A Second Chance in the Second Chapter of Life

by Felicia M. Lopes
Twitter:  @TheBusyGal
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/feliciamlopes/

There are times that your life changes suddenly.  At those time I feel like my stomach kisses my backbone and my hands start itching and aching like crazy!  I can still remember my life going into total upheaval mode when I was told unceremoniously by my boss 4 years almost to the day that I’d been hired at my job, “I’m sorry, but you’re fired!”  


A few days ago, those same feelings came rushing back at me like an avalanche as I sat in Starbucks drinking my favorite coffee, scrolling through my iPhone, when Jennifer Lopez’s new film, which is coming out this Holiday Season, came up on my news feed.  It looks hysterically funny (that’s code for I can’t wait to see it!), because as a women, now in hermid-50s, that moment in 2006 when I was 42, utterly changed my life!  I still wince from the financial aftermath — the sting of losing my job — remembering it so clearly as if it were yesterday, because it was the start of a Herculean uphill financial battle that lasted many years!

Check out the trailer below and see if it doesn’t resonate with you:

SECOND ACT Trailer (2018)

Getting back to my story.  Apparently the Executive Board had lost their contract, so, through no fault of my own, I was laid off!  As most people do after a job lay off, you start marketing yourself furiously so that you can get another job — any job to pay the bills, especially if you live in Forest Hills, Queens (NYC) where I lived at the time, and where my rent for my 2 Bedroom apartment was over $2800 a month! 

I’m a “glass is half full kind of gal”, so to tell you the truth, I was actually kind of excited and hopeful about the prospect of finding something new.  As I have a Masters from Columbia University which I’d earned only 7 years previous to that time period in my life, I figured that it would take me no more than 3-6 months to find another position.  

Sister… How wrong I was! 

To this date… I have NEVER been able to get another permanent full-time job with benefits!  I physically have documented that since 2006, I have sent out well over 2500 resumes to employers for positions for which I am absolutely qualified.  I was interviewed several times for high level positions in NYC and even called back for additional follow-up interviews at several companies – a few up to 5 times!  But every single time I was informed a few weeks later, that they’d hired someone else for the job via a letter like this…

Dear Felicia,
Thank you so much for sending us your resume and cover letter.  We enjoyed meeting you, but we regret to inform you that we are moving forward with another qualified candidate… yada, yada, yada, yada, ya ….  

You get the drift!

The ultimate humiliation came when I was told “off the record” by a well meaning head hunter, that my problem was that those hiring  want to hire people younger than me, because I reminded them of … wait for it… their “Mom” as I was now 46!  

Can you just image being told that!?!

It took me a long while, but I finally woke up and realized a truth.

The only way to guarantee income into my household, was to be in business for myself!

So after much prayer, reflection, research and re-education (I call it PrR&R), I bootstrapped my own business and I vowed to make three essential changes to my life. 

Change #1:  Develop A Positive Mental Attitude Reading Regimen

I began by putting myself on a reading regimen to “brainwash” or rather “brain flush” the negative that had permeated and manifested itself into my life up until that point.  I started reading classic positive mental attitude books like Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, The Power of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Peal, and Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People.  I devoured books by successful female writers such as, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive, Fearless and Free, by Wendy Sachs, Answers Unleashed by Olympia LePoint, Womenomics, by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay, and Goddess on the Go by Leora Edut.  Ultimately, I set reading goals for myself so that I can finish at least one book every 2 weeks. 

Change #2:  Hang With and Listen to Successful Business Owners 

Additionally, as I build my business I know that the more I listen to successful people who’ve built fantastic businesses of their own, the better I become at my business.  I listen to podcasts like  The Big Shift, The Marie Forleo Podcast, Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, and She Did It Her Way because I need the inspiration to keep on keeping on!  Additionally, I schedule into my calendar, local, regional and national meetings and conferences to go to, where I can meet  successful people and associate with them.  This way I can model their success habits into my own business. 

Change #3:  Focus on the Spiritual 

Lastly I started focusing more on the spiritual needs of my life by becoming more grateful and thankful.  I remember when this epiphany occurred.  I was sitting in my basement apartment in Santa Monica.  I had just moved there, I had no money in the bank, and I had no job.  Real inspirational success story there, right?!  What’s crazy is that I woke up and I heard God, speak to my heart and I realized that though I had nothing in the bank, I had a roof over my head, food in my belly (not one day did I go hungry) and clothes on my back – and stylish clothing at that!  Though I had no job lined up, I had hope and good prospects that some how or some way soon, He would provide for me.  I started saying to friends – tongue in cheek, “God is letting me ‘suffer’ in style while living in Santa Monica” – which is one of the most expensive areas of the country to call home! 

As I continue to build my business – now in my hometown of Dallas, Texas (that’s a whole other story for another time!) – I have come to realize that I am not alone as a middle aged female business owner.  According to New York Times writer Kerry Hannon’s 10/3/2017 Article, which is absolutely worth a read, check it out HERE, “in 2016, there were an estimated 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States — a 45 percent increase since 2007, according to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report from American Express.”  The article goes on to state,…

“Female entrepreneurs, particularly those over age 50, are igniting intergenerational entrepreneurship partnerships and collaborations among women of all ages,” said Elizabeth Isele, founder and chief executive of the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship. “Intergenerational partnerships between women dispel age-related stereotypes and build strong bonds across age, race and ethnicity in our increasingly diverse workplaces,” Ms. Isele said.”

