Bernie Borges [00:00:00]:
Sherry, welcome to the Midlife Fulfill Podcast Day maximum episode.
Sheree Clark [00:00:06]:
Thank you, Bernie. It’s such a good time to be here.
Bernie Borges [00:00:08]:
Well, it’s great to have you. Sherry, you are a midlife courage coach. Boy, I can’t wait to dig into that. You call your practice Fork in the road. You say you became a coach coach because you believe that it takes guts to live the second half of your life for you When you’ve lived the first half for everyone else. So we’re gonna talk about that. You’re a serial entrepreneur. You’ve owned a successful Full advertising agency for over 25 years before you pivoted to become a life coach, which you did in your fifties.
Bernie Borges [00:00:42]:
But you didn’t abandon the creativity of the advertising world when you started your coaching practice. You are well known for your fun facts, your presentations, even bloopers on video, as well as unique exercises that you develop to help your clients achieve your goals. And, you know, we are here to talk about why we need courage To thrive in midlife. So why don’t we begin there? Why do we need courage to thrive in midlife, Sherry?
Sheree Clark [00:01:09]:
Oh, Bernie. How long did you say we had?
Bernie Borges [00:01:11]:
I know. I know.
Sheree Clark [00:01:14]:
Midlife is a is a rough road and anybody who’s approaching it or in it or I I believe that midlife begins in your forties and then it never really ends. I don’t like using terms like senior and Elderly, those are just aren’t things you’ll hear me talk about. But it’s, I think it’s a difficult time in part because there’s not really a playbook. Not the same way that there is when we’re younger and we, you know, there’s an expected protocol. There’s, there are steps. And you can kind of even if even if yours were a little nontraditional, you graduate high school, you go on for further education, whether it’s vocational or post secondary. And then you get a job and you start a family, you buy a house. And not necessarily in that order, but there are Kind of steps that we go through.
Sheree Clark [00:02:06]:
And there are expectations that people have put upon us over the years. And Sometimes we get stuck in that spin cycle of, well, this is what we’re supposed to do. And I think it takes courage to break out of that.
Bernie Borges [00:02:24]:
So is that why you when you pivoted from Owning your own advertising agency, which, of course, takes a lot of creativity, not not to mention running a business, being an entrepreneur. But when you made that pivot, Is that why you labeled yourself the midlife courage coach?
Sheree Clark [00:02:43]:
Well, I didn’t label myself the midlife courage coach immediately because that’s The other, that kind of underscores what I said, that there aren’t really steps. I left my advertising agency because I knew I was no longer experiencing joy from it. After 25 years, it didn’t light me up. I felt like I was going through the motions. I was a little burned out, and I wasn’t moving toward something else. I was moving away from something. And what I was moving away from was being 53 years old and feeling like I was done. And so the, the way that I think so I left And I just knew I needed space.
Sheree Clark [00:03:26]:
I knew that I couldn’t decide what I was going to do next while I was in the throes of something that demanded so much of my time and energy and all the other things. So I decided I was going to take a little bit of a step back. The unfortunate thing is, in today’s culture, or fortunate, however you choose to look at it, is that when you’re at a networking event and someone asks Introduces you. You got you got the name comes out 1st. 2nd question, I bet you’re thinking of it. Mhmm. What do you do? Mhmm. And I felt that pressure of, I don’t know what the hell I’m going to say.
Sheree Clark [00:04:04]:
Because nobody wants to know what you used to do. They want to know what you’re doing now. And so I decided I had to have an answer. So my answer was I’m going to be a health coach because I was good at those things. It was kind of an avocation for me. My friends all asked me about it. I had I got a coaching certification And I decided I, I, that was what I was gonna say at cocktail parties. And I got into it and it wasn’t all that and a bag of chips, because I was working with mostly women, but people predominantly in mid age who had struggles with food and weight and those types of things.
Sheree Clark [00:04:46]:
And as I got into it with them, I realized the problem wasn’t that they didn’t know the difference between Eating more vegetables and less processed food. I think most of us get that. What they were doing was eating food to numb out, to escape, to be a replacement for love. And that’s when I said, I’m dealing with symptoms. I wanna deal with problems. And that’s when I switched and said, I think it takes guts to face what’s really eating you and it’s not your food.
Bernie Borges [00:05:23]:
That’s interesting. You know, I I wanna I’m not changing the subject. I just wanna come back to something you said, Kinda early in our conversation, you said that you believe midlife starts in her forties, and it never really ends. I’m 95% there with you, and I’ll and I’ll tell you where that little delta Is. I think that midlife really begins for many of us in our thirties even though most people wouldn’t wouldn’t characterize it that way Simply because we begin to experience adulting pressures and responsibilities, most of us, many of us, in our thirties. And where we’re totally aligned is it really doesn’t end because I characterize I say we have 3 phases of life, youth, midlife, and end of life. An end of life basically is when we unfortunately reach a decline in health, which eventually leads to our passing. So this long span of many decades that we go through, So, you know, splitting hairs, whether it’s thirties and or forties or whatever, all the way through wherever until we reach that end of life phase.
