After a lifetime of feeling overlooked, Kiran Kumar decided to make a dramatic change. Faced with personal challenges and the loss of her mother, Kiran reached a turning point that propelled her from feeling invisible to becoming a beacon of strength and empowerment. Kiran bravely shares her struggles and self-discovery to her eventual triumph in creating a platform that amplifies the voices of those who feel unseen. Kiran turned her life around, founding her media and coaching company, Roaring Ahead, and now she’s helping others to do the same. Discover the power of reinvention and the importance of surviving and thriving, regardless of age or circumstance, on Search and Replace.
More about today’s guest:
- Get to know Kiran Kumar at her company website roaringahead.com and youarenotinvisibleafter50.com.
- Connect with Kiran via her LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Instagram, Podcast, and YouTube.
Explore these related stories:
- Ayesha Walawalkar dissects how ageism impacts our culture and our approach to business.
- Hilary Mantel explores how women over 50 have become the invisible generation.
- A Gransnet study highlights how frequently women feel ignored and condescended to as they age, with 70% thinking that women are often rendered ‘invisible’.
[00:00:00] Announcer: Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialists at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode.
[00:00:11] Joe Taylor Jr.: What if you work hard at your job and started a family only to feel like nobody can see you? I’m Joe Taylor Jr. This is Search and Replace
[00:00:28] Despite a lifetime of accomplishments, Kiran Kumar felt invisible.
[00:00:33] Kiran Kumar: I have felt invisible all my life because of my family, my in laws, people that I’ve associated with. I’d been married for 25 years, wasn’t happy in that relationship. Was very, very unhappy. My kids were affected by that as well, obviously.
[00:00:51] Also my business world when I was working as a, you know, a woman of color of a woman of a certain age because I went back into the workforce at 40 because of my husband, my ex husband now, obviously. And that was kind of like, Okay, so I’ve been feeling invisible.
[00:01:06] Joe Taylor Jr.: And then something happened that caused Kiran to take stock of her life and to start thinking about what she might do next.
[00:01:13] Kiran Kumar: I think what really came to a head was that my mother’s death, that made me look at life in a different way. There are events that come into your life where you just have to look at where you are, what you’re doing, and where you need to be.
[00:01:28] I had to do something different, but I hadn’t really thought about it much. It still took me another six years. So, I’d actually hit rock bottom after my mother’s death, to the point that I almost lost everything. Family had betrayed me, there was a lot of toxicity around me, and I just thought I can’t deal with this any longer.
[00:01:47] And then of course, unfortunately, we had COVID, which stupered my plans. And I felt, okay, once this is kind of over, hoping like everybody else will be over in like in no time. That didn’t quite happen. Two years later, I decided that I had to move away from the area and the location that I was living in. And I felt that I had to just pack up everything, move away. I just felt I had to get away and start life afresh.
[00:02:16] Joe Taylor Jr.: Kiran knew she needed to change up her physical environment. And she also recognized a desire to adjust how she spent her time.
[00:02:23] Kiran Kumar: I came to this point in my life where I had to decide, well, what am I going to do with my life? How am I going to move forward? What does that mean?
[00:02:29] When you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is either farther down, which you don’t really want to do, or go up, right? So I made the decision. My mother used to call me, Sher in Hindi, which is lion. And I just had to respect her wishes. I had to honor her, you know, what she thought of me. I just had to make a comeback. And I’ve always been strong. She always saw my strength. And I didn’t see my strength at that point, and I knew I had to come back. And I don’t know what happened, but I felt that I had to do something that would empower women, and that’s where I, kind of, made the change.
[00:03:09] Joe Taylor Jr.: Drawing on her life experience led Kiran to a new chapter in her career, leveraging her professional and creative expertise into a platform she can use to spread her message.
[00:03:20] Kiran Kumar: What fell into my head was, you are not invisible after 50. And I thought, okay. And in fact, the day I thought of it, I trademarked it. My son said to me, Mom, why don’t you trademark it? And I went, well, because I believe in this idea.
[00:03:34] And you start beginning to build up something, then you can see where this is going. But it’s getting to that point. And that’s quite exhausting and tiring and emotional. It’s all of those things.
[00:03:48] The fact is that there’s no end to what I can produce. So I can take it in any direction that I wish to take it. So the podcast is one, the courses are another, products are another, a book is another what’s exciting because I already forethought that. But also it’s not just me. I have my children who back me up. They’re part of the business now. I’ve said to them that once I’m no longer on the planet, this still continues because I haven’t done this for nothing.
[00:04:13] But the idea was, okay, let me start something that really reflects on what and where I am in my life, but also reflects where people are in their lives as well.
[00:04:22] Joe Taylor Jr.: Kiran’s got something to say to anyone else who’s ever felt invisible to the people around them.
[00:04:28] Kiran Kumar: It’s about where do you see yourself? Where do you want to see yourself? Are you happy in the situation that you’re in? The answer probably, nine times out of ten, would be no I’m not. So what are you going to do about it?
[00:04:41] And of course you have to start life afresh and you think, Oh my God, I’m doing this at this age, but it doesn’t really matter because at the end of the day, you could always restart.
[00:04:49] And so the narrative is changing. We’re not invisible, you know, whatever world may say. I mean, we are a male dominated world, but it’s changing. You know, we’re not coming forward and saying, okay, we are here, this is us. And we have a long way to go, obviously, but there are lots and lots of change makers out there.
[00:05:10] What I would say is look for your role model, look for who looks like you. They’re there, they’re out there, and it’s just seeking them out. You know, there’s lots and lots of things that you can be doing and seeing and going on. To not have that perspective of we’re invisible or we’re over this age.
[00:05:30] This is my mission, that I share my journey with people because I’ve been on this journey, which was very painful at times, but you realize that you can come out and recreate yourself.
[00:05:43] Joe Taylor Jr.: That’s Kiran Kumar, founder of media and coaching company Roaring Ahead. We’ve got links to Kiran’s projects in our show notes and on our website at searchandreplace.show.
[00:05:55] Also in our show notes, Kiran’s not the only one who felt herself becoming invisible after turning 50. A popular website for parents in the UK surveyed their readers and discovered that more than two-thirds of women agree that they felt themselves becoming increasingly invisible as they got older. Although men in the survey said they felt the same way at times, the average age for social invisibility among men was 64. The women’s average age was 52.
[00:06:23] It’s not a new feeling. Award winning writer Hilary Mantel described the same sensation in a Guardian op-ed back in 2009.
[00:06:29] Ayesha Walawalkar is the chief strategy officer of MullenLowe, and she’s written an opinion column for Campaign all about how this impacts our culture and our approach to business. We have a link to that on our show notes as well.
[00:06:45] Search and replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard with support from Connie Evans, Amelia Lohmann, April Smith, and Podcast Taxi executive producer, Lori Taylor.
[00:06:55] Our theme music was composed by Alex ReFire
[00:06:58] I’m Joe Taylor Jr.
[00:07:05] Announcer: This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production.
[00:07:09] Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor, user experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at www.MakeTheWebsiteWorkForMe.com