Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Is a Mid Lifer?

Simplistically, we might conclude that a Mid Lifer is someone between the ages of say, mid thirties to late fifties. Mid Life, though, is a state of mind as much as a physical age. So you may be older (or younger) and still consider yourself to be a Mid Lifer.

Typically, many of your habits will be set – you know what you like to drink, the type of holidays that you enjoy, the clothes that you wear and your hobbies, for example. These won’t be set in stone and may change as you grow older but by and large, you know who you are and you know what you want.

Some Mid Lifers may have young families as they have delayed parenthood whilst enjoying their youth. Others may have a young family with a second partner. At the other end of the family spectrum, some Mid Lifers will have seen their children leave home and this may lead to life changing decisions – moving house, reviewing their career, taking early retirement for example.

Mid Lifers may be carers for their elderly parents or they may have experienced the trauma of their parents passing away.
Many Mid Lifers spent their youth swearing that there would never be a generation gap between them and their children – then finding themselves wondering why their offspring listen to ‘such mindless music’ and have such odd hairstyles.

Some Mid Lifers will feel that they’ve reached the top of the ‘bell curve’ and it’s all downhill from here. These are the people that often experience a ‘mid life crisis’ with all the negative aspects that this holds for them and their family and friends.

This will be the future for some Mid Lifers but it doesn’t have to be. As Henry Ford once famously said ‘Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re usually right’. So mid life may be a time of retrospection and review and your conclusion may be that your best days are behind you. More positively, you might conclude that the experience and learning that you’ve gained in your younger years provide you with the springboard to greater things in the second half of your life.

Life is always full of opportunities – the trick is in recognising them for what they are.

The Mid Life Opportunity highlights all of the positive aspects of Mid Life whilst also recognising that not everyone is in this happy place.

If you have issues with your career, finances, relationships or your health you will be able to find Advice and Guidance from experts in their field. Experts who can help you to see that your coping skills, experiences, maturity and accumulated wisdom can increase your confidence and show you the way through your current crisis to a brighter future.

Thanks for your interest in The Mid LifeOpportunity and do please join the community and add your voice.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Are you Ready to Reshape your Career and Redesign your Life?

Steve Preston runs a series of very engaging masterclasses, all aimed at helping people to move on to the next phase of their career.

Steve's latest class is running in London on Nov 11th 2012 and  is entitled 'How Colourful is Your Umbrella - creating your canopy of choice'.

Do these apply to you?:

  • Fed up with the 9-5 grind
  • Searching for greater freedom, choice and fulfillment
  • Would love to turn interests and passions into income streams
  • Thinking about taking up a Portfolio Career
  • Have lots of ideas for a business, but can't decide which path to take
  • Struggling to achieve your full potential.
If so, then 'How Colourful is Your Umbrella' may be the course for you.

For full details, click here:  How Colourful is Your Umbrella?

If you can't get to London on 11th November, Steve also has a number of other courses which may be of interest and which can be purchased online: I Want a Career Change

Please mention The Mid Life Opportunity when booking.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Solution To The Middle-Aged Blahs?

Guest Post by Suzie Hammond

So the birthday numbers keep rolling around and you’ve passed 45, and then 50, and life has definitely settled into that middle aged comfort zone.  You know the word ‘boring’ could be applied to your existence.
Some of the options we reviewed to overcome this dreaded problem were taking skydiving lessons in thunderstorms, joining a gang of rabid food co-op junkies, and turning our house into a modern artwork complete with splatter paintings inside and out.  We were afraid the splatter paint option would attract city citations we didn’t want to pay though.

So we took what seemed to be a less drastic action.  We moved.  We moved to a completely different area of the country actually, and then a few years later later to a life overseas.  We took on our middle age and made it into a lifestyle challenge.
You might want to consider it.  What would your life be like somewhere else?

The excitement of choosing a likely front running candidate for our new adventure was a bit of a secret at first.  The criteria we set was strict but similar to what most middle-age ex-hippies want;
a)  There had to be work there for people in middle age
b)  Also interesting things to do
c)  And a reasonable amount of safety for a couple who had slowed down but were still darned lively. 
d)  And of course life had to be affordable with some of our favorite comforts readily available.  (No use moving and discovering we could only afford to live in the poorest end of town.) 

Once the destination decision was made then we had to tell every one we were relocating.  Dealing with numerous howls of outrage and the helpful advice that we were mildly insane wasn’t enjoyable, but looking forward to a new life was.  Many charges of ‘middle aged crisis’ were leveled at us but we persevered, while privately worrying they might be right.

Next was the turmoil and less fun job of packing.  By middle age you’ve accumulated huge piles of ‘stuff’.  The relocating served the fabulous end of actually sorting out what was important in life.  When was the last time you used that waffle iron?  That outfit you bought 5 years ago and paid a lot of money for and wore twice?  That 1959 Ford transmission and hulk in the garage you bought 13 years ago that you were going to restore but haven’t gotten around to yet?  The universal consensus amongst people who have done it seems to be that it is amazing how free you feel when you let go of many of your things.  It somehow seems to open you up to new possibilities because you aren’t tied to useless things anymore. (The things we were sure we couldn’t live without went into storage literally and figuratively.) 

