003: Reinvention Takes Courage with Alayne Reesberg

003: Reinvention Takes Courage with Alayne Reesberg

Growing up largely invisible to her parents, Alayne Reesberg learned autonomy at a very young age. Yet at home she was constantly surrounded by books, which filled much of the void she felt with information and knowledge of the world at large. She discovered very early on that this insatiable curiosity she had to learn would provide her much of the direction and insight she would need as she faced significant moments of change in her life – change that would eventually lead her to reinvent herself time and time again. 

Alayne is a catalyst for change and a master of reinvention with a gift for distilling ideas down into tangible beauty. She served in the South African Foreign Service, held a post at the UN, and worked at the South African embassies in both DC and London. She also was a negotiator in a UN broker process that ended an 18-year civil war in Namibia and Angola, and played a major role in the first democratic elections in South Africa after the release of Nelson Mandela. After working as the executive producer for global events at Microsoft, Alayne returned to South Africa, where she was the CEO of a global project based in Cape Town.  

Today, Alayne joins the podcast to talk about the power of taking risks, being brave, and what it means to truly reinvent yourself throughout every season of life.  

Overcomer Playlist Recommendation  

I Think It’s Going to Work Out Fine – Ry Cooder 

Pearls of Wisdom

  • Why money can’t help you get your health back after decades of depression, anxiety, worry, overwork, and exhaustion. 
  • How Alayne came to embrace “find a way” as her motto – and when it’s led her to leave homes, jobs, and relationships.  
  • Shed the excess. Make things lighter. 
  • Learn how to support yourself and carve out that time for rituals that are uniquely and selfishly your own. 

Tweetables

“All growth starts with awareness.” - Alayne Reesberg Click To Tweet “As women, we will often take care of everybody else around us, to our own detriment.” - Arwen Becker Click To Tweet

Resources

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Connect with Arwen Becker

Transcript

[INTRODUCTION] 

 

Arwen Becker: In April of 2019, I began a new chapter of my life. It was really a moment of reinvention because I recognized that I had a new calling and a purpose, but that nobody else was going to help me walk it out. That I had to create a company to be able to meet this need I saw right in front of me: to really be able to reach into communities across the nation and help educate women in the area of finance in the way in which they understood it and that it connected with them. I found that there were so many women getting left out from the traditional type of marketing and messages that the financial industry puts out.  

 

Yet it seems so obvious to me, with 80% of women dying single and yet being the last woman standing, 80% of men dying married, and the fact that women hold more wealth in the country now than men do, but yet the industry still speaks very masculine language which often is lost on a lot of women. There were a lot of women who were just left out of the discussion. It wasn't just to inspire women so that they would improve their lives in financial and life discussions, but really it was to also bring disruption and awareness to this male-dominated industry that I was in.  

 

As I started looking at it and as months clicked by, it became so daunting. For me, I am a slow start. I don't jump into anything without over-processing it, and thinking about it, and thinking about it, and thinking about it, and thinking of every possible scenario that could go wrong or go right. I could just get stuck over-processing.  

 

I thank God that I met Alayne Reesberg at that time. Have you ever had one of those encounters where you meet somebody and you're just sure that you need to spend time around them? You're not even sure why; you know that they need to be in your life. That was the moment that I met Alayne. It wasn't just me, actually. Randy happened to be at my seminar that night. He met her as well and he was like, “You need to know this woman,” and so we talked briefly at the end of the event. Then she and I met once to talk a little bit just about business and retirement planning, but there was way more to our conversations than that. There was this really true connection on mission and purpose, and really being able to provide something important that our industry, my industry needs.  

 

What I so admire about Alayne is that she has this ability to take these raw ingredients, these ideas and passion. It’s like, “I've just got all these ideas, but I just don't know how to distill them down into something,” and to take all of those ingredients and to create just this tangible beauty from it. I knew that I wanted to start this new company. I knew it would change women’s lives, but I really had no idea where I was supposed to begin. That is exactly where she was the catalyst. She was like, “We're going to go here. Okay, do we have paint colors for the wall? Okay, now we need to talk about your book.” It was all these things and I was like, “Ah!” She was the person to help me move into my destiny and usher in this reinvention.  

