Shari Leid is a strong believer that the ultimate goal in life is to find happiness -- and the relationships we have with our partners, family members, co-workers, and friends are critical to achieving happiness. It is her passion is working with women who lives an imperfectly perfect life.
Shari is an Attorney, Professionally Certified Midlife Mindset Coach, & Author of the new book Make Your Mess Your Message: More Life Lessons from And For My Girlfriends, and her first book, The 50/50 Friendship Flow: Life Lessons from And for My Girlfriends.
Buy a Friendship Series Two-Book Bundle!
(Use my Amazon Affiliate links to buy the books and help support Permission to Heal!)
As a Life Coach, she listens to her clients, dialogues, and asks the questions that allow each client to find her own answers that lay within her. Shari takes her from where she is, helps her define her goals, and guides her to a place where she wants to be, living her best IMPERFECTLY PERFECT LIFE!
Wanna do Shari's CHALLENGE?
Over the course of a year, commit to meet with at least three people, one on one:
1. A life-long friend
2. A relative
3. A new acquaintance or someone you’ve known for a while but have never shared a meal with And ask the question, “What is the mess that became your message?”
Document your dates on social media with the hashtag #messtomessagechallenge
The Permission to Heal podcast is a passion of mine. I love every aspect of creating and sharing it with the world.
I need your help to bring more inspirational episodes to the world.
This is where your PATREON subscription comes in.
Thanks to all of you who support this show on Patreon.
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/PermissiontoHeal)
Hello, and welcome to permission to heal. I am Marci Brockman, and I am thrilled that you were here today. I am talking with an amazing woman named Shari Leid. Shari Leid. is an attorney and a life coach and a core dynamic specialist. She is a certified midlife mindset coach, and she's the author of the friendship book series.
[00:00:25] Her first book, the 50, 50 friendship flow and how to make your mess, your message. She is an ACC-certified member of the international coaching Federation, a member of the Washington state bar association, a member of the WW I N, or Washington women in need and a president circle member of the Fred Hutch cancer research center.
[00:00:46] She has her own podcast called A Perfectly Imperfect Life, which. Lovely and very inspirational and her, her new book, make your mess, your message more life lessons from, and for my girlfriends. She wrote during, lockdown during the pandemic and she interviewed 51 women in her life and asked them a question.
[00:01:14] Okay. Is the mess in your life. That became your message. And she and her friends dug deep in lots of zoom calls. Cause that's how the interviews were conducted. Even the photographs that came into the book were done via zoom and the book touches on such human, beautiful moments and lessons and.
[00:01:40] Difficulties and challenges that each one of the 52 women, including her, experience and what they learned from them. And it wasn't always clear to the women or to showery what. They were going to learn or glean out of each of these bad experiences or challenging experiences, but through the conversation and through lots of personal self-reflection and being quiet with themselves they each.
[00:02:09] Discovered more about themselves and each other than they ever actually knew. She said that it was really beautiful and it helped solidify and deepen and make more authentic and profound her relationships with her 51. Close friends or I should say that because of the book, she became closer with all of the friends.
[00:02:32] So she's got a challenge that she wants all of us to do. I'm strongly suggesting you go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble or wherever you buy books online and you get yourself a copy of this, especially if you are a woman in midlife because it's going to speak to you in volume. But her challenge is over the course of the next year to commit to meeting with at least three people.
[00:02:53] One-on-one a lifelong friend or relative, and a new acquaintance or someone you've known a while, but have never shared a meal with. And for each of these meetings, these little dates with these women you're to ask them the question, what is the mess that became your message. And then document your dates on social media, explain, you know, what you did, where you went, what you ate, what the answer to the question was, and what was the message that came out of the mess and then hashtags her at the mess to message challenge.
[00:03:24] I said, it'll all be in the show notes. So when you're done listening to the podcast and you've given us a five-star review, And given us like Sharon, a follow and so on and tag other people who, you know, that could benefit from this podcast and this episode that would be a really great thing.
[00:03:41] Then you can scroll down to the show notes and find the link to buy Sherry's books and find the link to document your social media, challenge, your message, your message challenge, and while you're at it, doing all these amazing, wonderful things, I would like you to strongly consider. Becoming a patient on the subscriber for permission to heal.
[00:04:03] I, A one-woman show. I literally do every single aspect of this podcast by myself, from finding guests to schedule to all the research, to read all of their books, to putting together the episodes, conducting the interviews, and then every single phase of graphic arts and audio and video editing and marketing and so on.
[00:04:24] And I love it. And I do it with an open heart and a profound. Sense of a mission to bring this concept of self-fulfillment and self-compassion to everyone who is interested in hearing. But I could use a little help and I would like to be able to increase my advertising budget, which is right now hovering a little bit above zero, and I can only do that really with.
[00:04:56] Patreon supporters. So if you go to patrion.com/permission to heal I would strongly appreciate any assistance that you can offer. And there are, you know, how Patreon works with tier structures and you get stuff from me and art and free podcast information and newsletters and zoom calls and whole, a whole bunch of stuff.
[00:05:19] Lots of goodies. So. Yes, like subscribe, review, Patriot, subscribe, and go forth into your life and do the things that you've always dreamt of doing the time is now. You only need your own permission to begin. Thanks for being here.
