How To Deal With Criticism At Midlife

In this week’s vlog, I’m sharing ways to deal with judgment and criticism that are based on personal experience. I can’t tell you how many times I speak with women who want to do big, glorious, amazing things but they just can’t take that first step and it’s down to one thing. They’re worried what others will think. Some are so worried that they don’t even dare tell their partner or closest friend.

There’s a very cool blog post by Seth Godin that explains that failure is certain. Regardless of how successful you are or how special a project you create is, someone is not going to like it. It’s a guarantee. Even the most beloved figures of all times from Jesus to Madonna have had their fair share of critics.

Godin puts it this way ,”Once you realize that failure is certain, it’s a lot easier to focus on impact instead”.

I think in the back of our minds we believe we have a combination of an endless supply of time to make our dreams happen and that a “knight on a white horse” is going to come to our rescue and deliver our dream to us. When I realized that neither of those scenarios would happen, I knew that I simply didn’t have the luxury to worry about what others thought. It was time to get busy.

What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to worry about what others would say? Watch my video and hopefully there’s something from my story that will show you that when you back yourself – even if you get judged – the world doesn’t stop turning. In fact, I think it turns a little bit smoother and sweeter, simply because you ignored the faceless thoughts and voices with opinions and did what you needed to do to live your purpose.

How Do I Cope With Change That I DON’T Want!

Change happens. And it surprises us. We’re trained from a super young age to expect that life is going to tick boxes. We’re primed to have a vision of ourselves conforming to a certain plan and even when we grow up and know that life often has other ideas, we get very surprised when they actually happen to us.

 

 

It might be a job that you feel you have to tolerate – even though you don’t love, or even like it. It might be that you had to move somewhere without much of a choice. Maybe a parent has had to move in with you. Those are just some of the ways that change can feel like an enemy.

When you’re in the thick of this situation, it can be hard to have a shift of perspective. The mind almost wants to stay in a place of only seeing the problem. It feels good and comforting to long for the way things were and reject the present. In many ways, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to practice the tips that I talk about in the video all the time, not just when things suck. That way you have built in reinforcements that you can use – almost on autopilot. You’ll find if you do this, you’ll have a much different outlook on challenge that will give you an advantage to working out ways to make things better.

But of all things, changing our minds about change – knowing that this is what life is about, like it or not, is the most important concept of all. A crummy situation, will change, even if it’s just a willingness to see it in a different and higher way.

If you’re familiar with 12 Steps, you’ll know about that very anchoring prayer, The Serenity Prayer. It’s a very eloquent nudge for us to surrender to challenges when the time calls for it and to somehow, ditch enough ego and gather up enough courage to be okay with change, even when it feels brutal. The words are non religious and worth knowing.

There’s a very cool musical version of the Serenity Prayer by One Giant Leap, that I used to love finishing my yoga practice to. Have a listen:

 

 

Have you ever experienced a challenging period that you had to ride through? How did you handle it? What did you learn about yourself by going through it? I’d love to know – post a comment and share with me.

 

 

 

Changing Your Life? Make Some Space For It

I was cleaning out the cupboard that has all the medical stuff – the international travel kits with all the gastro emergency tablets and potions if gastric disaster strikes, the head and muscle pain relief for pulled backs and periods from hell, the day time/nightime cold and flu medicine for the times we have to keep trucking when we should really be in bed, the bandaids, the ankle wraps, the heating pads, the salves, the salines, the bandaids, the mini scissors, the tweezers, the tiger balm, the cat’s medicine….. you get the picture!

 

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It didn’t take long to dawn on me that the contents of this cupboard were in a clash with the reality of my life. We’re healthy. We make efforts in our health. We haven’t used and have no intention of needing 90% of any of these things in this closet and even the idea of having them there just in case seemed wrong.

Changing your life means making sure that your normal, everyday, as it is now life, matches what you want.

I chucked out all but one travel kit, cleaning it up and making it perfect, more of a promise for amazing travel adventures to come. I got rid of the cat meds and all but a pack of pain relief. I tossed all the cold and flu meds, congratulating myself for completely disregarding the conventional thinking that because it was winter, the flu was just a bad germ encounter away. I culled and organized the Ace bandages and heating pads, we are after all pushing our bodies so it’s okay to have some reinforcements just in case.

The once messy medical cupboard, with stuff in it that just drained me with it’s lack of connection to who my family was but seemed necessary to keep for an eventual sick rainy day was now mostly empty. I had cleared space for our current and future health.

And it felt GOOD!

