Are having a midlife crisis? If you are, chances are it’s not much fun (cue the desire for sports cars, alcohol, affairs and anything that might give you a temporary high).
We rarely view this time of life in a positive light, but it can be the catalyst for a more fulfilling life, providing you with an opportunity to chart a new course toward the future you always wanted but were afraid you couldn’t have.
I’m no astrology expert, but there are reasons why we experience this upheaval in our middle years. Just as our Saturn Return (or quarter life crisis) can trigger events that move us toward adulthood, astrological cycles mean that we experience a midlife crisis around the age of 40-42 when we’re forced to take a look at what’s no longer working in our lives. Having reached life’s midpoint there’s this ‘now or never’ energy as we realise it’s our last chance to create the life we imagined for ourselves in our 20s.
If you resist these changes, things can start to fall apart either in your relationships or career. From what I’ve seen in my own life and those of my clients, it’s not uncommon for both to fall apart at the same time (don’t panic if you’re about to turn 40 though, it doesn’t have to happen this way!). In astrological terms these transits are the Pluto square, the Uranus opposition, the Neptune square, and the Saturn opposition. In essence, these transits are pushing you to evolve further into your authentic self.
During my midlife crisis I was going through a divorce while building my skills and knowledge in a new industry with a young baby in tow. Yes it was challenging. Yes I was dealing with a great deal of loss. But the important thing is that it ultimately led to a much brighter future for me, and it can for you too.
So how do you know if you’re having a midlife crisis?
You might feel restless or confused about who you are now and what you want out of life. Maybe you’re questioning your values and priorities. Are you leading the life you wished for? Continuing on with your old life may even start to seem impossible. This is why you often see people abruptly leave jobs and marriages, or sell their house to go live in Paris for a year. The old way of living is no longer in alignment with the person they are becoming and it’s more painful to stay where they are than it is to change.
If this is happening to you, here’s what I would suggest:
1) Don’t be afraid to let go
The first step is to stop feeling like a failure and to release the shame of not having everything figured out by age 40 (no one does!). When you understand that this process will lead you to a better future, you can start taking action with a little more courage and lean into the changes. It’s never too late to change your life.
A midlife crisis will often coincide with a spiritual awakening, a growing awareness that there’s more to life than what you’ve been led to believe so far. This could mean anything from developing a meditation practice, seeing a kinesiologist, getting coaching or counselling, attending a church or reading personal development books. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it helps develop your self-awareness and tune into your inner guidance.
2) Give yourself permission to want what you want
Figuring out what you really want is a critical first step and it can take a bit of time to unearth. It’s amazing how we go through life without giving serious thought to our desires, often because we don’t believe deep down that we can have them.
It can also be confronting when you realise there’s this big yawning chasm between what you want and your current situation, but now is the time to be honest with yourself. Your midlife crisis is an opportunity to let go of all your old beliefs and patterns, and replace them with new ways of thinking that will support your path to a happier life.
3) Visualise your future self
When you think of your future self, what do you see? Pay attention to your secret dreams, the ones you don’t reveal to anyone. They might be based on thoughts, feelings or visions you have about your future.
When I was going through my career transition I had visions of myself as a teacher which at the time, seemed unlikely, not just because I was absolutely terrified of public speaking, but because I had no idea what I could possibly teach others. This vision or idea wouldn’t go away so I came to understand that it was part of my path, and since then I’ve led many workshops and even given a keynote (miracles are possible!).
Who do you see yourself becoming? Your answer will give you clues about which steps to take next.
If you’re going through your own midlife crisis right now, I hope this helped. If it resonated I’d love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or book in for an appointment.
If you’re curious about how I work with people you can find out about my 90 day coaching program here.
If you’re anything like me, you will be carving out time this month to set goals and make exciting plans for the year ahead. Whether it’s time to plan a girls’ trip to New York, learn to knit or finally write the book, there’s nothing like a new year to give you the momentum to finally get moving.
I’ve tried a multitude of goal-setting methods over the years. Some have helped me to make big shifts, while others lay forgotten in my journal all year. What I’ve learned is that there’s a lot more to goal setting than writing a list of new resolutions each year. But you know that already or you wouldn’t have read this far.
Here is my favourite method for setting goals you can stick to and achieve mainly because you’re actually truly excited by them (this is so key). I can’t stress enough how important it is not to set too many goals for yourself. You’re going to feel so much better about achieving one major goal than you are about half-assing 10 different things.
1) What do you want to experience this year?
