Turning 40 with Forty Drinks and Stephanie McLaughlin | Ep #30

September 20, 2022

Turning 40 with Forty Drinks and Stephanie McLaughlin Stephanie McLaughlin chose to celebrate her 40th birthday having 40 drinks with 40 friends. She documented the project and now she hosts The Forty Drinks Podcast.  Stephanie is here to discuss her second act leaving a toxic workplace to start her own marketing firm. We also discuss […]

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Stephanie McLaughlin

Stephanie McLaughlin, Host of The Forty Drinks Podcast


Turning 40 with Forty Drinks and Stephanie McLaughlin

Stephanie McLaughlin chose to celebrate her 40th birthday having 40 drinks with 40 friends. She documented the project and now she hosts The Forty Drinks Podcast.  Stephanie is here to discuss her second act leaving a toxic workplace to start her own marketing firm. We also discuss her Forty Drinks project and how it helped shape this new chapter in her life for the better. Listen now on the Second Act Success Podcast.




CONNECT with Stephanie McLaughlin:

Website – https://savoirfaire-us.com/

The Forty Drinks Podcast – https://fortydrinks.com/podcast

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/FortyDrinks/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/FortyDrinks



0:00 – Intro

03:13 – College 

04:17 – Beginning career working with Mayor Tom Menino in Boston

07:31 – Different jobs early in career

08:56 – Being in a job she didn’t like and realizing it was not a good fit

09:46 – Meeting with a Career Coach

11:27 – Realizing she should start her own marketing business

13:26 – Working in a toxic environment

14:40 – By owning her own business, she creates a positive environment 

16:12 – Being “terminally unemployable”

16:52 – Her marketing business Savoir Fare Marketing and Communications in New Hampshire

18:02 – The idea behind The Forty Drinks Project

24:45 – Meeting her husband

27:37 – Trying to turn the project into a book

29:56 – Turning the project into The Forty Drinks Podcast

36:18 – Different ideas to celebrate a milestone

37:58 – 5 Fast Qs of the Week

38:08 – What she has learned over the years

38:40 – Advice for someone starting a second act

39:40 – Next chapter

40:08 – Connect with Stephanie McLaughlin

40:39 – Shannon’s Takeaways


Second Act Success Podcast
Season 1 -Episode #30 - Turning 40 with 40 Drinks
Guest: Stephanie McLaughlin
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Shannon: Guess what. My first online course is launching this October, it's called the Second Act Accelerator. You can check it out now at secondactsuccess.co/course. If you are thinking about making a change in life and starting a second act. Then you have got to join this program. It's an eight week course designed to help you map out steps to get you from where you are now to where you want to be. You'll get one on one coaching with me, Plus weekly group coaching live weekly workshops, plus guest experts. To help you in areas like resume writing, crafting a perfect LinkedIn profile and even branding and web design. You will also have lifetime access to our second act community. where we'll share ideas, give feedback, and support each other on this journey. Enrollment is open now. So go to secondactsuccess.co/course to learn more. You can also contact me directly to set up a call where I can walk you through what you'll learn in this program personally. It's all at secondactsuccess.co/course.

[00:00:58] Stephanie: When I finally sort [00:01:00] of starting to tell people that I was going to start my own business. One of my aunts, said to me, oh, you have the same disease I do. And I sort of stepped back, like, what are we talking about here? And she said, you're terminally unemployable. And she's owned her own company for like 35 years. So I was like, oh yeah I do have that. Um, I for sure have that.

[00:01:25] Shannon: Are you at a crossroads in your career or in life? Well, don't worry because life's next chapter is waiting. This is the Second Act Success Podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell.

I'm a television producer, turned boy mom, turned business owner, podcaster, and career coach. If you are looking to start a new career or begin a fresh chapter in life, then get ready to be inspired with stories of women who have done just that. We will share advice and offer steps you can take [00:02:00] to help figure out what your true calling in life really is.

It is time to shine. So let's turn the page and get started.

Welcome to Second Act Success.

Today on the show. I am speaking with Stephanie McLaughlin. She is the host of the 40 drinks podcast. Stephanie spent her career jumping from different roles in journalism, marketing, and even politics. Until she realized that she was meant to own her own marketing business. She also had the idea to embark on a 40 drinks project to celebrate her 40th birthday. And what started as a fun celebration actually inspired her to start a podcast and write a book. Let me introduce you to Stephanie McLaughlin.

