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Making the Most of Your PMZ? (Post Menopausal Zeal)

Making the most of your PMZ? (Post Menopausal Zest)

Making the most of your PMZ

If anyone had told me when I was going through the menopause that I could look forward to experiencing a shot of ‘post menopausal zest’ once I made it to ‘the other side’, it would have given me some much needed optimism to help me through!

Although to be fair, I may not have paid much attention to the possibility because at the time it seemed a pretty unlikely prospect!

It’s been called post menopausal zest, post menopausal zeal and even post menopausal zing… but no matter what you call it, it is without doubt a wonderfully powerful phenomenon, which for the purpose of this blog, I’ll be referring to as PMZ for short!

Even though it’s something that’s been recognised and well documented for over 60 years, it’s not exactly a common topic of conversation – although why that’s STILL the case is beyond me!

Even if you haven’t heard of it, there are women EVERYWHERE who are shining examples of PMZ in action, as well as plenty of women in public life, too – just think Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley or Angela Merkel, to name but a few!

A physical and psychological surge of energy

It’s that special time of life when many of us emerge from the ‘menopause tunnel’ blinking into the light, with a renewed sense of vitality and energy, accompanied by a desire to do something different and to make a difference in the world.… a time when we discover an inner life force that knows no bounds. Bring it on!

The term post menopausal zest was coined in the 1950’s by the legendary American anthropologist Margaret Mead.

And, speaking as a post menopausal woman who works exclusively with other post menopausal women, I think she’s absolutely right!

There is no greater power in the world than the zest of a post menopausal woman.”

Margaret Mead, ANTHROPOLOGIST

A time of positive change

Heaven knows, we’re all well aware of the physical changes associated with this life stage but far less is said about the positive changes we experience once we emerge the other side of the transition when things like passion, purpose and potential suddenly rise to the top of our agenda.

It’s a liberation and a transformation – a natural life transition that results in a significant shift in how we see ourselves and what we want for ourselves.

The start of a dynamic new life stage

zestful post menopausal woman

PMZ can kick-start a brand new chapter of our lives where, for the first time in a very long while, we have the opportunity to prioritise ourselves rather than being driven to nurture everyone else.

It’s a chance to focus on and take ownership of what matters to US – our needs, our dreams and our priorities. An opportunity to take stock and start exploring new possibilities and new ways to live a bigger, bolder, happier life.

It’s what our Prime Time is all about.

As a coach and mentor to post menopausal women, I know – and they know – they have SO much still to offer. I also know how incredibly exasperating it can be to have all this PMZ coursing through your veins and not know what to DO with it!

Because I felt it too.

And I can remember all too well the sheer frustration at not being able to channel my energy in a way that would allow me to feel the buzz of fulfilment that comes from ‘doing my thing’ in the world. Consequently, I spent years trying to find my thing before finally having the big realisation that I’d been looking in all the wrong places. I am now on a mission to help others short-cut this journey by looking in the right places from the outset so that they can shine their light, make a contribution and share their purpose with the world!  And boy, this has never been more needed.

Are you noticing a shift in priorities in your own life?

  • Maybe you’re feeling an increasingly strong urge to follow your own star… and  you’re aware of a growing desire to explore new horizons or start new adventures?
  • Maybe you’re energised by the prospect of living life on your own terms? At last!
  • Maybe you’ve found yourself anticipating your next chapter in a very positive, unapologetic way?
  • Maybe you’re aware of a new-found physical and psychological surge of energy and lust for life?

Well, now you can put a label on these feelings.

They’re all indicators of the wonderful phenomenon known as post menopausal zest! AND they’re an invitation to start exploring possibilities and opportunities to live a bigger, bolder, happier life. 

Personal Audit Session

Perhaps you recognise that you are on the cusp of an exciting new life chapter right now and could do with a little support to define this precious new beginning?

If you’re ready to start gently opening up to possibilities, a Prime Time Review session is a great way to explore where and how you can harness this vitality and energy to make a difference – to yourself and others.

Book yours and let’s see if we can get the ball rolling.

Feeling Uncertain About What’s Next? Time to Explore the Fertile Void

Feeling uncertain about what's next? Time to explore the fertile void.

Now what?

If the only certainty in life is change, you’d think we’d be better at it by the time we reach our Third Age!

Like it or not, we ARE changing! What’s less certain, is how we navigate this change as we transition into our next chapter.

Change rarely follows a linear path – that would be too easy! More often than not it’s full of stops, starts and detours, together with a degree of confusion, uncertainty and emotional ‘turbulence’ thrown into the mix for good measure!

And at the very time when the question you’re desperate to answer is, “What now?” it’s very likely you’ve found yourself plunged into an uncomfortable, in-between place experiencing your own brand of emotional turbulence!

Because when there’s no ready response to this question, the subsequent silence can be disconcerting to put it mildly!

So it might reassure you to know that there’s a name for this in-between place. In fact, there are a few…. I’ve heard it called the Fertile Void, the Creative Void, the Powerful Pause and the Neutral Zone – all names to describe the very real stage we go through as we transition from one state of being to a new beginning.

