Karen

Your imagination is a powerful tool. Are you using it to create your next chapter?

Your imagination is a powerful tool. Are you using it to create your next chapter?

Just imagine...

One of my nephews went through a period of starting virtually every sentence with the word ‘imagine’ when he was about 7 years old. ‘Imagine if the dinosaurs actually DID actually come back to actual life.’ ‘Imagine what it would actually be like to have a fly’s actual eyes.’ (He liked to cram as many ‘actuals’ and ‘actuallys’ into these sentences wherever possible, as you may have noticed!.)

These conversations were exhausting and endearing in equal measure but his flights of fancy would take us both to some pretty amazing places! 

When was the last time you tapped into your imagination?

As adults we tend to slowly move out of the world of the imagination – and when we don’t we’re likely to be regarded as ‘dreamers’. But what’s wrong with dreaming anyway? As the very clever and perceptive Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”  Nice eh? If that’s not a strong endorsement of the power of imagination, then I don’t know what is!

 

It ALL begins in the imagination

Change of any sort always begins in the imagination first off and THEN gradually filters through into decisions, choices and new practices.

So if you want to change your future the place to START is by imagining a better one!

And yet, this incredibly potent tool which we all have at our disposal, is often under-utilised or completely ignored and consequently we waste one of our most precious resources.

Every success and every achievement begins life in the imagination, so actively building ‘dreaming time’ into our schedule seems to me to be an entirely valid way of conceiving the type of future we want for our Third Age. 

Imagination is a powerful creative force

I’m a great believer in the power of imagining and while you may say I’m a dreamer – oops sorry, I slipped into John Lennon territory for a moment – not that long ago I imagined a world where I could create a business out of my skills, talents and experience and this is now my reality. Not that long ago I imagined being able to connect with clients and colleagues from around the world from the comfort of my home office and this is now my reality.

 

So HOW do you harness your imagination?

For some, imagination comes easily and naturally, whereas others find it difficult to encourage their imagination to roam freely in the realm of possibilities.
 
So HOW can you create an environment in which your thoughts, dreams and imagination have free rein?
 
Well, I’ve probably tried all the usual suspects – vision boards… meditations…. affirmations… walks in nature… journaling…. and yes, ALL these things can work but one thing I DO know through personal experience is that the imagination can’t be forced – it works best when you’re relaxed – which is why so many of us have some of our best ideas in the shower! 
 

A simple way to start...

I am forever daydreaming and imagining new ideas, possibilities and opportunities – usually when I’m thinking about something completely different! But sometimes I get stubborn mental blocks where my imagination retreats into the deepest recesses of my mind and stays there!  

That’s when I use this simple little exercise (courtesy of the wonderful Marie Forleo) to reactivate my imagination and get my creative juices flowing again.

When I say ‘simple’ I mean super simple!  I just ask myself this:

‘Wouldn’t it be great if…’

Yup, that’s it! A simple invitation to my imagination to run wild and roam in far off places…. an invitation to explore desirable possible futures… to loosen up and open the flow!

Wouldn’t it be great if… I spent a month travelling every year?
Wouldn’t it be great if… I worked just two days a week?
Wouldn’t it be great if… I published a book?
Wouldn’t it be great if… I created an in person meet-up group for women just like me?
Wouldn’t it be great if… I took a course in psychology?
Wouldn’t it be great if… I ran with that idea I had about creating my own business?


Start to create your future simply by imagining a better one

There’s something about the laid back casualness of the ‘wouldn’t it be great if…’ that somehow circumvents the judgmental gatekeeper of our desires and lets them flow out uninhibited and without judgement.  

After letting that stream of wants out of your mind, you can then scan the list for the ones that fill you with a sense of ENERGY… because THEY are the ones that’ll guide you in the right direction and help you clarify your immediate next action step.

Et voila!

You’ve just broken through the paralysis and confusion of asking yourself the big ‘what’s next?’ question and not knowing the answer!

Life planning doesn’t come more powerful, simple or energising than this!  

Give it a go, and let me know how you like it.

Ready to start getting intentional?

So, what’s calling you? What changes are you contemplating?  Who do you need to be as you step into the next version of you?  Identifying the changes you want to make is a huge first step but it’s important to ease yourself into the process of change so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up.

If you need a little help to get started, you should seriously consider signing up for my free Dream Catcher and Audio Guide. I think it’ll be the  perfect next step for you right now. 

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Fading Quietly into Invisibility? No Chance!

Fading Quietly into Invisibility? No Chance!

It’s been a long time coming but at LAST we’re starting to regard older women as a vital and dynamic force to be celebrated, valued and respected. But in order to BE celebrated, valued and respected we have to be SEEN and we have to be HEARD.

We have to be VISIBLE

And there’s far more to the whole ‘visibility’ question than just our physical visibility – there’s professional visibility, social visibility and political visibility to name but a few.  Basically, it’s about being a vital and integral part of what’s going on around us. 

For me, it can be summed up in a word – relevance!

Ours is not a culture that universally celebrates its elders for the wisdom and talent they’ve amassed over the years! WE know we’re still fabulous…and the people who love us know we’re still fabulous…but everyone else? Hmm… a brief scroll through magazines might suggest that while things are slowly improving, there’s still work to be done!

But it’s a challenge that we Baby Boomers relish!

Our generation has always been a force to be reckoned with, creating massive waves of change as we moved through each of life’s various milestones and we continue to do so as we now as we move into our Third Age.  We are incredibly fortunate to be healthier, richer and better educated than ANY previous generation – and we have absolutely no intention of dishonouring this privilege by fading quietly into invisibility and obscurity. On the contrary, we FEEL at the top of our game as we embark on our next chapter and fully intend being useful, purposeful and relevant for many more years to come.

