Midlife Crisis or Opportunity?

crisisIn my practice I focus on coaching clients who are in some form of a life transition. I think of transitions as opportunities to reintegrate all that we have already been with all that we have the capacity and desire to become. Often such transitions take place during midlife, when we naturally assess our lives, both personally and professionally, and consider how we want to spend the next half.

The challenge in our culture is many don’t want to think of themselves yet as being in the second half, or midlife.   I know when I turned 50 I heard over and over that it was really just the new 30. Then there’s that pesky word that often follows the word midlife and that’s crisis.

The Chinese symbol for the word “crisis” is a combination of two words: “opportunity” and “danger”.   It’s an intriguing duality and one that can be taken as an exciting challenge or something to be feared and avoided.

Why is this?

What’s wrong with 50 just being 50 and not something we want to avoid for another 20 years when we’ll be hearing that 70 is now the new 50? Let’s face it, for those of us in our middle years, mortality is what keeps us from admitting to ourselves that we are squarely in midlife. I guess it must be the danger part of this passage. The opportunity comes if we embrace our midlife experience and make it a time of reflection, renewal and reinvention.

This is part of my coaching practice: to help clients look at natural life transitions as opportunities to grow and to navigate new paths that fit better, realigning personal values with strengths. Unearthed goals tend to bubble up once we begin listening to our inner voice, which then taps the wealth of our lived experiences and helps articulate a purpose or calling that makes midlife and beyond both rewarding and meaningful.

Fear is what keeps us from doing the work, because it is hard to face ourselves and dig in to figure out not only what fits now, but also the best path to take to get to our newly defined selves and live out these goals.

The answers are inside each of us, waiting to come out.   But it takes motivation, reflection, time and patience to discover what is waiting to be expressed. It can feel too daunting without tools of self-discovery, support, accountability, and practice. That’s where coaching comes in, to help create a workable plan that meets goals with desired outcomes.

So my manifesto is to embrace midlife as a chance to renew and become the embodiment of a new mindset that calls this time of life an exquisite “midlife opportunity. “

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