Raising Self Esteem in Midlife

(Coaching Strategies for Avoiding the Crisis)

Craig Nathanson

  For some of us in the 35-45 year old category, we may have started to question everything from our purpose to what we really want to do. Based on some research I have done, let's explore the so called midlife crisis!

What is midlife crisis?

First, the view of a midlife shift is up to the perspective of the viewer. The common belief is that somewhere between the ages of 35-45, people start to gain an awareness, perhaps for the first time, of their remaining time. A person's finite time becomes clearer.

This could come as a result of a death in the family, forced unemployment or any number of unanticipated events.

Suddenly, a person is confronted with aging .

Many of us are ill-prepared for how to deal with midlife. All at once, time seems to move much too fast.

Careers, family, marriages and individual growth all compete for top gun.

We all deal with these new challenges much differently. At midlife, children leave home in many cases, for some there are multiple marriages, and widowhood for others.

Society's view of old age doesn't help spur much support for midlife.

At mid-life, depression, suicide, poverty, smoking and alcoholism rates all rise.

Worries increase around everything from jobs becoming dull, to lack of energy.

For men and women, social pressures climax. Many have had some reasonable career success in their eyes, some education and made some money. Added to this, continuing pressures with the balancing act between family and work, aging parents and a renewal of work and branching out for the spouse and you have a challenging time indeed. This leads many to divorce their spouses, have affairs, fall into depression, experience declining levels of energy and an overall feeling of not knowing what to do.

Very few openly confront the issues of midlife. Why? Fear of change, fear of what one might discover about themselves. The most exciting yet threatening journey can be the journey within one's self.

For some, mid-life is a time to let go of past emotional events and move forward. Our attitudes and perspectives change. In midlife, we start to question ourselves.

We become anxious and worry about the rapid change around us. We worry about our self image, past mistakes and our retirement just to name a few.

It becomes harder in midlife to take risks, yet we start to question our life's scripts and ask, is this current role satisfying?

We question our daily habits, our achievements and the daily events we carry out each day. In midlife, individuals start to deal with personal dilemmas that were postponed during many years of a career build up.

For many, midlife is a time for preoccupation. Insight and self-scrutiny brings out fears of death, aging and chronic anxiety. Yet many midlife adults find new methods to release endorphins and discover how to start to live in the present. Midlife adults suddenly find creativity, they never knew existed before, as they think of new choices in their lives.

The good news is, midlife starts the longest period of our lives.

We can take that restless vitality and utilize it. For many, it can be a time to not use this energy to pull away from the pack, but to reach internal goals for one's self.

Midlife adults can start to learn new methods not necessarily to change their life, but the way they experience their lives. This can lead to new choices for making midlife a process for self improvement and not a journey to the unknown.

Midlife can be a choice for renewal or stagnation.

Choices for growth without the crisis.

Utilizing internal strategies for growth will help ourselves and all those around us. As more organizations define personal growth as the responsibility of the employee (All of us), it becomes an increased focus as we enter midlife.

I have done some research on the most common challenges that many people encounter in midlife. I have suggested some internal strategies to deal with these.

Twenty internal strategies for making midlife a wake up call
(Ask yourself better questions)

  1. Assess my health. What MUST I do to improve it?
    (Most of us focus on what we should do)
  2. How much sleep do I need? What would happen if I slept an extra 30 minutes a day?.
    (Many of us are sleep deprived in mid-life)
  3. What can I do to gain more energy?
    (Many of ask , why am I so tired, and get a different answer)
  4. What's great about my relationships that are important to me?
    (It's human nature to ask the reverse)
  5. What can I do to feel better about myself?
    (We tend to look to others to raise our self esteem)
  6. What can I do to make my job more exciting?
    (Usually, we like to focus on what's dull)
  7. What can I do to slow down my environment so I can enjoy it?
    (Take a slow walk because in midlife things seem to move too fast)
  8. What can I do to make sure that each day, I enjoy what I do?
    (It's easier to accept a dull well known routine than change to something better)
  9. What are the services I provide? Who am I as a person?
    (More empowering than if we think of ourselves as job titles, too fragile)
  10. What habits do I want to change, and how will my life improve as a result?
    (If we can see the benefits, we will change)
  11. What rules would I have to follow to be the weight I desire?
    (At least knowing one's options can help spur change)
  12. What would I be like in five years if I stopped smoking today?
    (What if? )
  13. What can I learn from this mistake?
    (Too many times, we ask ourselves why we just failed)
  14. Where can I make a difference starting today?
    (Aging is one's perspective of not having contributed enough)
  15. What financial gains am I most grateful for?
    (Sometimes, we get caught up in the moment)
  16. What can I do to feel better?
    (We get a different answer, when we ask, how come I feel so bad?)
  17. What can I do to increase those around me that care about me?
    (Many times we want to increase our network, but we stay in our office for fear of rejection)
  18. What's great about my kids?
    (I am sure you can guess what traps we fall into here)
  19. What can I do to help someone else be successful?
    (This is a 2 for 1 deal when you help someone else)
  20. What am I most happy about?
    (You can plug in what you usually ask yourself and what the answers are)
  Skip the crisis and take your wake up call !

(This article is from the workbook ‘’Believe in Yourself, A practical Guide in leading yourself and others’’ available from the author)

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Copyright 1997, Craig Nathanson. All Rights Reserved.

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Copyright 1997,
Craig Nathanson, Making A Difference, Granite Bay,
California. All rights Reserved.