[00:02:45] Shannon: I'm here with Stephanie. How are you? Thank you for being on the podcast.

[00:02:50] Stephanie: I am great. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:02:53] Shannon: This is so exciting because you have a Second Act Success story, but you have such an interesting [00:03:00] story about just getting into kind of like a different chapter in your life with your Forty Drinks Project. So I want to get into all of it, but why don't we start at the very beginning of your journey, maybe right out of college, when you were working towards your career.

[00:03:13] Stephanie: Sure. I am a born and bred in Manchester, New Hampshire. We're about an hour north of Boston. Went down to Boston to go to college. Uh, went to Northeastern university and stayed for oh a half a dozen years afterwards. So lived in the city for about 12 years. I love to say that, my, career was sort of built on, the tenants of journalism and storytelling and, on the, you know, learnings of many esteemed mentors. But, my drinking career. was built on exactly the same. They may have been different mentors, but, I had a lot of fun, I graduated in 1995, so I was in Boston, in the mid nineties, and man was at a fun time and a fun place to be for [00:04:00] a young gal.

[00:04:01] Shannon: Oh, I bet I went to school in North Carolina, but ended up in New York city. So just like, just like you in the media industry and yeah. Enjoying the nightlife as well.

[00:04:13] Stephanie: Absolutely.

[00:04:14] Shannon: after college? Where did you start working? Where did you begin your career?

[00:04:17] Stephanie: So I began my career working for the administration of Mayor Tom Menino in Boston. I chose Northeastern specifically because it had the co-op program. And so that is a work study, uh, sort of a curriculum where you essentially work half the time and go to school half the time. And if you are, Thoughtful and planful, you can be working in your chosen career field by the time you're a sophomore in college. I literally chose Northeastern because it had a co-op arrangement with the Boston Globe. And so by the time I was a sophomore in college, I was working at the Boston Globe and I worked there for four and a half years while I was going through school. I had gone abroad for a [00:05:00] year.

And so when I came back, I literally only had four classes to take, but they were all senior level courses and only offered once a year. So my last year of college was literally one class. and I tried to co-op the entire year and the Globe basically said, all right, kiddo, you know, we got to make room for other kids. You can't just sit here for a year. So I had to go and find another co-op. Several of my assignments had been at Boston City Hall. And so one day it was a crazy city holiday where the city was the only people off. And, my bureau chief, who is to this day, my best friend, got a call from his editor who said, go check out this crazy signage thing. So he called the mayor and the mayor said, ah, come on down here. We'll go for a ride. So my, my bureau chief said, come on with us. So he and I spent like an hour, an hour and a half in the car with the mayor wandering around the city, looking at signs. And when we got out of the car, the mayor looked at me and he said, why are you always working for the Globe? Why don't you come work for me? So I said, well, Mr. Mayor, I I'm looking for a co-op. And [00:06:00] he was like, all right, get your resume to Howard. and Howard, it turns out was the only guy in the administration that I knew. So it was great. So I got my resume to Howard and he found me a position. So I did, um, I think a six month. For the mayor working directly for his Chief of Policy. And my boss said to me, if, and when you're ready, there's a job here for you.

So when I graduated college, I ended up working for, uh, Tom Menino's, Chief of Policy for five years out of college.

And what a crazy and wonderful, experience that was.

[00:06:35] Shannon: were you really into politics at that time?

[00:06:37] Stephanie: I was not. so I was a journalism major and, my year abroad was spent in Ireland and because of the courses available in that program, it turned out that if I just took one more course, I'd end up with a political science minor. So I did graduate with a degree in journalism with a minor in political science. [00:07:00] But no, I was, I was not particularly interested or compelled by. Politics with either a big or a little P but it was a wonderful, wonderful place to start a career and learn at the, at the feet of so many, professionals that you know of different things, whether it be, you know, persuasion or politics or communications or planning or strategy, it was, it was great.

[00:07:27] Shannon: That was the experience you needed. Did you go back to the Globe?