Bernie Borges [00:06:23]:
We go through so many different seasons within that. So what I hear you saying so we’re very, very aligned. What I hear you saying, Sherry, is that As we’re going through that, it takes courage for us to recognize things about ourselves and decide what we’re gonna do about it And then do do something about it. Is that kind of what I’m hearing from you?
Sheree Clark [00:06:46]:
Yes. And I would add to that. It takes courage to simply say, I don’t fit in this anymore. It’s it’s even identifying that something is not the way it was. And so, yes, I would say we’ve we are on the same page.
Bernie Borges [00:07:03]:
Okay. So then when you coach people, Do people generally recognize that it takes courage? Is that something you have to sort of enlighten them to, Or are they raising their hands saying, yes. I need I need courage to to handle this?
Sheree Clark [00:07:21]:
Some do. Sometimes people are We’ll shrink back from the word courage because they feel like it’s an accolade, that it’s something that other people have. Not me. Oh, that’s not for me. I’m not that good. I’m not all that. But others, when I do the tagline that you mentioned earlier, it takes guts to live the second half of your life for you when you’ve lived the first half for everybody else. That’s more often what they’ll resonate with because it’s really more of a, a definer.
Sheree Clark [00:07:54]:
The when I most of my clients are women. I do have some male clients, but the majority are women. And women are very often cast into the certain lockstep roles. And they’ve given, given, given. And they’re caretakers for children, caretakers for elderly parents, all of those other things. And so that’s why when I say it takes guts to live the secondhand for your life for you, they’ll not. Men, however, also have had some of those lockstep roles. They’re the provider.
Sheree Clark [00:08:25]:
They’re the caregiver. They’re Or not caregiver. They’re the, the person who will, be the provider. And all of those things that Are put upon us are the things that when we have the guts to say, that’s a great role, and I did it Gladly for a certain amount of time, but now it’s not working. And that’s where I think the courage thing comes in and where people will resonate and say, oh, that’s what you need.
Bernie Borges [00:08:53]:
Okay. And do you find, Sherry, that when people come to that realization, where they’re willing To admit it, acknowledge it with your help and guidance. Is that just the beginning? Are they just, If you’re if you don’t mind me using a football analogy, are they just on the 10 yard line, their own 10 yard line with the whole field in front of them, Or that the or they at the 50 yard line, again, sticking with the football analogy. Right? Like, what what’s that level of awareness for them on Where they go from there, of course, with your guidance?
Sheree Clark [00:09:27]:
It depends on what the thing is. And sometimes the thing, The pain, the part that’s uncomfortable isn’t readily apparent. It might seem like, you know what? They’ll come to me. I hate my job. I need a new career. I gotta get out of there. This corporation is BS. I gotta go.
Sheree Clark [00:09:50]:
And then when we get into it, we discover that it’s not maybe it’s not the job. Maybe it’s your attitude about the job. Maybe the corporate job is okay because it’s making other things in your life that are more important to you possible because you’re getting a big paycheck, or because you have time freedom, or because you have something else that that corporate job that you say you hate makes possible. Because let’s face it, Almost everything in life that we appreciate. I love living in a home. I don’t love paying for the upkeep. You know, we there’s a it’s The two sided sword. So I think it’s that.
Bernie Borges [00:10:31]:
And since you are Coaching people in the midlife season who are generally over the age of 40 and perhaps maybe even more commonly over the age of 50, How do they process the pain of the realization that you helped them get to?
Sheree Clark [00:10:50]:
Again, varying ways for varying people. I think the, I think the big thing is, and where the courage part comes in is realizing that it won’t go away because you’ve been. Most people have had some pain before they come to me. They don’t come the 1st day that they feel like, Wow. I really don’t like this aspect of my life. They don’t pick up the phone that day. For many of us, I can speak for myself. I was not happy in my advertising world that I was in for 25 years for probably the better part of 10 of those.
Sheree Clark [00:11:31]:
And it was increasingly more and more painful until I got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to do something about it. So I say that in full recognition, there might be somebody listening that says, Wow, that’s me. I’ve had this. It’s increasing. It’s been going on and it’s getting worse and worse and worse. I hope you find some comfort and solace in the idea that not everybody goes out and makes the Wholesale change. And in fact, I would even say somebody that makes a wholesale change at the very first inkling that there’s Something’s maybe not fitting is maybe being a little bit haphazard about their, their making their plans. That I I’m a little bit cautious when you get to a point where you’re talking about wholesale life changes.
