Startup Accelerator Spotlight: Lynn
Finding Your True North After Losing Your Spouse
In 2019, Lynn, who takes GetSetUp classes courtesy of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Library of Michigan, and her husband moved to a 20-acre wooded property in rural Michigan. Sadly, her husband passed away less than a year later. Becoming a widow was the hardest thing she’d ever faced. In addition to her grief, she felt isolated due to the pandemic, recent retirement, and being far from her hometown.
She attended counseling but didn't find it helpful because there was nothing wrong with her mental health. There was just a lot to figure out.
"When you become a widow, you are consumed with all of these decisions that need to be made related to wills, finances, accounts, etc. After making the necessary decisions, it can be difficult for widows to figure out what they want to do next with their lives. I want to provide a support system through coaching to help widows figure out what they want now and in the future by creating a positive space where there is a glimpse of a wonderful future."
When she joined the Startup Accelerator Program, she wasn't entirely sure what direction she wanted to take with her idea. She got a lot of good feedback from the other participants, but she wanted to make sure she stayed true to herself.
An assignment on brand building gave her the clarity she was looking for. The first task was to create a blueprint of how you want the world to see your business. What's your purpose and what are your promises?
"That exercise helped me put everything back in focus and say, 'You know, I just want to be the best little podcaster out there. I want my website; I want the blog.’ I enjoy writing, speaking, and recording. These things are manageable, and now I'm excited again. I was pleased that that brought me to what I really, personally want."
Lynn is tech-savvy and taught herself to use Audacity to produce her podcast, We to Just Me - Widow Support. And she's created a website, We to just me - Finding your True North after Losing Your Spouse.
The podcasts are meant to be a form of encouragement. She tries to keep them slightly humorous and says there are moments of laughter but also tears.
She covers the challenges of being a widow while living in a national forest and a mile from the main road - fixing the tractor, plowing snowed-in roads, dealing with power outages, and carrying a chainsaw in her Jeep.
"Before, if there were a problem such as a downed tree in the road, my husband would bring the truck down with the chainsaw and clear it. I don't have that now. When your husband is there, the two of you can solve problems together. I was used to having somebody to bounce ideas off of, and suddenly there's no one."
Her podcasts include tales of woe with happy endings as well as recommendations, such as keeping a list of what you'll do the next time something goes wrong, like a power outage.
In addition, her blog posts are short-form, daily life reflections, and encouragement.
In addition to spending time on her podcast and website, Lynn stays very busy. She volunteers to teach students about marine life in Lake Michigan, kayaks, and hikes and has plans to be a volunteer lighthouse keeper on Lake Superior this summer. She also harvests sap from the countless maple trees on her property and makes syrup for friends and family. She looks forward to the future and helping other women who've suffered a loss.
"I am hoping that my website will help those feeling lost embrace being 'just me' and find their true north.'"
Follow Lynn's progress with the Startup Accelerator Program and her journey to help others cope with grief and find hope for the future