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"The wake up call for women leaders"

11 December 2013

Creating Encores

40 seems to be the magical age when we are suddenly faced with questions like these: ‘What will I do for the rest of my life? Do I stay in the same career and relationship? Do I want to live in the same city, town or part of the world?"

This state of questioning - or realisation - is what I call a ‘Wake Up Call’.

In our 20s and 30s we move along in our career and personal life with a focus on developing and using our business skills. Life is progressing well. As we approach our 40s, we often realise that life is not as fulfilling as it could be.

Maybe you’ve stayed safe by working in a predictable environment or career that initially excited and interested you. Or perhaps, you’ve spent time bringing up a family. Whatever your predicament - now you feel that the ladder is against the wrong wall. How do you find support and a way forward? How do you move past these crossroads in your life?

Asking these questions can help: ‘Am I treading water? Do I want to look back on my life in 10 years and find that I’m stuck in the same unfulfilling career or relationship? Have I been in this space for a number of years? Have I finally admitted that I am in a career that does not make my heart sing? ‘

Answers to these questions often prompt us to change our lives.

Sometimes this change in life is forced upon us - things are going well and then, out of the blue, comes a challenge that shakes up our ‘perfect world’. I know this from personal experience.

I was moving ahead rapidly in my career and personal life when one day a bomb dropped. It was the year I turned 40. My husband went into a large property development project that failed, and when this happened our whole world went pear-shaped.

Our so-called ‘perfect life’ was halted. I was forced to find a new path to walk along. I told the psychiatrist who was helping me move through this stage of my life, ‘I don’t want to walk along another path - I am happy on the one I’m on.’  Yet, if this major disruption hadn’t occurred, I wouldn’t have been able to write this book.

I realise now that I was forced to look deeply within myself and admit that although I had achieved much, underneath I was a psychological mess. I was able to mask my feelings behind the facade of a well-presented businesswoman, particularly the great number of insecurities I had around self-belief and self-worth. They were hidden behind an enviable job; a happy marriage; designer clothes; a global lifestyle and, for many years, financial stability.

When unexpected obstacles appear in life we have a couple of options. We can pretend they’re not there and just keep going, warts and all. (This is when some of us resort to self-medication - numbing the pain in a variety of ways; trying to ignore what has happened through excessive exercise, alcohol, eating, sex, shopping and more.) Or, we can be courageous and acknowledge that deep within ourselves we have to do something about the state of affairs.

And when we take the plunge to move our life along - this is where the magic happens…

It’s a path that’s unpredictable and full of new insights about life. And, if you are true to yourself, this is where you can really change.

I enjoy working with women who are moving along this path. Whether it means staying in their career and tweaking some of the challenges, or deciding to move out of their jobs and leveraging their skills into another career. The important thing is to make the move and not live a life that’s unfulfilled, or stay in a career that’s uninspiring.

This is the time and place to bring out the real woman within. All you need to do is get to know her, and have a guide to work alongside you on this journey.

When we learn how to mine the creative inspiration inside, we unearth ‘grounded magic’ and this is the heart of Creating Encores. The way forward is to follow the high-level performance techniques founded in the performing arts (a passionate mindset with discipline and focus); and combine them with a visioning program and insights from the Work Life Balance Wheel. Let these techniques become your toolbox for creative invigoration in all areas of your life. 

Following the 4 Steps of the visioning program sequentially is important. Each builds upon the other. I suggest that as you read this book, you take time to move through each chapter, stop and stay with the learnings, and then move on as it feels right for you. 

This action plan has worked for hundreds of my coaching clients: women in high level careers who are internationally known in the business and performing arts world. We work together on moving out of stuck places; helping to grow business; leveraging skills into new-look careers and, most importantly, finding the passionate connection to these areas of their life.

Whatever your background and skills are, you have the potential to reinvigorate all areas of your personal and professional life. There has never been a better time than now to combine business and creative thinking to inspire women to Create Encores. 

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