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Posts Tagged ‘Self-Confidence’

Recently I have found myself attracted to the stories of older women. Whether it is my own age that drives me there or simply that older women are interesting, I have yet to decide. What I do know for sure is that all of us are going to age and we have a say in how this aging will happen. And so I write this to share some of what I am observing, to explore my own journey of getting older and to share a little of the wisdom I am picking up along the way.

Choose Your Role Models Carefully
I enjoy older women. I like their humanity and I love their stories. There is a deeper sense of wisdom beneath those wrinkles and grey hair. And yes, like you, I have noticed that not all older women (and men) are people I would choose to hang-out with. And so it is that in our own journey of growing older, I suggest we choose role models who inspire us. Maya Angelou comes to mind for me. Now is her late eighties, this is a woman who continues to teach and share her stories with a self-deprecating way that is humorous and wise.

I also watched a brief film on YouTube the other day, Fabulous Fashionistas, about six older women, average age 80. In sharing their lives several things became obvious. First, each of these women had a sense of purpose, whether that was continuing to work, having a passion, or promoting a cause. As I watch my family members and some of my friends age, I realize that growing old happens quickly when there is nothing to keep you engaged, a reason to throw your feet on the cold floor each morning.

Secondly, each of these women had a sense of style, even flare. They embraced a “the hell with it” attitude that spoke of caring little for what others think or do, and simply showing up the way you are and want to be. I love that. Break all the rules, the way you are supposed to act like because someone in society said that older women should not wear miniskirts or jeans, have long hair or drink beer in public.

Thirdly, they were active. Despite knee and hip replacements, daily exercise was a must. Dance, running, yoga, whatever it took to keep the muscles and bone moving; use it or lose it.

Yes, I loved these women.

sparkle

You Know Best
Whether you are 23, 45, 69 or 83, today is the day to decide what aging looks like for you. My suggestion – don’t settle. By that, I mean disregard the expectations of others and decide on what is perfect for you. Set your intentions around what you truly want rather than what you think you ‘should’ be doing.

We are entering an era where more and more of us will be growing old together. At 63, I may be closer than some of you. Perhaps that’s why I find myself looking for those role models at the moment and making some decisions about aging with grace.

I am learning that age is largely about attitude. I have watched friends and family assume that they were no longer valuable and choose to step away. It saddens me to see them, disengaged and growing older with each moment. I have also observed the opposite, those women who continue to ‘kick ass’ regardless (I won’t name them here but you know who you are). They are artists, gardeners, writes, dancers, and most importantly, they are alive. Aging for them seems to be at a stand still.

And so I say to all of you, women of all ages, and men if you choose to join in, it is time for us to celebrate:

  • to be enlivened by life and never put down
  • to live with purpose and never give up
  • to be inspired and inspire others
  • to dress for YOU and disobey the rules
  • to play with your inner child and never grow up
  • to choose your path, what’s perfect for you, and turn a deaf ear to ‘they said’
  • to work and play as you choose rather than being the norm
  • to re-fire rather than re-tire when the time comes.

Final Thoughts
As one of the women in Fabulous Fashionistas noted, ageism is pervasive in society; the focus on youth and all that goes with it lingers. Reality tells us that older women are quickly becoming the majority. I say, let’s not be the silent majority!

If you want this attitude to change, be part of the change. If you don’t know how, find some role models to inform you. If you have retired, re-fire, identify a new project or cause, re-ignite your passion. Most importantly live large, be bold, and be YOU!

Betty Healey

Betty Healey is an award-winning author, coach and inspiring speaker. You can book Betty for a workshop or speaking engagement at www.roadSIGNS.ca or contact her at betty@roadSIGNS.ca.

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Your child or teenager comes home from school and presents his report card to you. You review the list of subjects and note the grade assigned to each one: English – A,  French: B+, History: A, Science: C, Math: F. In the following minutes you discuss the results with your child. What do you focus on?

According to Marcus Buckingham, author of GO, Put Your Strengths to Work, more than 70% of parents will zone in on the F grade, ignoring the decent to great marks in the other subjects. It seems that we are programed to focus on weaknesses rather than strengths.

I am sure that most of you have been on the receiving end of this flawed assumption. In an interview recently with one of my clients discussing the annual performance review, they admitted that little time was given to successes and accomplishment during the review process. Time was dedicated instead to what did not happen and the weaknesses they believed the employee needed to address.

Building a Foundation

Imagine building a house or any type of structure using the same principle. Basically the foundation of human development is being built upon the premise that weaknesses must be addressed and strengths taken for granted. If this were a house, what kind of foundation would that be? Would you want to build on a weak infrastructure or would you choose to build on something strong, resilient, secure and so on.

A New Paradigm

In the work we are introducing to organizations and to individuals, we are convinced that building on strengths is the way to go. Buckingham suggests that there are three myths associated with personality and living from our strengths:

Myth #1: As you grow your personality changes.

Truth: As you grow, you become more of who you really are.

That doesn’t imply that you don’t change and grow at all, this simply means that you are born with the personality you have, and with that your innate strengths. Over time what may change are your values, your beliefs, and even your behaviors, the result of your personality gaining life experience.

 

Myth #2: You will grow the most in your areas of greatest weakness

Truth: You will grow the most in your areas of greatest strength

New medical research is actually showing that those who focus their development from their weaknesses are prone to chronic pain and other illnesses. Spending time investing in your strengths however, keeps you engaged, inquisitive, resilient, creative and invested in your learning.

 

Myth #3: A good team member does whatever it takes to help the team.

Truth: A good team member deliberately volunteers his strengths to the team.

We are taught that we must be all things to all people. This is sure to burn you out. A great person or team member is not well-rounded, a great team is. A great team is well rounded because each member comes to play from their respective strengths. It is not your job to be all things.

Lumina Circle

Final Word

If you are feeling disconnected from yourself in any way, chances are you have invested a lot of time addressing your weaknesses. This is not a criticism of you. In all likelihood, you were told you had to, by a parent, a teacher, a colleague or a boss.

Guess what – it’s time to change the conversation because trust me; it is time to start investing in building a strong foundation for your inner house. Find a way to identify your strengths (we use the Lumina Spark Portrait for these purposes). Take a stand for them once they have been identified. Educate those around you, your colleagues, your manager, your family members, about who you are through the lens of your strengths. This is not bragging – it is stating a fact!

On the Mat 06

Take some courses that help you in invest in your strengths and engage them in doing your work, whatever that may be. And finally, address your least favorite activities by activating your strengths.

Each person is unique, possessing a cadre of strengths that defines who they are and how they play in the world. Wouldn’t it be amazing if each person played from their strengths while respecting the strengths exhibited by others? This is true collaboration.

 

What are your strengths?

 

Until Next Time….

Betty Healey

 

roadSIGNS is offering two programs in the upcoming weeks:

 

The Living from Your Strengths Coaching Circle: go to http://www.roadsigns.ca/wp/our-focus/conscious-communication-for-self-discovery/coaching/coaching-circle/, beginiing September 24th.

The Living from Your Strengths Retreat Day – Saturday, Nov. 23rd/13

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