The Truth About Midlife Crisis – And How To Avoid It

Everyone is uncomfortably familiar with the phrase ‘midlife crisis’ — the very mention of it conjures up images of people making rash decisions that seem crazy.

Getting a sports car, leaving a marriage for someone younger, or suddenly quitting a career to go wander through the jungle and do yoga are all stereotypical results.

It can take the shape of many things, but it’s usually a very turbulent phase of life, not just for the person going through it – but those around them as well.

For entrepreneurs, it can be even more challenging because it often leads you to question whether your business is where you should be at all. Many entrepreneurs merge their identity with their business, which makes it really hard to see life beyond that venture. So there you are, feeling trapped in the business, but terrified to sell it or leave it behind — because, then who would you be?

What Causes the Midlife Crisis To Happen?

Going through this period of ‘midlife’ discomfort is incredibly common, and there are several popular theories as to why. My personal theory comes down to a very simple fact, which is how long the average person expects to live. 

Ask most people what the current life expectancy for people in the Western developed world are, and they’ll tell you “about 80 years”.

This means that somewhere around the 40 year mark is — on average — the half way point to death. While many people don’t consciously think of this, I believe that approaching and entering your 40s causes a subconscious calculation to start being made.

We start to realize that we are not going to live forever, and that we are now likely closer to our end than our beginning (which makes us a pretty market of buyers of anti-aging and longevity gimmicks and supplements).

We realize that we’ve had our head down, sacrificing and working away because of the “amazing future” we envision .. only to find ourselves standing in that future, still sacrificing and working too hard.

What started out as a short-term plan to work hard so that we can live a great life later .. has become the life we have. One day we wake up and realize what was supposed to be temporary .. has become our way of life.

The Good News: It Doesn’t Have To Become a Crisis

Long before you find yourself in the midlife crisis, there are a series of breadcrumbs and hints that something is brewing:

      • you begin to hear whispers from deep within, asking “is this all there is?”
      • a feeling of dissatisfaction and “flat lining” starts to creep in about your life, work or both
      • you find yourself comparing to others and feeling like you’re not where you should be with your business, your life, your wealth and your lifestyle
      • a growing and soon overwhelming sense of restlessness or dissatisfaction sets in, like you should be doing something else or you’re not living up to your potential
      • your responsibilities begin to feel like obligations rather than things you love or enjoy
      • life begins to feel like it’s smothering you, that you’re trapped or stuck
      • you begin craving new things, wanting exciting adventure and thinking “you only live once!”
      • you yearn for the old times when things were fun and easy, and begin to question the decisions you’ve made about your life

As these inner whispers begin to form, you start to develop a resentment about your business (and parts of your life, and the people in it) that are supposed to be giving you all this freedom and happiness.

For entrepreneurs, this can be a fatal crossroads to reach — because you begin to make questionable decisions in the business. I speak from experience when I say this crossroads can be treacherous — but the good news is that it doesn’t have to lead to a crisis at all.

The only reason that many people call it a crisis is because of this: by the time the person going through it recognizes that’s going on, it’s too late — they’ve missed or ignored all the warning signs and have been swept into full crisis mode.

Turning a Midlife Crisis Into Something Better

I prefer to call this powerful transitionary period life a Midlife Activation — because if you prepare for it and manage it correctly, it can be the period in your life when you move from achievement to fulfillment.

It can be a time when you are called to something bigger, something beyond yourself — you are challenged to activate your authentic self.

So many of us spend the first half of our life trying to be someone that we learned early we’re supposed to be .. only to spend the second half trying to forget all of the bullshit we were told, and to allow ourselves to just be who we truly are and live authentically in ourselves.

We work hard, “hustling and grinding”, only to find that all that work may have created some financial or material wealth .. but standing on the top of that mountain doesn’t feel like we thought it was going to.

If you’re starting to experience some of the breadcrumbs I mentioned above .. congratulations.

You are moving into that period of life where you can finally start living into who you truly are, and discover what it is you’ve really been put on this beautiful earth to do.

Let your Midlife Activation be something that you’re not afraid of or trying to avoid .. but enthusiastically preparing for and working through, because that’s when your true life really begins.