Achieving Renewal through Reflection and Risk-taking –
Part 1: Taking Stock to Get Unstuck
At some point in our lives, most of us feel stuck or have a longing for something more or something new. Years may go by and, without realizing it, we get caught in old patterns that don’t serve to renew us or change our lives for the better. To experience renewal we need to pause for a bit and “take stock.” Reflection can help us see different options and priorities and reveal new territories to explore. However, we may fear that if we stop to reflect what we find could be unsettling – it could mean changing or needing to take a risk for something new. And in most cases that’s probably true! Risk-taking, while it sounds scary, allows us to carry out these emerging visions. That’s why we need both reflection and risk-taking for renewal: to move us forward with focus and energy, while also helping us to fully live each day. During this Empower Party, become more grounded within yourself so that your daily actions spring from an authentic place rather than just the expectations of others. Then come back for Part Two to put your newly found or resurfaced desires into action!
Achieving Renewal through Reflection and Risk-taking –
Part 2: Getting the Gumption to Chase Big Dreams
As we saw in Part One, reflection can help us clarify values and see new options and priorities that are truly ours; risk-taking allows us to carry out these emerging and exciting visions. If risk means that we are opening ourselves to challenge, to the unfamiliar, to that which feels different and unsafe- then courage is required. Courage indicates a readiness of spirit that allows us to move beyond our comfort level into the unknown. Taking risks of whatever size doesn’t mean being foolhardy-though it does mean getting rid of the “excuses” we make for not pursuing what’s in our heart, no matter how legitimate the excuses may seem. Learn techniques to grow in your courage by surfacing fears, exploring your capacity to overcome them. Develop a plan to implement your change and identify the support needed to see your dreams through. You may feel fear or discomfort – and might even get “cold feet” sometimes – but by keeping your “eye on the prize” you can do it anyway!
Redefining Success from the Inside Out:
Clarifying What’s Important
A lifetime of cultural conditioning around success, characterized by “doing” and “achieving”, is a strong force in each of our lives. Our culture’s values around success-achievement (Have I accomplished enough?), affluence (Do I have enough money and possessions?), and attractiveness (Do I look good enough?)-often determine our sense of self-worth and how we measure up. As we mature success becomes more internal and has to do with values and purpose, development of self, and contribution to others. Explore how the size of your “to do” list, your achievements, and your busyness can hinder your ability to reflect upon what is really important to you and who you want to be and become. Learn to embrace being present in the moment, fully aware of yourself and your connection to something bigger. You can redefine what success means to you from the inside out and live from the inside out!
Journaling Your Way to Purpose
We each have our special gifts and talents, strengths and values, beliefs and worldviews. Our sense of purpose derives from using these in powerful and meaningful ways, ways that matter to us and make a difference to others wherever we choose to participate. Our sense of purpose may shift and evolve over time but it is always anchored in our deeply held values coupled with our innate gifts and developed talents. Taking time to journal about these is an opportunity to mine the depths of our awareness so as to experience more productive and satisfying lives. Joining with other women in a meaningful dialogue also offers a way to reveal a diversity of attitudes toward living on purpose and, perhaps, to expand your own definition and perspective. Take away a commitment and action steps to move in the direction of your dreams.
Entering the Theater of Self Awareness:
Understanding the Character that Takes Center Stage
Explore the many facets of what makes you “you” through an introspective yet playful “character study”. Your journey starts with a self-assessment of your interests, skills, and talents; your evolving values; and the mental scripts that influence your life. All of these pieces combine in the particular persona or Character you allow to take center stage each day. And that Character determines your choices, actions, and beliefs regarding all that is possible in your life. With your coach and group, you will harness a new level of self awareness toward creating a more empowering, fulfilling life by choosing the character you want to take center stage.
Who Do I Want to Become When I Grow Up?:
Rethinking Identity in Mid and Later Life
By midlife, our identity may seem well established with parenting or career roles, which we’re proud of and that provide self esteem. However, as we approach midlife and beyond, we experience significant shifts in the roles that have defined us…and thinking about life beyond these roles can be mentally and emotionally daunting. With mindful reflection and focus on new areas of your life, you can created an expanded sense of self. Explore sides of yourself that may have been surpressed and discover new opportunities to empower your emerging identity. Midlife thriving is less about aging and is more about growing. So, with the support of friends, come refashion your identity by embracing your wisdom, while recapturing elements of your youth.
The Only Thing Old about Aging is its Image
As we move into the fullness of midlife maturity, it’s crucial that we recognize any negative personal or cultural images we have and replace them with more empowering images. Our culture – in television, movies, magazines, greeting cards, and even in the workplace – exerts a strong mental and emotional influence over us with its negative messages about aging and its idolizing of youth. You can embrace new possibilities and take back your power. You can get rid of all those negative attitudes with thoughts and feelings that are positive and empowering and that help you to become more of who you truly are. No matter what age…you can become all that you can be. Remember that 40 is the new 30, 50 is the new 40, 60 is the new 50. Midlife is truly unlimited!