Today we revisit three women I’ve featured previously on Next Act for Women: Marla, who has pivoted from running a nonprofit to coaching for weight loss; Margaret, who published her first book about depression; Densie, who has published a second novel and just signed a contract for her third.
FROM FOUNDING A NONPROFIT TO WEIGHT LOSS COACHING: MARLA’S UPDATE
I can’t believe it’s been nearly five years since my interview with Next Act For Women. I continue evolving and I’m now on my next, next act. After founding A Night Out, a nonprofit providing respite for domestic violence victims, I’ve been on a continuing journey of self-discovery and action. A Night Out became so successful that the best way to continue its growth was to collaborate and merge with the Chicago domestic violence agency, Between Friends. It’s a great partnership. Between Friends offers programs and services that serve abused women from the day they leave home, to the point of finding their own voice. After participating in the programs, many women feel safe and deserving enough to go on A Night Out. I stayed active in the organization for two years and I recently stepped down from the Board.
Once again faced with “what next?” I embarked on the new journey of me. Moving from the corporate world to the nonprofit world was a big bridge to cross. What I learned from that experience is that I’m passionate about helping people and making a direct difference in the lives of those in need. And it was time to branch out of the nonprofit sector. I knew that I wanted to have an impact on the lives of others, and that I wanted to stay focused on a new entrepreneurial endeavor. Considering those two criteria, I once again began a search, both internally and externally. In addition to searching for opportunities, I took an inventory of my inner self. Self-discovery and self-improvement have always been important to me, especially when starting a new life adventure.
This time, it didn’t take me long to land in a place that meets my needs of serving others and satisfying my entrepreneurial spirit. I became a certified health and nutrition coach a couple of years ago; I’ve always been passionate about weight loss and a mindset shift approach to wellness, rather than going on a “diet of the moment.” I suffered weight loss/weight gain my entire life. It wasn’t until I changed my habits that I’ve kept the weight off for years. That was my “aha” moment!
I started The Mogul Method Weight Loss Coaching in April 2019. As a coach, I work mostly with women over 50. Together, we focus on life transformation and habit change. Although my program is based on permanent weight loss, the concepts apply to all aspects of life. I show women a new possibility in how they approach health and wellness. Together, we shift the paradigm from rigid rules to a new way of thinking about their health and wellness. I provide one-on-one coaching as well as working with groups.
Helping people make lifelong changes is so exciting and gratifying. I love watching clients make the shift to self-love and self-efficacy as they take consistent action toward their goals. They embody the new life they’re stepping into and that brings me great joy!
Connect with Marla Mogul:
PUBLISHING A BOOK ABOUT DEPRESSION: MARGARET’S UPDATE
Hello everyone. It’s great to back with you! 2019 was a complicated year, as my oldest brother died of esophageal cancer after a tremendous fight. Then three months later, the book I’ve been passionately working on was published by New Harbinger. I’ve cried tears of sorrow and many of joy. Such is life as we grow older, I suppose. But the last few years have been full of these kinds of ups and downs. And I’m still here kicking!
The book is entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression: How to Break Free from the Perfectionism That Masks Your Depression. What a journey that was! I’ve never written a book and the learning curve was so steep. But very rewarding. What is that saying? “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…”
The book’s message is one that’s vital for not only mental health professionals to hear, but for our culture and world to understand. What is that message? Depression can wear many faces – and one of them looks far from depressed. Rather, that face shows us a perfect-looking life, someone who exudes energy and caring and success. But there is a price. For underneath that life lie long suppressed feelings of sadness, anger, or fear that have been rigidly pushed away, out of sight and mind. Or almost. Someone who’s perfectly hiding may not even be conscious of their pattern, but spend their time counting their blessings and handling the immense pressure of being everything to everyone.
The book is in workbook form and offers tangible and detailed exercises to begin to risk the vulnerability of being open to all of who you are, so that you can discover, perhaps for the first time, true self-acceptance. I remain passionate about the topic and will come speak about it if you’d like for me to do so. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For example, I’m speaking at Walmart headquarters in March and will make myself as available as I can to anyone interested in the message!
