Chatting with Marlo Thomas – Part II


Marlo Thomas It Aint Over

Yesterday I posted part of an interview with Marlo Thomas about her newly released book, “It Ain’t Over…”. In case you missed that post you can find it here – Chatting with Marlo Thomas – Part I

Here is the continuation of that interview.

Question: Coming from a busy mom, or a busy woman, who feels like she’s dragged in so many different conflicting directions with responsibilities to family and career and everything else that takes time in her life, what do you recommend that she does to find that future extra minutes for herself or prioritize to find those few extra minutes so that she can make this change in her life that she needs to make?

Marlo: It’s such an important question.  It’s so important and so many women are struggling with this.  I think you have to take the time to look at what you need to make what you want happen.  You don’t have all the time in the world, but you might have an hour a day for a class.  You might have an hour a day in the evening, or sometime in the morning, or sometime in the day when you can away and get closer to what it is you want to do.  Or get together with a friend.

Then I think you have to make a priority list.  That’s what I do.  As you probably know, I have my own website on AOL and I create 80 pieces of content a month.  I have to raise money for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.  I’m doing a new play, and I’m writing blogs for Huffington Post, and I’m married with a husband who’d like to have some of my time.

I have to prioritize every single day.  I start on the weekend.  On the weekend, I just sit down and sit at my computer at my desk and say, okay, what is it that I want to get done this week?  What do I need?  What do I want to get done that doesn’t have to do with all these other jobs I have?

For example, all of a sudden I’m writing a book.  When am I going to have the time to write this book?  I have to pick the hour.  Do I have to get up an hour earlier so that I can do it then?  Do I have to stay up an hour later at night so that I can do it then?  Which days do I do which thing?  Which day will be my hour or my two hours?  When will I get them, because you have to plan that out.

Question: For women in the mid or older generation, defining confidence and finding that confidence to chase your dreams can sometimes be daunting, especially with the media with that perception of you can do it all, and be the skinniest, be the healthiest, be the most beautiful.  What advice do you have for women to find their own inner-confidence and not judge themselves based upon the outside world? 

Marlo: Like I always say, never face the facts or you won’t get out of bed in the morning.  If I worried about the fact that I no longer look like I did on That Girl, that I’m no longer 25, or 35, or 45, or even 55.  If I want to spend my life in regret of what I no longer am, or no longer can look like, I’m just going to be miserable. I get my confidence from what is it that I have inside of me that is good that works for me?

What works for me is I have a lot of ideas and I try to act upon my ideas instead of sitting home and wishing for them to come true.  I really do try to make them happen.  I try to get together with other people who will help me make them happen.  I take my confidence and my go-getedness from working with what I have right now, not with what I used to have.  I don’t look back.

My father used to say, never hunch your back with yesterday.  You can’t, because it just weighs you down.  Also, the naysayers of your life, they’re useless.  They have no place for you at all.  On the covers of magazines there are 14-year-old girls who have been airbrushed.  It’s all not truthful, so we’re never going to look like that.  You wouldn’t look like that unless you were 14.  It’s not even something for you to think about.

What you need to think about is what have I got that I can work on to be better at that?  What do I need to put into my life that is going to make me feel more confident? I have never run in a marathon or anything because I don’t think I have the stamina for it. But a friend of mine, who is 40 years old, said to me, “Come out with me and let’s just run in one of those 5Ks, which is 3 miles, and you don’t have to run the whole time.  You can walk.  You can run.  You can do all things.  You don’t have to just run.”

I’m doing that now and it’s given me a tremendous amount of confidence that I can do that because I would never run in a 26-mile marathon, but I can run/walk in a 3-mile race.  That’s given me a real sense of accomplishment.  The 26-mile is too daunting.  I could never do it.  Maybe someday I could, but I got to do it three miles at a time.  You get your confidence from doing things you haven’t done before and doing it with a friend, trying them, and seeing how much you can really do.  It’s amazing how we make decisions that we can’t do something before we’ve even tried to do it.

Question: Katie Couric was asked about women over a certain age being marginalized and ignored.  In relation to your book, how do you encourage women not to buy into that?  Katie responded to it by saying, to hell with that.  I don’t think that’s true.  How do you help women in your book, or how do the women in your book, get over that, I’m being marginalized? 

