Welcome to Season 4!
In this week's episode, Billy and Brian talk to Wendy Battles. As the host of the Reinvention Rebels podcast , Wendy interviews bold and unapologetic women, 50-90, who have reinvented themselves later in life to see new possibilities. From traveling solo around the world with a carry-on bag at 60, to penning and publishing a first novel at 62 to launching a modeling career at 72, these women are fierce and fabulous! Through deep listening and authentic conversation, Wendy uncovers why and how these extraordinary women have reinvented themselves in interesting and inspiring ways. They prove that any of us can reinvent ourselves at any age or any stage. Wendy is an award-winning public speaker and was a finalist for the first annual International Women’s Podcast Awards in the category of Changing the World One Moment at a Time.
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Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Wendy: What the heck is Reinvention Rebels? I knew enough to write it down. I had no idea what it was. But I don't know. For a couple of months of just tuning in and getting clear that I love working with women — I work with women in my health coaching practice — I'm not interested in coaching people individually. But what I realized is that I love working with women. I love empowering women. I was thinking, well, I'm in midlife. I'm figuring things out. So, I would love to inspire other women about what is possible.
Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. Join your hosts, Billy and Brian, a couple of average dudes who will serve as your armchair life coaches as we share our life experiences — both the good and the bad — in an effort to help us all better understand how we can enjoy and make the most of the life we have left to live in a more meaningful way. Take a deep breath, embrace the present, and journey with us through The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Billy: Welcome to Season Four of The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy. As always, I'm joined by my good friend, Brian on the Bass. Brian, how you doing over there, man?
Brian: I'm exhilarated that it's Season Four.
Billy: Yeah, we made it. We made it through. Three seasons, and now we're going to season four. When this episode airs, it's actually going to be January 2022. Now, we're recording this the week of Thanksgiving, 2021. We already talked about this. You don't do New Year's resolutions, right?
Brian: No, not at all. If I want to do something, I do it regardless of the date.
Billy: So, you don't have any 2022 goals already set out?
Brian: No, if I wanted to set goals, I just do it regardless of the stupid calendar.
Billy: Yeah, that's a good philosophy. Sometimes I struggle with that. Everybody knows that I think in linear terms. But I'm really working on trying to reinvent myself. That's actually the theme of this season. It's how we can reinvent ourselves. Because we're halfway through life, right? We're in our 40s. It's funny how many people that I talk to, and I say, "Yeah, I host this podcast called The Mindful Midlife Crisis, and they're like, "Oh, midlife. Whoa, I'm not in midlife yet." I was like, "Well, you're 40. You're 42. Yeah, you are."
Brian: That's midlife.
Billy: That's midlife. So, it's okay. Embrace that age. Embrace that we're kind of getting to the second half of life right here. That doesn't mean that we can't get better. We certainly can. We can reinvent our life. Time hasn't completely run out yet. We still got a lot of good years left. So, we wanted to focus this season on people who have chosen to reinvent themselves in the last few years. Really, the inspiration for this theme this season is today's guest.
Today's guest, Cybersecurity Awareness Expert at Yale University by day, Wendy Battles, pursues her passion for celebrating, illuminating, and elevating midlife and older women by night. Pretty much any other time she's not working, at Yale. She is the host of the Reinvention Rebels Podcast. Wendy interviews bold and unapologetic women between the ages of 50 and 90, who have reinvented themselves later in life to see new possibilities. From traveling solo around the world from a carry-on bag at 60, to penning and publishing her first novel at 62, to launching a modeling career at 72 — these women are fierce and fabulous. Through deep listening and authentic conversation, Wendy uncovers why and how these extraordinary women have reinvented themselves in interesting and inspiring ways. They prove that any of us can reinvent ourselves at any age or any stage.
I just love that so much. Because I think so many of our audience out there think that just because they've hit 40, that they're over the hill or that they can't reinvent themselves. No, you can do it just like the women have, that Wendy interviews. Wendy is an award-winning public speaker and was a finalist for the first annual International Women's Podcast Awards in the category of Changing the World One Moment at A Time. What an accomplishment that is. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Wendy Battles.
Wendy: Hey, gentlemen.
Billy: I love the concept of your podcast. We're going to talk more about that. But before we do, we always like to ask our guests what 10 roles they play in their life. Wendy, what are the 10 roles that you play in your life?
Wendy: Such a great question, Billy. Of course, you know there are so many. I could have listed a lot more. But the 10 that I listed are: 1. podcaster, 2. employee, 3. wife, 4. sister, 5. auntie, 6. traveler, 7. writer, 8. home cook, 9. reader, and 10. inspirer.
Billy: I like all those. I like those. You have such a soothing voice. I just like the sound of your voice. You got a great podcast voice.
Brian: It's really appropriate for the medium.
Billy: Yeah, it is. It's just so soothing. I'm always amped up when we start this podcast. Now I'm just like settling into what's going to be like, I just feel like a really chill, laid-back episode. I appreciate that voice. Wendy, we also ask our guests the three roles that they're most looking forward to in the second half of life. This is kind of the focus of your podcast. It’s like what people are looking forward to in the second half of life. I know that you're in the second half of life, right? So, what are you most looking forward to?
