Embracing an Authentic Life, for Women 45+
By Sylvie Golod
For many years, I, like many women, have had an ongoing dialogue with my headmate, Vulnerability. It’s produced shame, imposter syndrome and other debilitating fear-driven thoughts throughout my personal and professional life experiences and seasons. Now embracing what I like to call my Silver Years, I find that life experience and hindsight can be good friends that encourage and empower me. Jon Bon Jovi likened them to fine wine, saying, “There is a vintage which comes with age and experience.”
Most profound for me in this period of ageism has been and continues to be my relationships with other women. This “Silver Tones” column intends to empower and encourage women of a certain age who feel vulnerable: those who may have recently lost a job, need to find work following the loss of a partner, are empty nesters or who may simply want to start afresh.
Accept the challenge of facing down your fears
The F-Suite editor models the mission of the magazine, which is to empower women in business. I once shared with her my desire to moonlight as a freelance writer, focusing on the knowledge I’ve gained over my career. Her response was to challenge me as writer by giving me this column. I didn’t see that coming! Though terrified to put myself out there so publicly, I couldn’t ignore the gauntlet she tossed at my feet. I accepted the challenge and decided to grasp onto the ABILITY portion of vulnerability. Literally!
Ongoing self-reflection offers me an awareness of the many skills I garnered over the years. I call this reflection habit “reintroducing yourself to yourself.” It requires weekly appointments with yourself to discover and understand your abilities and their power to move you forward. I assess my ABILITY weekly and perhaps, you can, too:
Accept fear as my friend: I have developed a healthy relationship with fear. I’ve learned to calmly ask myself, “What is the worst that can happen if I …?” Then I develop an action to minimize or alleviate that particular scenario.
Bolster self-awareness: I am a unique individual and have knowledge, abilities and talents that are my strengths.
Ignite curiosity: I examine my “what if” scenarios by researching possibilities and asking experts or mentors for advice. The possibilities fire me up and give me confidence.
Laugh: I applaud and find humor in my mistakes, and then encourage myself to try again.
Inject self-control: I review my cues, replacing them if necessary with better habits. Instead of having coffee and cookies every day at 3 p.m., I now I refill my water bottle and eat my pre-prepared healthy snack (which includes one piece of dark chocolate).
Yell: I look ahead with curiosity, courage and commitment with a loud “Yes, bring it!”
At this stage in our lives, we realize that life is not a sprint, but a marathon. And I am enjoying becoming more authentic and confident with each mile or new grey hair–what the poet Maya Angelou calls a “Phenomenal Woman.” Let’s become that together.