Midlife today represents new challenges, and we are navigating completely unknown territory. To help us do it effectively, we need to adopt new mindsets and develop new skills. It turns out that some of our best teachers are women. Here are 3 important lessons we can learn from women.
Whether we like to hear it or not, we had it easy so far.
Most of us have progressed in our careers almost by default – for many positions, we used to be employer’s first choice.
Women had to work twice as hard to get a promotion – and very often even that was not enough.
And despite the inequality women have been facing for decades, they persisted to progress at work — while at the same time taking care of the household and the family.
This extra effort paid off for some women, but not for all.
For men entering midlife, resilience is going to be an indispensable quality.
They will face increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace and what that means is that men will have to try harder than they used in the past.
An essential quality of leadership is making a positive difference.
We, men, often connect leadership with status, title and money.
In some cases, we spring into action and assume the leadership role only after we have been given the promotion and the raise.
Women, on the other hand, seem to be more creative on how they approach leadership.
They are often more practical and generous, perceving contribution as more important than a title or money.
How often do you see women volunteering for noncore business projects, forming informal working groups to get things done.
Men need to embrace servant leadership focused on supporting others and making a difference. Irrespective of titles and other status symbols.
Women adopt to new roles with remarkable easy. From being fully invested in their career, to going on maternity leave, maybe even taking a break from work for few years to raise the kids, to coming back from where they left off or even start a new career.
Being able to change roles in life and at work, speed up or slow down as needed seems to come easily to women. Or at least they make it look easy.
Women often seem to play the long game. They know it and they prioritise and pace themselves accordingly.
This is not the case with men.
For most of us, there is only one career path, in the same industry and at one speed go-go-go, until midlife when we slow down for retirement.
This model, however, has only worked well for a short period in the recent past and it is not financially sustainable.
We now live longer and will need to adapt a multi-staged life. We might have to speed up where we used to slow down and vice-versa.
This requires flexibility and adaptability.
These 3 important lessons men in midlife can learn from women can be crucial for the future.
Midlife today is much different than in the past. A 100-year life will not be a faraway dream and a characteristic of the five blue zones with the highest percentage of centenarians.
This is a very long time after the typical retirement age of 65. A three-stage life (Education, Career, Retirement) will no longer be relevant to us.
A multi-stage life as described in the book “The 100-Year Life”by Linda Gratton and Andrew Scott, is a more realistic and attractive alternative.
At work, we may need to view our career not as a straight line and constant speed.
Getting the next promotion is not the only way to progress.
Taking a step back, going sideways, considering alternative roles within our organization can be more fulfilling.
Offering mentoring to younger colleagues, actively support diversity and inclusion can be very rewarding.
It is also a way to pay it forward, for the opportunities we had often generously received in the past.