Psychologist David M. Almeida, PhD, an associate professor of family studies and human development at the University of Arizona at Tucson, believes that women in mid-life experience more “crossover” stressors than men, attributable to simultaneous demands from multiple sources like work and family. The good news is that mid-life can be a positive opportunity for growth, rather than a negative event. According to Dr. Almeida, “Midlife people actually have more control over their lives than earlier and later in life.”
Randi Levin, a nationally-recognized transitional life strategist, author, and reinvention expert, specializes in helping women take that control and turn “crisis” into an opportunity to begin building a new legacy for themselves. “Women in their 20s make sweeping life-long decisions that no longer align with a 40, 50, or 65-year-old version of themselves,” Levin explains. “As women, we have the choice and the power to carve out and curate our own legacy based on embracing our ongoing evolution.”
According to Levin, “legacy” has little to do with what one leaves behind at the end of their life but is more about how people perceive and reframe their ability to make choices and take action in the current moment. “When your views of legacy shift to what you can control and direct, this empowering thought changes everything,” Levin says. “Suddenly you have permission to allow resourcefulness, originality and inspiration into your life. Your point of view expands because your perspectives expand. Every day becomes a new venue for renewal, development, insight, and contribution.”
Using a “what’s next?” mindset, and applying her signature GPS Coaching System (Growth, Purpose and Success), Levin offers a five-point framework to shift perspectives and reframe new possibilities for her clients.
- Believe in yourself. Recounting past successes can inspire taking on new challenges with gusto. “Being your own cheerleader is an important ingredient in living the life you most desire,” Levin say. “You are the single longest relationship you will ever have.”
- Focus on the “can.” Keeping a gratitude journal or a success jar to record the good things helps shift focus towards what is going right instead of what is not perfect yet. “All the elements of what you have already accomplished add up like the pieces of a mosaic, and they come to life when you celebrate the whole picture,” Levin says. “Think you can, and you will move ahead.”
- Allow for growth. “Growth is the small steps taken toward the larger reward,” Levin says. “Stepping into doing the thing you most want to achieve means allowing yourself to grow regardless of the end result.” According to Levin, growth is about forward action that includes celebration, researching options, changing plans, and living in the moment. “Growth keeps you mindful of where you are on your own journey,” she says.
- Create a vision. Imagining a better future, describing what it looks and feels like, gives an increased sense of direction and purposed intention, rather than reacting to circumstances. “Visioning replaces ‘how’ to do something with the reason ‘why’ you want to do something,” Levin explains. “Visioning keeps you playful and engaged, mindful and creative. Creativity promotes evolution and transformation.”
- Start. Sounds simple, but according to Levin, every change begins with the first small step, followed by the next small step. “Wishing does not make things happen,” Levin says. “Choice and action make things happen.”
According to Levin, creating legacy in life today (rather than later) is rich in rewards. “You are turning up the volume on self-esteem and personal challenge and directing your next steps based on decision, passion and the ability to harness your own growth,” Levin says. “As a result, you become a legend in your own life!”