The Mid-Career GPS Podcast

246: Finding Happiness After Hardship with Carole Mac

May 28, 2024 John Neral Season 4
246: Finding Happiness After Hardship with Carole Mac
The Mid-Career GPS Podcast
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The Mid-Career GPS Podcast
246: Finding Happiness After Hardship with Carole Mac
May 28, 2024 Season 4
John Neral

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When Carole Mac faced unimaginable grief, she chose an extraordinary path to healing: she reinvented herself. This episode brings you Carole's transformative journey, highlighting her resilience and resourcefulness as she built her Mid-Career GPS. Carol's transition is not just a career change but a tale of personal rediscovery, focusing on how nourishing our passions can lead to profound satisfaction and a renewed sense of purpose.

After losing her 14-month-old son to mitochondrial disease, Carole shares how the darkest periods in our lives can set the stage for the most amazing transformations. The local food culture in Italy taught her about more than just organic farming and artisanal cheese-making; it was a lesson in embracing life with gusto and how the support of a community can be a lifeline back to joy.

Lastly, Carole takes us behind the scenes of television production, sharing the thrills and challenges of bringing stories to life as an executive producer. Her latest projects are a testament to the possibilities that await when we combine our truest interests—in her case, sports and food—into our professional endeavors. For anyone navigating a mid-career transition or facing adversity, our discussion offers actionable advice on harnessing your passions to guide your career path.

Connect with Carole Mac
Website | Book | Instagram

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening to The Mid-Career GPS Podcast.
Please leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts here.

Want me to review your LinkedIn profile?
Learn more here.

Visit https://johnneral.com to join The Mid-Career GPS Newsletter, a free, twice-weekly career and leadership resource for mid-career professionals.

Connect with John on LinkedIn here.
Follow John on Instagram @johnneralcoaching.
Subscribe to John's YouTube Channel here.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

When Carole Mac faced unimaginable grief, she chose an extraordinary path to healing: she reinvented herself. This episode brings you Carole's transformative journey, highlighting her resilience and resourcefulness as she built her Mid-Career GPS. Carol's transition is not just a career change but a tale of personal rediscovery, focusing on how nourishing our passions can lead to profound satisfaction and a renewed sense of purpose.

After losing her 14-month-old son to mitochondrial disease, Carole shares how the darkest periods in our lives can set the stage for the most amazing transformations. The local food culture in Italy taught her about more than just organic farming and artisanal cheese-making; it was a lesson in embracing life with gusto and how the support of a community can be a lifeline back to joy.

Lastly, Carole takes us behind the scenes of television production, sharing the thrills and challenges of bringing stories to life as an executive producer. Her latest projects are a testament to the possibilities that await when we combine our truest interests—in her case, sports and food—into our professional endeavors. For anyone navigating a mid-career transition or facing adversity, our discussion offers actionable advice on harnessing your passions to guide your career path.

Connect with Carole Mac
Website | Book | Instagram

Support the Show.

Thank you for listening to The Mid-Career GPS Podcast.
Please leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts here.

Want me to review your LinkedIn profile?
Learn more here.

Visit https://johnneral.com to join The Mid-Career GPS Newsletter, a free, twice-weekly career and leadership resource for mid-career professionals.

Connect with John on LinkedIn here.
Follow John on Instagram @johnneralcoaching.
Subscribe to John's YouTube Channel here.

John Neral:

Over the past four seasons, this podcast has discussed many ways to find greater career satisfaction or create a better work-life balance. My guest today is going to share her powerful story with you. It is a story of hardship, resilience, building your community, finding your passion and happiness after loss, and how she learned from and leveraged all of it as she built her mid-career GPS. Let's get started. Hello, my friends, this is the Mid-Career GPS Podcast and I'm your host, John Neral. I help mid-career professionals like you find a job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four-step formula. Before I get to the interview, I want to help you figure out your next career steps and while this podcast is one way I help you do that, I've got a great resource to help you gather all of your thoughts and action steps in one easy checklist. You can visit my website at https://johnneral. com. You can check the featured section of my LinkedIn or this episode's show notes to download your free copy of my mid-career job seekers checklist. Let me help you get your things in order as you find your next job or create your next advancement opportunity.

