Overcoming Internal and External Barriers That Prevent Us from Growth
Many of us women in the over 50 crowd are at a point in our lives where we are looking to reinvent. It might be something major, such as a career change or retirement so that we can spend more time with our grandchildren. Or, it might be something seemingly minor, such as a habit change or two.
Regardless of what we are reinventing, we will encounter barriers. Some of these are internal, others are external. And we need to be prepared to face them and overcome them so that we can move forward, be our best selves, and continue to live our best lives. Lives that are driven by the things that bring us joy.
I’ve broken these outside barriers into two groups – people and circumstances.
Barriers Created by People
Although not as bad or prevalent as our own internal mindset barriers, these can be tough because they often feed into our existing fixed mindset issues.
These are the verbal barriers invoked by those around us that say things like, “Are you crazy? Why are you _________ (insert phrases like moving away, leaving that great job, starting a new business) when you have __________ (insert phrases like the perfect job, benefits, a great home and family here)?”
If we have any fear or doubt about what we are doing (which we usually do), these feed right into those fears.
These external barriers brought about by others can feed into our case of Imposter Syndrome, if that is something that we are experiencing. Statements like, “How can you leave your job to start a travel business? What do you know about travel?” Or, “How can you think about moving to Italy? You don’t even speak Italian?”
I’ve spoken with women who have had to leave friendships because of these barriers. One woman I met who decided to adopt a baby after 50 said that the other teachers at her school formed two camps in terms of who supported her and who didn’t and many weren’t speaking to each other. About something that really was none of their business!
If you find that you’re dealing with barriers created by people, surround yourself with those who support you and/or like-minded people. People who have done what you want to do. Those who might be in the field that you’d like to go into. Other grandparents who want to spend their time providing daycare for their grandchildren.
Whatever the redefinition or habit change that you are seeking – surround yourself with people who will not only support you but will hold you accountable for continuing to reach your goals.
Barriers Created by Circumstance
These are barriers such as time and money. And, more often than not, these are not true barriers but ones that are created in our mind by the fear of making the move.
Set aside some quiet time and really reflect on the circumstantial barrier that you think you are facing. Brain dump any and all ideas that come to your mind to resolve it. Write down everything that you think of, no matter how silly it may seem. You can go back afterwards and pick out the top five best ones.
If you are struggling with a money barrier, one solution might be to write down all money that you spend and see what can be cut out or put into a jar to save for the course you’re thinking of taking. Cutting out my Starbucks habit saved me almost $200 a month!
Time barriers are similar – take an honest look at how you spend your time each day. You may be surprised where you can find an hour or two to do the thing you want to do or take the class that you’d like to take.
These are perhaps the most dangerous in terms of preventing us from doing what we want to do. Our fears. The inner voice that tells us that we are too old.
Read stories of everyday women who redefined after 50. Women like Kate Clary who decided to adopt a baby and ended up with 3 babies after 50! Lisa Condie, who left the Utah suburb where she had grown up and raised her own children to move to Italy and start a travel business. And so many others.
Talk out loud about your fears and anxieties. This not only takes away their power but can often find you solutions to your concerns.
Peg Doyle found this out when she was terrified of not being able to support herself or have benefits when she left the IT world to start her wellness business. She told someone of her concerns, and they made a suggestion that helped her in finding very affordable health insurance.
Don’t let your fears rob you of finding your joy at this stage of the game. Sit back and visualize and ask yourself not what’s the WORST that can happen but what’s the BEST that can happen? Your why needs to be bigger than your fears.
Is there a “thing” that you’d love to do to redefine your life after 50 or 60? What are the barriers that are standing in your way? What are some solutions that you can brainstorm to overcome these?
Leslie has started an online book group for women over 50. If you’re interested in further information on this, feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.