I’m Sandra Julian, an indigenous mama of 3 and I currently live in Wellington, New Zealand. I founded my business 20 years ago and just three years into the business my business partner (who invited me to start the business with her) wanted out of the partnership. My youngest was just three at the time. I had two choices, close shop and return to a J.O.B. or have the courage to continue on with the business by myself. I chose the later. It wasn’t easy and I made some sacrifices along the way and for many years I focused on being a present mama and running a successful business. I’m now 54 and my youngest is 20. Six years ago my marriage also ended which was disappointing but since then I’ve found calm and a sense of balance in my life.
What would you say has been the biggest shift in your life since turning 40?
When I was 45 I felt the kids were a little more independent I started sewing again. Something I enjoyed in my late teens, early 20s. I felt I now had the time to do something for me, something that I enjoyed and was relaxing.
Since turning 50 … I’ve really started to explore finding my voice and being less of a people pleaser and more of a leader. I’d never really thought of myself as a leader before, although I’ve always been comfortable doing things my way, even if no one else is doing it that way. I’ve always paved my own path and been comfortable doing so.
I feel like once my kids were older and the pressure of the marriage was released I could spend more time on my own development and really looking at how I want to spend the next phase of my life.
I stopped dying my hair and I’ve never received so many compliments. Not that I was looking for them, but just wanted to start embracing this phase of my life.
When do you feel you are most powerful?
Powerful isn’t a word I associate with. But I feel most a peace knowing that I have my financial freedom on track and that I have the ability to look after my family. I feel empowered knowing that my business is able to operate profitably without me having to do everything, but rather really step into my role as CEO. I have a sense of satisfaction knowing that I can help others change their life by running a profitable business.
What are the top 3 most important things to you right now?
- Family has always been and will always be my most important priority. Everything I do, I do for my family. Perhaps that comes with being the eldest, but I know that is because of my cultural roots and values.
- I don’t like drama in my life, so being at peace and enjoying everything life has to offer is also important to me.
- Taking my many years in business and being able to help and educate other women and miniorities to use business as a vehicle to improve their life is also a priority for me.
How do you make sure your actions are aligned with what’s most important to you?
I always check in with my values and my intuition, they have always been right. Then I think about whether what I’m doing is in line with my priorities, which makes saying no easier. Because when I do that I’m saying yes to what’s important.
What seeds are you planting today for the future?
Hopefully the decisions I’m making today will serve my grandchildren and their children well. Family is first and the ability to create your own destiny and live into your dreams is something I think I’ve done a pretty good job at instilling in my kids so far. Anything is possible when you set your mind to it.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in redesigning midlife?
Stop trying to please everyone else and start asking yourself, what makes me happy? What do you want in your life and what don’t you want? Then set some clear goals and daily habits to make the change. That will require some hard decisions, but if you want to live a life of no regrets then change is needed.