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Starting fresh

It’s been a minute since you found me in your inbox, hasn’t it? You may know that I’ve been very much occupied caring for my husband, Frank, and wrapping things up after his death in November.

The question confronting me now is, “What’s next?” And that’s where you come in.

Even as a full-time caregiver, I was doing a bit of part-time coaching with clients who wanted to be better at speaking and networking, and were willing to give me some grace if I needed to interrupt our work to tend to Frank.

Speaking? That’s been off the table since I had to call a friend to fill in for a gig back in June. I was headed to the ER—again!—instead of Zooming into a meeting to coach jobseekers about framing their talents and skills for their interviews. I stopped scheduling speaking engagements after that.

Well, the New Year is a perfect time to relaunch, isn’t it?

You may even be with me in starting a new venture, tweaking the work you’ve been doing, or shifting your focus to a new category of clients or customers.

I’ve been speaking about communication for a very long time. It makes sense to share the expertise I developed through years on the radio with businesspeople who can use a magnetic message, delivered with some pizzazz. I continue to be fascinated by the many ways we get our message across (or fail to). And by the possibilities for mediocre messengers to become stellar speakers—I love setting that shift in motion.

So yes, I’m still at your service if you’re looking for a program or individual coaching to enhance communication skills.

I’m also thinking of doing something entirely new.

It seems that my recent experience could benefit others who are or will be in the same boat, if I can capture it in a talk or two. Of course, there are already books and websites and yes, speeches, about taking care of an ailing loved one. What makes me think anyone needs to hear from me on the subject?

Much of what I’ve come across assumes … and advises … a level of self-sacrifice, cheerfulness, and a generosity of spirit that we may not feel every minute of every day. You’re supposed to be some sort of an angel! Me? Some days I found myself fresh out of haloes.

So, I’m thinking along the lines of defending the cranky caregiver. Which could mean permission to feel what you feel, whatever it is, as you help your loved one get to the commode. Again.

The challenge is this. Although many of us, as we age, will find ourselves giving … or, God forbid! receiving … that kind of care, it’s not something we relish thinking about. I see you there, with your fingers in your ears, chanting nyah, nyah, nyah to drown out my voice.

So, if none of us want to even think about the indignities of aging and getting infirm, or taking care of someone who is, who would want me to come in and talk to them about that very thing? Hmmm. That could be an obstacle on the path to a calendar full of high-paid speaking engagements.

Maybe a different audience?

It might be that I could give health care professionals some insight into how they could help their patients by helping the patient’s family. You might guess I’m pretty assertive about asking questions and gathering information … and I still sometimes found myself bewildered by Frank’s situation and his needs and the cast of characters involved in his care.

Could those nurses and doctors and social workers use some perspective from me? Yes. Do they want that perspective? Who knows?

This is where you come in.

What feedback can you share about your own experience taking care of a loved one or your level of interest in hearing about mine?

If you’re in health care, would you and your colleagues be remotely interested in what someone like me has to say?

And yes, it’s fair to reply, “Forget it, Catherine. There’s just no audience for that.”

Whatever you have to say, I’m looking forward to seeing your comment here.

Also, thank you.

I’m glad to be writing again and eager to be speaking again. I appreciate the coaching clients who stuck with me through this difficult time and I’m ready for more.

Talk to you soon …