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Second Breaks

Author: Lou Blaser

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A show about thriving — and being our best — in our middle years. This podcast helps you feel better, do better, and be better in your 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond by exploring what other midlifers have already figured out. Hosted by Lou Blaser.
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In this bonus episode, I share my plans and goals for the podcast for the year. FOOTNOTES:Connect with Lou Blaser on LinkedIn.Subscribe to Midlife Cues, a weekly newsletter about intentional living in midlife. 
Contrary to popular opinion, wisdom does not come with age.It is the act of sitting down and reflecting on our own experiences that creates wisdom. And one powerful exercise we can do to capture that wisdom is to reflect on the lessons we're taking away from our experiences in the past year.Before you get too busy with your 2023 goals and plans, take a pause to consider the lessons you learned from last year. A slight variation to this is to ask what you learned ABOUT yourself last year.In this bonus episode, I share the five lessons I learned and am taking with me into the new year. Footnotes:Connect with Lou Blaser on LinkedIn.Subscribe to Midlife Cues, a weekly newsletter about intentional living in midlife. 
Have you ever looked back and considered how different you are today from the 20-year-old version of yourself?This is a question that I ask all my guests on the podcast. And I’m always blown away by the thoughtfulness of their answers.In this short bonus episode, I’ve compiled the responses of my guests this year so you can listen to all of their thoughts back to back.I’ve found myself in their words. I’ve found so much strength and inspiration as well.And I think you’ll feel the same way.Oh, and I’ll share my own answer to this question as well. Footnotes:Connect with Lou Blaser on LinkedIn.Subscribe to Midlife Cues, the newsletter about intentional living in midlife.
Many of us conduct some kind of a year-end review process sometime in December.My process has evolved a lot over the years, but I’ve been sitting down to do an annual review religiously since my corporate years.I’m always looking for ways to keep my process relevant to wherever I am in life. I also work to spice it up so things don’t get boring and I can look forward to the exercise toward the end of December.During the last few years, I’ve picked up a handful of new questions that aren’t the usual kind you frequently hear about. And these have added a new dimension to my assessment of how my year went.If your year-end review process has gotten stale or a bit ho-hum,  consider adding these to change things up.For the written version of this episode and all the links, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
A singular event rarely transforms a person. True transformation occurs over time and usually, after a series of events that shakes one's world view. ABOUT MY GUEST:Vivek Chakrabortty is the CEO and Founder of The Kavi Group, a crisis management and business continuity consulting firm that supports some of the largest firms in the world today. He is a husband and a father to 3 young adults. You’ll hear him say later that home is wherever his family is, so let me just say, today, he and his family reside in Florida. IN THIS EPISODE: How Vivek slowly but surely, discarded the rule books and constructs that he had previously lived his life by; The philosophies — or his North and South stars — that guide his work and life; How these philosophies show up in his work and his parenting style; What he views as his responsibility is to his employees; How his ambition expresses itself today (versus how it was 20 years ago). For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
I’ve come to regard midlife as a kind of fresh start or rather, we can choose to approach it as a fresh start.This is a time in our lives when we can pause and really review where we are and think about how we want the second half of our lives to work out, and then really refocus our energy toward that. For many of us, that means choosing to change areas of our life.Sadly, as much as the vision of our future can be exciting, many of us would rather look away from that vision because we’re not willing to go through the pain of rocking our world as it exists today.In this episode, I bring you the story of Lori Saitz who did not look away and went through a major life makeover of her own making.ABOUT MY GUEST: Lori Saitz is the Founder of Zen Rabbit and host of the podcast “Fine is a 4-Letter Word.” She’s an award-winning writer, speaker, and broadcaster. She guides business professionals who are finished living in a dumpster fire, to a place of unprecedented clarity, peace, and productivity. Using a collaborative approach, she teaches people to be grounded and centered, which leads to improved relationships, increased sales, and better overall health.IN THIS EPISODE: Why Lori says “fine” is a 4-letter word. The thing about commiserating with friends. Why our friends may not always like the changes we’re making in our lives. The question we should really stop asking others. And how to respond when we do get asked that question! For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
