by Guadalupe Hirt
I’ve never thought of myself as special. In fact, I consider myself a plain Jane vanilla, or in my case plain Jane mocha kinda girl.
I’m that girl that’s gone through life blind to her own gifts. It’s not that I purposely turned a blind eye, it was just that I never saw them as gifts. When I co-founded SecondAct|Women, I was definitely nervous because I couldn’t see what I could bring to the table. Why would any of you want to hear me, let alone listen to me? I saw myself as an imposter. As someone that wasn’t qualified or prepared enough to represent all of you.
Have you ever sold yourself short?
Last July, I had my first Reiki session and it was transformative. For the first time in my life, I felt guided and seen. I began to 'see' my gifts and began to understand their value. I have since been working on letting go of beliefs that speak of lack, unworthiness and undermining. I chose to take off the judgment glasses that I had allowed society and others to put on me and for the first time in my life, I saw me.
It has been a long time coming and I’m still a work in progress, but in this year and a half, I’ve given myself permission to grow and it’s through this growth that I’ve stepped into owning my gifts. You see, we all have gifts to share. I may not be the most talented singer, and I didn’t discover some disease-curing drug, but I still have contributions and awesomeness to share. I just needed to get out of my own way and show up to everything I do authentically and with heart. That is all it takes to unlock and share your gifts ladies.
Along this journey, I’ve learned a few things that I wanted to share with you in hopes they will help you too.
Here’s some of my ‘you got this girl’ advice:
And last, but not least, even in our plain jane vanilla, chocolate or mocha, most ordinary state of being, remember you are extraordinary. Because you can’t spell extraordinary without ordinary.
Special shout out to Suzanne Wolf for this beautiful quote she shared in our Facebook group. It perfectly sums up what I (we) hope for you!
May you have the courage from this point forward to begin breaking patterns in your life that do not serve you. Give yourself permission to pause and reflect. And remember taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.
Guadalupe Hirt, Oct. 17
These four women over 40 are among many that are changing the world... and you can too!
Michelle Obama was the first Black First Lady and her mission to combat childhood obesity introduced healthy eating and fitness programs and new restaurant polices that continue to have lasting effects.
Madonna is a seven-time Grammy Award winner who continues to push boundaries and make music in an age of division.
Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic and Latina Justice to serve on the Supreme Court and was among the majority in landmark Supreme Court rulings focusing on healthcare and civil liberties.
Ellen DeGeneres was the first woman actress/TV personality to come out as openly gay on national television and she continues to be a pioneer in the fight for LGBTQ equal rights and visibility.
For starters, life is too short to sit on the sidelines. You need to look at each day as an opportunity to create impact and take control of you, your life, and your actions. So what are some tangible ways to be a force?
1. Don't just talk about change, do it. If you're like me, I'm sure there's at least two times a day when you see something that needs fixing. It might be something in your life, in your community or in the world. Instead of just "complaining" about it, "do something" about it.
2. Speak up. I have been in situations where I've heard people (sometimes friends) say things that I know (or hope) are not intended to be offensive, but are. Comments like "she is too confident" or "she should dress more her age." Comments like these, even when said in jest, are harmful. Take those moments to "educate" and help your friends understand why they shouldn't have said what they said.
3. Get your foot off the brake. If you see a need, opportunity or challenge, don't just wish it better, make it better. Consider what you can do to be part of the solution rather than the observation. Is that finding an organization to volunteer, proposing a community idea to your city, starting up your own company, etc. There is no "wrong way" to lend a helping hand.
4. Check yourself. Everyone is a work in progress. Be willing to hold the mirror to your own self and make a concerted effort to work towards change and self-improvement. Know that this isn't an instant process so if during this growth period, you find yourself overstepping your ground, be the bigger person and apologize.
Here's to making our world a better place one person at a time!
Since launching SecondAct|Women, we have had several conversations with women about working for or working with younger colleagues or bosses. There's a sense of curiosity and frustration, and many women are unsure of how to create a successful working relationship with millennials and Generation Z.
For the first time in history, there are five generations of employees working together in the United States, comprising members from the silent generation, baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and now Generation Z. America’s labor force is more age-diverse than ever. As with anything in life, there are things we can do and things we can advocate for in our office to help bridge this "us vs. them" mentality. The reality is that if we can learn to work together and harness each generation’s principles, perspectives and strengths, we can help build a pretty powerful and respectful work environment for us and future generations.
So what can you do to be a generational change agent in the office and as a person?
In the office:
As a person:
Our panelists at Denver Startup Week shared business hacks that will not only make you look like you hired a marketing agency, but save you money and time.