[00:07:31] Stephanie: No. As a matter of fact, I left after five years, I left the mayor's office and I kind of jumped around to a couple of different places. mostly in. external affairs or public relations kind of end of the world. I had sort of taken journalism plus my experience at, in the mayor's office, which a lot of it was, um, sort of external relations, community relations kind of stuff. And I, I sort of parlayed that into some PR work. I did that for a couple of years and [00:08:00] then, I had moved back to New Hampshire after 12 years in Boston. And I, got a job as the associate publisher of the statewide business magazine. So I did hop back over to journalism for a couple of years. And I was more in an administrative and planning and strategy kind of role than in a, in a writing role. So I did that for a couple of years. I actually left there on a crazy, tangent, adventure. I met someone who. connected me with a guy who was selling a magazine out of Washington DC. So there was this fully functional magazine so I went through the exercise of potentially buying a magazine.

Crazy. Um, it didn't end up working out, which is fine. But then I jumped back over the other side of the fence again, and I worked at a statewide, multi-state law firm, uh, as their director of client development. So that was a role that kind of took everything I had done before.

It was, marketing, it was public relations, it was [00:09:00] community relations. It was sponsorships. It was working with some of the younger attorneys. The job description was one that I thought I would be in for 15 or 20 years. I thought, oh God, I'm going to get married at this job. I'm going to have kids. This is going to be great. And then, within two years, I was out of there and in not a good, way not a good ending to our, uh, Our connection there. So, that sort of leads me to my first story of second actness and that was how I came to start my own business.

[00:09:34] Shannon: Ooh. Tell us, tell us how that went though. So you're in a place where you left this job. You thought you were going to be at for quite some time and you're at this crossroads.

[00:09:42] Stephanie: Yes,

[00:09:43] Shannon: What made you think about starting your own business?

[00:09:46] Stephanie: I didn't which is why this is, I love this story. So at the time there was a woman who I knew who was a career coach and, she sort of sat me down and said, okay, it's time. [00:10:00] You and I are gonna work together. Now it's time. And I, I kind of. Oh, okay. I don't know, but oh, okay. And I thought that she and I were just going to work together to find me my next job. Right. I thought she worked with clients both on sort of finding jobs, sort of presenting your resume in the right way. And then also with sort of entrepreneurs. Well, I had purchased a condominium about six months before I lost my job. So I thought, oh God, well, I've got to have some money coming in. So I said to her, okay, I will go through this process with you. And I'm just going to start doing some freelance work in the meantime to sort of, just keep a couple of bucks coming in so I can pay this mortgage. We started doing some of these, assessments and I, I sort of was thinking like, you know, listen lady, I'm in my mid thirties. I know what I'm good at. I know, you know, like, what am I going to learn about these assessments? But I just thought follow the process. Just let her do what she wants to do. I had these two pathways in front of me. [00:11:00] So one was working with her and one was the freelance work, and I thought they were parallel tracks and that I was going to eventually sort of, you know, jump back onto that we're going to find the right job and we're going to, we're going to go. The assessments did help me learn some things about myself. I didn't know. So that was wonderful. Um, but about four or five months after starting to work with her and having. Reasonably good success at getting freelance work I woke up one day and I thought, wait a minute, I could do this. I, what if I did this for a job? At our next session, I went and I sort of said that to her. I said, well, what if I, what if I just kept going? here with this freelance thing. and she basically sort of looked at me and kind of said, welcome to your future. Like she was not surprised at all. As a matter of fact, I think she was biding her time until I realized it. And nobody was surprised. My parents weren't surprised people I used to work for. Weren't surprised I [00:12:00] was the only one who was surprised that I was going to start my own business? in my mid thirties. So that was a real revelation to me, but I have to tell you one of the things that she taught me that I didn't know was that only 50% of your sort of job success and job satisfaction comes from the job description. the other 50% is the environment in which you work. I don't even know that if I had sat in pondered on it, that I would have come up with that, as being a significant, you know, factor of success. But here I was working in a law firm, which is certainly the one I was in and many of them out there are, you know, male dominated, class-based hierarchical organizations. if you don't have that J D behind your name, they don't take it too seriously. and that was a revelation to me you know, here I am, this. independent, pretty sassy, you know, [00:13:00] pretty, bold kind of gal and we just were oil and water. So it wasn't that the job wasn't great. It wasn't that the firm wasn't great. My attorney is still at that firm. I still have friends at that firm. It was just that together. We were not a match.

[00:13:15] Shannon: I can see that, right? Because you might've liked the work that you were doing, but if the environment wasn't meshing that you don't want to go to a job where you're not. Feeling good about where you're going every day.

[00:13:26] Stephanie: Yeah. And how you're being treated , And whether or not your professional opinions are being respected. that hadn't, bubbled up in my brain as a, as a cause factor for why it didn't work out. I probably just assumed it was me or it was them, or it was, but it was just the combination of us that wasn't great.

