“I am continually amazed to discover how hard some people work to make their lives extraordinary. Yet, no matter how much they have accomplished or how good they feel about themselves, there is almost always one area of their lives where they feel powerless to create their next level of success. When we examine this area, we undoubtedly find one or more excuses—excuses that have more power than their commitment to their stated goal.”
Notice, that these excuses are practically automatic. They require no thinking or creativity. Everybody has them and uses them and pretends that they are rendered powerless by them. Some of these excuses are obvious, and others so subtle it takes a keen eye to expose them.
Some scream their limiting messages loud enough for all to hear; others whisper quietly in their ears: “It’s not my fault.” “I couldn’t help it.” “My family needed me.” “I need so-and-so to do their part before I can do mine.” “I can’t do it.” “I don’t have enough money.” “I’m too stressed out.” “I have a headache.” “Business is bad all over.” “I’ll do it next week.” “I’ll start tomorrow.”
Excuses like these are the proverbial back door people leave open if the pursuit of their goals is more demanding than they anticipated. Basically, they’ve already decided that they want a time-out. It’s literally an attempt to “excuse” themselves from fulfilling their objectives and behaving like the responsible, powerful, creative human beings that they are.
Excuses transfer all of their inner power to outer circumstances stripping away their ability to create results. It sabotages their dreams for the future and keeps them tethered to the past. If allowed to camouflage as the truth, these excuses can penetrate the best-laid plans and rob everybody of having a life they love.
Pirie added, “Think back to a time you produced breakthrough results—whether, in your personal life or career, you will likely find your success was won because you didn’t allow yourself to use the excuses that had stopped you in the past. You might have seen them and were perhaps momentarily seduced by them, but ultimately, you chose not to use them.
You consciously or unconsciously declared that area of your life as an “excuse-free” zone. While you may have had moments when your progress was halted by your excuses, in the end, you remained more committed to your vision than to your reasons, excuses, and justifications.
Take that deep dive; you’ll see that having a current picture of your life—one that profoundly inspires you right here and now is the best antidote to the chronic use and sea of excuses.” By taking the action steps below, prepare for the energy surge that will soon follow.
She continued, “I challenge you to take on the area of your life where you’re not making progress and identify the top five excuses you use to justify your current reality. Remind yourself at every moment, you have a choice to align with your grandest vision for your life or to align with your excuses. Then stand tall, take back your power, and consciously claim this area of your life as an ‘excuse free’ zone.”
“What is your vision?” Define it. “Is it tied to your sense of purpose?” Define that as well. The first step encourages the person to visualize themselves pursuing and achieving both their vision and purpose.
HOW TO ACHIEVE THAT VISION
“Listen and trust your intuition. It will guide you step-by-step on what you need to do to fulfill your vision. Express gratitude for your intuition”. Ritualize habits. “Reframe how you think about achievement”. Achievements can arrive slowly or suddenly, but if one has made a decisive move towards accomplishing that vision through adopting their future mindset, then they’re on their way to the ‘excuse-free zone’.
CLEARING LIMITING BELIEFS
This is not easy, but it can be if one is willing to be truthful with oneself. People have learned their belief system as a young child, then they did their best to create their life experiences to align with that belief system.
“Have you ever wondered why you’re getting the same result as an adult as you did as a child? The limiting beliefs you’ve held onto for so long haven’t served you—time to identify them, acknowledge that they are not truths, and bid them adieu.”
Regardless of the beliefs that one carries from childhood or adulthood that can include lack of education, career failure, divorce, or trauma, still, everybody is capable of change.
Now putting that into action, one must begin by making a list of those limiting beliefs and choose to release them. Now make another list that includes a concrete approach and action steps to achieve one’s vision. Live without excuses on that list.
CREATING A NEW MINDSET
Take a breath. Now believe that what was written on that second list is the outcome.
Here’s an example: “If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own business, will you take the necessary steps to move forward by researching and gaining more knowledge through business programs and coaches? Or will you avoid doing the work and fall back on your limiting beliefs and excuses that ‘It’s too hard’ or ‘I’m not ready yet.’
LIVING AN EXCUSE-FREE LIFE
Confronting excuses that one has relied on can quickly bring up frustration and irritation. This is understandable since they’re breaking up old psychological patterns, so everybody must be gentle with themselves as they step into new emotional territory. They must keep in mind that the alternative to an excuse is a beautiful opportunity.
Truly the difference between an extraordinary person and an ordinary one is not about their wealth. It’s about whether or not they will let themselves get eaten up with their excuses or take the step to push themselves through all their adversaries and reach their goal.
“Let me ask you when was the last time that you’ve really opened up to someone?” Or, “Experienced being vulnerable and exposing the deepest and darkest parts of your soul? “ Guess, only a few people experienced what most people didn’t. Now, “what if I told you that you can be healed in a soul-centered approach? Clearing away those past traumas and gaining the confidence to own the throne of your life, once and for all”.
If this sounds interesting and would want to have this one-of-a-kind experience, then Pirie Jones Grossman is the right person to help.
Pirie Jones Grossman is a certified Life Coach, TEDx speaker, influencer, best-selling author, and co-founder and co-host of the hit podcast, “Own Your Throne.” She has shared the stage with Deepak Chopra, Elisabeth Gilbert, Marianne Williamson, Kris Carr, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. And she recently became the #1 Life Empowerment Coach by Yahoo! Finance.