 

What I love and admire about this woman is she knows how to reinvent herself and how to inspire others to do it for themselves, just like she did for me. Alayne grew up in this rural town in the middle of the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa. Get this, population 20,000. She escaped her hometown as soon as she could and she went on to earn a degree at the University of Cape Town. After graduating, she joined the South African Foreign Service. She's fluent in four languages. Three more than me, I might add.  

 

Her amazing career took her to postings in the UN in New York, the South African embassies in DC and London. She was a parliamentary spokesperson for foreign affairs in South Africa. She was a negotiator in a UN broker process that ended an 18-year civil war in neighboring Namibia and Angola. Then came the really decisive event: the release of Nelson Mandela and the first democratic elections in South Africa. I'll let her tell you a little bit about the Amazon documentary movie she was featured in.  

 

Following a divorce, she returned to the U.S. in ’94 and went back to school for a Master's in journalism. By ’97, it was time for a reinvention. Through many twists and turns, she ended up in the Seattle area at Microsoft, where she became the executive producer for many global events, most notably Bill Gates’ annual gathering of 100 CEOs. By 2007 and a 50th birthday, it was time for another reinvention and a new man after many years of a single life. Unfortunately, it kind of ended in disaster. She eventually returned to work in South Africa. In 2012, she was the CEO of a very prestigious, globally visible project back in Cape Town.  

 

Alayne Reesberg is all about taking risks and being brave, and a willingness to continue to reinvent herself throughout every season of life.  

 

[INTERVIEW] 

 

Arwen Becker: Alayne, why don't you take me back to that hometown? What was it that you were escaping from? You had four siblings and a family. What was going on at that time? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: Well, hello, Arwen. Thank you for that intro. 

 

Arwen Becker: Yes.  

 

Alayne Reesberg: When I cast my mind back to that time, as the fourth of five children, I was lucky to be largely invisible to my parents. They were so locked in their own dysfunction; two basically decent human beings who simply couldn't meet each other's needs. We all start with that story of origin of our parents. For me particularly, it was a drama that I played out time and time again in my own relationships.  

 

I had a really smart mother who got married and had five children. Her career as an auditor— she trained as an auditor— just took a back seat completely. She never got back to her career. I grew up hearing that dissatisfaction with her, even as she stepped up and took very good care of us. I think the other thing that I later on understood was her internalizing of her own and stuffing away of her own dreams and hopes really manifested in what I now know was depression. [inaudible 00:06:45] irritated with depression because that takes me back to that point.  

 

I was in this little village. It's blistering sunshine, there's too little water, too little money, too little of everything, so it's a really good place to get away from. Then I go to Cape Town, and Cape Town is very much like Seattle. It rains in the winter, it rains, it's green, it's almost obscenely green. Suddenly, I'm at this university where anything goes. It’s this radical, very left-wing university. Of course, my high school principal was horrified that I should go to UCT. They called it the University for Communism and Terrorism.  

 

Anyway, there I was. I was a very good sportswoman, so I could connect with a game I played at national level. Finally, I was in a huge place where I could fiddle in the library, talk to people, drop in on lectures. I got into politics a little bit because I liked the performance part of it. I was on the sort of conservative side on a radical campus, and that was interesting. I remember throwing some people who were pamphleteering in the dormitory where I was the head student because they knew that the ballet students, the dance and music students were stupid and they could probably get them to vote, so that was interesting.  

 

Looking back, the fact that I almost grew up unnoticed by my family also meant that I learnt autonomy at a very, very young age. I was able to operate and I set about creating my little universe of people. There are some people I remember vividly. There was Tani Anna who was the librarian. There was a children's library and then the grownup library. By age 12, I had read every book in the children's library. Tani Anna then very carefully took me into the grownup library, and I hated grownup books but I loved National Geographic magazine that was on the grownup side.  

 

I found these people that spotted something in me and that would guide me to places. A woman that I remember, the mother of a friend of mine and then the parents of another friend of mine. Years later we talked about my career and Auntie Rita Neesen said, “Oh my darling, I knew you'd be successful. You always talked about living overseas.” Well, I didn't remember that, but clearly I had those discussions. Getting out of that town, going to a much bigger context and just living it up.  