We've all avoided having an important conversation because of fear. Often, we do so because we don’t have the tools — we don’t know where and how to begin. We don’t have the words or the vocabulary to discuss an important topic. Sometimes, it’s because we’ve been burned in the past when a difficult conversation went awry.I also feel like the older I get, the need to have these difficult or sensitive conversations aren’t decreasing. They feel like they’re multiplying!And just because we’re older doesn’t mean we’ve mastered the art of conducting difficult conversations. Sure, we have loads of experience under our belt. And some of us really have done massive work on this and have some tools to help navigate the fear in difficult conversations.But we can always use more tools in this space.ABOUT MY GUEST: Nancy Burger is a communications strategist and coach who guides executives and teams to foster emotionally healthy cultures. A certified leadership coach, author, and seasoned researcher, Nancy brings her 10+ years of communications expertise and research in psychology to elevate workplace connections. Nancy also delivers workshops and talks to universities, leadership organizations, and networking groups, all with the aim of cultivating clear, effective, and productive communication dynamics.In this episode, Nancy and I peel back the curtain and explore the challenge many of us face when having difficult conversations.IN THIS EPISODE: How fear complicates difficult conversations Why we don’t always catch the fear-based thoughts that are driving our decisions and actions Setting the expectations of ourselves going into sensitive conversations How to prepare for these sensitive conversations For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
While I have pursued many “big” projects and taken on risks head-on, there are still many things that I hold myself back from because of fear. Sometimes, it’s because I don’t feel ready. The worst is when I hesitate because “who do I think I am that I could pull this thing off?”Recently, a good friend did one of these challenging public-facing projects. I had front-row seats and witnessed her move from idea to full execution and was so impressed that I asked her to chat about it when it was overI wanted to learn from her experience, not so much the technical “how did you do it”. Rather, it was more about the mental and emotional “how did you do it” aspects of it.If there’s a project you’re thinking of undertaking and you’re somewhat paralyzed with fear or wondering if you have what it takes or why in the world you even think you can do it, this episode is for you.ABOUT MY GUEST:Yvonne Marchese is a photographer and the host of the Late Bloomer Living Podcast. Early this year, she hosted the Midlife Uprising Summit – a gathering of women committed to busting through their Midlife Funk and rocking the next chapter of life.The summit consisted of 30 speakers and was attended by over 300 participants. Today, she has transitioned that initial gathering to a community of midlife women who continue to inspire and cheer each other on, share stories and take bold action together.In this conversation, Yvonne and I deconstructed her experience – from the initial seed of an idea to the finish line. We talked about some of the challenges she faced, where and how she got support, and some of her lessons learned.For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
If I were ever granted a do-over, one thing I would do differently is to take my well-being seriously.Sadly, my well-being did not show up on my list of priorities when I was in my 20s, 30s, or even early 40s. In fact, I had previously confessed that the stupidest thing I ever said was, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.Thankfully, some level of wisdom prevailed and I no longer think that way. Somewhere along the way, I learned the importance of self-care and about putting my well-being on my list of prioritiesThat’s why I’m so excited to host this conversation with Ellen Kocher and Dominique Ben Dhaou here on the podcast.Ellen and Dominique are the powerhouse duo behind Wake-Up, Shake Up, Thrive and the co-authors of the book, “Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive! How to Lift Up your Life in Your 50’s and Beyond”Ellen and Dominique met at a conference where Dominique was a featured speaker. They hit it off, with their mutual love of good food and fine wine, and most importantly, their passion for supporting individuals and organizations to conquer age 50+ demographic challenges.In this episode, Dominique and Ellen gave me a preview of their book and walked me through the five dimensions of well-being in midlife and beyond.ABOUT MY GUESTS:Dominique Ben Dhaou is a Swiss National who has been working in Human Resources leadership roles in international organizations for over 30 years. She has experience in 12 different industries across continents. As the Founder and Managing Director of PointNorth