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Your Life Calling with Jane Pauley

A Natural Work in Progress Live Chat Transcript

If you missed the online chat with Jane and her guests, Catherine Zimmerman and Betsy Werley, you can catch the conversation here.

Comment from Laurie: Thank you for the segment this morning. It is so encouraging to learn how women have re-engaged in life. I worked part-time to stay home and raise my kids and am in the midst of trying to re-enter. The women who have not had a full-time career, and are starting the empty nesting process -- are we reaching out to them? The stories I seem to hear a great deal of (which are fabulous stories), are women that were full time execs and looking to engage in life differently. What about just starting?

Pauley: Laurie, point taken. Though our story a month ago was a man who, with his social security check, has created a life of service after many jobs you would not describe as “fabulous.” But, I think about women in your position all the time because I know the feeling of reaching in the dark for an idea.

My personal advice is to keep reaching, identify your own comfort zone and then deliberately do something to reach just outside it. It doesn't need to be a job, it might be a life of service to community, family or a next door neighbor. I do fear we are sometimes blinded by "fabulousness.”

Comment from Pat: I am over 50 and recently retired (before I was ready) because of a supervisor that drove me over the edge! I recently became involved in a home-based business but I miss the workplace relationships (although not the ones I left behind.) How do you develop those kind of relationships? I miss the feeling of "connectedness."

Werley: Hi, Pat - we have a lot to talk about! I strongly recommend that you get involved with a networking group like The Transition Network that brings entrepreneurs together to help each other. We have a number of peer support groups who do just that.

In addition, you could build your network by getting involved with a nonprofit in your community - taking on a leadership role that will offer new connections, expand your horizons and help you make friends with a new group of people.

Comment from Lauren: Do you have a link somewhere to TTN?

Werley: Absolutely - just go to We look forward to welcoming you.

Comment from Judy: Jane, I was so excited to see your segment on the Today Show today. You have truly reinvented yourself and are an inspiration to me. I am 60, recently "retired" and reinventing myself as a long-distance caretaker of my mother since my father's death, and I have recently taken up gardening. Catherine, what are some inspirational gardening references? I can't wait to read your book.

Zimmerman: Judy, I really had a revelation when I read Doug Tallamy's book "Bringing Nature Home." His research shows that native plants are very important to our ecosystem and to support our native insects and birds -- the reason being our insects specialize on certain plants that are native and they don't recognize non-native as food. I changed my whole plant palate after that.

Comment from Stephen: Betsy, does your organization have any resources off the top of your head that would be helpful for me to transition into a new career? PS...I'm a guy!

Werley: Yes, there are some very good resources:

North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement: (Asheville NC) – continuous learning, transition workshops

Shift: (Minneapolis/St. Paul) – focus on career transitions through programs and peer support

Coming of Age: (Philadelphia, Delaware, Kansas City, Bay Area) – resources, speakers, connections to volunteer opportunities.

Discovering What’s Next: (Boston area) – a network of people and organizations that helps people over 50 navigate transitions

There are lots of groups operating locally – check with churches, temples, Ys, JCCs and continuing education programs in your community.

Comment from Lori: Betsy, I can support your comment. I am seeing very qualified companies offering networking at no costs to you with experienced support.

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