 

Arwen Becker: I'm curious, Alayne, because as you're talking about your history with your family, thinking about myself, really wanting the feedback from my dad and my stepdad that I didn't get forced me into this place where I was constantly looking for the external validation from teachers or coaches. Or trying to do something to feel like I could be noticed. That somebody would say, “Wow, you did a great job. You're awesome. You're good.” Did you find that you were accomplishing these things, searching out people that could fill in a void that you didn't get at home? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: You know, I was filling my void with information and knowledge. I don't know that I was consciously seeking validation. I just was so incurably, insatiably curious. I lived in a very parched environment. I grew up in a house with a lot of books. In that way, I was very different from all my school friends as well. My parents hoarded books. When I was 13 or something, trying to teach myself to speak French out of an encyclopedia. It didn't work too well. I had to go to university to do it. No, to me, the driving force was just this huge curiosity about the world out there.  

 

Arwen Becker: Just as an insatiable desire for knowledge and consuming knowledge? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: Yeah, and knowing that whatever I perceived as problematic at home, that somebody out there had the answer to that. I have to catch myself because I'm always solving problems that I'm not invited to solve. I think that my core belief is that there is somebody out there that knows more about this than I do.  

 

I think when I think about your practice as well, Arwen, and how I've experienced you at work, and watched you at work, and watched you launch that first training program, a huge part of self-care is knowledge. We're so lucky because we have access to more information than my mother or my sisters had. We know what menopause does to the body. We can find information on health. We can find health practitioners if we wanted to. We can create our own rituals. It's such an interesting… While it's really learning to be a constant state of pioneer fatigue, we have that luxury. That really resonated with me when you started talking about that self-care is actually the basic part of your wealth. It's not healthy and you don't experience… If you're not comfortable in your body, there is no such thing as joy. 

 

Arwen Becker: That statement of people will spend their health trying to gain wealth and then they'll try and use their wealth to regain their health. But oftentimes when you get to that point, all the money in the world can't help you anymore. If you have driven yourself into the ground out of depression, out anxiety, out of worry, out of overwork, out of overextension, after not doing self-care and taking care of yourself and just doing the basic things to protect the one vessel that God gave you— your body— nobody else can do that for you. All the money in the world can't restore that. 

 

Alayne Reesberg: Also then, the flip side of that coin is having… My primary role model, if you like, was my mother, who was incredibly nurturing and loved to put lovely food on the table. She was a very good cook. She nurtured to such an extent that there was nothing left for her. Then all she could do was sleep or try and recover from over nurturing. The battle in my life has been to find the balance between I'm a very giving person, and I'm tactile, and I'm generous, and I have lots of friends, and I love doing things for them, but clawing back that time so that I could develop over time some personal rituals that would feed me, that would take care of my needs. I realized through a series of pretty disastrous relationships that I was the one that was supposed to take care of my needs.  

 

Arwen Becker: Right. As women, that's something I see is such a common thread: that we will often take care of everybody else around us to our own detriment. That can be such a tough thing to come to realize that just because you can doesn't mean you ought to. That we have to get to that point where we can say, “You know what, me sitting here, taking some time, disengaging, going and reading, doing the things that make me feel better,” even though they're not things that maybe nurture your soul or make you feel better, “that I'm deserving of that. If I continue to empty out my vessel, I will— like your mom— have nothing left.”  

 

That is not the life that we've been called to either, to give 100% of what we have away and leave nothing for ourselves because we will die prematurely. We will be miserable. We will not have the life that we're here designed to really have, which is victorious, which is joyful, which is being able to give to the people around us. Are your parents still living?  

 

Alayne Reesberg: No, they both passed away. My dad died when he was 60. I was 21. My mom lived another 28 years and a good, long time to resent him after that. One of my favorite sayings is “resentment is like drinking poison every day and expecting somebody else to die.”  

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah. Lack of forgiveness, yeah.  