Wendy: I have to say that I — well, first of all, I'm looking forward to so many things. Boiling it down to three, even just picking three from that list, was really tough. Number one, I love to travel. Billy, I just followed your adventures when you were in Portugal. It looked like you were having an amazing time. It just so happens that Portugal is one of the places I want to think about retiring to.
Billy: Oh, my goodness. You and I could have so many conversations about Portugal. I will bore you to death about how amazing Portugal is, 100%. Let's schedule a time to talk about Portugal. Because I'll tell you which city I think you should retire in, what you should do in those cities, how much things are. Here's the thing, I'm pretending like I'm an expert on Portugal. I'm just so excited about Portugal. Portugal very much felt like home. If you choose to retire in Portugal, Wendy, it's going to feel like home to you. Who knows? I might be right behind you, and then we can start our own podcast. Don't worry, Brian, I won't leave you. We'll still do it remotely.
Brian: Remotely? I appreciate that. Thank you.
Billy: Yeah, absolutely. We'll just have two podcasts. I'll have one with you, and I'll have one with Wendy. Speaking of podcast, when did you start your podcast? Because that's something that you're looking forward to in the second half of life. When did you start it?
Wendy: I am. I started it just over a year ago. It was in October of 2020. I still feel like I'm a podcast newbie, still getting my feet wet and figuring it out. But certainly, that is my second thing that I really want to be doing in the future. It's continuing to podcast. I already have lots of other ideas for other podcasts, too. So, this is my entree into what I hope will be a long and fulfilling podcast career.
That really is related to my third top thing that I want to be doing later in life, which is continuing to inspire people. I love inspiring people. I love helping people see what's possible. I love helping them look beyond the sometimes-constraining boundaries that we can set for ourselves, and encouraging them to think bigger. So, I'm excited to continue to do that. Especially one day when I'm retired and I'm not working my job, I'll have even more time, Billy, to do that.
Billy: It's interesting. Correct me if I'm wrong. But when I think of cybersecurity, that feels more analytical. It feels more black and white, that sort of thing. Whereas inspiring really requires a lot of emotional intelligence as opposed to data intelligence, right? How do you kind of marry those two things? Because that just seems like two very contrasting, different worlds.
Brian: I can address this one. She's spectacular. That's why.
Billy: She is. She absolutely is.
Brian: Is that the answer?
Wendy: Good answer. Right, that is a brilliant answer. I totally agree. But seriously, what's really interesting—
Brian: I thought I got you covered.
Wendy: Right. You got it covered, totally. What's really interesting is that I actually do what I call the people’s side of cybersecurity. I am in an area called cybersecurity awareness.
Wendy: You mentioned emotional intelligence. It has a lot to do with communicating with people, preparing them for changes, finding ways to help influence their behavior so that they can be more cyber aware and, thus, cyber secure. So, it's communicating, training, finding interactive and engaging ways to build desire for them to want to be more cyber secure. So, we have a whole team of people at Yale that do all kinds of incredible technical stuff, that I totally don't understand. It is completely above my head. Then there's me and my team. We get to do what I like to call the fun part. I'm sure they probably would think that their part is really fun. But it's really the soft skills. We do all kinds of fun, competitive games where people compete against each other on their leaderboard to win really cool Yale SWAG, the YETI mugs et cetera. It's really a fun way to get people to think about what they're doing, how they might do something different, to uncover sometimes what they don't know — they don't know till they do — and they can make better choices. So, it's awesome. It's so much fun.
Billy: So, you are just taking this inspirer role and using that for cybersecurity awareness, and then also elevating people's voices in your podcast. That is so cool. I love that. I didn't even think — if you think of cybersecurity, you think of somebody on the computer. You don't think maybe necessarily about the human element.
Brian: Actually, that's probably the biggest point of prevention, too. You can actually do is just training people not to get the infection in the first place. So, that's a really important job, dude.
Wendy: Yes, Brian, you're so right, which is like don't click on the link.
Wendy: Right. We've all heard that before. If you see something that looks suspicious, if you see something, say something kind of thing. It's that same thing. Don't just go clicking on that link. One of the things that I think is really interesting is that while we are teaching Yale students and faculty and staff about this, part of the idea behind our program is that they become their home expert.
So, we have this whole idea of, 'Do your part, be cyber smart.' We made this really fun little bee with glasses for Yale. The buzz is around. We want to help people become their home expert in their household. Because as you both probably know, if you have kids, or parents, or grandparents, there's some combination of folks other than yourself that probably aren't nearly as cyber savvy as the two of you are. So, it's an opportunity for our community to take this information, and then also share it with the people that they love and care about, to keep them cyber safe as well.
Billy: What a fun job it sounds like you have, and what an important role that you have, too. All the more impressive that you're doing this at Yale, at an Ivy League school. Wow. Now I'm looking forward to the next two segments of the show. So, I'll tell you what. Let's take a quick break. Then when we come back, we are going to continue talking to Wendy Battles about becoming a Reinvention Rebel in the later half of your life. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
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And now, let's take a minute to be present with our breath. If you're listening somewhere safe and quiet, close your eyes and slowly inhale for 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold for 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Slowly exhale for 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Let's do that one more time. Inhale for 4, 3, 2, 1. Hold for 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Slowly exhale for 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Go ahead and open your eyes. You feel better? We certainly hope so. And now, back to the show.
Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with Wendy Battles. Wendy is the host of the podcast, Reinvention Rebels, where she focuses on the women between the ages of 50 to 90 years young, who have boldly reimagined their lives on their terms to find new purpose and possibilities. Wendy, I imagine that this started with you first reimagining your own life. So, can you tell us who you were and where you were prior to this reinvention?
Wendy: Absolutely. I'll preface this by saying that, I think, a lot of us, we've reinvented ourselves multiple times over our lifetime. So, I've had reinventions in many different decades, but in my 50s. Because I'm now 56. My latest and, I have to say, best reinvention happened when I was 54. I have to tell you that I've worked in many different fields throughout my career, doing a range of different things from the nonprofit world to higher education, to corporations, from being an independent consultant to working for companies, all kinds of things. I've always been really good at what I've done. I've been successful.
However, I was always thinking, what is my true mission in life? You know some people that from an early age, they knew what they wanted to do. They were living on purpose from a young age. They were so excited, because that was it. Then it was me on the other end of the continuum. I just couldn't figure it out. Yes, I was doing really good work, but I never felt like it was my soul's work, like it was what I was meant to do. So, yes, I could go to work and do a great job. But I always had that feeling. I feel like a little something is missing.
We go back to 2019, the fall of 2019. At Yale, we have a lot of affinity groups. One of the affinity groups is FLY — the Future Leaders of Yale. FLY affinity group does all kinds of programming for bright, young leaders at Yale. They invited me to be part of a panel that was about personal branding. How do you create a personal brand that you can leverage in the workplace, to really sell yourself, and to increase your exposure? I said, "Sure. I'll be on that panel." And then I was like, personal branding. What do I know about that?" So, I spent a lot of time thinking about it. Because before this, I had been a health coach. I've worked for myself in the past. I've been a health coach. I did a lot of branding work around that, but I hadn't done it in a while. Because I love podcasts, I started listening to all these podcasts. I found this podcast that was called Package Your Genius. Just the title alone is like, well, that sounds interesting, right? I was like, "Well, I could be a genius. What can I package?" So, I started listening. I really loved the conversation she was having. I then bought her book on Amazon in 1999, something like that. As a workbook, you work through all these questions to help you—
Billy: Who's the host and the author?
Wendy: The author is Amanda Miller Littlejohn. That's the host. The book, again, is called Package Your Genius. It was really illuminating. One of the things that it does is, she asks a series of questions. Throughout these chapters, there are all these questions. There was a lot of introspection and thinking about what do you love to do, what do you love doing as a kid, what is it you do for free if you could do anything? The kind of questions that help you uncover things. So, I got into the space of just noodling on these questions. I literally will be cooking dinner and going through the book, thinking about the questions, and jotting down answers on sticky notes. I do a lot of meditation. I started meditating about it. Because for years, I've been meditating on what is my true purpose in life. I still haven't found it.
One day, literally, I was meditating after I had been doing a lot of this work. Being much more quiet, one day, I simply heard Reinvention Rebels. I said what? Reinvention Rebels. I was like, what is that? What the heck is Reinvention Rebels? I knew enough to write it down. I had no idea what it was. But I don't know. For a couple of months of just tuning in and getting clear that I love working with women — I work with women in my health coaching practice — I'm not interested in coaching people individually. But what I realized is that I love working with women. I love empowering women. I was thinking, "Well, I'm in midlife. I'm figuring things out. So, I would love to inspire other women about what is possible." That's how I got on to this idea of Reinvention Rebels. It's the idea that if I can share the stories of women that have reinvented themselves that are older — whether it's midlife or it's 70 something — and if women that are trying to figure out hear these stories, I believe they can hear a little part of themselves in other stories to inspire them about their own reinvention, which is probably completely different to anyone they're listening to. It's probably not that reinvention. It's something completely different. But I think that if they can have a little spark of what's possible, that it can ignite something in themselves. So, that's how it got started, literally. That was how I reinvented myself.
I will tell you this. This is the first time in 56 years that I feel like I am living on purpose, that this is what I'm meant to do. I think what's really interesting is that over the course of our lives, we do so many different things. Sometimes we do things that end up being a dead end, or it doesn't work out the way we expect. I know that when we're in the middle of it, it just sometimes can feel disappointing. Like, "I worked so hard on this, and it didn't pan out." But what I think is interesting is that all of these other experiences I've had — for example, I started working as a voice actor in 1996. I've done it off and on. But I don't really want to just have a career reading copy for commercials. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it just doesn't fulfill me. But those skills are so key in engaging my audience. So, I learned a lot from doing that. I do a ton of public speaking and interviewing people. For other things, I've produced all kinds of segments for things at work that have all led to me being able to much more easily think about how do I put together an episode. How do I make it really engaging? How do I find the right people? All of those things that I didn't necessarily see as — that maybe I saw as disparate have all come together under this umbrella of my own reinvention, which has really lit me up. I am just so excited to do this work because I'm not getting paid. So, I'm really, really excited to do this work.