[00:00:00] Welcome to the podcast. Welcome to permission to heal Shari Leid. So nice to thank you so much. It's great to meet you. Wonderful. I, I, yeah. As soon as your publicist sent me all of your stuff, I was like sight unseen. Yes. I have to see her. She must be a guest on this podcast.
[00:00:16] I love the imperfectly perfect life. I love the concept of that. I think we all live these very imperfect lives that we struggle not to judge from the inside. You know, like you see everyone else's curated everything from the outside, and then we think we're such a mess, but we're really. Not any more than anyone.
[00:00:37] Else's, that's what it is. No messier than the other person sitting next to us. Exactly. I mean, the mess may be slightly different. We all have our own peculiarities and idiosyncrasies and our own experiences, but ultimately it comes down to the same human emotions we all share, especially women in midlife.
[00:00:58] Yes exactly. You know, things went off the hook for me in my mid-forties when I started with the peri-menopause stuff. And, you know, I was divorced in it, single mom and working three jobs. And. My parents are aging and you know, this is like all the stuff. So I love, I love the whole mess is your message thing.
[00:01:19] So awesome. Okay. So before we get into all of that, I usually do the six quick questions. They're just like instant your response. No, no planning is necessary. There are no wrong answers to any of them. Okay. So what six words would you use to describe yourself? Six words. Let's go with friends, students, teacher planners, brighter and kind nice.
[00:01:50] I love that five of the six were nouns and there was only one adjective. Oh, I wasn't even paying attention like that. So many people feel like they get stuck in the, description because, or you describe yourself, they get stuck in the adjective thing, but it really could be anything. I love that.
[00:02:08] What's your favorite way to spend a day? Well, actually, to tell you the truth, it really is my work that I'm doing now, and that's when I'm not visiting my kids, I just recently became an empty nester. So I'm enjoying when I get my weekends to visit my kids are away at college, but I know I'm in the right spot.
[00:02:27] As a life coach and a writer, because when I wake up every day, I'm excited. When I am able to have a full Workday that's already in my office. What's that, what's that quote just flew right out of my head about what the heck is that quote? Some I don't know, it's gone, it's gone something about you never going to feel like you're working.
[00:02:50] If you love what you do. Whatever. Yeah. I, I don't know the exact quote that you're thinking of, but I know the sentiment and it is absolutely true. I've been in a career in fields where I didn't love what I hit was doing and I would definitely not say that was my favorite. That's been my day was at work.
[00:03:09] Like I'm able to say now. Absolutely. I know what you mean. I did seven things before I became a teacher and I didn't think that that would last that long, but it's 27 years and I love it still, so, wow. That's pretty great., okay. What's your favorite childhood? My favorite childhood memory, you know, I don't have one specific childhood memory that stands out, but I know when I was, the happiest was when I was with my dad and I would make him laugh.
[00:03:36] He had a great sense of humor and one of my favorite memories is, is whenever he thought I was witty and I made him laugh. That's all. That's awesome. Yeah. You talk in your book about how close you were with your dad. Yeah, yeah, definitely. And then when I talk about that, I can just picture his face lighting up, you know, and just feeling so good about myself when I'd see that.
[00:04:00] That's wonderful. Okay. Number four, what is your favorite meal? A meal that I don't eat often is spaghetti and meatballs. Like if I had a last meal to choose that, that's what I would choose homie or from a specific restaurant or a specific relative. Honestly, my bar is so low when it comes to spaghetti and meatballs, it doesn't matter who made it or if it was homemade or from the can, I'd probably would just like to eat that up so quickly.
[00:04:29] Is it the, what was it? What is it about it that you avoid the pasta? The calories, the, well, I stopped eating bread meat. Not entirely. Like if I went to somebody's house and they served red meat, I 'd eat it. But as a general rule, I'm avoiding red meat. Something I just started doing in the last year or two.
[00:04:48] And just because once I start eating pasta, I can't stop. So I tried to stay away from that a little bit, but that would be my choice for my birthday meal. My last. The spaghetti and meatballs. Okay. Well, let's hope you don't face the last meal. Do you know the thing? Yes. Anytime soon, right? Anytime soon.
[00:05:07] Absolutely. Number five. What one piece of advice would you like to give your younger self? I would tell my younger self. When you feel you're being judged by somebody that is about that person and not about you, because of so much of my younger self. And when I say younger stuff, I'm talking 40 and under, I'm not talking, talking posts, you know, just as a little kid.
[00:05:31] Sure. Much of my early adult life teenage years. Spent, you know, worrying about other people's judgments and really taking those in personally as if they were my truth. Yeah. So many of us do that. We're sort of a culturated, we're grown up, raised up with that as our, as our emo, as our template, you know, we look outside of ourselves for approval and our.
[00:05:58] Image of ourselves. Our self-esteem our sense of who we are in the world is mostly contingent upon other people's happiness with us. And I think women and girls share the burden of that most of the time, you know? I mean, I'm sure there are some men, I'm certainly not going to say that no men feel that way, but I think it affects women much more than men because of that.