 

Alayne Reesberg: Yeah, the lack of forgiveness. I witnessed so many sad things there. Anyway, I guess in the end we have to take a look at our stories of origin, make peace with them. I'm also persuaded now with so much wisdom that many of the things that I thought were the worst things that ever happened to me, actually gave me incredible coping skills later on in life. 

 

Arwen Becker: Will you expand on any of those? Anything in particular that was really one of those moments where you just thought it was going to break you and it ended up being such a gift in the end? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: Well, let me tell you. My parents had a very difficult relationship. I guess that was my early signs that I was a good planner. I remember making elaborate plans so that we could escape, down to timing when the train would come to town. We'd pack our little suitcases, we'd hide them under the bed so my mother and my father wouldn't see them. We'd arrange for him to go play cards somewhere else. Then Auntie Yvonne would pick us up and take us to the station and we would escape. 

 

Arwen Becker: Is this just you and your siblings? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: I was this big planner. Then I laid out my plan to my mother and she said no, and I really couldn't understand. Well, I was only 11 at the time but, like, “Why not?” Get a plan together and do it. What it taught me other than the autonomy… I'm curious about people, I love to be with people but I'm not sort of needy. I don't know whether that's just the flip coin of being shut down a little bit, having vulnerability shut down.  

 

My motto is “find a way.” If we're not happy in this house, and he's not going to change, and he's going to make us miserable, let's go. Let’s leave. That was my reinvention is when you get to a place where you consciously understand that “What is going on around me now, whether it's what I'm doing to myself or what I allow other people to do to me…” when I get to that point of clarity, change the plan.  

 

Arwen Becker: Right. The thing that I admire so much about you, which I think is so hard for so many of us is how do you…? I think a lot of us come to that realization, but it's the action that now needs to go in to actually make the change. For me, you and I met during a very significant time in my life of reinvention. Here I've owned a retirement planning firm for now 20 years. 16 of those years, I was in the background. I was doing administration and operations. I wasn't the face and the voice of the company. I wasn't sitting down with clients.  

 

Yet trying to transition into that first phase of becoming a full-blown advisor and doing all of these public events and doing radio and a much different role, it took me a lot of pain, a lot of difficulty, a lot of heartbreak, nearly cost me my marriage because of it but it was a reinvention that I knew needed to occur because, I think, of the slow start part of me that wants to have everything planned before the jump is made. How would you help somebody know how to get past that first step, knowing that nothing that you do is going to change that feeling you have inside until you actually start walking in that new you that needs to come? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: All growth starts with awareness. In my life I've been a management consultant. I've worked with people, tried to help people. If there isn't a glimmer of recognition that something needs to change, you can't really unpick that scab. The way that I went about it for myself— and this is my old habit— I find a new text. I either find a new book or a set of books or a video, or music is very, very important to me in my life. I sort of start drawing pencil lines until they become darker and an image becomes visible.  

 

There are a couple of things, I think, to me… I should have added a disclaimer really on in this conversation. My experience is my experience. I can help, or maybe something that I can say can be of help to somebody who is similar to me, but I guess the insecurity of my growing up has made me more comfortable with a lack of safety than a lot of people. I’ve had dear friends and they would always tell me about how they’d go home and sit and drink pots of tea with their mom and dad when they went home from college and they’d talk it through. Well, I never had that luxury. I've had to live with a real reality for me of lack of safety, and that I need to make it safe for me.  

 

There are a couple of rituals that I have. First of all, I've been really almost irresponsible about shedding excess. I just haven't shed the excess 20 pounds, but we'll get to that. I’ve- 

 

Arwen Becker: The COVID-20. 

 

Alayne Reesberg: The COVID-20. I'm fitter now than I was going into COVID. The first thing is to really take a long, hard look. Now that we have free time and we’re locked up at home, take a look at the stuff that simply doesn't serve you anymore. America is a place of plenty. I come from a place of real poverty and not plenty; of too little of everything. Everybody has huge garages. When the toilet paper stampede started in Seattle, I was horrified because I knew that every good household in my area probably had 1,000 paper napkins in the garage and they could wipe their bums with paper napkins. Anyway, Costco was the beneficiary. 

