Cheryl Broughton: Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life
After you make your list, look at it objectively. Can you accept the downsides of what could happen? If so, how will you overcome these difficult situations or challenges in the future?
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50's.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear? In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cheryl Broughton.
Cheryl Broughton is the author of the best-selling book, “Your Epic Encore — It’s Never Too Late,” and teaches women over age 40 how to dissolve mental blocks, rewrite their story, and create one heck of an EPIC encore!
After being diagnosed with advanced arthritis in her 40s and told she needed both knees replaced, she opted out of surgery, changed her food intake, and took up one of the most challenging forms of exercise — Aerial Arts Fitness.
Cheryl has been a producer of a mind and body health and fitness TV Show, founder of a 7x award-winning mind and body boot camp, co-founder of a wellness company, and provides online mindset courses and private coaching at www.CherylBroughton.com.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Thank you, it’s great to be here!
My backstory starts in the country. I was very blessed to grow up in a rural area in the South and loved playing in cotton fields, collecting rocks and fossils, climbing high in the trees, and making mud pies for my mom and dad.
When I was about nine years old, we moved to a larger town about 30 minutes away called Millington, TN. And this is where the cheerleading bug bit me!
Cheerleading in the South is like a religion! And although it was extremely grueling with hours and hours of practices, games, cheer competitions, and more, it was what every little girl wanted to do. This sport is where I first learned the power of discipline, sacrifice, perseverance, and so much more. I started cheering at age nine and continued to age nineteen. During this time, I also became a cheerleading coach and choreographer and a professional cheerleader and dancer.
When I was 16 years old, I read a book that had a profound effect on me. It had a chapter on visualization and how you could mold your future by playing out in your mind how you wanted your life to be. I started teaching this technique to the cheerleaders I was coaching, and not only did they start winning, the underdogs beat the undefeated champions! Little did I know this chapter would become the “spark plug” that would ignite my life coaching career in the years to come.
In my late teens and early twenties, I moved around to a few southern states, and in 1994, I made the giant leap to the west coast and landed in Los Angeles, California. Although I have now lived in a big city for 27 years, I am still that small-town girl that takes nothing for granted and still loves playing in the dirt (by working my garden) and climbing high in the air (on my aerial silks).
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I’ve saved so many wonderful quotes over the years, but this one is my favorite because it immediately focuses my thoughts on what’s most important in life.
“Yesterday is History, Tomorrow Is A Mystery & This Moment Is A Gift. That Is Why This Moment Is Called The Present.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.
We tend to get so caught up in what the future holds and upcoming deadlines, appointments, and family obligations, etc. We rarely take a moment to pause and just be present in that moment and have gratitude for being alive and breathing, hearing, walking, speaking, and so much more.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
I would have to say clarity, fortitude, and having an open mind have helped me the most.
A confused mind will not take action. So until we are clear about what we truly want, where we want to go, or what we want to achieve, we will keep spinning our wheels and filling our days with low-priority tasks and distractions that get us nowhere.
Having clarity helps you figure out which goals to tackle first and gives you the incentive to take action on them. I’ve had many clients say that once they got crystal clear on what they truly wanted (and not what others think they should be doing), they finally found their intrinsic motivation.
Fortitude is what’s going to keep you on track when and if you hit a bump in the road. It’s the grit and the glue that keeps you from throwing in the towel when things become challenging.
Having an open mind is what truly helped me create my EPIC encore. After losing my career and a long-term boyfriend at age 50, I had to reinvent my life completely. While some people my age were enjoying their golden years with their spouses and grandkids, I was starting over from scratch. If I had stayed closed-minded, I would not have sought the advice of other life coaches or mentors. I would not have allowed myself to explore what’s possible. I gave myself permission to start over and create an amazing, exciting life even though I was in my 50s. And thank goodness I did because my second half of life is turning out to be even better than I had imagined!
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
In 1998 I launched my career in the mindset industry as the host and producer of a Mind & Body Fitness TV show. I created the show to inspire others to believe that it’s never too late to get your health and your mental focus back. The show highlighted men and women of all different sizes, ages, and fitness levels, and we were featured multiple times on the covers of local magazines and newspapers.
In 2001, I founded a seven-time award-winning mind and body boot camp. It was the first of its kind that featured exercise, nutritional counseling, and a life coaching course. I was known as the “Commander” and coached thousands of people for ten years and eventually sold the camp. Seeing all these lives changed and hearing how the program had helped them mentally and physically was the driving force that kept me going. It was such a rewarding experience that I will always cherish.
For twelve years, I was also a mindset coach, fitness model, infomercial host, and contributing mind and body fitness writer for many publications as well as a professional speaker.
One of my most enjoyable speaking engagements was with the “YPOs,” Young Presidents Organization, while on a 180 person cruise to Antarctica. Dan Aykroyd, Robert F Kennedy Jr, Art Garfunkel, and Diana Krall were just a few of the audience members. Not only were the guests on the ship some of the most high profile people, but getting to step foot on Antarctica and seeing giant icebergs, penguins, and seals all within reach made this an event of a lifetime!
