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.
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:-)
Have you ever felt as though you were living the same day over and over again? It’s frustrating when the job you once loved starts to feel like Groundhog Day. It’s easy to blame yourself. Why can’t I stick with anything longer than 12 months? Why do I get bored so easily? Before you do anything rash it’s worth taking a closer look at the reason why you’re feeling this way.
In my experience, the number one reason people get bored is because the job is no longer a challenge. How often have you played it safe when it comes to taking on a job? If you’re bored it could be because you’re playing small and not doing all that you’re capable of.
This happened to one of my favourite characters in a recent episode of Million Dollar Listing New York. If you don’t watch the show, here’s the overview. Ryan had a career crisis because he was feeling bored with his business. He consulted a psychologist, took some time off and tried to reconnect with the work he was doing in the early days when everything was new and exciting. After a lot of soul searching he realised that he was bored because he’d stopped taking risks in his business (spoiler alert: he went out and bought a Brooklyn real estate agency!).
You know what I’m going to say next.
1) Figure out how you can take more risks
What can you do that would be a stretch for you now? What bold moves can you take to achieve your version of a Brooklyn real estate brokerage?
If leaving your current job is not an option, can you develop a side hustle? This could be giving talks at conferences and events, hosting your own event or taking on some consulting work. I have done this myself in the past. When I wanted to improve my public speaking skills (and get over my nerves), I spoke at events and took on additional projects like teaching workshops. All of these tasks pushed me outside of my comfort zone where I could grow and develop my skills.
If you want to take on more responsibility at work start with how you can make life easier for your manager. What could you offer to take off of her plate that would be make your role more challenging? This brings me to my next point.
2) Ask for what you want
You would be surprised by how many people I see unhappy at work but unwilling to ask for a change in their role. It’s funny how we resist taking the simplest action to change our careers. Go and ask for what you want. Most managers want to have happy staff so if you want to have more responsibility or reduce your hours to take a course or start a business, your manager may be more open to it than you think.
The key to doing this successfully is to make it clear what you want and then be willing to negotiate to make it happen. Don’t give up if he says no to your first request. It’s important to work together to come up with a solution that works for everyone.
But what if you’re not sure what you want?
3) Become an observer
Start by becoming an observer of what you do right now. You will find valuable clues about what could be next for you. When you don’t know who you’re becoming, you can begin by articulating the 5 per cent that you can see (a fabulous post by Tara Mohr on this here).
Here’s how to do this. Set an intention to observe your day to gain insight about your situation. Then switch into observer mode at work. Watch yourself as you perform your daily tasks, interact with people and go about your business. What do you notice about how you conduct yourself? The impact you have? How you feel? Notice where you feel the most joy, the most resentment and keep an eye out for situations that bring out the best in you and make you feel good at the same time. It’s as though you are sitting on your shoulder watching everything play out. You will naturally switch back and forth between observer and doer which is fine. I always discover something new when I do this.
4) Share your feelings with your colleagues
In Million Dollar Listing, Ryan consulted with a psychologist and his wife. But if you can, I believe talking things through with a colleague can be helpful. If you have a good relationship with your co-workers they can give you valuable insights into why you might be feeling less than enthused about your job. Maybe burnout is an issue in your industry and your colleagues have been through similar challenges. They can also give you helpful feedback about what they see as your strengths. Remember that the people you work with, including your manager, might have advice on how you could vary your role or switch to another job altogether. It’s ok to admit that you’re not fully enjoying your work and ask for help.
5) Clear the clutter
I’m talking about the mental clutter that often weighs us down when it comes to work. Whether it’s the thousand emails sitting in your inbox, the number of meetings you attend, or the colleague who consistently asks you for time-consuming favours. Whatever it is, ask yourself: What do I need to let go of here? What’s getting in the way of me doing my best work? Some of the issues that have come up for me in the past include: people pleasing, the desire to do everything perfectly and the need to do everything myself. Trust me, the world won’t fall apart if you don’t respond to every email or explain to a colleague that you can’t respond to every request. How can you help them in a way that’s less time consuming for you? Can you delegate this aspect of your job?
