You could do everything, but you shouldn’t do everything: I’m a recovering control freak, plus I’m good at a lot of things. I don’t mind tackling new things or learning new technologies. This really held me back because every single task in my business was up to me. Everything depended on me. While I believe it’s important to know how to do things in your business, being able to delegate is a powerful skill to learn. After all, we didn’t get into business to burn the midnight oil did we? I wanted more freedom, but instead I was eating up all my time.
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 Vickie Gould.
Vickie Gould is a marketing and book coach, publisher, and 10-time bests-selling author who has been featured in Entrepreneur.com, Tedx UofM, Writer’s Digest and HuffPost. As a result of working with her, Vickie’s clients become best-selling authors who are able to leverage their stories, grow their following, create more impact, and turn their readers into clients while they sleep. Her 109 best-selling clients span four continents, 14 countries, and 21 states and include a former Canadian Olympic track star, a female Golden Globe boxing champ, a mom and autistic daughter duo, and “regular” people from all walks of life.
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 was born to Taiwanese immigrants and education was of the utmost importance. When I was young, I loved to read and ended up reading the entire children’s library section. There were high expectations set with education and extracurriculars like playing the piano.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford
So often in life we are told what to do, whom to marry, and what profession to pursue, and we end up squelching who we are meant to be. We start to think that we can’t become the person who is screaming to get out of us. I lived my life to please others, to live life by others’ philosophies, and ignore the gifts I had been born with. The formula I was given was supposed to lead to success and happiness, but it didn’t.
How would your best friend describe you?
My best friend would describe me as loyal, kind, funny, caring, helpful, optimistic, intuitive, empathic, down to earth, and always there for her.
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?
I believe the three top qualities that helped me to be successful were:
- Ability to fail forward publicly (trying things just to test them out)
- Believing that success is inevitable (not giving up)
- To be able to honestly evaluate the past to learn how to move forward in the future
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 was in corporate. I had done what my parents had told me to do and got a degree in Actuarial Mathematics from The University of Michigan. I had worked for some big companies such as Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Rock Financial (now Quicken Loans), and Comerica Bank.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed in 2009 with Chronic Lyme Disease that I was able to slow down and re-evaluate my life. At that point, I was told that I would live out the rest of my life chronically in pain. I was spending 16–18 hours a day in bed, and it was during those times that I was really able to reflect and ask myself if I had done what I really wanted to do in life. Who was I? I realized that I had put myself last all the time. I had told myself that I would travel “later.” My identity was whatever I thought others perceived of me. As I reflected on how I wanted the rest of my life to pan out, I found myself again. The doctors told me not to hope that I would get better, but I wanted more.
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?
It was when I realized that I didn’t want to live by other people’s rules and expectations. I wanted more for the rest of my life. I wanted to define myself. I wanted to be the one deciding what I could or couldn’t do or be.
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?
When I started to investigate how to get better, since the doctors said they were out of ideas and couldn’t help, I became a master herbalist. During that process, I found the mind and body are tightly connected. It was then that I started to learn more about past traumas and triggers. I got into coaching, got certified and worked through the mind-body connection with my chronic illness.
How are things going with this new initiative?
I feel so much freer to be who I was called to be. I feel much more connected to the person that I am. The inside and the outside now match and my business is a testament to authenticity being magnetic.
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?
My friend, Karen Donaldson, has been with me every step of the way. We met in Dallas in early 2017 and we have been best friends ever since. We ended up rooming together for that event in Dallas and she pulled out a magazine about the latest yachts. When she said that she was looking to buy a yacht, I remember thinking, “Who is she?” I knew I wanted to have that same mindset. She has helped me when I felt like no one else understood me. She’s coached me through tough times both personal and business-wise and she never feels like my dreams are too big or unattainable.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
In one of the programs I was in with a coaching group, there was a woman who was very different from me. In front of the entire room of attendees, she told me that she didn’t like my outfit and that it was too youthful. She said, “I can’t take you seriously when you dress like that.” This, after I had gotten many compliments on my outfit that morning. It was a simple outfit of embroidered jeans and a velour cold shoulder top. I wasn’t sure why it bothered her so much that she had to make a group announcement.
