There’s such a focus on youth in our culture that sometimes we miss the fact that midlife is actually the most powerful time in our lives. Especially for women.
When I was 32 I attended a personal development course that involved creating a community project. We were to create an event or make something happen that would impact people positively.
But I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t think of an idea, and then when someone suggested one I liked, I couldn’t bring myself to make a single phone call about it or send a single email.
I had no ability to go beyond myself, to ask people for help, to lead something so visibly. I didn’t see myself as someone capable of causing anything, of making a difference to people. I felt powerless.
And this was me in my thirties, when I am meant to be at the top of my game.
Of course, realising this was the learning of the programme. That the things we tell ourselves about who we are play a large part in keeping us down. We write ourselves off and then others do too. And even though I learned this lesson then, it was in my midlife that I really came into my own.
Roll on 15 years and at 48 years old I found myself confidently speaking on BBC Scotland, on LIVE TV!
I my spare time I turned a vague idea about getting more women into politics into a UK charity with over 5,000 women going through our programmes. I did this whilst working full time running a business AND completing a Masters degree at the London School of Economics.
I couldn’t have done this without a major shift in my mindset. (And the help of other fabulous women!) From powerless to powerful. From tiny to confident. From hidden to visible. And in midlife this shift becomes easier.
This shift is possible for you too. Growing your confidence and reimagining your life is not only possible at midlife, I believe it’s necessary and we are so ripe for it. We are more ready at midlife than at any other time. Partly because we have gotten a lot of the stuff of life out the way – children, career progression – but also we’ve had enough of just focusing on others and tolerating so much stuff that just doesn’t work for us.
Here are my 5 tips for midlife fulfilment for women so you too can live life on purpose.
- Rediscover who you are. There is nothing wrong with you. You aren’t broken. You’ve just forgotten who are you. Rediscover your key strengths by looking back through your life, a decade at a time and pulling out the qualities you exhibited to get through and thrive. This is who you are. Apply those strengths to the challenges around you.
- Say no 5 times a day. Women are many times far too agreeable and take on far too much. The muscle of saying no atrophies and needs developed. Take on a practice of saying NO 5 times a day. No to coffee, no to that extra project, no to running your kids around. No to things that don’t work for you.
- Learn to disappoint people. When you say no people will be disappointed. That’s OK. It’s not the end of the world. They will forget and you can handle it. You don’t exist for them. Getting used to disappointing people is part of the midlife rebirth.
- Hang out with other midlife women. There just isn’t a cooler group of people than midlife women who have learned to deeply love themselves. Find this tribe and spend as much time with them as possible. They will feed you.
- Understand you will survive and thrive through menopause. You survived puberty, you survived childbirth or being childfree. You will not only survive menopause, you will greet the wise woman on the other side of it with relief and joy.
It’s not too late and you are not too old. #MidlifeRevolution