Organizational Design Consultant and Executive Coach Mary Daly joins Sherrilynne Starkie in episode three of the 50 Women Over 50 podcast, to discuss life in their fifth decade.
When her daughter fell ill with a mysterious disease that took years to diagnose, Mary learned to navigate our complex healthcare system in order to advocate for her daughter and along the way she discovered the healing power of her own subconscious mind.
When it comes to her career, Mary confirms that she has not peaked yet despite having been consulting for decades! “In some ways, I’m only now just getting really good!” she explains.
In this interview, she shares the lessons she learned throughout her fifth decade that have helped her become the highly effective, if slightly cynical, successful consultant she is today. She provides some very practical tips and offers great advice for anyone who wants to be happy and successful in life (and in business).
About Mary Daly:
Based in Ottawa but her company Throughline Solutions serves clients right across Canada, Mary Daly is an expert in organizational strategy provides consulting, coaching and conducting leadership and strategy development workshops. She lives in Ottawa with her husband of 35 years and has two adult children.
Resources & Contact Information:
- About Mary Daly
- Throughline Solutions
- Mary on LinkedIn
- Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr
- The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible by Charles Eisenstein
- Otter.ai: Automated meeting notes with audio recording, transcribed text and highlight summaries.
- Descript: Video and Audio Editing
- Riverside.fm, online recording studio
- Mural: Online Collaboration
- LucidSpark: Online Collaboration
- Notability: Annotation
- Paprika, Recipe Manager
- What is the Enneagram?
About the 50 Women Over 50 Podcast:
Sherrilynne Starkie started this show as a creative project with the goal of interviewing 50 women past their 50th birthday to learn how they see the world, what lessons they’ve learned and what advice they have for us all. She’s been blogging and podcasting for 18+ years as part of a successful marketing and communications career and looks forward to learning from the women she will interview.
Subscribe to 50 Women Over 50 wherever you get your podcasts and please share it with your friends.
What follows is a machine generated transcript. It may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the podcast.
50 Women Over 50 Episode 3
Over 50 and we’ve not yet peaked!
[00:00:00] Sherrilynne: Hello, and welcome to episode three of 50 women over 50 a podcast for women whose pistol confidence is born of experience. I’m your host, Sherrilynne Starkie. My goal with this podcast is to interview 50 fantastic women who are over 50 years of age to learn how they see the world. What lessons and what advice they have for us all.
Today, I’m welcoming to the show, a successful management consultant who has faced some adversity through most of her fifties. Her daughter fell ill with a mysterious disease that took years to diagnose. That’s why Mary learned to navigate the healthcare system in order to advocate for her daughter.
And along the way she discovered the healing power of her own subconscious mind.
In this interview, Mary shares the lessons she learns throughout her fifth decade. That helped her become the highly effective. If slightly cynical, successful entrepreneur, she is today. She supplies some very practical tips and offers great advice to people of any age who want to be happy and successful in life and in business.
I’m super excited for episode three of the 50 Women Over 50 podcast, and today we are welcoming to the show, my friend Mary Daly. Hi Mary. Thanks for coming on the show. Hello,
[00:01:19] Mary: Sherrilynne.
So nice to be here. What a cool project.
[00:01:22] Sherrilynne: Yeah, it’s, Shaping up to be really nice, how do we describe your, your consulting service?
[00:01:30] Mary: I am a consultant. I work with leaders in organizations. I do all things organizational, which means all of the system structure, resources needed to get work done. I do organization design, I do org renewal, strategic planning and associated with how work gets done and how decisions get made.
[00:01:54] Sherrilynne: And how long have you been in this line of business.
[00:01:56] Mary: I have been a consultant since I was a baby. Yes. I was a, I started consulting when I was 25, and so I worked with a firm for 17 years and then have been on my own since 2003. Yeah, and so here I am as a solopreneur, an independent consultant. I collaborate with people all the time, but it’s a single shingle operation.
[00:02:27] Sherrilynne: Yeah, I’ve been on the consulting side most of my career too. I had a couple of short term inhouse stints that, let’s just say that., not my cup of tea. not, those experiences aren’t variable enough. There’s too much of the same stuff every day.