Billy: Right. Isn't that kind of the barometer of, when you're passionate about it, you will do it for free. It sure would be great if you got to a point where you got paid for it. But you're willing to put in the work knowing that, okay, this is going to go somewhere. This is going to be part of my livelihood. I think that's — I don't like the idea of "follow your passion," that kind of thing. I think I have an issue with that. But I like that if you're willing to put in the work to follow your passion, that that's something. You're able to say, "I love doing this. There are definitely days when it feels like work, but it fills me up."
In a sense, it can go back to when we talk about love languages. When we love this work and it fills our buckets up, then we continue to do it even though it feels like work. Love should feel like work. It really should, because that's what makes it all worth it. One thing that you talked about in your story that really resonated with me is your meditation practice and how that, in a sense, manifested itself into this Reinvention Rebels. That title came to you when you were able to declutter your mind. It took a while, right? It didn't just pop up right away. It took some time. You had to listen to it. You had to be open to it. You had to go out and do the work, like listen to the podcast and do the workbook. Then all of a sudden, it came to you. It's almost kind of like a vision board in some sense. I liked that you were able to manifest it through your meditation.
We talk about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness on the show all the time. I think if you're looking to reinvent yourself, hey, meditation might be a good place to start. We're not saying that that's going to be the end-all, cure-all for your reinvention. But it might be something that jumpstarts the process. That's kind of what it sounds like it was for you after you had put in some of this work, after you had found the resources.
Wendy: Absolutely. You were so right about that. I do think that when we're doing something, this deep work to think about our lives, I mean, reinvention is just one aspect of that. There's many different ways we can be self-reflective and introspective about our lives or things we want to change. But I have found it to be immensely helpful to slow down, to tune in, to really listen to that voice. I feel like we're always getting wisdom and information. But often we are so busy — myself included. Because certainly, pre-pandemic, I spent a lot of time running around and involved in a lot of things, and less time being more still. I know that we live in a culture that doesn't necessarily encourage that. But I have found so much joy in being more quiet, in beginning to tune in, in listening to that wisdom that bubbles up, which I certainly think in the past — when I was running around and spread too thin — I was missing. I mean, maybe I could figure this out sooner if I can maybe even do listening more, more still. But I feel like things always unfold at just the right time when we need them to.
So, I think it was just my time to get in that space of being more self-reflective. For me, part of that means acknowledging that we are just so much more wise than I think we give ourselves credit for. We know so many more of the answers. So many times, I think we seek the answers outside of ourselves, going to other people, or other things when I feel like so much of this about our path, whatever that is, we can find inside.
Billy: I think it's the importance of recognizing when you are in doing mode and when you need to just simply transition into being mode, and allowing yourself to just be rather than continue to do. One thing that you talk about in your podcast is the three Rs. So, can you elaborate on what the three Rs are?
Wendy: Absolutely. That is such a beautiful segue, Billy. Because the three Rs are reflect, reimagine, and restart. Reflect, reimagine, and restart. I do believe that any reinvention, whatever that might be, starts with this idea of reflection that we just talked about. It's beginning to tune in, get more quiet, see what bubbles up, listen to ourselves. Not feel like we have to be constantly occupied. But to your point about being instead of doing, that is all part of that first R, reflection.
Reimagine is all about thinking big. I know that sometimes because of fear or listening to the voices of other people who we trust and love, but maybe don't have that bigger, broader idea of life that perhaps we do, that sometimes it can be hard to reimagine things in bigger ways. But I feel like reimagining is really leaning into what are the things I would love to do. Just like the question you asked me, what are the three things you're going to do later on? It's that same idea. What are the things that you've always wanted to do, or you're excited about, that light you up, that give you energy? What are the things that if you could do anything, you'd do, and money wasn't a factor? All those kinds of questions that get us thinking about, how do I create the life I want to lead as I age?
They're not always discovering it at 50. Some of us discover it in our 50s, or maybe our 60s. But for some people, it's like 70s, or 80s, or they're yet on another reinvention. So, I don't think there's any age limit to how we can reimagine our lives. It is always possible. It doesn't have to be something huge. It doesn't have to be like moving to Portugal, or something like that. It could be a tiny little micro movement where we're dreaming bigger and we want to reimagine things.
Then finally, it's restart. Restarting, to me, is about committing to ourselves. I can tell you that I have restarted lots of things in my life. I restarted them. I have a basement full of unfinished projects, so I think of restarting those. It's not enough to just say it. Right? It's crazy. My husband was like, "Wendy, when are you going to finish X, Y, and Z?" I'm like, "Let's do this." He's like, "But you haven't finished these other things." But I believe this idea of restarting this commitment. When our commitment is tied to our 'why,' that we reimagine things and we have a 'why' and a greater purpose, it's much easier to get started and then continue instead of starting and then those stops that sometimes happen where you let life get in the way, or you don't keep your focus on it.
