I believe in serendipity. It is an incident, a happy accident that occurs when you have a cerebral ah-ha moment that jolts you, and suddenly out of nowhere, you have an idea. And, instead of letting it pass you by, you jump for it, catch it, and turn it into good fortune! Because, after all, serendipity is a good luck accident and you just… know.
It All Began By Chance
Four years ago, an advertising man in his 40’s phoned me in Chicago. He was interested in working with honeygood.com. He had one request. That he wanted me to hold a Focus Group of ten women in my home who were over 50. He would fly into Chicago from his home in Denver and be in attendance because his goal was to understand the thinking and interests of a woman over 50 for advertising purposes.
My Ultimate Concierge and l were leaving Chicago for our home in California the next day. The man was very aggressive and told me he would fly to California instead and meet me in three days for the group meeting. I was not overly excited, because we were opening our home for the season in California. But, I caved in to his demands and told him I would see him in three days in sunny California.
It was a day in November, four years ago, when I said yes but should have said no. But, it was the day serendipity. Good fortune tapped me on my shoulder. It was the beginning of a dream come true. My group, your group, GRANDwomen with Moxie… Where loneliness disappears… came into my head!
I was so pushed for time that day but sat down, made my list of women, and started calling them to join me in a focus group.
My First Group Meet-Up
EIGHT women sat casually around the little bar in the den area of our home. I sat in a chair to the right of the group. The man sat in another chair and my Ultimate Concierge was on listening to the conversation from the couch.
We began to talk and out of the blue one of my friends said, “I feel invisible.” She is a woman who is very popular with a warm personality and has a lovely life. She told the other women why and suddenly, they all began discussing why they felt invisible. I sat listening in awe to the openness of these women and at that moment, serendipity lunged at me and I said to myself, “Women need women.”
My Ah-ha Moment!
For the next few weeks, the word ‘invisible’ would not leave my mind. Every day, when I walked my pooch, Orchid, I thought about the word and the focus group where women opened up to one another and shared their feelings. And, I thought about myself and my feelings.
My hobby of writing had turned into more than a hobby, taking up more and more of my time and energy. I had to give up some of my old life, and my daily social life with girlfriends and sports and card games took the brunt. I had a ton of friends because I was a good friend and loved sharing and caring with them. But alas, with just so many hours in a day, my distancing from my girlfriends increased and so did my loneliness for the camaraderie of girlfriends.
The Phone Call
One day three weeks later I picked up the phone and with some fear of rejection, I called ten women (not all of the women I had invited to my focus group), and asked them if they would like to form a group. To meet once a month at my home from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm to discuss issues that women go through during different passages of their lives.
I recall saying:
“Women need women to discuss our passages of life with its many hills and valleys. We all have a need to share our feelings, learn from one another, and realize we are not alone. Please join me at my home monthly and become part of the conversation. I value you, your opinions, and your manner of interacting with others. Please join my group.”
The Outcome of the Conversation
I was delighted and thrilled that not one woman out of the ten turned me down. They were excited to be asked and were looking forward to sharing with one another their joys and their struggles. And, they were women I admired and they were good communicators. They were from different social groups with different goals and thoughts. Well, Darlings, four years later, eight of the original women are still together. Two left this season and I had my waiting list for others to take their place. I set one rule… nothing leaves the four walls of my home. Next year will be our fifth season together.
The New York Times Article & My First Group Failure
My mind over the next year was filled with hope that I would be able to have an Internet Group and invite all the women at honeygood.com and beyond to join. I hired a person to build the online group, and what always happens when you are not skilled in a medium? You believe in the person you hired and that he or she will not disappoint you. WRONG, Darlings. During the procedure of building the private group site, I kept telling the person who was building my site that the women who joined would never be able to work the technology and they would leave the site.
“Oh no, that won’t happen. You are not tech-savvy and I will have to teach you.”
“Oh no you are wrong,” I said, “You are building something that will never work!”
I was distraught over the amount of time it took to build. I was thrilled that over 1,200 women immediately clicked in to join my new network and when 300 stayed, and 20 used it, I learned another emotionally costly business lesson… to trust my instincts and stop.
But during the building of this group site, known as the Honey Good Network, I was approached by the New York Times for an interview about my love for groups and its importance for women of all ages. It made the Sunday edition on the front page of the woman’s section and I was so happy. Need I tell you…
The New York Times asked me to put a multigenerational group together to see how it would work and I did. Ten women ages 28 to 96 were invited to my home. They were of all walks of life; political, beauty, decorating, dog walking, retail, money management and investments, tech companies, and great grandmother’s. Most did not know one another. But, they had one thing in common: They all knew me.
After two hours of nonstop conversation; I had to end the group meeting! My serendipity moment that started four years ago was now in full force.
Never Give Up On Your Dream
I would never give up on successfully having my dream of a private online group. I would figure out what I would do. And, I would not make another mistake and hire the wrong person and on top of it listen to him or her if I knew in my gut it was wrong. Trust me, I would bring women together for their joy and happiness and for mine as well. WOMEN NEED WOMEN and I knew it because I felt the need from within.
Four years later, a little, over two weeks ago, I put up my new private Facebook group. I knew Facebook would not fail me and of course, there was not a hiccup.
GRANDwomen With Moxie…
Where Loneliness Disappears, Has Arrived!
The group is now going into its third week. And, what a marvelous group it is. The women are from all over the world. They are caring and sharing. They are bright and interesting. And, they will be teachers to others and others will be teachers to them. Plus, they’re already uniting. One of the women had a 60th birthday and over sixty-plus women messaged her. Another woman lost her husband and 100 strangers wrote to her. I am so blessed to have these women in my life. Women I don’t yet know… but trust me, I will.
We have had two ZOOM meetups and will continue to have one each week. And, I have other plans. You see, it took me four years, and a lot of tears… but look at my gift. As of now almost 700 new girlfriends and growing.
In the wee hours of the morning over the years, when all are asleep in their homes, I have opened my laptop and replied to all my friends at honeygood.com who have messaged me through email, Facebook, Instagram, and my site. I know your names, your faces, and who you are by your comments. Many of you love nature and gardening, some love the sea. Most of you love to travel, your pooches, and fashion, etc. You have all touched me and I have touched you, and though we have not met in person, we have formed relationships, Darlings! How special is that?
And, now as of today, I have almost 700 new friends and growing on our private Facebook group, GRANDwomen with Moxie… Where loneliness disappears. I am smiling!