Live a life you want!
Like so many of my peers, I was learning for the first time, that I, unlike my maternal ancestors, could make my place in the world of men as well as at home. My mother, a survivor of the Great Depression, strove to realize her 1950’s “truth” of becoming the idealized “good housewife” as reflected on the pages of Good Housekeeping, Vogue, and Women’s Day of her time. Bored and made wrong if she left home for the workplace, she had no choice at all. If she left the kitchen table she was a bad wife and a terrible mom. Believing this, left her with a life of deep depression and debilitating boredom.
But I had a choice. There were options like never before. Droves of us went back to school, started businesses, and got jobs. Many of us stayed home full-time waiting for our turn. It was an exciting time. I never once questioned my being the “real deal.”
My tenure as leader of this transformative community grew me up really fast. I realized very quickly that we were the initiators of a shifting paradigm that would structurally change life in the future.
What has stayed with me to this day is the memory of far too many depressed and stifled women who were not trained for the future. Many of them suddenly widowed or divorced after long marriages. Others caretaking and stuck in neutral. Most of the women didn’t have a clue what they would do next. We were “women in waiting” for the rest of our life to show up.
The guys were either curious or wanting to be sure their wives weren’t being mesmerized into a “cult”, or something more sinister. 🙂 What transpired was a great awakening for all of us. We broke the communication barriers between men and women. We helped each other find the best of our many selves. We were all seekers and change makers. It was here that many of us became leaders of the future…some became visionaries of merit.
I learned my own truths and how to act on them. I was in 7th heaven. I was leading this new paradigm community, facilitating groups, counseling, and coaching, writing and speaking. I learned so much about being a woman and being a leader, about success, joy, pride and profits. I honed my expertise in stewarding adults to tell their truth as fast as they can. I studied with the greats of that time. I was blessed to ignite greatness in many. It was a transformative time for everyone.
I became an entrepreneur almost by default. Wanting to be accessible to my kids, I chose not to be a full-time graduate student or to work for someone else. I thought the obvious solution was to create my own home-based business model. So I did. It was all about empowerment: women serving women. I wanted to prove to myself that I could be successful in a man’s world, and still hold onto–remain rooted in my deep feminine being to fully live my own Signature Greatness as it is embedded in my unique DNA. My abiding vision and mission are for each of us to then teach others how to do it too. Time for each of us to lift up those coming up alongside us. It’s a win-win-win in the making.
I started my own successful jewelry direct sales business during these early years. My closest competition and templates were Mary Kay and Avon. Later I became the darling of local boutiques and department stores. I had a two fold mission: I wanted to create something that would be a model of going for life to the fullest by unleashing my own potential, while adding value to the world. And, I wanted to create a platform for women to bring their gifts and contributions to the larger outer world. My dream was for women to lead the way to a new greatness. My more immediate goal was to bring women back into the workforce so they could have financial and self-independence. I knew how important it is to tell the truth about ourselves, and our world, as fast as we can. Our very lives depended on it.
Not once did I doubt my truth. Sham wasn’t even in my vernacular. Everyone around me was bursting with potential. We were the “real deal”!
Recently I was invited to attend a women’s gathering to learn about a “natural” brand of spa products and to meet women in my town. It didn’t take long before I felt like I was experiencing a flash back to the 70’s of my youth. Moms at various points along the Mommy-track came to check out a potential part-time career. Their yearning to develop themselves further was palpable. Each of them talked about what’s next and wanting to add to the family coffers. No one there was single. Unlike my contemporaries, these women have had a taste of earlier careers and success in the outer world, now they want to begin their re-entry. All of them are searching for a clue to their next on-ramp.
Only a week later I’m thoroughly enjoying a totally different grouping of women. The only agenda was coming together to celebrate friendship and community. We were mostly over 40 yrs old, with many of us over 50. I didn’t meet anyone who wasn’t in some phase of motherhood. The evening’s conversations wove around kids getting ready for college, midlife nests emptying, midcareer moves, later life realities, and local happenings. Not quite a dejavu of my youth, but another version of the same theme song I heard so long ago.
Are you still bursting with potential? Be the real deal!
Karen Sands, leading GeroFuturist, is the author of 11 books including “The Ageless Way” and recently released, “The Greatness Challenge.”