Sheree Clark [00:12:19]:
Let’s make sure we’re fixing the problem, the real problem, and let’s make sure that we’re not overcorrecting. Because we know what happens when you’re driving and you overcorrect on us. You go into a spin, so we don’t do that.
Bernie Borges [00:12:34]:
And our I realize Everyone’s different. Everyone has a unique circumstance, and there’s lots of things that are unique to their life, their situation. But are there some common patterns that you see from client to client in terms of how to sort of embrace this concept of it takes Courage to to live that second half, right, and to power through it. Are there any common patterns that you you see?
Sheree Clark [00:13:02]:
Yeah. The power through thing sounds violent to me. You know? Yeah. There are some things we power through. And if you Anybody that’s ever done endurance athletics understands the concept of power through. You know, it’s, you gotta make it. It’s we’re almost there. I don’t really know that I want to view life that way.
Sheree Clark [00:13:24]:
I think it’s really more the and so if we’re talking about patterns, the pattern is It’s not uncommon to have a lot of gusto when you when you first start working with a coach, for example. And you’re like, This is great. I should have done this years ago. This is wonderful. Let’s don’t forget that any time we’re working on something And honing skills, there are plateaus, there are setbacks, there are places where you feel like, oh, I’m not up for this challenge. And so I think to be mindful of the patterns that like everything else, it’s not completely linear. It’s not progressive, wonderful, incremental change any more than investing in the stock market is. You’ve got to have somewhat of an understanding, a little bit of fortitude to be able to say, you know, we’re I’m in it for the long haul, And I’m going to ride this out and I’m going to stay the course.
Sheree Clark [00:14:21]:
And I’m going to trust the process, trust my coach, and most importantly, Trust myself that I’ve been through a lot of hard stuff in my life, and I’m still standing. So you can make it through this next challenge too.
Bernie Borges [00:14:36]:
Yeah. That’s a great point. And I and I I I totally understand your point about how power through is is not the right way to frame it up, so thank you for pointing that out. What about the fact that so often people are dealing with past regrets and coming to terms with those regrets? How do you coach people through those?
Sheree Clark [00:15:00]:
This might sound funny, but I love regrets. And, it doesn’t mean I want to go out and have a lot more of them for myself personally. But when I ask the regret regrets question, and I don’t shrink from it, I will ask my clients, you know, is this something that we wanna talk about? Because a lot of times they’ll come And they’ll bring up the topic. Failed marriage is a great example. I never should have created that union. Career changes, moving, whatever it is. And when we can process our regrets, when we can actually take a hard look at them, We recognize that not only are they learning opportunities, kind of a blinding glance of the obvious there, but many times, A regret makes something else possible, in the example of marriage. There you might have had a what you believe to be a regrettable union with a partner, But you had 2 fabulous kids that you wouldn’t have had had that not happened.
Sheree Clark [00:16:00]:
So there’s that. And I don’t mean to sound Pollyanna and too upbeat and all of that sort of thing, because I recognize there’s pain in that example as well. But the more important thing is by looking at regrets, particularly if they’re multiple, You find a pattern. And the pattern that I look for as the coach is what Was the thing the act, the way of thinking? What precipitated this regrettable outcome? Usually it’s a way of looking at things. It might be a really good example is procrastination. So if someone says, you know what? I didn’t, I didn’t take that job. I, I waited too long to say yes, and then it was gone. Or I didn’t buy that house.
Sheree Clark [00:16:45]:
I made an offer after I thought about it too long. We’ve learned something. We’ve learned that if you wait too long to take action, you’re going to regret it. So what’s a good course of next action? Stop doing that. Or at least entertain the idea of not doing that, or let’s find another way of being. So That’s why I say I love regrets. There’s some juicy nuggets in there that you can’t get any other way.
Bernie Borges [00:17:12]:
I’m with you on that, Sherry, I’m with you on that. I think regrets there’s a lot to learn from regrets. Absolutely. I’ve I’ve I’ve talked about that myself, on this podcast. What about, with some of the people that you work with, what about maybe in some cases, are they Not expecting enough of themselves, not either confident or settling, willing to settle, And you look at them, and because you’re an experienced coach, you probably recognize some potential in them. How do you How do you handle that?
Sheree Clark [00:17:50]:
You know, the word that you use that I wanna kind of pick up on is the word settle. And I think When people talk about settling, they almost always talk about it in a negative way. You know, I settled for less money than I wanted, or I settled for a home with no basement. I think a better way to frame it is to view it as compromise. You traded something for something else. And in the example that I gave earlier about the person with the, with the dislike for the corporate job, but that corporate job is making other things possible. That’s what I’m talking about. You didn’t settle for staying in the corporate job.
