Jan's Blog


by | Aug 24, 2023

I recently attended a networking event with a small group of women entrepreneurs. It is not necessary to be an entrepreneur to attend, but that’s what happened to show up this evening. This event is a newer group that began a couple of months ago in a suburb bordering Chicago so it’s a little out of my area, but well worth the drive. Each month they highlight a person to share their talents, knowledge or expertise in some way that can enrich our lives and/or business.

This month was a speaker, Barb Mason, who I have known for 2 years. When I read that Barb was speaking this month, I made sure I blocked out time in my work calendar to make that 45-minute drive through rush hour traffic east toward the cityand I’m so happy I did.

Barb Mason is the founder of Unstuck Coaching. She coaches men and women to prepare for and transition into retirement. Barb recently launched her YouTube channel, which I subscribed to and NEVER miss an episode. She makes me think about things that we, as humans, push aside and most times accept as the “norm” in our world and our life.

Barb had shared with me that she was speaking at this event on one of her recent YouTube videos about society and who is society? Why do we care so much about what this population of people we call “society” thinks of us? It was quite an interesting conversation among the women in this group.

Barb had made up a couple of questions about beliefs we have that are not true, yet that thing called “society” has an opinion and a sort of judgement on. I’ll give you an example. The first question asked was:

What Societal belief are you holding on to as “truth” that is not real?

We paired up with a partner to discuss the questions. My partner was a woman in her 40’s, never been married and no children. When she brought up a particular societal belief in our 1:1 conversation, I could relate! We shared our experiences we both had either with dating, business colleagues or our social life and they were more than similar. When we meet someone new and they ask our marital status during conversation and the answer we give is “I’ve never been married,” there’s usually a look on that person’s face either of curiosity, puzzled or suspicion. As much as we didn’t like singling the gender out, it is typically men that react that way. I shared a story of mine going back to my on-line dating world about how a man commented that he would never reach out to a woman in her 50’s or 60’s that had posted “Never Married” as her status in her profile. His belief was that something was obviously wrong with her if she had never been married by that age. Believe it or not, this is not an uncommon belief. That’s what we refer to as “societal beliefs” and as I refer to as “societal judgements.”

Another topic brought up in discussion was the stigma about aging in our society. Why are so many facial products for women marketed as “anti-aging” products? What is wrong with aging? What is wrong with developing wrinkles as we age? That is a question addressed to those people we refer to as “society.” When we begin to break things down, does it appear there is something distorted and out of balance with “societal” belief? Why do they not market to men about “anti-aging” products? It appears that “society” doesn’t give a crap if men get wrinkles and look mature or older. It’s totally acceptable. Why is that??? Which reminds me of another video on Barb Mason’s YouTube channel on aging. Check it out!

I had this discussion with a client this morning and she came up with several “societal beliefs” that are not truth. In fact, she and I discussed how we both have been guilty of the “societal judging” due to what has been programmed into us since childhood.

When you are out with friends or having a discussion over a family dinner, depending on your family, it would be interesting to bring up Barb’s question. I’m curious to hear other opinions on this topic.

Now let us circle back to the question, WHO IS SOCIETY?

Watch for another blog post on Barb’s second and third questions of the evening. If you would like to follow Barb Mason’s video blogs, go to her website and sign up for her newsletter.