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Midlife crisis is a symptom of the modern age and it can be confusing, disorienting and unpleasant. If you or your partner are facing mid-life crisis, this page can help.
Are you in Midlife Crisis?
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar:
These feelings characterise midlife crisis. If you have most of them, then you're probably in your forties and you probably are going through your midlife crisis.
More about MidLife Crisis
Midlife Crisis was first identified by psychologist Carl Jung. It is a collection of symptoms felt, usually, by people in the broad range of ages between 20 and 60 - in my experience there is a large "bump" in the 40s. Midlife Crisis is a natural process but it can feel very unpleasant. Sometimes, mid-life crisis is known as the "second identity crisis" (the first happens during adolescence).
Like adolescence, "midlife" is one of the stages of life - it's natural and unavoidable. It is a phase when major adjustments to the personality and outlook occur. It is often unsettling, but it is also transformational - it's like a second growing-up, and you'll probably emerge from it a better human being. Perhaps that's difficult to believe just now.
Midlife crisis may be triggered by some specific event - like the death of a loved one, or the success of someone you know, or an illness, or redundancy, or debt - or it may begin for no apparent reason at all.
The fact that it's unsettling can sometimes lead to denial - but you cannot avoid it. It's important to acknowledge that it's happening, to accept it, to go into it and learn from it - to participate actively in the process, and in that way, organise its passing to be a more pleasant and more productive process.
In adolescence, we must let go of childhood and dependent relationships before we can become adults. Similarly, in midlife, there is some letting go involved, which can be difficult. For example, mid-life is called "the second identity crisis" because we must let go of our obsolete self-image and move into a better one. We may also have to let go of ideas about what we thought was important, in order to take up new ones. All of this amounts to a search for meaning.
Like birth, it's painful, but essential - and at the end of it there'll be a wonderful new you! And it's worth pointing out that, in mid-life - you have a wealth of experiences and life skills, and these can help you on this journey if you apply them correctly.
Midlife Crisis in my Coaching Practice
These comments are from real people looking to me for help. I'm including them so that you can see the kinds of issues which I work with daily. I hope they will help you to feel less alone. All of these situations are amenable to coaching.
What can Life Coaching do for your Midlife Crisis?
It's big scary stuff, isn't it? And it doesn't easily go away. So how can I help?
I suppose the first thing is to say what I can't do. I can't make you young again, or immortal. I can't put you back in love with your partner or undo your affair or motorbike accident. I can't make your partner and children disappear or take away your pain with a wave of the hand. Obvious, perhaps, but I've had clients who thought otherwise!
But I can help you. If we work together, we can do a number of things of help to you:
Exactly What's Wrong?
Firstly, we'll look at your sources of unhappiness - the things which place you in your mid-life crisis. This isn't usually as straight forward as it sounds, because you may have some buried beliefs or outlooks which prevent you from seeing things as they are. I'm trained to find those things in you, and to help you to see them and remove them. When that's done, you'll have a much clearer view of your world.
What Do You REALLY Want?
Once we have that clear view of current reality, we can see how you want to change it - we can define what a better life for you would look like. Again - this isn't usually straightforward. Our own limiting beliefs push us in the direction of settling for what we think we can expect - rather than going for what we really want. We need to end up with a new life design for you which is both inspiringly wonderful yet completely believable. So - at this point, we'll both understand why you're in your mid-life crisis and what it means for you to be out of it and happy.
What Will You Do?
Next, we need to develop a plan for you to move from where you are to where you want to be. That plan needs to be powerful - it needs to work. The main problem in this phase of your coaching is again - limiting beliefs about yourself and the world. You'll need to believe new things about yourself - things you currently know are wrong - except they're not wrong - you're just completely sure that they are. So - we'll develop a new plan for you.
Executing the plan - doing stuff - is where the untidy business of theory meeting reality happens. Scary stuff! You'll need to move out of your comfort zone - to do things you don't normally do - things which frighten you. I'm here to help with that. In our regular sessions, we'll look at what you said you would do and what you actually did. If you didn't start we'll look at why not - in a friendly, non-judgmental, entirely positive way. We'll wheedle out those fears and hates which are keeping you in the life you don't like. We'll confront and those "reasons" which kept you inactive, and remove them for you. We'll start walking for real - not in dreamland. This is where stuff really starts to happen!
Of course, problems will arise, and we'll tackle them. I'll keep you positive and focused on reaching your new life goals. My coach training and experience allows me to see what's going on and to ask powerful questions or prescribe specific exercises to help you climb over the obstacles.
Why Coaching Works
The coaching process works for these solid reasons:
Can You Solve Your Mid-life Crisis Alone?
Yes. In fact, if you do nothing at all, it's likely that your mid-life crisis will disappear eventually. But it could take a decade, and you might do quite a bit of damage in the meantime. Here are a few alternatives for you to consider.
Moving Out Of MidLife Crisis
I hope I've shown you how life coaching can help you to maintain the focus, analysis, positivity and stamina you'll need to lift yourself out of your mid-life crisis. So how exactly does it work?
Sessions are conducted by phone and last 45 minutes. You may choose how often you have your sessions - weekly is normal to start - and how many you have - a course of 4 is a sensible minimum, but a coaching relationship might run for longer - perhaps much longer. You're always in charge.
We talk. What we talk about depends on where we are in the coaching process, and on what's happening in your world, and on how coaching works best for you. But in general, we'll look at where you are and where you want to be. We'll create and clarify inspiring goals for you, then we'll develop powerful strategies to move you towards your goals.
In our regular meetings, I'll use powerful questioning techniques to free your mind from its previous constraints and to remove any damaging hidden beliefs you may have. Through our calls, you'll get a regular opportunity to take time out from your busy life to analyse things. You'll get an injection of enthusiasm and companionship. We'll problem-solve during untidy time when theory meets the real world.
Inevitably, problems will arise and we'll address them together. Changes in the plan will be made. I am trained to listen very carefully to what you say; to find your self-limiting beliefs and work with you on their removal. My experience, training and external perspective on your life are an extremely valuable asset to you - this is the magic of life coaching. I can untangle your confusion, boost your confidence, build your motivation and your stamina, and keep you actively focused on meeting your goals.
Together, we'll find you a way through your mid-life crises and into continued happiness.
For those who cannot afford coaching, or are not comfortable with the idea, I've written two guides. One is for people who are in midlife crisis, and one for wives whose husband is in midlife crisis. In each guide I've done my best to transfer the benefits which coaching gives to the page. They are short, to the point, and easy to read - but please realise that reading them is not where the benefits arise. The benefits arise when you do what the guide asks you to do. Typically, these activities are reflective exercises which help you to understand your situation and your options better, and to make better decisions. The guides are not as helpful as coaching is, but they are quicker, cheaper and available for rapid download.
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