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Your golden years are called golden for a reason and should be a time in your life to be treasured. Joining Patty Farmer on today’s episode is Jennifer Arthurton, the creator and founder of the Old Chicks Know Sh*t community, along with a podcast of the same name. Her mission is to inspire and support midlife women in chasing their dreams and creating their kick-ass next chapter. Spurred on by her own experiences, Jennifer empowers women entering their third act to do so with a bang through valuable advice and tips on midlife course correction. You have so much to give, and a lot of life to live, and Jennifer is here to tell you how you can live it to the fullest. Don’t miss out!
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About Jennifer Arthurton
Jennifer Arthurton is the creator, and founder of Old Chicks Know Sh*t, a community and podcast (of the same name) designed to inspire and support midlife women in chasing their dreams and creating their kick-ass next chapter. In addition, Jennifer is an empowerment coach, podcast host, writer, and speaker.
Having made her midlife course corrections, she is a passionate advocate of the inherent power and knowledge that women possess at a time when they often feel overlooked and doubt themselves most.
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Jennifer Arthurton On How Midlife Women Can Get Unstuck And Move Into Their Kick-Ass Next Chapter
I’m looking forward to sharing our industry expert with you. I’m excited about our guest because we’re going to be talking about how Old Chicks Know Shit. If that didn’t catch your attention, it caught mine. I’m like, “This is going to be a great conversation that you are not going to want to miss.” Let me tell you a little bit about our guest. Her name is Jennifer Arthurton, and she is the Creator and Founder of Old Chicks Know Shit, a community and podcast of the same name designed to inspire and support midlife women in chasing their dreams and creating their kick-ass next chapter. In addition, Jennifer is an empowerment coach, podcast host, writer, and speaker. Having made her midlife course correction, she is passionate and an advocate of the inherent power and knowledge that women possess at a time when they often feel overlooked and doubt themselves most.
Thank you so much for being here with us, Jennifer. I can’t wait to dive into this topic.
Thanks so much for having me.
This is going to be great. We hear there’s this story. You mentioned how you had your own midlife course correction. Could you share a little bit about that in as much or as little as you want to write because I know sometimes these things are personal? What was that catalyst for you that sent you on this journey?
I come from an almost 30-year corporate career in marketing for a global finance company. In the last five years of my career, there were many times along the way when I would be asking myself, “Is this it? Is this what my life is all about?” I would ponder these things for a while, and then I’d be like, “Push it aside. I got work to do.” I’m a wife, a corporate executive, and a mom. I got stuff to do so I would push it aside.
All the way through my life, I did everything that I thought I was supposed to do. It was this go to a good school, get good marks, get a good job, rise through the ranks, and I had reached this pinnacle in my career that I had worked so hard to get to. I still had this nagging feeling of dissatisfaction. As I said, I didn’t have time to deal with it because I had a busy life. In the year leading up to my 50th birthday, I found myself divorced, empty-nested, let go from my job, and bedridden with a stress-related illness to the point where I literally couldn’t get out of bed most days.
I stopped sleeping. I had ridiculous insomnia, the whole thing. Basically, everything that I had been doing in my life was now unavailable to me. Everything that had kept me busy had disappeared. First of all, I wallowed. I had a big old pity party for myself for quite a long time. I’m like, “What’s wrong with me? Everybody else’s life is all going along perfectly and I’m the one who is sitting here in shambles.” I wallowed in it for a while then I came to see that this was an opportunity for me to recreate the life that I wanted.
If I was feeling dissatisfied with where I was, what was it that was missing? I had to start asking myself some hard questions. The hardest question I had to ask myself was, “If I’m not a wife, a mother, a corporate executive, a friend, a sister, who am I?” That took a lot of deep introspection, which then led me to, “What is it that I want from my life?” After I picked myself up by my bootstraps, I started looking around for I’m like, “Where are all the incredible 50-year-old women reinventing themselves and doing all this amazing stuff in the world?”