For me, ‘the fertile void’ is the most apt

Isn’t that a contradiction in terms, you may ask?

On the contrary, it’s spot on!

Because while the Fertile Void is, without doubt, an uncomfortable, in-between place, there’s a HUGE amount to be gained by simply sitting with the confusion of not knowing… IF (and yes, it’s a big IF!) we can resist the urge to rush ‘through and out’ because when we do that, we miss out on the gifts this space has to offer us.

I know this may be hard to believe – when you’re in it, it IS a confusing, painful space to be in. BUT – and this is the good bit – something inevitably shifts in the process.

The fertile void has its own creative energy

Think of this time as your very own ‘cocoon of change’…. a time and place where you gradually shed the skin of your old life in order to develop the new. And, like the butterfly, you won’t suddenly appear in all your glory without hanging around as a bit of gloopy stuff first! 

This is where you get to spend time in your own chrysalis whilst engaging in some introspective soul searching. AND if it feels as if nothing is actually happening, just keep remembering the incredible metamorphosis going on inside the seemingly unchanging cocoon.

What if you could regard this as a place of opportunity, of potential and possibility? What if it’s a time to think and reflect?

What if it’s a creative space? A space where you are ‘held’ in order to allow a transition to take place:

  • to realign with the REAL essence of who you are and how you want to be in the world
  • to become aware of all those things now calling for your attention
  • to shed the old layers that no longer serve you
  • to re-examine aspects of your life and let go those that no longer feel right

Making the most of this opportunity

  • Acknowledge your feelings 
    Whatever you’re feeling right now – fear, anger, grief, confusion – it’s ALL totally valid and accepting the validity of these feelings and working with them will be more productive than trying to push them aside or plough on through, in the long run.
  • Embrace this time
    Believe me, I’m well aware this is easier to say than do! You may well be impatient to dig into something new but the fertile void is essentially a time of waiting, not acting… of being, not doing. It’s funny, isn’t it, how much more difficult we find it to NOT do things? But it’s by pressing the pause button that we gradually become aware of the unheard voices calling for our attention.
  • Let go of the need to know ‘what’s next’ for now
    You’ve probably used a huge amount of energy already trying to push your way through in an attempt to find something new and solid to stand on. In letting go of expectations for ‘what’s next’, you gently open a space – a space to breathe…. a space for inspiration and ideas to incubate and germinate. You open up to what might be and to the possibility for something new and fresh to emerge.
  • Control your mind chatter
    I’ll bet your inner gremlin has been having a field day recently, whipping your thoughts into frenzy as it desperately tries to reach some semblance of ‘normality’ and restore the status quo. It’s really important to find ways to get outside your head and give yourself a break from its incessant chatter enabling you move into a space of optimism, curiosity and open mindedness. For me this usually means taking more exercise and doing more yoga – honestly, there’s nothing quite like a bit of mind, body and spirit alignment for finding some all-important white space in amongst all that dark fuzzy, tangled stuff!
  • Keep an open mind
    This is a precious chance to allow your ideas to roam, explore new possibilities and make new choices. Some of the best views are to be found at the end of what look like dead-end tracks, so don’t be afraid to follow your curiosity and wander down some unfamiliar paths.
  • Start a journal
    And I know all the above might sound frustratingly passive, so if you’re desperately looking for something to DO at this time here’s my go-to option! Get writing!  Writing has well-documented therapeutic qualities, so get it all out of your head and on to paper…. anything that comes into your head… feelings, ideas, thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears. Write it ALL down. It’s a brilliantly effective way to process your thoughts and gradually sift and refine them into a personally inspiring and meaningful way forward.

You may be desperate to find a way out of the fertile void but trust me (and the process) when I say you will not stay here any longer than you need. 

When you are ready, when it’s time to take action, you will emerge from the Fertile Void with a clarity and understanding that will put you on a path to a fuller, more abundant life.

Confusion is the state of promise, the fertile void where surprise is possible again.

Paul Goodman

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A Conversation Can Change Your Life

A Conversation Can Change Your Life

There’s nothing I like more than a good conversation, which is probably just as well considering talking and listening are at the heart of just about everything I do as a personal development coach!

So tell me, when was the last time YOU had a really good conversation?

Because even though you no doubt have lots of them during the course of your daily interactions, not ALL conversations are created equal and not all conversations can be classified as ‘good‘ can they?

While there are undoubtedly some conversations that turn out to be literally life-changing (details of one of mine to follow!) there are others which, for want of a better description I’ll call unsatisfactory conversations, usually characterised by a lot of one-sided talking and not much listening!

You know the type of thing… the conversations where you find yourself being spoken to rather than conversed with. The conversations where the other party is just itching to relate everything back to their experience and where what you say will have absolutely no bearing on their response because they already know what they’re going to say anyway! If you’ve been on the receiving end of something like this you’ll know what I mean when I say I somehow feel a bit ‘used’ after this type of interaction.