In the episode, I mentioned a past video where I talk about living your perfect day TODAY – here it is:

 

 

And in my book “How To Find Your Purpose After 40: The Secret To Unlocking Your Unique Gift To The World” I lead you through an exercise to design your perfect day. Listen to a free chapter of it here.

And PS, as mentioned, I’m currently working on Season 3 of The Change Guru podcast – Woo Hoo! From time to time I’ll surprise you with some random thoughts on the current podcast so keep an eye out for random updates and obviously when I launch the new season, you’ll be the first to know.  In the meantime, please enjoy the over 100 podcasts that I’ve done, all the links are here.

How Do I Stay Relevant In The Workplace?

I recently saw a report about a 91 year old woman who had scored her dream job – working as a tech designer in the supposed youth focused culture of Silicon Valley.

 

 

While Barbara Beskind’s story was the type that makes headlines now, I have a feeling this will eventually become such a commonplace thing that it won’t register a mention. The sheer volume of people who used to be candidates for retirement but still need to work, will be a factor. So too will the fact that our future generations are healthier and more able to handle work loads than ever before. But I think the main reason this is going to be the norm is that the experience, knowledge and work ethic of those of us who’ve been in the workplace for a long time is a hidden and valuable resource. The cat’s eventually gonna get out of the bag.

 

 

Obviously, you have to be a pretty special individual to counter societal attitudes about getting older if you want to be a candidate for this soon to come new normal. It’s going to mean staying awake in your life and being willing to embrace change rather than fight, ignore or laugh it off. It means an incredible self belief, not to mention a commitment to those four prongs of health that I believe in with all my might – physical, spiritual, mental and emotional. It means continually being curious about life and questioning everything – especially all the myths that swirl around the subject of what you can and can’t do because of age and time.

What I especially love about the story of Barbara Beskind is that her contribution to her company is beyond the bottom line. She’s part of a culture in evolved companies that believe in their people and appreciate the amount of time that everyone spends behind a desk. They see her as a treasure, as glue that holds them together. It’s a rare space for any employee to have and yet, simply by being herself, her age, and clearly a bit of a genius, that’s what Barbara brings to the table.

If you want to be a “Barbara”, what can you do at your job, in your community, in the world,  tomorrow to start that adventure? What mindset do you need to have, what steps do you need to take, what relationships do you need to nurture to score your dream gig at 91?Whatever action you take, I can guarantee you one thing. You won’t have to worry about being relevant. Staying plugged in to your life will keep you right in the world without even have to think about it.

 

How To Kick Distraction’s Annoying Butt

Last night my dreams were accompanied by the manic soundtrack of “Bitch I’m Madonna”. If for some  reason you haven’t heard it yet, don’t! Look, I love Madonna and always will, but this song doesn’t do my world any favors. The only thing it did for me was get so stuck in my head that I couldn’t even sleep without getting it out. Argh, I can hear it right now as I write this!

  
Click to listen to this week’s podcast or listen via iTunes or Stitcher

In some ways “BIM” was the perfect anthem for my week. It was noisy. It was trashy. It wasn’t good for me. I was insanely distracted by the online world. Twitter conversations. Instagram posts. Facebook articles. I caught the comedian Brody Steven’s using Periscope in brilliant ways. He was on a roll and I just couldn’t look away. And then the news of Rachel Dolezal came along and that blew my mind. Add in Cersei Lannister’s Walk of Shame in the Game of Thrones finale, The Donald running for president and for me it was all a perfect storm of pop culture distractions that put me off track.

 

 

Most of the time I can ride the wave of social media distractions but not so this week. So what leads us to being more distracted than usual? Can we blame the planets? It was after all a new moon this week and the end of Mercury in retrograde. I don’t really know what that means when it comes to distractions but I was scrambling for answers. The scramble turned into a week long in-depth meditation about what was really going on and how to move past it. It wasn’t until I started preparing for the podcast that the answer to what these distractions might really be about came through, and it was pretty interesting. Actually, it made a highly, frustrating week of distractions make perfect, prophetic sense.

Resources I mention in the podcast are

SelfControl App – This app blacklists problem surfing sites online for a period of time. It’ great but be very careful with the timing and sites to block setting as once you get started, you can not undo it. Even if you delete the app.

Periscope – Live streaming app

Steven Brody Stevens on Twitter/Periscope  – If you want to see a comedian using Periscope in a fascinating way this is a great start.