John Neral:

Today's guest is Carole Mac, and Carole's life's mission is to uplift through food, wine, sports and lessons from her beloved son, tj. With over 20 years of experience, she is an executive producer, sommelier, author and speaker. She has produced and hosted over 15 series and 250 episodes, including Unstoppable Food, bliss and Fuel. Her series Psalm School Insider makes quote a splash in the wine world according to USA Today and appears on Roku globally. Carole created and sold a culinary event company in Chicago, was the editorial director for the James Beard award-winning publication Rosengarten Report and was a columnist for publications including Edible Communities, la Palme and Retreat Magazine. Her Amazon bestselling children's book, the Gift of the Ladybug, has raised over $125,000 for children with life-threatening illnesses.

John Neral:

Carole's educational background includes a BA in marketing with academic All-American honors as captain of Michigan State University's gymnastics team and an international NBA from Henley Business School in the United Kingdom. Carol's been featured on ABC, cbs, nbc, cnn, daily Mail, tv, women's Day and Glamour, and to have her here on the podcast to share her incredible story and life lessons with you is one I am truly honored to bring. So I hope you enjoy my conversation with Carole Mac. Hey there, Carole. Welcome to the Mid-Career GPS Podcast. I am honored to have this conversation with you today.

Carole Mac:

Thank you, john, I'm so happy to be here.

John Neral:

I appreciate our conversations we've had leading up to today. But, carol, I want to get right into your story. What was your mid-career moment?

Carole Mac:

was in Columbus, ohio, and I was working for a family business in real estate and I was pregnant with my son and I was watching network and over and over, because I had I'd been in a food business prior and I was food and I was just not in food in my career and I was watching the food network and I looked at the food network and I thought I don't know how I know this. It was a very big knowing, like a pit of your stomach, knowing that's my future. I don't know how, why, when Weird, because I'm in real estate, I'm in Columbus, and is it food media? Is it my own food show? But that is my future in New York. And it was the first time I had ever considered any of these things for my life and it was just this instant flash knowing, and I would say that was my mid-career change of career moment. What was it about?

John Neral:

food that was attracting you so much.

Carole Mac:

So I've just loved food my whole life, like from the time I can even remember I would play like little, blindfold my girlfriends and be like and do taste tests and like is that ketchup, is that black pepper? Or make creme caramel for my family. When I'm eight, you know, I just was into food my entire life and it was like a big source of passion, a big source of family love and I got to be with my mom in the kitchen growing up and it was just it's one of my two loves. I have two loves One is sports and one is food, and it's a huge love. So it's always been there and it's like how can I do that for my real life and my career? How can I do that for my career?

John Neral:

Well, one of the biggest themes on this podcast is to do what you love and do what makes you happiest, and for you, your food journey is actually a whole lot more than that. It's tied big into another part of your story, and that is your son, tj, and I'd be honored if you would tell us about him and tell us about his story please.

Carole Mac:

Okay, sure, yeah, so at this point I'm in real estate and I did have a food business in Chicago for three years but I decided to go home and do the family business. So I'm pregnant with TJ, my first child, and I'm reading the books like what to expect in your first year, and so I'm newbie, I don't really know what I'm doing. And I have TJ and everything looks good. Everything looks great. And a couple months in, say three months in, he doesn't quite have the head control that a lot of kids apparently do. I have no idea and it's not really lining up with the what to expect for the first year book. And I go to the doctor. And I go to the doctor, it's fine, it's fine, it's fine, it's fine, it's fine, it's fine.

Carole Mac:

And eventually we learned that there's something pretty wrong. And then it kind of goes to drastically wrong. And then I met with a neurologist and then later a specialist and it turns out it was a mitochondrial condition, which is a genetic neurometabolic condition, and I went it's called Lee syndrome and I went to this mitochondrial specialist at Cleveland clinic thinking, yeah, there's probably something wrong. You know it's, it's pretty bad, but we don't really know how bad. And he looked at me and he said your son's probably not going to see his second birthday, and so we had no idea that it was terminal and terminal now, and so that was probably the. That was the toughest moment in my life and that's when I learned that my son was going to live a short life.

Carole Mac:

But who he was is far more interesting than that part of the story. Who he was was this just absolute ball of light and love and peace. So, by the way, he would look into my eyes and communicate with me. He was always okay. He was always actually better than okay. He was really good.