[00:13:44] Shannon: I think the older generation. They just stuck it out. They stuck with a job that they were in until retirement, because that's what you did to, bring the money. We are in a generation and those younger than us that see that if it's not healthy, if it's not all encompassing to the [00:14:00] wellness of you, then it's not worth the paycheck or at least, in my opinion, not everyone's opinion, of course, but you want to be happy with where you're going every day and what you're doing

[00:14:09] Stephanie: Yeah. it had gotten to the point where, I was making mistakes and they were punishing me for these mistakes. And so I was losing confidence, so I was making more mistakes. So I was getting punished more and it just turned into this real negative, you know, you know, circling the drain kind of, kind of situation, until the day they came in and said, we're, going to terminate you. and I literally laughed. I said, are you kidding? It just wasn't a good fit. And I, at the time, I didn't realize how important fit was. And so where I ended up is, a place where I get to make the rules and I get to say how it goes. And, the only people I'm accountable to are my clients. And I would say many times. If not most times my standards are even higher than theirs. [00:15:00] So it's pretty. Reasonable for me. And now my team to be successful because we are doing great work that we love to do, and the clients are happy with it. And so now I've got that spiral except it's, you know, going up and getting larger. We're happy that they're happy. So we're doing better things. But you know, the proof is in the pudding and this year, my business, my baby celebrates its 15th birthday.

[00:15:27] Shannon: Happy birthday.

[00:15:28] Stephanie: thank you. Isn't that exciting?

[00:15:31] Shannon: That's so exciting. And I see the smile on your face. I hear it in your voice. Your own boss. You're doing the work that you love to do on your own terms.

[00:15:38] Stephanie: Yes. With people who are appreciative of it and thankful for it and happy to be working with us. It makes it easy to come to work every day and, don't get me wrong. Every job has its, you know, administrative stuff and it's, you know, grunt work but when it's for me, because it's mine. I don't mind all of that stuff, because It [00:16:00] is, benefiting me. It's benefiting my business, it's benefiting my team. So, I've definitely found a, a position that suits me. When I finally sort of starting to tell people that I was going to start my own business. One of my aunts, said to me, oh, you have the same disease I do. And I sort of stepped back, like, what are we talking about here? And she said, you're terminally unemployable.

And she's owned her own company for like 35 years. So I was like, oh yeah, I do have that. Um, I for sure have that.

[00:16:34] Shannon: And I think once you go to being your own boss, then you, we all have it, right. You don't want to go back to the day in day out of following someone else's rules, working on someone else's projects. I'm with you.

I love that term. Did you want to explain a little bit about what your company is?

[00:16:52] Stephanie: My company is savoirFare Marketing Communications, and we are a marketing agency. based, in [00:17:00] Manchester, New Hampshire, we work with small and medium sized businesses. basically we try to help them get in front of the audiences that need to hear their messages and help them, Get in front of audiences that count most towards their success. Most of our work these days is digital. So websites and email and social media and CRM and, marketing automation and all of those things. but most of us on the team are old enough that we also bring skills in traditional marketing. branding and print advertising. Fliers and, you know, stuff like that. So I like to say we sit at the crossroads of digital and traditional marketing. We have an adventurous spirit when it comes to, new and emerging technologies and trends.

[00:17:42] Shannon: That's great how fun. And that actually leads me into a nice segue of another reason. I wanted to chat with you today. Your amazing Forty Drinks Project and your new pod. You can market your own podcasts and your own, other ventures with your marketing background. So it [00:18:00] kind of all ties in. Do you want to tell us a little bit about It

[00:18:02] Stephanie: I would love to. Let me throw myself back 10 years. When I turned 40, I was at a period in time where I decided that. Throwing a big party where everybody's focus was on me was just sort of didn't feel Right. at the time, which is a surprise because I am a full-blooded Leo. And so I love to be the center of attention, but for some reason, at the time I was single and a boyfriend, I wasn't married. I wasn't matching all the other sort of adult accomplishments of a lot of my peers and friends and family. So it just didn't. So I came up with this crazy ridiculous idea to have 40 drinks with 40 people in 40 different locations. And each drink would have some sort of female connection to my friend or our relationship. I thought that would be just sort of an outrageous enough idea to warrant that 40th birthday celebration. so the project took me a year to [00:19:00] complete and I did have my 40 drinks. the crazy thing was again, because I own a marketing agency. I thought we'll throw up a little website. I'll start a blog. I'll write blog posts about each of these visits in each of these drinks in each of my friends. it'll just be crazy and ridiculous. I love things that are ridiculous. but what ended up happening was the 40 drinks project changed my life profoundly. It was not something I expected. But it did. and the reason that that happened is, yes, I was having 40 drinks. but what I was really having was 40 visits with people who had known me from different. Points in parts of my life. So once I had the crazy idea, I thought, well, it's not just going to be like the 40 people I see the most often I dug up a friends from grammar school, from high school, from college, from different jobs, at least one old boyfriend.

