Executive Coach Cheryl Grace: “Fabulosity Is Ageless”
There are some women in the world whose energy is so strong that you know at first sight that they can only bring good vibes, inspiration and fabulosity to your life. Cheryl Grace is one of those.
A highly sought-after executive coach and speaker, she is now committed to helping women on how to be their best multi-dimensional selves – no matter what their age – while redefining their next chapter. Her ability to coach on home, love, and work comes from personal experiences and 25+ years in corporate America where she was regarded as a powerhouse and a pioneer, who shifted the way the US regarded Black America’s spending power and cultural influence.
Her top tips for turning your passion into your “Career 2.0”? “Identify what you really love, take small bites (achievable goals) to conquer it, and use intentionality to achieve your next-level lifestyle“. Because fabulosity doesn’t happen overnight.
Cheryl, you often encourage women to look for their “next level of fabulosity”. How can we reach that stage in midlife when we sometimes feel anything but fabulous?
I am age fluid! This helps block out so much discrimination that is centred around ageism. Usually, when people are discussing age, they’re amazed at how well someone executed something “in spite of” their age. We marvel that someone has done something in spite of being too young or too old. I don’t want to hear that I look good for my age. I just want to know that I look good! This mindset is how I feel I can best help shift the narrative surrounding ageism – I don’t talk about my age. I just am fabulous, and fabulosity is ageless!
Fabulosity is a state of mind, and your mindset is everything. If you think you’ve reached a point where you don’t feel a certain way, the onus is on you to change that feeling! First, you need to shift your perspective. Generally, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. So it’s helpful to find different ways to continue to grow. Take piano or guitar lessons. Learn how to swim. Do something that you’ve always wanted to do! That’s the only way to shift from a midlife crisis mindset into a “I’m still vibrant” mindset. That’s how you stay young and relevant for yourself.
Empowering women over 50 is not that easy. We often find ourselves regretting the past or feeling stuck in the middle of our journey without knowing how to progress or reboot our life. What do you usually suggest to these women who have lost their inner compass?
An inner compass is just that — it’s YOUR inner compass! So only you have the power to change the channel in your head about what’s important to you at various stages in your life. You can’t relinquish that power over to someone else. And you can’t give up on yourself. If you’re feeling invisible, that’s on you! If you have regrets, determine if there is any way to rectify the situation. If there is a way to change the situation, then do so. If there isn’t any opportunity to go back and change something you wished you had, accept the reality, forgive yourself, and move on! But only YOU have the power to live the life YOU say is important for YOU. You just have to remember that it’s never too late to begin.
Many women in their midlife feel invisible. Not only because they think they might have lost their attractiveness but also because they feel like they are ignored by society. How can we make our voices heard and make them count?
Personally, I don’t think men are ever faced with a similar dilemma. It’s worth noting that the more we let this narrative that women aren’t “attractive” or “successful enough” creep into the lexicon of ageism, the less control we as women have over the ageism narrative, to begin with.
I’ve curated an identity of accomplishments and achievements that are based on something more meaningful and substantive than my outer appearance. If I feel that I haven’t accomplished anything worthwhile in my life, perhaps that’s worthy of self-examination versus spending time reflecting on the perception of society deeming me invisible. I don’t need external validation if I’ve lived in a way I’m pleased with! I cannot be invisible to myself.
These times we are living now are very tough, especially from a financial point of view. Many midlife women are also struggling to find a job. How can we unlock our earning power and keep pursuing our dreams under these circumstances?
It can be hard to stay motivated to find a job while seeing others professionally flourishing. But, it’s important to know that mindset shapes so much of our reality! That’s what gives you the confidence to know that you’re successful and capable enough to plan your next career move because YOU control how you perceive opportunities. If you have the mindset that you’re not going to be successful at your job search because you’re competing with 20 to 35-year-olds, then you won’t be focused on your strengths and the valuable experience you’re bringing to the table 25-year-old simply does not have. They may be bodacious and confident, but your real-world experience matters a great deal!
I’d also encourage women to continue making themselves marketable by identifying transferable skills. Your soft skills – the ability to communicate, active listening, and negotiation capabilities, for example, come from your years of experience and cannot be faked; and can be relevant to many industries.
You can choose to reframe a situation, see the positive outcomes, and proceed accordingly. The Great Resignation screams opportunity to me. If so many people have walked away from jobs, then there are now tons of jobs open! Reframing your perspective can be life-changing.
You are not only a successful entrepreneur but also a very good-looking woman. Do you have any particular rituals or beauty tricks you’d like to share with us?
First of all, thank you for the compliment! I spend time cultivating my look. But I don’t rely on beauty tricks to get me through life, nor do I take my look for granted. I only buy clothes that make me say “wow” in the dressing room mirror! If I can feel like I’m having a “wow” moment alone in the dressing room with horrible overhead fluorescent lights and a three/way mirror, things can only be uphill from there!
For skincare, I love hydrating masks and oxygen facials. I had horrible acne when I was a teenager, and I find the acne scars are less prevalent when my face is hydrated.
As a midlife woman, how are you experiencing this stage of life so far, and what do you hope to achieve in the coming years?
I have never been happier in my entire life! I am happily married, learning new things, and helping others, all while being petrified simultaneously. It’s simply a thrilling, invigorating combination. I’ve never felt so alive and aware of my possibilities before, thanks to my choice to live each day with intentionality. That choice has led to a life of fabulosity.
There are many different types of discrimination. Ageism is a big one and it seems quite hard to overcome. Would you be able to give our readers some tips on how to combat this?
Don’t let others define you by what you can or cannot do based on your age. Stop telling people your age if you think it is going to limit you or if you think it’s going to be used against you. As I’ve said before, I am age fluid. I don’t let people define me by my age, and certainly, I don’t define myself by it. It’s an amazingly freeing way to embrace life and I highly recommend it.
Finally, what advice do you have for midlife women who are not ready to retire yet and seek to level up their career or business in a new direction?
I give the same advice to all women- don’t do anything you don’t want to do! You chart your own course and your own destiny. If that includes having a Career 2.0 then do the necessary research it takes to identify what that phase of your life can look like. Set goals and milestones that can help you bring them to fruition. Then, have the confidence to go for it! The only thing that can hold you back is how hard you are willing to work for what you say you want.
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