We had just listened to a 30-minute monologue outlining how our forty-something friend was not getting what he should at work. After working in the same company for 18 years, he has had enough. A new Director of Sales and changes due to a new world view, he is feeling frankly annoyed that he has no recognition of tenure or previous achievements (which have saved this company more than once). He is the guy that everyone wants to be like – on the surface.
“It’s just ridiculous! I have everything – and yet nothing!
There is no fulfilment for me at the peak of my career. What now?”
Understandably he’s unable to clarify just how all of his experience has been extricated to null and void, seemingly overnight. What happened to identifying the challenge, plan it and overcome it with resourcefulness? He has succeeded with this direction before and is more than capable of handling this latest business shift with his eyes closed and standing on his head.
He should be living large and enjoying the spoils of his success. Instead he is unfulfilled, unappreciated and feeling duped. Life is seemingly falling apart. His family is fracturing, his body has been under-valued, and he maintains the external every day to keep up the front.
Fuelling the paradigm
The term “midlife crisis” was first breathed in London in 1957. Forty-year-old Dr. Elliott Jaques presented to the British Psycho-Analytical Society the findings that people in their mid-30s typically experience a depressive period lasting several years. It was not a new concept completely: just a new name. These days we see these behaviours in people during their forties. The mid-life crisis, as we know it, is usually ear-marked with realisations that:
- our lives are halfway over,
- everything that we have worked for can be lost in a breath; and
- no-one is exempt from death (no matter how brilliant).
In this case: exacerbated by the realisation that the skills our friend has honed through years of sacrificing family time, juggling multiple roles, forging ahead with determination and ensuring that he has everything that he needs – are no longer valued.
We don’t need a cliché to see that there are various elements in play here, each of which will interplay with how he manages this challenge instead of giving into it just because someone has given it a name.
Do it differently
Fortunately, our guy is willing to operate at a higher level of consciousness so he’s not off to ejaculate the usual behaviours of a Gen-X professional enduring this uncertainty. There is no new convertible and he has opted out of circulating the establishments looking for something to reinforce his masculinity and self-worth or tattooing himself with something “meaningful”.
He doesn’t prescribe to the theory that just because he has taken time to be dissatisfied, he is failing. Instead he has chosen a path that is becoming more popular.
He is re-purposing his experience to create positivity by activating his choice to elevate his consciousness into a new future.
He is not interested in being the victim, but in taking action. Using what he knows, he has chosen education to change his perspective by reinvigorating his life into the new order. He has facilitated change into a new perspective engaging meditation, personal development and self-care to determine his real priorities in life, along with a re-evaluation of his wants.
Three months later, in the midst of COVID-19, he is a different man who is remarkably surprised at how easy the shift has been for him. Peaceful, fulfilled and exuding a joy that is unmissable. His life is now built on nurturing his spirit first, not his ego. He focusses on bringing joy to others first, which in turn surges him into a true love of life itself. He is thriving in his new role at his new company – his company that he started during a time of noted repression and fear – COVID.
He decided that he was not going to be the victim, but the contributor. Instead he has chosen a mid-life awareness.
It’s time to acknowledge that we have the power to leverage our dissatisfaction instead of hurtling into a state of depression, resulting in becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. How do we produce certainty for the future when the world is not giving it to us? We create it.
We have the capacity to become more than we are today. Any reflection (even if borne from complaining) is an opportunity for conscious elevated awareness where the old becomes the foundation for the new. The key is to decide that your dissatisfaction is enough to upgrade your expectations into wanting something more.
This article has been penned by Jo Jackson, Director of Inner Monologue. As a Performance Coach from Sydney Australia, she believes that choosing the road less travelled will always lead you to a better outcome.