Deciding to engage in life coaching at any stage of life is a decision of some gravity. It requires that we share a mutual responsibility with our coach to help determine the direction of our destiny. In a culture in which we value youth, fear old age, and deny death, life coaching at age 55+ is fraught with its own special challenges.
For most adults, around the age of 50 everything comes up for review: work, family, and spousal relationships each earn a closer look during this decade of life. There is an internal “push” to open the door to opportunities for finding greater meaning and purpose, and there is increased energy to make a sustained effort to discover what really matters. At midlife, most adults begin to realize that there are more years of life behind them than there are likely to be ahead of them. It brings a sense of urgency to answer questions such as “Does my current job reflect who I am and what my values are?” and “Am I satisfied with how I have been living and, if not, do I have the courage to change it?” and, for many of us, “What do I want to do with my life now that I am no longer focused on being a full-time parent to my children?”
I consider it a significant life transition that warrants its own kind of life coaching. Having answered these questions for myself (see My Story) and having helped many clients who are women age 55+ to find their own answers, I have developed a coaching model I call “Hearts On Our Sleeves.” It refers to the characteristic vulnerability we experience when we set out to deepen our state of conscious awareness as we search for our purpose. It is similar to how we felt in previous life stages (graduating high school, entering college, getting married) when we stepped over a threshold from a familiar life into one that was new to us, where we felt unsure of our role, and uncertain about the new terrain ahead.
The questions we strive to answer during this midlife transition have to do with finding our authentic voice, and identifying our unique life legacy; thus, we “wear our hearts on our sleeves” as a symbolic representation of our emotional vulnerability as well as an acknowledgement of the spiritual work we are undertaking. This declaration lets others know that we are on a heroine’s journey; we are yielding to life and admitting that we control little else but our attitude; we move ahead into courageous adventuring, and, inevitably, we slay a dragon to free ourselves of old fears and prohibitions. Eventually, we return to our tribe, triumphant, yet humbled, bearing the gifts of our learning and wisdom.
Hearts On Our Sleeves Life Coaching is based on these principles:
- We are the authors of our lives and the owners of our bodies, minds, and spirits.
- We enjoy collaborating with other like-minded women to have meaningful and supportive conversations about the things we care about that are relevant to our lives as older women.
- We support each other as agents of intentional social change to reduce ageism , and we know that change begins with us, in our relationships, in our homes, and in our communities.
- We are companions for the journey of conscious aging, seeking meaning and purpose as we craft our legacy to leave the world a better place.
- We participate in activities that include purposeful individual coaching conversations, and meaningful group conversations designed to help us create a life well-lived that is our own unique work of art.
Self-test: Having read these descriptions, you can evaluate if you are a good candidate for Hearts On Our Sleeves Life Coaching, by answering these three questions:
- Do you identify with this stage of life and the questions it poses? If so, in what way do you find yourself feeling challenged, confused, and in need of the comfort of like-minded companions?
- Although you claim your own brand of rugged individualism, do you also find yourself yearning for supportive guidance about books to read, events to participate in, and organizations that can strengthen your own efforts?
- Do you trust that there are specific ways to overcome ageism and that they are learnable from wise elders whose lives are examples for us to emulate?
If you answered in the affirmative (yes) to all three questions, then you would find inspiration and delight in this approach. When you are ready to get started, contact me by email and tell me briefly about your goals and your interests; leave your contact information and I will respond to you, and answer any questions you may have. firstname.lastname@example.org.