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Real Women


Midlife Pivot for Women: A Setback or a Setup?

How To, Insights, Lifestyle

Neaon sign spelling out the word CHANGE

Midlife pivots for women, whether chosen or unexpected, offer a chance for transformation. They represent a shift from what was to what could be, with both opportunities and challenges. Planned pivots like the empty nest phase can be empowering, injecting new energy and purpose, while unexpected ones can build resilience and reveal hidden strengths. Midlife is a time for women to reassess priorities, embrace change, and pursue their dreams, with resilience and joy as key to navigating the journey. Coaching may aid in overcoming the inertia and uncertainty that accompany these pivotal moments.

A midlife pivot for women, whether it is by their own design or forced upon them by circumstances outside their control, presents the choice to see it as an unwanted detour or a shortcut to a new adventure.

This is the crux of understanding a pivot – whether it’s one you’ve planned for or one that’s been thrust upon you like an unexpected roadblock on your journey. Especially for women standing at the crossroads, a pivot can either be a thrilling chance to reroute or a daunting barrier that makes you feel like you’ve hit a dead end.

Let’s break down the concept of pivoting, whether it’s a setup for a grand new chapter or a setback that tests your resilience.

Navigating life changes at midlife

Many of the life changes that come at midlife (whatever age that is for you) are the finish line of a long-anticipated path. An example of this midlife pivot for women is the empty nest.

From the first kid that moves away to the last one leaving home; it has been a journey of increased independence for those developing young adults that culminates in the result we have long been expecting and preparing for.

concentrated woman carrying stack of cardboard boxes for relocation

You’ve thought about what it will be like and looked ahead to prepare for the inevitable. Maybe we will downsize. But, maybe we should keep their room “as is” in case they are homesick or need to come back, temporarily. This is more about you adjusting to the new normal and less about your kids needing you.

Imagine you’re on a road trip, and you’ve decided to take a scenic detour because it promises views that are once in a lifetime. This is the essence of a planned pivot – it’s a conscious decision to explore a new path, driven by a desire for change or the pursuit of a long-held dream.

A planned pivot can inject new energy into your life. It’s an opportunity to grow, learn, and perhaps, find your calling. Or rescue the dream that you have always had but put it on the back burner as other responsibilities took priority.

By accepting this pivot that has been a long time in coming, you can set your GPS to your new dream destination. You know what supplies you need for the journey and which unnecessary baggage to leave behind. This preparation reduces anxiety and increases the likelihood of a successful transition.

Detours and doubts

Even the best-laid plans have their moments of doubt. Our brains are hard-wired to remain on the safe, predictable road. It’s why many women have trouble moving on- they feel competent and useful with what they know and apprehensive about what they need to learn.

During a midlife pivot for women, many feel “stuck”. They don’t want to be where they are, but exploring unfamiliar options is like jumping off the high-dive for the 1st time! (You’ll be glad once you do it but you swear you are going to die if you do…).

Planning on a career pivot in midlife is like this. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life doing what you are doing but you are terrified of the unknown. You focus on worst-case scenario and any setback is your fault because you chose to do this. What was I thinking?!

Overcoming unexpected life changes

Sometimes, pivots are not by our choice. We lose our job, our financial situation takes a turn due to an unexpected hardship or illness, our company downsizes and eliminates our position, a long-term relationship ends.

What will you say in response?

The initial shock of an unplanned pivot can feel like slamming on the brakes. It takes time to process and accept the change, which can be emotionally taxing. Without a pre-set GPS destination, figuring out where to go next can be overwhelming. The uncertainty of an unplanned pivot can lead to anxiety and fear of the unknown.

Life’s surprises can lead us to discover paths we never would have chosen but that lead to destinations just as beautiful, if not more so. The hidden highways of an unplanned pivot can reveal strengths and passions we didn’t know we had.

When the usual roads are blocked, creativity kicks in. You’re forced to think outside the box, leading to innovative solutions that redefine your journey.

There’s something empowering about navigating through a storm and coming out on the other side. An unplanned pivot builds resilience, teaching us that we’re capable of adapting and overcoming.

Embracing change in midlife

Whether your pivot is a setup for a new adventure or feels like a setback, the journey forward is about embracing the ride. For midlife women, these pivots – planned or unplanned – are not just about change; they’re about transformation.

They’re an opportunity to reassess what’s truly important, shed what no longer serves, and pursue what lights up your soul.

Even planned pivots- such as retirement- don’t always leave you with a clear vision. You know you will “stop working”, but then what are you going to do?

Many of my coaching clients are at a crossroads, whether planned or unplanned, and are incapacitated by overthinking. They seem to be circling the same obstacles and not making any progress in what to do next. If this sounds like you, coaching will help– whether it’s a short conversation to get you moving in a positive direction- or more ongoing support to help you sort it out.

Pivoting is about movement

Pivoting, at its core, is about movement – not just in direction but in spirit.

For midlife women, this movement represents a powerful shift from what was to what could be. It’s a chance to repaint the canvas of your life with bold and vibrant colors.

Whether you’re navigating a pivot you’ve eagerly set up or managing one that’s caught you off guard, remember, the beauty of a pivot lies in its potential for transformation.

Consider the road less traveled – the one that promises not just new scenery but new insights into who you are and what you’re capable of. A pivot might feel like stepping into the unknown, but it’s also stepping into your power. It’s an act of bravery, a declaration that you’re not content to let “someday” remain just a dream.

When a midlife pivot for women is an unpredictable turn that forces you off the expected path, it’s an opportunity to prove to yourself that you’re not defined by your circumstances. Instead, you’re defined by how you respond to them.

These moments, while challenging, are filled with the possibility of discovering new passions, untapped resilience, and the kind of growth that only comes from navigating the unexpected.

The Wallingford Road

Change happens

Every pivot, planned or not, carries the essence of adventure. It’s a departure from the routine, an invitation to explore not just the world but your place within it.

For midlife women, this exploration is not just a phase; it’s a profound journey of self-discovery. It’s about finding joy in the journey, even when the road gets rough. It’s about learning that detours can lead to the most breathtaking destinations, destinations you might never have found had you stayed on the planned route.

The key to navigating any pivot is cultivating resilience and finding joy in the journey.

Resilience is your built-in shock absorber for life’s bumps and detours. It’s what allows you to keep moving forward, even when the destination is unclear.

And joy? Joy is the fuel for your journey. It’s found not just in reaching your destination but in the small moments along the way.

With the right outlook and attitude, any setback can be seen as a setup for an exciting road ahead.

Join our FREE Facebook Group Someday the 8th Day of the Week: Women Over 40 Ready for a New Season

Let’s take a road trip together as you set our GPS to your “Someday” dream- the destination where your purpose lives.

We’ll share some road snackable wisdom with each other along the way.

Road trips are always better with friends, especially when we have to navigate some detours and construction.

Feel like your mind clutter and noise are all you can hear when you try to decide what to do next?

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hey there, I'm valerie

Let’s help you find your voice so you can step into your next chapter with confidence.

about me



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