We are in the last week of my acronym for the word COURAGE. I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts on what each letter stood for in relationship to courage. For ‘E’ extraordinary was the word that I felt describes midlife women who are courageous enough to put themselves first and dive into new pursuits. A few years back I would never have chosen this word and I am certain that it wouldn’t have been a word that my mothers generation would have used either.
Now let’s face it I am convinced that every human being has done extraordinary things over their lifetime, however I am often in awe of the amazing things midlife women are doing today. Mainly because it wasn’t that long ago that women died in their fifties and if not, women taking up surfing, running a new business for the first time, becoming an artist, jumping on a plane alone to join a cycling trip around South India or going back to university was practically unheard of. Now fifty is the new thirty in my books and women are reaching new heights in their next chapter. This week as I started showcasing women who I thought were extraordinary it occurred to me that every midlife women has some aspect about them that is extraordinary and over their life they would have done many amazing things that needed to be yelled from the rooftops.
Women have never been great at celebrating their successes mainly because society never encouraged it or created a space for this to happen. As girls we were taught to zip it, look nice and serve others. In my business circles online and off, I am constantly hearing women say that it is time to be seen and heard. This excites me immensely and yet I know how difficult it is for women to do this. I think in some countries like America women are better at doing this however Kiwis certainly struggle with blowing their own trumpet. How easy do you find it to celebrate your achievements and your unique talents.?
I want to introduce you to another reason why this is difficult for women and especially those of you jumping into your next chapter. You can get trapped by perfectionism, unhealthy boundaries, people-pleasing and diminishing your accomplishments. This actually has a name called The Imposter Complex. This isn’t a new concept- it was often called The Fraud Factor that showed up to self-sabotage when an individual was on the precipice of a break through. Your inner Imposter shows up when you are about to take a step forward, so welcome her as a sign of growth-you are expanding yourself which is always a good thing for all you midlife women who are giving yourself permission to shine. If you are ready to step into the starring role of your life then it is time to become aware of those internal voices. Awareness gives you choices to act differently and to start to talk to yourself in a new and empowering way.
Take a look at this U-tube if you would like to learn more about the Impostor Complex.
Now you have it; all the reasons why it is difficult for you to speak up about your gifts and your extraordinary uniqueness.: the majority of you do not have mothers who were doing what you are doing – we are the first generation who are becoming role models, without having role models of our own and that’s challenging. You were not encouraged to use your voice loudly as a child to speak up and then there is the pesky Imposter Complex to contend with. Midlife is all about wisdom and finding your own individual reason for being beyond the roles you have been used to. Owning your skills, gifts, talents and uniqueness is part of your extraordinary self.
I gave a talk this weekend and I begun in a very different way that I normally do, I stood up and introduced myself by sharing a lot of my achievements and experiences. It felt fantastic and I was applauded and I certainly felt seen and heard. I never did as a child, a teenager, a young adult or a mother so I am determined that as a midlife women I am going to listen to the Imposter Complex because I know she is there to keep me safe however I will reassure her that I am ready to take the limelight and that I am definitely ready to be heard. I want to be the role model for my four daughters so they will grow into their wisdom and uniqueness at midlife and do it with excitement and courage. What is it that you need to say in order to own your extraordinary gifts! Start sharing your gifts with people, start using your voice and be proud and bold because you so deserve the accolade.
If you need some help with this then one step you can take is to come to my next retreat in June. Imagine a weekend dedicated solely to you. I promise this will be a safe, nurturing and supportive environment where you can start exploring who you want to be as a midlife women. There will be luxury, open fires, spa baths, yummy food and a rich red to help you relax. Come and be with other ordinary women who are doing, like yourself extraordinary things. When women gather there is love, camaraderie, lots of story telling and yes, big glorious belly laughs. http://www.midlifecourage.co.nz/retreats/
Next week I am starting a new series around introducing the stepping stones to create a fulfilling and successful next chapter. More on this in next weeks blog my friends.