My guest today is Jack Perez. Jack is the founder of Kuel Life, where women can ‘Share, Learn, Shop, and Play with Our Second Act Sisters! She is a champion for change, redefining modern midlife for women through curated content and women-driven brands.
She earned an MBA from the University of Chicago – you’ll hear why and what happened after that in our interview.
Jack is an endorphin junkie who loves spending time with her son – who is on his way off to college and traveling to exotic, off-the-beaten-path places such as Cuba, Jordan, Zambia, Bolivia, and Zanzibar. She’s also an avid jump roper, Peloton-fanatic, and third-degree black belt in Taekwondo.
Listen to our conversation about being open to how new ideas come to you, making decisions and finding your purpose.
Jack’s hype song is Don’t Rain on My Parade – from Funny Girl https://open.spotify.com/track/7LaYzwlsD5QiYGRhWDUjIN
You can find out more about Jack at her website. https://kuellife.com/.
Want to win a FREE one-year membership to Kuel Life? Send your name and email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Fine is a 4-Letter Word.”
Come join us in the Fine is a 4-Letter Word Facebook group.
This episode is sponsored by Zen Rabbit. When you’re asking yourself “what’s next for me? Who am I now, in this next season of life? And where do I even start figuring out my purpose?” the F*ck Being Fine Experience is here for you. Go to https://zenrabbit.com/ to learn more or to schedule a complimentary call.
Lori Saitz (00:01):
Hello. And a welcome to Fine is a 4-Letter Word. My guest today is Jack Perez and I am so excited. I'm always excited. I say that every time I'm so excited to have this guest, but I really am. Jack and I met on clubhouse originally. And I know this is going to be an amazing conversation, so let's get into it. Welcome Jack.
Jack Perez (00:25):
Thank you, Lori. I'm so glad to be here. It's such an honor, and I'm super excited about this podcast. So again, I get, and it's okay to be excited every single time. That means you're what you're doing. You're enjoying, right? Yes.
Lori Saitz (00:37):
Yes. And I just am, like, I think I said before we started recording, is I'm just so honored that that people are willing to share their stories with me and with my audience.
Jack Perez (00:51):
Yeah. It's really, it's really great. And honestly, that is how we grow and learn. And especially by the time we get to this age, whatever age that is, I'm 80 years old now. I mean, I don't even care. I'm going to be 57 next month. By this time we have lots and lots of stories that can be helpful to other people. And, you know, even if you're not solving someone else's problem, if you're sharing and then they feel a little less alone, isn't that, isn't that kind of even in and of its own, even if that's all it does.
Lori Saitz (01:29):
That's what I've always said. The purpose of this podcast is twofold is one to help people realize that there's nothing wrong with you. And two you're not alone.
Lori Saitz (01:43):
Right? Let me ask you the question that I start all of my interviews with. And that is what were the beliefs that were instilled in you as you were growing up that have carried through or that carried through until you realize that they weren't serving you anymore?
Jack Perez (01:59):
That's a really great question. I, I think that we sometimes overlook or forget how critical our family of origin is my family of origin. I I'm a first-generation American. My parents came from Cuba in 1962. I was the first child born in the United States. That that in and of itself is its own paradigm. Meaning I had parents that culturally were very, very different and also did not have full control or dominion over the English language in my single digits. Lori, I remember handling phone calls from the electric company or the water company because my parents weren't comfortable enough, particularly on a phone. I mean, they could, they could figure it out if they needed to through pantomime and, and just kinda, you know, inferring and, you know, people being really kind and slow, but on the phone that just didn't work, their language skill, just wasn't up to snuff. So I was tasked at a very young age to do a lot of tasks that are more associated with being older.
Lori Saitz (03:17):
So you were put into that position of being an adult before when you were still a child.
Jack Perez (03:22):
Yeah. In many, in many situations. Right. But not, not bad situations. I mean, I know there are a lot of people out there that have, you know, horrible stories about, about that happening, but happening to them in a, in a, in a not good way, I was just last with more responsibility than maybe I could have, or should have or whatever. I mean, you could should, or could yourself to death. Right. But what that did it made, it helped me be the person I am. So I have no regrets, which is somebody who can figure stuff out and I can do anything. I set my mind to, I don't shy away. I'm also very tenacious and tenacious and very, very disciplined.