When I started looking at it, I didn’t see too much. It reflected back to me. If you look at what’s in the media about 50-year-old women, it usually centers around things like meal replacement shakes, retirement funds, and bladder leakage protection. I was like, “All that stuff is needed, but it’s a tiny little sliver of the picture.” I still have 30 years of my life ahead of me, God willing, and I was recovering from my burnout. I’m like, “I had tons of energy and ambition. There are things that I want to do.”
I decided to start creating the inspiration that I needed that I didn’t see out there in terms of sharing other women’s stories of reinvention in midlife, and that was the genesis of the Old Chick Know Shit Podcast, coaching and mentoring, and the beginning of the community. What I realized was there were so many women who were in my shoes, and nobody was talking about it. There were a lot of women feeling dissatisfied and stuck, and nobody mentioned it.
I think that is so important because a lot of times, that is what happens. It’s like you said when you were talking about how I wasn’t seeing it anywhere because people don’t put that stuff on Facebook. Nobody is talking about that. This is about an opportunity to bring a bit yourself. I know a couple of times, I’ve had people say to me, “Patty, here’s who I’m looking for,” then they start describing it as, “Somebody who’s struggling with this or somebody who needs that.”
My question to them is, nobody is talking about that. It’s not like you’re at a networking meeting and somebody is going to stand up and say, “I am struggling. I haven’t had a new client in a year. I don’t know what I’m doing. Could you introduce me to people who might want to hire me?” That’s not happening. Everybody is out there trying to look at their absolute best, it doesn’t mean that’s what’s happening on the inside. I always like to tell people that money that is talked about on Facebook is like monopoly money.
It’s not always what’s happening there. I think people need to not get caught up in that because it feeds the beast of am I good enough? Am I worthy and stuff? That can sometimes cause a problem, and that’s where we get stuck. I know that you work a lot with women to help them to get unstuck. In our midlife, and we’re at this, it sounded like a new season. I always feel like it is a new opportunity. Like you, briefly, I had that moment too.
I was in the mortgage industry in 2008. We moved to Dallas from Las Vegas, where I was living. We all know what happened in the mortgage industry in 2008. I was like, “I moved to Dallas, Fort Worth” It is a big metroplex. I didn’t know one single person. I wasn’t in the mortgage industry anymore, so what am I going to do?” I had that pivoting moment as well, which was also me wallowing in that, and then standing up and say, “Put your big girl panties on, Patty. This is a great opportunity. You don’t know one single person.”
I think that for some people, it’s easier than others to pivot and sometimes, we’re stuck and we need help. It is amazing that that is what you do. How do you do it? When people come to you, do you have a process where you help them to realize that was your story? It doesn’t have to continue to be your story. Stop re-reading the old chapters. What are some of the ways that you work with them to get them unstuck?
One of the reasons we get stuck, and I was so guilty of this, is that we have invested a lot to get to where we are. I had invested a lot of time and energy into my career. It was so tempting to me to want to keep revisiting that same thing. Even when I started to get better, I went back into a corporate job and I was in there for probably four months before I was like, “No, this is not it.” Something had changed inside me and I was like, “This isn’t a fit. There’s something else.” We hang on to the past because we’ve invested so much. It’s what the sunk cost fallacy, they call it, where we’ve invested so much.
It’s like you said, we have to be able to look forward to the possibility. One of the things that I find with women who are stuck is that we are so busy doing for our careers, families, kids, and everything that we put ourselves last on our list. What we want to do and what our dreams and desires are, we’re often so disconnected from them that we can’t see possibility. All we see is what’s behind us and what we’ve invested in. We’re on the treadmill going and we have no way to be able to see or to tap into like, “What is the thing that’s going to light me up? What is the thing that I really want?”
The first thing that I have every woman do is to pause and spend some time in introspection. Carve out portions of your day and life where you can get quiet for a minute and think about the smallest things even. What do I want now? What’s important to me in my life? What are my values? Start writing those things down. I often encourage people to start journaling practice because it is a way to put things on paper. Getting them out of your head and putting them on paper makes it a little bit more real and tangible, and you start connecting with those parts of yourself.