Pirie primarily coaches women on self-esteem, helping them to reignite the second chapter of their lives. Aside from that, she is also a frequent contributor for Thrive Global, Huffington Post, and Authority Magazine. Having spent part of her life in TV, as a former TV host for E! Entertainment Television, Fox Television, NBC, CBS, and ABC. And more importantly, she served as the Co-Chair for the Special Olympics International World Winter Games in Idaho and spoke at the UN about the Special Olympics.
Not only that, but Pirie is also the founder of “Love is Louder” together with suicide survivor Kevin Hines. It is a brain health summit focusing on teenage depression and suicide, which resulted in her TEDx talk entitled, “How to Heal a Community from Suicide”.
Pirie currently lives in Sun Valley, Idaho, where she has spent over a decade as a board member of the Sun Valley Wellness Institute. She got her Master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica in California and has a private Life Empowerment coaching practice.
After more than 20 years of spending her life in front of the camera, she now focuses her energy on helping others through her work. Through her practice, she helps hundreds of businesswomen, CEOs, celebrities, and moms who recently went through divorce, retirement, women who are successful but are not happy, essentially people who are looking for their purpose – she helps them to reinvent their lives and owning their throne with these 5 powerful steps:
The first step is to look for “your vision”. As Pirie described, “Give yourself something to look forward to in the future. Look for something that sparks your interest.” Maybe, it could be that dream that they thought they could never reach or their bucket list that was left tucked away in the corner, never being touched.
HOW TO ACHIEVE YOUR VISION
Once that vision is set in their mind, then, they should make a plan on how they’ll be able to achieve it and strive to work on them every single day. Either by finally finding the courage to take the leap or cross out the items from that bucket list.
CLEARING LIMITING BELIEFS
The only way to achieve their vision is to clear their limiting beliefs. For those who went through a divorce, childhood trauma, and many others. These stocked-up emotions are blocking them to move forward. Finding those past traumas in one’s life, be it from childhood, or in their 20s, maybe even after retirement; is incredibly important and once this is done, they can finally let go of them.
CREATING A NEW MINDSET
This step is about, “Believing that you can create a life that you’ve always wanted. Reminding yourself who you are and reassuring that you deserve to be treated like a queen.” Creating a new positive mindset. Also, it’s about “Believing that you can achieve your dreams because it is never too late to create the life you wanted regardless of how old you may be”.
OWNING THE THRONE OF YOUR LIFE
Once all of those steps are done, the last step is all about finally taking control of one’s life, believing that you have the power to co-create one’s own life; and no event or person can tell them otherwise. “You have to sit on the throne and wear your crown because that’s the queen that you really are”.
If either one of these steps ‘awoke something inside you that you’ve never felt before, and left you wanting to know more.’ Then Pirie is there to help you, her practice offers executive VIP coaching, which is one-on-one coaching where the program runs from 6 – 12 months since healing in general takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. Pirie describes her work as something “experiential”, as it takes a long time for her program to integrate since she doesn’t merely treat the symptoms, she patiently goes into the root of the problem and helps her clients to rise from the ashes of the past and be reborn with a brand new self like a Phoenix.
Pirie hosts workshops and weekend retreats about reinventing the second chapter of people’s lives. She stated, “I want to walk into a room where I know no one is going to sit on the throne but after they finish my program, they’re all fighting to sit on the damn throne and wear the crown.”
Pirie Jones Grossman is a certified Life Empowerment Coach, TEDx speaker, best-selling author, podcaster, and contributing writer for Thrive Global and Authority Magazine.
Pirie’s coaching is masterful, combining deeply customized life coaching with spiritual psychology’s powerful tools and techniques. This synergy helps women heal old belief systems and early life experiences freeing them to create profoundly purposeful and fulfilling lives.
She points out that we learn who we are and how to love from our childhoods and early romantic experiences. In these contexts, our core beliefs and values are defined. Are we lovable? Are we good enough?
Pirie says, “I teach from a spiritual psychology perspective because it heals at a soul level. When healing happens in this way, we discover a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves. When we reclaim and restore our self-esteem, and align our beliefs to our behaviors, and our values to our choices, we become empowered and begin to live from a place of gratitude and abundance.”
Pirie specializes in redefining women’s lives after significant life changes like divorce, career shifts, retirement, or when kids have left home.
“So many women forget their own dreams while they’re helping others create theirs. And when we don’t remember our dreams, when we don’t take action to live them NOW, we literally start to die.”
She gives women permission to get out of their comfort zone and reclaim their lives with intention, reminding them to reignite the flame inside. Her mission statement: It’s never too late to live the life of your dreams at any time of your life.
“I needed to learn forgiveness and how to break through and heal my past, so I could stop the self-sabotaging survival skills that were no longer serving me. I know if I can heal, anyone can!”
Pirie learned these tools while getting her Master’s in spiritual psychology at the University of Santa Monica when she was in her 50s. She has since worked with hundreds of corporate leaders, moms, businesswomen, and seekers who looked to find answers to the questions: Who am I? What’s my purpose? How can I be in service to my community?
Pirie’s one-on-one VIP coaching system encourages and engages women to get unstuck so they can reinvent the second chapter of their lives based on joy, purpose, clarity, and creativity. When you’re ready to clear undesirable behaviors, obstacles, and unnecessary struggles that sabotage your ability to live your best life, Pirie will help you thrive.