Stevie Wonder – Songs In The Key Of Life – One of my first albums. Pure grounding joy. You can listen to the whole album here:

How To Do Self-Help Without Doing Your Head In

Self-help is a two sided coin. There’s the shiny side with all the endless techniques and practices on a million different topics so we can take personal matters into our own hands. There’s no shortage of people like me, giving heaps of tips and insight into how to live life better. It’s empowering to be able to take responsibility for our well-being and it’s a luxury to have so many resources and guides to show us how to do it.

 


 

But then there’s the dark side of the coin. The side where all the things that we learn and should be doing end up being tacked onto a big, exhausting to-do list. You might start to notice that all the work you’re doing to make change in your life ends up feeling just like that – Work! The joy’s been sucked out and rather than feeling empowered by all the things that you’re doing, you feel completely enslaved to it all, to the point where you just don’t want to do all this dumb self-help stuff anymore.

This week’s video points out a very important truth that’s often disregarded when we go on a personal development path, but really, it’s the most essential and to some surprising, baseline thing to know about making change in our lives. I hope watching the vid lets you exhale a bit.

Are Your Moods Keeping You Unhealthy?

This morning I did not want to get out of bed. Winter has come to Australia. I was cozy and warm under the covers. It was still dark out. I knew I had to get up and do my daily yoga practice but I was not in the mood.

As I lay there, all nice and toasty, I thought about mood and how it brings out the indulgent child in us. Sometimes that’s a great thing and other times it’s kinda naughty like when we blame a bad mood on getting up on the wrong side of the bed. Really?!

One of the common mistakes about mood is that we confuse it with intuition. Intuition is the protective shield that comes straight from our gut. It’s our instinct that tells us whether we should stay or should we go. Mood is just the top level of this deeper level knowing.

To explain, for me, laying there in bed, I definitely was not in the mood to practice yoga and I could’ve left it at that. I could’ve given myself an extra hour or two in bed and then gone about my day. But when I went to the next level and tapped into my intuition, I knew that was not a good choice for me. Yoga keeps me healthy, it keeps me centered on what I have to do. I’d say it even allows me to make videos and write blogs and everything else because it teaches me focus and consistency. My intuition told me that even though I wasn’t in the mood to practice, I needed to override that feeling, roll out my mat and get to it.

Now, to be clear. My intuition isn’t a slave driver. There’ve been plenty of times where I’ve checked in with my intuition on days when I’m not in the mood to do something, yoga included, and my gut feelings completely agree. When you have a good grip on your intuition it’s an expert at checking all levels of your health – emotional, physical, spiritual and mental – and making the call on what action you should take. Mood just kinda sits there, living in ego land, happy to bail out at the slightest bit of discomfort. It might make you feel comfortable for the time being but in the long run, it’s not gonna do you any favors.

Understanding this distinction between mood and intuition is crucial for working through procrastination. I find that if I ask myself, “Is this a mood or is this something that is intuitively driven ?” shakes me out of a procrastinating cycle. It’s a reminder to not leave the driving of your life to whims and to honestly take care of your needs.

Once I heard my intuition say ‘Get out of bed and practice”, I let it give me even more guidance. I decided to take it nice and gentle. I put on some completely unyoga-ish music – Snoop Dogg’s new album – and I had so much fun. That’s the thing too, if your intuition tells you to do something that you’re not really in the mood for, ask yourself what you need to do to make it a little more fun or handleable or meaningful. Is there a different way you can perceive the task at hand? Can you find a higher purpose to it all? Can you go in with a completely open mind and be willing to be surprised.

So I did my practice and check this out, my mood was completely different than that mood I had started out with. No longer lazy and lethargic, I felt balanced. I was ready to start my day. I had listened to my intuition. Once again it was right on the money.

And as for that old chestnut of being in a bad mood because you got up on the wrong side of the bed? Next time it happens, check in with your intuition and uncover what’s really going on. There’s probably a message waiting to be delivered…

Oh and PS, since seeing a video of Grace Jones hula-hooping to “Slave to the Rhythm” I can not get the idea of the things we are slaves to, like moods, out of my mind. Werk!

 

 

A Super Cool Tool For Making Hairy Decisions

When I first made the career transition to coaching work I hit a real quandary. I just had no idea what to call myself! I was doing a bunch of different things that involved coaching but left me with a bit of a blurred identity. I was also vlogging, podcasting and writing and when people asked me what I did, I just couldn’t answer them with a nice tidy box of an answer. Saying any of these and adding that I also focused my content on women over 40 was way too much of a mouthful!