[00:19:57] Shannon: Were you nervous to approach people from your [00:20:00] past and ask them to have a drink with them?

[00:20:04] Stephanie: No, I don't think so because all of them were already in my life. There were a couple of friends who we had sort of lost touch or maybe had, you know, fallings out of some level. and I, I reached out to them and I thought that the. project would be a way to build a bridge, to, to having a relationship again. And, a couple of those people said, nah, I'm not really comfortable with it. And interestingly of those. One of them. I no longer have a relationship with and another one just came back organically over time. And, you know, we continue to be friends today. I did ask one ex-boyfriend to have drinks with me, but, um, he's the one that, you know, I would say I have the best relationship with, of, of anyone that I ever dated, it was more fun. And silly. I really approached the whole thing as if it was silly and ridiculous. And, let's [00:21:00] celebrate my birthday. I haven't seen you in 10 years or 15 years or five years. Um, and, most people were thrilled, to be a part of it,

[00:21:08] Shannon: and that was your way of easing into your forties. You know, it was like a nice way of. Getting into that.

[00:21:14] Stephanie: As I was doing the project and going through these visits, there were people who were reflecting things back to me that I either didn't know or. I had forgotten or let me give you one example. I had a drink with two women who were my closest friends in grammar school and then into high school. and I hadn't seen them in, I don't know, 10 years, maybe more. And one of them told me a story of how we met, which I, I didn't remember. I moved into town in second grade. And so I met Karen in second grade and Jenny moved into town in fourth grade. Well, she moved into town up the road from me the neighborhood that I grew up in was all boys and neighborhood is really sort of a loose term. [00:22:00] I mean, there were like three or four houses and so it was very boy energy but somehow I heard through the grapevine. Uh, family with three girls had moved in up the road. Now I have no idea how a nine-year-old sort of catches the grapevine, but I had, um, so one day I grabbed my dog and I sort of created this ruse that I was like taking the dog for the walk. And Ginny reminded me that I showed up sort of outside their house. kind of loitered around on the street at the bottom of their driveway until like somebody showed up And so, you know, a couple of little girls came out to say hello. This story is amusing to me and you know how delightful that I did that, but something was in the back of my mind.

And when I got home that night, I Googled my, where my house was and where her house was. And it was a mile and a half up.

[00:22:53] Shannon: Wow.

[00:22:53] Stephanie: a half, I was nine and I had schemed to put a dog on a leash [00:23:00] to go and make a friend, a girlfriend.

[00:23:03] Shannon: Oh,

[00:23:04] Stephanie: And it was something that I didn't realize, you know, through my twenties, I knew I was sort of like a bold adventurous kind of gal through my thirties.

I knew I was bold and adventurous. But I had no idea that it was that innate, that I was that bold when I was such a small child. And I actually remember telling my mother the story and my mother laughed and said, yes. Did you ever wonder why we kept you on such a short leash? And I was like, oh, I was the oldest of three. I was the only girl and my parents were, you know, had me pretty well under their thumb for most of my high school years. So they knew that, but I didn't. So, you know, it was things like that, the facade that I had built for myself and who I thought I was. Sort of started crumbling and I was learning [00:24:00] things or relearning things from people throughout this, project that. Kind of shaking my foundations.

and at the same time, there was a group of friends that I had been hanging out with for, oh, I don't know, seven or eight years that, were truly my, very tight group of people. And that was sort of crumbling and falling apart at the same time. So there was a lot of things that were just kind of like crumbling and shedding I didn't realize until it was sort of over that, oh my God, I am a different person at the end of this year than I was at the beginning of the year. And one of the major markers that I use to sort of define that and prove that is that towards the end of my 40 drinks year, I met my husband, my now husband. And I know for a fact that he would not have been as, delighted or attracted to the party girl that I used to be.[00:25:00] It's not his style. and the person that high hat I had grown into, was a fit for him. And he was a fit for me. I met Andy, uh, and was able to see that he was, you know, a great guy, a great catch. and I was able to be the person that he thought was a great cat.

