Article by Jane C Woods
You can change your life – whatever age you are!!
And I know of what I speak. I changed careers in my late 40s and have never looked back!
For several years I had been dissatisfied with my job but I really didn’t know what I wanted to do instead. Plus, I had a good pension, was well respected in my role, and was on a good salary; in fact I was the higher wage earner. Why would I want to rock the boat? I was in my late 40s and had some strange notion in my head that I really should be settled and the little voices were compelling
Age is no bar to changing your life!
Now, as I approach 55, I look back at the 48 year old me and think how staid and sensible I was in danger of becoming! I now know that Age is no bar to changing your life! In fact, the older we get, the more radical I think we should become. I looked at the life ahead of me and thought, ‘Is this it?’ Was I really going to stick with what I no longer believed in, no longer excited me, or engaged me, for the sake of a good pension in 12 years time?
I was lucky in one respect; I was very content in my home life with two gorgeous grown up kids and a husband of 28 years who was happy to support me in my life changing ideas. It’s really helpful to have support at home, but if you know what you want to do, it’s not essential.
I began plotting my escape. My organisation was reluctant to let me go and so I negotiated. I’d stay on a part time basis and see the project through while passing on my skills and knowledge where possible. On my days off, I’d begin to build my own business. And I loved it!
I won’t pretend it was easy, it wasn’t. It was scary and nerve wracking and on some days I could easily be knocked off balance by an encounter with someone who thought I was mad, and said so. But the good days, oh the good days more than compensated for the odd wobble in my confidence! I was loving life and feeling really alive again. Never mind about ‘when I grow old I shall wear purple’; I am happy to wear a veritable kaleidoscope of colours (metaphorically speaking, don’t want to frighten the horses!) I feel younger, more liberated and really in touch with life! I am truly passionate about what I now do and I feel free!
Writing The Book
And one thing I never thought I’d be doing was writing a book! OK, I’m not a Mary Wesley (I wish I was) but I have put together a workbook of exercises which has helped hundreds of women change their lives.
Helping women make positive changes in their lives
One of the most common dilemmas presented to me when I’m coaching or working within an organisation is “I’m unhappy with what I’ve got, but I just don’t know what I want to do instead.” And that’s how ‘When Work Isn’t Working’ was born. Both in my previous career and since launching my own business I have worked with hundreds of women helping them make positive change in their lives. I knew from experience what worked, what really helped. I’d seen those women blossom and heard their amazing stories.
My own PA had turned her life around using some of the content from ‘When Work…’ and is now living in France with her new husband, growing all her own produce, drinking too much wine (!) and is really blissfully happy. She said “I never thought my life could change so dramatically after 50. I am happier now than I have ever been”.
As well as some practical exercises, like the one working out what you need to live on, the book makes use of all the new research on how our brain works, harnessing it to help us change. One example is the use of creative visualisation. You can listen to the one from the book for free on my site. It works well just on its own whether you have the book or not. Click this to try it.
What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’
Here’s a thought. What did you want to be when you ‘grew up’? Do you still have any unfulfilled desires or have you shelved them as unobtainable? While it may not be possible to become a professional ice skater at age 55 you can still learn to skate! Or fulfil your need for creativity by joining an art class, or one on jewellery design, or photography. My latest head shot was taken by Celia Mannings; she used to be a G.P but gave it all up to follow her love of photography. How brave! If you wanted to write you could start a blog. (If that means a bit of instruction on web issues, go do it!)
In my experience a major issue is deciding just what you do want. Don’t let outdated notions of age hold you back. As Barbra Sher, an American life coach says:
“It’s only too late if you don’t start now” So go on, make a start and revitalise your life!
Jane C Woods is a specialist in personal development who has worked with hundreds of women helping them achieve their dreams. She’s been married for 33 years to a gorgeous fire-fighter (her words), and has two grown up kids. Her latest ‘best achievement’ was getting a house built for her mother (planners, sigh), who at 81, still does keep fit twice a week and sings with the Golden Oldies. Jane is trying to keep up…
Least likely to say “A man would be better for the job”. Most likely to say “Yes, you CAN do it!”