‘It’s never too late to fulfil your life purpose’.
That’s the first sentence from my friend Pat Duckworth’s new book; Hot women Rock: How To discover Your Midlife Entrepreneurial Mojo.’ And I completely agree. I was 47 when I started to work out what I really wanted from my life and I haven’t looked back.
And in case you’re thinking ‘but I don’t know what my purpose is’ that’s okay too, because working through the questions in the book will give you the answers you need to help you create the life you really want.
That’s why I’m really excited to have contributed my story to Pat’s book and to be supporting it wholeheartedly. In addition to the insightful tips and transformational training Pat shares, there are also 21 powerful stories and insights from successful women who broke through their barriers in midlife to claim their entrepreneurial mojo.
In this book, you’ll master:
- Finding your strength through your authenticity
- Revealing your true identity and purpose
- How to motivate yourself in any circumstance
- Changing your beliefs to free yourself from old habits
- Speaking your purpose with power and conviction
- Taking effective action using your strengths and skills
- Creating a supportive environment for your entrepreneurial mojo to thrive
Here’s my story from the book.
Creating a Fulfilling Life
I’m 47 years old, I’ve just resigned my job and I’ve no idea what I’m going to do next. All I know is I’ve had enough of working for someone else.
Until this point in my life I’ve drifted without purpose. After leaving university I join the UK Civil Service thinking that the Department of Environment will be a great place to use my degree in Geography. Instead they make me a buyer and I spend 20 years setting up and managing contracts for the multitude of things required for government to function such as security, catering, cleaning and carpets.
And I never really enjoy it. There are occasional moments, but there’s always something missing. I stay because I’ve met a lovely man and the civil service is really flexible when you have children. Because that’s what we want.
We start our quest for a family when I’m 36 and I discover that my fertility is dropping off a cliff. Over the next three years we go through six rounds of IVF and come out the other side without the child we so desperately wanted. We’re not offered support or help of any kind and it feels as if we are the only people in the world who can’t have children. I have no one to tell me I’m grieving; all I know is that I’m sad and have to keep it inside because telling anyone seems impossible.
I feel that there has to be more to my life than the work I do, but I stay because Mum is ill and I can’t summon up the energy or enthusiasm to look for another job. A few years pass, Mum dies and I start working for a charity. I have a strong yearning to make a difference and this seems like it might be the answer. But it isn’t, I hate it and I realise now this is because of the complete mismatch between their stated values and how they put them into practice. My values of honesty and fairness are also really compromised, so I resign.
So here I am, 47 years old, no job, no career, no purpose, no children, one parent dead and the other recovering from a serious illness and living 200 miles away.
It feels like a complete release – I realise that for the last seven years I’ve been denying the truth of my life and now I have the freedom to do what I want to do, to shape my life as I want it.
And it’s scary.
How DO you start again?
I have no idea what I want to do, all I know is that I don’t want a job anymore.
But where to begin?
A friend has learned NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and I decide to give it a go. So many things slot into place and I set up a coaching business to help midlife women. And it doesn’t work. Why? Because I’m not being true to myself, to my identity. I want to support childless women but doing so means owning my story I don’t feel strong enough inside to do it.
Then I hear Brené Brown talk about owning your story. She says: ‘When you deny your story, it defines you. When you own your story, you get to write a brave new ending. You get to say it was horrible and I was in lots of pain …… and then I got help and this is how the story ends.‘
It’s like a massive jolt, it sums up my life perfectly and I realise that I’ve had enough of denying my childlessness.
I realise that there’s a big difference between saying ‘I am childless’ and ‘we couldn’t have children.’
My childlessness doesn’t define me, but what I’ve been through, my life experiences and my training means I have a lot to offer others who are struggling. It feels like I’ve found my purpose at last. However, after spending ten years hiding from the truth of my life, being open about who I really am feels so overwhelming that I almost want to back out. But I can’t because this is my purpose.
I know that I can’t do this alone. It’s against my whole upbringing to ask for help but I know that I need business skills and support to make this work. I find a business coach who believes in me and the difference I want to make in the world. She teaches me the skills I need to change my business to support childless women and encourages and supports me to create it in alignment with my authentic self.
Everything slots into place.
For the first time in my life I know who I am and my purpose in the world, I’m working to my values and beliefs and I have the skills I need.
And it’s absolutely wonderful.
Three years on I’ve learned that the road to successful self-employment can be a rocky one and having a small group of like-minded women to pick me up after falls and celebrate my successes is invaluable.
And most importantly, being completely sure of my purpose and knowing who I am is key for me, I know that when everything in in alignment anything is possible.
Pat Duckworth is a menopause expert, author and inspirational public speaker. She discovered her entrepreneurial mojo in her mid-50s and since then has written three books including the award-winning Hot Women, Cool Solutions. She is passionate about inspiring women to live their best lives, no matter what their age. You can get hold of the book on Amazon US and UK
Please leave your comment below if my story or Pat’s book inspired you.