Coach Manisha Says Women In Their 40s Are Unignorable, Unstoppable!
In a world obsessed with youth, older women are often forgotten – their interests, dreams and changing priorities. Having entered my 42nd year, recently, I was curious to understand how can we make this decade really count, perhaps, even rock. Can we reignite unfulfilled desires, or find new dreams to chase?
This quest led me to Manisha Singh, a member of our community and coach by profession, who simply loves working with women in their 40s. Having supported several women in “redesigning” their lives, she believes there’s something “magical” about this decade.
“Women feel drawn towards self-discovery and possess a very positive sense of acceptance towards who they truly are,” observes Manisha, also the author of the “100 conversations with women” series.
What is their mindset, what are their struggles and aspirations?
Here’s a deeper look via the lens of Coach Manisha who also turned sweet 41, herself, recently.
“In my experience with women in their 40s (me included), I see a wonderful shift – women are strongly driven to begin their journey of looking inwards. This inner shift translates into us becoming better listeners and observers. We’re also more willing to admit to ourselves that perhaps, our choice wasn't the best. I see a will to reassess, take ownership, make a change,” says Manisha, who has seen many instances of women liberating themselves from the vicious cycle of saying "yes" to things they don't want to do or don't believe in.
Another very promising aspect of women in their 40s, according to Manisha is a newfound hunger to invest in ourselves - be it in learning, personal growth, investing time in self-care, wellness or making wise financial choices. Not only are these part of an emerging bucket list, but there is concrete action to follow-through.
“The spirit of making space to think about oneself really inspires me,” says Manisha.
While all of this sounds “magical” indeed, there are certain belief systems that we need to let go of. For instance, how many of us have felt it is too late for us to start a business, fall in love, travel the world, or move to a new country?
According to Manisha, some beliefs that we need to jettison are "it is too late to me for … ", "the best phase is over", " there is only one way to age gracefully and that is...." and "I no longer have ...".
“Women in their 40s may begin to feel unattractive because of how closely beauty has been associated with age. They feel they may become invisible and no one will take notice of their unique beauty. However, every phase of life has its own flavour of beauty. What if our 40s is when all the pieces of the puzzle come together in most meaningful ways?” asks Manisha who has seen several women completely reinvent their lives.
So, I invited her to share some stories of women for whom the 40s was the transformative decade…
Ashima, 41, is a product of that generation where “multitasking” was celebrated. But the truth is that between work and household responsibilities, and her role as a mom, she was always playing catch up. Mornings began with exhaustion and this manic lifestyle was taking a toll on her health and mental well-being.
“We decided to slow things down - it was a big shift, from a jam-packed a chaotic day to a day which had fewer things to do, fewer people to meet and more time to think, go deeper. We went back in time to figure out what made her come alive, what were her dreams, and the dreams behind those dreams to get in touch with her real passion. Gently moving away from doing what wasn't tapping into her passion, we steered towards planning her move from a job to do what didn't feel like work,” says Manisha.
Ashima began saying no to meeting those who drained her energy and spent time with those who meant the most. By letting go of old patterns that governed her life, she went from being a person who approached her work with fear, fatigue and heaviness to someone who starts each day with enthusiasm.
After her divorce, 43-year old Chhavi threw herself into work to keep her mind off “log kya kahenge!” She believed it would keep her mind of the past and present. “
But all it did was to exhaust her, alienate her from everything outside work,” shares Manisha. “We began work on bringing balance back, re-establishing connections with those who cared for her and creating new ones that had the potential to enrich her life. In parallel, we worked on managing the inner voice that passed harsh judgements on how she had handled her past.“
This inner work helped Chhavi adopt a gentler approach with herself, preparing her for a fresh start. New connections, fun and leisure activities made way for a chance meeting with someone whom she resonated with, and love blossomed again. “It took courage to tie the knot, and today, she and her partner adopted a little one who they adore,” says Manisha.
“If one is willing to detach from the belief system that "it’s too late", not only are new beginnings possible, they turn out to be beautiful,” she adds.
Designing Our Lives
Manisha herself is an example of someone who has completely “redesigned” how her day begins, ends and makes her feel, and this was by design, pun intended. Her corporate career comprised people management, service delivery and client engagement in the IT sector.
“I am grateful to have worked with some wonderful companies. But the way I was operating led to work becoming a much larger part of my life. Things were clearly out of balance. I also realised I loved working with people to help them master their inner game (mindsets, beliefs) as well as their outer game (the way they show up - express themselves). One of my roles during my corporate career was to head a team of coaches. I got certified as a coach, and my role was to coach a team of coaches, which I enjoyed! I took a cue from that, “ recalls Manisha who decided to make a career shift.
“I took some time to work on my own inner and outer game. I leveraged help from coaches, studied image consulting, worked on myself. Helping people pursue their highest potential always excited me– now doing that day in and day out makes life truly purposeful for me,” shares Manisha. Having redesigned her work-life, she also revamped her personal space.
Manisha has actively cultivated self-care into her daily routine. “Self-care is not a concept we learn growing up. Consequently, even if a woman is single or does not have many family responsibilities, she may still not put herself first. She may begin to fill in her schedule with extra work, social commitments, instead of spending time in taking care of herself,” observes Manisha, who over time, with an iron will, has successfully relinquished all figments of “busyness” from her schedule. I was curious to delve into how she goes about it.