A six figure income? More time for yourself? The wind blowing in your hair as you finally take that road trip you promised yourself? Think about how these experiences will make you feel. Do you want to feel inspired, energised, affluent? Write it all down.
2) What do you want to make more time for?
Latin dance classes, reading books, margaritas with friends, sex. I know you’re already busy but what are you craving more of? What would you do if you had an extra couple of hours a day? Add that to your list.
3) What contribution do you want to make?
In your job, your family, social groups, the world. Maybe the contribution you want to make this year is to your work, a charity organisation or maybe it’s to your marriage. You have to decide what’s most important and prioritise it so that it actually gets on your calendar.
4) What do you want people to say about you after you die?
It might sound like an odd one for goal setting but in essence this question means, who do you want to become? You can never ask this enough in my opinion.
Now review your list because it’s time to get serious.
5) Which of your goals/desires are in conflict?
For example if you want to have a baby this year, but you also want to have a gap year working with children in Cambodia, you’re going to have some major challenges making them both happen!
Evaluate which ones are the most important to you.
6) What will bring you the most joy?
Which are you most excited about? What will be easy? Who can help you out?
Next consider where you most want to make a contribution and your ‘what people will say about me after I die’ list. Which of your goals will help you to embody those qualities? Where can you have the most impact?
When you finish you should have no more than three goals.
Three is probably doable if you’re not too busy. One goal is just fine.
I highly recommend setting quarterly goals to work towards and then breaking it down again month by month. You might even decide to focus on one goal per quarter so that you can stay focussed (this works for me).
Remember that we tend to overestimate what we can achieve in a year. But please don’t let that put you off doing this exercise. Because as Seth Godin once said:
The thing about goals is that living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run. It seems to me, though, that the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact… those people have goals.”
This post first appeared on the Firebrand Talent Blog.
In my line of work, I see a lot of job seekers who’ve become frustrated with the job search process. I tend to see them when they’re at breaking point after sending out 100 résumés with nothing to show for it.
What they often don’t realise is that by using just one strategy to find a job (i.e. the advertised market) they’re seriously limiting themselves. For many of us, this simply isn’t the most effective way to find work.
When you want a new job and you’re coming up blank, you’ve got to be willing to throw everything at it and try a different approach.
Here are my top tips for job seekers who want to find their ideal job without the struggle:
1) Be willing to do what other job seekers are not
This isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s actually one of my favourite strategies because it’s the easiest way to get a job. Pitching to a hiring manager or picking up the phone to invite someone for coffee, are things that most people simply don’t do. Why? These strategies bring up a lot of resistance for people because they’re anticipating how uncomfortable they will feel.
I see job seekers spend hours on a job application but they won’t take five minutes to call an employer about a job. If you can get past the discomfort, which only lasts a few seconds, you will be one of the few who do this.
You also get to find out if the job is actually right for you before applying. Plus you’ll have an opportunity to build rapport with the hiring manager to see if this is someone you want to work for.
True story: I once called an employer about a job ad that had closed. I was kicking myself that I’d missed it. The job had already gone to another candidate but the manager told me about another role that had not yet been advertised (I got the job).
Always, always pick up the phone.
2) Become a serial coffee dater
I highly recommend you start asking strangers out for coffee. It may feel slightly awkward the first couple of times, but when you’re looking for a new role, you need insights from people in the industry. I also believe that way more job offers are made over cups of frothy latte than at interviews — and for good reason.
If I was going to hire someone, I would much prefer a casual coffee meeting than a formal interview, where it’s sometimes hard to get a sense of what people are really like. If you reach out to a hiring manager, many will take the time to meet with you, if you approach them the right way.
Reaching out to others for advice and insights on their experience is a sure sign that you’re a highly motivated individual, and that’s attractive to employers.
3) Believe in what you can’t see
One trap that’s easy to fall into when you apply for jobs through the advertised market is the belief that your job search is a zero-sum game. It’s easy to have a scarcity mindset when you’re seeing so few jobs being advertised and you know you’re up against hundreds of applicants.
The competition is real when you’re answering a job ad, but you’re not seeing the full picture. Advertised roles represent only a fraction of the opportunities that are out there.
When you believe in what you can’t see, it’s easier to put yourself in situations where you’re the only candidate under consideration.
4) Make it into a game
I know job hunting is a long way from being fun. But there are ways to make it more enjoyable and when you loosen up, things seem to flow a little more easily.
