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:
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…
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.