As a mindset coach, part of my services is helping people dissolve mental blocks, find their “why,” and help them create an amazing Epic Encore. I could not teach others how it’s possible to rise above any problematic situation they encounter if I had not done it myself.
Starting in my late teens and continuing into my 30’s, I was in multiple abusive relationships. And while I was on TV shows, magazine covers, and standing on stage inspiring others to do great things, I was mentally and physically abused behind closed doors. And I could not tell anyone about it.
The good news is I was able to get out of those strained relationships. And now, I can see these events of the past as lessons, tools, and methods I can use to help others rise above any difficult situation they may be encountering.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
At age 41, my world came to an abrupt halt when I was diagnosed with advanced arthritis. I was told to stop all exercise and to get used to having pain for the rest of my life — unless I had both knees replaced. For someone who was making a living in the fitness industry, this was devastating news to me.
After going into a slump for some time, I decided to pull myself up and that I was the only one in charge of my destiny. So I opted out of surgery, changed my food intake, found some great supplements, and started practicing healing meditations. And then I did something crazy. At age 42, I started training in a sport I had always wanted to try — Aerial Arts fitness.
Aerial Arts is one of the most challenging workouts I’ve ever encountered, but it is friendly on my joints! I have become stronger, more flexible, and I have exceptional balance. My first class was in 2010, and I am still training, teaching, and performing alongside students more than half my age! I can do things in my 50’s that I could not imagine doing in my 20’s — even the splits!
In 2008 I co-founded a wellness company with products sold in retail stores across the United States. Knowing I could not do the high-impact workouts anymore with my knees, I sold the boot camp and continued with the wellness company.
Life was really good after finding aerial fitness and being a partner in the wellness company. Then one day… After ten years of putting my heart and soul into this company, working numerous hours, skipping social events, sacrificing getting married and having kids, and more, I was let go. And then, months later, my long-term boyfriend and I broke up. So there I was, 50 years old and utterly shocked that everything that I had once thought to be secure — was gone in what seemed like an instant.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
I finally had this epiphany that losing my career and boyfriend was a gift! I was finally free to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. The world was my oyster, and it was up to me to get every last drop out of life. I could travel, visit friends, start new hobbies, and more importantly — I could start my own business that would fill my soul and help change the lives of others.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
I decided to go on a deep dive self-exploration journey in search of the best mentors, coaches, leaders, and authors in the industry. I went to retreats, masterminds, intensives, training courses, private coaching sessions, and so much more. After three years and investing about 70K, I found myself! I discovered various methodologies that helped create a significant shift in my thinking. I applied what I learned and became trained in the same methods that helped me create my EPIC Encore!
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
My life transformed so dramatically, I wrote a book about my journey of starting over, and it’s called Your Epic Encore — It’s Never Too Late! My mission is to help others create whatever their heart desires and dismantle the cycle of staying stuck in old thoughts, patterns, and habits.
Along this journey, I diffused the mental blocks, dropped the story, and said no to anything in the way of my vision. I went from feeling like my best days were over to being completely fired up and motivated to conquer the world. I reinvented my life, and now I am here to help others transform theirs.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Yes! So many people have played a big role in my life! So much so, I listed them at the front of my book. But for the sake of keeping things short — I’d like to thank my boyfriend of almost three years, who has been my greatest cheerleader and support system. And I’d like to thank my parents, family, friends, and clients who have supported me throughout the years.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
After beginning aerial fitness in my 40s, I started performing in outdoor photoshoots with the most breathtaking views! Plus, I made new like-minded friends who are just as crazy as me! Ha! I have performed over lakes (where we climbed to 140 feet high) and slowly lowered ourselves down to our silks and then jumped in the water at the end of the performance! I’ve performed in front of waterfalls while dressed in mermaid tails, hung between mountain peaks, performed over swimming pools, inside national parks, on outdoor stages, and much more.
If I had given up after getting the doctors’ diagnosis all those years ago, I wouldn’t be here today sharing this story. If I can do it, anyone can do it. You can do a complete 180 and make your life as amazing as you want it to be. The only catch is, you must be willing to do the work it takes to get there. Once you get crystal clear on what you want, you will have the intrinsic motivation to take action. You will not require outside motivation or rewards to take action.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
Oh, yes, I have struggled a few times throughout my life. Many of us feel this way, especially when starting something new.
Self-doubt often stems from memories in our childhood. It could be something we attempted, and it failed, or something that was said to us that hurt us, or something we observed and interpreted to be worse than it really was, and so on. Although we become adults and know those events were in the past, these thoughts and emotions follow us into our adult lives. These are just thought patterns, not evil forces out to get us. But ironically, they can hold us back until we address them.
If you find yourself struggling with making a decision or taking a step forward, chances are you are not looking at this goal objectively. You are worried about the unknown. So, weigh out all the options. What is the worst that can happen? If that happens, then what? When you make a plan for all the possible “what ifs,” you will stop doubting. When you stop doubting, you’ll start taking action towards your goals. Then the next step is to take your goal or task and break it down into micro-steps so that you can take action towards that goal every day. What used to seem to be an impossible goal or mission will soon turn into something that is easy to attain. You just have to take that first step!