Carole Mac:

So even if we were at the hospital and he had to do something drastic like a spinal tap or a surgery, he would look at me and say like mom, mom, we're okay, I'm okay, this is okay, and he just did not carry fear. And then, as soon as it was over, he would have these like big, huge, happy laughs and he was just emanated joy at every point of his being, and it wasn't like he didn't know what was going on with him. He did, it was okay. So it was like through his eyes he would be like yep, this is my lot in life. I signed up for this, we signed up, I'm okay, you're okay, yeah, so I have a terminal disease, but I'm happy and I'm great, it's totally fine. And so he showed me that this is how you can actually live. You can actually live a happy, joyful, beautiful, loving life, even if you have something very drastic going on, and that was something that I just didn't know was possible. So he taught me how to live.

John Neral:

Oh, there are, there's just not enough words you know to describe how powerful that that message is, and you know, one of the things that I wrote down as you were talking was that he didn't carry fear.

Carole Mac:

Yeah.

John Neral:

It was one of your big, your big lessons learned in all of that. It was one of your big lessons learned in all of that. In TJ's story we know that he passed and if I remember correctly, it was around 14 months.

Carole Mac:

I think Yep, you got it.

John Neral:

Okay, something happened to you after that as well. It's a big part of your, your mid-career journey, and um part of that was reconnecting with your love of food, so can you connect the dots for us there, please?

Carole Mac:

Yeah, absolutely so. You know, TJ taught me how to live Right and I had right, I had back to that. That moment that I had that was like that's my future. Weird, you know what. What do I do? And I called a couple of friends what do I do if I want to get into, like make my own food show, like what does that even mean?

Carole Mac:

And I had a couple of friends in production in New York city and they were like we'll come up with an idea and we'll shoot a little sizzle which is like a little reel, like a little video, two minute video clip of your idea and we'll see if we can shop it. And just, you know, almost nobody can do this, like it's not a possible thing, but you can try and it's. It's one of those like point zero, zero one percent of people could ever get this off the ground. And it's not easy and it's hard and you have to learn how to produce and edit and host and script and write and be on camera and produce, and then you're just starting and then come up with an amazing idea and build an audience. And then you're just starting. So it's going to be at least probably like 15 years, but try, and it'll never work, but try it. So I was like, ok, you know what? I was a gymnast my whole life and in college, like I don't let no get down, I'm going to do it anyway. And so I came up with this sizzle call and I'm now calling it fuel which was just a fun, like what to eat? What do athletes eat? Go into sports stars and go into their kitchens and see what they eat. And so I went to New York. I came up with the idea, went to the New York, shot the sizzle reel and thought, here we go, here I'm off and running, and you know, I know that I'm in real estate in Columbus, ohio, but you know, we'll see how far this takes me.

Carole Mac:

And and then, literally the next day, I go to the doctor. And that's when TJ was like, oh, your son's terminal. And so I put my dream on the shelf. I was like this is no longer, I don't care, like I didn't care about anything, right? So? But you know, sometimes there are more important lessons to learn, right, and my more important lesson to learn was my biggest life lesson, which is how to live powerfully, which is, be there with TJ and take every moment with him and be all the way present for every single second with your kid, which I did. And then, after he was gone, I'm like I. I promised myself that I would not let this define me, and then I would not let his illness or his death define me.

Carole Mac:

And I it was about a year after he passed away and I'm still miserable. I've been getting grief counseling for a year. It's not working. I've doing everything I know how to do, it's just barely moving the needle and I'm a literal mess. I have nightmares and insomnia and I'm like every orifice in my body is aching forever and I can't see a way out because he's never coming back. So how am I ever going to feel better? Like the situation's never going to change. So why am I going to feel better ever?

Carole Mac:

And then I remembered you know, what did TJ teach you Really? He taught you how to live powerfully. He lived powerfully despite a terminal illness. You have to live powerfully despite losing your child period. How do you get there? So it was basically like, okay, all right, here's my moment here. Okay, you know what? Enough is enough. We're changing the tide here.

