Midlife feels anything but normal. You are no longer in your comfort zone. Many women fight or avoid this feeling of discomfort.
Add in a midlife career transition and you have a double whammy. Unfortunately, this reaction will prevent you from learning and growth.
“I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.” Brene Brown
Better to go with the pain. Accept this feeling as your new normal – at least for a while. A moderate level of discomfort means you’re learning something new. Discomfort is natural and temporary. Embrace it.
Midlife is a time to move forward, build new relationships, establish new routines, learn new skills and stretch your limits.
A midlife career transition gives you the opportunity to throw open the door to ideas and discover careers you never imagined possible.
“Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort.” Peter McWilliams
Use these actions to develop a tolerance to your discomfort:
Probe what’s behind it.
Why are you uncomfortable or uncertain? Is it so intense that you can’t continue in this direction? Do you have other alternatives? What is your worst fear?
Let go of the past.
You are probably clinging to your old situation. Release anger and regrets. When you let go, you create the space to move forward. On a piece of paper (not your computer), write a list of what’s holding you back. Now take that paper and burn it or tear it up and throw it away. This symbolic physical act will release you.
Give yourself permission.
The discomfort is going to bother you unless you give yourself permission to muddle around in this foggy feeling. You don’t yet have a clear path. That’s OK. It’s necessary to spend time testing out ideas and trying on opportunities.
Fight mid-career inertia.
Keep going until you find the right career fit. You may try out a new direction or idea – and find it’s not quite right. Don’t let yourself stay there just because it’s starting to feel comfortable. Or worse, don’t slide back to your old job. Keep moving forward.
Build a tolerance for discomfort. Let discomfort be your guide out of the fog. Embrace it.
Diane, The Midlife Woman’s Career Coach
Diane Howell Topkis is the author of the Career Clarity ebook series. Diane works with midlife women to gain the clarity and confidence to reinvent or re-energize their career into meaningful work for their next chapter. Please visit www.YourNextChapterNOW.com to receive your free workbook Find Your Career Passion.
In her non-work time, Diane wrote three Tasting Journals to take on her weekend and vacation tasting adventures – Wine Travels, Craft Spirits and Craft Beer. They are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.