But when we really want to do something, when we're very inspired, when we have a 'why' that's driving us, it's so much easier to start and continue — which is what I have personally found with podcasting. You know I didn't know how to do it at the beginning. I had no idea. I even said it a few years before. I love podcasts, but I would never be a podcast host. I wouldn't know how to do that. But you know how it is. When you figure out something you want to do, if you really want to do it, you figure out how.
I think that because I was so inspired and motivated when I realized that this is my mission, and this is what I meant to do, I just kept going. I fine-tuned it. So, my restart was like I started saying, "Well, I have a full-time job. I don't have a lot of time. I'm going to start working on this at 5:30 every morning." Then I was like, "Well, I can't get up." I started getting up at 5:30. Then I was like, "No, I'm going to go get up at 5:15." Then it was five. Now it's 4:45 every morning. Not on the weekends, but during the week. Because I do it before work. I'm so excited to get up in the morning. It's not like every morning. Sometimes I'm really tired. But you know what I'm saying. I'm just really motivated to keep going. That is something that is totally different for me than in the past. That's why I know I'm onto something that fits for me. So, reflect, reimagine, and restart.
Billy: Okay. Wendy, using the three Rs, where has this reinvention taken you so far in the last couple of years?
Wendy: Great question, Billy. Well, in October of 2020, I officially launched the Reinvention Rebels Podcast. I spent actually a year preparing for it, which I thought, "Oh, it'll take me a few months. I'll get it launched." It took me so much longer than I expected as most things typically do. But I did some online training. I joined this group called Podcast Moguls. I tried to figure out who my audience was, how I find them, all those good things that you do, getting all the equipment, beginning to identify guests, et cetera. All that stuff took me much longer than expected. Of course, throwing in also the pandemic, which slowed me down. Because that was, of course, a big hiccup, I think, for all of us in different ways.
All that being said, I've launched the podcast in October of 2020. I'm just finishing up season two. My first season, I think I had 8 guests. Then in my second season, I had 12 guests. I also did some solo episodes. So, I think when all is said and done, there'll be 16 episodes in season two. Now I've really gotten my podcast legs, so to speak. As I'm sure the two of you can relate, being that you're now kicking off season four.
Billy: I'm really impressed that you spent a year in just the preparation of your podcast. Because Brian and I, we took a couple months. But we just recorded a bunch of shitty episodes at first.
Brian: We we're just kind of throw them away.
Billy: It was kind of like, all right. That didn’t work. Well, let's re-record that one. That one didn't work. We'll re-record that. I think we recorded one episode four times before we finally figured out what our voice was, that kind of thing. So, I think that's another thing that people need to hear, is that, yes, you can jump into things. I think that's important, too. But you took the time to prepare. It reminds me a lot of when we had John Wessinger on here. He talked long and hard about preparing to go surfing. He wasn't amply prepared for what that first experience was going to be like. After he got tossed by the waves, then he spent the next year dedicating himself to be able to surf on his own.
Wendy, that's what it sounds like what you did, too. You were so passionate about this reinvention, that this podcast that you were going to produce and record, and put out to the world, that you're like, "Okay, I want to make sure that I do this right." Again, you put the work into the passion. You didn't just follow the passion. You put the work into the passion.
Wendy: It's right on, Billy. I put in the work. As my husband would say, you're basically married to that podcast.
Billy: I can relate.
Wendy: Because when I'm basically not working at Yale, I spend, as you know, a huge amount of time doing some aspect of the podcast — preparing, recording. I don't do the editing. But promoting, et cetera. One thing that I think is different, and perhaps it's because I've had this past experience. I had this business as a health coach. I think I was motivated to do that. I didn't have the best why. I didn't like my corporate job. I really wanted to leave. I wanted to try something else, so I decided to go to school to become a health coach. I then quit my job without a good plan, which I really don't recommend. Hence, I love the fact that I still have my job. I don't feel like I have to be making all this money to do this. It can be my passion while I figure things out, which to me feels so much better.
But what happened in the past is that I gave up. Part of it is, I didn't have the passion I have now. So, I'm so excited. Then I thought, "Well, I've quit my job now. So, I better make this work somehow." I wasn't all in with the same amount of passion. Even though I loved helping women succeed and having a healthy lifestyle, it wasn't this passion that I have for Reinvention Rebels. So, that made it difficult and made it much easier to stop, or to face an obstacle. Sometimes we face obstacles. If we really want to do it, we figure it out. We muster up the courage even if sometimes it's really hard, or something happens that we don't like. But we're like, okay, I'm not going to let that stop me. Well, I didn't have that then. I didn't have that kind of mindset when I had my business before.
I think what's different now is that I am here for the long haul. I also listened to a lot of different people talking about podcasting, and talking about how it takes time to find your tribe, to find those people that love the content that you have, that it doesn't happen overnight. I think when I had my business before, I just had this crazy idea that I was going to be instantly successful, which is ridiculous and stupid. I don't know why I thought that. Then I was so disappointed when it didn't happen, where now I have the wisdom and experience to know that every day I'm making forward progress, that over time, I'm building the audience. One of the things I recognize is that — I know you both know. There are all those podcasts. For example, podcasts about making money online. People love podcasts about anything related to business, making money, whatever. They're always popular. They have tons of downloads. But talking about midlife, it's just not as sexy as online money making.