Sheree Clark [00:18:35]:
You made a compromise in certain aspects of whatever it is you were willing to trade for something else, which is how we live our lives. I mean, when you think about it, it’s negotiation. I negotiated negotiated buying a car. I negotiated Salary. I’ve negotiated a lot of different things. We all do. We negotiate in our relationships with our loved ones. So let’s don’t talk in terms of settling.
Sheree Clark [00:19:00]:
Let’s talk in terms of what is it worth to you? What do you have that’s worth less to you that you’re willing to trade?
Bernie Borges [00:19:07]:
I like that. It’s a it it’s a great way to frame it up. It gives you different perspective on it. You know? And it helps you appreciate a more healthier way to to look at That circumstance. That’s great. I I wanna come back because I’m really fascinated by your midlife courage coach. I don’t know if label’s the right way to frame it up, Sherry. You know, like, I I don’t know how to frame that up, so feel free to guide me on that.
Bernie Borges [00:19:31]:
But So if if someone’s listening to this and they’ve been thinking about a life coach and now they’re hearing about a courage coach, maybe you can make a distinction there. You what is that distinction between a life coach, a midlife life coach, and a midlife courage coach?
Sheree Clark [00:19:46]:
You know, What it is and what I think it boils down to is fit. Whatever catches your ear to begin with. Like, oh, yeah, I need that kind of a life coach or an executive coach or whatever. Coaches Are not all the same. We have different ways of approaching challenges with our clients. We have different personalities and different styles. To me, the important thing, it’s less important finding someone who says the buzzword that You think is what your issue is. And more important that you find someone that you feel like you feel you can trust, that will create a safe space, that you, have regard for, respect for, that you feel has done things and is competent.
Sheree Clark [00:20:37]:
And, that you can have a relationship with that, that is one of mutual understanding and, and again, respect. I don’t know that I expect my clients to do every single assignment exactly the way that I give it to them. Sometimes I will give them some homework or some assignments. And I think many most people who work in the coaching have been coached before, understand that there is Homework that you do in between sessions. Sometimes there is with therapy as well or counseling. That if they are resistant and come back to me either with the homework not done or the dog ate it or or it’s something That they understand that I’m gonna want to address that. And not in a punitive way, not in a finger wagging way, not in the, I should have just done it to get to get her off my back way, but because they’ll understand that I’m coming at it from the standpoint of There’s something here for us to learn. Let’s dig in and figure out what it is.
Sheree Clark [00:21:45]:
And when you feel that, then you’re in the right place.
Bernie Borges [00:21:48]:
Yeah. Great points. I I I agree. I like I I like the way you make that distinction and really your point about how whatever resonates for an individual. So still, I’m sticking with the courage theme here. When I think of courage, Sherry, I think of overcoming Something that I fear. So is fear an aspect of what you’re helping people overcome?
Sheree Clark [00:22:15]:
Potentially, yes. But courage is also just being able to identify something, and to be able to listen to the idea that it’s not that you’re afraid of success or that you’re whatever it is. It’s maybe that it’s foreign. Nobody in my world has ever been successful. My family is a bunch of people who have never Variance, financial success. Who am I to think that I could break that mold? So it might not be busting out of the fear. It might be trying on a new pair of glasses in ways of seeing yourself. Because when you talk about fear, That sounds like something I don’t want to sign up for.
Sheree Clark [00:23:02]:
That sounds like your annual exam and a dentist appointment and, you know, having your oil changed all in one day. Stop. So let’s let’s make it a little friendlier, Bernie.
Bernie Borges [00:23:16]:
Yeah. So, Sherry, we are on the Midlife Fulfilled podcast, and I have to say that, I have a very strong impression both by What you’re saying, how you’re saying it, and since we’re on video, your body language, you get a lot of fulfillment from the the coaching that you provide your clients.
Sheree Clark [00:23:34]:
Oh, thank you. You know, that’s a 100% true. It’s, it’s life giving for me.
Bernie Borges [00:23:40]:
I can see that. I can see that, Sherry. Where can we send people to, connect with you, learn more about everything you’ve you’ve got going on in your world?
Sheree Clark [00:23:50]:
The best place is my website. And, it’s a it’s a short URL. It’s www. Fork Dash Road .com. And I bet you’ll have that in your show notes. And that’s probably the best place. I’m on social media and Not but I you can reach me via email and other ways directly from the website.
Bernie Borges [00:24:12]:
Well, you are correct, Sherry. That will be in the show notes For sure. And I just wanna thank you for coming on and spending some time with me here on this So this, maximum episode of the Midlife of Health podcast. I love your approach. It makes so much sense. I love the point you made about how, You know, whatever resonates with someone and someone who really just understands the points that you’re getting across and how that might resonate with someone, to work with you and and help them just, you know, deal with, their second second act, if you will, and, and the and the courage to do it. So thank you so much, Sherry. It’s been it’s been a blast.
Bernie Borges [00:24:50]:
Sheree Clark [00:24:51]: