Article by Sue Coyne
Are you dreading what the next phase of your life might bring? Perhaps you are grieving the loss of your children as they fly the nest? Maybe you are looking after aging parents and struggling to cope? You may have gone through the menopause and now feel less attractive? Maybe you have lost or separated from your partner or have even stopped working?
These are all extremely common challenges that people face post 50, but in order to thrive under such challenges, rather than simply survive them, is to recognise it is a point of transition or change in your life. Few of us find it easy to readily embrace change, especially big life changes, but stop and ask yourself how comfortable are you with a particular change?
In doing so, this helps us to recognise that:
- transitions affect our sense of identity
- transitions can be stressful
- transitions are opportunities for growth
Navigating one of life’s transitions involves embarking on an emotional journey, which usually starts with feeling anger/denial/sadness. Eventually when you start to accept that the change is inevitable you can move forward.
Getting ourselves through this change process can be difficult so it is worth investing in some form of support or coaching to ensure you don’t get stuck. I have worked through these transitions myself and have coached many clients through their own transitions and as a result I have identified four key ingredients to thriving post-50.
Transitions affect your sense of identity, but developing my personal brand really helped me and it has also helped many of my clients. The process involves reflecting on and discovering your strengths, passions and values, then identifying a vision and purpose for your brand. It helps you to answer those big questions about who you are and the difference you are here to make.
A recent client summed his brand up as improving lives whenever and wherever I can. Working out how you want to bring your brand to life gives you a sense of direction and purpose.
A healthy body is vital to support you through a transition. Moving through change can be stressful, and when faced with stress we tend to go into fight, flight or freeze mode. We see change as a threat. Our brain literally closes down so we can’t think straight, our bodies are flooded with cortisol and adrenaline and because the feel good chemical dopamine is lowered we feel negative.
Interrupting this stress response by using breathing techniques to stay present and open to change is a vital skill to develop.
Maintaining your brain’s neuroplasticity, or its ability to rewire itself, is vital so you can continue learning throughout your life. This is what gives you the opportunity to grow.
You can maintain your brain’s neuroplasticity by:
- Doing new things that you don’t already know how to do
- Exercising regularly (30 to 60 minutes three times a week)
- Practising mindfulness
- Getting 7 to 9 hours sleep each night
- Eating an anti-inflammatory alkaline diet containing good fats and plenty of green vegetables
We are not taught about the need to re-wire our beliefs as we go through life, and as most of our beliefs are in place by the time we are seven, it can often be like you have a seven-year-old running your life. Many of these beliefs are negative and hold you back.
It is essential to scan your beliefs and update those that are not aligned with your brand and the outcomes you want. This is like updating the software on your laptop. Bringing these long held limiting beliefs to conscious awareness is not easy and this is where you may well need the help of a coach. Once you have identified your new beliefs you hardwire them using repetition and focus.
Stop Doing, Start Leading: How to Shift from Doing the Work Yourself to Becoming a Great Leader by Sue Coyne
is available 01 September from Amazon, priced £15.99.