I wish someone had told me that there’s more to it than mindset. In coaching there is a huge focus on mindset and this is great, but you also have to have action. I kept believing that I didn’t have clients and wasn’t making money because of my thoughts. I kept trying to find the right thoughts to think to make it all come together.
I’m continuing my conversation with my girl tribe about outer and inner beauty tips. You probably already read Part 1, now for Part. 2
I asked my girlfriends about Inner Beauty. My question was, “How do you define beauty now that you’re in your 50s and 60s? Is it different than when you were younger? If so, what would you tell younger women that you’ve learned?”
Here are the responses I received.
Teri revealed that she wished she had loved and honored herself more and had been kinder to herself, and found her “voice” earlier. She also wished she’d read more books and taken her education more seriously.
As a reframe for what she didn’t do as her younger self, she learned how to hear and know her own voice. Now she checks in with herself by scanning her body, mind, and emotions and asks, “What am I feeling?” If she’s feeling stressed, she asks, “Where am I holding stress in my body? Where are the attributes of my feelings being stored?” She also journals, writing what she likes about herself; she’s created a self-appreciation journal to love herself more. She has also learned that being in service of others brings her great joy.
When she was younger, Stephanie, like Teri, wished she had paid more attention to her education. Street smart, not book smart, Stephanie was curious, yet always on the go, just wanting to have fun with her girlfriends. At 12-years-old, she began making money; she says it was the key to her freedom. A natural risk-taker, she wanted to get out into the world. Reflecting on her young life, she says she grew up too fast and attributes that to her older friends. Fiercely independent, when a boy entered the picture, it was never for long. Her girlfriends were her life.
What would she tell her younger self today? Embrace education, and take it seriously. Read more books. And learn to be present. REALLY PRESENT. Aspire to live in the moment, not the future.
Now, she’s embraced potent tools that have increased her security and belief in herself. She’s learned how to control her negative thoughts by replacing them with positive thoughts, words, and actions. For instance, she says whenever she’s insecure, she stops, finds a quiet place, closes her eyes, and trusts her intuition by asking herself, “What’s up?” She does not fear her negative thoughts but allows them to pass through and invites the “messages” she receives. She TRUSTS herself! She’s also created a meditation practice. When she first wakes up, she lays her hand over her heart, meditates on her intention for the day, and remains quiet for the next few minutes. By not jumping out of bed and rushing into her day, she allows herself to be IN HER QUIET; she’s learned how to be IN THE PRESENT. She has found her peace.
Jenny, our birthday girl, wished that she spent more time with her girlfriends when she was younger. She began working at a young age, combining a school and work schedule. When work transformed into touring, scheduling quality time with girlfriends wasn’t in the picture.
The older and wiser Jenny has learned that it was OK to set social media aside. Five years ago, she replaced her “let’s see what’s happening” on social channels with hours-long walking meditations along a river where she “socializes” with eagles. She’s learned that nature is better for her wellbeing. And to take the news in doses, preferring to read it than watch it. That’s probably true for many of us, particularly in these chaotic times! Jenny spends more time with herself and her girlfriends, which stopped the chase and filled her with happiness and lasting memories, like this trip.
When Beth was younger, and her life became difficult and complicated, she used competitive sports to “run away” from family and friends. She had a belief that her body would fall apart if she didn’t get her exercise time in, often training for marathons and triathlons. She was in a constant fight or flight mode. Her body didn’t have a chance to relax and rest when dealing with challenges.
Now she’s chosen different priorities. She CHOOSES to spend more quality time with her family and friends rather than running away. She’s learned how to be flexible with her time and, even more powerfully, learned to spend some time doing something else with others rather than just what she wants! In her case, she felt she was selfish in her younger years. Now she can do both, and by taking time for herself and spending time with others, she has created balance in her life.
Mindy says she wished she learned how to meditate earlier in life. She values meditation as a life-changing tool available to all of us for free. She also wished she’d journaled more when she was highly emotional and could have taken the toxic emotions out of her body and put them on paper instead. She also wished she’d read more and had been more curious about school.
The critical lesson Mindy learned over her 50 years was that there are NO MISTAKES in life, just opportunities. Take responsibility for your actions in your life. And I say, Amen to that! Further, the meditation technique she uses most is the mantra. She loves using the mantra because the mantra is repeated silently in her mind repeatedly. If she notices she isn’t saying the mantra, and that monkey mind has kicked in (the one that runs through to-do lists or is stuck remembering the past or planning the future), she brings herself back to the mantra, and the mantra guides her into stillness and quiet.
The essential tools and techniques she’s learned are self-forgiveness, to own your shit!, and to do what brings you joy.
My turn. I wished I had believed in myself more, not been so worried about what others thought of me, and had been more comfortable being out of my comfort zone. I didn’t know to be more curious about the world.
The lessons I’ve learned. 1) How powerful forgiveness is of myself and others. 2) How I had the power and responsibility to create whatever life I wanted on my own. 3) How precious life is and how quickly time passes. I’ve learned how to be so much more discerning of others and opportunities. I finally know WHO I AM and what I want, all from my inner work, to find my voice and purpose in life. All by the grace of God!