Carole Mac:

And so I asked myself this question what is the most exciting thing I could do right now, like, let's live in TJ's honor. How do I live in TJ's honor? I want to do the most exciting thing I can possibly think of. And I remember thinking, well, I can't even think of that. I'm too. I'm so dark I couldn't even think of anything fun or exciting. Nothing sounded good for the rest of my life. Okay, well, just pretend you're not in grief. Okay, now what sounds? I can't really get there. Okay, pretend money's off the table, everything's off the table. Pretend you're thrivingly happy and you could do anything in the world. What would it be? I still couldn't get there.

Carole Mac:

And then finally, I was like, okay, let's put some parameters on it. If you have one year left to live, you have to live in TJ's honor and you have to do right by him and you have to honor him. Now, what would? And then I was like, oh my gosh, I would go to Italy. I would go to Italy. I would get back to food. Oh my gosh, I'm going to do my first food show. And then it came back. So the moment when I was pregnant, I would feel like TJ planted that dream of mine in my belly, with him as he came into, like my body. It came back. It was like, yep, back to food. What's your dream? Your dream is a food show. Remember that, remember TJ giving that to you. It's time to get on it.

Carole Mac:

And so I went back to okay, you know what I'm going to go to and I wanted to go for like a long time, like change your environment, change the moment, get out of the habits of the OT and PT day. So I was like I'm going to do three months in Italy and I am going to write articles on food and I'm going to shoot my first eight episode food series, which I did. I'm going to harvest olives, I'm going to make wine, I'm going to make cheese and I am going to change this vibe and I'm going to start living how TJ taught me to live. And so I did it. And I went to Italy and for three months and exchanged my I like, worked on these organic farms and harvested olives and made wine and made cheese and made pasta with hundred year old like pasta recipes and grandmas, and I made an eight episode, my first food series, eight episode series on my own blog, called Chop Sizzle Pop at the time, and wrote articles on food and I literally did my dream and I did it with purpose and I did it based on the foundation of I'm going to make TJ proud and honored.

Carole Mac:

I'm going to honor him by what I'm going to do. And it literally moved the needle. Like it, I went from being like never going to be happy again to like, oh, it's possible to feel happy again. This is how, like I'm not there yet, but I I felt it again and I know it's possible and now I can honor TJ. So then I moved to New York city to go and pursue this dream of having my own food show full-time and making these.

Carole Mac:

I call them food bliss adventures, where you go and you just bliss out on food. Like I went to Italy and blissed out on food for three months to like shake me alive again, you know, and it worked, it really worked. So how can I shake myself alive on a regular, consistent basis in order to remind my body that I can be happy, I can be joyful? I know how to do this. This is living in TJ's honor and I legitimately like hold myself out of that like horrible grief, place into genuine and real happiness with doing what I love adding joy back and shaking myself alive with food bliss well, there's a few takeaways here, yeah, right.

John Neral:

And so, for everybody who's listening, if you're like me, you're probably hungry. You want to have some really good food for dinner or lunch or wherever. However, you're listening to this, right? But it the thing I kept thinking about as you were telling that story and I'm thinking about your three months in Italy were two words One was community and two was reconnecting. And in your journey and in your processing and healing, how much community and reconnecting happened along that path.

Carole Mac:

Like over in Italy or in general.

John Neral:

Both.

Carole Mac:

I mean community was completely vital. My friends and family rose to meet me in a way that I didn't even know was possible. So that is the first thing and I think the foundation that I was lucky enough to have from my parents, who just loved me very deeply, love me very deeply, and my friends, who we love, and my sister, and there was just so much love, which is a beautiful foundation to rise from. I'm lucky that way and not everyone is that fortunate. So I think that you can heal, but sometimes only to the extent that you know love, and I was really lucky to be shown love early, so it was easier potentially for me to get back there. But the community, my community, definitely came up and rose to meet me and sort of carried me through when I couldn't carry myself through. As far as, like the Italian food community, I mean these guys were strangers and they just embraced me. It was unbelievable. I like lived with them and had family dinners with them for three months. I mean it was insane. I'm still, of course, in touch with them now and they're dear friends. So that right. So a food community if you can build a community with something you're passionate about, you always have something in common. You always have something exciting to talk about and to connect over. That's larger than yourself. That's not your pain, that's exciting and interesting. So if that is another thing, so build your community with your own family and your own friends, but then find a community around the thing you love most.