We want to remain productive. We want to fully express our potential. We want to put our hard earned wisdom to use in new ways. We want to find a fulfilment we’ve not yet experienced.

The exciting part of all this is that the key to our visibility… the key to feeling relevant, important and valued, lies within us. Visibility has absolutely nothing to do with our age but everything to do with our mindset.

Here are a few way in which you can enhance your visibility in your next chapter:

  • engage in a broader set of choices about when and how you show up and are seen
  • let go of comparison and the need for approval
  • open up to new possibilities – say ‘yes’ more!
  • keep a sense of wonder and curiosity
  • become a mentor
  • share your story, gifts and skills to inspire and empower others
  • build relationships and connections across generations
  • recognise and claim your inherent talents, worth and strength
  • articulate your ideas, voice your intentions and put them ‘out there’
  • set new goals – do something different, learn something new

Visibility is no longer just the preserve of the young – life in our Third Age is still very much a dynamic process with HUGE opportunities for personal growth.

All the energy, wisdom, potential and experience we have coursing through our veins is needed now more than ever and we have far too much to offer to be consigned to invisibility!

What’s Your Story?

What's Your Story?

Everyone has a story to tell! In fact, it’s impossible to live a life without creating a rich and compelling backstory!

The thing is, that story – YOUR story – is a very special thing.

For a start, it’s totally unique. There is literally no one on this entire planet that shares the same story as you, which in itself is pretty amazing!

BUT what’s more, the clues lurking within your story also hold the key that unlocks your future. And therein lies its magic!

Now I know that some of you reading this may well feel like you don’t HAVE anything special or magical lurking in your particular story. Nothing remarkable worth telling. Nothing unique to offer.

These feelings are often more acute at life’s transition points, when we’re forced to let go of the familiar and face the future with a feeling of vulnerability about where we fit in the world. Our Third Age is very much one such transition point! 

I know these feelings all too well, having struggled with the same thoughts myself, as I grappled to find a sense of purpose and a new place in the world. 

In this blog I’d like to encourage you to do this one simple thing that made a BIG difference to me and now makes a difference to my clients.

And it’s this:  explore your story.

There's power in your story

Power to do WHAT exactly, I hear you cry! 

Well, within your personal story you’ll discover SO much about who you’ve been, who you are and who you aspire to be. It’ll be there within the things you’ve done and experienced, the things you truly care about, the things you’d like to change, the things you yearn for.

When you look back at your journey so far and explore your own stories – your passions, your ah-ha moments, your successes and failures, your high points, low points, and turning points – you’ll find signals and signposts guiding the way to your purpose and to a happy, fulfilling new chapter. 

You see, it’s precisely because your story is uniquely about YOU, by exploring it, you get to find out who YOU are, the light YOU alone are here to shine and the difference YOU alone are here to make. Making this one of THE most powerful things you can do to help you successfully transition into your Third Age.

It can completely transform your perception of yourself, your past and your life and – this is the exciting bit – it can help you create new plotlines for the next chapter in this adventure called LIFE!

Connecting the dots

Your story has a crucial role to play in times of personal transition such as moving into your Third Age.  Your story has the power to connect your old self with your new self, to link your past, present, and future into a compelling whole. 

One way to start your exploration is simply by free-writing your response to prompts such as these:

  • Where did you come from? What aspects of childhood do you carry with you today?
  • What circumstances led you to choose what you wanted to do with your life?
  • What is your proudest achievement? Why?
  • What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in life? 

If you are reading this and thinking, ‘But I’m not a writer!’ I would just like to say that this is absolutely nothing to do with being a writer or not – it’s all about the insights gained from the exploration.

I encourage you to start small. I regularly ask my clients to explore their stories and very often the most revealing insights come out of an exercise where I ask them to tell their story in just 6 words – to write a 6 word memoir.

Impossible you may think… but it’s the premise of a book I absolutely love called, “One Life. 6 Words. What’s Yours?”

It started when the book’s originator, SMITH online magazine, asked their readers for their own six word memoirs. The magazine was inundated with entries, from famous writers to first time story tellers, all sharing their lives in six words.

Six words can say so much

‘Everyone who loved me is dead’, and ‘Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends’ are just a couple of examples of how six short words can express so much emotion and experience.

Along with the angry and the bittersweet there’s also the inspirational, the motivational and the downright funny – here’s a selection:

  • Any chance I could start again?’
  • ‘Ditched the map, found better route.’
  • ‘Born London, lived elsewhere, died inside.’
  • ‘Wasted my whole life getting comfortable.’
  • ‘Married childhood sweetheart. Two kids. Content.’
your story

If my own attempts (straight off the top of my head, I might add) are anything to go by …

Inside mature woman lurks irrepressible adolescent’ and ‘Someone else waiting to get out’, the results are quite revealing and say more than an autobiography ever could!

If you fancy giving it a go, stick to the advice of the editors and try not to think too hard. You might even submit your own on their website or alternatively, send them to me here and we can share them in next month’s newsletter (anonymously is fine!)

If you’re looking for a way to get to the essence of who you are and what matters most – this is a great place to start.

Exploring your ever-evolving personal story will help you reconnect to who you are NOW, to what really matters NOW, and to who you are ready to become NOW. 

And remember, you’re not merely a character to whom things just happen, but you’re the creator of your story as well and YOU get to write the next chapter. 

Coaching Corner

So when you think about your story – the story that you tell yourself about your life right now…. is it uplifting and encouraging? Or limiting and judgemental?

In this short ‘Coaching Corner’ audio, I explain how this can be the difference between moving forward feeling determined, positive and confident and staying stuck, unable to move forward because you feel frustrated, defeated and disappointed.

Have a listen!

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