 

Arwen Becker: Yes, they were.  

 

Alayne Reesberg: Yeah. Take a look at it, those closets full of clothing that you haven't touched that just trap energy. For me, I'm really a lot about that trapped energy and what doesn't serve you anymore. I've thrown away a few things that I really regret. There's a red polka-dotted dress that I should not have gotten rid of, very ’80s with shoulder pads, and I regret it to this day. One day I'll reconstitute it. Shed the excess. Make things lighter.  

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah, that's so true.  

 

Alayne Reesberg: All the rubbish in your kitchens, the Tupperware drawer, when you clean that out somehow… You don't quite get that theme song from the detergent, but something starts smelling a little better. Then the very important part is supporting yourself. Then we've talked about health a little bit. Be really clear about what your needs are, if you're in a relationship. In many cases… I'm really fortunate because I'm not in a relationship right now, so I meet my own needs as best I can. Then establish a ritual that is uniquely your own and selfishly your own. I have a few: I walk. I try and walk every day, even if I have a buzzing hangover from the night before. I go out there, and I know that you are very disciplined about that as well.  

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah.  

 

Alayne Reesberg: That resets and it gets me back on top of my feet, instead of over the tip of my skis. Whatever that ritual is… I also have some very expensive Italian bath salts. I draw a hot bath and sit in there, and then I leave the water in the bath for the rest of the day so the whole house smells of them. Other people-  

 

Arwen Becker: That’s interesting. I haven't thought about that.  

 

Alayne Reesberg: Yeah. Get a really good one, especially if you share space. For another friend of mine, she needs to get out and poke around in the garden. Uncover those things that you know really are about yourself, and they don't need to take five hours a day. It's not about going to the spa. It's really not about that, especially these days. Important for me also is to have some spiritual practice. I used to meditate a lot at some time in my life. Depending on what's going on, my need to meditate seems to change. I know that you have a very, very disciplined ritual that you [crosstalk 00:22:10]-  

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah, and meditation I added just a couple of years ago. That was one of the things that it was actually a pretty big sacrifice because doing a 22-minute meditation twice a day every single day, that's a lot of time in your schedule. It really is. It nearly is an hour a day that you're carving out of your time. The benefit, oh my goodness, the benefit of being able to completely shut down, to be able to take out all of the things that are constantly bombarding us. I actually used to be a big power napper. That was something that I did. I still like to powernap.   

 

Alayne Reesberg: I’m good at power naps. I’m really good at that. I could do them at the end of a day before I needed to host a cocktail party.  

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah, exactly. 

 

Alayne Reesberg: And you’re refreshed. Another thing, meditation, it doesn't need to be that, as you know, Arwen. Very often when I go into a meeting, I'll sit quietly just before the meeting starts. Now that we're all on Zoom and Teams, it's a little easier. I'm trying to be really disciplined about getting quiet. I run fast, I run hard– 

 

Arwen Becker: Yes you do.  

 

Alayne Reesberg: –I drive people nuts, but this is my speed and I’ve made peace with it.  

 

Arwen Becker: You know what, right after Randy met you, I remember him saying to you… I think the first day that he and I sat down to talk to you, he said, “How do you tame a tiger like you?”  

 

Alayne Reesberg: Well, you don’t.  

 

Arwen Becker: Exactly. That was your response. He was like, “Uh…” He didn’t know… You do. I mean, that is the beauty of who you have been to me. It was like, “Okay, we're going to go out and we're going to go look at furniture, and we're going to look at paint colors, and we're going to talk about this, and then let's talk about your book.” For me, it was so necessary because it was so easy for me to get stuck trying to figure it out, instead of a little bit more of “Take the jump and then we'll build the plane as we go down,” you know what I'm saying?  

 

That, to me, your whole life, so many different areas in which you've talked about and seasons where you have encountered this reinvention time and you have embraced it. It has built you into a woman that has such rich history, such rich nuggets of wisdom, that has so much out in front of you. I love the fact that you are still striving for new ideas, new ways of doing things, new ways of seeing the world. Where so many of us, even in our 30s and 40s, we’re thinking, “Hey, I've kind of got this figured out,” or we just get stagnant. I think the biggest thing that I hear from you that has been a through line throughout your whole life is this constant consumption of new ideas and information and reading.  