I’ve been lucky enough to be interviewed on some fantastic podcasts about perfectly hidden depression as well. I’m so honored that people like Lewis Howes of The School of Greatness and Emily Morse of Sex with Emily are interested in this work and its message.
My podcast, The SelfWork Podcast with Dr. Margaret Rutherford, has become widely popular and I love hearing from people all over the world who want to know more of what therapy could be like, or have mental or emotional issues they need to address. All you have to do is subscribe to my website to receive a weekly newsletter carrying both my weekly blog post and podcast (https://drmargaretrutherford.com).
And if you really want to join a great group of seekers, come join my Facebook closed group at https://facebook.com/groups/SelfWork. We are almost 2000 very diverse people who want to share and learn from one another as we reveal whatever strengths and struggles we might have – and be open to the wisdom and experience of others.
I turned 65 this year. And what I’m finding is that, along with my brother’s death, I’m so much more aware of time. And how I want to spend it – with joy, with laughter, with passion, with curiosity, and as much energy as I can muster. My next act may be the most challenging. And I can only hope to emulate the people I’ve been blessed in my life to have, as they’ve aged not only gracefully, but peacefully. Thanks of course to Hélène for giving me this wonderful opportunity to reach out!
Connect with Dr. Margaret Rutherford:
Book: Perfectly Hidden Depression: How to Break Free from the Perfectionism That Masks Your Depression
Psychology Today column: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/perfectly-hidden-depression
Psych Central column: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/hidden-depression/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DrMargaretRutherford/
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/selfwork
HONING THE CRAFT OF WRITING: DENSIE’S UPDATE
My initial “next act” story ran in September 2015. (Has it really been four years? Sheesh.) My first novel, You’ll Be Thinking of Me, a romantic suspense story, had recently been published and I was on a high. Since then, I’ve had a paranormal romance, Le Remède, published, I’ve just signed a contract for my third novel (the ink is still wet), tentatively titled The Opposite of Amnesia, and I’m working on the kernel of an idea for my fourth. My newly contracted novel is a family drama that focuses on the dynamics between a mother and daughter and how illness and loss shake their world.
I mentioned that I was on a high when my first book was published and I was, but having two novels out in the world and having just signed a contract for a third, gravity has brought me back to earth. While my determination hasn’t waned, I have, shall we say, recalibrated my expectations. I wasn’t counting on fat, six-figure royalty checks, but I have to confess, I’ve been disappointed that a year’s royalty might buy me a nice dinner somewhere and not much else. When You’ll Be Thinking of Me came out, I spent way more than I should have on promotion, with a pitiful ROI (return on investment), but I learned a lot. I even wrote a blog post about it.
So what keeps me pounding the keyboard, submitting, and hoping for a “yes”? I wish I knew. All I know is I love language, writing brings me great satisfaction and, as I work to improve my skills, I have goals to work toward—goals that will constantly shift and change. Writing is not something that you can ever really master. It’s a lifelong challenge to improve, to try something different, to put yourself out there for everyone to see, warts and all. In between writing novels, I’ve written several essays about the writing life for Women Writers, Women’s Books, I stay involved in the writing community by sending out daily tweets for Writer Unboxed, and I’ve entered contests—my flash fiction piece, “The Prank,” made it into the top ten for Women on Writing, and an essay about my lifelong wish for bigger breasts (fulfilled via a bout with breast cancer and reconstruction) appeared on NextTribe.com and became part of a collection of essays, titled Women Under Scrutiny: An Anthology of Truths, Essays, Poems, Stories and Art, compiled by author, Randy Sue Myers. And in November, 2019, I attended a week-long writers’ conference, the WriterUnboxed Unconference in Salem, MA, to learn even more about how to get better at this writing thing.
And then there’s this: First-time authors, like seventy-year-old Delia Owens, author of the bestseller, Where the Crawdads Sing, give me hope—not that I’m hoping to hit the bestseller list and have a movie adaptation in the works, which Ms. Owens does, but that I have time—time for more novels, more time to hone my skills, more time to move forward. I’m still doing my day job—freelance writing and editing health and nutrition articles—but I’ve cut back so that I can spend more time in my fictional worlds. This is what I see myself doing for the foreseeable future and I couldn’t be happier with the stage I’ve set for my next act.