Again, many of us are very disconnected from ourselves and I was that way because I didn’t even know who I was. We started that process of connection. We start to see threads of things that are important to us. Maybe causes or values that are important to us. Those then become the guideposts for where we want to go next.
I think that is so true because I feel like when we’re younger and we’re caught up in either building careers or we may also be balancing that with a family and raising children. We’re putting one foot in front of each other, trying to get closer to our goals and objectives while balancing whatever is happening. As we get a little bit older and as you said, the children leave or at least they’re old enough to be a little bit more self-sufficient, some changes may be happening. Your midlife time is giving. It can be heavy. It can also be pivotal and give you an opportunity to be able to make some changes, but a lot of times, we’re so busy doing that we’re not being.
The times when we stop doing and we’re being, we get a lot of that clarity. I think the last couple of years got to help that whether people want it to or not. They found themselves in that situation, but the reality is, whenever I catch myself being so busy that I’m hitting the wall and I’m thinking to myself, “I’m like so busy,” getting away whether it is taking a bubble bath, spending some time in nature, or whatever it is for you, being able to step away and be will help you get the clarity on maybe what some steps might be for you to take next.
Here’s the thing, in the process of raising our careers and our families and doing all the things, we mold ourselves to fit whatever situation we need to be able to get stuff done. We’re constantly molding it and adapting in order to live the life that we’re living. When we reach midlife, I call midlife the gateway to authenticity. When you reach that point in your life, you can no longer tolerate anything that isn’t fully aligned with who you are authentic. That’s where you start to get a little bit crunchy and feel those feelings of dissatisfaction.
It’s because you’re operating in a way that is not authentic to your true nature. This time of our lives, it’s true for men, but especially for women, we’re being called into a place where we see ourselves not for our bodies and how we look or our ability to raise a family and have children. We start to see ourselves for who we are as people. We start to focus on our own wants, desires, and all of the knowledge, wisdom, and experience we have collected up to this point.
Our lives are basically telling us, “What worked for you to get to here is not going to work for you to get you to the next place.” At the same time, menopause is hitting, which for a lot of people, it was like a 2x4 to the face. Things are changing. As you said, kids are leaving home. Maybe you’re not as that as satisfied in your career, but all of that is coming together as the perfect storm, and I see it now.
I didn’t see it then as the perfect storm to realign you to what’s most important to you because, at this point in our lives, we have so much to offer the world, like wisdom. As I said, knowledge and gifts. We have to be aligned with who we are authentically in order to be able to make it through into the next chapter.
When we’re younger, we think we have forever. When we were in our 20s and early 30s, we feel like, “I can sit that on the shelf. This is my purpose, but I have time for that.” Once you get in your 40s, 50s, and beyond, the fact of the matter is you can get hit by a bus even if you’re in your twenties. With that said, when we are a little bit older, we start asking ourselves, “Have I done everything I wanted to do? Have I served where I wanted to serve? What have I done?”
A lot of times, even if you have a successful career, if you do well, you do good. I think a lot of times, when you’re worried about sending your kids to college or sometimes even buying school clothes or whatever the case is, you’re not thinking about all of the nonprofits, some of the good you want to do in the world, or a lot of things how you’re going to serve with your time, money, energy, and resources. All those things, and then all of a sudden, you wake up one day, and you’re like, “I still have a lot of things I have left to do,” whether that’s traveling or starting some nonprofit as I said.
Whatever that is, we do find that we have other things, and all of a sudden, the possibilities are there and now there’s a different balance. You have a different balance because now, you’re thinking about, “Here’s what I still want to do.” You start looking at that. I don’t call it a bucket list. I call it a life list. One of my mentors, Jesse Itzler, says it’s about having a life resume. That is so important and I’m like, “How am I going to be able to do those things?” Getting unstuck is fabulous. What I love is where you said that midlife is the most powerful point in a woman’s life. Tell us a little bit about that.