[00:25:18] Shannon: Do you think what you learned and your revelation throughout that time? Let you have your eyes open enough to meet him and try it and see that he was the one. Do you think prior to that you would have been living in your old ways

[00:25:34] Stephanie: Yeah. During the 40 drinks year, there were a couple of, instances where I had had some pretty negative ending, relationships and interactions with men. And things just were not going the right way. So when I met Patrick and realized. What a really, truly fantastic person. He was. I consciously said to myself, I am going [00:26:00] to do the opposite of what I normally do. If I want to call him, I'm not going to call him. If I want to text him, I'm not going to text him because what I've been doing has not been working. I basically put him in the driver's seat of the relationship, which was not. My typical, approach. And, obviously things worked out, but I do remember six or seven or eight months or nine months, you know, in, he said something to me about, wow, you were pretty intense there at the. And I thought, oh my God, could you imagine if I had unleashed myself the way I normally would have what would have happened? I mean, it was just such the crystallization of the change. Just the, the perfect example of, finally realizing something isn't working and making a conscious decision to do something different. Yeah, it's crazy.

[00:26:56] Shannon: It was like the perfect change at the perfect time.

[00:26:58] Stephanie: Yes, absolutely. [00:27:00]

[00:27:00] Shannon: what did he think of your project? So you were in the middle of your 40 drinks when you got.

[00:27:05] Stephanie: Yes. My 40 drinks project started in July. Of, 2011 and I met him in April of 2012 and the project went through the beginning of August, 2012. So after dating him a couple of months and knowing that this was something special and something, I asked him to be one of my drinks. And so I think he was drink 36, 37 or 38. He was like, right, right there towards the end. He was just sort of amused by it. And that was really what stood out to me the night that I met him,

In the years afterwards, I tried to turn it into a book. And so I had a book proposal that I was working on and he was never interested in reading the book proposal, even though he was a part of it. And as I've gone down this podcast path, he is as well sort of, you know, amused, but, not wildly involved or invested. He [00:28:00] just allows me to have my things, my silliness and my outrageous ideas, but they're mine. Although I do aspire to have him. on the podcast one day,

[00:28:10] Shannon: I think you should,

[00:28:11] Stephanie: I will.

[00:28:13] Shannon: but I think that's okay. It is your thing and you don't need. Not that you don't need his support, but it is like, this is your project. And I absolutely think it needs to be turned into a book. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed for you because the stories, I, I just think it will resonate with so many people. Um, are you still working on.

[00:28:31] Stephanie: During the, the project and as I was blogging and after the project, anytime I would talk to someone about sort of my crazy thing, they would go, oh my God, that needs to be a book. It needs to be a movie. It needs to be something it's great. And especially because. of the sort of arcs, the personal arcs, you know, with a friend group with romance, with personal growth on my side, like there was just all these great things that you could wrap into a book. So I have a friend who is an [00:29:00] author of. And he, and I worked together on, a book proposal and it was the kind of thing that sort of through the years, you know, we'd work on it for a year, year and a half, and then, you know, we'd send it out and we'd get feedback. And every time we sent it out to, editors in New York, we would get great feedback we would get. That is a fantastic idea. It's not for me in that. It's not the kind of book that I produce, but I think this is great. Feedback from the publishing industry was that I did not have enough of a digital platform, I didn't have, 10,000 unique visitors to my website a month. I didn't have, you know, 40,000 people following me on social media. The publishing industry is a very risk averse industry. And so they want the built in win. Now we spent 10 years, like I said, up and down, working on it, not working on it until somehow I came up with this idea of like, well, what if we turned it into a [00:30:00] podcast instead? And instead of it being my story. I bet there are other people who have stories about life transitions, personal evolutions, personal growth around turning 40, you know, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm not unique. There are books and there is research out there that says, you know, the decade between 35 and 45 is kind of a doozy for most people. And it does come with lots and lots of changes. you know, how you view the world is different, how you view yourself as different, your priorities are different. And so I thought, well, what if I, tell my story, I could probably make 40 episodes out of it. But if I told other people's stories, or if I've had conversations with other people who had stories about these sort of transitions, the runway is sort of Right. And frankly, I think it makes it more interesting to other people to hear different kinds of transitions and different kinds of evolutions,[00:31:00] on. the podcast. the other thing was. I didn't have to get through any gatekeepers to start a podcast. I could do it myself, Let's invest a couple hundred dollars in, you know, a microphone and a subscription to this or that online. And next thing, you know, you could be a podcaster. So it's interesting to me, you know, the sort of shift in vision of what this project is. She's in my wildest dreams. I would love it. If my podcast did pick up some traction and did gain a following, and maybe at some point down the line, we actually can write the book we were going to write, or maybe it's a different book because now it's informed by other people's transitions or maybe it's two books. Let's just shoot for the moon.