A good conversation however, is something very different

You know when you’ve been part of a ‘good’ conversation because of how it makes you FEEL. You walk away from it feeling heard, feeling understood, energised or inspired…. or any number of generally positive emotions! And THEN there are those special conversations you have with someone, where the next day…. or even several days later, you’re still thinking about that conversation because something in you changed as a result of having had it.

Conversation as a catalyst

A conversation can be the catalyst that literally changes your life – and when you have one of those you know just how powerful an experience it is! The coaching conversation is an example of this – it doesn’t necessarily change your life (although it certainly can do) but something changes as a result of it.

I was talking with a woman recently and when I told her that conversation was at the heart of what I do, she responded by saying, ‘Oh so you tell people what to do then, do you?’ Which first off made me smile to think that she immediately linked conversation with ‘telling people what to do’, but secondly, it made me realise that there are others who probably think the same and even if they don’t, they probably have no idea what a coaching conversation IS, let alone how powerful it can be!

Conversations with potential

I love the feeling of potential at the start of every coaching conversation with my clients. There’s a certain power within it – a power to clarify, to heal, to transform. A power to connect us to our ‘spark’, our inspiration and our inner wisdom.

And best of all… to motivate us into action.

And yes, all that takes place within a conversation, so let me tell you a little more about how this happens.

A guided exploration

For a start, there is no set agenda other than what you want to achieve and what you bring to the conversation – which more often than not, will include a head full of ideas, hopes and challenges all competing for attention and clarity. But ‘no agenda’ doesn’t mean there’s no structure to the conversation – there is, and it’s my job as the coach to guide the conversation and help you explore opportunities, obstacles, choices and options and find clarity, direction and commitment to take away with you.

A client of mine once described her coaching sessions as being like setting off on a journey of exploration with someone you have absolute confidence in at the helm (me!), with no idea where it’ll take you at the outset but knowing you’ll be in a better place by the end!

The more coaching conversations I have, the more I witness the truth of this.

A thinking space

At its essence, the coaching conversation offers something that’s becoming increasingly difficult to find – a thinking space.

  • A supported space where you can take a step back and see the bigger picture.
  • A space where you can tap into your internal wisdom and listen to yourself.
  • A space where you can clarify your own thinking, find new perspectives and experience moments of sheer inspiration best described as motivational dynamite!

Support, encouragement and challenge

So what’s MY role in this conversation, you may wonder? Well, my job is to support, encourage and yes, sometimes give a gentle kick up the you-know-what!

Questioning and listening are the two main tools of the trade required for the job – both of which I’m quite good at, as it turns out!

Coaching is about asking LOTS of questions – thought-provoking, inspiring, challenging, supportive and powerful questions hopefully, to help you uncover the answers which are right for you.

Contrary to what some may think, it isn’t about me telling you what to do or giving advice (unless you ask) but rather, it’s about helping you take ownership of your situation, come up with your own answers, and importantly, take the right actions for you.

Mindful listening

And as for the listening part – this is definitely the more challenging part of my job and requires far more than me pleasantly nodding along as you talk! It requires active, mindful listening…. noticing a sigh, a sharp intake of breath, an unexpected change of tone or emotion, all of which can provide as much, if not more information than the spoken word.

Listening allows me to notice all the important stuff lurking underneath… the excuses, the procrastination, the overwhelm, the crippling fears and the limiting beliefs which, unless challenged and examined, could so easily undermine your precious dreams and ambitions.

It’s all about the A word

What we’re talking about here are ACTIONS because without them, it will always remain a conversation about ideas. Sometimes those actions will be of the one small step variety…. and other times they may be of the giant leap variety, either way, there will be forward motion taking you ever closer to your dream.

So, that’s a very brief overview of the coaching conversation but if there’s ONE thing I’d really like you to take away from this blog, it’s this: the power of a coaching conversation is NOT in the conversation itself – it’s in what you DO as a result of the conversation.


The conversation that became MY catalyst

Which brings me nicely to the life-changing conversation I mentioned at the very start! I can still remember the conversation I had more than 15 years ago with one of my very first coaches. It was the conversation that was to become MY catalyst… the conversation that shifted my thinking, feeling and behaviour and ultimately inspired and empowered me to take action and set me on a new journey to becoming a coach.

Without this conversation, I doubt I would ever have made the changes I yearned to make – changes that enabled me step into the work I longed to do and start a business that brought (and continues to bring) increasing joy and fulfilment.

So when I say a conversation can change your life, I’m not joking…. I’m living proof of it!

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Now what?

If the only certainty in life is change, you’d think we’d be better at it by the time we reach our Third Age!

Like it or not, we ARE changing! What’s less certain, is how we navigate this change as we transition into our next chapter.

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!

Do you ever get that gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of the stomach… a mixture of panic and regret, combined with the fear that time and opportunities are running out?

Well, what if you could turn those unsettling ‘woulda-coulda-shoulda’ thoughts into a force for positive change?