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I Speak My Truth – Lori, 62

Lori Lyons SYSWSJ 072620

Lori Lyons is one of our Kuel Category Experts. She brings her marketing expertise to our Community, helping the women entrepreneurs in the group to up their marketing game.

Lori lives big, unfazed by two major accidents in her youth that left her with permanent physical challenges. To her, they seem mere ‘facts’ about who she is and how she shows up in the world. Like many of us, Lori has struggled with the ‘Am I good enough’ self-talk. Gratefully, again like so many of us, Lori had the ‘right’ friend at the ‘right’ time show up to help her re-frame that negative self-talk into a sense of achievement rather than failure.

Please welcome this Sunday’s Share Your Story: Lori Lyons.


what took you so long?”

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?

LORI: I think I’m actually and finally pursuing what I’m meant to do. If anything is coming out of left field it’s – what took you so long? I’ve been in marketing for years in various different businesses. My path started as a teacher; then, I left teaching after getting my Master’s Degree. I worked for a large corporation and started honing my marketing skills there. Several years later, after marrying and moving to New Jersey, I started my own marketing and packaging company. Multi six figures later – after that internet thing was here to stay (no one wanted ring binders anymore!). I closed shop and took a series of jobs; contract and full-time, finally, landing at a digital marketing agency. After being laid off there, I decided to once again take my future into my own hands and started Igniting Your Business. Everything came together and I feel I am finally doing what I’m meant to do.

KUEL LIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?

LORI: There is no typical day. As my team has grown, I’m spending more time with “business owner stuff” and not “employee stuff” which is a fun place to be. It’s allowed time to work on my new podcast for Encore Entrepreneurs, something I couldn’t have considered a year or so ago. 

I hate being late (to anything) and I really struggle with waiting myself!”

KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?

LORI: Time management! I try calendar blocking, I try setting times, I try to do lists. I flutter from task to task but it always gets done and usually either ahead or on time. I hate being late (to anything) and I really struggle with waiting myself!

KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

LORI:   I think when you love what you do, it’s easy to stay motivated. I love brainstorming ideas with my clients and sometimes ideas spill out and I have no idea where they came from.That motivates and excites me! It confirms that I finally found what I want to be when I grow up!

KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?

LORI: My son keeps telling me that 60 is the new 40 and I just chuckle. I don’t think or dwell on aging – life is too full!

vulnerability is showing the real you, not the “you” people expect to see”

KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?

LORI: Wow… that’s a tough one. I see so many different types of vulnerability. For me, vulnerability is showing the real you, not the “you” people expect to see. Growing up with a Southern mom, there were expectations of what Southern women are. We are polite; we say what is expected; little white lies are okay to spare feelings; we are “ladies” and wives and moms.

I don’t know what happened to that gene, but most of it disappeared. Oh – I’m still polite; but, I speak my truth so if you don’t want to know, don’t ask. Showing the vulnerable side – the real me is hard. I have a very close relationship with a group of women that I can be vulnerable and myself with and it’s okay. They still love me and put up with my warts and my impatience and imperfections. 

KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?

LORI: The first two events are physical. At two years old, I fell with a glass bottle in my hand and a piece of the glass went in my right eye. Unbelievably, I still have my eye! In 1960 saving my eye with this type of injury was pretty amazing. I have some vision and last year underwent a series of surgeries that actually helped it a bit with my vision. It’s still wonky, but I’m grateful for what i have.

Next, I was involved in a fatal car accident in the mid 80’s and was so fortunate to survive. I shattered my right ankle and to this day have plates and screws in it. The surgery on my ankle was cutting edge at the time to try to save my foot. Mine was the first surgery of it’s kind at this hospital and it was fate that the only doctor that could do this surgery was on call that night. 34 years later, I’m still walking on it and while I had to give up stilettos and running those are trade offs I’ll take.

The last event was my son. I was just shy of 40 when he was born. My husband and I had been trying for about 5 years and had already decided we weren’t going to drive ourselves crazy trying to get pregnant. When I found out I didn’t have the flu but was indeed pregnant, we were overjoyed. Today he’s 22 and I’m so proud of him. As he was growing up, we were always “the older parents” which I’m sure was a source of embarrassment for him. But, the memories of his younger years, his love of baseball and the friends we made are memories we will cherish.

KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?

LORI: My dad has a profound influence on my “don’t quit” attitude. Keep striving. You can do better. For a long time, I struggled with not being good enough for.. whatever. It was always that nagging feeling that no matter what I did, I should have done better. When a friend helped me to reframe this to: “I did the best I could and next time I will do this…” it was a game changer for me. I went from a place of fear to a place of achievement. Even today, 13 years after he passed, I can still hear him calling my name and I can still hear the advice and the encouragement he gave me. He always believed in me.

KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?

LORI: To stop playing around and start my website and marketing business. I have been working 50-60 hours a week for about 10 months with a network marketing jewelry business and just not making any money. I’d invested so much time and money into inventory I was determined to make a go of it. In the meantime, I’d been building websites on the sides for friends and making nice money. My business coach finally said “What are you doing? How many earrings do you have to sell to make up for one website?” It took another woman to basically give me permission to quit what wasn’t working and… quite frankly… just wasn’t fun anymore. I then started building what I knew deep down was right. Giving up and fear of failing had stood in my way.

KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?

LORI: My great aunt Mozelle, my dad’s aunt. She was spry and spunky and lived to be 99 ¾. In the 60’s and 70’s she was the traffic manager for a large department store chain in the Atlanta area. Picture a woman in her 50’s during the 60’s and 70’s. She was all of 5’2” tall and probably 98 pounds soaking wet. Big truckers would climb the three flights of wooden stairs to her office above the loading dock. They would barge in and ask to speak to her boss – actually more like – “little lady, where’s the boss man?”  My aunt would rise from the desk, circle around it back to her seat, sit down and say “little man, I’m the boss”. Why don’t we start over and I’ll be happy to help you?” What brass ones she had! In her 90’s she purchased a computer and proceeded to make the local newspaper editor’s life a living hell with her letters to the editor – sent online of course! She jazzercised in her late 80’s. Man, what a woman!

KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?

LORI: It depends. I love to have fun and be playful and laugh and be with friends in the sandbox. I have things I want to do and things I have to do. I have financial responsibilities and I have fun money. I usually know when to do each of the above. So yeah, I guess I’m mostly “growed up.”

KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?

LORI: I get away.  I’m an Aquarian – the water sign. I practice my best self care when I can be around water. I go somewhere for a few days that’s near water – a lake, a pond or a beach. Going away, with a friend or by myself, clears my mind and allows me to focus when I return. I get more stuff done on these retreats – I outlined my book, I write, I work, I read. For me, these few days are priceless and recharging and energizing and just… sigh…

KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?

1 – Take a charter cruise of the Greek islands for 2 weeks. To me, these islands seem like paradise on earth. I want the boat to be large enough to bring my family and friends. The food, the scenery, the history all would make it a perfect combination of trip and vacation.

2 – Drive from the southernmost point of the US below San Diego all the way to Vancouver taking the Ocean route as much as possible. Take two weeks and just explore that beautiful part of the country. Stay at bed and breakfasts along the way, stopping when we see something fun or interesting.

3 – Be a guest on Ed Mylett’s podcast. I listen to his podcast all the time and I just love his manner, his empathy, his knowledge, his story. With what I want to bring to the world, he will understand and help me to help the people I’m meant to work with.

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