 

Alayne Reesberg: Earlier, Arwen, you referenced that we’re here to do something. A lot of our early life is about discovering what that thing is. That thing may change but really, for me, the rituals or the self-care that I do is trying to tap into my real purpose. I don't have a clear answer. I just know what it feels like when I'm doing it. I don't use the word lightly, but I love the word alchemy. When you are doing what you have to be doing, things change around you and you change things. The through line with all the busy-ness and the bouncing around and interested in a thousand things, the magic of where I have felt most effective professionally and probably personally as well, is when I've been able to deal at speed with stuff that comes at me very, very fast.  

 

To me, the luxury is to slow down and think about things, but the core competency is to go at that speed, assimilate it, connect things that are seemingly unconnected and then help it birth into something new. Every successful, high profile, powerful thing that I've done has had those elements in it.  

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah. That’s what- 

 

Alayne Reesberg: I don’t know what my purpose is. I just know what is present when I'm working at best.  

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah. One of the things that I just thought of as you were talking about that, that is one of the biggest benefits in constantly surrounding yourself with people who excel in areas you're weak at. I loved being around you because being around you not only made me a better person, but it made me uncomfortable in the right way. It challenged ways in me within my comfort zone. It forced me into these areas as I continued to expand my own comfort zone of being vulnerable, being willing to try something without having it all figured out, being willing to go against what the majority of people around me are saying, “This is just how we've done it.” Being willing to say, “That doesn't feel like that's right anymore. That doesn't feel right for me. It doesn't feel right for the community that I'm reaching to do it that way because that doesn't resonate with them.”  

 

I think that that is such a valuable component of our lives as we continue to grow. To really search to find people that make us uncomfortable, that challenge our own ways of thinking and doing things. That is just such a huge component of who you've been to me. I really, sincerely appreciate that. 

 

Alayne Reesberg: Aww, thank you. I'd like to go back to something that you said earlier. 

 

Arwen Becker: Sure.  

 

Alayne Reesberg: Your mother is a very powerful person in your book. You talk about her often, even though you are so radically different. The truth of it is, Arwen, you and I and most of the people listening to this, we have no female role models. We're making this stuff up. We are not our mothers.  

 

If you are too much like your mother, I would say you're going to head for a crisis pretty soon. In our lifetime, through the efforts of a lot of women and activism, life has changed for women. I think it's difficult for men, and I'm talking particularly in the corporate environment now where there is so much heat that poor men probably don't know which way is up. For us, because of what happened in the ’60s and the ’70s when I was growing up, we now have this dizzying array of things we can do out there. We don't always find people who are willing to let us do them, so we have to go do them ourselves, so you have to grow a bit of a tough skin. We're on our own, and the only other people that can help us co-create this thing is the people you brush up against every day.  

 

We can't look back. My mother and her mother's lives were probably very, very similar. My life is radically different from my mother's life and, in fact, radically different from my siblings even. I'm this real anomaly, but I am benefiting from everything that other people fought for.  

 

I asked a clever person about that. I said, “So how much do I go back and seek the approval? What I do I don't do for my family's approval. I do it because I have incredibly high standards internally. I know when I'm working optimally and I know when I'm not, and I sometimes get it reflected back to me. I've had superb bosses and mentors in the business environment. When you look at your tribe, what do you do when you're consistently out of step with your tribe?” She said to me, this clever person, she said, “You mourn it and you move on.”  

