I loved Briony’s story, mostly because of where I find myself currently. Today is the last day at my current employer, after twelve years. The next few weeks and months are going to be tough, because growth is simply never easy, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be growth.
Briony is a life coach and career counsellor
And so much of what she shared in her feature is exactly how I feel and experience the world and my own life right now. Especially the part about getting brave! Remember this post I did earlier this week? That’s what being fearless is. It’s not the absence of fear, it’s forging ahead in spite of fear.
How do you feel now that you are in your 40s?
Bloody marvellous – all my hang-ups and insecurities have largely been told to go to hell.
I have stopped worrying about what other people think.
I am embracing my grey hair and regularly get complimented on it.
And I just have so much more confidence in myself.
What has been your greatest achievement since turning forty?
I finally got brave! For years I have always been inspired by people who ran their own businesses and were in control of their lives, doing things differently and with joy and purpose. While I enjoyed my work and was relatively safe in my career, I felt like something was missing and always had a yearning to “have my own thing” – I just never knew what. After getting to a point where I was really starting to burnout at work and was struggling with motivation and just constantly asking myself why I was doing what I was doing, I resigned from my job and decided to put me first.
I took a sabbatical, spent a lot of time baking, gardening, studying, some travelling and figured out that what I really valued was the opportunity to help people show up in their careers and navigate their career transitions with conscious intent. I started my career development coaching business this year. The career change coupled with shifted from employed to running my own business is probably the bravest thing I have ever done. My story about my career exit is on my blog https://www.brionyliber.com/single-post/2017/03/10/Every-exit-is-an-entry-to-somewhere-else
Now as a mature woman, do you have any regrets? Anything you wish you could go back and do differently?
As a mature woman? Ha ha ha let’s not go that far!! It’s interesting that you ask that – for me, I think my perspective is less about age and more about having aligned my decisions and choices with my values. Having started a business that really means something to me, makes me feel authentic and alive and purposeful and intentional. When I was employed, while I had a lot of responsibilities, I never honestly felt like I was working in alignment with myself. I always felt the need to be something that others thought I should be, please others, to be needed.
I am not sure I would go back and do anything differently – except maybe stop being defensive to feedback. I think everything I have ever done has led me to where I am now and has had lessons from which to learn and grow. However, I know I have always been great at giving others feedback but have always struggled with being on the receiving end. I think if I had been a little (a LOT) more open to feedback in my 30s, I might have learned some of these lessons a little earlier and with a lot less pain.
If you could talk to your 20 or 30 something self, what would be one piece of advice you’d give yourself?
Play more!! Definitely, play more! I think I took myself way too seriously as a young adult – even as a child really! I think the benefit of playing is in taking risks, trying things out, doing new stuff, falling, getting back up and trying things a different way. In play, we learn so much, without learning becoming hard work.
What has been one/some of the biggest challenges you’ve noticed within yourself since turning forty?
Exercise has never been my “thing”. Motivation to get to the gym is probably at an all time low – I would much rather, read, work, socialise, pretty much do anything other than formal exercise! It’s a problem because I know it’s going to catch up with me – it’s already catching up with me!
What do you still hope to achieve in your forties?
Get to the gym at least once (LOL), grow my business, have an online coaching course running successfully, travel a lot more, get a tattoo, laugh every day, and maybe just maybe study for a degree in psychology.
What advice would you give to women who are fearful about approaching forty?
You can’t avoid it so embrace it. In fact, there is no need to want to avoid 40. There is absolutely nothing to fear. And the benefit of being 40 is that there is so much that you can now do guilt free – like hanging out at home on a Saturday night on the couch in your pyjamas while cuddling your dogs/cats/kids/partner, saying no thanks to party and dinner invites because you really don’t feel like going, and getting to laugh at yourself (a LOT) because you no longer take yourself quite so seriously!
What is one of society’s stereotypes about women in their forties that you wish you could change?
I guess because I have a full head of grey hair, I would love to see society drop the stereotype that women with grey hair are “old”. At one stage in my 20’s, I wanted to be grey because I thought people would take me more seriously. Then I dyed my hair for years to avoid going grey but in the last 5 years, I have embraced it fully. But I hear so many comments from women that they will never “let themselves go” and will dye their hair forever to avoid going grey.
Any parting thoughts or comments?
Thanks for the opportunity!
Would you like to be featured in this series? Click this link to find the questions and how to submit your interview to me.