As many countries are heading out of lockdown and we’re let ‘out’ into the world again, many leaders hoped to be breathing a sigh of relief. Surely things were going to be easier, better and everyone would feel great? That after a summer holiday, they’d be refreshed and raring to go again.
The reality is that many leaders I have spoken to are exhausted, drained, haven’t been able to focus and in some cases, even after a whole summer off feel like their batteries have barely been charged.
Busy or burn-out
The many months of turbulence gave us many things to focus on. Whilst able to stay busy with homeschooling, shopping for a whole week, and cancelling breaks and holidays, tackling the next challenge became the new busy. Resilience went up a notch and “I Will Survive”! became the new mantra.
When no longer on the edge, our bodies and minds finally gave up everything they had been storing up. This was often experienced in fatigue, overwhelm, and for some, the evidence of burnout. Not being able to recover their energy, loss of focus, and unable to switch off.
For steps to take control of your workload before you become burned out read What To Do When Your Feeling Overwhelmed at Work
Over the last 18 months, there was a call to return to a more human way of living. To identify with the authentic self and soul purpose. To connect to our inner wealth, to find love, joy, and wisdom rather than focusing on the external.
Many will have felt this shift, wanting to connect to their intuition, having a more sensitive approach, and in some cases experiencing the beginning of a conscious awakening. This asks for a deeper understanding of the self, in life, in business, in leadership, and society.
You can read What do Senior Leaders Need to Do to Thrive in Business to discover more about what this means for you.
6 signs you are experiencing a midlife leadership crisis
- As a senior leader or executive, you are questioning whether the career that got you here is going to get you through the next 20 years.
- You’ve found yourself agonising over whether to change roles or business or whether a completely new career is what you need.
- You constantly feel stressed and fatigued, have lost the joy in your life and leadership, and long to be your authentic self as a leader, but are holding yourself back.
- Your values and beliefs no longer align with the organisation and you find yourself more often than not having a different view or opinion about how things should be going.
- You have a more empathetic view of the world and want to bring more kindness, compassion, creativity, and passion to the organisation, but aren’t sure about how this will land so you keep quiet.
- You have a sense that you want to change and make drastic changes but aren’t sure how they will be perceived and this creates frustration and a sense of feeling stuck.
5 first steps out of a midlife leadership crisis
Rather than thinking you need to change career or make a drastic life change to resolve your midlife leadership crisis, you can often make small adjustments, which will get you on the right track. Choose the step that feels like it’s your main obstacle or block and focus on that. Helpful tools to make this easier are meditation and mindfulness, journaling, and taking yourself off somewhere for a walk.
- When was the last time you used your intuition to make a decision? Listening to that gut instinct and taking action without question, often gives you the focus and confidence to speak up.
- Are you spending your working day doing things that rarely light up your passion and the reason you came into this role in the first place? Fired up by developing people, lit up by problem-solving or in the zone when working with numbers? Aim to bring this element into each day and feed off that spark for the rest of the day.
- Is there any joy in your day at home or work? When was the last time you did something that didn’t involve asking a partner, kids, parents, or friends if it was ok? What did you enjoy doing as a child? Reading, drawing, making models, playing tennis. Reconnect with an activity without expectation of what you will produce or how good it will be.
- Prioritise your needs, wants, and desires over any monetary reward, benefits, or loss of status or title. Really put time into understanding what you want the next 20 years to look like even if that means taking a leap of faith in a completely new direction.
- Know that you don’t have to do it all in one go. Take the first step and the rest will follow in good time. Read that book you were recommended, accept that offer of a coffee from someone who asks for some of your time. Reach out to someone that you admire and find out what makes them thrive. Each time you make a move, you’re setting the stepping stones on your new path.
I recently did an interview with someone who talked about the principle that “What got you here, won’t get you there. It really struck a chord. Are you the same person you were 20 years ago, with the same responsibilities, outlooks, or values? It’s unlikely so why would the same strategy work now? Imagine you are starting a new life. How do you want it to look? Who do you want to be surrounded with? How do you want to spend your time?
Embrace the new you with no expectations and you’ll discover unlimited potential that feels much more authentic and joyful. Try being you, it’s so much easier and more fun!
Louise Hallam worked in the corporate world for 25 years. After experiencing a spiritual awakening she was connected with her Native American guides, who unlocked her true purpose and powerful healing tools. She now supports senior leaders and executives to eliminate stress and fatigue, by mastering their energy and emotions, so they can be more confident, their true self and rediscover the joy in their life and leadership. She holds the definition of success without struggle and connects humans to humans and to themselves. She is a channel for ancient wisdom and a spiritual mentor sharing this unique journey with leaders on a global scale. Louise can be contacted at www.stillcalm.co.uk