Lori Saitz (04:07):
Did that come from, from having to do those things or did that come from, because those are the kind of people, those are the kind of people your parents were, um, I'm sure. Immigrating from Cuba, they had some of those characteristics just because immigrants do
Jack Perez (04:24):
Yes. And, and yeah. So is it from nurture or nature or a combination? I'm definitely my father's daughter and my, my dad was a very self-disciplined, uh, driving individual. I definitely got that. But then on top of that, then I also had to learn how to maneuver the world earlier than, than some, but that's okay. I, I can figure stuff out, which is a great thing to know about yourself. There's not a lot that you can throw at me that if I don't, if I can take a moment, whatever that looks like, or go look something up or, you know, come back to you that I can figure it out. And I'm, I'm up to many, many challenges because I just grew up being thrown into stuff that it's like, okay, well, you got to solve this problem for me because I don't understand what they're saying to me. And I'm like, okay, but I'm nine and I'm not exactly sure. I understand what they're saying to me, but I'll do my best.
Lori Saitz (05:26):
Yeah. Yeah. Gotcha. Did you realize this, this ability in this tenaciousness in the, at the time, or is it just looking back?
Jack Perez (05:39):
No, I had no idea at the time. I, how did I not know that every nine-year-old wasn't talking to the electric company, I had no idea. I had no clue.
Lori Saitz (05:50):
And so, as you got older, as you were a young adult, how did these characteristics, or these beliefs, these, um, this way of being serve you or not serve you?
Jack Perez (06:10):
I think honestly it has served me very, very well. I'm sure that if I dug deep down inside, there are things that I might not like about myself that are related to that, or came from that, or were derived from that. But if, but I wouldn't change it because it is nice to know that you land on your feet. It's nice to have that confidence that, you know, luckily so far, I have been able to figure out every scenario that I have been placed in at some point in time. I mean, it's not like immediate, I'm not, I'm not a genius. It takes me a bit, like I said, it might take me some research. It might take me some education. It might take me, you know, some crying. I mean, there's, but I don't give up. I'm not, I, I'm not a giver upper. I'm not a throw in the towel kind of person.
Lori Saitz (07:06):
That's the case for a lot of people. Like you we'll figure it out, but a lot of people may not have the confidence to believe that they will in the moment. Like, it sounds like you do. And because, I mean, that's just human nature. We will figure it out. It will be okay. What's that quote, if it's not okay, it's not the end. Like Caretta, it's all okay. In the end. And if it's not okay, then it's not the end, I guess, is the way the quote goes.
Jack Perez (07:35):
Yeah, I think that's right, right. Yes. I do believe in that. But of course, you know, I get, I get frustrated just like everybody else and, uh, disappointed in myself and angry, you know, just recently somebody had this idea for my, for my business and it's a fantastic idea. I'm not, I'm not ready to talk about what the idea is just yet, but, but I w I kicked myself for a week because I didn't come up with the idea. I'm like, what's wrong with me? How could I have missed that? How could I miss it? That's like the obvious play here. And I did not see that. And you know, my family is like, okay, Jack, you can't think of everything all the time. Right. It's really okay that somebody else brought this idea to light. Uh, and I I'm finally okay with that, but for awhile, I was just kicking myself. Cause I'm like, this is brilliant. How come? How come it didn't come from me? You know? But whoa,
Lori Saitz (08:30):
One of the ways to look at that is the universe brought it to you in a different way, just because you didn't think of it doesn't mean it's not meant for you.
Oh no. It's meant for me.
It's just presented to you in a different way
Jack Perez (08:43):
And I'm okay. I'm okay with it now. But I've been percolating on this idea for a couple of weeks now. So I've now processed through it. But the, my very first after, oh my God, that's a brilliant idea was why the F did I come up with it?
Lori Saitz (09:06):
So tell me about a time when you were stuck in a place. Cause this is fine to fantastic. When you were stuck in a place that everything was just fine. And maybe those skills of tenacity and belief in yourself weren't necessarily working for you or you weren't employing them or whatever it was, you were stuck at that.
