THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AT 50
This blog post is written by a guest writer to the Women Connect collective. The article contains topics surrounding mental health.
The Invisible Woman: a book publisher’s story - by Gail Powell
Many women reach their fifties battling a myriad of strange new bodily symptoms, leaving them mostly exhausted, with low self-worth and a fog of confusion about the meaning of their lives.
For me, battling hormonal changes was by no means the only thing I had to contend with as I had the overwhelming feeling that time was beginning to steal my youth. Probably worst of all was the creeping belief that an invisibility cloak had descended upon me.
It’s not that I didn’t have the courage to embrace the changes that come with each decade; after all, being a woman, there are challenges at all ages. I was certainly not a stranger to rising above the physical, mental, and societal pressures of carving my way through life. What woman isn’t? By the time I reached fifty, I did think that I would have this life thing down, though!
For me, I have never chosen the easy path; I suppose it’s unfair to suggest that a woman who has risen through the ranks in the corporate world has had it easy either. I can only imagine the trials of forging your own identity in what can often be a mostly male environment, but being a serial entrepreneur comes with different types of challenges entirely. No matter the life and work path chosen, every woman learns to become an expert in juggling.
At the age of eighteen, I applied for a job as a journalist at my city’s finest newspaper. It was the early eighties, and there was a recession. Many were fighting for the very few jobs that were around at that time. Sadly, there is a repeat of this going on right now for teens. I remember there were twenty of us in the hiring process, mixed genders, mixed academic backgrounds. I made it to the final two, based mostly on the essay I had written about why I had wanted to be a journalist. The powers that be couldn’t decide between the two of us. It came down to the fact that the other person had a degree, and I did not.
I decided at that moment to enroll in University and get a degree so that I would never be refused a job based on my lack of academic qualifications ever again. The irony was that after my degree, I never applied for another job! I began a life of working for myself.
Fast forward a few decades, and it appears I blinked. Where had the time gone? I’m now in my fifties and find myself searching for new meanings to the five-plus decades I have spent on this planet.
I finally made it to the business and profession I had started out trying to enter. Not as a journalist but as a writer and editor. I suddenly found myself in my forties with a new path to forge. The career I had always craved would, in fact, find me. Just ahead of my fortieth birthday, life circumstances conspired to force me to ‘find myself,’ so I decided what better way than to train as a Life Coach.
I realised that somewhere along my life journey, my fascination with people and their stories had never left me. During my training, I met many coaches and trainers, all with their stories to tell and advice to give. After writing and self-publishing a book and successfully branding myself in the world of confidence coaching, my peers asked me to help them to find their voice and brand too.
Finally, I had found my path. I went about creating a publishing company that would help others tell their stories and provide access to a publisher who was also a fully qualified Life Coach. Someone who could help budding authors to overcome their lack of confidence in committing their thoughts to paper and to enable them to speak their truth. I could offer all the benefits that traditional publishers provide but with an entirely personal and assisted self-publishing service—no need to suffer any rejection for their work. I could coach and empower the many worthy storytellers to publish a book to be genuinely proud of adding their name to as the author.
In the last nearly two decades, I have helped people from all walks of life tell their stories. I have published books covering many subjects, about grief and overcoming life-threatening illnesses, as well as many uplifting stories from coaches and trainers whose advice has helped many with their own lives. I have been privileged to publish an abundance of truly heartfelt stories by amazing and inspiring people. I feel fortunate to have supported them in their journey to becoming an author.
In answer to the question about becoming invisible at the age of 50, and with my life-coaching hat firmly in place, I refuse to give in to another label. I believe that we are defined not only by the legacy we leave behind but the positive impact we have on those around us. I am convinced that my family and close friends ‘see me,’ but I think that the main thing I have discovered along life’s path is that it is more important to ‘see yourself.’
By Gail Powell
Gail Powell is an Award-Winning Publisher and Company Director at The Solopreneur Ltd. She offers self-assisted publishing packages to help budding authors of non-fiction (and the occasional fiction title) write and publish a book they can be proud of in sharing with the world.
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lots of love,
Women Connect x