By now, you probably know The Grown-Ass Woman’s Guide features incredible women who do incredible, brave, inspiring things everyday. We also feature those doing important, purposeful work, as well as those who share a strong, powerful point of view. But occasionally, I like to tap into my own grownassery and help women out, using my personal experience and instinct. Today, we hear from Helen who’s looking for a little bit of direction and encouragement in taking on the next chapter of her life. Let’s do this, Helen!

What makes me qualified? Nothing. And everything. I have no fancy letters behind my name, nor anything more than a degree in communications. But anyone who knows me understands my slightly crazy, never-boring life.

Just a few things I have a wee bit experience with:

  • Big family dynamics (I’m the 11th child of 13)
  • I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 3 — she was 39
  • I discovered I have the same genetic mutation she had when I was 34 — had bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction, hysterectomy, more reconstruction…
  • I’m a mom of three kids through biology and adoption; and have experience with autism, chronic illness, gender transition and more
  • I moved cross country by myself with $700 to my name
  • I worked 25 years in TV before becoming an entrepreneur working with creative women over 40 to discover and launch their what’s next
  • I watched my father suffer from Alzheimers and my sister pass from brain cancer.

Needless to say, I’ve experienced love, loss… more loss… and a lot of life and I’m often the go-to for a lot of people who may be going through some of the things I’ve gone through.

As my friend Wendy says, when she meets someone going similar stuff, her first response is GO ASK JACKIE. So… I’ve created a segment where women do just that. If you’ve got a question about a big life transition, a project you want to start, or just some feedback on a dilemma — I’m your girl. Reach out here.

Today’s question is from Helen S. who writes…

I’ve spent the last 21 years as a stay at home mom, and this fall, my last kid went away to college. I’d love to take this free time to create a small business or something fulfilling just for myself (FINALLY) but I have no idea how or where to start.

Oooooh, Helen. This is gonna be fun! Let’s first start by helping you find your Magic Zone. What’s a Magic Zone? It’s when you’re doing something you love so much, you completely lose track of time. When I’m in the Magic Zone, it’s pretty much the only time I forget to eat and actually move sleep to second place.

The short answer: The Magic Zone is activity in alignment. How do we find our Magic Zone? I’m glad you asked. The first way is to take a step back and ask ourselves…

Did I have a hobby or activity that fired me up as a kid?

Did I have anything like that as an adult before I became a mom?

Sometimes we have things we absolutely love to do that for whatever reason, we let go of it. Now would be a perfect time to pick it back up again.

The second way to find our Magic Zone takes a little more time and effort. We set a Try Time. A what??? Yes, a Try Time.

A Try Time is a period of time determined by you where your only job is to be curious.

It’s a three step process.

  1. Determine how long your try time will be — a month? 6 months? A year?
  2. Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to try. I’m talking brain dump here. Absolutely anything, write it down. You could have 10 ideas… 20… the sky’s the limit.
  3. Go down the list and speak each idea out loud, taking a beat between each item. Pay attention to your body as you say it. Rate each idea a 1, 2, or 3 on the body scale. 1 =  whatever, it could be fun. Doesn’t really matter. 2 = my curiosity is piqued. Hmmm I could do that. 3. = Hell YES – this is definitely something I want to do.

Anything that’s a 3, it’s time to TRY IT. It could be as simple as a cooking or photography class, maybe trying that new art place downtown, hiking somewhere new. Other ideas are trying new foods, snorkeling, attending a film festival or other event, or as adventurous as skydiving or bungee jumping — it’s your call.

Your. only. job. is. to. try. That’s it.

At the end of your try period, will you have a brand new business? Probably not. But we women often expect the answer to what’s next to show up at the front door, ring the door bell and let itself in.

How did you discover your favorite food? You tried it.

How did you meet your partner? You gave him or her a try.

As we get older, we often stop trying new things. You, right now, are in a prime position to bring curiosity back into your life. Curiosity is what will help you uncover who you are now and what you might want to do next. Figuring out what to do is the fun part. Figuring out how to do it is the easy part — there are plenty of ways to find out how. Firing up what’s been dormant inside is the perfect way to begin to see what’s possible. Let us know what you decide to try!

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