Note from the editor, Lesley Jane Seymour
I Refuse to Give up The Word “Potential”
I have a bone to pick with society about the way it uses the word “potential.”
From the day we are born, we are told we all have “potential.” We spend our entire lives driving for achievement, fixated on a bright, shiny potential greatness that spreads infinitely before us. With every class we take, every extracurricular activity we squeeze into our day, our teachers and parents outline our potential to become a great ballet dancer, a famous cook, a respected doctor, an admired professional athlete, a breakthrough scientist, meaningful teacher, or important writer. When we go to college our potential increases: we are a potential academic, a potential tech magnate, a potential researcher who will find the cure for cancer.
After our first jobs, we become potential candidates for promotion. And so it goes as we hack our way up the corporate mountain, moving sideways toward potential advancement elsewhere, then moving up again as we find our new potential in another organization. Somewhere along the way, if we so choose, we have the potential to have a great family, to find a mate, and have kids with great potential. And we raise that family to have great potential of its own. And then those kids grow up and in order to reach their potential, may move away to pursue their dreams.
And here’s my question: so what happens to us at midlife? Why does the world stop mentioning the word “potential” around us? Ever. It’s as if society has decided we are done, finished, used up.
Well, I’m having none of that.
I believe that at midlife all of us have great potential for a very fulfilling second half of our lives. I believe we have enormous potential — plus the knowledge and savvy, and perhaps finally the funds — to reinvent ourselves. We have the potential to go back to school to pursue new adult dreams. We have the potential to change direction to rethink our relationships with our mates, with our homes, with our communities. We have great potential to contribute in a new way to the corporations we work for or to the world around us. We have the potential to transform from great parents into great coaches and friends for our kids.
Potential is a mindset. Everything we do at CoveyClub is designed to make sure you see that. To ensure you can learn from other women just like you who have been there, done that, and are launching exciting new adventures in their lives. Midlife is the time you get to reset your clock, reset your needs and your wishes, to give the finger to what society says — about everything. This is your time. Covey is here to help you make the most of it.
For that very reason, I hope you will enjoy this issue and these very special pieces we have put together for you. Don’t miss:
Lori Kase’s fabulous interview with the worlds top sleep expert: in “Sleep Tight: Advice for Insomniacs from Britain’s Sleep Guru.” We know sleep is important to you and you gobble up every article we write on it. This is a don’t-miss! New advice, new point of view.
Diane DiCostanzo’s examination of how our instant gratification habit is draining our wallets: “Be 20% Happier by Kicking Your Instant Gratification Habit.” I have heard money managers say: the first thing you should do to straighten out your run-away finances is to drop Amazon Prime.
Learn how, when, and where to find the right professional coach from Meg Jordan’s “Newest Secret to Success Tool? A Professional Coach.” You should know, I’ve heard many very, very successful people talk lovingly about the coaches that helped direct them to their dreams; many have spent thousands on coaches and are glad they did. I was skeptical at first but now I’m giving it a try.
Hear from one of the first female venture capitalists, Edith Dorsen, about what we all still need to do to help women get the investments they need in “Want a Stronger, More Successful Company? Invest in Women. (Duh.)” We all need to help shepherd these issues along. Even if you are not interested in investing, you need to understand what is happening so you can jump in and give a push when you see an opening to help women in business in your personal life.
Kelly Jackson’s lovely missive on what an old fashioned father should look, smell, act and be like in “What Makes a Man a Daddy.” (I didn’t have one of those: but it’s nice to dream!) Kelly wrote for me at More and has a lovely sense of humor that I just can’t live without.
Maureen Pilkington’s essay “Everything and Nothing to do With That Car Smell” is insightful and poignant at the same time about life in the suburbs.
If you haven’t been reading Mel Miskimen’s hilarious installations of life with her 90-year-old father, do. Go back to the beginning (the pieces are all listed at the bottom of the article). You will laugh and cry with acknowledgment at the same time. This one is called “Hookups in Senior Living” and is simply brilliant at puncturing all of our own prejudices about elderly parents.
And finally, spend a quiet moment with Wendy Weiger’s “How I Found Self-Healing and Wholeness by Trekking into the Wild.” This is really what the potential of midlife is about: an extremely successful Harvard grad giving it all up to find the meaning of life in her connection with nature. If anyone out there knows a publisher, I think this would be a book we would all read for sure.
Thanks for spending time with TheCovey. Join our CoveyConnect today to talk about these pieces and more with women just like you. xo