A post from Julie:
I'm reading Tom Friedman's latest book, "Thank you for being late" as I'm traveling in London and Dubai for the next few weeks. Such different cultures, such different societal norms. An interesting juxtaposition of just how the world is changing, and for women in particular but we all share one commonality: We're hearing the call to restart the machine.
He cites a perspective from a highly regarded leader in business: “When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings they start,” posits Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN, which advises global businesses on ethics and leadership. “You start to reflect, you start to rethink your assumptions, you start to reimagine what is possible and, most importantly, you start to reconnect with your most deeply held beliefs. Once you’ve done that, you can begin to reimagine a better path.” But what matters most “is what you do in the pause,” he added. “Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: ‘In each pause I hear the call.’”
This is what's happening with us as we pass through the menopause "pause" and into an environment where we can actually choose how, when, where, why and on whom we want to impact.
But where to start? Our older selves are more informed - thus, more cautious, than our younger selves that were all-consumed with our families, soccer, doctors' appointments, careers and spouses. Now, we're moving onto what Tom Friedman is calling the, "second half of the chessboard." Our chessboard moves will satisfy us when they're impactful and satisfying to our most strongly held beliefs.
So, what do we need to do to restart the machine and implement our next moves?
Several simple but crucial elements:
* Reflect and decide what it is that moves you now. Before you're done, what's the one most important thing you'd like to see changed in our world? As I talk with women in the UK and the UAE, the answers really arent' that much different: They want to chart that better path, create those opportunities that didn't exist when they were younger (and the world was not interconnected), and lead. We're not afraid to make mistakes anymore; we just don't want to waste any time.
* Reach out to your network and find out who is in a position to help you advance your cause, your passion. Whether it's LinkedIn or Facebook or just starting a conversation with a complete stranger in an airport (as I've been doing a lot recently), find out what they do, tell them about your passion. Elicit their advice and suggestions and establish any synergies or complementary skill sets. Moving the chess pieces gets a lot easier when they're moved in groups. You've just grown your knowledge base and your Rolodex.
* Make sure your technology skills are up to date; you gotta know how to maximize your time and value to move your chess piece. Take an IT class at a local college or earn a Certificate in your goal field. For me, that meant going back for a Masters in Public Health and partnering with an OB/GYN. (Truth be told, I wanted to go back to medical school and get the MD but that meant no dinner with the husband for the next decade or so...which didn't get his vote...). The Masters in Public Health with a focus on older women's issues gets me basically to the same place with Marilyn's help on the clinical side of life.
* Remember you have a lot of years to go on average. We're living well into our 80s and that's ample time to start it, grow it, and watch it succeed - whatever "it" is for you. For me, it was to better understand what to expect when we're NOT expecting anymore.
* Be brave. Don't be afraid to start. For me this was the biggest obstacle to starting Menopause Pro; I thought, "Who's going to care what I think?" What I found is that a LOT of people do - men and women. We're all seeking way to make an impactful difference in this world - regardless of where we're from - and we're all asking these same questions. Don't be afraid to admit you have no idea what you're doing, where it will end up or the ultimate goal. As in chess, strategy changes as environments change and, lord knows, today's environments surely look nothing like they will in 10 years but the problems won't really change unless and until we change them. Gotta start somewhere.'
Enough for now as I'm boarding for Dubai and maybe a little shopping in the souks - not a bad distraction. But even in Dubai, the souks are next to the biggest mall in the world with indoor skiing, no less!
So, reflect, rethink, reimagine and restart the machine. You'll hear your call.