I defined, and you’ve probably seen this. There’s this common definition of the cycles of a woman’s life where it goes from maiden, where it’s all about attracting your mate to create a family. There’s motherhood. It’s self-explanatory. When you see it in the traditional sense, the next thing after mother is the crone. When I think about crone, I don’t know about you, but I think about this wizard, old woman sitting on the mountain top spouting knowledge to the world before she dies. I’m thinking to myself, “There is a huge gap between when our kids leave home and we become these wizard old woman. What is that? Why is that not defined anywhere?”
I defined that period of life, and it can be 30 to 40 years. This is the longest chapter of our lives and I have termed these The Maiden Years. It’s because if you look up the dictionary definition of the word maiden, it says an expert with knowledge and wisdom to share. I was like, “Bingo. That, to me, is the perfect articulation.” Given that, we have all of this knowledge and wisdom, and experience. We have the ability to be able to turn that into whatever is our heart’s desire.
There was some work to do to get rid of old programming, get the right mindset, and step into belief because one of the problems many of us women have is we don’t believe in ourselves as much as we should. Armed with all of that, we have the power to give our gifts to the world and we’re young enough to see them come to life. In the case of the crone, she sits on the mountain top, imparts the wisdom, then leaves the planet. It’s not the case with us.
We are young enough to be able to make a change to bring things into the world and be able to see them come to fruition. How beautiful is that? I truly believe, and I see this with the women that I work with. Everything that you have experienced up to this point in your life is what you need in that next chapter. What we work on a lot is stringing together those pieces to build the picture. If somebody has a dream or a desire, as you said, to start a nonprofit or a charity, chances are, whatever things that she’s done in her past are valuable and transferable to what it is that she needs to do next. You just need to be able to create the plan for her and help her see the plan in a much different way.
I think a lot of times, we don’t realize that we’re manifesting it in our intuition or whatever the case may be. I know for me, my clients, and a lot of my friends is the skillsets. When we’re younger, we acquire them. We don’t even realize at that time how much of those skillsets we’re going to put into play into our passion and purpose that may come along later. None of that but what you were passionate about when you were younger. What I was passionate about and the purpose I felt like I was called to serve did change as I got older. As I got older, I realized not the core value of it but the way I was going to do it. It changed.
I have said I don’t know how many times, “Everything that I have experienced, good, bad, and ugly, literally came together for me to where I am now.” It’s because of those things that we experience. Everything from getting on the stage when I speak is never about us. It’s always about them, like who is our audience? Who is reserving? If that’s the case, everything that we experience is that we are going to be able to share. I can’t even tell you how many times my coach would say to me. I can think of 3 or 4 times off the top of my head, which I won’t share, but I would say, “This what’s happening,” and I’d be in the middle of it.
She always had the same saying. She would say, “That’s going to be a great story from the stage someday,” but I didn’t want to hear it at that time. At the moment, I couldn’t share it or didn’t want to share it but time happens. All of a sudden, when you look back, you’re like, “I learned some important lessons there.” Now you can share those.
People do want to hear how did you navigate that? When somebody is hiring you, they’re not hiring you because you’re this or that. They’re hiring you because of what are the results they think that they are going to get if they hire you. It’s your experience. If your life has been perfect, that looks great on Facebook, and the reality is it hasn’t always been perfect. Nobody has a perfect life. It’s those shared experiences that make people relate to you and know whether you’re their person. I think that when you’re in it, you don’t always see it. As we get older, we mellow and understand when this or that happened, this is what I learned. If I’ve shared that, maybe somebody else wouldn’t have to do it.
