There’s this amazing TED Talk https://www.ted.com/talks/pat_mitchell_dangerous_times_call_for_dangerous_women?language=en
Former US news anchor Pat Mitchell, aged 75, makes a bold call to action to all us midlife, and beyond, women to roll up our sleeves and get back to work. “dangerous times call for dangerous women,” she says.
She argues us women of “a certain age” have built a lifetime of skills – juggling child rearing, negotiating sometimes quite terrible life events and doing it all alongside power careers- we are way too important a resource to put out to pasture.
In fact when is it ever appropriate to put people with brains, skills and experience out of the workplace. We can’t afford to and how nuts is it to spend years training people up only to say ok off you go now. Go play some golf, bridge – whatever takes your fancy. (oh and of course that’s only for the “lucky” ones who have some kind of gold plated pension.
I thank God that I don’t have this option as I think it would have turned me soft and lazy – and I would have hated that. So there is no choice but to keep on showing up and giving it your best shot.
There’s also something that can sometimes happen when you hit 50 – I appreciate it doesn’t happen for everybody but for me it did. Forget feeling invisible, I’ve never felt more visible or alive. I found that I knew stuff – loads of it in fact. I didn’t have to wing it or bullshit my way anymore – I actually understood a lot of stuff. And perhaps most importantly of all I learnt to understand myself at quite a deep level – to know when to lean in and when to back right away. (key lesson that backing away is sometimes the best and most courageous thing we can do).
I don’t think anybody can be effective, or helpful to others, if they don’t first do some serious work on themselves.
Oh and I’m pretty fearless nowadays too – and I keep meeting new dangerous women of that “certain age” and we nod to each other and recognise that fire within. It’s a truly wonderful thing. Sure I get hurt, knocked back, disappointed – all that life stuff – but nobody can keep me down anymore. I’ve learnt to do the right thing – always – not the popular thing – anymore. I made a pact with myself a while back that I was going to live full on and never apologise for standing up for the things I really care about.
Integrity, purpose and a mission in life are great ways of staying strong, confident and engaged. But humility, kindness and compassion matter just as much – I’ve been working on this for years and I can report from the frontline that this is the only way to live. Yes it is a work in progress, and I fall flat on my face way more often than I want to. But now I know the way to get back up and keep focussed in the right direction.
In the words of one of my pinup women Helen Mirren when asked what she regretted in life “not telling enough people to f**k off.” But, of course, this should really be done with a wink and a smile and a huge dollop of kindness:)
Have a great week
What I’m reading “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. Wonderful!