When you decide to let go of the things that are getting in the way you’ll open up more space for the work you need to focus on. Be warned, letting go can make you feel a bit wobbly at first because you’re breaking new ground. If this is bringing up a few objections for you, start with something small. Once you see results, it will give you the courage to tackle bigger issues.
6) Review your goals
What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months? Write down your top three goals and think about how your job will help you to achieve them, whether it’s continuously developing your skills, gaining experience or buying a new home. Reframe your current role as a positive addition to your life. Instead of constantly thinking: I don’t want to go to work today, a new affirmation might be: My job supports my personal and professional growth.
If it turns out that this job is not going to help you achieve that goal, then of course it’s time to look for a new opportunity. The advantage of doing these exercises is that you will gain so much clarity on whether your current role is still right for you, or whether you’ve outgrown it and it’s time to move on.
I would love to hear how these tips work out for you in the comments. In the meantime I wish you an amazing and inspiring day 🙂
1) I’m too old and no one will want to hire me:-(
2) I can’t earn decent money doing what I love.
3) I don’t have enough time to study/attend interviews/figure out what I really want to do.
4) My life is already too stressful. I haven’t got the energy to focus on changing my job.
5) The industry I want to work in is full of low-paid workers in casual employment.
6) The job market is too competitive.
7) If I started my own business I wouldn’t have a consistent income.
8) I’m not an expert in anything.
9) I can’t change my job because I have a mortgage and kids.
10) The field I’m interested in is too political/specialised/hard to break into.
11) My husband/wife/mother wouldn’t like it if I went back to study.
12) Someone else deserves the job/promotion more than I do.
13) I haven’t worked hard enough for it.
14) There are no opportunities for someone like me. You need experience/a higher degree/more confidence.
15) I wouldn’t want to work 60 hour weeks and all the social workers/lawyers/business owners I know work those hours
16) The economy is in a downturn so I should hang on to the job I have until things improve.
17) I want to be in a senior role but I don’t want to manage a team or take on more responsibility.
18) It would take too long to retrain, and then I would be too old (see pt 1 above).
19) You need to be really aggressive / cut-throat to make it in that industry.
20) I’d have to take a pay cut.
21) I don’t know if I would really like it.
22) I don’t know what to do.
23) I should probably wait until the kids go to college/my husband gets a better job/we move house/I win the lottery…
Do you recognise any excuses on this list?
The first step towards making any change in your life is getting honest and real about what’s stopping you (hint: it usually has a lot more to do with what’s going on between your ears than reality).
As Woody Allen has said, 80 per cent of success is showing up.
What will you show up for today?
PS: If you want to get over your objections and create a viable plan for your future I can help. You can book your Free Discovery Session here to chat with me first, or book your Single Shot Coaching Session here.
I know you’ve been there too. It feels like pushing a giant boulder up a hill. You keep pushing even though you feel burdened and trapped. You can’t see any option but to keep going. If you stop you’ll just get flattened by that damned boulder. You can’t even complain because you have no one to blame but yourself.
After months, even years of this, you wake up and see clearly for the first time, that freedom is just one decision away. It’s been there all along. You couldn’t see it before because you were too busy doing what you felt you should, ought, must do.
Like those times when you:
Let someone else dictate your schedule or agenda without question or pushback.
Stopped yourself from pressing publish or send because you were too afraid of what your peers and colleagues might think.
Followed someone else’s advice because you didn’t trust yourself enough to forge your own path.
We humans are hardwired to please and I believe unfailingly in generosity, collaboration and taking the opinions of others on board, but there’s something I’ve learned the deep dark hard way.
If you don’t honour your desires, then you’re in no position to serve others.
To be really useful, you must give from a full cup.
I’m not talking about getting enough rest or ‘me’ time, although that’s important too. I’m talking about saying yes to the projects that are calling out to you, honouring the commitments you make to yourself (yes including a new career), and most of all, allowing more joy into your tightly scheduled work life.
The rewards for following the call of your heart are great even when decisions feel tough in the moment.
Because no one ever achieved their dreams by pleasing others or avoiding letting them down at all costs.
The good news is you won’t be doing any of this alone.
When you honour your desires you get to co-create with the universe, God, spirit, source – whatever name resonates – in all that you do.
This amazing power source is always available to you.
The question is: are you going to work with it, or keep pushing it away like that annoying boulder?