That reminds me that I’m a huge proponent of visualization. Visualizing what it is that you want and putting yourself in that place. It’s part of my everyday life and what I work with my clients on it. I do this technique. It’s what I call The Fast-Forward Technique. It’s funny because I used to do this incorporate when I would run teams. We had a project and we would come up against an obstacle, or things weren’t going the way that we wanted them to go. I would say, “Picture ourselves in the future.” To my corporate teams, I’d say, “We’re in the bar and having a drink. The project is done. We’ve successfully delivered it. Tell me a story of how we overcame or how we got from here to there.”
They would often talk about their struggles. We did this and this but then we overcame that struggle. It’s the same thing I do with my clients now. It’s like, “What is it that you want to do? Picture yourself there. Fast forward to that place and be in that place.” When they get to that place, over a period of time, the steps that they need to do to get there automatically appear to them. They fall into place.
That’s probably one of the most powerful tools for getting unstuck. The vision can start with the tiniest little thing. If you have a blank slate in front of you and you want an extra ten minutes to have coffee every morning. Picture yourself with those extra ten minutes to have coffee every morning. Start there. When you get into the practice of visualization, it grows, and the steps that you need to get to that place will unfold in front of you. It’s magic.
I love how you’re sharing that. That is fabulous. One of the things that I have done is a lot of people talk about vision boards. They’re great. I have created a new way because I’m very visual. On my Pinterest in a secret board, I put all this stuff on that secret board. Every day, before I get on a call or going to do a presentation while I’m having coffee, I pull up that board. It has all stuff like affirmations and all kinds of things that are in there. When I look at them, I feel so empowered.
It makes me feel so good, even the things that I have done. I like having before and after. I even have things on there that represent things that I’ve overcome because that makes me feel good. It makes me feel good that when things are happening, it’s like, “Patty, you have overcome so much worse. Get out of your head.” That has helped me, so I love that, which leads beautifully into the gift that you have for everyone and this great guide, Five Ways To Get Unstuck and Create your Kick-Ass Next Chapter. Tell us a little bit about that.
When I am speaking to women like in summits, on stages, or whatever and I start telling my story, I literally see them resonating with parts of it. Sometimes, for the first time, they’re admitting to themselves, “I feel that way too. I didn’t want to say it.” I wanted to summarize basically the process that I talk about, which is, first of all, connecting to yourself. It’s so critically important to be connected with who we are. To stop doing it, we talked about to-be for a second.
If there is one step, the most important one in the process of visualizing, getting clear on who you are and what you want, and creating a visualization of that. It’s all well and great, but we know that fear limiting beliefs, all of that stuff comes to play. You go to take that big step, and your brain is going to tell you the fifteen reasons why you’re not good enough and why it can’t be done. What I talk about in that guide is also how you hack your brain to get past that.
Taking a page out of James Clear’s book, I don’t know if you’ve read it, Atomic Habits. Basically, what you’re doing is taking the tiniest possible step that you can imagine in the direction of the thing that you want. An example of that is I’m trying to get back into yoga. Me and yoga have a bit of a disagreement. We’re not always aligned. Using that as taking the tiniest step. Some days, my tiny step is literally to roll out my mat and stand on it for five minutes.
Mine is meditation. I have such a love-hate relationship with meditation. I struggle with it. I get more done on my to-do list when I’m meditating, but that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.
That was me before this. I’ve been making mental lists about this, that, and the other thing. Here’s the thing that happens. When I’ve rolled out the mat and I’m standing there for five minutes, I will inevitably be like, “I can do one downward dog. I can totally do that,” then the 5 minutes turn into 15 minutes. I’ve done way more than I thought it was even possible before I started. We tend to have this all-or-nothing mentality. I’m either here or I’m there. The reality is that any big change in life is made up of teeny tiny little steps along the way, and we build on those steps over time.
That is so true. Think about exercise. Nobody says, “I want to run 5 miles or I want to run 3 miles. I’m going to do these many sit-ups,” or whatever the case may be. Start with one.
The same thing with meditation. When I first started meditating, and I say this to my clients now, “I don’t even want you to meditate. I literally want you to sit still for two minutes and observe around you. Do three minutes the next day, and this time, focus on your breath.” It’s training your brain and body because as soon as you start to do something different, your brain goes, “No, back to regular programming.”
