a grown-up person’s clothes that are not gym clothes and people are counting on you to actually ACCOMPLISH something on a timeline.  If there was a way to do this once a month for 3 days it would be ideal – any ideas for a job where that could work?

Got to go – I am being called to the set! ACTION!

Patty

If In Doubt…. Don’t Press Send!

Emails have been in the news a lot these past few months… and not in a good way. Just this week, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was found to have sent emails that shouldn’t have been sent and which she does regret sending.

It reminded me of a blog I wrote in late 2013 about the importance of being careful using emails in emotionally charged situations. Although they appear to be a great way to have quick communication, they also have an incredible power to disrupt both friendships and careers. Here is my original post.


I was reminded this past week about the potentially destructive power of email. Two couples … friends of ours and of each other … are no longer speaking. The rupture is so bad that it’s difficult to imagine how it can be repaired.

The issue isn’t as important as how it was handled. The first couple – who now admit that their first email was a mistake – sent it anyway. The response from the second couple was highly emotional – “scathing” is a word I’ve heard used to describe it. In fact, the clear message was that the friendship was over. The first couple sent another email apologizing and explaining. There has been no response.

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I haven’t actually seen any of the emails and I’ve only talked to the first couple about them. However, I think I understand the situation well enough to say that the emails … all of them … should never have been written or, more importantly, sent. In fact, I suspect that they were difficult to write and that both parties wrote at least a couple of versions of them. I also suspect that if everyone was being totally honest with themselves and others, they would say that they wish they could take them back.

Not too long ago, I was angry with an out of state friend. Again, the reason isn’t important. I immediately sat down and wrote an email. Then I wrote another version. I didn’t think I had the right tone, so I wrote it again. This one was better, but I still had a nagging suspicion that it didn’t capture the issue well enough. I decided to wait and try later. The issue weighed on me the rest of the day. I composed different versions of the note in my head. And then I began to think about receiving it as if I were my friend.

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That’s when it hit me. This issue was not an email issue. It required a phone call… a real discussion. So the rest of that day and the next I thought about the conversation rather than the words I’d use in an email. It was difficult to pick up the phone to call… but it was absolutely the right thing to do. I learned that my friend felt conflicted by the issue too. We had a great discussion and resolved it easily. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders and we were better friends than ever.

I can’t say that I’ve never sent an email I regret. But I think I’m even less likely to do it in the future given the recent sad story of my two friends.

When I talked to Ray about it, he said that Billy C. Owen, his Master Chief in the Navy, used to say: “Once you pull the trigger, you can’t get the bullet back in the gun.”

The wrong email is like a bullet you can’t get back.

So, I have a new rule for myself: If an issue is potentially emotional, if it’s difficult to write, or if it could be misinterpreted, I’m going to pick up the phone or … even better, if possible … have a face-to-face discussion.

I wish one of our sets of friends would do that now. Maybe, just maybe, it’s not too late?

Cathy Green

Blogging For Fun or Blogging For Money?

Last week, my blogging partner Patty and I decided that we aren’t interested in making a million dollars from this blog site. In fact, we aren’t even going to shoot for a few thousand or a few hundred dollars. Why?

Well, to be perfectly honest, a million dollars would turn our heads. But when we checked into the “blogging for money” issue, we realized that making money is a lot of work! More importantly, it doesn’t match our reasons for having the site.

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If you’ve read “Creating Fabulous over 60” you know that the idea came from a discussion we had on an annual spa trip a few years ago about the good, bad and ugly of being over 60. We thought – and still do – that the 60’s are a very interesting time for women and that sharing some of our thoughts, stories, ideas and complaints would be fun for us and might be interesting and maybe even helpful to some other over-60’s.

We started Fabulous Over 60 as “…a place online to share and discuss being in our 60s and wanting to create and maintain terrific lives…. We welcome all women who see themselves as fabulous, or who just want to dish with other smart, strong women who have a sense of proportion and humor.”

Our first blog was in September of 2012. For a couple of years, we posted pieces whenever we felt like it and sent them out to relatives and friends, some of whom sent them to their friends. Some women even found us on their own as they searched for sites like ours. Then a year or so ago, we began posting them – and occasionally other information or links – on our own Facebook page. More people found us there and our number of readers every week has gone up. We now post something every week.

Do we have thousands of readers? No. But we do seem to have a growing number of “likes” on Facebook and more regular followers on our site.

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As we began to post on Facebook, however, we received a couple of inquiries about whether we would be willing to endorse products. Then, we started to get more.

Most recently, a body lotion company sent us samples of their product and suggested that we might want to mention it in a blog. They were also willing, they said, to provide giveaways to our readers.

Patty and I did some research. If we wanted to make money with our site, it would first require that we get many, many more followers. We’d have to work the site like a real business – investing lots of time in reading and commenting on other blogs/websites while also investing even more time in our own site’s content.

Then, we could pay Google to find advertisers, and pay Facebook to advertise our blogs more widely. And, when we built a huge follower base, we’d need to negotiate directly with advertisers or develop our own products –the two most lucrative options.

This is what we decided:

  • We don’t want to endorse things we don’t believe in, whether in exchange for samples, giveaways or money.
  • We are doing this for fun and enjoy having some “likes” every week and hearing from some of our friends.
  • We enjoy sharing our over-60 journey with others, both friends and strangers, and reading their interesting comments and personal stories
  • We like learning about each other. The site has brought us closer together.
  • We both like to write and the site provides us with the discipline to do it.
  • We don’t want the site to be a “job”, so when we don’t want to do it anymore, we won’t.
  • We will continue to mention products, places and services in our blogs when we really like them and want to share them with our readers. But, when we do, we won’t be taking any money for those mentions.