[00:06:18] So the social, yeah. And the social media generation, I, my daughter is 21 and a half right now. You know, she's kind of the first generation really going through this, the social media generation in such a heavy sense as a young adult. And I can't imagine that myself. So I'm, I'm glad that piece wasn't there for me.
[00:06:39] When I was her age, we have kids the same age. My son is 23 and my daughter's 20 and my son was not so affected by social media. As much as my daughter, he sort of uses it now. And then to post pictures. Random things. But my daughter's on it a lot. And I think that she went through a very rough time when she was in high school because of what was going on with social media, you know, what people were saying and who was being included in group things and who wasn't and just makes the teenagehood so much more difficult to deal with.
[00:07:16] Yes, absolutely. I have a son too. He's 19. And, and say an experience he's on it. Rarely. I think he's just on it because he needs to be as far as connections with other people, but he, he's not, it's not used in the same way as my daughter and her friends use it. That's an interesting sociological study right there, gender usage of social media, but that's another, that's another thing.
[00:07:43] All right. Last question. What is one thing you would most like to change about the world? I really would like to get the world to sit down and listen. I think that's the biggest problem that I see right now, both, you know, on a small level that happens in families all the way to globally. Sure.
[00:08:02] Forgotten how to listen. We have, and, and to really hear what the other person is saying, you know, not just let the words wash over us, waiting for the pause and the sentence for us to interject what we're already planning on saying, but to actually listen and not plan your response and an ahead of time, but to listen and really absorb and try to understand and accept and Allow the difference, the diversity of ideas in to change us.
[00:08:38] Exactly. And to ask questions, we've forgotten how to ask questions. When we disagree with someone we've forgotten to ask their why, and to try to figure it out, why they believe what they believe, or if we even understand them correctly we feel we've forgotten how to ask questions to help us in that listening.
[00:08:58] I see, I see that you know, over the course of teaching for 27 years, I feel like the, the, I don't know how to describe it, but the ability for students to have a group discussion about something has decreased. Like my first-period class this morning, I was trying to. Get the kids to have a conversation about the importance and value of names in self-identity and the costumes that each of them.
[00:09:31] You know, nationality, traditions, whatever created around names who are reading a novel by shambolic URI called the namesake and, and this, the protagonists named figures very largely in his own sense of himself and in the plot of the story. So I thought let's have a discussion and I thought we would have an active discussion.
[00:09:51] Like, how did you get your name? Oh, my name came from the Bible or I'm named after my great grandmother or, you know, whatever the story and nobody were saying. And I had like one kid willing to talk and I just, I don't. And that's the norm, not the, not the, and I remember just a few years ago, conversation being much more easily had.
[00:10:16] And I don't know if it's all-time going by and it's just this generation or if the pandemic. Has made people feel much more isolated and thereby more anxious about being together and maybe less comfortable with sharing with one another. I know. I don't know. I don't have the answer. Yeah. Wow. That's interesting.
[00:10:42] I don't have an answer. I would like you if you're comfortable to tell us a little bit about that. Your childhood. I know from reading the little pieces of your book that I have, I did a few of the chapters in the beginning, and then I felt sort of guilty reading too much of it, because you were saying specifically, you wanted the readers to read one chapter a week so that we could absorb and talk to our friends and really think about the lessons that we could glean out of each person's mess is their message story.
[00:11:11] But yours, you talk quite particularly about, about your own. Message your own mess. That became your message. I was wondering if you would share. Sure. I, in the book, I share that when I think about, you know, make your mess your message, then my life started out as being messy. In a sense, I was orphaned in Seoul, South Korea, and found in if my records are correct, I was found.
[00:11:39] Cardboard box in a parking lot. And I was left with no identifying information. You were talking about the importance of names, why I was left without a name, a birth date or a birthplace. So, From there. From there, I ended up in an orphanage, a couple of orphanages before being adopted, and by American parents here in the US do you have that at all or you weren't in?
[00:12:03] No, no. I was an infant. I, and so I guess my life did start out messy in a sense, at least nontraditional. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And, but, you know, it's, it's from that mess that I ended up with with what I would consider a charm to life, why. Just because it's rich with friends, family, I've had a good education.
[00:12:31] I've never, I, you know, I've never had struggles that were outside of the norm that I would have had had I not been adopted and brought over to the United States. So even if I hadn't been abandoned, I imagine there are a lot of, a lot of opportunities. I was able to have that if my life hadn't started out so messy, I may not have.
[00:12:54] Well, that makes sense. So your adoptive parents named you obviously, but, or at least it's so it seems to me, how did they pick a birthday or word? Was the orphanage able to track that down? The orphanage did because I was a baby. They were, they thought I might've been around two months old or so when I was abandoned, they gave an estimated birth date.
[00:13:16] Now they put my birthday close to Christmas and I always think that if they were going to give me a birthday, why put it next to Christmas? But they gave me an estimated birthday and it's in December and that's when I celebrate. Okay. I can't, I can't sort of imagine not knowing is that hard as a child, just sort of wrap your head around the fact that maybe you didn't have the birth date wasn't correct.
[00:13:43] Or that you had come upon your parents in a non-traditional way. Was that difficult? I for me, I would love to know my birthday, especially I have so many friends that, that love astrology or I can never, ever, yeah, I could never fully participate. And so but there's a big identity piece with your birthdate.
