If you don’t succeed, try and try again. If you are truly passionate about something you want to share in written word, that passion is important to address. It’s coming from somewhere. I wish I’d started sooner!
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 Sherri L. Rose.
Sherri L. Rose is a retired, happily married nurse practitioner living outside Richmond, VA. She her husband enjoy six daughters between them and are about to be grandparents to eight grandchildren. Sherri retired several years ago, started writing and loves it!
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 the most wonderful childhood any child could ask for. Both of my parents were loving, generous, kind and wanted the best for all four of their daughters. I wanted to be a nurse from the age of six and was encouraged to follow my dream throughout my childhood. My parents also encouraged many hours in church, a God-fearing, Christian background (that’s a long story), ten years of piano lessons, cheerleading, and being kind, generous and loving.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My Mother’s mantra for life, always, was “Love One Another.” It continues to be mine.
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.
- Putting others before yourself. (Love One Another). I must mention my daddy’s examples first. He was not a well-educated man; however, he was loving and generous. He was embarrassed at times by his lack of upper education, shy about his poor grammar, but was kind and good to all. He sometimes trusted those he should not; loaning a church deacon a large sum of money that he never saw (the money) again! He was amazingly successful in business, and he insisted that he be the primary provider, so my mother was a stay-at-home mom; which she adored. As Daddy’s success continued, he was very generous in gifting to many churches and seminaries to educate future ministers. My mother would state, “The more he gives, the more he makes.” As my daddy would give back, I’ve tried to “give back” by my first book, as a global mission to help others with COVID — getting little children to understand what COVID is and how it affects them. My book also has an introduction to parents to provide them information as well as other resources for assistance. It is my hope that my multiple translations will get distributed across our beautiful globe to help out during this horrific pandemic, which is still here!
- Being organized; it facilitates your perseverance! I still have days that my little office overcomes me — I cannot find anything and I have to take a moment to get my “piles” straight. My husband and I laugh — as he is a “spreader” and I’m a “piler,” but having some way of finding what you need is essential. I had absolutely no idea that becoming an author required so much organization of so many little details — ISBs, different ways to make payments, social media passwords — I now have a three-ring binder of passwords (sure, I’m almost 68 and there’s no question there’s an easier way to do this, but I just don’t trust the internet either, ha!). You get tired, but you gotta keep pushing to finish that project; and, often, it’s worth it!
- Take time for yourself. Go to church/synagogue/mosque (that family you get to choose 😊). Make sure you take a day off every week and play, do nothing, read a book, go to the park. Rest. Sleep well. Exercise. Take good care of your health. As acclaimed author Marita Golden said, “Writing can kill you!” You have to get up and walk; move around, get exercise, eat healthy (like I don’t already know this), I use a yoga ball at my desk; and the most important of all: your family comes first. Love that family of yours…you just don’t know when you may not have any one of them at any time. Love them deeply.
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 became a Registered Nurse (RN) in 1975 and a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) in 1977. NPs were totally unheard of at that point in time, so with every patient you saw, you had to explain what this new role was. A nurse with a stethoscope and an otoscope to look into a child’s ears was unheard of. It required being much more assertive, and you also began to realize you needed to be that child’s advocate. I practiced on and off (with my own babies arriving) as a PNP until I decided to return to school to get my Master’s in Science in Nursing. I extended my skills to be a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and then I could see patients from “Womb to Tomb.” One of my favorite jobs during that period was working on the Bon Secours Care-A-Van, seeing patients who had no health insurance. I saw so many patients with such bizarre situations and many mental health issues. They were suffering from medical issues that had not been addressed for years! I ended my career as a Hospice Nurse Practitioner; recertifying patients that were under Hospice Care. I loved every minute of my nursing career. However, once a nurse, always a nurse!
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I don’t think I’ve re-invented myself per se. I believe that my nursing education has allowed me to become an author, addressing a health care crisis for preschoolers and their parents. I’m still a nurse and explaining to little children what is happening around them.