Jack Perez (09:30):
I was employing them to my detriment because it's everything right. It's the ying and yang of everything. When I graduated from college, I went and I became a consultant. I was a management consultant for awhile, had an amazing experience. I mean, it was just so much fun. I was traveling about 75 to 80% of my time. I was running projects, global projects. I was spending time in South America. It was an incredible opportunity. I had, I had a corner. I had an office in a high rise in downtown Fort Lauderdale. I could see the ocean from my office. Okay. I'm 22. I had not one, but two admins. I had an expense account. Okay. So it was a pretty sweet gig. I didn't, I didn't get paid a lot, but it was a pretty sweet gig. But my boss kept saying, Jacquelyn, if you don't go back and get your graduate degree, you're going to stunt your career growth.
Jack Perez (10:33):
You ha you, you can't, you can't get where you, where you think you want to go. You can't get there with just a bachelor's. So I, I did it. I went back and I got an MBA. I went to University of Chicago, which if you don't know, is one of the best business schools. I then, you know, it did the interviewing thing like you do in graduate school and got recruited by Hewlett Packard. A fortune 50 company got moved out to California. It's looking, you know, like, wow, Jack's on the trajectory of, you know, she's gonna make it. She's on the rise. She's gonna climb the corporate ladder. I got to HP. And all of a sudden I realized, I mean, not, not day one, but not that far into it. By the way, Lori, I finally sat. I was in a cubicle, right? Big open sort of warehousey space. Cause I think our manufacturing division. So we had manufacturing on site. So it was a, it was a campus, but it was all of us and found myself in a cubicle, no admin, no expense account at the end of every month. Cause they put me in finance. I was looking for missing dollars, whatever I'm missing thousand dollars here or missing $10,000 over there. And I thought to myself, where did I go wrong?
Lori Saitz (11:56):
Yeah. Now I'm just one of the commoners. Where's my office.
Jack Perez (12:00):
Wait, wait. I'm not making, I'm not making a difference anymore. Who cares where this $10,000 is really? Do we care? Who cares please? Somebody raised their hand who cares? It hit me like a ton of bricks that I, and it got worse because you don't, you don't get recruited from a fortune 50 company from a top business school into finance and then leave after a few weeks, you don't do that. That's fine on your resume. That is not, that is not the picture that you want to paint. So you stick, you stick to it. You pull up your tenacity and your self discipline and you make yourself go to work every day. And I kept trying, I'm like, okay, well this job isn't working, but there's a kajillion jobs at HP. I could find a different one. I'd find a different one. I'd look at my manager and go, Hmm, don't want his job.
Jack Perez (12:52):
I'd look at his manager. I'm like, I don't want her job go find a different job with an HP. I did that for about six years and finally realized I can't. I have to get out. So I left and I started crying because everything was fine. I was making a lot more money than I was as an a, you know, after undergrad I had, you know, I was married. I had two cats. I was living in California. I was healthy. There wasn't anything wrong. Everything was fine. I had a good job. I wanted to stab myself with a pencil.
Lori Saitz (13:35):
Right. And I hear this a lot from the people I talk to and they're asking themselves what again, when we started, what is wrong with me? Look at all of this that I have. This is what people strive for. They work their entire careers for this and I'm not happy with it.
Jack Perez (13:56):
Right. I'm ungrateful. Right? I mean, there's not a lot of people who have education had the opportunities. What, what was wrong with me? Why wasn't that enough? Why was I not satisfied? And not even just not satisfied. I was unhappy.
Lori Saitz (14:14):
Right. And, and probably making yourself even more unhappy by beating yourself up for not being happy.
Jack Perez (14:21):
Right. You know? And then when I wanted to leave, my husband at the time was really, really pushed back on me rightfully so he was working out on his own. So we were using my, you know, my, uh, full-time employment with benefits, keywords, with benefits. When you work for yourself, you D no, one's given those to you. You either forego or pay for them out of your own pocket. It was important for me to keep the job for as long as I did it made sense, but I was unhappy and frustrated with my understand. I'm the goal. If this isn't it, then what is it? Right. And,
Lori Saitz (15:07):
And how long did it take you in terms of soul searching to figure out, okay, it's not just moving to another job. Another company, maybe, maybe HP is not the place for you, but you decided I'm not going to another company. I want to do my own thing. How did you get to that decision?