[00:14:06] And so there is I do miss that, I think that identity piece, but Yeah there, you know, there, there, there definitely is a point. And my daughter too, we adopted my daughter and her circumstances are very similar. She's adopted from China. And I could see as she's, you know, as I said, she's 21 and she's starting to ask these questions and she was before, but I can see the identity piece.
[00:14:32] It's it's something that doesn't go away. No, but if anybody could understand her questions and the psychological reasons behind them, it's you, you know, I mean, she hadn't been walking. It is nice. And I've learned a lot about myself from being a parent of an adoptee. My son, his biological, we actually, it took us two years to adopt my husband and I, and we came home from China and found I was pregnant two weeks after we got home.
[00:14:57] So we had two babies and when year, so I've had the experience of being a mom to an adopted daughter and a biological son who are very close in age and. Almost add eight wins. Yes, it actually was because they've gone through because she was developmentally delayed because of probably her circumstances there they've gone through stages at the same time.
[00:15:21] So it was white caffeine twins, but I was able to understand a lot more about my adoption through parenting her. That's cool. When I, when I was a teenager, I used to babysit for this family that had adopted a little baby girl. And within weeks of bringing their baby girl home, found out that the wife was the pregnant, same exact story.
[00:15:47] They had been trying to get pregnant for years and that wasn't working. So they said, forget it. We're not doing fertility anymore. Forget it. We're just going to adopt. So they went through the whole couple years-long adoption process. And I guess she just, they both relaxed enough and stopped caring and trying so hard.
[00:16:05] And then the magic happened and she was pregnant. So now, so then they had two kids that were really very close in age. This is interesting. I'm sure it happens much more than we think it does. Yeah. I always get a story from somebody usually that they knew somebody had had a similar circumstance. Exactly.
[00:16:24] Exactly. So.
[00:16:29] Okay, so let's, let's talk about your book. So you have two books now in the friendship series, the first was the 50 50 friendship flow and you just recently published, make your mess, your message more life lessons from, and for my girlfriends discover the powerful and meaningful life-changing conversations.
[00:16:48] I love the concept of this. Will you tell us a little bit. Sure. Well, the first book happened a bit by accident or organically grew into a book. It was my own personal project from my 49th to 50th birthday. I decided to sit down with 50 women in my life one-on-one to let them know what I've learned from each of them.
[00:17:10] Wow. And people, and because, and this was also, this was also. On the heels of I had breast cancer. So this was coming on the heels of breast cancer recovery. And so it was really important for me to take this time, to, to share with people what they meant to me. And because I'm an over-sharer I shared on social media, it organically grew into the, a book and then the pandemic happened.
[00:17:39] And so I was watching a masterclass where Robin Roberts said her mom tired to make her misses her message. So I thought, Hey, I have more people to talk to. And once you start this process, it's hard to really stop. It's actually deepened my friendships and my relationships. So while we were in lockdown here in Washington state, a stay-at-home orders, I set up a number of these zoom dates, about 50 of them with women.
[00:18:04] Not just in my location, but I was able to do this with women across the U S and a few international locations to ask them that question. What is the mess? That became your message. Wow. I think that, that, that's one of the many not to ever make light of the situation with the pandemic and all the losses.
[00:18:25] And I would never, in a thousand years make light of it, our own family. We've lost some people, so I'm not going there, but. One of, one of the few good things that came out of this was discovering zoom and Skype. And in a way that we could video chat with people five miles away or 5,000 miles away and stay connected.
[00:18:51] So that even if we weren't allowed out of our homes, because we were on stay at home orders or quarantining or whatever, we were able to feel less. And I, I think that, that it was a big boon to our mental health to be able, absolutely it going through this process, especially during the pandemic was like getting free counseling for me, it was like therapy for me talking to these women and.
[00:19:17] Oh, some of the women were basically lifelong friends and I learned things that they went through that I had no idea that they had gone through prior to talking to them because we don't ask those questions or we even with our close friends or talk to them about, you know, what's been messy in their life.
[00:19:33] We don't, we don't. I mean, even those of us who feel like they're having in-depth conversations, you know, authentic self to authentic self, we still don't talk about. That unless you hit upon, oh, I had cancer too, or my mom had dementia also or, you know, a similar like, like, like thing a similarity thing.
[00:19:55] Yeah, so I often, I often wonder why our friendships have stagnated that. You know, like you get together with a bunch of couples. And I remember, especially with my, my first husband, we'd leave, we'd have a group of like eight or 12 of us that would hang out and all the wives would sit in one room and all talk and all the husbands would sit in another room and talk and then we would leave.
[00:20:26] And on the Y drive home, he would ask me, so what's going on with our friends? Because the men talked about sports and movies and music and nothing. Occasionally they'd rag on their wives, or like roll their eyes about each other's child-rearing or fatherhood or coaching baseball or something. But the wives were the ones who talked about how really, what was going on.
[00:20:46] But even in that conversation, we weren't quite getting to the level that your book goes to directly with that question. What is the mass of the message of your map? And I also, and I found out that, well, a lot of us know what our messes are. We haven't taken the time to reflect back and. Really think about what the message is that we've gotten from that mess.