[00:02:41] Mary: The variety of consulting is just great.
It’s a new challenge every time, learning every time, even if it’s the same topic area. It’s a whole new organization, new people. I have become very attached to that variety.
[00:02:56] Sherrilynne: But enough about work. Let’s talk about you. Yeah. Tell me about your 50th birthday.
[00:03:03] Mary: Well, my birthday’s in early January. So, if you want to reach into the deep scars of my childhood, imagine that nobody’s interested in celebrating birthdays in early January and now as adults, everybody’s finished. Drinking and eating, and by this time they’ve got new resolve. Yes. And honestly, even I can’t stand it anymore by the time my birthday comes. So, I don’t remember exactly what happened. I think it was in February for the, for the reason of this phenomenon. And I had a curling party at a curling rink.
I know and I, when in Toronto, I didn’t touch curling and came to Ottawa and all these people curled, I had never even said no to a curling opportunity. I just never had curling in my path. And so, I thought, Oh, I think that would be fun. So, it was a curling party.
[00:04:00] Sherrilynne: And was it fun?
[00:04:01] Mary: It was fun.
[00:04:03] Sherrilynne: I feel that you’re the only person I have ever and ever will meet that’s celebrated your fifth death with a curling party.
[00:04:13] Mary: Yeah. I don’t know what is the right thing to celebrate your 50th decade. I
[00:04:17] Sherrilynne: don’t know. That’s why I’m asking 50 women. Yeah. Find out how it was. Did you like in the run up to turning 50? Were you, have any trepidations or were you just pragmatic or how did you approach entering your fifth decade?
[00:04:35] Mary: I looked at it like it was a foreign number that I couldn’t identify with, I’m thinking, how could I be 50? And I have the same feeling as I approach 60. Like if I missed a decade, what happened here? I can’t be going hitting 60.
[00:04:52] Sherrilynne: Yeah. And it seems time’s going faster now too, right? Like yeah. A bigger gap between 40 and 50 than there was 50 and 60, I think for sure.
[00:05:02] Mary: yeah. Yeah, I think you’re right.
[00:05:06] Sherrilynne: What surprised you about life in your fifties?
[00:05:13] Mary: I’m not sure that I can say surprised if I could say what I learned in my fifties perhaps, and. It was that with additional time in one’s world, you can spend more time learning and reflecting. After the, the full busyness of raising family is done. Yes. It’s Leif, the raising goes on. But I would say the, the time and or yeah, the time available and I’m not sure that in the moment I could see it and feel it.
And. See it. But with hindsight, I can see that I was much more reflective and deliberate in thinking, in understanding what’s going on, in understanding what’s going on with me. And part of that, a big part of that was in my early fifties. Our daughter was sick, and we didn’t know why. Right. And so, we did lots and lots of explorations around that.
I did a ton of research. We did, discover that she had Lyme disease and. Got a full on treatment for that and she’s well now, but in that process I did a huge amount of reading, which started from the science side, but then soon there was this, sort of DNA strand of learning that was also on the, perhaps more meta side, the spiritual side, the, subconscious side and.
I was in my, I think I was 52 and I, there was probably a curse word, but I was like, How did I get to be this old? And I did not know that. No. How did I not understand the power of the subconscious mind?
So, this is kind
[00:07:15] Sherrilynne: something that I’m, seeing what’s a lot of the interviews is that when women are in their fifties no one’s really found it as having just more time and less to do. But they are certainly a kind of a bit of a journey of self discovery, rediscovering who you are as a person and
and where you fit into the world seeing that as a common theme, but I think you might. Onto something there by identifying that’s just the fact that we’re not, so engaged in hands on Childrearing as we had when the children were younger, and we just have more time to be reflective.
[00:07:52] Mary: Yeah, there’s an author Richard Rohr, and he’s such an elegant writer and thinker, happens to be a Catholic priest, but he has written a book called Falling Upwards.
And he talks about that second half of life in which you have an opportunity to be more reflective because the full busyness of family and career is at a different level.