I learned a trick from a mentor to help you think more creatively. You come up with three ways you could tackle a goal or challenge. For example: What are three ways I could approach this employer? Prepare for my interview? Or design my résumé? What are three ways I could get this person to say yes to my request? I always come up with a lot of new ideas whenever I do this exercise.
If you do it every day, even practising with mundane things like what to cook for dinner, it helps to build your creative muscle.
Try it and see how you go!
What’s been your most successful job search strategy?
Here are some of the questions I hear all the time: Do you think I should apply for this job? Should I go back to study or get some experience first? Should I call them? What should I say if they call me? Please tell me what to do!
No judgement because I’ve been there too. You don’t need me to tell you that you’re the expert on your life. But fear and insecurity can play tricks on you, making you believe that just because you’ve made mistakes in the past, you can’t be trusted to be in charge.
You’ll be glad to know there is a way to bypass all of that drama. Start paying attention to how you feel. Daily. Hourly. As often as humanly possible. Your feelings hold the key to the decision you’re struggling with.
Yet how often have you neglected to take them seriously? Pushed them aside or blamed yourself for having them in the first place? You were just being too sensitive/angry/impatient/weird right?
A little while ago I had an epiphany. After years of trying to follow my inner guidance I realised that my feelings are the guidance. How else is divine spirit supposed to talk to you?
It’s strange how when it comes to situations that could put us or a family member in harm’s way we trust our gut without question, yet when it comes to other areas of our lives like our careers or our love lives we often dismiss or ignore our feelings entirely and then wonder why things went so pear-shaped.
Is it any wonder we doubt our own judgement when we’ve spent so long ignoring the very thing we can count on? It’s not easy to break the habit of a lifetime but you can start small and make this a habit.
How do you feel when you get home after a long day at work? When you pick up the phone to make the call? When you think about how you’re spending the holiday season?
How do you want to feel as you close out the year?
Start making small changes based on that feeling and see what happens.
Imagine what could happen if you started trusting yourself.
PS: If you know anyone who could do with reading this today, please forward this post:-)
PPS: If you are looking to work with a coach next year, this is a friendly reminder that it’s your last chance to save $400 on my 90 Day Starting Over Coaching Package. From this Friday 15th December the price goes back up to $2500. You can book here, or sign up for a Discovery Call to chat first.
PPPS: Finally I want to wish you the merriest of Christmases and a very joyful new year!! Much love to you xxx
I’ve been going through another transition lately, not a particularly dramatic one but significant enough to trigger lots of growing pains and resistance.
Even when you know you need to make a change, the ego will do everything to block you, throwing your most deeply held fears in your way.
You might be afraid of losing all that you’ve worked for or that you’ll suffer a drop in income (this is very common).
You may also be worried about how you will be perceived if you make this change.
These fears are designed to keep you stuck in old patterns and ways of being and they can be hard to shake.
If you have a pattern of hiding, for example, or doing everything yourself without help from others, it’s much tougher to make great leaps forward in your career (ask me how I know about that one!).
The only way to move around these obstacles is to change your perception and remember that your fears are not based in reality.
It’s not about turning a critical eye inward either. You must be kind to yourself throughout this process.
Would it help to know that it’s not just you?
Every creature on earth finds change hard. For example not all caterpillars spin their cocoons at the same time. I didn’t know that until I heard this story on Heather Dominick’s podcast. Apparently some of them resist the process of metamorphosis for up to a year, preferring to cling to their familiar larval life than change into the beautiful butterfly they were destined to be.
This state of clinging even has a name. It’s called the Diapause, a period of suspended development between resistance and letting go.
While I understand intellectually that letting go doesn’t result so much in loss as renewal, my reptilian brain takes a little more convincing.
As I try and let go (one fingernail at a time) I remember how:
Letting go of the job I had loved but outgrown felt expansive
Letting go of the idea that my career should follow a ‘conventional’ path felt freeing
Letting go of more money so that it could flow with more ease felt abundant.
The process of letting go has turned out to be my salvation, allowing in more of what my soul craved.
Just as the caterpillar eventually moves out of its diapause and yields to the cocoon, we have to keep taking that next leap of faith so that we too can transition, remembering that a more beautiful, truer future is waiting in the wings if we can just bring ourselves to simply let go.
What do you need to let go of?
PS: If your current career path is no longer serving you, I have a special offer for you. If you book before December 15th you can take $400 off the cost off my 90 Day Starting Over Program. I’m now taking bookings for January. You can book a Discovery Call to start the process or read more about the program here. Wishing you every blessing:-)