[00:21:11] Right. And so asking this question, because all of the women knew that this was the question I was asking, and this is why we were sitting down over zoomed to discuss, or this is what we were going to discuss. So they thought about it for a while. And many said, you know, this is the first time that I really took a step back to reflect on what had happened to me.
[00:21:30] And what I learned from that or what the benefit was or what. That took me which was also healing for them too. So it's, it's such a simple question, but there was so much that we both got from stay down and having these conversations. And I just listened to one of, I think, I don't know what number or how recent the podcast is, but on your episode of your podcast, you were interviewing a woman who is.
[00:21:59] Obstacle course, professional obstacle course runner sweat. So I had never, I mean, I'd seen the Spartan warrior thing and I'd seen the iron man championships or whatever they're all called, but it didn't Dawn on me that those people were paid or that you could create a living out of that. And when I saw the title of your podcast episode, I was like, oh God, that's the one I'm going to have to start with.
[00:22:22] I need to know. And. I was like, okay, so where is she going with this podcast, a podcast, obstacle course running. How is this going to turn into a life lesson? You know? And then it just did how to be resilient and how to manage the next obstacle in your life and so on. And I thought that was like a lightning bolt moment, you know?
[00:22:48] Easy to see when you're looking for it like that. Yeah. Yeah. You know, she's a, yeah, she is a professional obstacle course racer, but she grew up in a household. Her mom was a bit of a hoarder and, and I think was it telling it's nine kids in the family. And so she literally. Grew up navigating physical obstacles plus a few other obstacles in the family.
[00:23:15] And it was interesting because she said on the race track it, you don't, you know, the obstacles are going to be there, but you don't think about them. And plan ahead, you just know that when they're there, you don't get you access to them. Right. You can conquer it though, but you know, you can conquer it and you know that they're there not to stop you, but just to diverge you or change, you'd have to change.
[00:23:37] And that was so similar to what we do in life. You know, we, we get stuck if we think about the obstacles that aren't going to be there, because we're all going to have obstacles. And we just, we don't know what they're going to be a lot of times or how they're going to present. So we can't spend time thinking of what's not there, but just knowing that when we get there, we'll be able to navigate whatever obstacle.
[00:23:59] Ruins our way and looking at the obstacle, not as something that's stopping us, but something that's changing our direction. And I think a lot of that wisdom comes with experience and with age and maturity and, you know, I think that we learn over time while all right. I was able to weather that shit storm.
[00:24:20] I'm going to be fine with that. You know, things where I, I did that hard thing. And even though this hard thing, it may be different than that one. I know I have the resilience and the fortitude and the, the, the, the skills and so on to withstand this one too. And and it goes along with what she was saying, which I thought was very interesting.
[00:24:40] That the, the older, more seasoned and athletes were better at navigating the unforeseen hazards and challenges than the younger ones. Even if the younger ones were more fit, so to speak and had more energy because of their youth, they still weren't as good as the, the, you know, maybe 10 years old.
[00:25:02] Athletes who had been around the block a few times. Yes. And I personally love that. Absolutely. And you, you mentioned about doing things, you know, that that challenge you. And there was a woman in the book who, whose husband came out as gay after 25 years of marriage that she didn't expect. So her mess was having to re invent basically her identity, her.
[00:25:28] And figure out where that was going because she had, you know, she had her kind of her future in her mind, what it was going to look like when all of a sudden everything, everything changed. And one of the things, and one of the things she had to do is she got a book. I think it was, it was entitled.
[00:25:45] To something eat every day that scares you or frightens you. And she followed that. And so every time, like you said, every time she did something little and it could be just talking to a stranger because she, that's not her comfort level, but every time she did something little, it reminded her that she could conquer something.
[00:26:03] A little bigger. I mean, every past obstacle reminded her that, Hey, she could conquer something. She stronger. So continuing to, you know, to look back at those things that we've conquered is so helpful in, in gaining through what the next obstacle is. Absolutely. You used to be an attorney or I guess technically still are an attorney and you never stop being an attorney, but you're not practicing anymore.
[00:26:26] Instead. Now a professional certified midlife mindset coach. Why did you choose midlife as the focus of your. I think that's where well, one life, well, yeah, but it's kind of where, you know, when I first started coaching, I opened it up to women, just women in general, and the clients that were coming to me were women in their mid-life.
[00:26:56] And it was a recognition though that we are at this place in our life. That is messy. A lot of us, and a lot of us, you know, from the outside looks like, okay, we're set. You know, our kids are getting older. We're established in our careers. Many times in our relationships or whatever it is on the outside, we might look okay, but this is the time of.
[00:27:17] Where we are redefining ourselves. Our kids may be leaving home or choosing or gain into other relationships, leaving the family in some way. We're no longer the moms that we were, you know, for the past 15 to 20 years relationships to a lot of times at this age, we start to question whether or not, you know, we're here for the longterm, or if we've been here, Because we were raising children together, also career wise, this is the time of life where we start to think, Hey, I want to do something purposeful.
[00:27:48] What can I do? And it's kind of like, well, I'm in my forties or early fifties even, and this is the time I need to either jumps ship or dive in you know, and figure it out. So this, this tricky place in life and a place where our parents to our. Getting older or many of us are losing parents at this age.
