Here you are at the midlife point, feeling like you’re still 22 years old, but with a niggling voice in the back of your head asking ‘is this it?’. Somehow we fall in to jobs, or work super hard to follow a certain career path, only to wake up 15 years later wondering where the time went and whether there’s something more out there for us, something that will somehow light us up. Time to find the flexibility and inspiration that has passed us by for too long.
Afterall, by the time we reach our 40’s we have all achieved so much. Some of us are raising families, real little human beings made and moulded by us. We’ve fallen in love, and oftentimes out of it too; we’ve been to far-flung places and had crazy and moving experiences. We’ve earned every scar as well as every magic moment that inhabits our bodies and hearts.
And this is our time now, to do something that matters to us and to others. It’s time to direct our energy and passion in to doing something that makes us feel alive again, to know we’re contributing to the world in a way that only we can do. To make new friends and connections that will lead us down new and exciting paths. To use your own special gifts and talents to help other people. Not forgetting that this ‘thing’ would ideally replace your day job, become a new source of income. Not just a hobby, but a business and passion to throw your heart in to, something uniquely yours.
This is where the rousing music stops with that funny noise that sounds like a needle being pulled across a record (you’re in my age range, right? Then you know the noise I’m talking about!). That all sounds so great, but… what’s my ‘thing’?!
It’s so true that many midlife women, especially mothers, get a shock when they realise that a list of what they are about and what their special gifts are doesn’t jump out at them. Even people lucky enough to have a clear talent, such as artists or singers, suddenly get stumped on how to move their hobby or side hustle to centre stage. Is this you? Trying to work out what you could do that would make your daily life better so you can spend more time with the kids, to have more choices in how you spend each day. Wanting to find the route to making money while doing something you love?
Finding meaning and joy, as well as an exciting and profitable future business can be explored in the Japanese concept of Ikigai. It is a theory that helps us focus on the four important elements that all need to come together so we can find that exclusive fulfilment in our work and lives.
First up is looking at what you love. What are your hobbies and passions? Don’t just look at what you’re doing in your life now, but at your childhood and everything in between – sometimes there are things that have been forgotten where you feel ‘flow’, that wonderful out-of-time concentration where you know you’re 100% absorbed.
If you came up with enthusiastic karaoke singing as something you love, you may be on the wrong track (if you sing the way I do at least!). Because the second vital element is to identify what you are good at. Ask your friends what qualities they value in you, and what they would come to you for help with. You may be surprised at the breath of talents you have that you discount but other people value enormously. I’ve found that so many women undervalue their own innate talents, so reach out if an outside opinion would shunt you out of a self-depreciating vibe.
Focussing on how you can help others is a key ingredient to a successful enterprise. Ask yourself what the world needs and what you may be able to provide. This could be a product or service, but equally it could be a feeling or a connection. For example, one amazing and talented lady I’ve coached has created a supportive community for women who experience anxiety.
Then there’s the final critical ingredient, which is what you can be paid for. Whilst this one is non-negotiable if you want to build a successful business, you may be surprised at the ways you could create an income with new online business models and a point in the right direction! This one is often lots of fun to work out how to translate the other three areas into a full house of ikigai success.
Getting started on the road to a new and fulfilling future can be pretty confusing when you have to get to your ‘thing’ before you can even take the next step. But don’t worry, you’d be surprised how many boss women there are out there running amazing businesses who were in exactly the same position as you are not so long ago. Just start where you are, with your own uniqueness, and with some solid thinking there will be a breakthrough which will lead to the next breakthrough and then the next.
- If you’d like an introductory coaching session with me to help you identify your ‘thing’, please get in touch!