Happy Birthday To Me

Next week I turn the big 5-0. My SEO guy told me that one of the popular search phrases is “How old is Robin Robins?” I don’t know if they’re trying to figure out how much longer they’ll have to tolerate me or how much time they have left to get the next newsletter before my COD date (crap-out date). Who knows…maybe a little of both. Whatever the motivation, I’m happy to report I’m still buying green bananas.

They say that milestone birthdays – the ones ending in 0’s – tend to impact women more than men. Plastic surgeons and companies selling anti-aging potions, weight-loss programs and supplements all hover like vultures, targeting such birthdays with their promotions. One cosmetic dentist I knew said his best, slam-dunk customer was a recently divorced 40-plus-year-old woman who got the house. She’s got money and “needs to compete” (his words) with younger women and is putting herself through a little “fixer upper” expedition, losing weight and getting some work done.

Me? I feel the same about this birthday as I have about the 49 preceding it: meh. Measuring age and the impact it has on us by the construct of a trip around the sun seems kinda silly. Of course, that’s just me. Maybe it’s because as a kid all I got for my birthday was a homemade Betty Crocker cake, The End. Much ado about nothing. Of course, with today’s kids (including my own), that shit won’t fly. Now it’s elaborate parties at the Adventure Science Center or a day riding ponies, with 20 of their friends, BIG cakes, BIG presents, BIG swag bags to take home.

What is more exciting to me than a big birthday bash on this milestone birthday is reflecting back on how far I’m come personally and professionally, from being raised in a cult religion, penniless and homeless, to actually hitting my “enough is enough” – along with a number of other personal and professional goals. I’ve learned a LOT. And the biggest lesson of all is to trust myself, be bold, be unfraid and know that I have every right to have a seat at the table of abundance, success, wealth or any other endeavour.

As I’m writing this, we just ended the month of March. It’s said March comes in as a lion and goes out like a lamb. My life is the opposite of that, starting out as a lamb – timid, nervous, accepting and docile – and turning into a lion. Lions are fierce, unafraid. People tiptoe around lions, careful not to disturb or anger them. If you decide to pick a fight with a lion, you better be ready, armed with something more than your wits. I was recently told by two different people that I’m “intimidating.” I laughed. That’s really not my intention. But I do think people pick up on my confidence and the fact that I’m not to be trifled with. Is that the meaning of “intimidation”? I dunno. You decide.

Sadly, more and more people are walking around like lambs. Some willingly bowing to be controlled and to conform. Happy that Facebook is fact-checking their posts and filtering what they see. Some are conforming but secretly hating it, cursing the wokeness mob ever at the ready to jump on them for any little offense – but they are fearful, and they are allowing themselves to be controlled by that fear. Fearful of saying the wrong thing. Fearful of not appearing sensitive. Fearful of offending. In marketing, many are fearful of being “too aggressive” or “boasting” about how their company is superior to others. Heck, I used to think that was just good advertising.

Many of the small business owners I work with are now fearful of appearing rich and successful, not wanting to offend those “less fortunate” than them. I understand the care in not rubbing your success in someone’s face, but they should not be afraid or embarrassed to showcase their very well-deserved and hard-earned successes. At my mother’s funeral, I was criticized for wearing an expensive diamond wedding band my husband gave me and an “expensive” black suit. I was “supposed” to show up in a sackcloth and second-hand shoes, but no one sent me the memo. I was just supposed to “know” that the suit and ring were inappropriate.

Used to be we entrepreneurs took pride in securing prosperity for ourselves and building a successful company that generated generation-changing wealth for our families. We took pride in big homes and nice cars.

To be clear, there is power in humility – and I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t be polite and more open to people’s personal preferences and life choices, a little more sensitive to someone’s plight and show them kindness. I’m 1,000% in favor of that. But that should not replace true fearlessness or hold you back in your pursuit of success and what YOU want. They are not mutually exclusive. Accomplishing anything of significance – particularly running a business – is going to require you to be unpopular with some – as I age, true friends become fewer but enemies accumulate. Not everyone will like you, agree with you or rally behind you for all sorts of reasons. Your choice is this: Am I going to hop along like a nervous baby sheep or am I going to roar like a lion?

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