THE TRUTH ~ Myth #5: I CAN REINVENT MYSELF

It is not uncommon for people in midlife to experience discontentment or boredom with their life or lifestyle (including people and things) even if it has provided fulfillment for years. “Midlife transition” is a natural stage that happens to many of us at some point (usually at about age 40, give or take 20 years). Midlife transition can include: Feeling restless and wanting to do something completely different Questioning decisions made years earlier and the meaning of life Confusion about who you are or where your life is going Daydreaming Irritability, unexpected anger Persistent sadness Acting on alcohol, drug, food, or other compulsions Greatly decreased or increased sexual desire Sexual affairs, especially with someone much younger Greatly decreased or increased ambition. I want to be clear that this article is NOT about experiencing a “midlife crisis.” Why? Because, research proves that people who experience a “midlife crisis” is rare.  However, what is common during our mid years is called a midlife “ennui.”  Simply put, a feeling of listlessness and general dissatisfaction resulting from lack of activity or excitement. As a result, we often start to question and reevaluate our life. As I was doing some research on this topic, I came across a great article written by Barbara Bradley Hagerty, Forget The Red Sports Car. The Midlife Crisis Is A Myth.  She writes about the five ways we misunderstand midlife.  What I found to be valuable was her explanation of the difference between midlife crisis verses midlife ennui. So, I am going to share the first 2 out of 5 points Hagerty makes. It’s time for my midlife crisis....

The Magnificent Palm Tree

The Palm Tree is a wonder of the World. Tall, yet thin. Its roots planted deeply into the soil. As it grows, it matures and requires little care. When the rain comes, it soaks it up like knowledge and stores it. One branch may wither and break in the wind, only to be rebirthed again. The Palm Tree stands the test of time, is challenged, yet fiercely survives. One can uproot it and replant it. It knows its place, its purpose. It is a magnificent beauty to the World. If only human beings could be so strong. The lesson to be learned… Be like a Palm Tree, stretch tall and branch out. Cause like a Palm Tree, you were planted here on Earth for a reason. Find your own magnificence. Know it. Love it. Believe it. LIVE IT! -Beckie...

THE TRUTH ~ Myth #4: I MUST BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE

“Trying to be all things to all people all of the time is a fool’s game that will, in the end, drain mind, body, and spirit.” – Marcus Buckingham What happens when we place the expectation upon ourselves to be all things to all people? We stop paying attention to those moments in life that strengthen us. We put everyone else’s needs before our own. We allow our lives to be led by other’s wants. We regret choices we have made or didn’t make. We take on more and more responsibility to overcompensate for our feelings of regret. We lack direction and purpose, feel stuck, unhappy, and weak. The consequences are simply, YOU FEEL EMPTY and DEPLETED. The pivotal moment arrives and you ask yourself, “What am I doing with my life?” It doesn’t matter if you are in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s…it is a painful place to be. In Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently, Marcus Buckingham addresses this very myth; I must be all things to all people.  He writes: “Other people’s expectations of you can be extraordinarily persuasive. And damaging. Not that they want to damage you. It’s just that they have expectations of you, and you are carried along by these expectations, until you come to believe that their expectations are your truth.” When we stop paying attention to our own voice, emotions and strengths, we give up the most important thing in the World, our own true, authentic self.  We merely become marionettes walking through life waiting for someone else to pull the string that directs...

THE TRUTH ~ Myth #3: I MUST STRIVE TO BE WELL-ROUNDED

Once upon a time, the animals came together and founded a school with six subjects: swimming, crawling, running, jumping, climbing, and flying. At first the duck was the best swimmer, but she wore out the webs of her feet in running class, and then couldn’t swim as well.  The dog was the best runner, but he crashed in flying class and injured his leg. The rabbit started out as the best jumper, but he fell in climbing class and hurt his back. At the end of the school year, the class valedictorian was the eel, who could do a little bit of everything, but nothing very well. (Andrea Sigetich and Carol Leavitt, MBA. Play to Your Strengths.  New Jersey.  The Career Press, 2008). It is a deep rooted belief in our society that being well-rounded is the greatest path to success. But, what is forgotten in that philosophy is that, as complex human beings, we all have weaknesses. In my recent post, THE TRUTH ~ Myth #2: I MUST FIX MY WEAKNESSES; I came head-to-head with this universal truth. I will not argue that at a young age, we need to be exposed to a variety of things. Sports, education, religion, music, art, boy/girl scouts, family traditions…the list goes on. But, the expectation that we should or will excel at everything is unrealistic. Rather, exposure to a variety of activities and experiences growing up tells us one thing – what are our strengths and what our weaknesses are! As time goes on, we mature and develop our talents. We understand what we are good at and what we are...

THE TRUTH ~ Myth #2: I MUST FIX MY WEAKNESSES

“Try harder! Work more! Take a class! Go to training! Practice!  – Just FIX YOUR WEAKNESSES!” Are these words familiar to you? Have you heard these phrases over and over again growing up? UGH! Here is the elephant in the room, “WE ALL have WEAKNESSES!” There, I said it! From a strengths-based perspective, a “weakness” is a shortage or misapplication of talent, skill, or knowledge that causes problems for you or others.  Another words, it is anything that gets in the way of excellent performance. Ignoring our weaknesses isn’t going to make them disappear. Rather, on the contrary, it will make them worse. So, yes, it is important to understand and acknowledge our own weaknesses. But, what is the Return on Investment (ROI) for fixating on our weaknesses? “A person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weakness, let alone on something one cannot do alone.” – Peter Drucker Well, that is a hard question to answer. With additional knowledge, practice, training and a little “luck,” we can improve our weaknesses. But, the bottom line is that our weaknesses will NEVER become our strengths. As defined by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton in Now, Discover Your Strengths, strength is “consistent near-perfect performance in an activity.” Certainly, turning a weakness into strength would be a “tall order to fill.” Weaknesses can be a number of things. I searched Google for a list of weaknesses just to see what I could find. Interestingly, most articles were about how to answer the infamous question, “What are your weaknesses?” and gave various advice on how to respond to this...