Carole Mac:

I think is very healing and helpful to live a powerful life and then reconnecting. I would say what I was really doing was reconnecting with myself. I basically lost who I was and I lost action to, I guess, what I was really here to do. I was just so in my, in my head and in my feelings and you know, you just take it out of the victim into a powerful creator because you have to, not because you have to, you want to because who wants to do them in their whole life? No way, but you know it's just some. So I reached who I really was and who T and and and. If I couldn't find find it because I was just too sad then who did TJ want me to be and who did.

Carole Mac:

TJ know me to be and that's who I reconnected with. And then I just acted as if, until it became true again, and it was always there, but it was just refinding it.

John Neral:

Throughout your experiences and through talking with the people closest to you and the people you know, do you believe that we all share a commonality that at some point in time in our lives whether it's early, middle or later in our lives there's a point where we get lost and we have to find a way to get back to it?

Carole Mac:

A hundred percent. I think everyone has a dark night of the soul, which no one really wants to think about or talk about, certainly because it's scariest ever. But the coolest part about it is, I think, the dark night of the soul. It strips you down. It strips you of everything you think you are a mother, an athlete, an entrepreneur, a friend, a wife, a mom, whatever. None of that matters. It really doesn't Like the external world and who they define you as and who you define yourself in that way. It actually, when you get down to this kind of deep level of things, it doesn't matter. So I feel like the dark night of the soul just strips all of that away and you get really clear about who you really are. And that's what I think we're all here to do is to find who we really are and who we really want to be and then live from that place.

Carole Mac:

And I think I got really lucky because I had that relatively early in my life. I thought I was strong. I thought I was. You know, I was a college gymnast and you compete on broken bones and you kind of do some crazy stuff starve yourself for 20 years. I mean I could. I was tough, for sure, and strong, but like the inner strength, the kind of strength that it takes to like find a way to be happy after losing your child and find a way to really live, actually truly powerful, with who you want to be in the world forevermore, is a very different strength, and I think that that is what the dark night of the soul is here to teach us all. Regardless of when it comes, and although it's pretty terrifying to live through, it's also the thing that is giving me the most joy and happiness and it's allowing me to be the person I'm really meant to be, and so it still was, serving me even in the worst moment.

John Neral:

So today, as we're sitting here talking, what's your work life like for you right now?

Carole Mac:

So right now I'm working on three television shows, which is very fun, and I told you, my love is our sports and food. So one is sports, one is food and one is food and sports, and so the one about food is called food bliss. So when I got back from the trip in Italy, I promised myself okay, well, I'm going to move to New York and learn how to make shows for real, and once I do that, I'm going to take someone else on food list. I'm going to make a show, call it food list, and I'm going to take other people who've experienced hardship of any kind divorce, loss of job, loss of income, mobility stuff, health stuff and take them on a once in a lifetime, like mind blowing, blissful trip to show them and remind them that it's possible to be happy after hardship. It's kind of like a queer eye meets chef's table, like super food, rich food, focused, but it's all about transformation, inner transformation, to find happiness again. And so that is a show I shot. I shot our pilot in Sicily, italy, with a woman who had lost her child and didn't think she could be happy again, and literally she she called it her Sicily moment and she was like Carol. I actually know I can be happy again, like this changed my entire life. So it works, it worked. And so that's a show I'm shopping at the moment called food bliss Very exciting.

Carole Mac:

And then I have two other shows. One's called Fuel, and Fuel is about sports stars. It's my initial original show that I ever thought of with TJ was in my belly and went and shot a pilot in New York, like however long that's been 15 years ago or something and it's getting in sports stars fridges to see what do they eat and then going on the training floor with them and see how they eat for performance, pre and post competition. And then what's their favorite splurge? Like take me to your favorite. Like let's make your mom's favorite lasagna, cause I've got to taste what you love the most. And it's called fuel.

Carole Mac:

So that one's really exciting. And then the last one's called unstoppable and it's following female gymnastics teams. Um, for one program for one year. So it's kind of like, have you heard of a hard knocks or quarterback or cheer full swing, these sports docu-series. It's a sports docu-series following female gymnastics, which is super exciting, and since that was what I did in college, it's it's about empowering all women and bringing notoriety to all female gymnasts, because the sport is just extraordinarily difficult, beautiful and these women are unbelievable badasses and it's so fun to watch their personal journeys and what they have to overcome to compete at this level, which is it's kind of mind blowing what they're doing. So it's just going to be a super, super exciting show.