Barbara Brooks | SecondAct|Women Founder (52)
July 2018, my depression was leading my heart and mind and life was mentally challenging. I felt numb, unhappy, unappreciated, lost and aged-out. I felt stuck and wondered what the bleep was my future at 51. Then BAM! Suddenly, I’m “doing the work” on me and my five-year whisper to create a women’s event became a scream and I said, yes. Yes, to me and my new career aka mission. I pushed play.
More and more of you express to Lupe and me the same feelings are without any idea of what to do next or where to start. Well, you know the saying, ‘you only have one life’? Live it. Let go of the obstacles, fear and doubt you’ve placed in your own way. You’re young, sister. So why not?
Take these three small pieces of advice to get you on the trajectory to pivoting – finding your career, side gig or you. They worked for me when I my gut said go!
# 1 Grab a partner. Don’t go it alone, sister.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." – Helen Keller.
Create a group of like-minded women from various backgrounds looking for their second act. The outcome could be a beautiful collection of ideas and connections. Perhaps set group and/or individual goals and hold each other accountable for achieving them.
Interview and employ a career coach, or two. The amount of inklings and wisdom stemming from conversation and homework from your coach(es) could be eye-opening.
Set aside a day every week to have coffee with someone you would like to get to know. It’s worth the latte.
#2 Push play. Not pause.“When you push play, change happens, and opportunities appear.” – Barbara Brooks
Level up. Make a list of interesting career roles and determine a skill or skills related to the role and learn it. Teach yourself digital marketing by taking a Skill Share class. Learn to blog or how to be an influencer by following a YouTuber or two – or three.
Shadow a friend in an industry of interest. Continue your education. Plus, it feels pretty damn good to a know a bit more.
Keep the startup community in mind too. It’s growing by leaps and bounds and in some cases, you can write your own job description. Just ask Sharon Thomas with Nanno in Denver. She purposely sought the founders, Liz and Desi at Denver Startup Week 2018 and a month later, she’s heading up strategic partnerships in a role she created.
3. Humans first. Career second.
"Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They're attached to people. If you're looking for an opportunity, you're really looking for a person." – Ben Casnocha.
Job websites, recruiters, consultants and Google have their uses in your career search. But they're not necessarily the place to begin today. Start with people. Make a list of the people you’d like to meet from various industries, roles and organizations of interest and set up that coffee or info meeting. The power of being in front of people is you can present the real you – something a CV or résumé simply can't do.
Attending an event, group meeting or conference soon? Find out who is attending and determine the people you want to meet when you are there.
Okay. Are you ready?
It’s a journey to find your next career, not a weekend getaway. But ultimately, these few steps may lead to your dream role with the company you may not have known existed. Heck! You may discover something about you that’s been waiting to be found.
Now, I ask you… don’t you think it’s time to find your next big thing?
By Guadalupe Hirt, Co-Founder SecondActWomen
September is Self-Care Awareness Month and a great time to remind us that taking care of ourselves is the key to being the best version of ourselves. Whether it's the job, family, or life, we often neglect caring for ourselves the way we deserve. But how can we fill another's cup if ours runs dry? The answer, we can't. We need to remind ourselves that taking care of ourselves is not selfish, it's rather reminding ourselves that WE TOO matter. So go ahead, say yes to giving yourself the love, respect and attention you deserve....guilt free.
Lupe’s Top 5 Ways to Self-Care
Barbara’s Top 5 Ways to Self-Care
My word of the year is becoming and in order to become the woman, friend, #workwife and leader I wish to, I knew there were more than few key things I needed to do to push myself to grow. My top five key ‘becoming’ actions I write, say and do daily are:
By Edward Page, Business Woman Media
When you come across a strong woman, you’ll know it the moment she enters the room. She gives off a vibe of self-confidence that anyone could spot from a mile away, and she tackles any situation she faces head-on. She might stumble and fall along the path to success, but she never gives up. She perseveres through the storms life tosses at her and doesn’t allow a little rain to take away her sunshine. She knows what she wants in life, goes after it, and doesn’t depend on anyone else for what she wants. She stands out because she doesn’t need attention or validation from anyone. Her self-confidence, drive, and ambition come from within, and she’s certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Now, does this sound a little familiar? It's us. Women over 40 and how many of us feel today - powerful, independent, self-assured and ready to conquer the world. So what's stopping us? Ourselves. Unless we put the effort each and every day to do things differently.
1. She invests in herself. A powerful woman takes the time to invest in herself, be it her health and beauty or her education. She takes the time to make sure that she’s fit, healthy, and beautiful inside and out.
She understands that if she wants to further her career, she needs to be educated and trained in her chosen field. Personality and professional development is a non-stop pursuit for her. She knows that complacency will hinder her growth and would continuously find ways to better herself.
2. She does not depend on anyone. Being dependent on another person can be considered a weakness and a deterrent to personal success. A powerful woman makes sure that she can stand on her own two feet, and goes after her goals through her own perseverance. It’s as simple as setting goals, figuring out how to achieve them, and doing it.
