Meet Quest Maker Ronnie Ann Ryan
Quest Makers are women in their 40s and beyond who've declared
"now it's my time," and then set off on their own journeys to realize their dreams. Every month a Quest Maker is featured in the FREE e-newsletter, Your Next Quest Chronicles. Click here to enjoy archived issues.
Quest Maker Ronnie Ann Ryan
From finding Mr.Right (a labor of love!) to
a whole new career
When Ronnie Ann Ryan turned 40, she decided she didn't want to be single anymore and set out on her own quest to change that. In the process of finding her own Mr. Right, to whom she has been happily married for eight years, her journey led to a new career - that of the Dating Coach! Ronnie is now a certified coach, speaker, workshop leader and author of MANifesting Mr. Right: It's Never Too Late to Find the Love You Want.
When did you decide to embark on your journey?
My plan was to be married with kids. When I woke up on my 40th birthday and I was single, I was horrified. At first, I thought I could get used to being single for the rest of my life. By spring, I was flipping out. I hadn't dated much since 22. I went through my life thinking love would just happen. You need to do something different if you don’t like what is going on. That’s when I started thinking about doing some self assessment: How did I get here? What am I going to do differently?
How has your quest unfolded?
First thing I did was assess what I was doing to keep myself single. I thought being single just happened to me. I got some feedback from friends about opening my heart. They helped me see that I was not really open to men. Later I learned that being friendly is not the same thing as having an open heart.
I started dating in earnest that spring and dated 30 men in 15 months. In the process, I met my husband and got married. I thought, if I can do it anyone can, which led to writing my book, MANifesting Mr. Right. After I started writing the book, I attended coaching school and became certified. I started holding workshops and making appearances at women’s conferences. Last March, I even made my stage début. The producers of New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre production of “Bad Dates” invited me to perform my seminar before three performances of the play.
I had no idea that the labor of love would become a business and a whole career would unfold.
Looking back, what's one thing you wish you had realized?
There are two camps of single women: women who give men too many chances and women who don’t give men enough of a chance. For the first, stop listening to men's excuses. I learned that if they’re not in touch with you regularly, they aren’t interested.
On the flip side, give men a chance. What I did was create a baseball park theory about men. The best guy is at home plate and other interesting men are on the bases. However, if you’re willing to talk to everyone in the ballpark, you have more of a chance of meeting someone who clicks with you.
A lot of women insist they are not going to settle. I don’t like that word. You have to be realistic about who men are. They are not all George Clooney. George has bad boy energy, yet women don’t realize he is not the settle down kind of guy. Women think if he is not going to be as fabulous as me, I’m not going to be bothered. That is the crux of the dating issue.
What is the one essential quality that you'd tell women to pack for their own path?
A sense of humor about the process. I had a lot of bad dates that I turned into stories to tell my friends so we could laugh. If you take it really seriously you can get miserable really fast. I could have gotten depressed that none of it was working and I didn’t.
Can you describe how you dealt with any obstacles on your adventure?
You are going to get rejected. What you do is to keep moving and meet more people. Sometimes you think it’s not fair. While that might be true, you have got to keep moving forward. When you think of it, you can apply how you deal with dating obstacles to anything in your life.
How did you make time for your dream?
I decided it was a priority. We are all insanely busy. Without making it a priority, finding love is very hard to achieve. That is a really big problem for women. I hear many of them say, “I really don’t have time to have all these coffee dates.” If you don’t have time for the coffee dates, you don’t have time for a man.
What helped you stay on your quest’s path?
Blind faith. From a personal perspective, I knew I was on the path for a reason – that I was going to find love. What helped me from a business perspective is knowing I am on this path for a reason and I’m going somewhere. I've been doing this for almost 8 years!
It’s Never Too Late for Love is fun. What I do is very creative for me. I love working with people. I get to write on my blog, create new products and think up new ways to market them.
What's been the secret to reaching your goals?
That’s very hard to answer. I think it depends on your belief system. You have to be persistent and open minded. There’s got to be some luck, some serendipity or kismet involved, too, especially when you hear the stories of how people meet or where someone's success came from.
How did you meet your husband?
My friend Carol invited me out for a drink at a local restaurant with a huge patio bar. I thought it would be a good opportunity to continue my search. When I saw she had invited a whole group of friends, I was upset. You can’t look for men in a pack. Then I told myself to lighten up and get over it. I decided to make the best of it. As I told my dating stories I hit it off with one of Carol’s friends. My persistence and being open minded led to kismet. She happened to have a single brother and told me, “I think Paul would really like you.” I actually never expected him to call me. Two days later he did and 20 months later we were married.
What's the best advice for your quest that you've ever received?
Regarding men: I had trimmed my confidantes to two girlfriends who had dated a lot and knew men. They were willing to be honest with me when I shared what happened on dates. You know, we all create these scenarios about what men say and what we think they mean. Their advice was none of that really matters. Pay attention to their actions, not their words.
Regarding business: It would be "Spaghetti Marketing." Some people throw spaghetti against the wall to see if it’s done. Treat marketing the same way. Throw different strategies against the wall to see what sticks or what works. Marketing is an art, not a science. You don’t know what is going to work for you. You may need try a new way or look at what you’re doing from a different perspective. Sure, there are some disciplines to marketing. But because the business climate is changing so rapidly you may not be able to replicate what was successful for someone else three years ago.
Is there a particular quote, a movie, a book or a person that has sustained you?
The homework I give to coaching clients is to watch the movie, Something’s Gotta Give and observe how Diane Keaton’s character is totally cut off from men. At the beginning of the moview, you’ll see it in how uncomfortable Erica Barry is with men and in how she dresses (turtlenecks in July). When I saw the movie, I felt so validated because I have always told women, if you want to meet men don’t wear turtlenecks!
|At the beginning of the movie. . .||At the end of the movie. . .|
Business-wise I’m still looking!
Do you have a new quest around the corner?
Last winter, I started my second book which focuses on getting real about the men you are willing to date and aligning your intentions with your actions. Just recently, I recorded MANifesting Mr. Right on audio, which is now being professionally edited and produced in time for the holidays.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would say some dreams happen really fast and some take a long time and I don’t know why that’s so. But it is. If you have a dream and you really want it, take breaks if you want to but stick it out. It's the only way I know to get what you want.
To learn more about her coaching practice, It's Never Too Late for Love, Ronnie Ann Ryan and her book MANifesting Mr. Right: It's Never Too Late to Find the Love You Want, visit her website, send her an email or call her at 203.877.3777.
If you'd like to read the essay and the Journal Sparker inspired by Ronnie's interview, click here to enjoy October's YNQ Chronicles.