If you fit into this demographic – being a a women who wants to start your own business and you’re in your 2nd or even 3rd chapter of life being in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s – take a minute to ask yourself and answer these 3 questions: 

  • When you were a young girl, lying in your backyard looking up at the stars in the sky, did you imaging living the way you are living now? 
  • Is your Income Circle as large as your Dream Circle? 
  • Can you honestly state that you are happy and financially secure with where you are in life at this stage of life? 

I believe that all Women Over 40, 50, 60 or even 70 need a second chance because 9 times out of 10, most of us did not “get it right” in our 20s and 30s and we aren’t necessarily where we dreamed we’d be at this age.

If all your answers are YES to the questions above…  then “Hooray for you!!!!  You got it right in your 20s and 30s!!”  But I bet, 90% of you have answered, NO.  

So please for your sake and for your sanity, consider starting your own business and push hard for your own dreams!  I know I did it, and though it is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, it is also the BEST thing I’d ever done because…

My business became my second chance in my second chapter of life and it can also be that for you!

Felicia Lopes trains and empowers Women Over 40 who want to start businesses and become entrepreneurs nationwide through her robust online learning management system which features 3 Curriculum, 8 Core Courses, and over 70 individual classes (or modules).  Join her this coming 12/20/2018 for her webinar — Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Mindset where she will walk you through the minefields and  mental hurdles most Adults Over 40 face when launching a new business.  Register here to attend this information packed webinar.

We Need To Use Our Time Wisely

The “New” World of BusyGal!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted!  I am currently relaunching the world of BusyGal by premiering my new company video below.  Look out for some awesome posts and news happening over the next several months!  Hope you enjoy the video!

Warmly,
Felicia

Being There

Work Harder Than Anyone Else!

Choose to be You!

Lorrain Hansberry

Why am I Surprised? A perspective on the OU incident from an African-American member of the Dallas Jesuit-Ursuline Community

I saw this article today, written by my old high school friend, Ginger McKnight-Chavers, in the Huffington Post and got her permission to repost it here on my blog.

As an African American woman, having been raised in Dallas during the 70s and 80’s  and also having attended Ursuline Academy of Dallas, I too was dismayed at the insensitivity that was displayed several days ago on the part of a former grad of Jesuit, the brother school to Ursuline.  She has written a beautiful article here that needs to be memorialized.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.  Enjoy!

Warmly,

Felicia M. Lopes
The Original BusyGal


 

Written by Ginger McKnight-ChaversGinger Chavers photo 1
Attorney, Writer, Native Texan

Huffington Post: 03/17/2015 12:28 pm EDT – Original Article

“Why are you surprised?” is the response I get when I bring up the OU incident in my suburban New York City household or among my Northeastern friends. Followed by questions like “what’s wrong with YOUR state?” They’re talking about Texas, of course. I share a home state and hometown with the two University of Oklahoma students and members of SAE fraternity who were expelled recently for leading an offensive, racist chant session among their brethren that was caught on video.

I’m not entirely surprised. My family’s experience as multigenerational, African-American natives of the Lone Star State has made us accustomed to this sort of thing, unfortunately. But I still experienced some surprise, and a great deal of sadness, because I graduated from the sister school of Dallas’ Jesuit High School, the alma mater of expelled student Parker Rice. I was a Jesuit Rangerette. I took physics at Jesuit from the wonderful Fr. Jack Deeves, because physics wasn’t offered at my alma mater, Ursuline Academy.

Parker Rice’s behavior is antithetical to my experience as a member of the Jesuit/Ursuline community. I entered kindergarten in the late 1960s, when the world was blowing up with racial tension, and graduated in the early 1980s. The OU incident is completely at odds with my experience and the very history of Dallas Jesuit. Ironically, Dallas Jesuit was the first school in Dallas to open its doors to Black students, years before the Dallas public schools. They did so in the 1950s when segregation of public facilities was the law of the land, and the battle for civil rights was raging across the South. At a time in which my parents were not allowed to attend the University of Texas, though their tax dollars supported it.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Dallas civil rights leaders along with leaders in the Jewish and Catholic communities — in particular Stanley Marcus of Neiman Marcus — strategized on how to advance the civil rights agenda. According to Dallas Jesuit’s records, it was suggested that integration might be tested on a small scale at a private high school in Dallas. So in 1955 Jesuit became the first white Dallas school its doors to two Negro students, Arthur Allen and Charles Edmond.

By the 1970s black and Hispanic students were common at Jesuit and Ursuline. Though few in number, we were everywhere — in student government, in clubs and sports, and on the honor roll. Black Ursuline girls high-kicked on Jesuit’s drill team and rooted for the Jesuit Rangers on the cheerleading squad. The valedictorian of the class ahead of mine at Ursuline was a vibrant Black student who went on to graduate from Princeton and receive a phd from Stanford. And in the 70s our Jesuit brethren — in a year in which there were no black students in their senior class — elected an African-American head cheerleader and homecoming queen from Ursuline. And she was not a “token” pick, to use a loaded term.

