Below you find a summary of our discussion with Angelika Kindt.
Clearing out, letting go, and looking ahead has a lot to do with life quality
Angelika Kindt: A woman in motion
Frimeso: How did you come up with the title “Working Silverlady”?
Kindt: 3 years ago, my hair turned white almost overnight. I thought to myself: “That’s how I am now!” A the time, a Zurich-based friend who was also using the word “working” in her title abandoned her professional name. I asked her what she would think if I named myself, “Working Silverlady.” She was excited, confirming that the name suits me perfectly.
Frimeso: How would you describe yourself, both personally and professionally?
Kindt: I am a woman in motion. I am 71 years old. Despite many blows, I love life. Every morning I am waking up full of joy. I try to make the most of each day and do something memorable and beautiful for myself. I also love sharing my happiness with other people.
I have been self-employed for 33 years. I turned into working Silverlady three years ago. I realized that I did not want to be so often for consultations or workshops on the road anymore. I am currently in the process of setting up an online coaching company. Consequently, I mainly do my coaching sessions online. I also offer online workshops and seminars.
Frimeso: Who are your prototypical customers?
Kindt: All sorts of customers contact me. I am pleased that even younger people do want to work with me. I consider myself as a sparing-partner for managers with whom I share my experience and knowledge.
I also consult private people. I am not longer differentiating between private and business. I have to stress, though, that I do not provide any psychological treatments in any form. I am not a psychologist, – hence there are better experts for this particular branch.
Frimeso: What are the main topics that you cover during your sessions?
Kindt: I learned one thing during my years of working with customers: Communication is at the center of it all. This is especially true for managers. Hence, developing communication strategies has become a real passion of mine. Still, and after all those years, I keep learning and getting new insights.
“For me, there is no black, white, striped, or plaid.”
Frimeso: What are the most critical stages in your life that shaped your work and helped you become what you are today?
Kindt: I lived in Africa 50 years ago. My first husband moved from Cameroon to Germany, where he successfully graduated in Braunschweig as a civil engineer. We then moved to Cameroon together. Living in Africa had a significant impact on me and broadened my horizon. Diversity has, therefore, been part of my life ever since. For me, there is no such thing as black, white, striped, or plaid.
Three years later, I moved back alone to Germany with my son. I started studying political science at the FU in Berlin in my late twenties. This was broadly considered an unusual choice at the time, especially for a woman. I kept hearing people saying: “You will not be able to provide for your son with a political science degree.” My studies turned out to be the right choice. Political Science shapes my way of thinking still today.
I then married again and had two children, one of whom unfortunately passed away. These are blows one has to apparently deal with in life.
I slipped into self-employment by chance. I was asked to do a seminar which I did. I then participated in a rhetoric seminar held by a Jesuit priest where I learned o speak freely. One thing led to another, and here we are.
Frimeso: You have achieved so much in your life. Why didn’t you consider going into your well-deserved retirement?
Kindt: Retirement would be far too dull for me. As an independent, I can decide that for myself anyway. I still get so much feedback, offers, requests, and proposals. I do not even have time to consider retirement.
Becoming Independent: Self-reflection, Self-motivation, and Self-management drive success
Frimeso: You often work with people who are about to change their professional careers or retire soon. What challenges one has to deal with when finding him- or herself in such a situation?
Kindt: Life changes are quite common. You will have to become clear about yourself and ask yourself questions like, “What are my key skills and strengths? Do I have any particular talents? Are there any market gaps that I could help to fill with my skillset? How am I going to position myself?” The most important question is the one of Why? Why do I want to change my professional career? What goal am I having? What drives me?
It all starts with self-reflection.
For example, if you want to start your own business just because you think it would suit you, it probably will not end well. I am seeing again and again, how vital self-motivation is.
Last but not least, you will have to develop your capability of managing yourself
Frimeso: What are the typical driving forces for people who become independent or make a career change?
Kindt: It all depends. Some want to fulfill their dream of professional freedom, which I appreciate. However, one needs to consider that your desired degree of freedom will only materialize once you have settled in your new life.
In the beginning, you need stamina, and you have to keep going.
Another driving force for older people is their desire to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with younger people. The best motivation is always to do something that comes from the heart. If I can confirm to myself: “This is exactly my thing; this is what I genuinely love doing,” I am motivated enough to succeed and to find my niche.
Frimeso: At what age are people on average when they realize that they face these kinds of crises?
Kindt: People often realize that something needs to change once the children have left their home. In Germany, this happens typically around the age of 50. Suddenly, there are only two people left who have to relearn to live with each other alone. Questions pop up like: “Is that all there is? Is there anything left for me to do?”
People regularly turn up to my sessions with a specific idea and then find out that actually, they are looking for something entirely different.
My goal is to strengthen people’s resilience and help them handle the pressure of these challenging times.
