You are the author of Best Knickers Always: 50 Lessons For Midlife and coach women who are entering the second half of their life. Why is midlife such a time of opportunity for women?
Midlife is a time of transition for so many of us. We often come up for air for the first time in a very long time. I found myself single and 45. Instead of believing that my life was over, I saw it quite differently, thanks to my son’s words of wisdom, “Mum, you’ve got half your life ahead of you.” And he was absolutely right!
I believe we as women underestimate the wisdom we have gained during the first half of our lives, the resilience we have shown, the courage we have quietly displayed. Midlife is a great time of opportunity if we’re prepared to face up to it, to finally embrace who we are, to stand up for what we believe in and for what we long for.
We have so many more opportunities than our mothers and grandmothers had. We can choose to start a business, we can choose to end an unhappy marriage, we can choose to go back to college and retrain, and for many of us we can travel and work remotely.
How about living the second half of life with the mantra, “if not now, when?”
What challenges must these women navigate to make the most of the second half?
Apart from the personal self-sabotaging challenges we put in our own way, you mean?! Well, many of us are facing the challenges of aging parents, our own health issues, menopause, the ending of long-term marriages, and the emotion of an empty nest.
However, I do think the greatest challenge we face is that of believing in ourselves, believing we have choices and having the courage to pursue them. It’s about prioritizing our needs now, dusting off our dreams, and realizing that life’s short and it’s time to get going and fully live our lives.
Many of my clients come to me because they are lacking in confidence and self-esteem; they’ve forgotten who they are. I believe that once we can love and respect ourselves, and remember who we are, we can pick ourselves up and the world becomes our oyster.
Age is simply a number; our attitude towards it is what counts.
Can you give us a couple of examples of lessons from your book?
The very first lesson in my book is Start from where you are. So many times we sit paralyzed because of fear or regret. I learned to stop wishing things were different. I came to realize that my life had got to this point for a reason; that it had been necessary to get to rock bottom in order to start building strong and solid foundations for a brighter future. In fact, wishing things were different was only holding me back and delaying my healing.
One of my favorite lessons is Surround yourself with warriors. My journey was made possible because of the extraordinary women and men in my life who love me for who I am; they are my mentors and my cheerleaders. Allow these people into your life to give you the love and support that you deserve. Reach out to those loyal friends who will stand in your corner and fight for you when you feel you cannot take another step.
And another one I love is Look after yourself. Treat yourself with respect. Eat well, exercise, learn to love yourself as you love others, get enough sleep, drink water, edit your wardrobe and your friendship list, and wear SPF15 every day! Take a look at your addictions and all that you do to self-sabotage—food, alcohol, tobacco, negative self-talk. Isn’t it time to turn to your inner healer for support?
How do you coach women?
I’m a professionally qualified NLP Master Practitioner and Coach (Neuro Linguistic Programming – see below for more information). My beliefs are that my client is the expert on her life and not me! I’m her guide, her cheerleader, and her sounding board. I work remotely with most clients from the comfort of our own homes. This is great because it means we are location independent and I can work with clients from all over the world.
I work with women who are facing the challenges of midlife and want to make significant changes in their lives. I work with women who are asking themselves questions like,
- When I look in the mirror, I have no idea who that invisible woman is? I’m sure I used to know her, yet somehow I no longer recognize her.
- Am I having a midlife crisis?
- How can I increase my self-confidence and improve my self-esteem in midlife?
- What happens now that I have an empty nest? What is my role now that the children have grown up?
- Relationship problems, separation, divorce…Who can I turn to who will understand?
- Single again…What have I got going for me? How can I get over my fear of online dating?
- I used to have dreams, how can I create a vision for midlife I feel passionate about?
- “Oh I couldn’t” or “I’m too old/unfit/overweight/tired” or “What’s the point, nothing ever changes”…I’m tired of hearing that voice and what to change!
- How can I reignite passion in my tired marriage?
- What do I honestly feel as I approach those milestone birthdays – 40, 50, 60?