[00:28:08] This is such a tricky place in life that I find it's, it's a prime time to, to work with women and, you know, help them ask the, ask the questions that will help them find what they have inside and what they really want to do with their lives. And to, to kind of figure that out. It's a time for change midwife.
[00:28:29] Absolutely. Absolutely changing physically and hormonally and emotionally and every possible way. I, I'm totally in there with. And many of us at this point, too, I'm finding, we had a lot of messages and beliefs that have served us for so long. But now at this age, a lot of times we're working for us.
[00:28:50] Yeah. And we don't even realize that we have those, those beliefs and messages still in our heads, at this age. And so coaching through that. One it's so quick for a lot of people, once they find out, you know what, they're still where they're still stuck, the growth is so quick and it's so exciting.
[00:29:10] I just love coaching at this age. That's wonderful. Yeah. I think that, that the experience and, and what we have have learned about ourselves, even if we hadn't continued digging deep to get to the, so the root of something. We, we bring all of that to the table. So it's not like you're talking to a 22 year old naive person who hasn't been around the block a few times, you know?
[00:29:35] I know that a lot of my high school friends, we're all doing things that we, I think secretly wanted to do for years and years and years. And then it took us turning 50 to wake up. You know, I have a friend of mine who just decided that she's always wanted to sing in a bar, in a rock band. And so she's in medicine and just decided like a year and a half ago, or two years ago, she was going to put a band together.
[00:30:00] So she did, and now they, you know, it's a cover band and they play the local bar scene and she's having a phenomenal time. I have another friend in our group decided that she always wanted to be a standup. And she's freaking hysterical. Wonderful. Last can't be sad with Gail around, you know, it's not possible.
[00:30:23] And so she's been doing that for, I guess, about three years now. Cause it was for a good solid year before the pandemic thing started. And, and I decided that the book that I had wanted to write for a very long time needed to be written. So I did that during lockdown and, and then this podcast sort of was an outgrowth of an outgrowth of all of that.
[00:30:44] You know, this, this idea that we needed to stop giving away our permission. You know, we don't need anybody. Else's goddamn permission to do anything on. Just the sheer fact that we want to do it is good enough. Just go do it, give herself permission. And. Well, congratulations on your book and you're right.
[00:31:05] You know, we were born with these desires and, you know, throughout our early adult life, a lot of times we've, we've ignored what we were born with. You know, the desire to sing the desire to make people laugh, the desire to right. We, we push those down. Maybe it's because we think that they won't make enough money.
[00:31:21] That they're not the right career. They don't look right. We have other people's expectations. Right. But this time it will get, like, if I do this. Right. Exactly. And this time in midlife, it's, it's the time to, you know, get in touch with what was it that I desired when I grew up when I was a child, because those desires don't leave us.
[00:31:39] We didn't ask to be singers. We didn't ask to be comedians. You know, we were born with this and now's the time to actually, you know, be able to do what we were born with to be able to do our desires. We might not do it full time. You know, to drop our jobs and our responsibility is that let's get in touch with these desires.
[00:31:59] Now, what things have you were born with? Yeah, absolutely. And, and. You know, Mike, my friend, Tim likes to sing, but he doesn't want to sing in like a choir. And he doesn't want to be like Joanie and sing in a band. He just sings off key. And he used to not sing in front of other people because he was afraid of what he was going to sound like or what they would think.
[00:32:21] And then he turned 50 and he's just like, screw that. I'm going to sing. Cause I feel like singing and if it's off key, so the hell what you know, who cares exactly. But I think it's, it's metaphoric. For what we're all sort of going through, trying to figure out what we want and what our, if we're quiet enough and we can pay attention to what our inner heart wants us to do, what we've always wanted to do, then we should just be, give ourselves permission to be brave enough to do it.
[00:32:51] And finally listen to ourselves. You know? So what if it's off key? So what if I create art and no one buys it? Who cares? I'm creating it for me. It doesn't. I agree. Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. All right. So do you think that going back to COVID for a minute, do you think that. The fact that we have all collectively globally gone through this trauma.
[00:33:24] And I say gone through because things have really been starting to open up and I have all my students in class full-time and, but we're still not over this, you know, we're still in masks and I'm still nervous about going into the theater and, you know, places that are closed, where people would not be masking.
[00:33:39] I'm still wearing a mask and CVS, because I don't know what people's back status is and just makes me nervous. But anyway, so do you think that. That having us all go through this collective trauma helped instigate a lot of this examination of our purpose examination analysis of who we are and how we fit into the world.
[00:34:06] Do you think that the pandemic expedited any of that? What's interesting. Watched an interview. And I can't I was watching him passing, but I heard, you know, they were talking about our job crisis. Our, I know are the difficulty businesses are having right now to get the employees and there's a shortage.
[00:34:29] And, and why is that? And one of the theories is that because of the pandemic, people have really. This is not what I want to do anymore. I don't want to go. And just for an example, I don't want to go and be a waitress. I want to do something else. I want to start a new business, or they've had this experience of working from home.
[00:34:48] I don't want to go back to my service job because I found out, you know, I have these skills now that I can communicate via at home. So I, I think that's one of the one of the pieces about. Reflection, you know, that we could actually concretely see is just in the, in service industry, that a lot of people who are working for years in the service industry have this time at home to decide, Hey, this is not where I want my life to be.