Frimeso: In general, do your customers achieve their goals?
Kindt: This will depend on how serious people take their personal responsibility. Developing a high degree of personal responsibility is core in our coaching sessions.
Viewing a projected journey through unknown territory with a new end is particularly hard for former employees who are not used to travel all by themselves.
On the one hand, some leaders are unconsciously discouraging their staff to take responsibility for themselves. On the other hand, people get used to their comfort zones and will have to relearn to take responsibility for themselves. They will be their own leaders now. To lead, you will have to learn to let go, which is incredibly difficult for many people.
Gratitude is key to inner satisfaction
Frimeso: You are emphasizing a lot the importance of inner contentment. I can also confirm that you reflect your own inner happiness during our interview. What does a person have to do to be happy?
Kindt: I can only answer this question for myself. I am happy if I do not focus on those things that I do not have and are still supposedly missing.
Every day I am glad when I wake up. I am grateful for what I already have and blessed with being allowed to live such a wonderful life.
If I am aware of my talents and skills, I can be grateful for those too.
Living in western societies, we are often tempted to show our achievements, status symbols, and accolades. I belong to the baby-boomer generation. During the postwar era, we did not have so much to brag about.
However, I see that people become more aware of these materialistic pressures and start to perceive things differently. People begin to ask themselves: “Do I absolutely need the third car and the second sofa? “Clearing out, letting go, and looking ahead has a lot to do with life quality.
Clearing out makes room for new things, especially when you prepare for retirement
Frimeso: Clearing out may also be an issue for people who are preparing for retirement. I imagine that people who have worked most of their lives still carry a lot of working-related weight once they retire?
Kindt: Clearing out is challenging for many people. Some are struggling to leave their professional past behind. Some continue to portray themselves as if they were still in their roles; they were holding over the past 20 years.
Clearing out entails me having to continually reinvent myself
My capability to clear out will greatly influence me “staying young while getting older.” It does not matter so much whether I am still fitting in my jeans. All that matters is what is happening in my head. Clearing out also means: “Do I still need my house? Can I move to a smaller apartment?” Children have left for good. Obviously, they will be around and come to visit, but they will not move back in.
Resetting your priorities is also crucial: Contentment always comes from within
Clearing out makes room for new things: Lat year, I was diagnosed with cancer. I have learned to not give it too much space without ignoring it entirely. This year, other things matter more, and I am focusing on them.
“Values have something to do with how I value my fellow human beings.”
Frimeso: You are stating that you follow a value-based approach. Why are values important?
Kindt: We all know values like “courtesy” and “mutual consideration.” But do we apply our values in real life? It has become trendy to emphasize the importance of values. But how do we translate these ideas into our everyday actions?
Frimeso: Why are values critical?
Kindt: Values are the glue for our social interactions. How do we work or talk with each other? Values uncover how societies perceive themselves. This concerns individuals but also working life within our companies.
We need to try everything to live up to our values. Values have something to do with how I value my fellow human beings.
Frimeso: Older people tend to have their core values set. Is it possible for an older person to still change?
Kindt: Yes, but it all depends on your readiness to reflect on your values. If your mind and heart is open, you will be able to review your current set of values. Am I callable of putting a question mark behind certain aspects of my belief system?
There are three different kinds of age
Frimeso: Do you mind getting older?
Kindt: Age is just a number. There are three kinds of age: your actual age, your felt age, and the age others perceive you are at. Hence, age is relative.
There are old 25-year-olds who have already finalized their plans. All projects like house, children or you name it are completed already. Life does not work that way. There is a saying that “Humans make plans, God laughs. ” Tragedy sets in when I have made plans that never materialize because nothing has worked the way I was hoping for.
It is, therefore, key to stay open-minded without focusing too much on your age. If I keep saying to myself: “I am old,” then I am old. I should rather keep telling myself: I am 71 years old. This does not keep me from developing my own mindset.”
The Working Silverlady – a true digital enthusiast
Frimeso: Your podcast made me aware of your work. You also run a website and are active in Social Media. One can assume that you are a digital enthusiast. Are you belonging to a minority within your age group?
Kindt: I do believe that this is correct. I have also been working as an independent. Hence I am used to learning new stuff. I often hear older people saying that their grandchild is responsible for everything digital.
All these great opportunities are exciting. It is fascinating to see what is possible today. Ist wonderful that I can work with someone living in Switzerland on Zoom while being at home in Germany.
Frimeso: How do you reach older people in digital media?
Kindt: You will have to employ a specific hybrid approach between online and offline. I love to connect on social media. But I also give lectures, hold speeches, and meet people in person. You will definitely need several channels combining digital and real events.
Frimeso: How can I get into contact with you if I want to work with you?
Kindt: Please go to my homepage https://www.working-silverlady.de/
or send me a message firstname.lastname@example.org
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