She knows that by being independent, she’s virtually unstoppable. She can do anything with her own abilities that she carefully honed through years of determination and perseverance.
3. She doesn’t let herself become a victim. A strong woman knows that complaining is a waste of time. She knows that when problems and issues arise, it’s more efficient to find solutions than to feel defeated and betrayed.
She doesn’t let herself become the victim. She rises above the challenge and fights to get what she needs and goes where she wants.
4. She takes risks. A strong woman knows that success cannot be achieved without taking risks. She knows that she needs to stop playing it safe occasionally. However, this doesn’t mean that they make reckless decisions. Strong women take carefully calculated risks.
According to Sheryl Sandberg, author of thebestseller “Lean In,” women should ask themselves – “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” This will then affect change in all aspects of their lives.
5. She uplifts the people around her. A powerful woman doesn’t need to put people down to get up on the ladder. To her, it’s not about getting ahead of other people – it’s about bringing them WITH her to the top.
So, when she sees somebody who needs help, she readily gives it. And when someone in her team under-performs, she finds a way to uplift them and encourage them to reach their full potential instead of talking them down.
6. She’s not afraid to ask for help. A powerful woman recognizes that she cannot do everything well on her own and knows when and how to ask for help. When something is outside her field of expertise, she will find someone to work with who can contribute to the goals and objectives she set. She understands that no one can reach the top alone and that working with a team can make success all the sweeter.
7. She knows that failure is part of the game. While a powerful woman has firm beliefs and principles she upholds, she keeps an open mind and adapts to changes as best she can. She understands that change is the only constant thing in this world, and thus, uses it to her advantage by learning every step of the way – from the world and other people around her.
Strength comes from within.
For powerful women, the road to success is always fraught with difficulties, but strong women rise above challenges and fight like warriors for what they believe in, and what they want in life.
You can be a strong, powerful woman, too. Find the strength within you and ask yourself what you would do if you weren’t afraid. Determine what you want to achieve in your business, career or personal life, and go for it!
Barbara Brooks, SecondActWomen Founder
If you're in your 40s, 50s or even 60s, you may think it’s too late to startup. Wrong. A recent study of 2.7 million startups conducted by the Census Bureau and two MIT professors found that the most successful entrepreneurs are between 40-60 years of age. Wait, what? A matter of fact, the ideal age of a successful startup founder is in the middle of life and a large percentage of them are us – women.
On a weekly if not daily basis, we are being told we’re too old to do something and oftentimes, we believe the messenger – even if the messenger is us. We are too old to have kids, wear skinny jeans and two-piece swimsuits. We are too old to get hired or shift careers mid-life, and certainly too old to start a business. Hmmm. Seems society says we are just too old ‘to do' life. Lies!
The truth is that today we are entering our second act boldly with unwavering confidence, paving the way and disrupting ageism at every turn. It's the dawn of a new era for women over 40 and we refuse to be put on the shelf midway through our lives.
We are wonder women wielding power unlike any other time in history. We're holding the key to our own future, designing our careers and life experiences. We are boosting the economy [SHEconomy] each year with a $15+ trillion purchasing authority and we are opening businesses like mad. Get the picture? #WeOwnOurSecondAct #Truth
The Start –- Your Start
Women are opening 1,821 businesses each day in America and it’s about time you do the same with that big idea you've held on to for so long. Even if you have a passion project that would make a good side hustle, start it up. Just START! And if anything, these stats from INC. Magazine should convince you:
Get over your fear if you have it. Get over the shame if you feel it. Get the hell over your ‘I’m too old’ mentality if you think it. It’s only our second half. You're not too old to startup. #MicDrop.
Check out Women Starting Up After 40, moderated by Barbara Brooks and featuring an all-female all-STAR panel of entrepreneurs in their 40's and 50's on Wednesday from 2-3:30 p.m.
Guadalupe Hirt, SecondActWomen Co-Founder
According to multiple sources on the Internet, an adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. While there are many factors that influence our decision-making like biases, reason, emotions and memories, ultimately, it is me, myself and I that makes the decision.
While some decisions are trivial, many decisions pose opportunities for change and growth. When Barb asked me to join SecondActWomen, I hesitated. At the time, I was working on another project, and I didn't feel I had the time or the energy to take on another passion project. Let's just say, I'm glad I changed my mind!
I have found that in these situations, my mind becomes a worthy adversary, giving way to that little voice inside that is quick to remind me that "I can't do this" or "I don't have any real value to add." Sadly, my mind has won more than I'd like to admit, but instead of just saying "no," I've since adopted a few strategies that have helped me even out the battlefield with my mental adversary that could work for you as well.