[00:08:22] Sherrilynne: I have heard of this book. Someone else has mentioned this book to me, and I’m going to put a link to it in the show notes so people can find it.
So, look in the show notes for link to that. I think I’m going to see if I can find an audio version of that book.
[00:08:33] Mary: It does exist because that’s how I.
[00:08:35] Sherrilynne: Oh, okay. Okay. I’m going to get that book for sure.
And so, you had this, this issue with your daughter was ill and then, she was ill for quite some time, wasn’t she?
[00:08:48] Mary: Was it a matter a couple of years before being diagnosed and then a good solid, heavy duty treatment year and then. She was back on track.
[00:08:59] Sherrilynne: has that experience changed you?
[00:09:02] Mary: Oh, I would say, yes, because it also involved a whole other dig. You might remember that I love to do reading and research and so I have so many things, that I dig into, and so there was the whole home power, the subconscious mind, all of that neighborhood as well as nutrition.
Because we had, nutrition was a big part of the healing path. And so we went, we were always very solid, Whole Foods eaters, but did a lot more on the nutrition side.
[00:09:43] Sherrilynne: What advice would you give your 30 year old self?
[00:09:47] Mary: Oh gosh. I would definitely, Say something along, along the lines of encouragement that you’ve got this, you’ve got this. Don’t sweat it. Believe in yourself. Believe in the power of yourself, and that’s so easily said. And there’s only a million things that you can do between journaling and meditation and all those good things.
It doesn’t matter which you choose to do as long as you do it. So, I think as long as there’s an intentionality there, and I know for certain, what you focus on expands. and. Then if you look for it, you will see it. If you’re looking for an orange Subaru, you all of a sudden see a lot of orange Subarus.
But if you look for, I will say that’s an important, What would I have done differently? Oh, I think, understanding more about the value and importance of my gut instinct, and if it feels off, that’s a pretty great clue. If it feels good, keep going. And that ha, that’s on everything. Whether that’s going to events, hanging out with people, relating with family, and.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the detritus of work and jobs and clients, and if that’s what you look for, that’s what you’re going to see. And so, it’s a pretty great experiment to do that with our family and partners and see what shows up because when you, we’ve, my husband and I have just celebrated 35 years.
[00:11:36] Sherrilynne: Oh, congratulations.
[00:11:36] Mary: Thank you. And part of our celebration involved each of us writing 35 things that we love and appreciate about each other. Oh, what a nice idea. Yeah, So what’s beautiful about that, which we’ll go back to my early thirties, is that. In order to do that, you have to canvas your days.
You have to, can think about what, all these things and when you’re looking for the good, you will find the good. And so, I wish I had that intentionality much earlier. and, to give myself a little more credit. Yes,
and so, what would you tell your 30 year old self? Oh,
[00:12:25] Sherrilynne: You’re good enough. I think you’re good enough the way you are. You are good. you don’t have to try harder, Don’t have to run faster. You don’t have to be the best you are. Just find the way you are. Yeah. It takes a long time to learn that lesson, in life.
[00:12:42] Mary: Yeah. So now you and I share an interest in, affection for the Enneagram. Yes. Yes. And if I, I think if. Had the engram in my pocket in my early thirties. I think the process would still be the same in terms of a first reaction of, Oh God, I can see all. I can see all the weaknesses and the, the downsides, but.
What’s so important and beautiful is when you see what the best incarnation can be of yourself, you go, Yeah, I’ve got that. I can do that.
[00:13:20] Sherrilynne: Absolutely. I feel like that’s something that should be taught in the schools, really. Yeah, and I know that because I’ve. Follow it online. I know that a lot of churches and religious organizations use the enneagram in their teachings and coaching and their, and their support of their congregations and stuff. I definitely do think it should be in the schools, but that’s just my two pennies worth on that.
[00:13:39] Mary: Yeah. It was a real gift for our family because, Well, certainly in terms of me, me, and my behavior in our family, because, so as an example, without doing the full tour, my husband is so solid, so great, and loves, planning.
and I didn’t understand that that was the gift of the type six loyalist. Yes. And instead, there’s a chance that I understood that as, or felt that as he was trying to control me. That’s right. Well, what a damaging, terrible way to feel that. And so, when we had a language for understanding that we had a whole new way of operating together.