Then I saved the best question for last. “What brings you joy?”
Here are the group’s answers.
Go outside and connect with nature, bike, hike, swim, ski, garden, dance. Practice yoga, learn something new, host a dinner party (legally, please!) Read, write, run, ride a horse or blast the music and drive–get the wind in your hair! Spend time with girl and guy friends. Travel (to the coffee shop or another continent), journal (about what you’re grateful for to get started), listen to podcasts and audiobooks, watch movies, create anything–paint, draw, collage, or if you’re like one member of this tribe, collect sheds, and make that centerpiece to hang above your fireplace. Be of service, adopt an animal, play with your kids, take photos, visit the gym (if it’s open; if not, share the expense and location of a Peloton or weights with a friend or neighbor) or just BE!
We all agree that COVID has taught us to stop and take time for ourselves and do the things and be with the people that bring us joy.
So, ask yourself, are you spending time with your friends and family and doing things you enjoy that incite laughter, growth, and a sense of peace? I hope so.
If anything, maybe this article will get you thinking about your own life. There are ways to heal and focus on the positive while dealing with all the negativity in this world. Push pause and create your world with your loved ones, and you will develop the seed for a new and joyous world.
Our tribe is sending your tribe love, light, and a shot of spontaneity!
Doris, also known as Sassy Gran is a popular 95-year-old social media celebrity. Her videos online have been seen over 250,000,000 times. She is the world’s Grandmother, giving advice and sharing wisdom with her fans around the world.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was born in Colorado in 1925. My family moved west to buy land and become ranchers. I know it’s hard to believe looking at me now with my love of designer jewelry and false eyelashes, but I basically grew up shoveling horse crap and plowing fields.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You don’t get to the Promised Land without going through the Wilderness. You don’t get there without crossing over hills and mountains, but if you keep on keeping on, you can’t help but reach it.”- Martin Luther King Jr.,
I say keep on keeping on often in my videos. It’s pretty simple. Never give up, life constantly changes, we constantly evolve. If you keep moving forward you’ll grow in good times, and you’ll make it out of the bad times. I believe that’s why I’m so active and healthy. I just keep on keeping on.
How would your best friend describe you?
At 95 years old, most of my lifelong friends have passed on. However, my best friend throughout my life used to describe me as a bumble bee. He would say that you didn’t want to make me angry for fear of my sting, but that I was the catalyst to make things bloom and blossom. In 1955 being an openly gay man wasn’t easy, but I encouraged my best friend to come out of the closet and be true to who he was anyhow. We fought bigotry and homophobia in a time when there was virtually zero support from the world around us. Life was hard, and coming out didn’t make it easier on him, but he became an incredible force because he was living his truth. We fought for civil rights side by side for decades. Sadly the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s took him from me. Because of him, I’m still a champion for the LGBTQ community and I speak of it often in my videos as well.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much?
Longevity. This is something that I truly have no control over, but with this many years under my belt you’re bound to see history and people repeat their actions. You learn to see it coming and make preparations to either fight or get out of the way.
Determination. Whatever the circumstance, I will find a way to a better outcome. I left my cheating and abusive husband in the 50’s. I took my kids and slept in the car. I worked 3 jobs while the kids were at school until I saved enough for our own place. Many many years later at age 93, I broke my back in multiple places. We know this is a death sentence for seniors. I was determined not to die in bed and fought every single day to get up and walk again. It was excruciating, exhausting and overwhelming sometimes, but I did it. Today at 95 I still work out in my gym every single day, dance, and do yoga.
Empathy- listening to the needs of others and finding resourceful ways to empower people to reach their full potential. If we don’t truly care, we aren’t listening to the nuances in what people are saying with body language, eye movements and behaviors. Sometimes words alone aren’t the whole story.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
When I left my husband the biggest obstacle was trying to make sure my children were safe so I could work. There weren’t a lot of single working mothers back then, and to be honest it was frowned upon. I didn’t have the support system that I needed to succeed. So when I finally established my own living situation I decided that there was a need for affordable child care. I started by babysitting children in my home and grew it into a larger daycare center that was aimed particularly at working mothers. I had a program for mothers that were on welfare, or struggling financially. I provided free childcare for them because I knew that the thing they needed most was peace of mind, so they could put their efforts into bettering their situation for themselves and their children.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I reinvented myself quite by accident. I think it was a combination of several things;
Fashion, technology, and a pandemic.
As a young woman I always adored fashion. I would collect magazines and dream of wearing the haute couture designs of the movie stars, Jackie O, and the French runway models.
We lost photo albums in a storage fire and my Grandson began filming me every time we were together. He would prank me, or he would ask me about my past, or just sit and gossip. But it was all filmed.
The pandemic arrived and people were stuck home and looking for escapism. Technology helped a lot of people survive by connecting them to the outside world. My Grandson uploaded his videos of me to the internet and overnight I had become a social media sensation.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Guy Peters.
