Here's a LOVING dose of reality: most women over 40 don't spend enough time, effort and LOVE on themselves. Without a personally-fulfilling endeavor that meets your own emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs beyond that of a romantic LOVE relationship, you're in danger of gasping for DARE. Whether you have small stressors or bigger issues, here are a few suggestions to help you get your DARE-Supply. At the end is a list of resources.
Well-written creditable books and other resources for self-actualization are available in every conceivable form of media. The key word is "creditable," i.e., produced by psychologists and other valid health professionals; or, management consultants and executive coaches qualified to provide sound advice on business, leadership and management issues.
If you need a consultant to help you organize your life, there are thousands of reputable organizations and private practitioners to help you. You can engage one-on-one, or you can take a workshop. Calendars, charts and comprehensive kits, web-based or not, can help women like you carve out and organize DARE-Space for everything from your stocks to your socks.
Life coaches can be good boosters to get you motivated, but be wary. Many people who call themselves "life coaches" have no professional training, let alone certification, in counseling, management, leadership, or business strategy. Do you really want to trust your life plans or business to someone whose scope of training consists of a 12-week "coaching bootcamp"?
In contrast, professionals with graduate degrees in these disciplines are highly trained to help you determine your needs, wants and priorities. They help you set goals; construct feasible, actionable solutions and plans; and identify and deploy the right resources at the right time. Ultimately, they help you apply - or explore avenues to acquire - your experience and expertise to forge ahead.
Executive coaches and management consultants are experienced business leaders who prepare seasoned professionals, entrepreneurs and other motivated individuals for leadership roles. These are professionals with usually a master's or Ph.D., who work with you to retrace, evaluate and appreciate every milestone of your career, so that you continue to contribute value and obtain maximum personal benefit. A few years ago, an executive coach from a firm called ReadyMinds worked with me by phone and email for a month, after which I made the decision to pursue my MBA in Finance and Leadership. In turn, the MBA coursework helped me to advance my company, and apply my experience and expertise to helping other women over 40 assess, focus and act on their own personal and professional goals.
Dramatic events can create stress that transcends day-to-day hassles or normal career evolution, and may necessitate counsel from a mental health professional. These professionals - again, master's or Ph.D.-level experts in counseling, social work or psychology - are qualified to conduct psychological assessments and evaluation, and to recommend a course of treatment. Their expertise is based on thousands of hours of study, peer-reviewed scientific research, and clinical work with individuals facing similar challenges to yours. Psychiatrists, who are medical doctors, are also qualified to dispense medications.
Start with these to figure out what you need, desire and LOVE, and how to make transitions more fruitful than fretful:
1. Authentic Happiness, by Martin E. P. Seligman,Ph.D., whose expertise is "the psychology of optimism." His website, www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu is filled with reputable advice, as well as self-assessment quizzes to help you increase your positive thinking.
2. www.franklincovey.com - planning and organizational tools of every type imaginable, geared to your life goals and lifestyle.
3. Navigating Midlife, by Eleanor S. Corlett and Nancy B. Millner.
4. Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow, by Marsha Sinetar.
5. What Color is Your Parachute?,by Richard Nelson Bolles.
6. www.readyminds.com - reputable, expert career counseling.
7. Changing Course: A Positive Approach to a New Job or Lifestyle, by Maggie Smith
8. Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, by William Bridges.
9. www.hayhouse.com: The leader in self-help and transformation resources.
10. An excellent article on Executive Coaching can be found at: www.hbswk.hbs.edu/archive, the website of the Harvard Business School.
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