Billy: Well, it's a niche, too. Because I think that everything that we talked about on the show applies to all ages. If you're a teenager, if you're 20, 30 years old, and you're listening to the life advice that the guests are sharing, those are all applicable to you today. Maybe it's a branding issue on our end where we call it The Mindful Midlife Crisis, that sort of thing. If you're saying that your show is geared towards 50- and 90-year-olds, or you're telling those stories, younger people are thinking, "Well, that's so far away." What you don't realize is that, well, no, because we're older and because we've had these experiences, we're imparting this wisdom on you for free. Yes, absolutely go through and have your experiences. But be warned, that like here's some information that might help you navigate those experiences a little bit better when you approach them. Take it from people who have been there before. Right? So, I think that's a good point that you just made.
Wendy: Yeah, and I definitely agree with you, Billy, completely. Because I have people who leave me reviews that are younger. My next-door neighbor, who is in her 30s, when I told her what I was doing, she's like, "I've got to listen to this." Then she said, "I'm so happy to hear the stories, so I can think about what I should be doing. So, I can make the most of both now and the future." You are so right that it is really universal wisdom. Even if we have in mind a midlife audience, it is universal wisdom. That is applicable to any of us, at any age or any stage.
Billy: Where do you hope this will all take you on down the road?
Wendy: I made a vision board three or four years ago. On that vision board, I cut out some different images. I cut out all these microphones. I cut out words. One of them was primetime TV. Interestingly, again, going back to this idea that sometimes we do things that might be a dead end at one point, but they're experiences that help us toward, hopefully, our mission or whatever it is we might do later in life. While I was a health coach, I did a lot of work on our local ABC affiliate TV station doing segments about healthy living. It was just like a natural thing. I was just really good at it. I really enjoyed it. For many, many years, I've been saying, "I am going to have a TV show." Not an Oprah-like TV show that love audience. Nothing like that. But I do plan to have my TV show on Netflix.
Billy: I love it. I love it.
Wendy: I know that Netflix has turned. Also, on Amazon Prime, they've turned podcasts into TV shows. So, there will be a Reinvention Rebels TV show.
Billy: Absolutely. I love that you said that 'there will be.' There's no hesitation in it at all. There will be. You have two viewers already ready to go. So, I cannot wait for that to happen. You've had so many cool guests on your show. What we want to do is we want to take a quick break. Then when we come back, we want to talk about some of those guests and the life lessons that they've shared with you and your listeners. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.
Thanks for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We will do our best to put out new content every Wednesday to help get you over the midweek hump. If you'd like to contact us, or if you have suggestions about what you'd like us to discuss, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. Check out the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. Oh, and don't forget to show yourself some love every now and then, too. And now back to the show.
Billy: Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. We are here with Reinvention Rebels Podcast host and future Netflix TV show host, Wendy Battles. Wendy interviews women in their 50s to their 90s, who have boldly reimagined their lives on their terms and find new purpose and possibilities. Wendy, is there a guest whose transformation stands out to you? What is it about that transformation that stands out to you?
Wendy: There is, in fact. There are a lot, but the one that I want to share is someone named Carolyn Dowling. Carolyn just turned 75. What I think is fascinating about Carolyn is that at 72, Carolyn started her modeling career. Now, how often do you hear about women — even in their 30s, their 40s, their 50s — starting their modeling careers? Usually, it's often the case that it's ending. You start out really young. You get to that point where — I know it's a little different now. I know that, slowly, things are changing and we're seeing more images of older women and men. Often though, it's like drug ads on TV. Because there's some of those as we know.
Brian: It's because we're becoming the demographic.
Wendy: Right. So, yes, we're seeing more of that. They're even more famous women — Viola Davis is a great example — who are growing older. I mean, she's in her 50s. But still, you're seeing more women doing commercials for products, more women with gray hair. I believe we're seeing more of that. But what I think is amazing about Carolyn is that she realized when she retired — when she was working, she was very active and engaged in things. But what she noticed is that when she retired, she slipped into the background. She felt like she wasn't as visible. I get that, because she's not going into the office every day. But even when she went out, it seemed like she didn't have nearly as much social engagement. She happened to go to — she lives in the Bay Area. She went to visit this Black designer, who was interviewing women about their style and what makes them feel good. She was talking about having silver hair and being 72. Just that little tape really got that designer thinking. She started featuring her in some of her things she was doing, having her model some of the clothing. Well, that led to other things. Now she's busy modeling for all kinds of things, for athleisure wear, and you name it.
I think what's really interesting is that Carolyn is African-American. She's vertically challenged. She has natural hair that's gray. I mean, all the things that you don't typically associate with being a model, that is someone that we sort of look up to, that we have this idea often of what a model looks like. It's usually not a short African-American woman on her 70s. I think it is really fantastic. I'm so excited about this idea that she is helping to break barriers and change the narrative about what it means to age, and what it means to show up as our natural selves. Not to be into anti-aging. I'm going to do everything, so I can look like I'm still 50. But to embrace where we are on our journey, to show up as our unique natural selves, and to embrace that, to really be pro-aging instead of anti-aging, and to help women see what's possible. This, for her, has really turned into a platform to inspire, just like I'm inspiring women and other people. Not just women. She's doing the same thing in a different way during this reinvention, and showing women what is possible, how we can still be really engaged as we age and have an incredibly vibrant life. Because she just recently went to Paris to model. Hello.