Yeah. Well, and so to your point of teaching it in the schools I, I love women in their fifties.
I love women of all ages and the young ones too. And I think that if young women and young people had a language for understanding their own strengths, They could own it a lot earlier.
[00:14:53] Sherrilynne: I agree. And I think they would also be more, what’s the word I’m looking for? Like, allow other people, their eccentricities and to be themselves and be a lot less judgemental by understand the dynamics of how all this works.
So, I think having this knowledge would help them a lot. Yeah
[00:15:14] Sherrilynne: Let’s change track here a little bit. What are you doing for fun these days?
[00:15:18] Mary: Well, fun. Like fun. Yeah., I don’t have that much of that stuff, but I have a lot of things that I enjoy doing and get great, satisfaction from. We do a lot of cycling. We road cycle, we gravel bike, we ski in the winter. I go to the gym, I do strength training at the gym, so there’s a big category for me in the activity in sports department.
I read and listen to lots. I thoroughly like that going, walking, and listening. I, and do I call this fun? I do quite like cooking and, and baking, especially when it’s in,
Especially when it’s in manageable chunks, you know? No endless service so, for real fun, like hanging out with other women.
[00:16:10] Sherrilynne: Yes. So I was, that was going to be my next question. Are you doing more socializing now that, we’ve come out? Well, we’re not out of the pandemic yet, but we’re certainly living in, much freer times than we were a year ago or so. Are you? Yeah. Connecting with people
[00:16:25] Mary: more coffees and lunches and dinners and people over for dinner.
We like to do that. Right.
The next, And what kind of things are you missing and what would you like to be doing again?
[00:16:37] Sherrilynne: I am trying to, and that’s part of this podcast is part of it is just trying to reconnect with women and start, start socializing.
Yeah. And, and seeing my old friends that I haven’t seen and I, and I think there’s kind of two things going on here. I, one is that, People’s habits have changed. . so, they’re not in the habit of connecting with you anymore or, with certain groups anymore.
We have to be quite intentional. . on actually touching base with people that we may not have seen for two or three years. And, and, Just reach out and try to make contact with people again and see, see where that goes on that. Well, like I see it Before, before we went on the recording you, you suggested I get my 50 women together in a party.
I’m definitely going to do that. That’s going to be fun.
[00:17:25] Mary: Such fun. There is really nothing like great, women’s energy I think we’re lucky as women that it comes much more easily, It’s much more natural. You can go and just hang out and chat over coffee, over lunch, and are, are. Partners and friends that they have to have something to do together.
[00:17:49] Sherrilynne: Yes. That’s golfing and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
What do you think you’re going to be doing in 10 years?
[00:17:57] Mary: I think I’ll be working for a while. Yeah. Still. And I say that. Yeah. I say that because I’m enjoying it for sure. And. Sherrilynne, I haven’t peaked yet.
right? I’m just getting good in many ways. I’m just getting good and, because I’m in this, independent business, I don’t work nine to five. I don’t have to be anywhere for this amount of time. So, I have that flexibility, which means. I can work as long as I want or need to at certain times, but then I can blow away at different times and go out when it’s nice out.
[00:18:36] Sherrilynne: Now I know that you’ve done some training over the last little while to reskill your service offering. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
[00:18:46] Mary: Well, thank you for asking that. Last fall, it seemed like the perfect time to go and undertake some executive coaching training, and so I did an executive certification program.
I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated that and. While I’ve been working in a coaching style through much of my work over time, this gives me an opportunity to build coaching in, in a much more intentional way. And so, I’m currently building and offering going forward for team coaching and training, which is a composite of my consulting, coaching and facilitation.
And it’s purely focused on capability building for others. And so, the work that I’ve done over time has, is all focused on problem solving, creating clarity and strategic thinking. And that’s not a magical gift. It’s something that you can learn and apply. And so, through these live workshops with teams, I can create the, the space for building those skills.
So, I’m very excited about that coming forward.
