The secret to a long and happy life 

If youโ€™ve followed me for a while, youโ€™ll know that Iโ€™ve been in a job that made me miserable. Where I dreaded getting up to spend the day just going through the motions. It sucked the life out of me and affected my mental health. Thankfully thatโ€™s all in the dim and distant past. Iโ€™m celebrated 9 years this week since I officially created my Facebook page and started sharing my plans for business. 
As each year in business has passed by itโ€™s been more and more about refining and tweaking, ditching the stuff that doesnโ€™t make my heart sing and finding the balance of what makes me happy but what also makes me money to pay the bills. Itโ€™s all about trying to reach the state of Ikigai. 
Ikigai (pronounced ee-kee-guy) is all about your reason for being, your lifeโ€™s purpose. It is the state of finding something that brings you joy and makes you feel fulfilled so that you want to get out of bed each morning. Itโ€™s where the Venn diagram of what you love doing, what youโ€™re good at, what the world needs and what you can be paid for, all cross over. Apparently, according to the Japanese itโ€™s the secret to a long and happy life. 
What you love + what the world needs = mission 
What you love + what youโ€™re good at = passion 
What youโ€™re good at + what can be paid for = profession 
What can be paid for + what the world needs = vocation 
What you love + what the world needs + what youโ€™re good at + what can be paid for = ikigai 

Blue Zones and Power 9 

Iโ€™ve been hearing a lot about โ€œBlue Zonesโ€ too recently, areas with relatively high numbers of people living to be 100 years old or older. These centenarians have lower rates of dementia and enjoy good health. In 2003, Dan Buettner incorporated Blue Zones LLC. The company encourages health, happiness, and longevity based on nine habits. The habits include behavioural traits distilled from the lives of the centenarians and supercentenarians in each of the five blue zones and are called the Power-9. 
1. Move naturally โ€“ things like gardening and walking 
2. Have purpose in life 
3. Downshift and reduce stress 
4. Donโ€™t overeat โ€“ eat until youโ€™re 80% full 
5. Eat more plant based food 
6. Wine at 5pm โ€“ emphasis on the socialising not the alcohol 
7. Right tribe โ€“ move in social circles with healthy habits 
8. Loved ones first โ€“ support family 
9. Belong โ€“ join and participate in civic groups and initiatives 

Gen X'ers just getting started 

Bearing in mind that for many of us โ€˜Baby Boomersโ€™ (born 1946-64) and โ€˜Generation Xโ€™ (1965-80) folk our retirement age is much later than it was for our parents. Even the default retirement age of 65 no longer exists. (Thereโ€™s a pension checker widget on the Gov website where you can check your date for being eligible for claiming the state pension โ€“ itโ€™s 2031 for me.) This Blue Zone living makes sense. 
These days being in your 50โ€™s is not about fading away into the background, biding your time until retirement. As we are working and living longer these days than previous generations . So many of us are seeing the menopausal years and beyond as a fresh start. A time for new beginnings. We have so much wisdom and experience to bring to the world of work. Why shouldnโ€™t we? 
Amongst the women I meet hereโ€™s a trend of starting afresh, some even becoming self-employed for the first time and doing something theyโ€™ve always wanted to do. Iโ€™m hearing more stories of women whoโ€™ve had a career change in their 50โ€™s. I think lockdown made folk reassess their priorities as people recognised thereโ€™s more to life than working in a job youโ€™re not loving โ€“ especially if we have to do it well into our 60โ€™s, maybe beyond. 

Becoming invisible as a women over 50 

Hitting 50 for me had brought me a new lease of life. Iโ€™d started a business that I loved with a passion. Met the love of my life and was feeling the best I had in years in terms of my mental health and wellbeing . It felt quite liberating. It was as if the shackles of worrying about what other people might think or expect had been released. There was a sense of freedom. As if I had permission to reconnect with me. The me that had been muffled and quietened down for a long time. 
Although to counteract this feeling the reality is, as a fifty something year old woman, being invisible is more about being barged past on busy streets, pushed in front of in queues, not getting served at the bar and being ignored in shops. And itโ€™s definitely NOT what we want when we have businesses that are going to change the world, even if itโ€™s only our little corner of the world. Apparently invisible woman syndrome is a thing. According to a survey undertaken by Gransnet, 52 is the age that we start to notice being overlooked and patronised. 
The menopause has a lot to answer for. Our bodies start to betray us and change shape, our sexiness curves all head south and become redistributed around the middle. The elasticity in our skin becomes like an over stretched elastic band, less taut, a bit looser. Add thinning, grey, sometimes wiry hair into the mix and you feel let down. You see yourself ageing rather than embracing the wisdom and experience you have, in a western culture that celebrates youth. 
Youโ€™ve possibly lost some of your identity along the way as you were busy focusing on juggling your home and work life too. Wife, mum, carer, taxi driver, nurse, career woman, chief of everything. Although now the focus has probably shifted from kids to elderly parents. All this contributes to us potentially starting to lose our visibility in society and perhaps wanting to show up in business. 
Raise Your VIBE 
Iโ€™m suggesting that you actually Raise Your VIBE* and see each milestone now as being the perfect time to press the reset button. To become proudly more comfortable in your own skin. Rather than quieten down fading into midlife mediocrity it becomes YOUR time and itโ€™s ok to dial your YOUNESS up a notch. Itโ€™s time to move on and take control. 
You donโ€™t have to start dressing in loud clothes, shave your head in an act of rebellion, or go all out with the crazy coloured hair to get visible. (Although if thatโ€™s how you feel, why not?) It can be a gentler, incremental transformation, which helps you create a new, upgraded liberated version of yourself for this phase of life. Throwing away the metaphorical cloak of invisibility and defining who you are and how you want to show up is empowering. 65% of those surveyed in the Gransnet poll believed that style and confidence have more to do with how people are treated than age. You could be, by default, more visible, OWNING your look. 
I appreciate that itโ€™s not the same for everyone though. Thatโ€™s why itโ€™s become my mission to help other women feel empowered to be more themselves in business. To feel comfortable in their own skin and to show up in all their glory. 
*Iโ€™ve been working for quite a while now behind the scenes and evolving a framework to support this mission. Iโ€™m going to be launching the new Raise Your VIBE programme with free taster training 18-23 September so note the dates in your diary. Iโ€™m looking for a few lovely people to help me with the market research between now and then by answering a few questions on a google form. If youโ€™d like to get involved, please click here
FAB Business Club : female authentic ballsy 
This community is really special. It's got the most amazing vibe going on. Itโ€™s a safe space where you can metaphorically fling off your bra. Itโ€™s women empowering women and providing a circle of support because being in business can be a lonely place. 
It's a supportive business network with personal development and a heart centred vibe at the core of the community โ€“ no pressured referrals or other stuff you donโ€™t like about networking. Itโ€™s birds of a feather networking and growing their businesses together, sharing collective wisdom, a place to thrive and celebrate camaraderie. Itโ€™s a space where you feel like you have come home. 
We have monthly meetings, online and face to face events. Your first meeting is free, hit me up for a complimentary 'Golden Ticket' to see if we're a good fit. 
The paid membership includes an option to upgrade your networking to include personal style and brand mentoring with me. There's also free FB group if youโ€™re not ready to invest just yet. Come and join in the conversation. 
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