Billy: Oh, wow.
Wendy: That's pretty cool.
Billy: That's a big deal. Paris is a fashion capital.
Wendy: It's so cool. Of all the people. They've all been amazing. They all have amazing reinvention stories. Every story is different, but that is one that truly sparked my imagination. That made me so excited. When people hear this, it's like, wow. I mean, if she can do that, what can I do? I can have my own version of a reinvention. It might not be becoming a model, but it could be whatever is right for me.
Billy: So, what are some of the common threads then that you see in your guests that you have on the show, and how they've reinvented themselves?
Wendy: It's interesting that you should ask that, Billy. I like to call the common threads my three Cs. I got my three Rs, and I got my three Cs. The three Cs are curiosity, courage, and commitment. Curiosity, courage, and commitment. Reinvention Rebels are curious souls. They are interested in the world around them. They are interested in people and things. They are interested in learning and exploring. They are very open-minded to try new things. Perhaps, things they never tried before. Because a lot of people that are reinventing themselves sometimes go through trial and error. It's not always the first thing you land on is it. Right? Sometimes we can try different things. If some things don't work out, then we try something else. One thing leads to another. So, they're very curious souls that are interested in self-development and self-exploration. They are curious.
They are courageous. It's no small thing to reinvent yourself, especially when sometimes the people around us are naysayers. Something like, "Well, I wouldn't do that." But okay. Do what you need to do. Or the kind of sometimes tone or information that people are conveying. Even though often people around us want us to be successful, but sometimes they're limited by their own limited mindset. Reinvention Rebels are courageous. They're willing to take chances. They're willing to get out there. Again, a reinvention doesn't have to be, I'm moving halfway around the world. It doesn't have to be something so huge. A reinvention can be something really simple. It can be as small, yet meaningful as you want it to be. Finding the courage to put yourself out there — especially as we age — to explore new possibilities, that takes a little hutzpah sometimes to do that. So, they have a common theme, that everyone I've interviewed has courage.
Sometimes it doesn't work out, and they try again. That really leads in this idea of commitment, that they are committed to this reinvention. They're committed to staying the course. They're committed to finding the resources they need, which isn't always about money resources. But whatever those resources are — people that can help them, or a friend, or a family member, whatever that might be. But they're committed to figuring out, how can I reinvent myself? How can I become a Reinvention Rebel? Part of the fun of it, I think, is to self-discovery. We don't always know. I didn't know how to podcast when I came up with Reinvention Rebels. I just was like, "Well, that's cool. That's what I'm going to do." Then I said, okay, now, let me find out more about this. As may be the case for you, one thing led to another. The universe just shows up. I think that when we get clear about things, and we put our desires out there, the universe can show up to support us. All of a sudden, like a coworker, I was on a committee with him at work. I was telling him about it. He said, "Oh, I'll edit it for you." I was like, "Oh, cool." Because I can't edit well. So, commitment.
Billy: Yeah, that was a big part of just learning how to do the editing and stuff like that. At first, I was going to hire out. Then I'm like, "You know what? I think I can figure this out." So, it just took some time playing around with it. I hope our audience appreciates our later seasons and the editing work that's been done in there. Because in the earlier seasons, they didn't go well. Brian was fantastic at teaching me how to speak into a microphone. Because the first couple episodes, I wasn't great about speaking into the microphone. So, you're right. There is a commitment to it. If you're going to do this, learn how to do it well. But understand that you're probably not going to do it well at the beginning. But at least, recognize where you can grow and where you can get better.
Here's a quick question for you. I think this is the English teacher in me coming out. The word 'rebellion,' the word 'rebel,' does it just go with the reinvention, with the Rs there? Is there something more poignant with that? When I'm thinking about this, I'm thinking like, is the rebellion against my old self? I'm curious why you chose the word 'rebel.'
Wendy: Well, it chose me. Because that's what I heard — Reinvention Rebels. I went with that. But I think, Billy, to your point, it is. It's that internal revolution for me. It's about throwing off all those other things and saying, I don't care what anyone else says. I'm doing this for me. I think the rebellious part is, so many times, women, we try to please other people, whoever it is — our coworkers, boss, spouse, kids, extended family, friends. It doesn't matter who it is. It is often, in our nature, that we are people pleasers. Sometimes at the expense of ourselves.
So, the rebellion is really about, I am going to do what I want to do. As I get older, it's like I spent a lot of years taking care of other people. Many women have spent many years. I don't have any kids, but I still have spent many years taking care of other people — from my niece, to other people in my life, et cetera, friends, you name it. This rebellion, this being a rebel is saying I'm drawing a line in the sand. I am going to do what lights me up. I don't really care if other people don't like it. It's what I want to do. So, I think finding that inner rebel, that really fierce, courageous voice that says it is time for me to shine my inner light in a way that really works for me. Some people might not agree. For some people, it might make them uncomfortable. Maybe it's a different Wendy, or a different Billy, or a different Carolyn that people are used to. So, that can be a little disconcerting sometimes. But this is really an opportunity for women to step into their own as they age in this really bold, unapologetic way. So, yes, a rebel.