John Neral:

What is the most enjoyable thing for you about being an executive producer?

Carole Mac:

Ooh, it is creating a thing from scratch and watching it come to fruition. So it's like oh, I you know you have an idea of, for instance, my last, one of my last shows was called Psalm School Insider and if I found, the oldest Psalm school sommelier school is a wine school, the oldest sommelier school in the country and pitched to them. Can you, can I go to Psalm school and learn what it is to be a sommelier, which is arguably one of the hardest things palette defining and you have to learn the entire map of the world and every single plot and every single grape and how they all taste differently. It's super hard. Can I go through school and have a camera crew film us with real instructors in real time and make wine really fun, do blind tasting tests and things? And I went in and did that and it was so extraordinary to like oh, you know what I think. I want to go get my sommelier license and have someone follow me with real instructors in real time so that everyone else can learn about food in a really easy way.

Carole Mac:

You can binge the show in like 40 minutes. It's called Psalm School Insider. It's so fun. It's seven. It's really short, bite, biteable things online. It's on wine for the number four, foodcom, and it's also on Roku globally. So if you have Roku you can watch it on screen. But to see the show from conception to complete fruition, what that's the thrill. Conception to complete fruition, that's the thrill. So like I'm in the process now with these three shows, but I've done 250 episodes in the past that started. Follow that Psalm was a series you know that ended up being like a 30 episode series. That one it's so fun to watch it from inception to creation. You have to get it funded, you have to do the whole thing. You have to find every single guest, tell every story. It's a whole lot of fun. It can be stressful, for sure, but it's super fun. That's the juice for me.

John Neral:

So, that being said, what's the one thing that is probably the most frustrating or challenging for you as an executive producer that a lot of us would not know?

Carole Mac:

that a lot of us would not know. You may be able to guess, but it's that I mean the timing of it all. I mean to make a show and get it on air it's at least two years and that's once you've got everything in place, sort of. It is a long process and that is so frustrating. If you're me and you want it done now, I want to go shoot tomorrow. Can I just go shoot tomorrow? Why do I have to wait two years to put all of these things in place? I don't understand. It doesn't make sense to me. It's frustrating. So yeah, that would be the thing. It's not on my timing, that's for sure.

John Neral:

Got it. Well, I work with people who, when they start interviewing for jobs and they get that final interview on Tuesday and they're told they're going to hear about the decision on Friday, and Friday comes and they didn't get an email or anything and now they've got to deal with the whole weekend. I mean, that's still stressful enough, but I can only imagine how taking an idea to fruition and seeing like a two-year runway before it even gets some traction can be especially frustrating.

Carole Mac:

It's yeah, it's its own kind of frustration.

John Neral:

Well, carol, you've shed so much light today for us on this mid-career journey and building a mid-career GPS, especially given your hardship and your life, and I want to thank you again for sharing TJ with us today on this episode and everything he means to you and to us now. But as we start wrapping up, what advice would you give someone to help them build their mid-career GPS?

Carole Mac:

Okay, well, first of all, thank you so much for having me. This has been so much fun and such a pleasure. I'm so honored to talk to your listeners. What can I say to help them in their mid-career GPS? I would say, if you can.

Carole Mac:

These three tools really changed my life. One was the one year left tool. So like, if you have one year and I do it every single year if you have one year left to live, what would you do? And go do it, because if you do that every year of your life, you're going to live the most exciting life you possibly can. And I think that that is a tool that is so useful and it just keeps you in check and it's it lets you live the life you actually want to live. So I would do that.

Carole Mac:

And then there's another tool, like do what you want to be. I heard this a long time ago. Someone was like you want to be a writer, go write, and in my case, you want to be an executive producer. Go make a show and go make a show, and go make a show, and go make a show and make another one and another one, and then go learn from the best and study it and do it, and do it. So do what you want to be, just do the thing you want to be, and small scale until you can get it to big scale, and potentially then your career and you know your how to make a living. And then I would say the last one is the only way to mastery is through failure, honestly. So it's kind of like you've got to start somewhere, and I wanted to be executive producer.