Three years later, she reached out to invite me to do a webinar on writing and publishing books for her audience of coaches. Initially, I agreed to do the webinar, but as she questioned if I knew how to put a webinar together and told me how to design my affiliate program (saying her cut was too small), it started to feel icky. The energy around the collaboration wasn’t right and eventually she got upset, referring to the exposure I would get with her list of coaches. I believe the comment was meant to convey my ungratefulness for this collaboration and when she said it was a one-sided deal that only benefited me, I knew it was time to decline the project.
Just a short few years ago, when she told me she didn’t like my outfit, I would’ve let her walk all over me about this collaboration. Now, I see my own value and my ability to choose, without manipulation. I plainly said that it didn’t seem like either side was feeling great about it, so it would be best if we scrapped the project. She wanted to continue to hash things out, but I was done discussing it.
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?
Struggling to believe in yourself is something that I would imagine all successful people do. While it looks great to the rest of the world, at every ceiling, you question yourself.
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 surround myself with a great network of friends and business besties. I also hire a coach to help me get to the next level.
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?
One of the things I was most scared of doing was being me. I felt like so many people expected me to act or behave in a certain way that I was no longer available for. I remember telling my husband that this was me, take it or leave it. After a little while, he told me that he liked the “New Vickie” better because I was happier and more fun to be around.
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.
The 5 things I wish someone would have told me before I started leading my organization.
- Being is more important that doing: Most of us have been taught that you need to do something in order to have something so that you can be somebody. It’s actually backward. If you embody the person who you want to be (or already are inside), then the things that you need to do will come naturally. For example, someone who is a classical music lover will enjoy attending a concert at Carnegie Music Hall. On the other hand, someone who attends a concert at Carnegie Music Hall is not automatically a classical music lover. You can easily do something that is not connected to your character or beliefs, but if it’s something that is engrained in you, you will inherently do it.
- The best personal development course is owning your own business: There are a lot of strategies out there on how to become successful but the one thing that keeps most people playing small is the chatter that goes on in your head. One of the things I held on to for a long time was the idea that if I made more money than my husband, I wouldn’t feel taken care of. Guess what? I get to control that belief. The book, “Loving What Is,” by Byron Katie was instrumental in turning my thoughts around.
- You could do everything, but you shouldn’t do everything: I’m a recovering control freak, plus I’m good at a lot of things. I don’t mind tackling new things or learning new technologies. This really held me back because every single task in my business was up to me. Everything depended on me. While I believe it’s important to know how to do things in your business, being able to delegate is a powerful skill to learn. After all, we didn’t get into business to burn the midnight oil did we? I wanted more freedom, but instead I was eating up all my time.
- Focus on the ONE THING: One of my top human needs is variety. I was constantly creating more programs, more webinars, more offers, and more options. But when you focus on too many things, people get confused about what you’re offering, and a confused buyer doesn’t buy. Once I started to focus on one thing, my Easy Writer program, I was able to hone in my message and attract more clients because it was like a megaphone effect. On the other side of this focus, I’ve come to realize that you need to get excited about being boring. As one of my coaches said, “Making money is boring. Making a lot of money is really boring.”
- Schedule lunch: Entrepreneurs tend to go, go, go. Often, we forget to take care of ourselves or say, “I’ll eat after I do ____________.” Pretty soon it’s dinnertime and you’re starving. Some days, I would schedule appointments through the lunch hour, thinking that I would have time in between appointments. Inevitably, the appointments ran long and I ended up skipping lunch. The only way to get around it is to block out that time so that you eat because a fueled mind works better than a starving one!
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?
Living a life of no regrets: I was in bed for 16–18 hours a day for three and a half years due to my chronic Lyme Disease. I had a lot of time with my thoughts and I often looked back on my life at the things that I told myself I would do later. I ended up feeling bitter and having a lot of regrets about what I did not do. Now, when I look at things, I ask myself the question, “Will you regret not doing this now?” and it helps me to prioritize what’s important. All too often, we act like our time here is unlimited and that there will be space in the future, but it’s not true. We never know and I, for one, never want to have that bitter, regretful feeling again.
What do you want to be remembered for the most?
Helping people believe in themselves and to achieve what they once thought was only a dream.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!