I Used to Be Somebody: (Un)Retirement Lessons Learned

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Neil Haley Interview: Pro Wrestler Turns Into The Media Giant

Diana Landau | November 15, 2022

Carl interviews former pro-wrestler Neil Haley, who pivoted to teaching after retiring from the wrestling entertainment world. Turning 50 soon, Neil is now experiencing a "rebirth" with a whole new media career. (I'm perfect for the I Used to be Somebody podcast, he tells Carl.) Neil has had a unique life path and he shares what he's learned from his past experiences as well as his enthusiasm for his new adventures in media now. He has a very popular "Neil Haley Show" podcast/radio show that airs 7 days a week in more than 180 countries and is syndicated in 150+ stations.


Neil grew up in the Pittsburgh area as an only child. His father went to MIT and landed in the corporate world, his mother worked at a university. Neil is 6 ft. 10 inches tall, so his childhood years were not always easy for him. Neil says that being a 6 foot, 4 inches tall high school freshman then was "....not the same as growing up tall today. It was odd to be so tall in the '80's. People didn't accept anyone that was different in those days."


After playing basketball in college, Neil began pro wrestling at the age of 23. He was known as "Neil the Real Deal", "Future Shock, "The Giant Warrior" and others. When he decided to retire, it was not so easy. " You have all these accolades and then it's different," he tells Carl. "Now they have great programs and training facilities for wrestlers who are moving on, I didn't have that." But he did take away some very transferable skills from the experience.

"I learned ideation, creativity, and storytelling from wrestling." After teaching 4th and 5th graders and middle-schoolers, he says, "Teaching was a stretch for me but it was still performing," he observes. He tells Carl that he really enjoyed inspiring his students in new ways.


Neil made the transition to multi-media giant by inspiring his clients with that same zeal. He had learned storytelling and hosting TV shows in wrestling, and took it further with social media, celebrity endorsements, his podcast/radio show, and as a full-on brand agency, "The Media Giant." He plans to keep loving what he's doing and working for a long time. (His father didn't retire until 83.) "Who knows? By the time I'm 80 or 90, that'll be the new 60!"


(Un)Retirement advice from Neil Haley:
  • You have to use your transferable skills to move to the next career."
  • "Find the right experts to help you."
  • "Educate yourself as much as possible and spend some time studying thought leaders."
  • "Develop a daily routine. And it's important for entrepreneurs to also schedule an end-of-day time on their calendar!"
 
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” blog.

 

Tags:    blog   interview   Neil Haley   pro-wrestling   Neil the Real Deal   multi-media giant   unretirement  

Richard Eisenberg Interview: Journalist for Money Magazine, People, Yahoo and PBS's Next Avenue on (Un)Retirement

Diana Landau | October 25, 2022

Carl interviews one of the Founding Fathers of the (Un)Retirement Movement, Richard Eisenberg. Rich spent 40+ years as a personal finance reporter, editor, writer, producer and popular podcast host. He worked with organizations such as Money Magazine, People, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, CBS Money Watch and most recently with PBS's Next Avenue. Rich just "unretired" in January 2022, and shares some lessons learned about having a second act.


Rich grew up in the New Jersey suburbs. He was always a curious, studious kid, he says. He became editor of his high school newspaper and also worked at the school's radio station. After graduating from Northwestern, he pursued his passion for journalism. "One of the reasons I wanted to be in journalism was because I wanted to be helpful and useful to people in some way." Also interested in pop culture, Rich's first job out of college was as a fact checker for People magazine. Rich's career took him from that position, to becoming a reporter, Senior Editor, then Washington correspondent and Executive Editor for Money Magazine and others.


During his career, he worked remotely and was an early adopter for working with people all over the country, from his home office. "I didn't have any problem with it," he tells us. Now, Rich is still writing a column and hosting a podcast, writing book reviews for People, plus volunteering and pursuing other opportunities such as getting involved in a NYU student program on digital media and book publishing. Carl asks Rich what he's learned in the last 9 months. "I'm still writing, but trying some new things and liking the mix of the two. So far, so good!"

Richard Eisenberg's (Un)Retirement Advice:
  •  "Until you're actually in it, (unretirement) you can't know exactly how it will be. Maybe the scariest part will be having a blank calendar with nothing filled in on it. So you'll need to figure out how much you want to fill it up. Some people will want to have stuff every day. Some people may want lots of free days. You have to spend some time thinking about how you want to spend your time."
  • "Don't be scared-- realize you are going to make some mistakes. There's really no right way to do it."
  •  On becoming too busy: "Saying 'No' to opportunities can make you feel uncomfortable sometimes. There's an adjustment period."
  •  "People need to be able to find meaning and purpose in their lives--whether it's part-time work, or volunteering, or spirituality, but they have to have a reason to get up in the morning. Sometimes they're following a passion, or seeing a need, and then finding a way to serve that."
 

Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” blog.

 

Tags:    blog   interview   unretirement   Richard Eisenberg   journalism   executive editor   People Magazine   PBS   Money magazine  

Dan Rudd Interview: Psychotherapist, Ironman and Wedding Officiant

Diana Landau | September 13, 2022

Episode 60 Carl is excited to interview Dan Rudd, a noted psychologist, Ironman competitor, trainer, poet, public speaker and now a wedding officiant. As a second act, Dan has officiated 35 weddings and 9 funerals. He also was a founding member of the successful "Every Man" meetings and retreats, focusing on men's issues. Right before the interview, Carl taught Dan how to play pickleball for the first time. Dan says, "I like it because you can just start playing,"
 
Dan was born in New York and moved to Tucson with his family at the age of 3. His mother was in poor health and his father worked seven days a week as a DJ and in Radio to support the family. As a chubby kid, Dan saw himself as not very athletic. After graduation from UC Santa Barbara, he went on to graduate school and became a psychotherapist, focusing on marriage/relationship therapy.
 
At 28, a friend invited Dan to participate in a triathlon at Donner Lake, taking on the swimming portion. Dan says his first thought after finishing was, "This is fun!" He eventually went on to participate in 200 triathlons and 8 Ironman competitions. More amazingly, Dan didn't compete in his first Ironman until the age of 51. "I've never been a frontrunner, but I have great endurance," Dan tells us with a smile. He says he met many good people who became friends while competing. No surprise, Dan also still trains and coaches athletes.
 
Dan semi-retired at 70, moving into a physical therapist's office and learning more about sports psychology. Now 75, Dan says he's retired. "I want to focus more on my inner world. The inner world is about checking in with yourself, becoming more mindful and not worrying about the past or future." Dan has two grown sons and lives with his wife Amy in the Sacramento region. He enjoys adventure travel, family, gardening, learning Spanish, meditating daily and officiating weddings. "I don't feel like I have to reinvent myself right now, I know there will be something else eventually!
 
Dan Rudd's (un)retirement advice:
  • "The winner is the one who has the most fun!"
  • "Be more kind than you need to be--to yourself and others."
  • "Do what you love, do what brings you light."
  • "Now you have the time to do what's important to you!"
     
  • Sponsored by The Monkey Creative
  • Sponsored by Capital Advantage
  • Sponsored by How to Retire and Not Die

     
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” blog.
 
Tags:    blog   interview   Dan Rudd   psychotherapist   ironman   wedding officiant   unretirement   ironman competitor   

Teri Fahrendorf Interview: From Suits to Suds

Diana Landau | August 09, 2022

Episode 59 Teri Fahrendorf Pioneer Brewmaster and Founder Pink Boots SocietyCarl interviews Teri Fahrendorf, who left her high-tech career to become one of the first few women brewmasters in the craft brewing industry in the U.S. She says she's never been cut out for the "cubicle life" and left her well-paying job to forge a new path in the craft brewing industry. She is also the founder of the Pink Boots Society, a network for women in brewing. Teri has a tendency to forge ahead, always willing to follow her intuition to a meaningful life.

 

Teri has German roots, growing up with her siblings in Wisconsin. She says her parents provided an upper middle-class life until the Oil Embargo of 1973. Her father quit his job and suddenly the family's income level plummeted during her teen years. She says this experience shaped her outlook on life. "Always have a side hustle. Act like you could lose our job at any time." (It is interesting to note that many of our guests had a similar childhood experience that shaped their lives.) "I learned to be an entrepreneur at a young age," Teri tells us.

 

She attended the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, studying management information systems with an emphasis on COBOL programming. During college she started experimenting with making wine, but she was to follow that passion later. After graduation, she dove into the world of high tech. Over the years she began to hate it. She started home brewing on the side. In 1988, she quit her job as a programmer to attend the Siebel Institute of Chicago, where she earned a degree in brewing technology and then began her new career at Golden Gate Brewing Company in Berkley.

 

During her time at Golden Gate, Teri was in an accident, when boiling water caused severe damage to her legs and feet, needing surgery and skin grafts. Following that experience, Teri began speaking all over the country to brewers about promoting safety within the industry. She has also worked for Triple Rock Brewery as Head Brewer, then moved to Oregon to work for Steelhead Brewing Company. During her tenure there, she won many awards for her creations.