Billy: I think what you just said there really connects well to the conversation that we have with women's health nurse practitioner, Krista Margolis, when we talked about the emotionally mature female brain. Because we talked about, with her, how women — particularly when they reach their 50s — they're done taking care of people. They are just done with it. So, they're going on to pursue whatever it was that they wanted to pursue before they had kids, before they got married, or before they had to take care of this person or that person. I like that idea, that the rebellion is coming from within, that it's a change from within. I think that's important, too, that we recognize. Again, that we can continue to grow. We can continue to evolve. We continue to rebel against the checklist.
We're going to talk to Dr. Yolanda Holloway and Tiffany Byrd, who are the hosts of the Trash the Checklist Podcast. You should check it out, Wendy. I think you would love it. They talk about just the checklist of life, where you're just going through and doing this, that, and the other because you feel like that's part of the bullet point of life. Then 10 years have got behind you. Then the next thing you know, you're like, "Gosh, I haven't done anything for me yet." Right? So, that's then where the rebellion lies.
When we talk to our favorite old-timer, Tom Cody, on our show the last time he was on, we let him know how much we appreciated the fact that even as he approaches 70 years of age — I think his birthday is coming up here soon. I can't remember when his birthday is — that he isn't slowing down at all. He is still committed to growth. It sounds like you're in that position as well. It sounds like the women that you're interviewing are still in that position. From your experience, why do you think people settle into their ways? How do you help them see ways in which they can grow and reinvent themselves, even if it's just a minor transformation?
Wendy: I think that people are stuck in their ways because change is hard and uncomfortable. It's much easier to stay where we are. Maybe our world is smaller, but it might feel safe. Changing things, reinventing ourselves, means I have to broaden things at least a little bit. It doesn't mean I have to do that 180. But I do need to think differently, or try new things, or open my mind, some combination there. I think that's pretty uncomfortable. Plus, as we get older, I think we can all get set in our ways in different ways. It doesn't mean we're all controlling or immovable. But I think that sometimes we can get less flexible about certain things. That's not everybody. Some people have an adventurous mindset, and they're always open to new things.
So, I think that how we can move in that direction is just to think about what might be possible. One of, I think, the most impactful ways is to look at other people. Obviously, you can look at Reinvention Rebels. There are so many other examples of people that are doing things. Here's a great example of this, Billy. I was watching the news the other night. There was a story about a woman who was 105 who was running in this race. This woman started running at 100.
Billy: She got a late start.
Wendy: It's crazy, right? Because I think a lot of us have a lot of self-limiting beliefs about what we can't do. Instead of thinking what we can do, it's often like, "Well, I can't do that because—" Or, "If I do that, this will happen," instead of what could I do? What can I do that could be different? What could I do that could enhance my life? What could I do that would really light me up? So, instead of what can't, I like to think about what can. What can I do? It could be the simplest things. What could I do to get more exercise? In what way could I exercise twice a week if I'm only doing it once?
Again, that idea of micro movements. It doesn't have to be this huge move. Because I think some people are good at being able to do a 180 and make a big shift. They invite in all those possibilities. They can see a path to do that. Whereas other people need to really chunk it up and make small little micro movements in the right direction to say, "Okay, I did that. Then I can continue." So, I don't think there's a one recipe or one way to do it. I think that there are many different ways that can lead us to reinventing ourselves. I think it's just a matter of figuring out what works for me, what works for you. It's finding out our own secret sauce, you might say.
Billy: I love it. Well, Wendy, your energy is infectious. It's contagious. We love your enthusiasm. You've been such a wonderful guest. Checkout Wendy on her podcast, Reinvention Rebels. She is also on Instagram. You can find her @reinventionrebels. You can follow her on Twitter @rebelsreinvent and you can follow her on Facebook at Reinvention Rebels. Wendy, thank you so much for gracing us with your presence. Also, to sincerely — I'm not going to lie, I stole the idea. I stole the theme of reinventing yourself for this season. Because I'm a fan of you, and I'm a fan of your show. You're so active on Twitter. You just put out so much good in the Twitterverse, which is very uncommon. Because there's not a lot of good that gets shared in the Twitterverse. There's not a lot of positive messages, or kind of watered-down messages. You're not like that. There is a sincerity about you that I really, really appreciate. I'm so happy that we got a chance to speak with you today.
Wendy: I am so honored. Thank you so much, Billy and Brian. It has been such a pleasure to join you. Thank goodness for Twitter, because that's how I first saw you. I saw something you posted on Twitter. I was like, "Huh, why never heard of this podcast before? Let me check this out."
Billy: It can bring people together, right? If we use it right, it can bring people together. So, once again, Wendy, thank you so very much for being a guest on our show. For Wendy, for Brian, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care friends.
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