[00:20:00] Sherrilynne: It’s another example of how, in our fifties we’re, we’re not done, our careers we’re still. Reskilling still learning and still bringing a lot to the table. ., I know that when I was approaching 50, I was very worried that I was going to be seen as past it over the hill.
No longer relevant. . and the opposite is proven true. It’s the opposite. Sure.
[00:20:24] Mary: How else are you supposed to gain all that seasoning and all that wisdom and all those, even thinking gifts, it’s only through time and experience. Yeah.
Are you a grandmother yet? Not. Do you think you will be in 10 years? Not sure. They, our son and daughter will find their own way and we don’t have any expectations or, or, pressures. It’ll be great if it happens, but I’m not counting on it as an important, informative life stage.
I, watch and marvel at women and their husbands who are grandparents who absolutely adore it.
[00:21:09] Sherrilynne: It’s a different dynamic than being a parent. Yeah, that’s for sure. I mean, you, every, every stereotype that you’ve heard is true. We spoil them. We don’t make them, we indulge them, all that stuff.
What are you most hopeful about, for the future?
[00:21:29] Mary: Well, I wonder if that, if the question before that, Am I hopeful about the future? Yeah. And I would say these past couple of years took a real there was a real hit on my hope for the future. Yeah. And I found,
Everybody was, Breaking or broken to some degree. It was a really punishing experience. . And in my own case, it had to do with my faith in public institutions being completely shattered.
[00:22:07] Sherrilynne: I don’t think that you are unique in this.
[00:22:10] Mary: No. And I didn’t feel that way before. . And so was I naive. Certainly innocent. I should have probably understood more things than I did.
But I was feeling really. Bleak about the whole thing for a quite a period, right? And, had to find my way through. Partly with that, what you focus on expands because I was absorbing too much of the forces around the world. And when I turned that off and turned that down, I had to focus on. It sounds so intuitively obvious, those things that I can control.
Yes. And not worrying about all those things. So, I would say I can find my balance now in reading and listening to all that stuff, but it’s at a much lower ebb. I had to turn my sensitivity dial way down. . . Yeah. And so, what is the opposite of naive? Is it cynical?
Yes. I don’t want to think that I’m cynical, but only every day Is there stuff you think? Okay. So hard not to be.
[00:23:25] Mary: Yeah. It’s hard not to be. And so, I guess, so then what am I optimistic about? Just like in organizations, there has to be a certain amount of pain to change.
I don’t want to speak for the world, but certainly community society. We saw stuff happen and came to understand that actually we should really value those things that we never took time to value before. Whether those were personal relationships and family relationships, or colleagues at work, or whether it’s our freedoms and liberties, we didn’t know we had to say it.
Because we took it for granted. . . So then, I think there’s been sufficient pain and sufficient overreach in many areas that people go, Oh wait, that’s not what I wanted. Nobody asked me about that. So, I, I think when you, only like all my problem solving stuff, when you are able to, See the problem and define the problem.
You’re on your way to shaping the solution. Yes, and I think that now we are just finding our way to, to making sense of this and what happened. One of my favorite current authors is a philosopher and writer, and Hu a good thinker at Charles Eisenstein. And he wrote a book, which was music to my ears because it was, had an uplifting tone and that was the more beautiful world Our heart snow was possible. And so, he’s always reaching for, common ground and, Listening and reading him helps me see more of the possible . and, and see the, the groundswell of people who are concerned about humanity and want to do something about it.
[00:25:34] Sherrilynne: I’m curious about the upcoming municipal election we’re having here in Ottawa and, I think the voter turnout there will be telling .
about how motivated people are by some of the things that you were just saying. . Cause historically a municipal level, people don’t tend to come out and vote and, I mean, I don’t want to talk politics or anything, but I, I just feel that it seems to be top of mind with a lot of people that normally I wouldn’t hear talking about it.
And if the polls are to be believed, it’s a very, very close race, like almost a dead heat between the two main, mayoral candidates. And that’d be very interesting to see if they actually buck the trend on that, on actually getting voters to come out and, cast their ballot for this election.
We’ll, we’ll see you.