[00:35:17] I want to do something different with it. And, you know, that's just one concrete example, but it definitely was a year of reflection for people in all, in all aspects, I think. So what kinds of advice do you think you could give a 50 something woman like you and I, I think I'm a couple of years older than you, who is facing the uncertainty of not really knowing what her next chapter is, but knowing there is a next chapter, what would you tell her?
[00:35:53] Like how do you start uncovering and digging out what it is that you want? I think one of the first questions I'll hide ask her is in this next phase of life. And so, you know, it depends on what we're talking. If we're talking about w we'd narrow it down, if we're talking about relationships or jobs or, or what it is, but let's assume it's career could be relationships too.
[00:36:17] Actually, I I'd ask. What is the transformation that you want to want this next career? What is the transformation you want to see in yourself? That's the first question. What is the growth that you want to see in yourself for this next move? And that could be in relationships. Like I said, too, you know, when you're looking for this next person, what is that transformation that you want that relationship to have in you?
[00:36:41] And so once you first identified that, that then the next piece is then what is the transformation that you want to have in that career for that career, for that job? Like what can you do for that, that place? Or where do you see your. D doing for X, Y, and Z. But I think those are the first two questions that we have to start with when you're looking at what my purpose is, what, what is transfer?
[00:37:06] How do you want to feel? What is your transformation? What do we want to do look like in our lives? What do we want it to feel like for us? And then what can we give to what, what do we bring to the table for that next experience? So, yeah, so you're looking within, and then you're looking outside of yourself at the same time.
[00:37:24] Yeah. And I think oftentimes when we look for a change, like a change in career, we're just looking at, you know, what we can get from them. Like what's the salary we can get. What's the title we can get, but. Before we even, we won't be satisfied if that's, that's the only things we focus on that will come later, because those are the practical things that, that to deal with goal, we need a process goal, and we won't feel personally satisfied with our change until we first know ourselves and what it is.
[00:37:55] We're looking how we're looking to feel on our next. Exactly. What's, what's in alignment with our core values. What's in alignment with how we see ourself, what kind of connections and community and meaning do we want the next stage to, to bring to our, our lives? You know, what type of growth do we want?
[00:38:15] You know, what do we want to fail? Yeah, that's huge. It's huge. And, and I think that at this stage in midlife, it makes us. Appreciate the value of contribution of taking care of others, of compassion, of empathy, more so than, Ooh someone's needs. More so than we did when we were younger. Yeah. A lot of times.
[00:38:49] Yeah. So when a lot of times when we were younger, we chose careers or we chose careers a lot of times based on what it looked like to other people, right. Because of the title, because of what we thought we would make, because it was a safe career. So this is oftentimes the first time in our lives that we're choosing careers based on who we are.
[00:39:10] And a lot of times we don't even know because we've never asked the question. So that's the first question, you know, w who are we, what do we want to see in ourselves? Who do we want to become? Yeah. I put my first job out of college. I went into publishing. I had worked for random house for like six weeks, and then they reorganized my department, but, but the whole point of going into publishing was, was my perception of what that would look like to other people.
[00:39:38] And then from there, Couple of other odd things in between. And then I got a job in public relations in Manhattan, and I thought, you know, all right, I can picture myself in a business suit, carrying a briefcase, walking up Madison avenue. And that was, as far as I got with my concept as to what this job was going to be, yes, I had the requisite skills, but I didn't know what I was applying them to or what that all meant.
[00:40:04] And then I had. I was working in the job and, and learning. And I was excited that I was learning new things and meeting new people. And then I had this epiphany that there, there was some catastrophe. I'm gonna put that in big air quotes, some CA excuse me, catastrophe going on in. In the office and there were people scurrying round, like there was a nuclear war that was imminent or that they were about to transplant someone's heart and someone wasn't sure the dry ice would last, like it was that level of panic.
[00:40:38] And what they were talking about was wallpaper. Oh, I thought, you know, not to disparage people in PR not to disparage people who make pretty wallpaper, that I might let me decorate my house. You know, I'm not, I'm not disparaging any of that, but I had this epiphany in my brain, like why? But didn't make sense to me.
[00:40:58] You know, this isn't curing cancer. We're not. Doing heart transplants, this isn't nuclear war it's wallpaper, and yes, it's important to get a job done and take pride in your work. But I thought there's a major disconnect here. And, and then I started asking and answering other questions for myself.
[00:41:18] Although what, what would something that would align and make sense to me? What would that look like? Just like you were, you were suggesting, and. My aunt actually had me sit down and make a list of the things that I wanted my life to look like in five years. Like, what did I want to see? You know, what did I want to feel?
[00:41:43] Did I want to be married? Did I want to have children? What kind of career? What did I want my impact to be? You know, the same kinds of questions that you have, you ask your clients when I was like 26 or 25. Wow. And I would, was sort of resistant to it. Cause I'm like, I don't know what the hell I want to do in five years.
[00:42:01] I don't know what I want to do in five weeks. Like, what do you mean? But she forced me to sort of look ahead and imagine what I wanted to look, look for it so that I had more of a global, like long-term kind of goal. And and that's what directed me to teaching ultimately, because it, it used all of my skills and what.