Carole Mac:

My first show in Italy, right, was not good at all. Well, you've got to start there, though, and if you want to do it, you've got to be willing to. You got to be willing to fail, and you got to be willing to fail again and again and again, and it's almost like every failure is one step closer to mastery. And as a gymnast, same thing, like I mean you. You nobody knows how to do a back flip on a beam. You have to fail some, you. You can't just like go do it and be great.

Carole Mac:

There is an entire process of starting small, getting bigger. You know, starting on the mat, starting on a line on the floor, then on a beam with mats that's all the same level, and then you know, you get an inch higher and a foot higher and then finally you're at four feet with a spotter and then finally you can do it on your own. And that is the course of mastery in any single thing that you want to do in your mid GPS career. So I would say one year left, tool, what do you want to do? Do it. Do what you want to be, whatever you want to be, just go be it, and over and over and over, and then fail to master it. Just do it over and over and over and over until you're the master of the thing that you want to be.

John Neral:

Those are so good and I want to thank you for offering them to myself and to everybody who's listening today. They are absolutely incredible. Well, carol, if people want to find you, learn more about you, connect with you, check out your shows, I'm going to turn the mic over to you, my friend, tell us all the great things and places where people can connect with you.

Carole Mac:

Thank you so much. So I get my book, the Gift of the Ladybug, which is. It's a children's book inspired by TJ. It's essentially a reframe. It's how to reframe. Tj basically went from being a sick child to a perfect ladybug in the course of this beautifully illustrated children's book, and so it's a great example of how to reframe and accept your circumstances exactly as you are. If you're exactly as they are, if you're in a tough spot, that's on Amazon anywhere. It's the gift of the ladybug and get it on Amazon. That's super fun. Um, you can find me on carolmackcom. So Carol with an E C A R O L E M A Ccom for just all the things Um can find my shows. You can get on a watch list for Food Bliss coming out. You can sign up for a newsletter, and then on Instagram, it's carolmac Carol with an E C-A-R-O-L-E dot M-A-C on Instagram, and you can follow me there as well. So those are probably the best ways.

John Neral:

I will make sure all of that is in the show notes, and I just want to add one other thing in regards to your book. So January 28th is a national holiday to honor all children with critical illness, and the gift of the ladybug and through your efforts, has raised over $125,000 for various charities, including Make-A-Wish, metro New York and children's hospitals around the country, as well as the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. So hats off kudos for such phenomenal work.

Carole Mac:

Oh, thank you so much yeah it's so exciting. So the proceeds from the book go to help kids with critical illness. It's super exciting and that is a day to honor all kids January 28th, which is TJ's birthday to honor all kids with critical illness as the heroes that they are.

John Neral:

Carol, thank you for sharing your story and thank you for being such a wonderful guest on the Mid-Career GPS podcast. I'm truly honored.

Carole Mac:

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. It's been an honor as well.

John Neral:

Yeah, we had a good time today, so thank you. All right, my friends, I'm going to give you a takeaway for this episode. I have never, ever done in over 240 plus episodes of the Mid-Career GPS podcast, and it's this. Go back and listen to this episode over again, but when you do, sit down with a journal, a piece of paper, take some notes, walk through what Carol shared with you about the one-year left activity that she walked us through and the exercise, and think about what you want to do and make a plan to go do it. And we would both be honored if you would capture the link for this episode and share it with somebody in your life who is going through a difficult time. They need a little boost, they need to find some happiness after hardship and let this episode lift them up so we can continue to spread this message about helping people build their mid-career GPS. So until next time, my friends, remember this you will build your mid-career GPS one mile or one step at a time, and how you show up matters. Make it a great rest of your day.

John Neral:

Thank you for listening to the Mid-Career GPS Podcast. Make sure to follow on your favorite listening platform and if you have a moment. I'd love to hear your comments on Apple Podcasts. Visit johnnerrellcom for more information about how I can help you build your mid-career GPS or how I can help you and your organization with your next workshop or public speaking event. Don't forget to connect with me on LinkedIn and follow me on social at John Darrell Coaching. I look forward to being back with you next week. Until then, take care and remember how we show up matters. Thank you.

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