How's your mojo?
If you are a woman anywhere between 45 and 60, you could well be hunting for it.
Mojo- enthusiasm, excitement, joie de vivre. Call it what you want; it's that get up and go feeling that you might have had in bucketfuls in your twenties. Sometimes in our forties and fifties it goes missing, often due to hormonal changes.
At the same time, we may lose self-confidence, children fly the nest, parents become ill and life can seem very stressful, especially if menopause is kicking in too.
'Who'd be a woman!' is a comment my clients often make.
A lovely success story
Well, being a women can be good if you take control. A client - Lizzy - (not her real name for reasons of confidentiality) had been coming to me for coaching for some time. I am delighted for her; she's gone from being a couch potato to running 5K. And before you stop reading (you don't want to run 5K), let me tell you that was Lizzy's goal, not mine. I didn't even mention running.
Lizzy didn't set out to run 5K. In fact she hates running, walking and almost any form of exercise, partly because she is in chronic pain with a health issue.
But as part of her coaching with me, she admitted she wasn't exercising as much as we all ought to, she'd put on a little bit of weight, and felt generally 'Bleugh'.
How I helped Lizzy
Lizzy was open to some suggestions and advice. We devised a do-able exercise plan- gently does it - and some changes to her diet. Nothing drastic, but when she mentioned the issues she was having with hot flushes, I told her about how sugar and alcohol don't help at all. She reduced her drinking to now and then and ditched the sweets. She also saw her doctor about HRT after I'd pointed her in the direction of new research into risks v benefits.
Most of us know what we need to do to feel better physically and improve our emotional wellbeing at the same time. But if we're honest, it's easier to sit and eat cake than get into our trainers, walk, swim, or do something active.
On the one hand, Lizzy didn't need me; she's an educated, highly intelligent woman who knows what to do. But on the other, being accountable to me- where she keeps a log of her progress, her shortcomings, her bad days - helps her to stay on track.
Green spaces and mental health
There is masses of evidence- some by MIND- showing that physical activity does help mental health and wellbeing. Only recently, GPs have been asked to encourage people to enjoy gardening instead of taking antidepressants.
Small changes to your daily life can make a huge difference. A small amount of exercise helps. This is my feature for Patient on why you don't need to aim for 10K steps a day.
If you are suffer from menopausal symptoms and a missing mojo, these are my top tips:
Sounds good? If you are struggling to make any of this happen and need a cheer leader, why not book a 15-minute chat with me to talk things over?
I've never parachuted and probably never will. It terrifies me.
I love this image though. I don't know if the guy at the front is terrified or not. But the one behind him seems okay: Look- no hands! So that guy in front is fine. He's going to land safely. Does he hate parachuting? Did he want to try it but was scared? Perhaps.
I often receive enquiries from potential clients. I offer them a day and time to chat. Then I hear nothing again. Or sometimes they contact me weeks or years later. And still they don't commit to a chat.
I don't pester them; I'm busy enough and, like leading the proverbial horse to water, I can't make them drink.
The common behaviour pattern
But it does show a common behaviour pattern.
Every now and then we have moment when we think 'I MUST do something about this.' The 'this' is different for us all. It might be a wellbeing and lifestyle issue; we know we have to do something, but we keep putting it off. Or it could be a career issue; a row with our boss or, if you are the boss, dissatisfaction with your role. It could be a feeling of unhappiness over your relationship that comes and goes.
And the common pattern? It's too scary to change. No matter how tough the present, the future looks even scarier. The devil you know, the tried and tested, out of the fat...; you know the cliches.
So you do nothing. Until you weigh yourself again, or you dread Mondays again, or your partner seems distant.
At which point you decide to contact a coach. Then you get cold feet; they aren't just a website, something out there to read. They are a real person and have replied offering a chat.
'Hang on, I just wanted to dream about change', you're thinking. 'I don't really want to do anything.' (Until the next row, the next event that makes you miserable...)
Taking that step off the edge into the unknown is scary. We postpone it. Often for life. Preferring the comfort of the familiar, even if it makes us feel unfulfilled.
Who's the guy holding him?
Look at the image again. I'm the guy behind with his arms in the air. You're going to be okay. You're out of your comfort zone, but I'm there to support you. You've got to do some work, like get on the plane. I'm not going to carry you on if you're not ready.
Jump or sit on the sidelines (forever)?
Coaching is a partnership. So we work together. It's okay to be scared about change.
If you weren't you'd be a bit unusual. But a coach will support you, without setting your goals for you. So are you going to stand on the edge forever, as life passes you by?
Or are you going to take a leap of faith for a better life with someone behind you, cheering you on?
You know how it goes- you set yourself a target and reach it, maybe not 100 percent but pretty close. Most people would be amazed at what you achieved. But not you. Oh no. You were striving for perfection. You didn't stop and give yourself credit for your achievement, all you thought about was what you didn't achieve.
So in your eyes you were a failure.
This is a common scenario with some of my clients. To everyone else, they are doing just fine. They are running a business, working in a senior role, have great CVs, are brilliant parents, or friends, or partners...but in their own eyes they are not enough.
They only see the negatives. So I challenge them: 'Would you judge a friend or colleague in the same way you judge yourself?' I ask. Of course not.
Do you want perfection in others?
We accept others' limitations and don't expect perfection. Come on- we're human!
But with ourselves there is the tendency to expect perfection. And beat ourselves up if we fall short.
I see it all the time: a client wants to lose weight and when they lose a pound in a week they are miserable. Their goal was two pounds. They don't give themselves credit for what they have achieved.
The same applies to some clients applying for jobs; they have great work experience and qualifications yet they focus on what they don't have. On what the imaginary interviewer will want from them. They convince themselves they are too old, too young, too inexperienced, over - qualified, under-qualified... the list is endless. There is no evidence for any of these, but they decide it's not even worth applying for a job. So they remain stuck.
Similarly, it's easy to let the past dictate your future. 'I always failed at interviews..' (therefore I always will.) 'I'm no good at relationships; they all failed'...(therefore they always will), 'My last business failed so this one will- I'm useless.'
Are you recognising any of this?
The answer is to start giving yourself credit.
What three things have you achieved today that you should give yourself credit for?
Write them down and do this every day.
I'm Glynis, a career, relationship and wellbeing coach. These are my tips on what life throws at people like us and how coaching can help. You can read more about me here. Do get in touch if I can help you.