Marlo: I think by the things that we’ve talked about today – A) Don’t face those facts.  They’re not your facts.  It doesn’t matter what the polls say, and what statistics say, and what people say – you’re too old for this job.  You’re not the right age for this job. Don’t listen to that.  Go to the places where you can find other people who think like you, who are open to women your age, or get together with other women your age and create something that belongs to you.

I certainly would not spend my life worrying about what somebody else says about me.  When I turned 50, the parts that I could play in television and movies dried up. There were not as many parts that I could play because they wanted younger women. That’s not going to be the defining moment of my life.

So I started doing more theater.  I started finding other ways where I could perform as an actor.  I may not be able to be That Girl, but I can be in a lot of plays and enjoy it and love it.  I’m also now working on doing another television show.  I keep continuing to go after what I want my way, but it certainly does exist in the world.

I met a woman who was in her 40s who wanted to a hostess at a restaurant and they only wanted 28 year olds.  They wanted women under 30.  Well, you can’t fight that.  So move on to something else, either another restaurant, or become a manager of a restaurant.  Take a course in that, but just keep figuring out what you need to do to get what you want.  Forget what the world wants you to do or any other person wants you to do.  This marginalization does exist.  Of course it exists, but that doesn’t mean that you have to buy into it.  Don’t buy into it.

Look for Marlo’s book, “It Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over: Reinventing Your Life and Realizing Your Dreams – Anytime, at Any Age.”
where ever books are sold.

You can also check out Marlo online at www.MarloThomas.com. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Have you read the book yet? If not, do you think you’ll pick up a copy?

Have you reinvented your life? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with others? Feel free to share your thoughts.

PHOTO SOURCE: Marlo Thomas' Facebook page

PHOTO SOURCE: Marlo Thomas’ Facebook page


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted and were not influenced in any way.

Chatting with Marlo Thomas – Part I


It Aint Over

Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a chat with Marlo Thomas about her new book ” It Ain’t Over . . . Till It’s Over: Reinventing Your Life and Realizing Your Dreams – Anytime, at Any Age.” I’ll just refer to the book as “It Ain’t Over…”

I have been a fan of Marlo’s since her television show That Girl. I watched them as repeats since I was only an infant/toddler when they originally aired.

I also applaud Marlo for all the works she’s done for St. Jude’s Hospital, which was founded by her father the late Danny Thomas.

I have not read her new book – yet. I am supposed to be receiving a copy shortly. I am looking forward to reading it.

In a nutshell, “It Ain’t Over…” is about reinventing yourself at any age.

We’ve heard it all before:

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”

But anyone who has ever tried to make a big life change knows it can be a bit more complicated— and frightening—than that. How do you get up the nerve and confidence to actually take the leap? No one knows better than the women profiled in this powerful book by actress, activist, and bestselling author Marlo Thomas.

“It Ain’t Over . . . ” introduces us to sixty amazing women who are proving that it’s never too late to live out a dream—to launch a business, travel the world, get a PhD, indulge a creative impulse, make a family recipe famous, escape danger, find love, or fill a void in life with a challenging new experience. Meet a graphic artist who fulfilled a childhood ambition by going to med school at age forty-two; a suburban mom whose innovative snack recipe for her daughter’s lunchbox turned into a multimillion-dollar business; a private-practice psychiatrist who convinced her husband that they should quit their jobs and take off on an exciting, open-ended, cross-country adventure—in a giant bus, no less!; and a middle-aged English teacher who, devastated to discover that her husband was cheating on her, refused to be a victim, filed for divorce, and began the challenging journey of rebuilding her life.

Brimming with anecdotes that will inspire smiles, tears, and—most of all—hope, “It Ain’t Over…” speaks to women of all ages with an empowering message: The best is yet to come!

I’m going to be 46 in a couple of weeks (blah!). I’m not looking forward to it.

I always tell people that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up – and it’s true. I mean, I had goals and dreams when I was younger but now, at my age, I don’t see them as being viable options for me anymore. I need to find other ways to reinvent myself and live my life to it’s fullest. My problem is that I don’t know where to start. That is why I am anxious to read the book – for inspiration and motivation.

During our chat session with Marlo we were able to ask her questions about her book, and more. Marlo had a lot to say. As much as I’d love to include the entire chat with my readers, for the sake of time and space I’ll just share with you the highlights.

I’ll break this up into multiple posts because I feel like Marlo had a lot of important things to say that might ring true with some readers.

Before the questions even began this is what Marlo had to say.

One of the things that I’ve learned is the first thing you have to do is never face the facts or you won’t get out of bed in the morning.  That’s my mantra, anyway.  I have that hanging over my computer.  People are always telling you that you can’t do it.  You don’t have enough money, or you’re too young, or you’re too old, or you’re too tall, or you’re too short, or whatever.  Don’t listen to any of those facts.  Make up your own facts.  That’s the first thing.

The second thing, maybe the dream that you have needs another skill set.  Maybe in order to get to that dream, you have to learn something new.  Or maybe you should intern somewhere where you want to work, in the field you want to work.  Everybody is very happy to hire you for nothing, so you can intern somewhere and learn what you want to do.

Maybe it’s too scary to start alone, so maybe you need to do with a girlfriend, or a couple girlfriends, or with your mom, or with somebody, with your boyfriend, with your husband, whoever is in your life.  Maybe the two or three of you need to get together to do it.  The most important thing is to try to figure out what is something that you love to do?

Question: How did you discover the women that you’re portraying in the book?

Marlo: I went out on my Facebook and Twitter pages and asked for them, if anybody wanted to start over and was looking for advice or wanted to share their story.  We got thousands of answers. As you know, I work for AOL and Huffington Post, so I went on their Facebook pages.  Then I also found some women in the country that I hired and asked them to go through local stories. I didn’t want to miss anybody.

Question: Sometimes people believe that only those with money, or a degree, can reinvent themselves.  How would you encourage those people to get past the “I can’t?”

Marlo: First of all, almost all people who have started businesses started with nothing.  I’m sure there others that had money to start other businesses, but most of the women in my book started with nothing and had to go, as I say, learn a skill set, intern somewhere, borrow money, go in with a friend.  Those are the ways in which people start businesses.  I think that a lot of the women in the book did start with absolutely zero.  Some of the women were already in a business and then wanted to start over in another business, but there are all types in the book.

But to people who don’t have anything, and don’t know how to start, I think those are the ways in which to start, which is to take a step every single day and figure out what is it that you want to do and do you know enough about it?  Do you need another class to learn about it?  Do you need to borrow money?  Do you need to go in with a friend, or three friends, to start this business?  Will you all pool your talents and your money?  I think it’s very doable for somebody starting from zero.  I really do.

Question: I’m interested in the fact that you interviewed women of different ages and of different generations such as boomers, the Greatest Generation, Generation X, and Generation Y.  During the course of interviewing each of those generations, did you notice differences or similarities among the women? 

Marlo: I felt that they were mostly stuck.  They were stuck in a place that they didn’t know how to get out of.  They had to work really hard to reinvent themselves from feeling like they were in a hole.  Whether they had been laid off at a job, or whether they were stuck in a job they didn’t like and they felt they couldn’t get anywhere in it, or they didn’t like their boss, or they didn’t like the whole atmosphere of their job. They had a dream in the back of their mind, but they never really could get to that dream because they had to make a living to raise their kids or be a part of supplementing the family income.  Now was the time that they wanted to at last go back and pick up that dream.  I think that there were all different situations that they were in, but mostly they felt stuck.

Feeling stuck was a common theme. Now they felt that maybe they could go after it because they had saved a little money.  A lot of it was, how do you start?  How do I start?  I don’t know how to start.  That’s why, when I was saying the thing about one step a day.  Just do something every single day.

If you want to get somewhere in six months, if you do something every single day, and I really mean every single day, you will be way further along in six months.  One of those can be meeting a person who thinks like you that wants to do it, too.  That could be one day.  The next day could be learning a new skill set, taking a class, signing up for a class.

Just keep doing something every single day.  My acting teacher, Lee Strasberg, used to say, acting is not in the mind.  It’s in the doing.  That’s the same with life.  You can’t sit home and wish for it and talk to your friends about it.  You have to do something.  Do something every single day to get to where you want to go.

This concludes Part I. I’ll post Part II with Marlo tomorrow.

PHOTO SOURCE: Marlo Thomas' Facebook page

PHOTO SOURCE: Marlo Thomas’ Facebook page


*I was not compensated for this post. I am posting this for the enjoyment of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted.