It took me several years to truly understand that what happened with my friends was not malicious or intentional; it was the unfortunate by-product of change. It was the natural shift that occurs when people are no longer moving in the same direction. Like a road that reaches a fork, I went left while they went right.
Brenda is part of a tribe of women who were the first to enter the professional world in large numbers, and are the first to encounter the hazards surrounding retirement. Defining themselves largely through their careers, they have challenged traditional models at every stage of their lives, and are now being challenged by their own negative stereotypes about retirement.
If I were to draw a line down the center of a piece of paper and write "Gifts" on one side and "Flaws" on the other side, I'm embarrassed to admit which side would fill up the fastest. Why is it that we are able to pick up on our faults so much easier than we are our skills, talents and abilities?
I wanted to get a better handle on what ignites a fire in the belly of a high-achieving, soul-driven midlife woman, and I wasn’t disappointed. Everyone I talked with was wonderfully open, unreservedly frank, and touchingly vulnerable. While these women may have taken any number of divergent paths as a result of choice or circumstance, there are a number of places where these various paths intersect, and when standing on that sacred ground, their voices sound particularly unified.
That was the year as a midlife woman that I felt the undeniable call of my soul’s desire. That I felt the undeniable need to live with Intention, which meant casting aside so many things I’d been tolerating that were keeping me from becoming the woman I wanted to be. If you find yourself feeling this same sense of urgency, get ready to start your own [R]evolution™ by jettisoning these 17 things from your life. How many of them are you currently tolerating?
For women, the second half of life brings with it many career choices and questions. For some women, continuing in a current career doesn’t fulfill personal, spiritual or financial needs as it once did. For others, re-entering the workforce has become a necessity due to the changes in the economy. In either case, a ReCareer may be the answer. What is a ReCareer?
"Paging Evelyn," I heard over the loudspeaker. "Paging Evelyn: your life is calling." I don't mean I literally received this message over a loudspeaker. It was more like one of those messages the universe likes to send us now and then when we're busy making other plans.
In Part 1, a number of different barriers that make up this labyrinth were identified: remnants of prejudice, resistance to women's leadership, leadership style, family life demands, and building professional relationships through networking. Only a small number of women have made the right combination of moves to arrive at the center of power, but for the rest there is no single turning point where their progress was diverted and the "prize" was lost.
In early 2011 I spent three months offline and out of my office recovering from extensive surgery. Truth be told, it was life-saving, life-changing surgery. And that made it non-negotiable. For women like me, non-negotiable is often the only way self-care gets done.
The truth is that women aren't turned away just as they reach the pinnacle of their career. They disappear in numerous ways leading up to that stage. The path to the C-suite is not a simple or direct path, but one that requires persistence, awareness of how they're progressing, and an ability to analyze the obstacles that lie ahead. For women who aspire to top leadership positions the routes exist, but just like a labyrinth, they are full of twists and turns - some that are expected and others that come without warning or direction.