Jack Perez (15:27):
So that wasn't hard, that was easy. That was a very easy leap because I had been, um, working right in my husband at the time was working for himself. I saw it around me all the time. I mean, vicariously and by relation, right? Because I was living with someone who had their own gig. I could see what that meant. And it wasn't. I mean, yes, there are lifestyle factors that are around us, as we both know their lifestyle factors, but what really called my attention, like what really sang to me was the fact that what he did, what he provided, whatever it was, the result of that good or bad happened very quickly. And it was a direct line to what he did versus working for a larger corporation where it's a lot of management by consensus and a lot of group activities. What did, did it matter? Did I make a difference? Did I, did I push the needle in either direction? I don't know. I'll never know. And I need, I'm the kind of human who needs to know immediately. Hey, that was really good. Thank you. Or, Hey, that really sucked. You need to go back and rethink that or because that didn't work. The immediate feedback I'll do I have no patience? I have no patience. Okay. All right. Well, and the universe is getting its last laugh with that with me. Bye.
Lori Saitz (17:12):
And it Always does. It always does.
Jack Perez (17:16):
We'll see about that.
Lori Saitz (17:17):
Missy, let me give you some experiences to help you practice that.
Jack Perez (17:22):
I'm getting tons and tons of practice now.
Lori Saitz (17:26):
Awesome. Fantastic. What were the tools, were there tools that you were using to, to keep yourself sane when you were in the situation that everything's fine here? Were there tools or did you not find them until later? And when, when did you find them and what, what precipitated your them
Jack Perez (17:50):
If by tools, you mean distractions? I had plenty of them weren't necessarily healthy distractions. Right? I mean, I, I did some things to blow up my personal life because I was so bored. This was the thing I was so bored. I did not feel like I was living my purpose. I did not wake up in the morning. You know, couldn't, you know, not, you know, with anticipation about, oh, what do I get to do today? Or how am I going to change the world today? Or how am I going to make a difference today? That just wasn't it. So I started to look for areas outside of the job. But when you work for a company like that in an, in a situation like that, that takes up most of your waking hours, by the way.
Lori Saitz (18:39):
Yes. I know it drains all the energy. Yeah. Yeah. So you mentioned finding your purpose. What do you feel like you have found your purpose now and how did you, how did you get there? Because a lot of people feel like I don't know what my purpose is. I need to find my purpose, but how does one do that?
Jack Perez (19:03):
I would like to tell you that I know exactly how you find your purpose. And then I could send you a little map with the recipe and you can share it with all of your listeners and we will download this free PDF.
Lori Saitz (19:18):
Right? Exactly. The end of it. You will have your purpose.
Jack Perez (19:21):
Yeah. Didn't work that way. As a matter of fact, I, I, it, it, it revealed itself to me that makes any sense and how it did was once again, because I was unhappy. And you only noticed if you ever noticed, um, or like, are you a fan? Are you, are you, you're a music person. Right. Do you know, do you know the band Til Tuesday, Amy Mann? Do you remember that, man?
Jack Perez (19:53):
One of the most amazing songs she ever wrote was when she was in excruciating pain, right? Oh my God, this chick, right. When she's not feeling well, when she's in pain. So basically that I think we create more or we, we have to be more resolved or be more vulnerable or something. There's something about when we're not happy when things are not going well. And I guess maybe it's because our mindset is, well, I've got nothing to lose. It can't get much worse. Right.
Lori Saitz (20:25):
Or, or maybe It's because your soul is so ripped, open That you're willing to hear.
Jack Perez (20:28):
Yeah. You're willing to notice or here, because you're looking what happened was Lori, I started really struggling with being in my early fifties. I was going through menopause and it did not do, I did not do well in menopause. I didn't know much about it. I didn't even know. That's why I was feeling the crazy symptoms. And the symptoms ranged everywhere from, you know, your typical weight gain to, I couldn't regulate my emotions. I wasn't a good, I wasn't a good parent. I wasn't a good partner. I wasn't a good person to me. I wasn't even a good story of my own life. At that point in time, when I started digging deep to figure out how to fix that, I realized that I wasn't alone, that we had, I have so many women around me who were struggling with many of the same issues.