International, she helps professionals and executives reinvent a career that truly fits their experience, values, skills and purpose. Her passion for untapped potential goes far beyond conventional human resources practices.Dominique's co-founder for Wake Up, Shake Up, Thrive is Ellen Kocher. Ellen completed her undergraduate work in Economics and Finance and began her career as a Management Consultant. As a seasoned executive and senior manager, she faced the challenges of a busy working lifestyle, sprinting between responsibilities, deadlines, and travel. In 2003, Ellen decided to slow down her hectic job to care for her three children, giving her the opportunity to reassess her career-driven lifestyle. She lost weight and discovered her best new self through nutrition and lifestyle change. DISCUSSED IN THIS EPISODE: Why it’s important to think of these dimensions as gears The five dimensions of well-being: physical, emotional, intellectual, financial and spiritual Quick actionable steps to incorporate these dimensions into our lives today Why it’s literally “never too late” to start For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
In "Life is in the Transitions," Bruce Feiler writes about life quakes — those times in our lives when we have a massive burst of change that lead to a period of upheaval, transition, and renewal.Following the extensive research he conducted, Feiler concluded that, on average, we go through three to five of these events in our lives. And the average length of a life quake is 5 years.What happened to Karen Randall is one of those life quakes that Feiler was talking about. A huge change event made up of a series of events that touched all areas of her life and pushed her to redefine her self-image.Karen is a transition life coach. She helps people in midlife who have experienced a significant life event that has left them wondering who they are to create and manifest a life that is full of Purpose, Meaning, Passion and Joy. She is multi-passionate and is also an Energy Psychologist, Creative Arts Facilitator, college professor, yoga teacher, and recovering CPA.In this conversation, Karen walks us through the series of events that overhauled her life. We go into the many challenges that she faced during that time.I often say that reinventions are not always “easy and smooth” the way they are portrayed in social media. One of the things I really appreciate about this conversation is that Karen talks about the “messy” parts. We talk about how she coped, what help she received, and how she got herself to the other side.For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
As we get older, there's a tendency to recognize fewer and fewer personal milestones.As my guest, Dara Goldberg, pointed out, "It's as though once we hit midlife, all growth has stopped." But by not marking and celebrating milestones, we are, in effect, supporting the prevailing narrative out there that we disappear as we age, that it’s all downhill from here, and that everything good is in our past — all these narratives that, of course, we are rebelling against.We are inadvertently helping keep those narratives alive by not marking, not celebrating, and not even talking about our milestones.We have a chance and a role to play here, so we can change that. ABOUT MY GUEST:Dara Goldberg is a proud middle-aged entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and Founder of the Lovin’ Midlife Movement for Women. She’s known for her passion and work to dispel the misconceptions about women’s experience of midlife and beyond.She’s also well known for her work with pro-age beauty brands to get the rest of the beauty industry to stop pushing the false notion that a woman’s beauty declines with age and has an expiration date.In this episode, Dara explains what milestones she is specifically referring to, the difference between event milestones and developmental or growth-based milestones, and how we can support ourselves and others as we get older in celebrating our milestones.This was such an eye-opening conversation for me, and I know you will find it insightful as well.For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
We’ve all heard about stories. Storytelling is having its heyday. Everyone is invoking the word so much so that it’s beginning to lose its meaning which is what happens when everyone and their uncles use it in every conceivable way.But the way Ronna Detrick talks about our stories — those stories that have shaped our lives — is in a different category altogether.Ronna is a coach, writer, and speaker who focuses on the stories that have shaped women’s lives. She helps women reimagine our stories and tell them in ways that invite beauty, wisdom, and the sovereignty that we desire and deserve.Ronna says it’s not the stories per se but the way the stories have been told to us that have had a profound impact on our individual lives and in women’s lives collectively.Stories like Eve, Cinderella, or Snow White. And, of course, yes, the stories that are more unique to our family of origin.In this episode, Ronna dissects these stories and decodes what about them have such profound impact, how we can begin to recognize and hear how they show up in our lives today, and what we can do to begin the process of reframing and reclaiming our stories.IN THIS EPISODE: How stories passed down from generation to generation, like Eve and Cinderella, have profoundly shaped our lives today How to “listen” to the underlying story The way the story is told versus the story itself Why reframing works How we can begin to reimagine and retell our stories For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
