Redefining yourself after a divorce or later in life can be scary and challenging but what is the alternative? Living the same way you have for the first 40 or 50 years, for the next 40 or 50?
That was a question 49 year old, Julie asked herself. “After my divorce,” she says, “I was completely starting over and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for a career, but I knew I wanted to help people in some way. I had spent 16 years in the photography industry so I thought I had to stay in that field because I already had a reputation for being one of the best, but my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I tried and watched that business fall flat. It sucked, but I needed to fail in order to know that it wasn’t what I was meant to do. I had been mentoring people for over 10 years in the photography business and it dawned on me that what I really wanted was to expand on that mentoring and coaching to help other people, people like me, find their purpose and passion in life. Life Coaching then became an easy decision and felt very natural for me.
Changing careers at 45 was not done easily. I struggled with wondering if people would even take me seriously as I had been one thing (a photographer) for so long, would anyone trust me as a new thing (a life coach).
Most of my friends and family supported the idea of it, because I’ve been an entrepreneur for many years, but very few people were on board with the “Life Coach” part. I attribute that to them believing it wasn’t a “real” career. However, I did go to a very prestigious online school to learn the programs I teach. It took over a year to finish and I spent about $30k getting fully certified in every possible program I could get into. This helped to get friends and family more on board with my new career.
Overcoming other people’s expectations of what I should do was difficult in the beginning. At first, I didn’t talk too much about it out of fear that they would think it was dumb. Eventually, I learned to believe in myself more than I cared what other people thought.
Being a single mom of three teenagers, coming off of a 15 year marriage, starting a brand new business, and dealing with a global pandemic has been challenging to say the least. My children are very supportive of my choices to get a divorce and to start a new career. Balancing my time between it all is not easy and I’m not perfect. I do what I can everyday and stay focused on the example I want to set for them as well as keeping my sights set on my business goals. Some days I’m a huge success, some days, I’m a hot mess. The key for me is to make sure I get plenty of rest, ask for help when I need it, stay positive, and know that tomorrow is a new day.
It took me a little while to realize that there is no age limit to starting something new. The cliché “age is just a number” is such a powerful statement. I’d rather try and fail ten times and then get it right, than never even try at all. If you feel called to do something and you think you’re too old, or you are scared of failing, then you are in your own way! Get out of your comfort zone and go for it anyway. Do it scared!”
Julie didn’t just redefine herself in relation to her career. She also decided it was time to improve her health. “I’ve been overweight my entire adult life, sometimes by 15 lbs., sometimes by 45 lbs,” she says. “I can lose weight easily if I go hard core on a diet plan, but I can gain it back like a champ too. I’ve easily spent thousands & thousands of dollars on weight loss programs, pills, shakes, pre-packaged foods, exercise programs, apps, liposuction, trainers… you name it, I’ve probably tried everything on the market and probably some illegal things too just to lose weight. Why? Because that’s the first thing people notice about you when they meet you and whether they want to admit it or not, people will judge you based on your weight. That’s not saying I don’t have lots of friends or that I have difficulty in dating. In fact, the opposite is quite true. I have so many amazing friends and my dating life is very active. There are tons of tools out there for anyone who wants to lose weight. The trick is to find the tool that works for you. Once I found the right tool for me, I was able to drop the extra pounds and am no longer overweight for the first time in more than 25 years. I’ve lost a total of 45 lbs. in 4 months (from 202 to 157) and I’m not only HAPPY with my body and my weight but my self-confidence has skyrocketed! Feeling confident in my body definitely helps me feel more confident in other areas of my life too. It’s an amazing feeling to know that less than 4 years ago I was 45 years old, 45 lbs. overweight, going through a divorce, and trying to start a new career and I felt like a total FAILURE… to now… 49 years YOUNG, looking and feeling better than when I was in my 20s and running a successful and thriving Life Coaching business!
I never would have thought that I’d be headed into my 50s with a brand new, amazing career, as a single mom with three teenagers, at the healthiest weight of my life, and having the total confidence to conquer the world. But here I am… doing it all.”
Bravo, Julie! You are an inspiration to the rest of us.
You can find Julie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/juliedianecastle
and on Instagram at @journeycoachjulie