#I’mNotDone (And Here’s What I’m Going to Do About It)
About eight months ago I decided to write a blog.
Well, SoulCycle still feeds my soul (and kicks my ass). Rizzo still acts like a puppy, he just grew to be 75 pounds of dog. And Batey’s on Halloween is crazy fun (and a great place to meet new friends).
While all three still represent my passions, it turned out my BLOG was what helped me figure what was next for me.
Like a lot of people, I write because it helps me figure things out. I love expressing myself, but in a way that feels a little more thoughtful (okay, perhaps controlled) than conversation. So when I posted my last blog on my social channels I personally felt good — relieved because I had ‘said it’. But what I hadn’t considered, is that unlike a ‘journal’ entry, a blog’s impact is less about how I feel and more about how the people who read it feel.
That was what blew me away –people who read it did feel something. And they responded. Literally over 14,000 people read it and over a thousand took the time to respond. Of course, I read all the responses as they came in, but this fall I gave myself the gift of re-reading what people took the time to tell me. Their outreach pretty much fell into three buckets.
1. We connected at some point.
I was so fortunate to hear from many, many people whose professional path crossed with mine sometime during the last four decades. I was so gratified to hear that when our paths crossed I must have done something positive with that opportunity. My deepest thanks to all of you who shared how.
2. Honesty is indeed the best policy.
I have always believed in being candid and straightforward and make it a practice to say what I think, even when that point of view isn’t always popular, or even welcomed. Apparently, not everyone takes that approach because so many readers responded to the honesty and the candor in what I wrote as though it were unusual. If I had more social media clout, I think my blog would have made #nofilter #nobullshit and #candoriscool trending hashtags.
And I’m not the only one. By far the most significant and meaningful responses came from the hundreds of people (many of whom were strangers to me) who responded to my own reckoning with “#I’mNotDone and the conversation it started around the issue of ageism in the workplace. In addition to my blog, the good folks at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) decided to use my story in the July issue of their Strategies and Tactics magazine.
Again, the feedback was sincere, and it was passionate. People shared their own stories and thoughts. Here are just a few of their responses.
Who doesn’t love being called inspirational, but here was the “AHA moment for me. As it turns out, it was they who inspired me. And not only did all the responses inspire me, they also helped me to see clearly what I needed to do – I needed to keep the conversation going. Ageism in the workplace is real. And it needs to be talked about. And thankfully, I believe talking about will lead to addressing it.
“Nah, you’re not done yet. You’re in your second 40s! Maybe you should write a book, because you’re good at it and have something to say. Or, go buy that bar in Tulum. Regardless, I’m breathlessly waiting to see what’s next.”
Well, Rachel, since the bar in Tulum is not for sale, I decided to pursue the other option …and I did write that book!
I wrote the book, because:
Ageism is a thing. It is real. It is the last socially acceptable “ism” and it is time for that to change. It hurts people; it is a culture killer and it hurts the business bottom line.
The population shifts in the U.S. are as significant as they are undeniable. The Boomer generation is hard to ignore – huge in number and are mentally and physically healthier than any previous generation. Boomers want to and are able to keep working – and won’t take kindly to being told they can’t.
I truly believe that most business leaders are good and decent people — they just don’t realize how prevalent ageism is and when they know better, they will do better. Ageism is a problem that can be solved.
My book is not a self-help book for Boomers to find a “second career”, nor is it a “poor us” victim-centric book. It is a book written for business leaders. I hope to help them see the issue clearly, and offer specific advice for how businesses can ensure that their D&I strategy is truly inclusive by addressing age. But mostly, I wrote this book to make sure that ageism in the workplace goes from being a “thing” we passively accept to a something that we all talk about and eradicate.
One thing I know for sure – I’M NOT DONE trying to do just that.
Thanks to all who inspired me to write this book. For updates on the book or to share your thoughts and experiences visit the website http://imnotdone.rocks