When I sit down to meditate, sometimes my brain is the most active it’s ever been. It’s throwing all the thoughts at me, all the things on my to-do list and everything. Now, I can sit and witness it, and be like, “I see you. I know what we’re doing, but we’re going to sit for the next minute,” then the next minute turns into the next minute. Eventually, over time, it quietens down because it’s the same thing. Meditation is a practice and they call it a practice for a reason.
As a speaker, I went back and listened to my first speech, and the information was good. My delivery is not so much, so I practice. You don’t become an expert without practice. I totally get that. In this guide, you have five ways, which I love. We’re at one of my favorite portions of the show, where I turn the mic over to my guest. This is where we ask you to share, but you have shared so much already. If you had to narrow it to one, what would be your number one marketing media or money strategies?
I’m a huge believer in the power of community, so the number one is the energetic power of community. You are finding a group of like-minded people who are on the same journey as you for accountability, first of all, support, and people who can call you on your BS when you’re stalling all of that. Finding those groups of people who understand you and where you’re going is probably the most important thing that you can do.
Whether it’s joining a mastermind or a Facebook group, finding another person who’s starting a business, it might not be exactly the same as yours or writing a book. Find another person who understands what you’re going through so that you can get that support that you need because it can be a very lonely journey when you’re starting out on something if you’re changing careers.
One of the things that I did when I started on this journey was I had coffee dates with as many different people as I could possibly think of from all different walks of life. Being in the corporate world for 30 years, my contacts were little imitations of me. I was like, “There’s got to be other people doing other things.” I went on these coffee dates to hear their stories. How did they get to where they got to? What do they love about it? What did they not love about it?
Having those conversations opened up the possibility. Creating whatever community or support you have around the thing that you’re stuck on or you’re trying to move towards is, in my mind, critically important for success. If it’s left up to you, it’s easy for your brain to hijack you and kill the whole thing before it’s even started.
That is so true. I feel like a lot of times, it’s not that we need coaches. Coaches have coaches but we also need mentors. When we’re talking about mentorship, that could be a book. It could be a podcast. Those things are wonderful, but nothing replaces being in a group with other people who get you. When you have a mentor, I always tell my clients, “It’s not about doing what they do. It’s about thinking like they think.” It’s about opening that up so that you learn how to think a little bit differently and not always think like you have always thought that is how it had to be. Jennifer, how can people get ahold of you? I know they’re going to want to. Do you have a website where they can go? I’m sure all your social media is on your website.
I hang out on Facebook and Instagram as Old Chicks Know Shit. I also have a Facebook Group and there’s also the podcast. It’s all the same names. If you type it in on the interwebs, you will find me. I also have a mastermind group. It’s a small intimate group of women who are basically creating their kick-ass next chapters together. Find out all of the information about that on my website, which is OldChicksKnowShit.com.
She shared so much stuff, so make sure that you go and grab her free guide. It’s always nice with people have a gift. Thank you so much for being here with me. I have to tell you. We could talk for so long about this. I may have to have me back again, but this is a great topic. I think it is so important now and something that women aren’t talking about for whatever reason. They don’t always want to share. It is important for them to know that you’re not alone.
You’re not by yourself. You don’t need to stay stuck. Thank you so much for being here with me. To the audience, thank you so much for showing up week after week and being here with us while we talk and have conversations with some of the most amazing industry experts and global influencers. While we’re saying thank you, the show is sponsored by Meg Schmitz, Founder of Take the Leap Franchise Consulting company.
The franchise industry is booming as people look to diversify their income streams with essential businesses without having to quit their day job. To learn more, schedule a call, go to www.MegSchmitz.com. The conversation is free but the insights are priceless. We are so thankful to have her as a sponsor. Thank you so much for being here on the show. If you enjoyed this episode and I’m sure you did, please subscribe and review the show on your favorite platform. We will see you again next week.