Seeking Success in Midlife

 By: Anne Uemura, Ph.D.
By the time a woman reaches her midlife she has shed many of the idealistic and romantic notions that her previous goals and dreams were founded on. The middle years can bring unwelcome revelations about a woman's marriage or relationships, health, career path, spirituality and overall personal development. So it's not too surprising that seeking success in midlife is both a touchy subject and a hot topic.

While you may not be convinced that all the symptoms of middle age are to be enjoyed, there is reason for a positive outlook. If you look you'll find significant scientific and anecdotal evidence supporting the fact that the midlife years can be used for unusual personal growth and development. "In a 1997 survey by the North American Menopause Society, more than half of American women aged forty-five to sixty viewed menopause as the beginning of a new and fulfilling stage of life." Women who tend to feel successful during the midlife years are those who are able to use their struggles as an impetus for change.

- Transforming Struggles into Success in Midlife

From menopause to illness and death, midlife tends to pile on the responsibilities and burdens. This happens at a time when many women expect to be enjoying greater freedom and rewards for their years of hard work. For instance, your own experience may seem to suggest that life is just a struggle and you need to accept it.

Yes, life is hard. But successful midlife women find a way to use their struggles to better their lives. The first step is to acknowledge and accept fully your discontent. Then start turning to what would make you smile. It could mean a new and more fulfilling career, a better relationship, better physical condition or an improved financial state.

- Defining Success for Women in Midlife

Success-coaches find that most women know exactly what they don't want in their lives: e.g., poverty, loneliness, illness. However the key to building a successful midlife experience is to invest fully in gaining with full clarity and detail the vision you want to create.

Coaching women through midlife has become one of the fastest growing careers because permanent change is so hard to implement. Just think of how many struggle and fail trying to lose weight, manage money or start exercising. When a woman seeking success in midlife employs a life coach to guide her they both will need to take some very specific steps regardless of the individual journey.

Since all permanent change is rooted in your underlying beliefs you must be willing to examine your preconceived notions about your self and the world. For instance, if your mother raised you to believe that a healthy woman "has a little meat on her bones" your attempts to lose weight are combated by your subconscious believing that that is an unwise move. We are full of beliefs that don't serve us. Most of us cannot see ourselves without bias, which is why a life coach can add clarity and perspective to this process.

Once you have identified your coach she needs to have the resources to help you rewire key thoughts so you won't recreate the past. Also from your dreams and list of "wants" for your life, you need to dig deep to find out what the best idea of your life purpose is. What goals would be in line with this life purpose? Then you and your coach will need to outline an action based on achieving those goals. Finally, you will embark on the journey with your coach guiding, prompting and helping you along the way.

- Build a Community for Success in Midlife

The concept of a life coach really goes back centuries. They were referred to as wise elders and given much respect. We have lost that tribal connection, and women need to build community and seek out mentors in other ways. One of the benefits of choosing a life coach is that you can seek out someone who has already been down the path that you are traveling and can point out both barriers and shortcuts to midlife success.

In addition, you can look for or create a support group of midlife women within your community, church or other organization. Having other women who intend to create the best opportunity for themselves in their present challenges are good to have on your side. Mastermind groups as described by Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich are a specific form of a support group.

The challenges of the midlife years can be seen as a wake-up call. Stop to take a long look at your life and the path you are traveling. Remember Lao-tsu said: "If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."

Your struggles can be transformed into the power to pave a new path that leads toward a more fulfilling future. Midlife offers a huge opportunity if you are willing to invest in you and adopt new ways of thinking.
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