Jack Perez (21:24):
And that's when I realized that that's my purpose. And my purpose was to, to be part of the movement and lead the movement to normalizing aging. Because every person, if they're lucky enough, gets to age and every other human on the planet, more than every other human, because w women outnumber men, we go through menopause. We go through, if you've had children, you go through the empty nest. If you're lucky, right? If you did your job, you're going to go through that. You know, if you did your job, you're going to have aging parents that you have to deal with. And kids that are leaving the nest. So all these things that happen to us at this particular time of life that I didn't think, I didn't see it being normalized. It wasn't, you know, it's like, don't talk about it. Don't tell your employer. You're going through menopause. Don't bring your, don't bring the fact that you're weepy because your son graduated from high school and is leaving to go to college. Cause you'll be, you know, you'll be looked at like some weak woman and you, you can't show that to your employers. You can't show that to the world.
Speaker 3 (22:35):
Right? You can't be who you really are.
Jack Perez (22:39):
And the thing is that we all go through it. So why are we hiding it? Why isn't it considered normal? And then we get to share our normals with one another and help one another. Right? So that's what made me realize that that was my purpose because I was so unhappy. And when I was figuring it out for myself, I thought, okay, well, if this is quote unquote normal and every other everyone's aging and every other person is going through a lot of the same things that I'm going through. But no one's talking about it. We're not doing it together. We're not collaborating. We're not sharing. We're not lifting each other up. We're all doing it in our own little corners that has got to stop. That's got to stop, right?
Lori Saitz (23:26):
Because again, so many of us feel like I got it, I got it. It's just me. But I will power through because I'm tough or I can handle it. And you don't think to reach out for help or collaborate or even think, oh, is anybody else to ask the question? Is anybody else going through this? Right. It must just be me. Yeah.
Jack Perez (23:51):
And I do believe that each and every one of us can power through it. We can't, we can get through it. Yeah. Our mothers did it. Our grandmothers did it. We wouldn't have been doing it for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. But why? Just because we have been just because we can write why.
Lori Saitz (24:11):
Yeah. It's evolution allows us to find a better way. Exactly.
Jack Perez (24:18):
Here's a better way. Why not look for it? Why not employ it? Why not pursue it? So back to the whole purpose thing, not like I did some sort of exercise or went through some class or had a coach life coach that put me through my paces and you know, my, I journaled no, it literally hit me over the head, like a two by four, because I was so unhappy and couldn't find support. So I decided to build a support system
Lori Saitz (25:00):
To build the support system that you weren't finding elsewhere. Correct. One of the themes I'm hearing from you in our conversation is that you are very good at making deliberate decisions. How would you advise other people who maybe aren't so good at doing that too? If they wanted to be better at it?
Jack Perez (25:21):
Oh, it's so easy. Just remember you can make a different decision just as deliberately 30 seconds later. So you can make a decision and then decide to and decide. Yeah. Nothing is permanent. No. Right. I make decisions all the time. I'm a really great decision maker, but you come back five minutes from now and that decision I made five minutes ago, I might be telling you something completely different. And you're going to look at me like, but Jack, you just said, blah, blah, blah. And I said, yes, I did. And I a hundred percent believe that five minutes ago. But now this information that I did not have five minutes ago. And I'm telling you, this is the new decision. And I will be just as adamant about it because you can just always read aside, making the decision is important because it puts, it puts an anchor in place.
Jack Perez (26:13):
For me, it puts like a starting point. That's such a good way of putting it, putting an anchor. Yeah. It just gives me, it gives me a starting point. So then once I've decided something, I start pursuing it. If it's not what I thought it was, or isn't working out the way I want it to work out, or all of a sudden I have a piece of information, like back back what I was saying a little bit earlier about how this person brought this piece of information about where I should be taking my business and I didn't have it, but your perspective is so right. But she had it and she gave it to me. So I made a different decision and that's, do you see what I'm saying? So make the decision right.
Lori Saitz (26:52):
Make the decision. And when things change, which they always will, you can make a different decision, but you have to make a decision in order to move forward. Otherwise you're just kind of like you said, using that anchor. So if you're not making a decision and putting an anchor down, then you're just kind of floating around. If we're going to go with the boat analogy here, just kind of floating in the water, an unmoored.
Jack Perez (27:17):
And if you're not willing to make decisions for yourself, circumstances will make them for you. Decisions will correct.
Lori Saitz (27:26):
Yeah. You know what it reminds me of. So we were speaking to music. I always go back to the song analogies is Rush has that song. If you choose, what is it? Um, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
Jack Perez (27:38):
Yeah. Choosing not to choose is a choice. You chose it.