The only time I overheard the “n” word being used at school was in the cafeteria by a rather brusque classmate from Spain. A guy told her she looked like a n*#! because she was so tan. The white students she was talking to chastised her for using a word she didn’t need to say to tell her story. Another time I recall a closeted Mormon classmate argue that interracial relationships were “wrong.” But that is the extent of my negative memories of the community, other than normal teenage angst. Luckily “senior slave day” was recognized as a pretty bad idea by the time I made it to high school.

This is not to say that Dallas or the Jesuit/Ursuline communities and families were perfect or particularly progressive. But we debated politics and social issues respectfully. Then we would hang out and talk about television, movies, music, boys — normal teen stuff. To be honest, despite our collegiality, we often segregated ourselves in terms of parties and dating — which would not be a unique experience to Dallas Jesuit/Ursuline. But my memories, from the late 60s to the early 80s, are still of a warm, welcoming community, from the administration to the faculty to the students and their families. My Jesuit/Ursuline family remains close to this day.

So as I watched Parker Rice jump up and down, pumping his fist and spitting invectives; chanting that people like me should be strung up before being included in the likes of his social order, I couldn’t help but shake my head and wonder “what happened?” to this “Jebbie.” Why in 2015 is our community regressing when we seemed to be on the right track when I left in the early 80s?

I belong to a sorority — the oldest African-American sorority (which by the way does not discriminate in membership). So I have experienced firsthand the positive aspects of Greek life. But when 85 percent of corporate executives and many political leaders come out of the Greek tradition (including former Goldman Sachs CEO/Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson), it begs the question of to what extent the OU behavior seeps into our corporate cultures and conference rooms, not to mention the U.S. Congress. We all have heard folks make “boys will be boys, especially when they are liquored up” excuses for abhorrent behavior. Some of these “boys” never grow up — anyone who has attended a trade conference in Vegas knows what I’m talking about. And the blind eye extends to hiring and promotion — I listened to a former Fortune 100 CEO brag at a cocktail party about granting job offers to every member of an all white male group from his alma mater that had received negative press for less than honorable behavior. They were good kids, of course, who were just enjoying themselves and shouldn’t be penalized for youthful indiscretions. Talk about affirmative action! Where does that leave the rest of us?

Luckily, the OU President’s response was swift and unequivocal. SAE’s national president and Dallas Jesuit have strongly condemned the behavior as well. Both boys’ parents (and the boys themselves) have issued seemingly sincere apologies that don’t make excuses for the behavior. But, as Charles Blow analyzed in the New York Times, there are deep layers that must be excavated, distances far beyond open doors that must be traveled for any earnest progress to be achieved. Hopefully the apologies are the beginning, and not the end of efforts to address the ugly underbelly of our elites. Hopefully the once-inclusive tradition of the Jesuit/Ursuline community was not a superficial trend that was left behind in the 80s, along with our big hair and turned-up collars.

Ginger McKnight-Chavers is a Harvard-trained attorney and writer, who lives in the New York City area with her husband and daughter. She recently completed her first novel, In the Heart of Texas. A native Texan, Ginger facilitates a conversation between Texans and the rest of the word on her blog, The TexPatch.  You can connect with her on Twitter: @gingermckchav

SHATTER THE SILENCE | The Honor Diaries

Muslim women are being deprived of their humanity!

Honor Diaries is the first film to break the silence on ‘honor violence’ against women and girls. Honor Diaries is more than a movie, it is a movement to save women and girls from gender inequality, forced marriages and human rights abuses.

Honoring Black History Month | A Black M

Honoring Black History Month | A Black Mississippi Judge’s Breathtaking Speech To 3 White Murderers : NPR http://ow.ly/J67QB

Celebrating Black History Month with My SHEroes! (Pt 2)

“Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul!”
Coretta Scott King

It is so important to never forget our past as we look to the future of who we are.  This is one of the many reasons that I felt it necessary to pay homage to some of the extraordinary women that helped shape my world view as an African-American woman.

Yesterday we celebrated Rosa Parks, Clara Luper, Fannie Lou Hamer, Diane Nash, and Elizabeth Eckford.  If you missed yesterday’s post, I hope you’ll go back and read it!

The Women That Lead the Movement3PART II Continue reading “Celebrating Black History Month with My SHEroes! (Pt 2)”

Celebrating Black History Month with My SHEroes (Pt. 1)

The Women That Lead the Movement2PART I

As a Black woman, having been raised in a Southern city – Dallas, Texas in the 1970s right after the turmoil of the 1960s, I would be remiss if I didn’t pause to celebrate my Blackness during this Black History Month 2014.   Join me today and tomorrow as I celebrate some extraordinary women who made their mark in our lives, during the most dichotomous and tumultuous time of our country’s history… THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA.  They embody a key pillar of being a BusyGal –
They made things happen, they didn’t wonder, what happened! Continue reading “Celebrating Black History Month with My SHEroes (Pt. 1)”