After a decades long career working with household names like A&W, Canada Dry and TaylorMade, Guy Peters started MOP STARS Cleaning Service. A complete 180 from the corporate world, MOP STARS provides residential and commercial cleaning services across the United States. When he’s not running the day-to-day operations of MOP STARS, Guy can be found out on the golf course or inside binging the latest Netflix documentary.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Iwas born in Tripoli, Libya, where my father was Controller for an oil company doing a pipeline deal with the Libyans. When I was 2 years old our family moved back to Ohio, evacuated by the US Army at the start of the Six-Day War, in 1967. At Ten years old I moved to Sacramento, California where I lived until moving to New York for graduate school. I generally consider myself to be from Northern California.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Those who do only what is asked of them are slaves, those who do more are free.” It’s an anonymous quote but one that struck me when I heard it more than 25 years ago. I believe trying different ideas, getting creative and resourceful, taking risks, and thinking like a leader gives us that freedom.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Integrity — In business, especially when in business for yourself, you must decide where you land on the morality continuum. For some people it is natural, one way or the other, and for others it is an internal struggle. I have no choice but to be honest, otherwise I could not sleep.
As much as people say they want to hear the truth, it can also get you in trouble. We provide a service, and while opportunities to massage the truth are always there, it’s not something I’ve ever been good at.
I think honesty has allowed me to attract the right people to my business, and my personal life.
Respect — Respect for everyone with whom you interact is critical in developing trust and long-term relationships. One time I disrespected a vendor by telling him his product was no good. I was being honest, but my delivery lacked respect in a way that 23 years later it still bothers me.
In some ways, I feel like I’m making up for that slight so many years later. But regardless of the motivation, I think continued respect for everyone helps me find the best people to work with, whether it be employees, vendors, or clients.
Humor — Humor has been a way to successfully diffuse uncomfortable conversations and situations. Using humor to help guide meetings and keep people at ease has always been an asset.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
Armed with a finance undergraduate degree I went to work for Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford’s lending organization. “Before you can loan it, you have to collect it,” I was told.
So, I spent three years in collections, talking to customers who were behind on their car payments. After one year on the phone, I wanted to talk to people in person, so I was repo-man for two years in the field. More of an investigator than anything since people get creative in how they hide a car they know is on the verge of repossession, although I repossessed more than 300 cars in those two years. I learned a lot about people and empathy.
After getting my MBA degree, I embarked on a brand marketing career which included food (Nabisco), carbonated soft drinks (Cadbury Beverages) and golf (Dunlop/Maxfli Sports Corp. and Taylormade-adidas Golf). I was fortunate enough to work on mature brands and create new brands; and worked with many great people along the way. I liked the idea that in these brand-driven organizations, marketing worked with all functional areas.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I had a taste of entrepreneurship when I was hired by a private equity group to create a new marketing and distribution plan for a popular yet tired brand they were buying.
Then, I moved to San Francisco to join a startup, and I liked the free-wheeling, high pressure environment of working with a few people to bring a unique product to market.
It was more of an evolution than a reinvention. At times I struggled in corporate America because when someone asked me what I thought, I told them. That didn’t always work well for me. I liked the entrepreneurial struggle, where it was do or die, and there was less politics with more focus on doing what was necessary to succeed.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
I was working for a company that, admittedly, was not a good fit for me, which I mentioned to the CEO during my interview, but he disagreed. It was a small yet public company, after my time in the entrepreneurial settings, while I was trying to determine what next.
One day it dawned on me. I realized that if I work in an environment that did not excite me, I will not thrive or be happy. I wanted to start my own company, create my own brand, and I had to completely step away to start the process.
While it may have made sense to leverage my experience in product branding I went a completely different direction and created a service business — cleaning. Whatever company I started, I knew the bottom line was customer satisfaction.
I liked the fact that the cleaning industry is fragmented and lacking many of the corporate best practices that had been my day-to-day for so many years.
Most of my friends and family thought I was completely crazy…to say the least! But with three locations in Colorado and three more planned in Texas, I like our direction.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
For me it was not a new skill set, it was just believing that I had the skills, which really is half the battle.
Once I believed I had the skills to start my own business, it gave me confidence. My experience in marketing, and working with sales, finance, operations, HR, etc., gave me the confidence I needed to launch my brand.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
There have been many ups and downs, as one would expect with a new business, and I still feel like I learn something every day.
Constantly striving to create value through the best possible client experience keeps me focused. I am always available to any client who wants to discuss our service and provide feedback. In addition, continually looking for employees who share my vision of providing a consistent, quality service is critical.
Accelerating growth this year is a key initiative as we move into new markets. Investing in controlled growth is a good use of capital for us.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My mother comes to mind first, without a doubt, always a big supporter.
A previous boss, Edward, has been a mentor ever since we worked together. He is a very sharp guy, and a great guy. Interestingly, because he is so smart, and British, sometimes people didn’t know how to react to him. Our sales team didn’t get to spend as much time with him as I did in headquarters, so some of them were unsure about him. I often emceed our national and global sales meetings, and Edward and I had an unwritten rule — he did not censor my comments on stage, and I made fun of him in front of the sales team. I believe our sales group must have thought, “If he lets Guy say those things about him, he must be a good guy!”
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Operating a service business, in which we go into people’s homes, in a global pandemic has certainly been challenging. But, unfortunately the most interesting event was when I discovered a manager was siphoning cash and clients from the business.
White collar crime is probably much more common than we hear about. I trusted someone and did not have the proper controls in place. One of the many learning experiences along the way, and the most painful. It was a gut punch, but it crystalized my focus on growing my business by providing a consistent, quality service to our clients.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
I never struggled with believing in myself, but never thought about it one way or another. The first time I thought about self-belief was when Cornell University offered me admission to their MBA program.