[00:42:24] W touched upon my need and desire to affect positive change in other people. And so that was like pretty high up on my list of non-negotiables. So sorry, not to NPR for wallpaper again, you know, like that. And what a gift your aunt gave you, you know, in your mid twenties to have somebody sit down and go through that with you.
[00:42:50] I think that's very rare. And what a gift that was. Well, she, herself had made make mistakes. Like she was very good in science and math when she was in high school and had always been interested in medicine and had gone to nursing school and then became a cardiac care nurse. And while she loved that she didn't love the hours when she was ultimately working.
[00:43:11] She didn't love the pay. She didn't love, you don't have the ultimate like responsibility the way they, the way our medical system overworks nurses. And then when she had children, she felt like. She was not around when she needed to be that juggling school hours and non-school hours and childcare with her, you know, 12, 14, 16 hour shifts.
[00:43:34] Like, however that works was kind of impossible. And so she left nursing and became a realtor and has been phenomenally successful, but she said to me, Like she was sharing her experience, you know, like, don't decide in your mid thirties, after you've had kids that you want to change direction. If you can do it now, when you don't have the responsibilities and the expectations on top of you to potentially.
[00:44:06] Curb your enthusiasm for what it is you're doing or so on. It was a TV show with it.
[00:44:14] So, you know, it really was a very exceptionally rare gift because I, I, I looked at her story and. And I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a mom I'd known since I was like three years old that I wanted to be a mom. I didn't know if I would ever get married or if there would be a significant other in the picture like that really wasn't on the map for me as much as motherhood.
[00:44:36] And it really was motivating, well, what can I do that fills all of these boxes that checks all these boxes for me that is, is consistent with my own values and will allow me to be there for my kids that I know I want to have. And I dunno, it's just like an, a most amazing question. So I think that more of us should have those kinds of questions with our own children.
[00:45:00] I think that might help them, avert the intensity of the midlife. I hate to use the word crisis, but the midlife decision or an angst, you know, it's like teenage angst all over again. You know, I agree. Those conversations would be great. And also it tells our younger people. We as parents, especially as a parent talking to their child, that we're giving them permission to actually pursue what they love, that they don't have to meet our expectations, but it, you know, that we're supporting them in their, in their own separate journey.
[00:45:34] Absolutely, absolutely. Nothing more important than that. I think as parents, you know, to, to raise kids who are authentically, who they are not little versions of who we think they should. Yes. Yeah, that's important. So where can we buy your books, Jerry? Well, it's Amazon's the easiest, but also Barnes and noble.com.
[00:45:56] I think everywhere books are so, especially. Yes, so we will put links. I will put links. If you scroll down, if you're not driving, you can scroll down on the podcast and there'll be links to, how to get in touch with Sherry lead and her, both of her books. Is there a third coming out in the.
[00:46:16] Well, you'll love this because it did end up being a series since it was two. And I thought, oh, there's no way I could have a series with two books. So there has to be three and I love the number three. So yes, I'm actually wrapping up. I have I think, three more, appointments or meetings with women. But this third book, I am giving each woman three different choices of questions to choose one, to answer.
[00:46:39] They all get different questions. And these. A variety of questions that we asked throughout our lives. So yeah, there is a third book that'll be out next year, next year. That's awesome. Three books in three years, you're quite prolific. They puts in three years and now they'll be done for this series, but you know, you can't have a series two, you'd have to have three, three, otherwise it's and there was more people to talk to.
[00:47:03] I I'm telling you, you start, you probably know this from your podcast, talking to people on your podcasts, you start asking questions and gain to know people. It's really hard to stop. Once you get that moment, such a beautiful thing to have all of you. Amazing. Want to talk to me for 45 minutes to an hour, you know, and I learn all sorts of things about your life.
[00:47:23] For me. It's like, I, like you were saying with all of your, the meetings that you were having with the women in your book, it was like each one of these episodes is like a therapy session for me, you know, that I get to share out publicly with the world. I just, I can't think of anything better to do with my time, other than the other things that I'm doing, you know?
[00:47:43] Exactly. And then you get an instant connection from having these conversations that you wouldn't get else, you know, otherwise, and same with, you know, sitting down one-on-one with even close friends, it just deepens the connection that you already have. So I think I'm going to take you up on your challenge.
[00:48:01] So over the course of the next year to commit. Commit to meet with at least three people. One-on-one a lifelong friend relative, or a new acquaintance or someone that you've known for a while, but I've never shared a meal with and ask the question, what is the, what is the mess that became your message.
[00:48:18] So that it's wonderful. So if you're going to do that with me and I think you all should, so you're going to talk to a friend, a relative and a new acquaintance and ask them what is the mass that became your message. And then you're going to hashtag. And I'll put it all in the show notes, Mets, mess to message.
[00:48:35] Challenge. So the Sherri can see the pictures of all of our amazing growth and connections and so on. I think that's, I'm so excited to find out who you meet with and what the messages are that became the messages. That's all. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Jerry. This was better than I have been. I had hoped for it.
[00:48:53] This was so wonderful to meet you. Thank you so much. Thank you. It's a pleasure meeting you. Okay. Don't go anywhere. I'm going to end it.