 

Arwen Becker: That's so good. I think that is such a great place for us to transition. You and I could talk about a bazillion different topics. I know that we are going to have more conversations about some other really deep things that you and I have got into over this past year. What would you say… As we're looking at reinvention and the things that you've gone through in your life, the women that are listening, what would you want them to take away? If they're in this point where they're going, “I just feel like I'm being drawn to something new and different, but yet I'm hitting this resistance of changing.” What would be those three key takeaways you would want to make sure that they would be thinking about? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: I go back to what I said earlier: shed the excess. Make space for the new. If that includes that husband or that joke of a boyfriend, well, do so. Learn how to support yourself and carve out that time. Then, Arwen, the day that you and I met, both of us were open to something new. You have to remain open. You have to sign up for this with the universe to say, “I'm ready, and now somebody needs to walk into my life that'll kick my butt or push me in a new direction.” You've got to build that little plinth that gives you a little foothold there before you can step over onto the next step. Do that exploration. We'll never know who we all are inside, but the more you know, the better you know when the next thing comes along. I can't be more profound than that, I guess.  

 

Arwen Becker: No, that's so good. I always just hear that saying that “God can't direct somebody who's sitting still.” You know what I'm saying? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: In South Africa, we'd say, “God has only two hands: your left and your right.” 

 

Arwen Becker: Yeah, see? Exactly. It at least requires movement. If you're going in the wrong direction, you'll eventually get there. Finally wrapping up, we’ve got these last three little rapid-fire questions. Three things: the best piece of financial advice that you've been given, a recommended book that you've either loved in the past or that you're currently reading, and then your favorite quote. Obviously, me being a financial advisor, money affects a lot, a vast majority of the choices that we make. I always think that it's really important to have at least a small touch on that. What would you say would be the best financial advice? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: Arwen, your approach… and that's why you and I connected when I was at your seminar. For the first time, I'd taken a moment to sit still and just think about my own financial position. When COVID hit, I did the really hard work and I could say, “Well, I can be independent.” Independence is more important to me than anything else, so take control of it. All those pieces in your process challenged me to go dig out the bits and pieces all over the world that I’d left scattered around, and to get that complete picture and then to have a plan. Then to have you tell me I'm going to be okay, that's really good 

 

Then the most important book that I've read really in a long time is a book called The Female Brain. It's by Louann Brizendine and really a literature review of all the brain research that was done in the ’60s and ’70s. The reality is until the early ’70s, all brain research was done on male brains. The female brain is a third smaller than a male brain but it is a thousand times more networked. We have a thousand times more ways of thinking of things that worry us. It’s a very important thing because it understands what happens- 

 

Arwen Becker: It drives me nuts, that damn brain, sometimes. 

 

Alayne Reesberg: Okay, The Female Brain. She wrote The Female Brain. It was very, very successful. Then she wrote a really slender volume called The Male Brain. I get that as well. So really understanding that we are biologically very, very different, when very often the corporate environment tries to homogenize us. We are very different. We bring incredibly different skills to the world. Being aware of it and seeing it around us makes us more useful in the world. That's kind of important to me.  

 

I have lots of sayings and things that go around in my mind. My motto for the last couple of years as I uprooted myself and suffered huge loss… I've lost my country of origin. I've lost circles of friends that I'm unlikely to see again soon. I've certainly lost a beautiful home, stuff like that. My motto just these last few years has just been “find a way.” Find a way. 

 

Arwen Becker: I love that. There is, absolutely. If our listeners are wanting to get a hold of you, what is the best way to do that? 

 

Alayne Reesberg: The best way to find me is on LinkedIn. I need to spell my name. It's A-L-A-Y-N-E, and Reesberg is R-E-E-S-B-E-R-G. I'm very active on LinkedIn. If somebody writes to me, I'll write right back and really happy to help in any way I can. 

 

Arwen Becker: I know you are. You have been such a blessing to me and I am so grateful for you. I'm so thankful that you took the time and that we were able to talk. I think you and I have another podcast that'll probably center more around the loss piece, and what that all looks like, and how we come back from that as well.  

 

[Outro] 

 

Well, that brings us to the end of today's show. You can follow me on social media. You can pick up a copy of my new book, She Handled It, So Can You. Then you can also reach me at www.beckerretirement.com, or my training and speaking company www.lifewitharwen.com 

 

Thanks for listening to the She Handled It podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, be sure to subscribe, so future interviews are automatically downloaded directly to your device. And if you want access to the show notes, including links to all the resources mentioned, visit www.LIFEwithArwen.com/podcast. Thanks again for joining me. Now charge forth, because if  she handled it, so can you!

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