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
I was fortunate to hire and work with a few highly sought-after mentors. I was able to take their years of experience and learn from their mistakes and successes. Plus, each of these mentors have private groups where all members are part of a community and work together to help each other work through challenges.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
Oh yes, I have jumped way out of my comfort zone many times in my life. And there have been three significant times that stand out the most because I was over age 40! The first was when I decided to start taking aerial classes at age 42 (training alongside students in their 20s). The second was when I was age 52 and wrote a book about starting over. The third was when I started a new relationship at age 50 with a younger man. And let me tell you, he is handsome, smart, funny and has checked off all the boxes! ‘lol’ We are going on our third year! Woo-hoo!
How did I do it? I got crystal clear on what I wanted, and then I broke my goals down into small attainable daily tasks and started taking action towards them. Then I started meditating and writing in a gratitude journal. And most importantly, I use the method that I’ve been practicing since I was 16 years old — visualization. I started visualizing what I wanted and seeing it as if it had already happened. And lo and behold, these goals came to fruition. I did not wait for life to come to me. I got out of my comfort zone and took action.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Make A List Of The Downsides — When you are taking on any new venture, such as starting a new career, starting a new online business, or adjusting your business model, etc. — chances are you’ve already thought about the upsides. That’s why you are taking this new venture in the first place. But what most people fail to do is make a comprehensive list of the downsides. After you make your list, look at it objectively. Can you accept the downsides of what could happen? If so, how will you overcome these difficult situations or challenges in the future?
- Be Prepared To Pivot — The world will continue to evolve whether you choose to hop on that train or not. Things that make your business successful today might not work five years or even one year from now. When things change, are you prepared to pivot? Can you adjust your business model? What else can you do with your experience or your teams’ knowledge? As seen during the pandemic, some entrepreneurs and businesses waited for the world to change back to the way things were. Meanwhile, other companies started thriving because they adjusted their business model and had systems in place for these emergencies.
- Find A Mentor — Whether you are the only employee or have a team of individuals who work for you, find a mentor. If you truly want to take your business or your success to the next level, find a mentor. We often get so set in our ways that it’s hard to see things from a fresh perspective. It’s nearly impossible to comprehend the opportunities and the possibilities that are out there waiting for us — until someone helps us see the light. A mentor can provide you with advice and strategies that you might not have thought of before. They can help you pinpoint areas within your company that need improving and help the company work together as a unit.
- Take Imperfect Action — Stop waiting for everything to be just right before taking action. Don’t worry about posting to your social media accounts, and getting the right colors and graphics, etc. It’s wise to outsource those things anyways — so you can spend your time working on your highest priority actions that move the company forward. Many self-employed entrepreneurs spend years taking courses, getting degrees and certifications, thinking that all training is the answer to their success. While education is essential, don’t let it stop you from taking action. One of my mentors likes to say, “Choose and Move” — get on with it! Some of the most successful CEOs say that part of their success is by taking action fast and failing forward. So put yourself out there and just be you. As long as your goal is to help others, your tribe will find you, follow you, support you and appreciate that you are authentic — even with your imperfect actions.
- You Are Never Too Old To Start A New Business Or To Have Big Dreams — Many people started their careers or became successful in their industry after 50, 60, 70, and older. Never let your age hold you back from pursuing something you want to do. Want to start a new career? Go back to college? Create a new side hustle? Dreams are what keep us alive and thriving. Learning new skills keeps our brains sharp and stimulates the neurons, which help send and receive information faster. If you had told me years ago that I would start aerial fitness at age 42, completely start my career over at age 50, then write a best-selling book about starting over at age 52, I would have told you — you were crazy. But it happened! So go for it! It’s never too late for your EPIC Encore!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Society has programmed us to think that after age 50, we are no longer viable, desirable, adventurous, or needed in the workplace. If I could inspire a movement, it would be that it’s never too late to be bold and exciting or to be an entrepreneur, creator or artist, etc. Do not be afraid to start over, start new, go back to something you love, or dream a new dream. Never let your age hold you back! It’s never too late for #YourEpicEncore.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. :-)
Oh, yes, please tag her! I would love to meet Betty White! She is the epitome of having fun and never letting your age stop you. She is funny, quick-witted, kind, and full of life. She is 99 years old with a television career that spans over eighty years. She has worked longer in the TV industry than anyone and holds the Guinness Book of World Records for Longest TV Career for a Female Entertainer.
Even the cover of my book reminds me of Betty. The book cover model is in her 80s and is doing the “rocker pose” and wearing a sequin jacket and sunglasses. It looks like a character Betty would be asked to perform during a Saturday Night Live skit! Ha!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I would love to continue connecting with your readers! Here are a few places they can find me:
- http://www.cherylbroughton.com/ (My website where I offer a Free 5 Day Mindset course)
- www.Facebook.com/YourEpicEncore/ (My Free private group where I hold exclusive interviews and workshops and where I offer a Free Download — 5 Ways To Breathe New Life Into Your Days!)
- www.linkedin.com/in/cherylbroughton (My Linked In Account)
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thank you for your time and this opportunity to serve your community!