I wish I had understood the exiting procedure from a business. I never planned on selling my businesses and was going to keep doing them until I was through with it (which I never thought would happen). However, now I understand how important it is to structure a business for sale even though you may not do it. I did sell my first business however it could have been smoother.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Gayle Carson.
After college Gayle moved to Miami and got her first job in two weeks. One year later she bought the business and proceeded to diversify its sales base from one to seven divisions and it eventually became the largest independent organization in the industry. As CEO, Gayle managed a diverse staff of over 350 people, graduated more than a million students from her training programs and personally managed the company’s complex payroll. While serving as CEO of her business, she received her Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.
Selected as a “Legend of the Speaking Profession,” she currently hosts over a dozen radio shows per month and is the founder of the sobradionetwork.com and is also the only woman in the world who has a Doctorate, a CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CMC (Certified Management Consultant) and an FIMC (Fellow to the Institute of Management Consultants).
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I had a great childhood. Loving parents, let me be me, strict but understanding and I was always creating dance routines and events in the backyard, the living room etc. I had a dance partner in high school and we entertained in the tri-city area.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Be the best you, you can be.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
1. Not taking no for an answer. All my life I have had people say what I wanted to do was impossible. I just hung in there longer than most and made it happen. Sometimes I would have to create a new scenario, but it was all worth it.
2. Discipline. I’m pretty good about sticking to my guns and when things take longer than expected, I just stick it out. Persistence would go along with this as well. One instance……getting my Doctorate many years ago. I rewrote my dissertation 11 times, but I got it.
3. Morals and Ethics. I won’t do anything I can’t tell someone about. If I see something or someone being treated unjustly, I WILL say something. I have turned down work assignments because I didn’t believe in what they were trying to accomplish. And yes, I told them so.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
I have been an entrepreneur all of my life starting at 13 when I sold Avon door to door and became the top salesperson in my area. I started a formal business at 21, grew it to 7 offices and 350 people, then went into a speaking career working in 50 countries and 49 states with 1000 clients in 50 different industries. I also developed real estate with my husband.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I have always been on radio and had 3 shows when I was in college where I majored in Broadcasting, Theater and Speech. Now I do 12 radio shows a month which morph into podcasts and a lot of TV so am doing media consulting. I also branded myself as Dr. Gayle S.O.B. Spunky Old Broad which I trademarked. I now have a virtual SOB club on FB and send out a weekly newsletter. I have also developed online courses for each market.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
No. I just knew it was time to do something different and have an impact somewhere else. And I felt that no one was addressing the woman over 50 or doing great media training.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
It really wasn’t new. It was what I did all my life and just translated it to a new market. I am probably still overcoming some barriers as there is a lot of noise out there, however I used those 3 traits I spoke of earlier.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
Fairly well. I have new women signing up for my FB group all the time, enrolling in my programs, and sending responses to my newsletter. It can always be better, but I am having the time of my life.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I of course, am always grateful to my son who keeps my spirits up even though he thinks I’m nuts for still working. I have a tech guy who is helping me grow my reach out there in hinterland. And I have peers who I can call on when I need advice. My husband was very supportive and built my offices for me. So not one person, but many.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
I created Spunky Old Broad month which is February and I always name a Spunky Old Broad of the year who have included Cloris Leachman, Mary Tyler Moore and Betty White. People have held Spunky Old Broad events and this year there is an assisted living facility in West Virginia that is holding a Spunky Old Broad contest and I am the judge.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
No. And I credit that to my mother. She always made me face whatever dilemma came up even from an early age. I had friends that had more money, was turned down for many a role in plays, hated my first year of college because of the school, and she made me face all of those and deal with them. Have I been envious, you bet, however I have learned to deal with all of that and come out ahead.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
I have never depended on a support team. I have just done it. Maybe foolishly, but when I get an idea, I just plunge ahead. Then as I need people, I contract with them.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
I ’m not sure I ever had a comfort zone. The only thing I know I do really well is talk. That’s why when I give a speech, or am on camera, do a zoom call or my radio shows, I am in a zone all its own. I can sick as a dog but once that light shines on me, I’m on.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. I wish someone had given my business lessons. I went on pure gut. At 21 I thought I knew it all however within 2 weeks of buying it, my biggest competitor hit me with a “cease and desist” order. I didn’t even know what it was nor did I have an attorney. I hired one, got through it and continued to operate in a different way however to this day, I have never had a business course.
2. I wish I understood earlier how important a team was. Although I have always hired people when I needed them, it would have been easier for me if I was surrounded with like minded people in the beginning. I just always plunged ahead when I wanted something and didn’t even know people had paid vacations, benefits etc until I was 28.
3. I wish I had had better funding. I financed everything myself so moved a lot slower than if I had money behind me. However I was beholden to no one and things ended up just fine. People have always done things through a budget or strategic plan. As I said, I went on instinct and guts.
4. I wish I had a greater reach than I do. Perhaps had I cultivated that earlier on it might have been easier however I am grateful for what has occurred. I have a good following but am not an influencer, have people who reach out to me for advice but am not a household name, and I would like to be thought of first when it comes to what I do.
5. I wish I had understood the exiting procedure from a business. I never planned on selling my businesses and was going to keep doing them until I was through with it (which I never thought would happen). However, now I understand how important it is to structure a business for sale even though you may not do it. I did sell my first business however it could have been smoother.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
A movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people:
I am all for World Peace. If we could all just get along with each other even when we disagree, it would be a much healthier planet. Not everyone has to think the same way, however they should respect how others do
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
Either Oprah Winfrey or Michelle Obama.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Go to my social media sites, my website, refer me, talk me up
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!