Maven. Are you familiar with this word? What does it mean to you? There are a few different definitions out there but what they all have in common are the words “knowledge”, “wisdom” and “expertise.” My favourite definition is:
“A trusted expert who seeks to pass timely and relevant knowledge to others.”
Although not specifically reserved for women, I think the term Maven is the perfect articulation of women in midlife. Let me explain. By this point in our lives we have acquired years of life experience, career know-how, knowledge and wisdom born out of our own unique experience. It’s also the point in life where we begin to question the meaning and purpose of our lives and feel the need to give back in some way.
There is term in psychology circles called generativity that refers the to the stage of life, usually midlife, where we turn our attention away from self and family toward a broader focus on making a difference and leaving a legacy. The stage of generativity applies to all adults, but it is especially true for women. If you subscribe to the notion of midlife crisis (which I don’t because often what we call a crisis is actually a very natural shift; story for another day), for men a “midlife crisis” is often about confidence and measuring accomplishments against the passage of time – “Did I accomplish everything that I set out to do?”, but for women, “midlife crisis” is more often a crisis of meaning – “What am I contributing to the world?” Most, if not all, of the coaching conversations I have with women in their 40’s and 50’s are about the search for “meaning and purpose” for the next chapter of their lives. This is generativity in action, and its often the driving force for women to make big life changes at midlife. Fun fact: Female killers whales are the only other mammal to experience this. When they stop reproducing after 30 or 4o years they hang around the pod for many more years to help nurture and provide food for the rest of the pod. Kinda cool huh!
"The inherent value and power of midlife"
I’ve written before about the different stages of womanhood – maiden, mother, maven and crone (read it here) and the societal value attributed to each. We are most familiar with the first two stages in which the focus is creating and nurturing families. The not as acknowledged crone stage conjures up images of very old women imparting wisdom as a legacy to future generations. But what we don’t talk enough about is inherent power and value of the Maven stage in between mother and crone (which by the way, is a good chunk of time - at least 30 years). In this stage of life not only do we have much life experience, advice and wisdom to share but we are young, energetic and vibrant enough to use it to affect change in our lifetime. Midlife mavens are using their knowledge and wisdom to start businesses, create charities, take on new careers, learn new skills and make changes in their lives that make a difference to themselves, their families and communities at large. How powerful is that?
"Valuable knowledge born of your unique experience"
Whether your life experience and wisdom was acquired as a career woman, a full-time mom and caregiver, a combination of both or living off your trust fund (no judgment…. but why wasn’t that me?) we have all acquired years of invaluable, unique to us, real-life experience born out of the gifts and lessons acquired along the way.
So what timely and relevant knowledge do you have to share with the world? What do you want to create for this maven stage of your life?
Do you need support to help to bring your meaningful next chapter to life?
The Maven Masterclass - is an on-line group coaching program for women who know they want to do more in the next chapter but may be feeling stuck and overwhelmed, and don't want to do it alone. It takes courage and energy to step out of your comfort zone at this time of life. You may have the knowledge and experience you need but what you're missing is the encouragement, support and accountability of a like-minded community navigating the path with you. The Maven Masterclass program offers both group and one on one coaching and leads you through a step by step process to give you the tools you need to feel empowered and confident in creating the meaningful and authentic next chapter that you desire.
For further details and to apply to the Maven MasterClass click here.