 


 

But it really bothered me not being able to give a name to this identity. Through the years I’d come to really appreciate being able to say what I did for work in an easy way. But now. This! It drove me really crazy. Until one day when a mentor coach led me through a decision making technique called The Cartesian Questions. Developed by the French philosopher Renee Descarte, these four questions are often used to help people get unstuck. They literally force you to take a challenge and deconstruct the pros and the cons of it, the benefits and the risks so that, if you give them your full attention, you probably get at least a little clarity to a challenge, if not an answer to a puzzle you will feel confident in.

The Four Cartesian Questions are:

1.What Will Happen If I Do?

2.What Will Happen If I Don’t?

3.What WON’T Happen If I Do?

4. What WON’T Happen If I Don’t?

I know this for myself because I went into these Cartesian Questions with the quest to find out what I should “call” myself in the new business I was going into. I know! How would Cartesian Questions give me a label? But what can I say? That was the question going on in my mind. I went through each question and one of them (probably number #3 or #4 which absolutely do my head in) gave me a lightbulb moment.

That lightbulb moment, the answer to my question of what label I should give myself in my new career was this: I didn’t need to label myself. I didn’t need to limit myself to doing one thing. It was completely okay to not have a proper name for what I did.

A few years later, this decision is still working for me. Perhaps I would’ve come to this conclusion eventually without going through the Cartesian Questions but all I know is they came to me in the right time. They forced me to think outside the square, outside of what I knew. They showed me that sometimes the least familiar answer is actually something that can work quite well.

So my challenge for you is if you’ve got a massive decision you need to make, take a few minutes out of your day to answer the four Cartesian Questions. The more your brain sweats on them, especially on #3 and #4, the better. That means you’re going off into the land of unfamiliar answers and will be exploring all options. You might get answers. You might get new ideas. You might solve a problem completely unrelated to the original question. Such is the magic of these four little mind benders and I hope that if you need a little bit of direction, these babies will steer you in the right one.

Making The Most Out Of Long Distance Relationships

My adult life has had one constant – the long distance relationship. Whether it’s from the early days of meeting my Australian husband, staying connected with American family members while living down under or having my adult children leave the nest to live overseas themselves, relating via remote has become kind of an art.

 


 

In this week’s podcast, recorded while I’m traveling to see my daughter who’s based in Chicago and the rest of my family who live in California, I share a few ideas for rethinking the difficulties that we often associate with long distance relationships. They’ve become underpinnings for how I now view these special circumstances and definitely help take the sting out.

A Lifetime Of Healthy Enjoyable Sex

I was thinking about sex the other day and how it stacks up to the energy we give our other biological functions. For instance our bods. We know we gotta move ’em and we know the healthy ways to fuel them. And then there’s our minds. We know the importance of learning and having practices to calm and still our thoughts. I’m sure there are plenty of other ways I can explain the various levels of extreme care that we at least try to give these prongs of our health but when it comes to sex, a lot of us are okay with looking the other way.

Obviously this happens because of a few things. We haven’t been trained from the get go to see our sexuality as an integral part of our health or we were raised in a time where sex was way more taboo than it is now or we were brought up to believe that sex is just for young people and maybe even just for men. I’m not even going to touch religious beliefs or trauma.

I might not be a sex therapist or a doctor but I’ve been married for over 30 years and I’ve come to feel that a healthy sex life is as important as all the other things my body needs. It’s simple. It makes me feel good in just about every aspect. I don’t buy into the common thought that interest in sex drops after a certain age and these thoughts are acknowledged in growing research that suggests people who have an overall attitude of positivity, an emphasis in wellness and a life long interest in sex, continued to have a life long  sex. Yes hormones might mean we have to look for options and yes there might be times when we don’t have partners but the long and the short of sex is that a lot of it is in our minds, not our genitals. Sex is about how we communicate and how we think and how much we prioritize it.

I wanted to say all this in a podcast and I think it’s the start of some more conversations but what helped me focus it a bit more was when one of the subscribers on my newsletter mentioned that Viagra was playing havoc in her life. The tiniest bit of research revealed this is a huge problem. Women were actually getting hurt from their partner’s reliance on the drug and rather than talking it through, they were suffering in silence.

So here’s the deal. Sex is the same as all the other things we do for ourselves like eating well, exercise, sleep, and meditation. At its natural best it demands intelligence, patience, effort and communication. What would happen if you brought all of those things into the bedroom with you for the rest of your life? I think like all the areas we put effort in, the answer would be simple. You’d just feel better