“I literally "put myself first" on my schedule - by that I mean, I give myself the first hour of the day – the golden hour, filled with self-care activities - reading, meditation, reflection, journaling, exercise, a walk, and making myself a nice cup of tea and drinking it leisurely, “Manisha opens up.
She also schedules "whitespaces" in her day - little pockets of time in between activities/ tasks that allow her time to reflect and relax. She borrows this concept from web design. “Whitespaces keep designers from filling up every inch of space with pictures or words. I am a strong advocate of applying the same concept to our schedules,” she explains.
Ending the day on a good note is equally important, and she starts gently winding down from 8 pm, weaving in self-care.
“The whole idea is to begin to unwind two hours before one sleeps rather than just going to bed,” she reasons.
Listening to music while fixing dinner, limiting the use of the phone, lighting relaxing aromatic oils (she loves frankincense, lavender and vetiver), putting on a face mask and sometimes soaking her feet in warm water - are all part of the routine. She also has fun while planning her outfit and fixing her handbag for the next day! “This gives me time to slip in my fav lipstick, interesting snacks, chocolates, a book etc, “ she says.
However, she emphasises that self-care is not merely about grooming and preparation.
“Personal growth is important for me - journaling and reading are also "self-care" for me,” says Manisha who skips, runs and walks to keep fit.
Now Manisha is the mistress of her day – working with individual and corporate clients, managing her schedule so that she has enough time for her family, and still pursuing those activities, she loves most.
Transforming ourselves with love Redesigning our lives takes courage, and Manisha cautions against being super harsh for past choices. Consciously transform yourself with love, she suggests.
“Let’s be gentle when we look at our past. Let’s own our past, tell ourselves we did what "we knew best at that time". But we have learnt from it and can apply those learnings rather than getting caught in beating ourselves up,” she suggests.
At age 41, Manisha admits that she feels much happier today, compared to her 20s and 30s because she understands herself better now.
Manisha believes our day is our life in miniature - so designing every day to align with our larger vision - helps design our life, and live with intention.
Ladies, if you are a 40s rockstar, or will be entering this decade soon, do share your experiences - good, bad, ugly - and your goals for this decade! As a community, we can nudge and cheer each other on and make them happen!
R*****Totally Agree mam👍
R*****Well written!! I just turned 40 this year and was feeling gloomy for having achieved nothing all these years..this article filled me with some hope and some sense of clarity in my head! Thank you...
M*****Great to hear from Sita. Take care and keep believing in yourself.
S*****Nice article. I have a big trauma inside me. I too in the urge to prove myself, relax, establish etc. Your writing is a guide for me
M*****Hi Amrapali, you have such a great attitude and you're already on a wonderful path. Just stop to celebrate yourself. You absolutely deserve it💞
M*****Thank You Nigar! Thank You so much for the lovely expression " The Rocking Duo" - I love teaming up with Merril a lot...the two cute dancing girls..aww
M*****Thank You so much Amrapali! So glad our perspective about the "Fabulous Forties" resonated with you! Would love to add value and support in every way I can. Please feel free to reach out anytime
H*****I used to feel that i have spent so many good years of my life already. After reading this write up...m looking forward to my 40's. 😁 A better version of myself...with more clarity, more experiences and more ability to impact or control my life. @Manisha Singh...i look forward to your advices, be my coach :) @Merril Diniz you are one of those i admire. Thanks for sharing this uplifting narrative.
M*****Agreed Nigar! No crisis just awesomeness
M*****Hi Archana, so glad you feel energised! It's gonna be a grrat decade for you 💞
N*****It is advantage 40 and no midlife crisis..Merril and Manisha u r a 👯 rocking duo!
A*****Such a beautiful article....loved it !! After reading the whole article I can relate myself with many things. Not feeling old anymore for turning ❤ 41
S*****Very well written article.....I'm 44 and really feeling the magic of this decade.....it's indeed a decade of rediscovering myself ...... journey is on.....now self esteem is high ..... energy and clarity is more....and really lot has changed in positive direction..... SHEROES...you know what .....I have actually started loving myself.🌼🌻🌼🌻🌼🌻🌼
M*****I know what you meen Susmita. It's a new beginning in many ways 💜💜
M*****Thanks Preeti. I life is all about how we see things. Let's celebrate every age!
S*****First class article. Close to my 💓. 40 is the beginning in many ways. For me, its like never before at 41.
P*****Merrill a lovely write up on middle age choices rather than middle age crisis. I resonate with all these points. Loved it❤❤
M*****Thank you Nicola. Let's keep celebrating our 40s fabulousness! 💃🌞👭😎
S*****Thank u mam this article or story strengthened me emotionally and really made me emotionally strong .
M*****Thank You @arpitayadav ! So happy to hear that the concept resonated with you :)
A*****What an article Resonated with my life .. loved it to the core ..Coach Manisha
S*****Very well put across. The more you enjoy yourself the less you need the approval of others.
N*****A very beautiful write up.
N*****Such a beautiful right up.All points in various fields covered up so beautifully .Thank you Meril.
M*****Hi Merril! Thank You so much for sharing my passion for the joy of being in the fabulous forties! You have captured all the aspects of the narrative so well.
V*****Yes Merril....m able to connect....😁
M*****Vinamrata, in part this article is inspired things you said in a past debate :)
V*****Nicely covered....thank u @merril diniz....