I was a B+ student through undergrad, but never worked hard and never really challenged myself. I think some friends thought it was a stretch when I applied to Cornell, but why not? I worked hard to get in. I went to two MBA forums and talked to their admissions people at both, visited the school and talked to the same admissions people, and called many alumni to get their thoughts and make sure they knew what I wanted. Persistence helps when you want something.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
I made many good friends and business contacts in my first chapter, corporate career, and some of them were helpful. I leaned on them when making key decisions about my future and whether to start a business. It was natural — they were interested in my next chapter, and I wanted their opinions.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
Getting out of my comfort zone was helped, in part, by the fact that my comfort zone itself started becoming uncomfortable. I felt I needed to make a big change. It was still uncomfortable making the change, with the inherent risk of a change that big.
What helped me was going all in. There was nothing hesitant about it when I finally decided I was going to do it. If you are not 110% in, you need to reconsider your probability of success.
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Because I’ve been a patient, my heart is full of compassion for those who suffer from the disorienting malaise and the unknowing of what’s to come each day, “Will I be tired, in pain, stressed, and how long is this going to last? Am I crazy to feel like I’m losing myself?” These lonely and dizzying questions and flu-like symptoms combine to make us all feel as though there is no hope. But, there is!
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By: Pirie Jones Grossman
Photo Credit: Andrii Yalanskyi/Getty Images
One woman opens up about her struggle.
My story begins on a hazy, late August afternoon, when I returned home from my fertility doctor’s office in Pasadena, California after he had extracted eggs from my uterus for the seventh time within eight months. This extraction is part of the process known as in-vitro fertilization or IVF. The lab mixes my husband’s semen with my eggs to potentially create healthy embryos to be transferred to our surrogate. Blindsided by my inability to carry a pregnancy, my husband and I remained hopeful that our surrogate, a healthy 26-year-old who had previous success carrying two babies for another couple, could carry our baby. This was the second time we transferred our embryos into this surrogate. And take note, she was our second surrogate.
You see, I was 37 and my husband was 42. We had been together for four years when we decided to get married. We were in love and giddy with the thought of having a child. Steve had a fabulous daughter, and I loved them both with all my heart. They were the reason I wanted to become a mother. I witnessed the beautiful relationship between them and that inspired me to have a child. We were excited about growing our family.
So, back to when I was at the doctor’s office for my seventh extraction.
As soon as the procedure was complete, we returned home where I climbed into our bed to rest. My husband went to work and our housekeeper took care of me. My body, mind, and spirit were exhausted. I felt depleted, yet optimistic. Maybe this time our surrogate would get pregnant! I soon fell asleep, dreaming of a healthy pregnancy.
Within a few hours, I woke up with severe nausea and cramps. I felt weak and dizzy, and when I stood to walk into the bathroom, my world went dark. I’m not sure how long I lay on the floor or who even found me. All I remember is waking up in an emergency room, my body burdened by tubes and a headache so mind-numbing that it felt as though a hatchet had been left in my head. My husband was standing beside my bed, holding my hand with a look on his face that struggled to adequately describe my situation. My sister was also in the room, whispering into the phone. She and my husband were conferring as to what to do, as I was told later. I felt lifeless and all I wanted to do was sleep. The next thing I knew, I woke up in a different hospital. I had been transported across town from the Huntington in Pasadena to Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. This time, my internist swayed over me trusting I could understand his words and the reason for my move. He proceeded to tell me I had lost a massive amount of blood and within the last 48 hours had received three blood transfusions. And, yet I continued to hemorrhage. I was now in the ICU and soon would be prepped for surgery to correct the tear in my uterine wall. I was so thoroughly exhausted at this point that I slept for another three days. When I finally woke, my weight had plummeted to 100 pounds. I saw Steve’s face leaning over me, his eyes squinting in distress. He told me that he was worried he was losing me, his wife. He wanted me to give up trying to have a baby and forego our efforts to create our child. I didn’t think I could feel worse, physically or mentally, yet my chest tightened with each of his words pushing my heart up to the back of my throat where it burned like an uncontrolled forest fire. I felt like a failure.
A mere 48 hours later, my husband brought me home. My body, achy and riddled with vast amounts of fertility drugs (in addition to sleeping, pain, and anti-anxiety medications) acted as a dull reminder of the hospitals where I had taken up residence for 12 days. The lingering depression had wrapped itself tightly around me forbidding me to react to anything other than where I might next curl up in a fetal position and drift away.
What came next, I could have not predicted. As I lay in bed, trying to heal in my own way from this short-circuited and dangerous attempt at motherhood, my husband announced that he needed a break. He and his daughter were headed to our home in Sun Valley, Idaho. He asked me if I wanted to join. It seemed like a bad joke. How could I? I could barely walk! My doctor gave me stern instructions and those included round-the-clock bed rest. Travel was absolutely out of the question.
In the brief time, he spent thinking about the events that had interrupted our IVF cycle Steve became cold and indifferent. Something had changed the man I loved; this man was a stranger to me. He reiterated that I had to stop trying to have a baby and that he and his daughter needed to be enough for me. He missed his life… our life. In a clipped tone, typically reserved for his business affairs, he stated he didn’t like who I had become. The words burrowed into my vacant body and at that point, nothing was making sense. There was a distance between us that I never encountered with him. He always took care of me. He was that husband. But this man was shut down and unsympathetic to my pain, my health, and my well-being. I didn’t feel an ounce of compassion or love from him. I remember thinking that we may not make it. Yet that seemed inconceivable to me. How could I live without him? He and his daughter were my family. And, then the real pain inside me, in my heart, became insufferable.