Most of the time, we try to plan for change rationally and meticulously. We think about what we want to do, where we want to go or end up, and how we want to go there. But there’s something to be said about serendipity. For opening ourselves to discovering a path we didn’t even know was a possibility. For holding plans loosely and setting a different intention than simply to arrive at our original destination. My guest, Diane Diaz, did a version of this when she was laid off from her job in 2008, along with thousands of others who found themselves without a job due to the financial crisis. She already knew — before being laid off — that she wasn’t happy with her career. But it was a stable job with a stable income, so she didn’t rock the boat. Well, the boat was rocked for her, as it were. And when she was laid off, she took it as a “blessing in disguise”. But the interesting step she took after that was the equivalent of going to the train station and seeing what trains were available. Serendipity stepped in, and she found herself a new career, learning new skills and discovering a few things about herself she didn’t know about.If you’re thinking of making any kind of change in your life, this conversation will inspire you and maybe even help you find some courage to go with the unknown to find what’s truly possible.For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
Those of us who are parents will be familiar with the mélange of emotions that comes when it’s time for the kids to leave the nest — whether that’s to college or to begin their adult life away from us.In this episode, I talk with transitions life coach Karen Herbert to explore how parents can best manage themselves during some of the most challenging feelings of empty nesters, and most importantly, how to focus on the most important thing — the relationship they have with their young adult kids.IN THIS EPISODE: How to manage the many different emotions and feelings that you may be going through during this period The most important objective or goal parents should have, particularly as they guide their children to young adulthood How best to continue to be in your children’s lives even as they leave the nest and go on their own The two things young adults hate the most from their parents and how you can avoid these traps For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
The idea of seeking and getting help has become more acceptable in society, in general. More people today are open to talking about their experiences. And the stigma for getting professional help has greatly been diminished, if not entirely eliminated.There has been an explosion in the field of coaching over the last few years. And the result of all these newly-minted coaches is that getting coached, in all aspects of life is now relatively accessible for more people. So, the upshot is professional help is more accessible, and more people are getting help. If there’s an area in your life that you are having difficulty with, chances are, you’ll be able to find someone who can help you address or overcome the issues.The challenge with more options is that we now must decide what kind of help we need. Who do we see for what kind of problem? How do we select, and what can we expect from the experience?All that is the subject of today’s episode and to help me understand the landscape, I’ve invited Nicole Lewis-Keeber who is just the perfect person to chat with about these things!Nicole is in a unique position to shed some light here because she is a licensed clinical social worker - who worked for many years as a therapist. Then, she went on to get different kinds of coach training and became a mindset coach. So today, she is both! Although she’s directed her professional work toward the business landscape and her clients call her the “business therapist”.IN THIS EPISODE: How therapy differs from coaching What kind of help you can expect from a therapist vs a life coach The intersection of life coaching and business coaching, and where the lines get blurred The limits within these fields Nicole’s tips for selecting the right professional help For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
Change, as we all know, is the one thing that’s constant in our lives. Fellow midlifers will likely agree with me that change doesn’t stop when we reach midlife. If anything, it feels as if we’re dealing with change all the time.Some of these changes we deliberately introduce into our lives, such as when we intentionally change our lifestyle or eating habits, for example. Many of the changes are externally driven. But often,  we know about these ahead of time such that we can plan and ease into the changes over time.But sometimes, the changes are sudden. Or they happen sooner than we thought, and we are caught unprepared. What do we do then? That’s what I talk about in this episode.For the full show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