I’m also working on my memoir, which is a somewhat scholastic book as I back up my experiences with scientific articles that reflect the knowledge that I’ve acquired from everything I’ve lived through and how those experiences have affected me physically, emotionally and spiritually. This type of writing has been more challenging — writing about myself!
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?
For my children’s book, I was lying in bed one night, pining away and quite sad that I could not hug my youngest grandson because of COVID.. It was awful. And off I went, found a local company which would facilitate my self-publication and they got it out in just a matter of months!
I had a very traumatic experience in 1979 at age 26, as a nurse. I journaled a lot about this event, and a few decades later I began to toy with the idea that I should share what had happened with others. I worked so hard on my recovery and healing, and I hoped that one day, I could share some of the wisdom I had acquired and perhaps it could help someone else with a similar trauma. I’m still working hard on that project.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing?
I’m just a super determined person and started thinking about all those little children with super distressed parents and I wanted to make them feel better if I could. I loved writing the little song in the book — and there are so many ways to reach children. I know this from my years of nursing. It was fun to reach out in such a new way to make a difference in the lives of children and their parents.
How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
I just worked as hard as I possibly could. Working hard with my editor helped me identify many of my weaknesses and strengths in my writing. That helped me so much. What also helped was her patience.
For my memoir, there have been many hurdles. That’s a very long story for another time!
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
Things are going well — I am looking for a temporary/part — time helper now, as I just cannot get it all done. International marketing is not for the weak of heart; and trying to write another book from the heart is quite challenging. My social media presence is increasing and I am delighted that my book reviews are going great!
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?
There is no way that I would be here, a retired nurse practitioner, a loving, caring person without my unconditionally loving parents. I now know that this is what is so often needed for us to have resilience. If you are not loved as a child, it is much harder to learn how to love later in life…not that you cannot — but it is more difficult. My mama’s mantra to “Love One Another” is the most important philosophy (and scripture) that I follow, and it guides me clearly through many a day.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
There is the silliest notion that if you find a self-publishing company, give them money and you publish a book that you are a celebrity. Really???? Now, if an agent finds you, and you sell a million books and a LOT of people really like that book (obviously) you can become a household name — but that hasn’t happened to me, nor is it necessarily my goal. I realize that is not exactly a story — but there have been a few people that have treated me that way as if I’m special or something. Had it not been for my parents, I would not have had the money to self-publish this book in the first place!
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?
To be a good nurse, you have to believe in yourself. During my first year as an RN, on the floor of pediatrics in a small private hospital, a very large pediatric neurosurgeon had the audacity to yell at me, in the hallway in front of many staff, patients and parents about something about his patient who I was caring for. His face got red. My colleagues were croaking. I cannot recall if I started crying as he continued yelling, or if I was able to wait until I got to the ladies’ room. It was at that moment that I realized that I had to get myself together. My patients depended on me. Later that year, I corrected a physician when he said that the IV was “so many drops per minute” when it was really another rate. I told him so in front of the parents and the little boy. He responded saying, “Thank you.”
THEN, becoming a mother was my second lesson in becoming assertive. If I did not look out for my babies, no one else would. I eventually became a single parent, and I had children with special needs. Yes, there were many, many meetings. I came out of one and the assistant principal looked at me in awe and said, “I didn’t know we could do that.” I responded with a gentle smile and said, “Oh yes, it’s in the law,” and walked away. Yes, my daughter would get a 1:1 math teacher for the whole next year in school as she had met all the criteria as stated by the VA law.
And then there was hospice — the nursing homes I would go to — those that took beautiful care of their patients — they were clean, dry, bathed recently, non-agitated but not sedated (I could go on and on) and then there were the facilities that when the nurses saw me coming, they knew that my assessment would be very thorough and complete. I would come to the nurse’s station if I saw something that wasn’t right — and I had no tolerance for untreated pain, poor hygiene, agitation, unpleasant hallucinations; it was my responsibility to make sure my patients received good care and I did my best to see that they did.
