A lot of the literature these days uses the term “personal brand”to describe the compelling story we create about ourselves, but I find “body of work” is an idea that carries more resonance for me. A body of work is about the cumulative legacy we bring to the world.
If you’re like me, one of your biggest challenges is finding the time to work on our long-term goals even as we juggle the tasks that come our way on any given day. A few months ago, I listened to a podcast interview with Mark Goulston, M.D., a psychiatrist and author of the book Get Out of Your Own Way. He offered a simple method to develop and organize your action steps toward the long-term goal. He called it the ICU method.
I ask every client what they do for self-care. Most of the time they laugh. Or tell me with some exasperation that they don’t have time for self-care. I see this problem among my friends, and I must confess that I often put self-care at the bottom of my priority list. But I have learned from experience that this is a mistake. When I don’t take care of myself, mentally and spiritually as well as physically, I tend to do a bad job fulfilling my responsibilities to everyone else.
I excel at expecting the worst. I have a vivid imagination, and when something happens, my mind leaps ten steps ahead constructing a worst case scenario. In my twenties, I learned that psychologist Albert Ellis had coined a term to describe what I was doing. He called it “awfulizing,” imagining that things are as bad as they can possibly be.
Bridges explores the typical transitions that we all make throughout our lives including career changes, retirements, job loss, marriage, having a child, losing a loved one, getting divorced. These transitions may be forced upon us by circumstances outside our control, or they may be things we initiate, but he points out that all transitions are stressful.
Often I feel like Akiba. I think the word authentic is overused, and yet it fits. I’ve tied myself in knots and contorted my life into unrecognizable shapes trying to embody a model that didn’t feel authentic to me. Or a life that was once authentic but ceased to feel that way. I’ve tried to force myself into the old roles that no longer fit.
Brzezinski concludes that “It is simply not enough to know your core professional message. As women, we need to grow our value in all aspects of our lives to be nourished, energized, and successful—not simply in material ways but also in authentic joy and gratitude. To be a truly successful working woman—with or without kids, in or out of a committed relationship—you need to know your inner value.”
As 1984 drew to a close, Olive wrote in her diary, "1984 has ended and in spite of adversities. . . . [I]t was happy because I made it that way. I made up my mind to 'do my thing' as people say today and not try to change what I knew couldn't be changed. . . . Along with counting my blessings, I made big strides in a small business I had started a couple of years ago. This has been a great pleasure."
At mid-life, Brigid Schulte found herself drowning in “overwhelm.” “Overwhelm” is her term for the sense that was never had enough time to do all the things on her to-do list and certainly never time for anything resembling leisure. That’s a complaint I hear constantly from the clients I see in my personal and career coaching practice.
Ida Fisher Davidoff wrote, “There are two kinds of people and let’s say they’re driving along and they suddenly come to a boulder. One kind of person says, ‘just my luck! I’m in a hurry and now there’s this big rock in my way.’ The other kind of person says, ‘Oh, there’s a big rock here. Now, how shall I handle this? Is there room to get round it? Will I have to do something to move it, and if so have I got anything with me? Or shall I change my route instead?’ The second person puts their energy into solving the reality of what confronts them. The first person becomes overwhelmed, sees themselves as a victim, an object, and lapses into inertia and dependency.”
All the ink spilled on mid-life reinvention among the Baby Boomer generation could lead a body to believe that Baby Boomer women created mid-life reinvention. But that’s not true: my research showed me that mothers of boomer women were pioneering midlife reinvention well before the advent of the women’s liberation movement, those heady years when boomer women came of age.