An interview with Dr. Susan R. Meyer, a certified career and life coach, whose new book describes how fifty women over fifty made significant changes in their lives, in some cases rebranding themselves in new businesses. Their stories illustrate that women over fifty can shape vibrant and fulfilling new directions for the future. I’m honored that Susan included me in her interviews.
What is the theme of the book?
Fifty Over Fifty – it’s a long title, actually, Fifty Over Fifty: Wise and Wild Women Creating Wonderful Lives (And You Can Too!) – is about possibilities. I interviewed fifty women who made significant changes in their lives after they turned fifty. The book uses pieces of their stories to illustrate seven factors that contributed to their vibrant lives. These are: Persistence, Resilience, Curiosity and Restlessness, Openness to New Things, Ability to Scan the Environment, Recombine and Synthesize Skills, Ability to Keep Fear in Perspective, and Sense of Legacy and Desire to Have Fun.
Why did you write the book?
I’ve always been fascinated with women’s life stories and have been collecting them since I was in my twenties. In workshops I’ve led and courses I’ve taught I’ve used life history as a way to help women get in touch with their potential and to generate new directions for the future. I’d also wondered why some women always seemed able to bounce back – for a long time, I’d thought everyone had this ability – and others seemed to simply give up on life. As a coach, I worked with so many unhappy women, and I knew there were many more who had just given up. I needed to know more about why this happened and what made the resilient women different.
What are your hopes for the book?
Like most authors, of course I’d like it to be a run-away best seller. I’d like women who are already leading wonderful lives to see themselves in these women and have a good sense of what they did to get where they are. I’d like to see women buying the book for friends who are ready to come awake and take their place in the world. I’d like to see them share it with their friends. I hope the book is underlined and dog-eared and battered and that women are telling each other their favorite stories.
I also hope that the book gives a historical perspective on what it took some of these women to succeed. There are stories of ageism, sexism, and racism that serve as the context for careers a few short decades ago. Your own story is a beautiful example of the barriers women had to overcome.
How can the book benefit women approaching or beyond midlife?
The stories, which are wonderfully motivational, are certainly a start. They can open up a whole world of possibilities to the reader. Their lives cover such a range – from a career in sales through moving from data entry to home health care to moving from financial advisor to artist to creator of a personality style inventory that is used world-wide. The stories spark ideas. Each chapter incudes key questions to help the reader think through these ideas in the context of their own life. The chapters also all have exercises to get the reader started down a path of exploration and change. Working through this book with a coach or even a study group will be incredibly powerful.
What’s next for you?
I am facilitating workshops and working with online groups and individual clients, using the book as a foundation for creating a wise, wild and wonderful life. There are so many more wonderful women out there – this fifty is only a start. I plan to interview as many more women as possible. I’m looking forward to videos, podcasts, and Wise and Wild Women, volume 2.
Dr. Susan R Meyer, author of “The Life Design Blueprint Playbook“ and “Mapping Midlife: Sensational at Sixty,” brings thirty years of experience as a coach and consultant to help you create the future you envision. She will motivate and inspire you to find the greatness in your own life. You can find her at Dr. Susan Meyer, Life Architect on Facebook or her 50 Over 50 blog. Her book is available at Booklocker or Amazon.com.