It’s Sunday and time for our fourth installment of ‘Share Your Story; the Women the WSJ Missed!‘ This week I share Becky Kueker with the Kuel Life Community.
Becky is a retired Corporate Executive who hasn’t slowed down one bit; just changed directions. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and is a published author. I am proud to call her one of my Kuel Chiefs.
This is her story:
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life that surprises you or might appear to others as if it’s come out of left field?
BECKY: I have been asked by a national organization to travel the country and give educational workshops about my experiences with saving money. Although I share in my two books what happened in my 30’s that caused me to put into place a long term financial retirement plan, I have not been asked about specifics from a consumer prospective. It has surprised and energized me more than I would have ever expected.
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
BECKY: An early riser, I begin the day by sitting on my beautiful porch with a cup of strong black coffee watching the amazing sun rise in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. Then I head out for a three mile walk to energize and breathe in the sights, sounds and wild life that is such a wonderful part of where I live. Back from my walk, I head to my office to answer e-mails, perhaps do a pod cast or webinar for clients. As a blogger for several on-line sites, I also daily outline what topics I want to pursue and do research about what is fresh and new that people will find intriguing.
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
BECKY: After being diagnosed with clinical depression four years ago, I still battle the ups and downs that depression brings. I have learned however, that things are not so black and white when it comes to mental strength. I believed you either had to be one way or another and finding that is not so has given me more courage to live life a bit more lightly and explore uncharted territory. Or as Liza Minelli said, “Reality is something you rise above!”
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
BECKY: In my new book, “A Classic in Clown Shoes”, I write about “mindfulness”. A good part of my motivation these days is being mindful of what I need to do versus what I want to do. There should be “play time” in everyone’s life, hopefully on a daily basis, but I also have developed a certain structure and value to each day instead of just letting them drift by. It keeps me motivated and on track!
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
BECKY: My grandmother told me when she was 83, “The hardest thing about aging is that you still look at the world through young eyes.” I have thought about her words often over the years and recently when I was invited to join a group of 45 year-olds for a round table discussion about aging. It was exciting to participate and contribute, and in no way did I feel 76. I strongly believe we are bound by no rules, even though aging seems to catch up with us at some point. We all know there is no running after youth. But the reality is how you choose to age: live on the edge, take chances, show your wild side, and refuse to “think old.” Just stand up and celebrate who you have become, because in our hearts, we can still be young for such a very long time to come.
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
BECKY: Being vulnerable to me is such a strong emotion. Putting yourself out there and sharing who you are, including your flaws so others may learn, is life changing. Some of my most vulnerable moments have occurred when I was asked to be a guest on a radio program. The thought of thousands of people listening to my words and wanting them to actually have real meaning, makes me feel very vulnerable.
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
BECKY: #1 living off and on in foster homes when I was very young. #2 My husband and I were both severely abused children growing up and carried that as a secret we could not share with anyone. When we met in high school and discovered we were both going through the same thing, it was a bond that gave us courage and the ability to comfort each other as we navigated very difficult years. #3 Becoming a partner in a business that I believed in and helped grow beyond expectations.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
BECKY: When I was in my late 30’s I met Margie May. Margie was married to Morton May who owned May Department Stores. Margie saw something in me that I did not see in myself and took me under her wing. She was one of the most powerful, influential women in St. Louis and took mentoring very seriously. I listened to her and learned more from her than I have from anyone else in my life. She shaped and molded me into the woman I am today and was my most trusted friend until she passed away in 2001.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
BECKY: “Never stay too long at the dance” was said to me by a woman who was at the top of her career at the time. She said you will know when it is time to retire and let the new regime take over. I remembered her advice when I was trying to make that decision with my firm and draw that “retirement” line in the sand. It felt very good making that decision entirely on my terms.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
BECKY: I have been so inspired by Malala Yousafzai. Shot by the Taliban at 15; she refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. The ultimate role model; she makes you believe in the power of one person’s voice to inspire change in the world. The courage she has shown and the perseverance gives us all a reason for believing that anything is possible.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
BECKY: I certainly hope not. My husband and I were in London last year for Thanksgiving. It rained almost every day and one day I said let’s just go out and splash in the puddles. We did that for hours, in streets, parks and in the palace gardens, getting soaked, laughing and watching people shake their heads in disbelief. The fun of letting go to really enjoy an impromptu moment is priceless.
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
BECKY: I joined a laughter group. We meet once a month and laugh at life and ourselves over coffee. I daily check off what makes me the happiest, moment to moment, getting my attitude going and laugh at what once was, and the reality of what is. And, I live by the affirmation, “Never water yourself down just because someone else can’t handle you at 100 proof!”
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
BECKY: #1 I would like to leave a legacy that will make a difference in someone’s life. #2 Write a romance novel #3 Sprint to the finish line the way I want it to end.