He turned away, walked out of our bedroom, and left. His casualness only exacerbated my confused and lonely reality. There was no one in our home to help me. Within moments of his departure and absence, I felt a noticeable shift in my state of mind. Despair had become my new partner; I knew I was in trouble.
My sister called to check on me. I told her what happened and she rushed over, furious to hear that my husband left me alone. She decided to stay with me until he returned.
Over the course of a couple of days, I learned more about my experience at Cedars-Sinai. My sister said that my doctor told her they almost lost me… twice! He confirmed, “Your sister is very strong on the inside, but her body is weak.” He also agreed it would be better to take a break from trying to have a baby.
During that Labor Day weekend, I was alone in my thoughts. Not once did my husband call or check on me and I felt the sting of his negligence from afar. He was definitely pulling away from me physically, emotionally, and mentally. With that, I detached from the rhythms of normalcy. I subconsciously staged my own disappearing act; slipped into a dark and disconnected place, away from everyone I knew and loved. All I could think about was how I was such a failure. I couldn’t create our baby. Not only could I not get pregnant, but also neither could the two surrogates we used who each tried twice. At that time, I never once considered my husband’s virility! My fertility specialist paraphrased numerous times that I was too old and so were my eggs. I was judging myself so harshly for not being able to create life and now I was the one responsible for my marriage being in shambles. My hopes and dreams vanished and were quickly replaced with helplessness and hopelessness.
Family and friends knew me as strong. I could get up time and time again through any failure. I’d try again with a big smile on my face; I was the perky girl!Nothing could keep me down. I had faith in God and believed that bad would change to good with his divine power and I preached that belief to family and friends. I always carried hope in my heart, no matter what. But, this grief was unlike anything I had experienced. I plunged into an even darker place desperately looking for the light inside of me. Where was God? I prayed and prayed and prayed, “Please take this excruciating pain away from me.”The drugs removed any sense of self. I didn’t know who I was or what I was doing anymore.
As I was spiraling emotionally at a rapid rate, my husband returned home. It was Monday night, Labor Day, September 7, 1998.
I was sleeping on our leather sofa in our media room, and with the TV on as a constant companion; I still managed to hear the back door of our garage open. As he walked in and sat down on the sofa, he asked how I was feeling. Surprisingly, I was happy to see him. Maybe he would be kinder? I could scarcely lift my head off the sofa and when I tried to reach for him to get a hug or a kiss, he backed away abruptly. We were habitually affectionate towards each other, but now those affirming touches and nods ceased to exist. In one easy move, he stood up and walked as far away from me as possible…. in the same room.
I tried to catch my breath before he began asking me if I had given some thought to what we talked about before he left—about giving up trying to have a child together. I said yes, I did. I said I would be willing to if we could consider adoption. He glared back at me with such disdain and laughed. He said he would never consider that as an option. And how could I want someone else’s child? He continued by saying while he was in Sun Valley he had time to think about what he wanted and confessed he didn’t want a child anymore. He claimed the sole reason he married me was because we were going to have a child together and he wanted to make sure the child had his name. But since that wasn’t going to happen for us, he wanted a divorce.
I felt my body tremble with the rush of adrenaline and then I didn’t hear anything else he said. All I could think was that he was throwing our marriage and me away. Nothing seemed real. My head whirled with confusion and my heart pinched with anticipation. A light-headedness nipped at my vision as the pressure of all the drugs in my body began heating up and coursing furiously in my veins. This couldn’t be happening! I can’t take any more grief and sadness. I felt as though I didn’t exist any longer and that unsteady sensation was the light leaving me.
I was standing in front of a man I didn’t know. Who was this man? Where was my husband? This man was dismissive, deliberate, and deadly—his tapestry of venomous words and actions prompted my eruption. I started telling him I didn’t want a child anymore! I only wanted him and our marriage. I’d promise to give up my dream and start being the woman he wanted again. “Please take me back,” I pleaded. He stood like a tower in front of me, his voice calculating, his body rigid continually repeating the word “no.” He had already made up his mind. He wanted a divorce and that was it. I begged him to give us another chance. How could his feelings for me vanish over two days? We shared a passionate marriage for four years. How could he discard me so quickly? I said, “Give me a chance to heal and let’s go to therapy. We could work this out!” He stood motionless; his head and neck stiff, his eyes locked on the wall behind me. I walked over to him and said, “I thought you loved me?” And then he completely crushed me when he said, “I don’t love you anymore… not this Pirie, the woman who’s sick and weak. I miss the fun, sexy woman who was full of life.” I didn’t think about it then, but I missed her too. “You should go to Houston and be with your parents. I’ll talk with my attorney tomorrow morning and start the divorce proceedings. Good night.”
Whatever was left holding me up at that moment, came crashing down. I started shaking, fell back on the sofa, and became sick. Tears were flowing down my face. Everything was just taken away from me. My life had disintegrated. I felt like garbage being tossed out of my own home. So this is what it really feels like to be nothing to someone who you thought would love you forever. I was nothing and this “nothing” was being told to leave tomorrow for her parents’ home in Texas.I could hardly walk or even stand up.
