Embracing the Ambiguity of Ageing: A Journey of Self-discoveryJun 16, 2023
Being a woman entrepreneur or executive comes with the challenge of navigating ambiguity on a daily basis. But, aging brings a whole new level of uncertainty. The question becomes, "What's next for my encore?" and "How do I make the most of this time and this transition?"
When you have already achieved many levels of success in your career and perhaps in your personal life too, it's only natural to ask "What comes next?"
Are you going to retreat from work "full stop", lean into a new lifestyle gradually and gracefully, or continue to lead masterfully in your current role?
This blog is intended to start a conversation on the ambiguity of ageing and the process of self-discovery as we develop self-trust and pursue fulfillment.
Recognizing the Emotional Impact
First, we must acknowledge the emotions that come with ageing. It's not just about physical changes like appearance, energy, and mobility. It's also the realization that we appreciate time in a new context. It's no longer about managing time; it's about conserving time. We have the uncomfortable realization that time is running out.
As women entrepreneurs and executives, we value the perception of having control of our lives and future even when overwhelm takes over. Any sense of loss of control can be unsettling and can throw us into an array of perplexing emotions.
As you approach the crossroads of 60 and beyond, give yourself permission to experience the range of emotions that come with this time in your life. Recognizing and taking care of your emotions is the first step in embracing the ambiguity of ageing.
Emotional Self-Care: Your development thus far has focused on business, professional, and leadership skills. In this new phase of life, you will benefit from developing emotional intelligence skills which involves learning how to identify and understand your emotions, and how to express your emotions in a healthy way. Research has shown that developing emotional intelligence skills - at any age - is associated with better physical and mental health, improved communication, and the ability to cope well with change and challenges. Upgrading your emotional intelligence skills during this period of transition can be invaluable.
Exploring What You Truly Want
The second step is to explore what you genuinely want. During your career, you might have prioritized work above all else. As you age, your priorities shift because your values and interests shift. Take the time to reflect on what brings you joy, meaning, and purpose - now. Take time to revisit your unfulfilled dreams and aspirations. Identifying what matters most to you will help guide you in making a smooth shift through any transition - particularly this transition.
Develop Self-Trust: Self-trust is crucial when embracing the ambiguity of ageing and identifying what matters most to you. Trusting yourself to make decisions and take action despite not being sure of the outcome can be difficult, but it's an important part of the process. Seeking advice and support can be helpful, but ultimately, trusting yourself to make the best decisions for your future will restore your perception of control. Small steps and incremental progress will help build self-trust, leading to greater clarity and ability to act on opportunities that serve your best interests in your circumstances.
Resign From the Comparison Game: Even with maturity and wisdom, we can easily become caught up in comparison and competition with others, particularly among those we respect as our peers. We must respect our own life choices and remain diligent in understanding that each person's journey is unique. We must resist the urge to follow the crowd. We need to be content with or, better still, be excited by our own path. No two paths are the same. Find beauty on your path, and don't get caught up in comparing yourself with others.
The effort to keep up with others or live up to the expectations of others can be exhausting, debilitating, and will lead to a feeling of inadequacy. By building self-trust and relying on our own strengths and capabilities, we focus our energy on creating a life that is meaningful and true to ourselves. Women at all ages benefit from trusting themselves and making decisions based on what is best for them, rather than trying to please or compete with others. Please pass this wisdom on to younger women by being good role models.
Overcoming Fear of the Unknown - Add Risk and Excitement to Your Goals
The third step is overcoming the fear of the unknown. Just as you have done in your career, it's time to take calculated risks and embrace change. This might mean going back to school, starting a new business, or pursuing a passion project. Or, this might mean stepping down from leadership positions and passing the baton onto the next generation of leaders. Whatever you choose, understand that change comes with risks but also with opportunities.
Adding risk and excitement to our goals will truly add value to our experience. Rather than seeing ageing as a path to stagnation and retirement, we can aim for longevity by adding elements of risk and excitement in our goals. Taking on risk can lead to a more meaningful and exciting life.
Added value: With risk, we continue to appreciate the power of “failure” as a learning tool to guide and inform future decisions. Risk and excitement are key ingredients for embracing the ambiguity of ageing and for finding joy along the way.
Building a Support System - Casting Your Executive Encore
The fourth step is building a reliable support system. Surround yourself with people who can encourage, support, and challenge you. Reach out to other entrepreneurs and executives who have gone through similar transitions. Attend networking events, join mastermind groups, or engage with online communities to stay focused and motivated.
Choose cast members to support your Executive Encore. Those who can provide guidance, encouragement, and accountability. Choose cast members who can challenge you to think differently and nudge you beyond limiting beliefs. Your cast can include trusted mentors, colleagues, friends, and family—anyone who can provide a different perspective and help you reach your goals.
Ask...Do they get it? Do they want it for you? Do they have the capacity to support you?
Engage with people who have gone through similar transitions and who understand the unique challenges that come with the ageing process. A reliable support system can help you stay focused and motivated, and will be essential to your success.
Embracing Self-discovery and Self-Awareness
The final step is embracing self-discovery. When you look at ageing in a new light, you will appreciate the opportunity to rediscover yourself fully. Ageing is a chance to explore new passions, connect with old ones, and create new meaningful relationships. Embracing the ambiguity of ageing is an opportunity for growth, upgraded self-care, and fulfillment in all aspects of life.
Take time to reflect on your values, experiences, and emotions. Being aware of your unique strengths and weaknesses will help you make better decisions and create meaningful connections with others. Self-awareness will help you find clarity and purpose in your life. Developing a clear understanding of yourself will help you make decisions that are true to who you are, rather than trying to please or compete with others. With a heightened sense of self-awareness, you will be better equipped to make decisions that are based on what's best for you, leading to greater satisfaction and joy for the long term.
Final Word - Your Executive Encore
Natural ageing is inevitable. Longevity is a gift and an honour. How we grow, mature, and thrive through this process is up to us. Crucial steps in embracing the ambiguity of ageing include recognizing the emotional impact, exploring what you truly want, overcoming the fear of the unknown, building a support system, and embracing self-discovery. Remember to take things one step at a time and celebrate every step you make. You are in control of your life. With self-trust and self-awareness, you have what you need to embrace, endure, and enjoy this next phase of your life. This is your Executive Encore.
For resources available to aspiring women entrepreneurs and business owners of all ages, contact me with your request at [email protected]
For Executive Encore blogs related to this topic, click on "Categories" on this page.
Your Next Steps
- Listen to the Executive Encore podcast. Women Finding Fulfillment After 60!
- Receive Maestro's Encore blog in your inbox with more VIP content related to this topic and to accelerate your emotional well-being and resilience. Start with your 90-Day EQ Mini-Plan or the mini workbook Emotions Drive Performance: Triggers from Thinking to Results - Predispositions, Self-Handicapping, Self-Sabotage
- Schedule a 30-minute complimentary call to explore strategies for finding fulfillment after 60. Let's get acquainted and discuss what outcome is important to you. I will explain the application process for working with me and provide options that will serve your needs. You will leave the call with a "quick-win" action plan and no obligation.
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