Series - "Everyday" Women Redefining After 50 - Peg DoyleJan 15, 2021
What a delight it was to sit down and have a chat with Peg. And, like several of my women redefined, she actually redefined a couple of times during her lifetime. And, in a way, came full circle.
Peg grew up in a family of 5 kids and was the oldest daughter. From an early age she was "coached" by her parents to go to college to become a teacher, get married, and have children. "That way you can have your summers off!" Peg did exactly that. Interestingly, she noted her love of parent education, but the classroom wasn't a good fit for her. Teaching adults would circle back down the road.
Peg transitioned from the classroom into the IT world - around the time of the divestiture of ATT and the breakup of the Bell companies in the 1980s. She enjoyed the work and the opportunity it provided her to work with different sorts of organizations. During this time she went from a manufacturing company to a banking group and ended up at Harvard Medical School where she worked for 10 years. Peg described her time at Harvard as challenging - as a woman in a man's world. She was the only woman on the management team and was constantly fighting for equal salary as well as equal recognition.
The frustration that came with this situation, along with her children being through school and no longer needing her support, led to Peg's second redefinition. She said, "if ever there was a chance for me to make a change, and I felt really called to it, this was it!"
From Technology to Wellness
Peg had always had an interest in medicine but realized in her work at Harvard that medicine's primary focus was on surgery and medication, where she was interested in the process of healing. She began to study integrative practitioners (Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra) and Eastern medicine.
She felt like she was finding her home.
Peg started her new endeavor and blog www.wellnessandyou.com by doing Asian body work with her clients - Shiatsu and Reiki specifically. She talked about how energy is restored by breath and nutrition. As Peg moved forward on her journey, she zeroed in on the role of nutrition. As she researched, she found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and enrolled there at the age of 59. "I wanted to go back to school and learn all about nutrition. I was so committed to it and just loved it!"
Peg added a gerontology certificate to list of accomplishments. Most of her clients and herself are over 60 and she felt this was a pivotal part of her education and certification as she wrote her book, "Food Becomes You - Simple Steps for Lifelong Wellness." She was tired of repeatedly reading and hearing what goes wrong as you age and wrote her book to help older adults feel empowered, positive, and proactive as they aged. We have control over our health!
Peg carries out this message throughout her blog as well as her nutrition coaching, webinars, and corporate workshops.
I commented on the joy I hear in her voice as she talked about learning and doing what she's doing now. She leaned in and whispered, "Doing what I do feels like I'm playing." It was as if she still can't believe how much she loves it and how happy she is. Peg has found her joy.
The Process and Those D@#%* Barriers
A year before Peg actually left her job at Harvard to follow her dream, she opened up her tiny office. She wanted to try it out first. Peg laughed as she described it - it had been used as a storage room, "but it was all I needed and I loved it!"
Peg was 51 years old when she put in her notice. And she was terrified. How would she pay her mortgage? What about benefits?
Peg said, "I learned that if I didn't hold onto my fears and put them out there and didn't let them hold me back, someone always had a solution." She was scared about health benefits and shared her fear. Someone told her to join a business networking group and get more affordable group insurance that way. And she did.
Opening up about your fear and anxiety always takes away its power. Peg stated, "fear is brutal. It can make you sick and cause you to change the course of your life."
Peg described the reactions of others when she put in her notice. She had some people telling her she was crazy and what was she thinking? But, she had others who expressed the wish that they had the nerve or the opportunity to follow their dream as she was doing. Peg said that she never felt imposter syndrome along the way - she always felt at home. Her children saw how happy she was and have been very supportive along the way.
Finding a group of like minded people has helped Peg to overcome some of these barriers. She needed to avoid the "questioners." She said, "I had no doubts about wanting to do the work, but I did have doubts about whether it was possible to make a living.
Speaking. Peg wants to do more corporate speaking and she is going to command the speaker's rate that she deserves. She described how she was doing webinars for a national company who was paying next to nothing and she stopped - it wasn't helping her confidence level. Shes going to stop procrastinating and pick up the phone and start lining up those speaking engagements. I have ZERO doubt.
I commented, "I don't hear you talking about retirement." Her response, "NOOOOOO!" She went on to talk a bit about how many older people don't get involved in something that they love and that can lead to depression in that population.
And There's More...
And it makes me so happy as I write this. Peg was happy and settled into a cozy one bedroom condo. In 2019, she met a man and fell in love. With her children and six grandchildren present to watch their "Gaga," she married her love at the age of 73. The two moved into a home with 2 offices to allow them each to pursue their life's work.
We are NEVER too old to do any of the things.
Incredible Parting Words
"Find work that you love but don't get lost in it. Have some balance. Make room for the people that you love. Make room for fun and time on your own - pleasure reading, walking in the woods. Keep that balance!"
Peg also said that being with much younger and much older people has been a treasure. Watching older people who are continuing to live their dreams and foster their creativity is joyful. And being around younger people makes you forget how old you are. "The energy that you're around really affects you, so if you're always around older people you have to be proactive about drawing energy to you from elsewhere. Being around younger people is a gift."
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Peg talks about the ideas in Joseph Campbell's "Follow Your Bliss." That when you're ready, doors that have been there all along that you've never noticed before will open to you.
Words to live by. Thank you, Peg!