Follow Susan on Facebook Connect with Susan on LinkedIn
powerful wisdom and guidance in your in box monthly

changing the face of aging
Susan Brooks
Time Keeps Slipping, Into the Future

Time Keeps Slipping, Into the Future
August 2023

My precocious 18-year-old granddaughter made a comment several months ago that I can't stop thinking about: 'Nana always wants more!' She's right. No matter how much time we spend together, I always want more. No matter how I'm swooning over a delicious meal or savoring every vacation day, I always want more. It's not greed; it's desire. Time is the ultimate gift, especially as we age. I do want more!

I use my time well, especially as I'm about to 'hang another year on the line,' as Paul Simon says. Incessantly, I identify reasons to stick around: to witness (without judgment) my grandchildren's adult choices, to witness the glory of Arizona sunsets, and the kindness of others, friends and strangers, that hold a door open or are extra patient while I stumble through technological everyday changes. I do yearn for more simplicity and less complications.

Brene Brown is one of my teachers:

"When the Universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you in close, and whispers in your ear: I'm not screwing around. It's time...time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can't live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It's time to show up and be seen." ~ Brene Brown

How do you change a time scarcity mindset?

Here are several ideas to ponder:

You already know how thrilled I am when you email your responses to me...yes, I want more!

My business coaching continues as well as my coaching to support you in creating a new way of aging. My wisdom grows deeper only matters when I share it with you! Let me support your efforts and challenges in living your best life!

Here's hoping life is better than good where you are!

Talk to me.

Karen and Jeff of ORIGINS Bed and Breakfast

Featured Modern Elders*

Karen and Jeff
ORIGINS Bed and Breakfast
928 224 2922

If you are a teacher, a therapist, or a coach, like me, there is nothing finer or more fulfilling than to witness your client using your wisdom to demonstrate their learned lessons in their success. This was the privilege I experienced when I stayed in the Copper Room at ORIGINS in Cottonwood, Arizona.

ORIGINS Bed and Breakfast Copper RoomKaren and Jeff of ORIGINS Bed and Breakfast

Back in 2014, Karen and Jeff started to seriously consider what retirement could look like for them. Peace Corp? Retire fully? Partial retirement? Jeff, age 61, was an industrial engineer as well as a Council board member in his community, and Karen, age 62, was the COO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan. Moving their mindset and lifestyle from the corporate world to an entrepreneurial venture was an evolution over time. Instead of delivering someone else's defined company vision and culture, now life was all about their own brand, vision and values that needed to be integrated and defined for what was right for them. Not an easy transition...and there was no paycheck!

Fortunately, their business processes and management skills made them both great problem solvers. Their integrity and authenticity was on the line with every decision and action. Their intention was clear!

Karen and I started working together to help identify opportunities for their future. Through those sessions it became clear that a Bed and Breakfast was the right choice for them. They knew that building a firm entrepreneurial foundation was their next step to move forward. As Karen and I continued working together we discussed: what is your company name that best defines what you are really selling? Who is your customer? Know your numbers for ongoing sustainability...

One of their first assignments was to attend an industry conference in New Orleans to talk with more B&B hosts, meet vendors, and clarify their individual roles and the efficient digital processes that needed to be developed. Many of the attending hosts did their best to talk them out of this project! "It's hard work. Too much competition. Not easy to be profitable."

But, Jeff and Karen stayed brave and continued onward to find the property that fit their vision, and boy! Did they ever hit the jackpot: located on a bluff above the Verde River, with views of Sedona and Jerome and the gorgeous Mingus Mountains. All the windows are built on this property with generous views and inspirational southwestern art work sitting front and center.

When I asked what it was like to work together in this new partnership capacity, Jeff responded first: "We like each other. We like working with each other. We're both introverts, so instead of hiding in the kitchen, which would be easy to do, we support each other in working out of our comfort zone to serve our customers and contribute to our new community."

Filling in the brand differentiators, the most efficient processes and service experiences for their customers was the focus for our ongoing coaching agenda:

  • Environmental consciousness in everything we do.
  • Healthy was the goal. Karen prepares 3-course artful gourmet breakfasts that can be adapted to gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and vegan. Karen knows you eat first with your eyes, right?
  • In order to maintain the highest level of service, they do not want to hire anyone. They do everything from cleaning to cooking to home maintenance themselves. "We don't want to risk changing who we are...Quality people are hard to find! This is our brand, this is US. Authenticity and Integrity rules at Origins."
  • "Origins offers a quiet, peaceful sanctuary, away from hustle and bustle...we provide the ultimate in service experience!"
  • Engaged with the community is important to them: Karen volunteers as a mentor at SCORE and Jeff is actively engaged in the historical society and the local property owner's association.
  • With 4 rooms, each one different with its own unique bathtub/shower – such as waterfall shower over rocks or copper tub - the appointments to each room are full of treasures! "But," as Karen emphatically says, "it's very hard work to serve all 4 rooms at one now we only book 3 rooms at a time. We want to keep enjoying what we're doing."

