Mid-life is the pivotal time of your life, and you are pivoting whether you know it or not. The choice is not whether to pivot, the choice is how and in which direction.
Navigating mid-life well can significantly improve your future health, wealth, and happiness. Poor choices lay the trail for issues later. Stress that you experience now can speed up mental aging. The stakes are high, but so are the rewards.
So what do you need to pivot well?
Pivots are all around you—a playground seesaw, a spreadsheet pivot table, a pivot in dance, a musical pivot. They all have one thing in common, a pivotal point to turn or balance around. The seesaw fulcrum, the spreadsheet filter, the standing leg in dance, or the shared chord in music.
Mid-life is a dance—a dance with fear and confidence. By learning to dance with fear and confidence, you will be able to pivot to your life to suit you better—as you are now, and in the future.
Re-evaluating and reorienting your life isn’t easy. To become more of yourself, you need to get to know yourself differently, as you are now.
Who am I now? Who am I not?
What really matters to me? What doesn’t?
What am I good at?
What am I passionate about?
How can I be more of my best self?
Pivoting in dance begins with a stable core and a strong standing leg – and mid-life dancing is no different.
By taking time to dis-cover who you are and what matters most – your sense of identity, values, sources of meaning – you are stabilising your core. By deepening your self-knowing – your strengths, your preferences, your emotions – you are strengthening your standing leg.
By preparing to dance in this way, you are more able to pivot in a way that suits you – as you are now, not how you used to be. You are giving yourself more balance, more control, more choice.
You could sleepwalk into your future, but it may not serve you well. Evidence shows that people who pay attention to what is going on for them emotionally can adapt better to changing circumstances. People who act in ways that are consistent with their values are less stressed. People who really know their meaning and purpose are happier, healthier, more fulfilled.
Pivoting well also involves accepting some things and shifting others. Accepting you will die and that your legacy, good and bad, will live on beyond you. Occupying a different place in the world will shift your sense of identity, who you are and whom you will become.
By investing some time and attention into stabilising your core and strengthening your standing leg, you are much more likely to pivot successfully – and avoiding falling flat on your face!
To learn more, please check out my book: Dancing with fear and confidence: How to liberate yourself and your career in midlife – available now:
Holden, Robert (2009) Be Happy. Hay House.
Lachman et al., (2015). Midlife as a Pivotal Period in the Life Course: Balancing Growth and Decline at the Crossroads of Youth and Old Age. Int J Behav Dev. 2015 Jan 1; 39(1): 20–31.
Strenger, C. (2009). Paring down life to the essentials: An epicurean psychodynamics of midlife changes. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 26(3), 246–258.
Walker, L. (2020) Dancing with fear and confidence: How to liberate yourself and your career in mid-life. MPowr Publishing.