From Menopause To Bereavement, The 4-Step Process To Manage Change In Midlife
‘The only constant in life is change.’
So said Heraclitus. (Smart man, who summed up in one sentence the dichotomy of being a woman in midlife.)
I joke of course… But the truth is, midlife is a HUGE time of change for women. Not only, with menopause, when our bodies are going through the biggest physical change since puberty, but we’re likely to be faced with a barrage of change in our everyday lives—be it children flying the nest, aging parents, changing careers, retiring or downsizing our homes.
But while some people absolutely love change and thrive on everything it means for their lives, some can barely cope and survive it…
And others still will do everything possible to avoid it.
Most of us recognize that change is inevitable, but what happens when we’re so resistant to it, we fail to see it as a positive?
Because living in the past, or being unwilling to progress can have a serious impact on our professional and personal lives.
Well, during my iPEC training to become certified as a professional life coach, I learned an incredible technique that forms the foundation of all my coaching with clients—and now I’m sharing it with you too. And it’s known as The Cycle of Change.
What Does The Cycle of Change Mean For You?
This technique can help you normalize change, ride its waves and help you see change as an essential part of life.
Because here’s the thing…
When you hit your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, in any facet of your life, be it relationships or health—you’re probably tackling the cycle of change.
Plus—just like dealing with any hand life throws at you—this strategy relates the changes we experience to a game of cards.
So, here’s how it works:
Phase 1: Shuffle
Change by its very nature is often unexpected. Or, our reaction to change can take us by surprise. (The unexpected death or illness of a loved one for example. Even children leaving for college—no matter how prepared you might be, that feeling of an empty home can cut you to the quick.)
Well, the ‘Shuffle’ is a period of detachment from what was not working or what has been completed. It’s a phase to ‘time-out,’ emotionally heal and reflect, or search for new directions.
Very often being in the Shuffle is associated with a fear of the unknown—but networking, exploring and taking action can help you to see a way through.
So, here I would encourage you to take a moment and ask yourself: what aspects of your life are in the Shuffle? Which call for a new beginning?
Phase 2: Deal
The Deal uses all the exploration and reflection you completed in the Shuffle, and helps you to take optimistic action—and move you onto the next step.
If you’re in this phase you may feel excitement and anticipation. You’ll look for clarity and support. Your energy is high, despite any fear of failure you may feel.
Perhaps, for example, your career is moving in a new direction? You’re pitching to podcasts, and building your audience. You have your head above water and you’re in full-flow mode.
Phase 3: Play The Game
Now, you’re implementing your plan. You get on that podcast, start that new hobby, or buy that new house.
In short? You’re all in.
But, while this stage is associated with success, it can also be the setting for disappointments, setbacks, and new challenges.
You may think: “What do I do next?” or “How can I find the time to do all of this?” And depending on the outcome, you might fear failure, or have a deep sense of peace and purpose…
But… that’s life! You’re taking action, and learning from mistakes. You’re learning to embrace change, and all that goes with it.
Phase 4: Toss In
In this world, all things come to an end. Sometimes things end with a ‘failure’ and other times with a ‘success.’ Either way, people are rarely ready for the cycle to end, whether it’s the end of a job, a relationship, or any aspect of a goal or project.
If you’re in this part of the cycle, you’re usually unhappy and unsure of the future. You might turn inward, keep to yourself, and think, why me?
‘I can’t just deal with this right now.’
Now, if you find yourself in this phase, it’s important to try to move yourself forward, get ready for the next hand, and shuffle those cards to start over.
Questions To Help You Complete the Cycle of Change
If you find it difficult to pinpoint where in your life you might be experiencing the most change, or identifying where on the Cycle you fall, these questions have been designed to help you:
- What are the most important insights for you from the Cycle of Change?
- How might you integrate this into a problem, challenge, or conflict you (or someone in your life) is experiencing in your work or personal life right now?
- Read back through the phases, and identify where you fall. Name it.
(Important to remember: you may be on different phases of the Cycle of Change in different aspects of your life. For example, your relationships may be thriving, but you’re suffering with physical changes due to menopause, or a recent health diagnosis.)
- Now, ask yourself: what do you need to do in order to move forward?
(Note: for the last phase ‘Toss In,’ an entire project or relationship doesn’t have to be over, only an aspect of it.)
Finally, consider the individuals or loved ones you wish to lead, inspire, or motivate in your life. How can the Cycle of Change assist you with any challenges or conflicts you might have with these people—and how can you shift your collective energy to help them?
Yes, it may be true that ‘the only constant in life is change—but with the help of these 4 phases, change does not need to be something to fear…
Instead, it can be something to be embraced.
Rooting for you,
P.S. If you enjoyed this, you’ll love my 10 Question Toolkit. Whatever change you’re going through, it can help you ignite a midlife reboot, and learn how to master the mayhem.