Lori Saitz (27:45):
And so you might as well make a choice that serves you as opposed to having it imposed upon you.
Jack Perez (27:51):
It always frustrates me when people say, well, I didn't have a choice. I'm like, that's just not true. That's just not factually correct.
Lori Saitz (28:06):
I have enjoyed our time together. And before we go, I need to ask you, what is your hype song? The song that you go to to charge you up fuel you when you need extra, an extra boost of energy, what's the song you listened to. Okay.
Jack Perez (28:28):
It's as embarrassing, but I don't care. It is don't rain on my parade. I Barbara Streisand originally from the movie funny girl. Yes. Yes. So it's, don't mind him, right? Yeah. Don't don't tell me not to fly. I simply got to, it's basically about I'm going to do it. I'm going to live my life. And if I fail, if I am not the shiny apple of its eye, that is my problem. Not anybody else's, but don't rain on my parade. Cause I'm going after it. And I love that song. I, I use it to run with, to jump rope, with, to sing in the kitchen in the mornings too. I mean, I just use that song all the time
Lori Saitz (29:11):
And she's such a great role model for a strong woman. Yeah. I love her. Yeah.
Jack Perez (29:18):
I love her. Pretty much lived life by her own standards, whatever that is. A lot of people don't like her because, because of that, but if she were, nobody would have ever said boo, about her by her own rules and her own. Yeah. She just makes her own rules and you know, and it's unapologetic for them and yeah. Yeah. I love it.
Lori Saitz (29:55):
How can people reach you and learn more about what you're doing now?
Jack Perez (30:02):
Well, I'm, I do have a digital platform that is dedicated to women in midlife and beyond so 45 plus it's called cool life and I spell cool. All crazy. As you know, since you're one of my cool life experts, it's K U E L life.com. If you, if you are a woman who's 45 plus just hop on out there. There are so many articles, uh, all, all relevant to women at this time about emptiness about great divorce money. Women have a lot of issues with money. I have three money experts. So there's a lot of amazing content that is curated specifically for this time of life. And for women, you can reach me through Instagram, through Facebook, through the site, you can just send me an email. I'm always looking for women to collaborate with. The other thing, Lori is that I do have that curated shopping experience on the site. So any of your listeners are women who own a brand like they have a jewelry brand or they're artists, or they make clothing. Please reach out to me. Let's see if you belong in that shop because that whole shopping experience is specifically designed to enable and empower women owned products. And I did that with intention because I want to be able to empower and support other women entrepreneurs. Right.
Lori Saitz (31:31):
And, and it is, it is such a fantastic collection
Speaker 3 (31:34):
Of, of goods in there.
Jack Perez (31:37):
Yeah. What's cool about it is that, you know, I mean, it's not, you're not going to get it in an Amazon truck, four hours from now because a lot of these items are handmade or made to order. They're, you know, they're not mass manufactured in China, so, but, but you get to purchase with a purpose. Seriously. Like if you buy something from one of these women, you are directly impacting their financial wellbeing, which makes me feel good when I buy something.
Lori Saitz (32:07):
Yeah. And you get something that is not what everybody else has. Correct. So I always love doing that.
Jack Perez (32:15):
It's great for intentional gift giving either to yourself or somebody else. Yeah.
Lori Saitz (32:19):
Yeah. Yeah. And we'll put links in the show notes to the website and to all your social media platforms. Thank you so much for joining me today. Jack has a special gift for my listeners. Tell us what it is.
Jack Perez (32:39):
I am willing and I want to give away a year membership to the cool life platform. There are plenty of perks, which I don't need to go into all the details. Maybe we can put the details in the, in the show. Sure, sure. If you click on the link in the show notes and um, give me your name and your email. I'll put you in a drawing that I will draw a woman after this show airs. We'll Lori. We'll get back to everybody who Instagram or social media and we'll announce a winner and give a year subscription away to cool life. I would love to. Yeah.
Lori Saitz (33:16):
Oh, what a wonderful gift. Thank you so much for sharing that. My pleasure. And thank you for being here with me on Fine is a 4-Letter Word.
Jack Perez (33:26):
Thank you, Lori. I had such a good time.