Next up in our Inspiring Women Series of 2022, we have Wendy Battles! Wendy is the Host of the Reinvention Rebels Podcast and shares the stories of unapologetic women over the age of 50.
Tell us a little bit about your podcast.
The podcast is called Reinvention Rebels: stories of brave and unapologetic women, 50 to 90 years young, who have boldly reimagined life, later in life really, to find new possibilities. And the idea around it is that often if you look around at media and how women are portrayed, we see a lot less older women, which is nothing new. Right? And certainly, we’re seeing more older women than we have before, I would say in print ads, in media, that kind of thing. But still, a really small percentage. And, it seems to me that as we get older, there are limitless possibilities for women for things that we can do, be, achieve. But we tend to not shine a light on what older women are doing. So, the idea is to share stories of women who are older, who are doing really amazing things in their life. And my idea was simply to inspire other midlife and older women about what’s possible; that it doesn’t have to end at midlife, that we’re just getting started on either our second or third act. And if I can inspire people about what’s possible if someone can hear something in someone’s story that inspires them—they may have a reinvention that’s completely different—but it may plant the seed for their own reinvention, their own blooming, their own unfolding, at 50 and above.
“Often, if you look around at media and how women are portrayed, we see a lot less older women”
What inspired you to get started?
I’m 57. And when I was 54, and even throughout my 50s, even my 40s, and my 30s, I always had this feeling like I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do, and I wasn’t sure what it was…it always felt like something is missing. There’s something more, and I could never put my finger on what it was, through multiple decades. I got to be in my 50s and I thought “You know, Wendy, you got to figure this out. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life always thinking like what am I meant to do and not quite getting there.”… And what happened is that in the fall of 2019… I was asked by one of our affinity groups at Yale, the Future Leaders of Yale if I would be part of a panel on personal branding…So I said, “Okay”…I really need to brush up on branding. So, I started listening to a podcast called Package Your Genius…It’s this amazing woman, Amanda Miller Littlejohn…[and] I really got inspired listening to this podcast. It was basically…how do we tune into the things where we shine, the things that, you know, we naturally do well, that we love… So that was the catalyst for starting down this path that I didn’t know where it was gonna lead me at the time… But, long story short, I got her book and started working through all these questions… and in answering these questions, I started to think… I’ve always loved working with women because when I was a health coach, my clients were almost all women. So, I love the idea of empowering women to be their best… But being asked to be on this panel was the seed that was planted, that led me through cultivating this idea that grew into the Reinvention Rebels podcast.
Do you have any personal experience with feeling like someone’s trying to put you on the shelf?
It’s more about what I was observing. I honestly can’t think of anyone saying, “Oh, you can’t do this”, “That’s not possible”, or “You’re too old”. So, I can’t say that it was from a personal experience about that. But, it’s definitely looking around and seeing I just don’t see that many images of older women. And I think that older women are incredibly wise, that they have had so many valuable experiences, that there’s so much value that they can bring to the fore, and we just don’t hear enough of their voices … And even the modern day thing with with Sex in the City and Sarah, Jessica Parker, everyone saying, “Well, you’ve got gray hair”. It’s just the double standards that we’re all very familiar with, that just exist. And, it’s part of what we accept as this is what happens. But, is there a way that we can start to move the needle and change that a bit? Is there a way that we can change that conversation? So people maybe begin to think differently about it?… So that really was what inspired me.
” … finally after all these years of looking… This is what I meant to do: ‘To add more light to the world by elevating older women.’”
Can you tell us about a project or accomplishment that you consider to be one of the most significant in your career, so far?
There’s a lot more to come. And I have really big plans. But I will simply say this… I’ve only been podcasting since October of 2020…but one of the things I’m most excited about is that I was a finalist in the International Women’s Podcast Awards…They just started these awards. It was the first year and I was a finalist in the…category of [Changing the World One Moment at a Time], for my podcast. And, I was so excited about that., because it’s not… like I have this long history of doing this, right. This was something completely new… [So] I felt like it was a big accomplishment, that within the first year of doing this, that I was a finalist for this award. So I was very excited about that. And it just spoke to me about what’s possible, if I can do that. I didn’t end up winning in that category, but I felt so honored to be nominated and selected as a finalist out of the tons of entries that they got. Like, “Wow! I think I’m onto something. I think I’m finding my groove”. And ultimately what it says to me is, it says that I have finally, after all these years of looking for what am I meant to do, I’ve finally tuned into that which I am meant to do. This is what I meant to do: to add more light to the world by elevating older women.
How would you define success?
It’s interesting, if you’d asked me this five years ago, 10 years ago, I probably would have said something different, like, doing really well in your career and advancing on your career, or something like that. For me right now, I would define success as being my authentic self… Because I think I spent so many years searching, or trying to be things other people wanted me to be…You get to a certain age and you’re like, “Look, enough of this already”… you get to that age where you don’t really care what people think anymore. “I want to just like really lean into what I want”. I think everyone gets to that perhaps at a different age. But for me, it’s been in my 50s. And for me, the key thing has been uncovering my authentic self. I think that’s really reflected in the podcast… Not only in interviewing people, but even doing in solo episodes; getting to really share about myself in a really authentic way, to share some of my struggles in figuring things out, as well as, the victories along the way. So I really would define success now as being able to be true to myself, and to be able to share that authentically and openly with other people, which is totally different than probably even five years ago, if you’d asked me that. So I feel like a lot of this has been my own personal development that’s reflected in what I’m doing now.
What are the big goals you have for the podcast or related to the podcast?
I’ll share this one goal, which is to turn the Reinvention Rebels podcast into the Reinvention Rebels TV show. And, I’m thinking of it as a Netflix show, or Amazon Prime. There are plenty of podcasts, like Modern Love, that have been turned into TV shows. And I think that there’s something very compelling about hearing women’s stories. I don’t even know what the format would be, maybe sort of documentary style, I’m not sure. But something that really shares the stories of what’s possible with these women in really compelling ways. And just a simple example is my friend Mary— who I just interviewed on the most recent episode—always said she was not athletic. She was a bookworm. At 55, she started to run… [T]his running at 55 turned into her now being 71 and running marathons around the world. Being the best shape of her life ever… So I have this idea of translating that into a TV show, which I think would be really compelling to hear the stories, and also see these really amazing women talking about them.
Learn more about Wendy’s mission at reinventionrebels.com or connect with her on social media:
Can people apply to be a guest on your podcast?
Always! I’m always looking for guests….anyone above 50? Yes! I’m always eager to hear interesting stories. And what I really love, too…[is] sharing the stories of ordinary women like you and me. I’m not talking about celebrities, people that can pay for expensive coaches to reinvent their lives, but people like you and me that really figure it out, and then have a compelling story to tell. And, I think that makes for really interesting listening.
Why Wendy Battles is On this List
“Wendy is a podcaster with a mission! She shares the stories of women in their 50s and up to show that no matter what your age, your life isn’t over and that women especially don’t have to be put on the shelf just because their kids are grown. I also really love the vibrant, rebellious energy of her brand and show!”
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