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And, if we ever do decide we want to make money, we’ll come up with our own product(s). Fabulous Over 60 Age-Defying Body Lotion, anyone?

Cathy Green

 

Meet Debbie Wemyss

Note: We receive no compensation or commission from any women we introduce to you through Fabulous. These posts are based on one to one interviews with the individual woman, shaped into a blog post by Patty and/or Cathy, and fact checked by the woman being interviewed.

Cathy and I keep meeting fabulousover60 women. We have decided to start a new blog topic — meeting peers, friends, new contacts, family members, school mates — anyone who strikes us as having things to say to our readers and ourselves. We are hopeful this new feature will inspire and inform you. Contact us if you or someone you know would be a great candidate for a “meet blog”. Click here to contact us about suggested person.

Describe your passion and share why it is so important to you right now in your life?

Debbie’s current successful and growing business is just over 3 years old. Her focus? Helping people use LinkedIn successfully. She sees her business as a continuation of who she was and still is — a person who loves to help others. Raised by non-profit executives, and a non-profit executive herself, Debbie’s business sprung from necessity and has flourished because she has found a need in the changing world, and is filling it. With the force of her strong, straight forward personality, her tight, strategic focus on a genuine need people will pay for, and with professionalism honed from years of working and striving, Debbie is Fabulous.

Finding herself “downsized” at 57 — at the height of the great recession–for the first time ever from her highly successful non-profit career with two children to put through college, Debbie’s first steps were to keep trying to re-enter her own field. With glowing work reviews, wonderful references and a “contact list” the envy of many non-profit executives, and over 300 resumes to every possible connection/option, Debbie realized the workplace had dramatically changed and she had to change with it to survive.

Debbie decided to use her great learning skills and dive into understanding social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube – the big four – became her passion. Carefully studying, self educating herself and keeping her positive focus she soon realized that although all four were intriguing and important, she chose the number one business site in the world – LinkedIn – and began to focus.

Always a proficient networker Debbie went back to her involvement with Career Source where she was part of an ongoing monthly support group of senior executives trying to find work. While she couldn’t get permission to conduct a workshop on LinkedIn, she started, with the encouragement of others, to help people with their LinkedIn job search efforts. She soon began to see many had a real interest in the skills she had acquired. Her business began there — with job seekers and helping them use LinkedIn effectively to land interviews.

In the 3 years since founding DW Consulting Solutions she has serviced over 450 people in 7 countries — and is busier than ever. As a startup coaching job seekers, Debbie now works with corporations and thriving enterprises as well as individuals. She has recently added some people to help support her growing business. Seeing LinkedIn as the “yellow pages of the times”, she has an excitement, passion and desire to help others use the site to their advantage professionally. With over 5.3 billion searches done on LinkedIn in 2013, she sees no stopping the juggernaut that now has over 300 million users.

What lessons have you learned and want to share with other fabuloussover60 women?

Organized as I have come to expect, Debbie had her sharp answer ready.

She ticked them off:

1. Decide. While it might seem it would get easier to make decisions as we age, for many of us it is harder than ever. But deciding is the factor that starts the whole process moving forward. Deciding to do something — anything, is critically important to moving forward in your 60s. Debbie decided to skip listening to any naysayers, to not worry about being over 60 and just keep moving forward.

2. Be focused. You have to take risks that matter — and do it with caution but faith. Stay the course you have selected for yourself and don’t allow distractions to get you off track.

3. Be persistent. Believe in yourself and the path you have chosen. Whatever that path is, stick with it.

What has been your biggest/best or worse surprise since turning 60?

Turning philosophical Debbie shared her “ah ha” moments of looking at photos of herself and her friends and thinking: “yes, we are aging” and “yes, life is short”. And, having the realization we all seem to be having of learning about one or another friend with one or another illnesses or sudden passing drives home the fact that we’re not getting any younger.

Taking these “newly sensed” insights, she began to feel that there was “no time to waste” and if she wanted to do, to see, or to be something the time was and is now.

What makes you feel fabulousover60?

Loving my life right now. Living in the present and moving forward knowing time is short so I better be enjoying it. Debbie also cited the freedom of doing what she wants, when she wants taking full accountability for the results but knowing corrections can be made swiftly because she is at the helm.

Favorite movie, book or other suggestions to share?

Debbie sees her new work and passion bringing all sorts of personal as well as professional opportunities to her life. She hasn’t seen it but looks forward to getting a laugh from “new/old” love with the Diane Keaton/Michael Douglas romance ‘And So It Goes’ in theaters this summer.

Debbie didn’t hesitate for a moment when making a book recommendation: Reid Hoffman’s (co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn) The Start-up of YOU.  She has read it multiple times. It’s now on my list.

Final thoughts.

I met Debbie through an online seminar she gave for a business partner of mine. Blown away by her enormous drive, precise information and on-target help with LinkedIn I hired her shortly after to help with my own LinkedIn presence. Impressive, warm, sharp and determined, I am thrilled to have met Debbie Wemyss and to have added her to my professional and personal contacts. Not many people can start a successful business near 60 — but Debbie shows it can be done — by being true to herself and working like crazy.

Contact info:
Debbie Wemyss (weemz)
Independent LinkedIn Specialist
DW Consulting Solutions
debbie@dwconsultingsolutions.com

 

 

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