Then a thought occurred. I looked at the seven bottles of medications sitting on the table in front of me. I know… I’ll go to sleep… it will be painless. And then I won’t have to feel this agonizing pain any longer. I immediately opened all the bottles and swallowed over 250 pills… then I lay down, said a prayer to God telling him I’m coming home and closed my eyes… forever. “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
A violent bout of vomiting woke me. Somehow, I was in our bed, and my husband was holding me trying to stop the convulsions. There were people in the room yelling out to each other. I was being picked up and moved to another bed. Then it went dark.
Days later, I learned I had returned to Cedars Sinai hospital. This place became my home away from home. It was a repeat performance; my husband was standing next to my bed, staring at me with that same worry. His voice rose as he called for a nurse. He told me I was lucky to be alive. My thoughts came rushing in, why was I in the hospital again? I didn’t remember that I tried to take my life until a mental health provider arrived. She was gentle and asked many questions. Then I remembered… and shame and guilt scorched my heart and soul. Hot tears started streaming down my face and quickly turned into sobs only a wounded animal could make. The shame became unbearable. How could I have done that? My husband was right… I needed to give up my dream of being a mother! I couldn’t even take care of myself. It just wasn’t meant to be.
Steve came to the hospital every day for the first few days to see me. Relentless, he continued asking me if I was going to stop trying to have a baby. I said yes, but on the third day I brought up adoption again. He recoiled and with his eyes blazing, said, “Absolutely not!” Then the subject changed to divorce, but then he said we would talk about that later when I got better. With that, he turned around and walked out of my hospital room. He never returned to my room again.
Two days later I called my sister and she helped me check out and brought me home. When I arrived, I went back to bed and lay down. I called my parents and made arrangements to fly to Houston the next day. Steve was home but was sleeping in another bedroom.
The next morning as I was packing, Steve entered our bedroom. He said his attorney had prepared divorce papers. He hoped it wouldn’t get messy and offered up a mediator if I wanted one to assist in the negotiations. He uttered that he would be fair. Again, I was stunned by his ruthlessness.
Yet something inside of me had switched on… the light. Even through the pain, I felt peace. I survived. God was with me and had a plan and purpose for my life.
I flew to Houston the following day and stayed with my parents for two weeks. I spent time with my brother and his family and my sister. They prayed with me every day. They didn’t give up on me as my husband did and even how I did. The saddest part of all was that I gave my worthiness away to another.That was the first part of my healing—I had to find self-love. I reconnected to my faith, my spiritual side. I found great strength from God every day. I grew stronger and started to heal both physically and mentally. God spared my life and I felt an overflow of gratitude. Yes, I had been given a second chance, now I wanted to find out why. I had embarked on a new life journey.
Where would I go next?
A vision came to me. Move to Sun Valley, Idaho.
And so I did.
The energy of the mountains became my refuge. That energy reaffirmed who I was, where I had been, and who I could become. It restored my worth.
Within a year, I met a beautiful man who loved me and wanted to fulfill my dream of being a mother. We created two healthy children. My dream came true! Now, my 16-year old son and 14-year-old daughter are the heartbeats of my life. I even beat the odds by having them when I was 44 and 46 years old!
Let’s connect and conclude the story as far as my ex-husband is concerned. Steve passed away from liver cancer only nine years after we divorced. If we had had children together, I would be a widow and our children wouldn’t have a father. We made our peace and forgave one another before he passed. Our karma is done. My children met him and he was truly happy for me.
What is the moral of the story for me?
Never. Give. Up.
Not on dreams, or goals, or plans, or marriage, or happiness, or children. Trust yourself, even when it becomes challenging, complicated, and grim. And never give away your precious life! Situations change. People change. Give yourself time. Reach out for help and let others know when you are in a dark place. I didn’t. I kept the pain inside me. I was ashamed that I wasn’t strong enough. You see the light we need when we can’t find it within, is outside in our relationships… our family, our friends. Their light will turn yours back on because of the love and connection with other souls. We need each other to survive.
You are not alone. Do not hide and isolate yourself.
Trust your inner compass. It’s your soul giving you directions. That still and small voice that’s loving and compassionate is your guide. Don’t allow others to discount or negate your dreams. They may have their own, which is fine, but your dreams are yours. They deserve an opportunity, to grow, to be realized, and to be shared.
God believed in me, as I know he does you. This part of my life was the most demanding lesson thus far. I learned I could count on myself to reach a place where my gratitude for life changed my life. I was spared and I’m here to share my story with you.
Now you know the real reason I’ve been an advocate for people to not take their lives; and why I started a task force in my community to lower the high suicide rates in our state. I’m that survivor.I’m that woman who doubted her worth. I’m that woman who forgave herself and renewed her self-love.
I was keeping this part of my life a secret because I was embarrassed, but I’m not anymore! What I considered to be my weakness is actually my greatest strength. I love my life and I’m so grateful to still be here to help others. If my story resonates with you or someone you know; if my journey can give the hope and strength for even just one person to reach for the light; then I have fulfilled my ultimate mission… to save a life. God bless!
Watch my TedX talk entitled, “How A Community Is Healing From Suicide.”