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Re-defining Success in Midlife
When entering second adulthood, many women will begin a journey of re-defining personal and professional success for themselves. In midlife, success takes on a new meaning than it had in our 20's and 30's when it was most likely being defined more by others, the current culture, the past, hope or advertising. Our forming of new, revised, more authentic definitions of success are a reflection of our wiser, deeper, more experienced selves which sets us free to enjoy our life and work more completely because we are no longer defined or boxed in by outside influences. There is a sense of release from priorities that are no longer relevant or meaningful.
Around the time we enter our 40's, we have a deeper understanding, knowing and feeling of our innate self worth and that it is separate from the societal ideal of worth. We begin the shift to having a healthier, more deserving sense of responsibility around success, money and happiness and, as a result, have an opportunity to begin a new cycle of attraction and abundance in our lives. What can trip us up, if we are not aware of it, is when our old beliefs remain in silent opposition to the new sense of value and worth we are feeling as we begin the process of re-defining success. Our often unconscious beliefs are firmly held opinions we adopted from our past experiences and dictate how we assign meaning to our life and our expectations of how our life and/or work will be, either limiting or expanding our possibilities.
For example, one client I had held in her a belief that although she was excellent at what she did and she believed she could provide great value and benefit to others, she also believed she would probably not make enough money in her business to sustain her. She had based this thought on a number of things, including: The belief that she could not possibly earn a lot of money doing what she loved to do-the two just weren't synonymous in her mind; the belief that there had to be a sacrifice involved if a person wanted to earn a lot of money; and the belief that women in general don't have what it takes to be financially successful.
My client was obviously limiting her possibilities because of her limiting beliefs and their obvious mismatch to her evolving definition of success!! She had to shift her old beliefs if she was going to find the success she needed in order to continue doing what she wanted and loved to do! An exercise I use with clients to help them re-define their personal definition of success is to complete the sentence, "I know I am being successful by how??" And keep writing until they make sure that their new definition is phrased in such a way that they feel a tingle in their body, or the light bulb goes on or they feel really excited.
When my client did this exercise, her definition of success was "I know I am being successful by how easy it is to attract customers who can benefit from the unique gifts and talents I have to share." This statement caused her to challenge and bring to full consciousness the error of her old beliefs, allowing her to relax into her personal power and easily earn all the money she needed to sustain her business and live comfortably. Her new definition became the frame work for the process of re-working her old beliefs and creating new beliefs that served her and supported her by prompting new standards and goals that to a financially successful business that provided her with a new level of freedom and certainty vs. the angst and struggle she previously experienced.
We attract abundance when believe we are worthy regardless of outside forces trying to convince us otherwise. As a result, we attract even more abundance because we automatically raise the bar on our inner personal standards. For example, we might stop accepting credit card debt, we might require ourselves to work smarter instead of harder, we might start taking better care of ourselves because we love ourselves and not because we feel shamed by societal standards, we might start to stand up for ourselves more and we might create and follow through on more effective goals.
Entering this new cycle, we surprisingly find our feeling of personal success and value stops depending so much on the "doing", such as earning a certain amount of money, having a certain amount of power, or acquiring enough praise and recognition, but begins to have more to do with "being". The quality of the person we want to be, the lives we touch and the relationships we share. Which brings us back to this interesting twist regarding success; If we believe we are always enough just as we are, or who we are choosing be, rather than what we are doing (accumulating money, things and accomplishments), then, ironically, we attract more of the outer abundance we also desire!
Deb Betterly, Ph.D., is a personal and transformational coach who works with midlife women to help them bring spirituality, universal truths and connectedness to their lives and work environments. Deb's life coaching business offers self-directed programs, group coaching, and one on one focus coaching. She is also the author of an eBook called "Awakening the Spirit Within to Create Your Best Life" which can be found on her website, http://www.amazingjourneycoach.com
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