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 the most wonderful husband who had already written a novel. Well, what more could a woman ask for? I followed his lead — but the true motivating factor was my passion about this virus. I could not hug my new grandson. So — I got help from a young woman with some details, and I got a self-publishing company and editor, I moved my office upstairs (I had shared an office with my husband) but realized I needed more quiet space), I had to consult with Geek Squad more than I care to admit, I had to get an attorney to help protect me legally with a new business, I talked with many family members but particularly my sister, Dana, who was an elementary school teacher, and I went back to some of my earlier teachings in nursing school of communicating with preschoolers. I had my family, church family and many, many friends who supported my endeavors.
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?
Nursing School requires writing LOTS of papers. Many people would have no idea. So, writing came somewhat naturally; I also talk a lot. So writing is typically a narrative style for me, particularly with my memoirs. In my children’s book, I strongly considered the developmental level of a preschooler. I can’t tell you how many well child physicals I did over my years of practicing pediatrics. Preschoolers were some of my favorites, because they were the ones that would say the most hilarious things that would put me (and the parent) in stitches. Their vocabulary was just going crazy but they (thankfully) had not acquired a filter and they would say it the way it was. So — from that perspective, I’ve stayed in my comfort zone.
Publishing? Oh my! I must be the most learning disabled customer at Brandylane Publishing, (thank you Robert Pruett) in Richmond, Virginia, and they have ALWAYS been so incredibly patient with me. They tried so hard to push my book through as the timing was of the essence as we were in the throes of the pandemic, and they did! That’s where most of my stress came from last year — trying to get it edited (thank you forever, Erin Harpst), out to the press and out to little children. I wanted these little ones to better understand what in the world was going on! They had to be frightened; and when parents are so anxious it is very difficult to explain to young children what is going on in a developmentally appropriate way.
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.
- Just how hard I would have to work. I am already a very hard worker. I am super motivated, inspired to author this children’s book as well as my memoirs, but we are talking hours that exceed a normal work week — and I’m retired! I need breaks that I don’t always take; and I’m learning I need to take them, or it affects my health: I recently had an acute onset of what I thought was migraine headaches. I ended up in the Emergency Room, with six drugs and fluids, back home on all kinds of things, then more drugs added. I had a virtual visit with a FANTASTIC neurologist to find out that I have “muscle spasm headaches.” He taught me over the phone how to massage the muscles of my cranium which were exquisitely tender and I’m already much better. You have to take good care of yourself, even in the beginning, so you can finish your project.
- It still helps to be kind to others. If you get help from anyone else — be kind to them, and their work is happier and they don’t mind their work (as much). I have not had a lot of people helping me, but I finally reached the point that I had to, so I would survive. “Marketing is a marathon” — I wish I knew who to give credit to the person who told me that; but it is so true! You still have to sleep and eat before and after a marathon — but always be kind to the people around you.
- Pace yourself. This was really difficult, as so many people were dying. I still went to sleep at night — but I had never been at a computer for 8–10 hours/day at the ripe age of 67, now almost 68. My yoga ball chair helps.
- Find a writers group before starting. The James River Writers Conference guided me in many ways to prepare me for these endeavors.
- If you don’t succeed, try and try again. If you are truly passionate about something you want to share in written word, that passion is important to address. It’s coming from somewhere. I wish I’d started sooner!
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?
I would share my mama’s mantra, “Love One Another.” We’ve had this verse for over two thousand years, so maybe we need to identify why it is so difficult for people. Why is greed, power and control so addicting, and loving isn’t?
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. 🙂
Michelle Obama. She worked with my nephews, The Gregory Brothers, while she was in the White House. There’s still so much work to do to get people to love each other in our country and in this world, no matter who they are. What else can we do?
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Email: [email protected]
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!