None of us could have anticipated how things have changed since the start of the last decade. We are now governed by leaders many of whom are, at best, untrustworthy and at worst unhinged, and certainly offer no good example or moral compass. Technology means we live our lives in full technicolour, our brains constantly on alert. In recent times, our place in the world has never felt more vulnerable.
It seems unlikely to change any time soon. I believe that the vulnerability we feel as we watch our core values eroded and our traditional way of being questioned, is here to stay. We will need to work out how to survive and flourish within this new landscape. We will have to understand that there are many things over which we have no control BUT, despite how it might sometimes feel, how we want to live our life is not one of them.
Rather than wearying ourselves, it should prompt us to be pro-active in making the very best of our individual lives. It will require us to adapt our behaviours and question our traditional beliefs if we are to enjoy lasting happiness rather than ongoing anxiety. As women in the second half of our lives, learning how to do this will serve us well as we face the additional challenges of ageing and, some would say, ageism.
At our Christmas party, I had a number of fascinating conversations on this very topic. It seems that many women of a certain age start to feel somewhat lacking in purpose, ‘stuck in a rut’, or metaphorically pushed aside. One lady used the term ‘diminished’ which I thought summed up the phenomenon perfectly. It has been playing on my mind ever since.
As women, our natural instincts are to nurture others and to prioritise their needs before our own. Admirable of course, but I wonder if it is that very quality that can also work against us? How often do we stop and consider our own needs? What are the things that really lift us up and make our heart sing? By contrast, who or what drags us down? The truth is, happiness lies in defining our true purpose, not in relation to anyone else but wholly independent of.
Lay the foundations
The dawn of a new decade is the perfect time to take a long hard look at your life as it is currently. It is a chance to assess which parts are just as you want and which areas might need some attention.
Many coaches use the ‘Wheel of Life’ as a useful tool to hone in on this. By rating each aspect, it helps to prevent the overwhelm and identifies priorities. Hard as it may be, it is important to be brutally honest with yourself if you are going to make the progress you want and deserve.
Having identified the focus areas, you can start to work out what perfect might look like. Enjoy this part. Try not to be limited by ‘buts’ or ‘shoulds’. Build a vision that really excites you without worrying about the ‘how’. Think about all the things that lift you up – how can you do more of them while restricting the things that drag you down? Take yourself to task if you encounter any limiting beliefs – especially if they are age related.
The way we feel about ourselves is critical. If you approach things negatively or with a lack of self-belief, that will immediately limit your chances of success. Don’t allow your feelings and behaviours to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Approach everything in a ‘can do’ frame of mind and you’ll achieve more than you ever thought possible.
Next, work out the path that might lead you to your perfect situation. Often this is a series of tiny steps which can make things seem far more manageable. Taking consistent action however small, is the most important thing. Each step will get you a little further towards your goal and it is a much better way of getting results that are sustainable rather than an all or nothing approach.
What’s the worst that can happen?
There will be a time in the journey when big action is required and you may need to take the leap of faith. Having assessed the risks and listened to your gut feeling, don’t be afraid to push beyond your comfort zone. As the book says: ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. You’ll be amazed at what you will find on the other side and your confidence will be massively boosted in the process. Learning to tune in to the cues that your intuition is giving you, and trusting in yourself and the universe to deliver, is a super exciting journey. Taking leaps can get quite addictive!
I will leave you with a thought from Trixy, our very wise and insightful massage therapist. We were discussing making changes and talking about how sometimes you have to take action before you are really clear on what comes next. She pointed out that the things which may have previously served you well can, at some point, become no longer ‘part of your story’. It really resonated with me. We are each in charge of writing our own story, whatever age we are. Every chapter can be exactly how you want it to be – but not if you don’t stop to decide which story you want to tell.
So , what’s your story for 2020 and beyond..? I’d love to know!