[00:26:22] Mary: Yeah, I think that that the, at the municipal, provincial, federal level one has to really dig in and pay attention and read and listen in order to have a solid grasp on things. ., everything we have has screeching headlines and this simplicity at a high level, but I can’t vote on a, on a headline.
. . And then do I feel like stepping in, there’s a lot of things I’ll step into and dig into. What’s the level of research I need to do to be comfortable in my vote? . .
[00:27:04] Sherrilynne: This will actually be coming out before I’m going to put this show up next week, so it’ll be in advance, so we’ll see if we motivate anybody. Right.
. What app could you not live without?
[00:27:14] Mary: Well, probably, not so much the personal apps, whatever the, everything is on my phone and my iPad, but my work apps, woo. There’s stuff, What do I use? I use, Otter for record.
Yes, so important Descript for video editing. Amazing tool.
Okay. Riverside for engagements like this, online collaboration boards, Mural Lucid Spark for virtual online collaboration, notability for my drawing. It’s a great drawing app. Oh, okay. Yeah. Really great. Had a lot of time with apps. Yeah. And also, what I don’t live without on my screen is snag it and snag it.
Yeah. Love snag it. Yeah. Do you have any fun things I should know about?
[00:28:09] Sherrilynne: I would say that if I, if there’s an app I couldn’t live without, it’s not a fun app, but it’s super, super useful and it’s KeyPass, which stores all my passwords now.
I have hundreds of passwords of my own, and then every client, I have dozens of passwords for each of them. There’s no other way that I could manage at all. So, if something ever happened that I lost my key pass, I mean, I, I just, lock, lock the door. I think done that would be the end of life.
[00:28:40] Mary: Oh, actually I do have an almost fun app and that is paprika for recipes.
[00:28:46] Sherrilynne: Oh yes. I think you mentioned that to me before.
[00:28:49] Mary: Oh, this is a sweet app. You can double, triple, quadruple, and all the math changes.
[00:28:54] Sherrilynne: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I’ll put a link to all of those in the, in the show notes.
Is there an over 50 life hack that you’d be willing to share?
[00:29:03] Mary: I don’t think I’d restricted to over 50, but it’s this need and idea to be intentional about what’s going on in your brain because it influences everything. Yes. And it’s within, That’s what the thing that I learned, and I was so shocked at way back when, when the way that I heard it was,
It sounds like a hard drive recode, but I had some, a whole bunch of things tumbling around from long ago, and I thought, I’m responsible for those thoughts in my head. Nobody else is saying those to me right now. And If I don’t take care of them, nobody else is going to. And so, then I realized how powerful that was to, to consider, to make sure I was mindful of
I can’t say I’ve fixed it. It’s not a hack. I just know the theory better now., right?
[00:30:01] Sherrilynne: Yes. Yes. One of those things. Easier said than done. I mean, just earlier today I heard something on the radio and a word triggered memory from when like I was 12 and did something shameful. I was like, Really?
Sherrilynne? Are you still beating yourself up over this?
[00:30:25] Mary: Holy, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Amazing. That’s, Turn that off, eh. Amazing. And you could get back to the time and the place and what you were wearing.
[00:30:32] Sherrilynne: Mary, where can people reach you online?
[00:30:34] Mary: Through LinkedIn.
Mary Daly and I have a website. My company name is Throughline Solutions, so throughline solutions.com is where I array my various service offerings and a little bit more about me, and we’ll have links to both of those in the show notes. Oh, I’m so pleased. Thank you.
[00:30:56] Sherrilynne: And that’s it for episode three of 50 women over 50 a podcast for women whose personal confidence is born of experience. Thank you to organizational design consultant and executive coach Mary daily for joining me today and sharing so much of your personal and professional experience.
Please check out the show notes for links to the books and apps that Mary recommended and other resources she mentioned on the show. I’ve got lots more interviews lined up with some very intriguing women. So don’t miss an episode. Subscribe to this podcast now. And if you have a second, please drop me a rating or review on apple or wherever you get your podcasts from let’s connect.
Let’s create a whole community of wise women over 50 by sharing a link to the show with your friends and your connections. See you next time on 50 women over 50. I’m your host. Sherrilynne Starkie.