Many of us women after the age of 50 find ourselves looking to redefine in some way. We may be ready to leave the job or career that we are in, but not ready to totally retire yet. Our children are grown and out of the house, for the most part, and don’t need us 24/7 as they did in the past.
Maybe we want to start a business or run a 5K. The sky is the limit. Or is it?
It is if you are a woman who possesses a growth mindset. In my signature program that is geared to women after 50 who are looking to redefine in some way, I “preach” quite often on the danger of a fixed versus a growth mindset for ALL women, but particularly those of us who are over the age of 50.
Carol Dweck of Stanford University coined the terms fixed versus growth mindset. A person with a fixed mindset believes that their skills or lack thereof are fixed and ingrained. A person with a growth mindset knows that they can always “learn the things” regardless of their natural strengths and weaknesses.
“I’m Too Old to ________”
This statement can come in several versions and is the number one fixed mindset thought that I hear from the women in my program. It often starts out like, “I’m _____ (age). Do you think this program would be appropriate for me?” What they’re really asking is “Am I too old?”
There is only one thing that we are too old for and that is to decide that we are too old and to let the days just flow into each other without living our joy and our purpose.
Persons who are 100 years old and older make up the fastest growing segment of the population worldwide. How many years do you have left before you reach 100? I will bet that it’s too many years to not be living a life where you are excited to get out of bed to seize each and every day.
“I’m Too Busy and Don’t Have Enough Time”
There are many of us who are still juggling roles after the age of 50. We may still be working, along with helping to care for grandchildren or senior parents. Our days truly may be full of doing things and going through the motions.
If this is a thought for you or a situation that you are in, I would challenge you to track exactly how you spend your time each week. Write it all down. I’m very sure that you will find at least an hour a day, if not more, where you spend time doing something that could be better utilized to get working on your dream or your passion. For me, it’s my Words with Friends addiction or the time I spend surfing social media.
That “who do I think I am” voice in your head that tells you that you don’t have what it takes to start a business, run a 5K, retire, whatever the case may be.
I interviewed a woman named Lisa for a series on my blog on everyday women who redefined after 50. Lisa, a divorced at-home mom, decided to move to Italy after 50. Her little voice said, “You don’t speak Italian, you don’t have a job there, you don’t; you don’t; you don’t!”
Luckily, Lisa pushed the little voice away, moved to Italy, and started a travel agency for women tour groups there. She said she “felt joy for the first time in a very long time.”
I’m glad that she didn’t listen to that voice. As is she and all of the women whom she has led tours for.
When we listen to our fixed mindset thoughts, we stop taking action on our dreams. We stop learning. We stop challenging ourselves. We believe that we cannot so we truly cannot because we don’t even try. The “I’m too old to ____” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We prove ourselves correct.
This can lead to a feeling of being stuck or stagnant. A feeling of purposelessness. A lack of joy in our lives. Which can, in turn, lead to depression.
In addition, if we stop challenging ourselves and stop learning, this can affect our cognitive abilities as we grow older. And that is a scary thought for every single one of us.
When you find that you are entertaining fixed mindset thoughts, remind yourself that these are simply thoughts. It is our brains wanting to keep us safe and keep the status quo.
Thank your brain for keeping you safe, and take action steps to living your dream and finding your passion in spite of the thoughts. They are only thoughts. It’s what we do as a result of those thoughts that shapes our life and our journey along the way.
What are some of your fixed mindset thoughts? Are they stopping you from doing things that excite you to think about? What action steps can you take right now to overcome them?
Let’s Have a Conversation!