midlife crisis Aug 06, 2019
I remember all to well stating publicly that "I will never have a midlife crisis!"
I was so sure of myself, and I was both arrogant and ignorant of the fact that my levels of confidence in who I was and what I was could ever change.
After all, I was a successful executive running an energy derivatives-based hedge fund I co-founded, making exceptional returns in an industry that few had any idea existed let alone could do.
But it isn't uncommon for successful people to hit a wall and find that their past success isn't sufficient to get them over it.
Dr. Burnett-Zeigler, clinical psychologist at Northwestern Medicine says that
“People of all levels of success and those who have achieved great success are still at significant risk for having emotional and mental difficulties. Sometimes people who are highly successful also have an increased level of anxiety around maintaining that level of success, or fear of loss of all that they’ve achieved."
The first problem with assessing whether or not you are in a midlife crisis starts with what you think a midlife crisis is.
You see, the media through TV shows like 2 1/2 Men and Malcolm in the Middle and the Simpsons, plus movies like American Beauty and Crazy Stupid Love portray midlife crisis as some sort of return to boy-hood that men should just grow up from and stop being jerks about.
The narrative is that midlife crisis is about getting a Harley or yellow Lamborghini, dressing in younger men's clothes, hitting the gym and chasing 20 year-olds.
Sometimes this is true - a cliche becomes a cliche because there is an element of truth. But these outward signs are just symptoms, and a midlife crisis can show itself in ten thousand different ways, or which sports car purchases is just one (uncommon) one.
In fact, buying sports cars doesn't even make it onto my 22 Symptoms of a MidLife Crisis list.
A midlife crisis is not a yearning for the boyhood years. It is a crisis of identity. It occurs when you realize that one or more of your most important subconscious assumptions have evaporated.
For example, assuming that you can solve any problem through your intelligence and analytical brain; or that your marriage is strong and will last until death; or that you will always be healthy and in control of your life. Those assumptions could be anything that we have assumed to be stable, important and pretty much within our control.
Want more information about what a midlife crisis is, watch #midlifeinaminute on Youtube below:
A crisis erupts when something that was secure and constant disappears, and the consequence of this is that we can find our values (what is important to us) becomes disconnected from what we are doing. This is most obvious when we discover the job we've been doing for 20 years is not fulfilling, not using our talents fully and shudder at the thought of another 20 years doing the same thing.
The good news is that you have discovered this now and not in another 10 years.
Because your midlife crisis is an opportunity for transformation into the 2nd half of your life. It is an opportunity to break free from what has defined you in the past (that you are no longer - or may never been - happy about) into the person who is authentically you and to do what you have always wanted to do.
Note that this doesn't mean that what you've been doing up to now has necessarily been wrong - it may just be that you have changed without really noticing, and you are no longer the same person who made the decisions you made in the past.
Your first step is to identify if you are in a midlife crisis.
Do that by downloading and checking off the 22 Symptoms of a Midlife Crisis.
Included in that pdf is also:
When you download it, you will also join a free 2 week daily email subscription that will guide you through the 'how' of each of the 17 tactics to alleviate midlife crisis symptoms.
A midlife crisis is a HUGE opportunity for you.
It may seem depressing now, but I encourage you to begin to think of this time as exactly that - an opportunity to revisit what you have assumed about life and about yourself. It is a time when you can choose what you want to keep and what to discard.
The world really is your oyster, and in midlife you have plenty of time to set a course to map out what can be the best half of your life.
Guy Mullon CPLC, CIV, B.sc.(Hons) was a 20 year veteran of power markets and energy derivatives trading. After the dust cleared on a career-ended catastrophe, he discovered he had an opportunity to reinvent his career and family life. Today, he is a certified life & business coach specializing in helping midlifers redesign their work, family and personal life away from what they've been living into what they really want to be and live for the next 20 years.
Contact Guy for a free 'virtual coffee' to discuss the changes you want to make in your life, career or business.
You can also find Guy's contributions in written and podcast forms at realmen247.org