The mid-life crisis, often described as the midway point of life, has long been seen as a negative time in life, something to fear and a time when things start to fall apart.
When Monica Rosenfeld, founder of WordStorm PR reached the age of 44, she was determined not to see mid-life as a crisis, but instead as a time to reflect on the past and create the future that she wanted. She is now making more meaningful adjustments and making more intentional life choices.
"I see mid-life as a major advantage as you are able to reflect on your past and you've got more perspective when planning for your future. I believe the way to really thrive at this time of your life is to leap out of your comfort zone, indulge in your passions/hobbies or find new ones and access your creativity which can come in different forms," says Rosenfeld.
Monica shares her tips on how to sail through the middle of life and feel good while doing it.
Access your creativity
"I am not suggesting you pack your job in and join the circus, this could be something simple like joining that choir you always wanted to or taking up art class. Incorporating a passion into your life can help you feel more fulfilled and open up new pathways in your brain. I had always wanted to do a stand- up comedy course, but struggled to find the time while running a business and bringing up 3 kids. I've just completed it and recently took part in my first open mic stand up show. It felt amazing! If your passion ends up being something you can make money out of, bonus!"
Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone
"Don't stay stagnant, always look for opportunities on how you can upskill yourself and stay relevant. This should involve stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone. In the process you might even find a skill you are really good at and want to pursue further. A couple of years ago I started giving workshops on the topic of PR and found I really enjoyed it. I upskilled during a year long professional speaking program and now I get paid to speak about the power of PR at events across Australia and overseas. It's made a huge difference to the growth of my business."
Don't be intimidated by Millennials
"The workforce is full of whipper snippers fresh out of university who have the world at their feet. If you're in your forties you may seem ancient to someone in their early twenties and they may not be all that subtle about that perspective. If you work with this age group you may find yourself feeling old despite your best intentions to remain feeling youthful. Just remember, your life experience gives you a massive advantage and it's likely by your 'mid-life' you'll feel more settled and confident in yourself which provides the perfect platform to live your best life."
Make time for you
"Life can get busy, especially if you have kids, but it's so important to have time for you. This could be an uninterrupted bath, making time for a regular yoga class or dinner with the girls. I have been meditating regularly for nine months now and find it gives me a holiday away from myself and my busy mind."
Set realistic goals
"Setting goals can help you gain some direction in life and help you get clear on what you want for the next chapter. What are those projects, activities or travel plans you've been putting off? I'd been putting off writing a book for years and took the plunge this year. I've got a launch goal of April 2019.
For more information about Monica, visit: www.monicarosenfeld.com
Question: How would you describe your mid-life crisis?
Monica Rosenfeld: I am now 44 and about three years ago I remember distinctly on the new year's eve of that year, clocking over into 1st January and wondering if the year ahead will be exactly the same as the year before. I'd been running my PR agency for around 15 years and although I still got a lot of satisfaction from it, I felt like I wanted more in my life, something new and different to explore. I didn't want to give up my business but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone again, challenge myself and perhaps learn a new skill.
Question: How did you overcome your own mid-life crisis?
Monica Rosenfeld: I knew instinctively that the best way for me to overcome my mid-life crisis was to leap out of my comfort zone. I knew when I operated on this level I'd have no choice but to confront my fears and self-limiting beliefs and as a result would develop as a person. I am passionate about educating business owners on how they can utilise the media to magnify their message so I started giving presentations to entrepreneurs through their co-working hubs on that topic. I wanted to learn the skills of being an engaging speaker therefore enrolled in a year long professional speaking course to learn the required skills. Small audiences then led to larger audiences and now I get paid to present at conferences in Australia and abroad.
A natural progression for me from giving business style presentations was learning comedy, as I knew it would benefit my presentations. I enrolled in a standup comedy course and fell in love with this form of presenting. I am now busy refining my skills by performing at open mic nights around Sydney and I've entered myself into the 2019 Raw Comedy Festival.
So essentially the way I overcame my mid-life crisis was by evolving in my professional life and discovering a really fun new hobby outside of work. I think it's significant that I've had to learn new skills and overcome my fears for these two new areas of my life.
Question: What advice do you have for other women currently experiencing their own mid-life crisis?
Monica Rosenfeld: I would say have a think about what you are not satisfied about in your life and make an effort to change it. I wouldn't suggest doing anything rash, but make small changes that you can adjust to over time. A great way to reinvigorate a life that you feel has fallen into a rut is to either discover a new hobby or revisit a hobby that you may have had when you were younger. Essentially having fun and spending more time doing things that you enjoy will go a long way to helping you get over your mid-life crisis.
Question: How did you ensure you were creating a future that excited you?
Monica Rosenfeld: I discovered both work and hobbies that I could really throw myself into and that I absolutely loved doing and made both those things a central focus for the future I want to create for myself.
Question: Why are women often intimidated by Millennials?
Monica Rosenfeld: I don't know if women are often intimidated by millennials but I know that many women in their 40s and 50s work alongside women in their 20s. In the eye of the twentysomething, a woman past the age of 40s is often considered old. The 20 something woman is entering the workforce with skills and experience in things that older women may not be as familiar with.
Question: What advice do you have for women who are intimidated by Millennials?
Monica Rosenfeld: I think all stages of life have their advantages however in my experience since I've turned and past the age of 40 my life is just getting richer. I feel as though I have a clearer perspective on my life and with that have the power to consciously create the future I desire.
Question: What do you do, to make time for yourself?
Monica Rosenfeld: With running a business and raising three kids, I recognise the importance of making time for myself so that I don't burn out. I exercise most mornings before the rest of the family wakes up, I take Tuesdays off work and spend those days enjoying the freedom of doing whatever I feel like doing. I've also been meditating regularly for a year now which has had a very positive impact on my wellbeing.
Question: Are you able to share your 2019 'realistic' goals, with us?
Monica Rosenfeld: In 2019, I would like to give up to 30 presentations to business groups about how to become a thought leader for their industry in the media. I aim to do lots of comedy, my family and I are visiting Japan in April and I'd like to live in the present, enjoying every day as much as possible.
Question: What's next for you and WordStorm PR?
Monica Rosenfeld: WordStorm PR is 19 years old now and the business is going from strength to strength. About five years ago we discovered our sweet spot is working with purpose driven entrepreneurial driven clients and not for profits who are making a positive change in the world. We just love working with our inspiring clients, helping them to magnify their message so they can make a positive difference in more people's lives.
We are on the verge of launching an online course called Practical PR with Monica which will assist businesses who don't have the budget to hire a PR agency, do it themselves with my guidance.
Within the next five years I'd like to spend 70% of my time presenting and conducting training workshops.
And of course I'd like to continue with the comedy and take it as far as I can – The Edinburgh Comedy Festival would be nice! Nothing like having a stretch goal to keep you on your toes!
Interview by Brooke Hunter