 

After 19 years in brewing, she decided to take a road trip to visit other brewers, traveling to 73 breweries across the country. While meeting some of the women in the business, she realized there was no network for connection. Teri founded the Pink Boots Society in 2008. The organization has grown from 35 members to over 2,500 members today. As the organization grew, Teri began to make an (un)retirement plan for her next creative act in life.

 

Today Teri lives with her husband in Portland. She started Rain Dragon Studio to pursue her passion for pottery and also to meet other artists and travel to art festivals to expand her network. Teri continues making connections and expanding her world. " I'm working at what I want, when I want!"

 

Teri's advice for (Un) Retirement:
  • "It was important to me to have a plan in place before I (un)retired. Otherwise, I'd just be taking trips all the time."
  • "Listen to your intuition--it will steer you towards your best future."
  • "Keep yourself challenged, interested and excited!"
  • "It's important to find new friends and tribes. When you're working, you don't necessarily have time to develop friendships."
 
•  More About Teri Fahrendorf: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teri_Fahrendorf
•  Teri Update: http://www.terifahrendorf.com/
•  Sponsored by: How to Retire and Not Die
•  Sponsored by: Capital Advantage
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” blog.
Tags:    blog   unretirement   brewing   craft brewing   beer   first woman   travel   pottery  

Audrey Hitchcock Interview: Finds Her Passion Making Buffalo Mozzarella

Diana Landau | July 12, 2022

Episode #57 - Audrey Hitchcock This month Carl interviews architectural designer/ranch owner/cheesemaker Audrey Hitchcock. Audrey and her husband Craig Ramini did not hatch their Second Act plan until they were in their 40's. Audrey, who has a successful career designing high-end homes and restaurants, didn't set out to become a pioneer mozzarella di bufala maker in the U.S. Her path is a love story to her late husband, to her water buffalo, and to finding her life's purpose.
 
Audrey grew up in Massachusetts. Her parents divorced when she was 7 and the family went from middle class to food stamps. Both she and Carl acknowledged that when your parents divorce, it greatly affects your life. In high school she was very active, participating in sports, theater and Girl Scouts. "I wanted to grow up to be Jane Goodall, or live like the People in "Born Free" in Africa."
 
While earning her BA at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, she met her future husband, Craig Ramini. After years of studying in London, Audrey and Craig then decided to move to San Francisco. She worked as a designer and Craig had a high-tech career in Silicon Valley--which he hated. Craig decided to try something entirely new and took some time off to explore his core values. He wanted to work with animals, become an entrepreneur, and he loved food. This led him to learn from cheesemakers in Italy and Australia. The couple bought 5 water buffalo in 2009 and began making highly-desired Mozzarella di Bufalo, as one of the only dairies producing the product in the country.
 
Water buffalo are not like dairy cows. They are intelligent, loving and affectionate, much like dogs. Audrey and Craig named their animals after rock stars and singers, so the herd includes Grace Slick, Joan Jett, Annie Lennox, Pat Benatar--and today they have Taylor Swift and Beyonce on the ranch too. By 2013 Audrey and Craig were successfully raising a large herd and selling their hand-pulled mozzarella and ricotta to high-end restaurants and grocery stores. Tragically, Craig was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and he died in 2014.
 
Even though most people told Audrey she was crazy to keep going, she did--managing her design career and the ranch at the same time. She pressed on, building up the business which today includes 12-15 restaurant and winery customers, 10 grocery stores and 8 farmer's markets. Audrey expanded the occasional ranch tours to every weekend, drawing 65-85 people per tour. (Did we mention you get to pet the gentle, 1600 lb. water buffalo? Did we also mention the Bufalo di Mozzarella is really, really good!! And that their cheese is higher in protein yet half the cholesterol of cow's milk?) Audrey says, "Everyone experiences grief in a different way. The animals are my family."
 
Audrey's advice on starting Second Acts:
  • "Passion, love and purpose--it's why I work as hard as I do. Start with passion and love what you're doing. Find your purpose. This isn't about making lovely mozzarella and hanging out with the water buffalo. I also want to make a contribution to the world."
  • "Map out your (Second Act) business plan. Research every aspect of it. You'll have a better chance at smooth sailing if you plan ahead."
  • "Craig knew he was going to have to re-write the traditional dairy business model. Be fearless!"
 
• More about Audrey Hitchcock and Ramini Mozzarella: https://www.raminimozzarella.com/about/Unretirement Newsletter
• Sponsored by: Capital Advantage
• Sponsored by: How to Retire and Not Die
 
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” blog.
Tags:    blog   interview   Audrey Hitchcock   architectural designer   ranch owner   cheesemaker   water buffalo   Ramini Mozzarella   Mozzarella di Bufalo  

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