Between running two businesses, writing a new book, and teaching herself Italian, Joanne Socha is a highly motivated busy woman.
Joanne runs a Quantum Mid-Life Redirect Mentoring business and a Luxury Travel Design Firm. Currently, she is ‘home’ bound; but, before the pandemic, Joanne ran her businesses remotely from interesting places around the world. A seasoned traveler and writer, Joanne is joining the Kuel Life roster of experts this Fall. She will be sharing her perspective on midlife with our Community.
Please help me welcome this Sunday’s Share Your Story – Joanne Socha.
KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field?
JOANNE: The study of Italian. Learning French was always my love, but my desire to live in Italy three months a year has superseded my goal to live in France. Ideally, I would love to live in a French town on the Italian border. I am in the process of getting my Italian citizenship, which is a long, arduous journey, and one of the requirements is fluency in the language. I respect this requirement because it affords a heightened appreciation of the Italians and their culture.
KUELLIFE: What is a typical day like for you?
JOANNE: I can’t function or start my day without espresso in bed, delivered by my Italian husband. In my last two marriages I was so busy caring for everyone else so this is a nice surprise. It was one of my pre-requisites to marriage this time 🙂 I would like to say that before grabbing for my phone, I journal; but, I usually do it the other way around. I like to check in with my businesses and my assistant to see where I am headed for the day, then I journal a bit, pray…
And, I am off! Running or exercising. After that, I come back and work, which consists of a combination platter of writing, designing bespoke travel itineraries (Not during Covid!), and mentoring my Quantum Mid-life Redirect clients. I do miss working remotely from around the world, but this has been an excellent opportunity to stay put and appreciate our home.
I try to squeeze in an hour of Italian study everyday and at 6 pm I shut everything down and spend time with my husband.
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
“Self-doubt – it is really a decoy for fear.”
JOANNE: Self-doubt. Every once in a while it creeps in – it is really a decoy for fear. Because I am stepping out of my comfort zone into heightened visibility more and more, it is only natural that it would rear its ugly head. It is quickly quelled, however, by daily action and celebrating little successes.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
JOANNE: I love what I do so I don’t have to flog myself to do it, as I did with my past career which rewarded me with two ulcers. Thankfully, I am motivated by my mission: “to help women heal and fall in love with their world (inner and outer).” When I falter, I remind myself that it isn’t about me, and that I chose this course to help others, as I was so generously helped during trials. I stay engaged by celebrating the intense beauty of every day. It is all around…..we don’t have to mine for it. I also pray for guidance constantly.
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
JOANNE: Gee, I am kind of figuring this out as I go! Insist on feeling good mentally and emotionally and the rest will follow. Whatever that takes for you – therapy, a mentor or coach, talking with a friend, beating a pillow, or getting out of a bad situation. Don’t settle for less than feeling great. If you have a past thorn in your side, be determined to extricate it so you can enjoy your life.
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
“Being vulnerable means complete self-honesty”
JOANNE: For so many years I felt like my insides were hanging on the outside. Thankfully, not today. Being vulnerable means complete self-honesty, which in turn allows expanded vulnerability with the world. A tiny bird can make me feel vulnerable, as can a sunset in Iceland…the big things in life, and the little. And of course, love always love.
KUELLIFE: What three events helped to shape your life?
JOANNE: ‘The Accident’ – when I was three my mother saved me and my five siblings from a runaway truck, losing her leg, and almost her life. That accident shaped our respective lives in a myriad of ways.
One of my sons was diagnosed with a ‘developmental delay’ at age 3 – getting him the help he needed no matter what and allowing helpers, teachers, and angels to enter our lives. Becoming a champion for him and helping him find his voice.
Law school – it became the cornerstone enabling me to be the voice for women as a counsellor, and to successfully change careers later in life.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
JOANNE: My mother because of her incredible inner strength and love, and beauty. She was a foster child but that never impaired her ability to surmount difficulties and see the beauty in the world. She became a piano teacher later in her life and was really a therapist to many of her teen students, helping them through their trials. And, she never stopped learning, studying math at the kitchen table after dinner, and violin later in her life.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
JOANNE: Be so gentle with yourself about your mistakes, failures, hurts and lost dreams. Forgive yourself.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
JOANNE: There are crowds of women who inspire me so it is hard to pick just one. It would be a composite of women around the world that I have met, seen, or women I have read about. They have impressed me greatly because of the challenges they face and rise above. Some have had their ship come in, others no. I can identify with these women and their sorrows but I also relate to their dreams. And, their successes and triumphs. I believe that as women we owe it to ourselves to rise above hard lessons and shoot for our dreams.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown up?
JOANNE: Yes, finally. I feel like an ecstatic child in a grown up body!
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
Besides the external things that most women do such as exercise, vitamins, eating well, I always make sure I have a current mentor or a business coach, a reading group, a friend I can call and share ideas with. That and breathing in the sea air daily.
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
JOANNE: I don’t use the term bucket list because it contains an inherent pressure to complete something by a certain time. I do have a #travelwishlist which I update every year depending upon where I am lured to go. For now – Jordan, Jaipur and my second love, Japan.