Origins opened their doors November, the height of Covid! Immediately, creative solutions and hard work were in demand: Karen says, "no breaks, no getting sick, needing every reservation...we didn't think about ourselves! You just can't put your business on hold. We wrote our Operations and Process manuals. We got creative, offering people a stay for $25 to give us input and a review. We went through every step of scheduling, welcoming and saying goodbye, observing every possible clue to know how to improve every customer experience. We leveraged our skills, and used them differently." At one point, they had a guest in the house every day for 12 weeks and that is when they realized they had to schedule breaks into their reservation system.

As Dustin Hoffman says: It's true what they say about failure. You don't learn from success.

So, now what? I ask (as any coach would). You did it! You envisioned and built Origins from the ground up. You are profitable, AND sustainable. You are loving and living to serve your customers AND your community. All in 3 years!!!

I was shocked by their answer: "We don't need to grow."

Instead of wanting more, better or different, Karen and Jeff choose controlled growth, an unheard-of concept amongst most entrepreneurs. My respect deepened for them. Their marriage, partnership, and lifestyle centered on serving their customers, their community, and each other. Congratulations!

Then, I asked them both: what advice would you give to other would-be entrepreneurs?

These are their nuggets (you just might recognize the words):

  • What would you do today if you were brave?
  • Don't think you can fly by the seat of your pants!
  • Talk to lots of people! Ask for help, get advice.
  • Ask yourselves: who is the best one to do the various jobs: serve the customer absolutely (front end) and stay in touch with financial flow of your business (back end).
  • Bigger is not always better...controlled growth matters.
  • What CAN we do that better serves that doesn't necessarily drive income yet increases the service experience? Karen creates fabulous copper jewelry and sells each piece very inexpensively...easy to buy!
  • Stay flexible. Be open to opportunity, e.g., lots of wineries in this area. Good for us to know.
  • Your business has to fit YOU!
  • "Just because you are in love with your vision and you think it's cool, the market will tell you if others agree!"

Karen and Jeff worked their plan, coveted their values and figured out how to demonstrate these in every action and decision in running their business.

See for yourself: Origins

I strongly suggest you make reservations now!

P.S. Karen suggests entrepreneurs see the film Flamin' Hot, the story of Cheetos, and I highly recommend The Bear to show you what it takes to bring service excellence to your business.

If retirement or the next chapter is calling your name, if I can help you realize your vision in business and lifestyle, email me. Let's make it happen now!

*Chip Conley, best-selling author and speaker, hospitality entrepreneur and leading thought leader, created The Modern Elder Academy's mission "to inspire the ability to reframe a lifetime of experience and recognize one's mastery, relevance, and value in the modern workplace." The Modern Elder* is Conley's term and effort that "liberates and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path of growing whole, not old...The Modern Elder*marries wisdom and curiosity."

Every month this newsletter will Feature the stories and wisdom of Modern Elders*. Please send in your Modern Elder* nomination. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT

Susan Brooks

Today, I am 76 years old, and proud of it! Paul Simon, who is now in his 80's said it best years ago: us boomers are BORN AT THE RIGHT TIME!

Yes, I was born at the right time! I'm still a hippie from the 60's, I marched for civil rights for all humans, equal rights for women, waving my bra with the best. I am proud to be living and growing in a robust marriage of 55 years. I survived motherhood, and so did my now-adult children. I was an award-winning woman business owner when there were but a few of us. I've learned a whole bunch of lessons, and more importantly, I've earned my fair share of Wisdom, too. I am Pro-Age!

According to Chip Conley, one of today's leading thought leaders: "Experience is making a comeback. Wisdom never grows old." Chip created the hallmarks of the Modern Elder*: "learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, cultivating a beginner's mind so that learning never ends, exemplifying a willingness to evolve both as a student and sage." Research shows that shifting our mindset about Aging can add 7.4 happy years to a person's life.

Proud to say I am a graduate of the Modern Elder Academy as well as an active participant in Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit programs. As one of the creators and hosts of the Thrive@55 event, we celebrated our female community leaders who were 55+.

As long as I'm able to see the sunrise every morning and keep a curious mind, there's more living to do, so much more to learn, and so many new ways to serve. Trailblazer that I am, and always will be, I recognize my next mission: by example and demonstration I am committed to Changing the Face of Aging: One Modern Elder* at a time!

I welcome both local and national speaking engagements as well as one-on-one coaching opportunities to delve more deeply into navigating life transitions. Email me Here.

Juicy ways and energizing action steps: how to soak in the wisdom and energy of becoming your own Modern Elder*
Sign up for my Changing the face of Aging monthly newsletter!

Sign Up

Susan Brooks

Follow Susan on Facebook    Connect with Susan on LinkedIn


Privacy Policy