[00:31:46] Shannon: Yes. And it's evolving. gosh, the producer in me is saying, you know what? You can make a special limited series or 40 episode series of your podcasts. That's just your stories. You know, that's an option and then you can [00:32:00] continue as you grow more and more followers.

[00:32:03] Stephanie: Yeah.

[00:32:04] Shannon: That book is in you. And I feel like other people do need to read it. I love the idea of your podcasts, hearing other people's stories, but your intro episode to your podcast was so interesting. You told a story. About being one of the guys

[00:32:17] Stephanie: Oh, God. Yes.

[00:32:19] Shannon: I have always had.

Guy friends. I listened to that and I just resonated with you so much. And it, I was starting to look back at my past in a different way, so I'm just saying other people are going to resonate with your stories and maybe it's your personality and the way you, articulate it all. But I want to read your book.

[00:32:39] Stephanie: Oh, thank you so much. Well, right now it's, uh, taking a nap and it's not even on the back burner, it's just sort of still in the kitchen, but, You're right. It's in me and its hooks are there and it's not letting go. So I wouldn't be surprised if within, you know, a year or two, if this didn't bubble back [00:33:00] up.

[00:33:00] Shannon: How do you see your podcast growing and evolve?

[00:33:03] Stephanie: I think the more people I can. Meet and connect with who have stories about turning 40 and some of the transitions, some of the way life just, you know, kicks us in the stomach or cuts us off at the knees or, or lifts us up out of the muck. There are all kinds of stories. I just think that the podcast will continue to evolve. By being informed by all the wonderful people, certainly that I've already talked to. And that I'm hoping to talk to. I'm really looking for, I'm just going to say it this way. Just normal people. I don't necessarily have. The intention of going after names that people have heard of, or, you know, celebrities or famous people. Because I think that the things that they face are so much different than the things that, the average [00:34:00] guy and gal going about their life in any, big or little city or suburban or rural area, like it's just a different world. So, we're talking about things. having babies and, you know, is it your last chance to have a baby? or did you start really early and now as your babies are leaving the nest, um, stories of, addiction, stories of, evolution, one of my favorite episodes was, I talked to a woman who is an image consultant, and we framed the story of that personal evolution around clothing and style. She starts with, buying a pair of Birkenstocks. Ugly brown suede, you know, the double strap old-school Birkenstocks. And that for her was, was the sort of marker that began her evolution into who she is today, which is a completely different person then she was, you know, 15 or 20 years ago. So, you know, we're framing the story [00:35:00] in different ways. I, I talked to somebody who, through her thirties, dealt with the loss of four of the most important people in her life. So she felt that her thirties were cursed and she couldn't wait to turn 40 Her attitude in how she wants to approach her forties and what she wants to do to honor her loved ones is, was just mind blowing. There's another woman who had a passion that she followed for about 15 years. she was a standup comedian in New York and when she turned 40, she decided this just isn't fun anymore. And she gave it up and now she's building a new life without that in it. So, so I'm, I'm having conversations with people whose transitions are interesting and surprising. Some of them I've been able to relate to personally and others, I can only relate to as sort of a human being. But Yeah. I, I hope just to keep having really interesting conversations that other people will be [00:36:00] able to relate to.

[00:36:01] Shannon: Well, they all seem really fascinating. Your, your audience is going to keep growing. Would you suggest the idea of reconnecting with people in your life over years, to someone else, to your listeners that are listening or reading your website and your blogs, and they're thinking, Hey, I could do this.

[00:36:18] Stephanie: that's one way to do it. I think when you approach 40, you start getting, if you haven't already been, you start getting a little introspective. And so I think that there are all kinds of ways to do. I'll just call them projects to, to mark the milestone occasion that might be more, relevant to sort of you as a person. So for me, I'm an off the charts extrovert. I'm very social. I love to talk to people. For me, visiting with 40 people throughout my life, and calling on people from the past was just a delight. But for some people that might be, worse than having their fingernails removed, for them, it [00:37:00] might be, I'm going to read 40 books that were important to me through my life, or I'm going to, hike 40 trails. So, you know, there's, yeah, there's all kinds of ways to mark the milestone. This is one of my sort of hopes for, not only my podcast, but also, um, sort of just maybe developing a piece of content that. Be useful to people as they're contemplating such a thing, you know, sort of creating that recipe of how do you start a project and then follow through with it enough. It gives you that satisfaction or that fulfillment of whether it's the introspection or whether it's, personal growth and sort of moving to, something else in your life and you evolving into a different space. I think there are as many ways to do a project like that and mark the milestone birthday as there are people

[00:37:58] Shannon: alright. It's time for our [00:38:00] Five Fast Qs of the Week. Here we go!

Name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught.

[00:38:08] Stephanie: I think mostly they've taught. me that nothing stays the same, change is the only thing we can count on. And, evolution as a person is going to help things go well, as you age, and as you move through. Phases of your life, because the more you try to stay the same, the more, trouble and challenges you run into because, you're not evolving and sort of flowing with life.

[00:38:34] Shannon: What is one piece of advice that you would give someone trying to learn about themselves in their second act?

[00:38:40] Stephanie: Be open to all the information and all the inputs that, that are coming to you. a lot of times your second act is something that surprises you, something that you did not expect. I can tell you specifically that maybe five years before I started my business, [00:39:00] I don't even know. Maybe even before that, I contemplated the idea of, of doing something, But I literally said to myself, What could I sell that other people would buy, what do I have that someone would pay money for? And the answer at the time was nothing. I couldn't imagine what I could sell that would be enough to afford a life. so when I started down that path with the, career coach, I was not at all expecting that I was going to start my own business. In fact, I was a hundred percent sure I was looking for a job

[00:39:34] Shannon: But you were open enough to accept it when it fell on your lap there and you realized,

[00:39:38] Stephanie: and open enough to recognize it.

[00:39:39] Shannon: So, what does the next chapter in life look like?

[00:39:44] Stephanie: Oh, that's a great question. I think without getting too specific into, you know, home life and work life and things like that. The next chapter for me is continuing to practice flexibility and openness and, seeing [00:40:00] where opportunities lie and being bold and courageous enough to chase.

[00:40:06] Shannon: where can our audience connect with.

[00:40:08] Stephanie: I have two separate footprints online. One is for my business and there we're at savoir and the other is for my Forty Drinks Podcast. And there we are at 40 drinks, fortydrinks.com

[00:40:27] Shannon: Well, thank you so much, Stephanie. This was such a fascinating conversation. I'm so excited to see where your podcasts. That's lead to and thank you for sharing.

[00:40:37] Stephanie: Thanks Shannon. It was thrilled to be here.

[00:40:39] Shannon: How inspired are you after hearing more about Stephanie's 40 drinks project? Such a cool way to usher in a second act or celebrate a milestone. Our conversation was sort of in two parts. Stephanie shared how being fired from a toxic work environment, led her to seek advice from a career coach. It was then that she realized that she was better [00:41:00] suited to run her own business. She then created the safe, enjoyable environment that she longed for at work. My takeaway is that sometimes being, let, go from a job or feeling under appreciated in a toxic workplace. May just be the catalyst you need to lead you to where you are meant to be. It's kind of like when you have a breakup and you feel like it's the end of the world and you'll never love again. But actually that separation opens you up to meet someone new who will treat you better and you can be that person that you're truly meant to be in a relationship. Right. As for the 40 drinks project turned podcast. I'm in awe of all the life lessons that Stephanie encountered. She reconnected with people from her past. And these meetings led her to learn about herself today. It really makes you think that if we took the time to look at our past, we can learn a lot about who we are today and how we got here. It's very, very cool. I really hope this conversation leaves you with some food for thought and gives you some insight on how to make yourself happier in the [00:42:00] present. I'll chat with you next time. My friends.

Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success. To view show notes from this episode, visit secondactsuccess.co. Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast. So you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you again for listening. I am Shannon Russell, and this is Second Act Success.



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