I’m currently working on an online program, 5 Steps to Thriving after Divorce, that will be available early in 2016. It’s a subject close to my heart. I want to inspire and guide others to thrive. Divorce need not be the end for us; it can in fact become the making of us.
I also work as a dating coach guiding women (and men) to creating an irresistible dating profile. Together with a brilliant photographer, we’ve created our business, Irresistible Dating. There’s no one else out there offering what we do. It’s the complete package: stunning photographs and a profile that stands out from all the rest. It’s such fun! It’s also a great privilege to work with someone on something so personal to them.
Who are your clients?
I have such wonderful and varied clients, which makes my work so rewarding. I’m working with someone at the moment, a high level executive who’s been struggling with getting a good balance of work and play in her life. She’s single and wanting to create space in her life for a relationship. We have weekly calls and we’re currently focusing on how she’s self sabotaging herself when things begin to move in the right direction. Another client had suffered depression and, now that she’s well, she’s ready to make changes in her life and bring her desires more center stage. It’s fundamentally about valuing herself. Some weeks it’s hard for her but we’re making slow and steady progress. One day at a time.
What I love about coaching is that it’s about holding a space for my client. They come to each call as they are; there’s no expectation that they need to perform. It’s about being listened to; that’s so very important in a world filled with noise.
What are favorite resources you recommend to a woman who might feel stuck in midlife?
Marianne Williamson’s midlife book Age of Miracles: Embracing the New Midlife is one I am always recommending. I’ve got so many stickers marking passages that stood out for me. My latest crush is Jen Sincero’s book You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life This does make me laugh out loud; I love how direct she is. It’s a perfect pick-me-up!
I’m always encouraging clients to keep a journal; it benefitted me so much when I was struggling and it was Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity that got me out of a difficult spot. There are so many good midlife writers out there both in the US and the UK. I encourage clients to search around for the ones that really resonate for them.
Contact Rebecca Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org
***Take advantage of this special offer for Next Act for Women readers!***
I’m passionate about coaching and would love you to get a taste of just how powerful it can be in giving you the tools and motivation to make the changes we want to make in midlife. Some of the questions I mentioned in my interview with Hélène may well have resonated with you. What burning question do you have that you’d love to spend an hour talking through and getting a different perspective on? What’s holding you back right now from taking that first step?
I work with clients all over the world via Skype, so if you’re curious and would like to book up a session I’m offering a special 20% off on a one-hour session. All you’ve got to do is email me on email@example.com and quote Next Act for Women.
More on Rebecca…
Rebecca is a woman in her 50s, embracing midlife.
She has first hand experience of the many changes we are facing in midlife.
She’s a daughter of ageing parents.
She’s the mother of 3 young adults (25, 22, 17) and understands the challenges of an almost empty nest.
She’s been through a painful divorce after a twenty-one year marriage and is now thriving.
She’s experienced the highs and lows and highs again of midlife online dating!
She’s aware that menopause is waiting in the wings.
She knows what it’s like to experience periods of low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. She’s suffered years of depression and has come through it, stronger and more at ease with who she is.
Rebecca is a qualified NLP Master Practitioner and Coach, working with women to navigate the transition of midlife. She’s passionate about midlife as a time for renewal and for living the second half of life with enthusiasm and vigor. Midlife has taught her to be open-minded, to take more risks, to enjoy the simple things and to live each and every day with the question, “If not now, when?”
Rebecca the published author of Best Knickers Always: 50 Lessons For Midlife and founder of RebPerkins.com. Her writing is regularly featured in The Huffington Post and she’s recently become the midlife dating expert for eHarmony UK. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and BBC Radio London sharing her passion for midlife.
Rebecca lives in London and enjoys supporting and being surrounded by her children, spending time with her guy (who she met online) and celebrating life after 50.
More on Neuro Linguistic Programming:
Neuro refers to the mind-body and how it works
Linguistic refers to the language we use to describe and categorize our world and to make sense of our experience
Programming refers to the study of patterns of thought, behavior, and “programs” which people use in their daily lives that either help or hinder us