We are at the tail end of this series of episodes where we’ve been looking into the topic of Un-retirement. And to close the series, I invited my friend Mary Beth Simon, whose post-retirement plans you heard about in a previous episode.I sat down with Mary Beth to chat and compare notes about life post-retirement. Since both of us did end up starting small businesses of our own, we talked a little bit about the experience of launching our businesses. But most of the time, we were talking about the kind of people we’ve become after we left our corporate life.ABOUT MY GUESTAfter 30+ years in corporate financial services, Mary Beth Simon now uses her strategic talents as a keynote speaker and to coach entrepreneurs and individuals on creating their contingency plans to empower their second-in-command to keep business and life flowing smoothly in an emergency.Mary Beth founded Niche Partnership Consulting because her clients’ transformations inspire her. She believes that the combination of continuous learning, growth, and change is the fountain of youth and recently became a certified Les Mills BodyFlow instructor.In this episode, Mary Beth and I compared notes about how life after our corporate jobs “matched up” with our plans, the personal changes we’ve gone through since we’ve left the structured life of corporate America, and Mary Beth’s plans for the future.For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
Many midlifers plan on starting a business post-retirement. Starting a business of any kind is always going to be a climb. There’s usually a significant learning curve involved. And when you’ve been an employee most of your life (and don’t have any business experience) this learning curve can be even steeper.I say this not to discourage anyone but to highlight the importance of doing our homework and walking into this new adventure with eyes wide open — even if the thing we want to do are the stuff of our dreams!Converting those dreams into reality requires research and planning so that the dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare.ABOUT MY GUEST:Diane Tarshis is the Founder and Principal of Startup Distillery, a global consulting firm that has been helping entrepreneurs launch successful businesses and secure funding for more than 20 years.She works with clients who want to reduce their overall risk and compress their startup timeline so they don’t waste time when it comes to replacing their income. It’s about getting it right from the start.IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL LEARN: Why preparing a business plan is REALLY important, regardless of business type Different kinds of business plans (it doesn’t have to be a 30-page document!) The most important form of research you can do (and it’s free!) Key questions that you want to be able to answer in your business planning For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
This episode is part of the special series on Un-Retirement.Damion Lupo is a bestselling author in personal finance and money thinking, host of the Financial Underdogs podcast, owner of 30+ companies, and founder of his own martial art – Yokido®.If there was one thing I remembered about our conversation, it was that Damion explained why he hated the word retirement. As I revisit this episode now, in the context of the Un-retirement series, I see how it’s even more relevant than ever and his points even more urgent for us midlifers to consider.In this episode, Damion and I talked about the problem with the traditional retirement mindset, what wealth is and isn’t, and the idea of “booking it” or how not to postpone doing things until someday when we retire.For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
This episode is part of the special series on Un-Retirement.Autumn Witt Boyd is an award-winning intellectual property lawyer who works with online business owners to protect their brand, content, and business.When it comes to intellectual property and business strategies, Autumn is known as a thought leader in the online business community. She speaks frequently at conferences, seminars, and workshops and appears as a guest on podcasts hosted by other experts and business owners.In this episode from the vault, Autumn gives tip after fabulous tip about the basic things we need to implement and consider when we're starting a new business. Especially for folks retiring from their corporate careers, this episode is an essential primer for any post-retirement business they may want to begin.For all the links and show notes, head on over to http://secondbreaks.com
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Comments (1)

Daniella Datskovska

Lou Blaser, you should be soon proud of yourself, 9 podcasts with such insightful, motivational and professional yet personable information. Thank you and I am waiting for more.

Jul 13th
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