1. Pause before you answer. Often, my first thought is informed by fear, doubt or sheer laziness, which usually results in a "nope." But, now instead of impulsively responding, I now take a minute or two to let the idea land and candidly ask myself "What can I learn from saying 'yes' to this decision."
2. Avoid saying "no" for a day. If you're a Jim Carey fan, you know all the amazing things, people and places he experienced in Yes Man. Many decisions require me to step out of my comfy zone, which naturally makes me uneasy. But it's these decisions, that have fueled the most growth. There have been days when I wake up and I tell myself, "today I am saying yes at least 20 times."
3. Life is a classroom. Through SecondActWomen, I've changed my outlook on success vs. failure, and I now look at both as blessings. There is inherent learning and growth in both and when I consciously decided to reduce the stress and burden associated with each, I learned to be a little nicer and more forgiving to myself. I've developed (and still developing) a new lens to look and learn from life experiences.
There you have it. Your day is filled with thousands of decisions (aka opportunities). Some will be easy, others will be harder, some will change you and others will open new doors, but in the end, you are the maker of your day and you are the decision maker of your life.
Big hugs and here's to growing together! Speaking of growing together, click here to join our Facebook group.
Guadalupe Hirt,  Co-Founder of SecondActWomen
Originally posted in the blog, RockingOver40 by Cynthia C. 
It’s 2011, I’m 44, and here I was a 21+ year corporate left-over. Someone who had worked for national and global companies in the world of marketing and sales from Texas to New York. I’d held these fabulous MarCom and Biz Dev positions yet in 2011 when I became an accidental entrepreneur I was lost, unable to find a job in terms of how society labeled me – by age. Sadly, my age was standing in the way of getting the job I wanted. But notice, I said age was in the way of the companies. In their eyes, my age represented being too experienced, too old to learn, too this and too that but mostly, it was my number and that pushed me into a self-inflicted midlife crisis.
I decided to take control of my own career and open a marketing agency. I hit the ground running building connections, closing business, and learning new skills I never thought I would need to learn. And now, my midlife crisis is now a full-blown quest for happiness and success on my own terms and that includes partnering with another agency to go bigger and bolder. Business was steadily coming in and we were securing a wonderful collection of clients from schools and colleges, shopping malls and lifestyle centers, high-end hotels from Colorado Springs to Aspen – and it was fun, for a while. Because after two years, the company left us empty, bored, and passionless.
Now it’s spring 2018 and my business partner and I consciously uncouple. I’m 51 and clueless. It was then that I begin questioning my life’s purpose with thoughts of, “What am I on this earth to do? What’s next? Is this really it and what do I want to do when I grow up – again?”
I started thinking about an idea I’d been holding on to for five years. I never thought this alpha-female (with a soft heart) lacked confidence and for years I held steady gripped in a bit of fear of failing or even worse, doing. Yet, there it was, stashed in folders, Evernote, stickies, bar napkins, and the ears of so many friends – for FIVE long years. My next move to design the life I wanted and suddenly, I was ready. My gut was screaming for me to move before someone did it first. But girl, guess what happened? The negative self-talk set in and I was back to my old school doubt, fear and the thought of ‘would anyone support it.’
I waited and waited sitting in unhappiness and depression until – for the umpteenth time, I said, “That’s it. I’m jumping in.” By that time, I’d been listening to motivational speakers and authors, podcasts and YouTubers, and supportive friends. Plus, what was stopping me? After all, my idea had all the makings of what I needed to bring me joy. My idea you ask. It’s purposely crafting business and lifestyle experiences for women in a way that connects, educates and empowers. Yep. But wait, what makes this different is that we’re focused on the woman over 40 and 50. A first of its kind in the country a matter of fact and I roped in my former business partner to co-find the new company.
We held brainstorm sessions and I began hearing the words I had felt for years. Boredom. Passionless. Unchallenged. Stuck. Lost. These women over 40 were exclaiming what many others were feeling about life and we pivoted from the original idea of a women’s business week (still happening in 2021).
My new mission and purpose in life was born. I’d found clarity and it was amazingly freeing, fulfilling and passion filled. This new company would become a social impact communications company helping others 40 and beyond find their way, their mission, and their desires while emboldening them to do so through special events and programs. You see it turns out, all that I had gone through over the course of my crisis and life overall lead me to this moment and you know what?
It was meant to be.
My Two Cents
When you give in to that whisper, that thing you’ve wanted to do, that connection you’ve wanted to make, that career you’ve wanted but never thought you could have; I’m telling you to own your age and listen. I’m telling you to stop the self-doubt, fear and negative self-talk. I’m telling you to jump. The minute you do, the opportunities are limitless.
Barbara Brooks, Founder of SecondActWomen and a proud 52
We did it! First event in the can last April 2019 and many more inspirational events and programs to come. I took the leap. Will you?