Sherill Calhoun

Sherill CalhounIt’s always a little intimidating to talk about yourself…especially to people that you have never really met or made a trusting connection with yet.  But I will turn 62 in February of 2014 and the more “seasoned” I grow, the more fearless I seem to become.  I have also learned that being my authentic self is not merely liberating, but absolutely critical to inviting the “tribe” into my world that I so genuinely want to live out the remainder of my life on this planet with.

I grew up in a middle class, loving home in a small rural town in California.  I have only one younger brother, but due to the size of my father’s family and my mother’s extended family, life in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were pretty darn good.  We always had plenty to eat and a warm bed to find comfort in at night.  My father was the wage earner and my mother was a dutiful homemaker.

I always loved school…and my teachers loved me.  I wanted to learn and looked forward with great anticipation to each new school year.  As the years have passed, that yearning to unlock knowledge has never left me.

My parents taught me the value of work early in life.  I was responsible for family chores and at the age of 15-1/2 headed to a part-time job after school to help supplement my fashion habit.  My mother had always made all of my clothing until I reached the age to legally apply for wages.  She told me that because I had chosen not to learn to sew, I needed to buy my own clothing from thereon.  I never thought of that ultimatum as punishment, but rather an opportunity to have things based on my own purchasing power.

Upon graduation from high school, I moved to San Francisco where I went to school and worked part-time with Bank of America…a job I thought would only be temporary until I graduated.  But it was during this timeframe that I became enchanted with Corporate America and the glamour of being a woman who just might break the ever daunting “glass ceiling”.

I worked in various capacities over the next 30 years with several banks as a result of deregulation in the 80’s and the onslaught of mergers and acquisitions that took place during that time.  I earned academic degrees; completed numerous courses and certifications; and devoted countless woman hours to proving my professional worth, only to be disappointed by the titles that were granted without financial compensation or at least the compensation that was being paid to my male counterparts for the same responsibilities.

In 1998, I finally realized that the frustration that I harbored about feeling underpaid had nothing really to do with the men that I called my supervisors (I really hate the word “boss”).  Oh sure, they could have paid me more, but what had never really dawned on me was that my worth was being determined not by them, but by me!  I still had a choice.  I could keep trying to prove myself and hope someone paid attention, or I could change the direction of my life’s work.

So in 1998, pragmatic me launched a direct sales business in skin care as an independent contractor!  All of the men that I had worked with, supervised, or worked for thought I was nuts and I must admit I was both excited and freakin’ scared, but something inside me said that it was time to turn a new page in my life’s story.  The first year after leaving the banking industry was really hard both emotionally and financially.  My whole identity was in being a respected banking executive.  I relished in having the phone ring constantly for my expertise and felt needed by my clients and employees.  Now, it was just me leading me and the only calls I was receiving were from my husband and my kids!

I tell you all those details to say this…along the way I have experienced many bitter-sweet lessons; both in life and work.  However, I believe that what I have learned that will remain my guiding light is that my worth and identity as a woman are not based in a career, a job, a profession.  Those are just things to occupy time and space in the process of becoming the person I was created to be.  I was always screaming inside to do more, accomplish more, make a real difference, but remained relegated to the idea that I had to wait until it was my turn.

Well today, because of the decision I made in 1998, my time has arrived and the most exciting pages of my life story are now being written.  My “boomer” skills, intuition, experience, and gutsy nature are my tools and my tribe and I are celebrating the journey together.

I invite you to join me as I share tips on how to build a business in the second half of your life that will make you wonder why we have never met before now!