 Finding a place to live, unpacking and settling in to your new area can be a good deal of work but it serves up another overdue evaluation opportunity.  What is  comfortable for a couple or older family in terms of accommodation?  Do you really need 3500sf of house? Etc.

After a while the newness of where to find the post office and the best-priced grocery store will wear off.  Meantime fresh escapades will abound.  New friends and novel unexplored activities are there for the having. Many of these experiences we would never have had with such depth and satisfaction in our last home. (It is pretty hard to help clean up the beach on weekends if you live in landlocked croplands for instance.)
Most middle aged people who relocate find that the new place helped them grow as people in many unexpected ways. Not that people wouldn’t have grown where they were before of course.  But the figurative rising mud of complacency and easy comfort around your ankles in your old home makes it harder to look for those new experiences in your old and familiar area. 

Relocating thrusts us all into situations that insist we develop new capabilities, unless we fancy staying home and watching TV all day. The extreme solution of relocating found us making efforts to fit in and make a difference to our new communities.  Comparing notes with others we’ve found they too got involved and active more than before.

It may seem a radical solution to the situation but it was right for us and a surprisingly large slice of middle age people. Big changes in life are labeled ‘big’ for a reason. There are unexpected twists and turns to your plans.  Sometimes solving the problems requires the ingenuity displayed by our children when they were young.  With little effort they could come up with 30 ways to do anything we didn’t want them to.  We could all use more brain exercise and the challenges of relocating and making a new a new life for yourself certainly do that. 

Think it over and see if this might be a good route for you too.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Overweight or Underweight?

As we grow older, many of us find that the excess pounds creep up on us. It is all too easy to become overweight and much more difficult to lose those extra pounds. Midlife tends to be the tipping point for a lot of people when they 'stop trying' to lose weight and give in to the inevitability of being heavier.

We can see how large or small we are compared to those around us but not those in other countries. A new tool has been developed which lets all of us compare ourselves to other people and the national average for our country. When you have a spare 5 minutes, enter your details into the Global Fat Scale and see how you compare. Does your body compare with someone your age in Mauritius, Vietnam or Samoa? Fascinating.

The Mid Life Opportunity ( is a community for Mid Lifers. Advice and Guidance is available from the members of The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join so what are you waiting for? Join here FREE!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Three Rules to Midlife Happiness

The 3 Basic Rules to Ensure Your Midlife Happiness

Rule 1: Be happy in your own Time
Some people find it hard to accept that they are growing older, they seek perpetual youth.
Some have facelifts, botox injections, boob jobs, bum lifts and other cosmetic surgery to try to keep the ravages of time at bay. This may look very attractive for a time but often ends with the person looking a parody of his or her previous self. ‘Trout pout’ anyone?
Some wear clothes that would look much better on their children (rule 1a – If you are old enough to have worn it when it was in fashion last time around, don’t wear it this time!).
Some people in midlife decide to start again with a younger partner – ‘Cougar’ women take a toyboy, midlife men might opt for a 20 something female with long legs. Whilst this might seem attractive in the short term, once the initial excitement has died down, the couple find themselves living together with little in common. They watched different TV programmes when they were children, they grew up listening to different music and they wore different styles of clothes – they come from different ‘times’ and unless they are very fortunate, they are very unlikely to feel comfortable with each other in the long term.

Rule 2: Be happy in your own Skin
We are all born with the hand of cards that we are given. Some will grow up as beautiful people, others won’t. Some will become thought leaders in their spheres, most won’t.
‘Show me the boy and I will show you the man’, a popular saying that rings very true. Most of us don’t change greatly as we get older, we play the hand that we were dealt.
Many people, though, are not happy with the cards that they were dealt and call ‘foul’. Most women (and quite a few men) are not happy with some aspects of their looks. Some go to great lengths to change their appearance. This goes far beyond trying to keep their youth (see Rule 1) and is an attempt to change their looks, to give themselves characteristics that they wished they’d been born with.
Whilst some attempts at remodelling your looks can be beneficial, particularly for self-esteem and confidence, it is important to draw the line.
A midlife crisis is often triggered by a person not being able to come to terms with living in their own skin.

Rule 3: Be happy in your own Life
Many people feel that they need to ‘fit in’, that they need to conform to a norm with which they aren’t really comfortable. Teenagers, in particular, feel that they must be part of a crowd and fall victim to peer pressure. Their friends all have tattoos, so they feel that they should have tattoos, even if they don’t like them (and will regret having them in later life, particularly if they include someone’s name!)
Midlifers are less inclined to worry about peer pressure but the ‘green-eyed monster’ of jealousy is a very real part of the life of many people in midlife. We all lead different lives and however happy we are, however well off we are, there will always be people who seem to be doing better than us. Some of them will indeed be doing better than us, either because they were dealt a better hand at birth (see Rule 2) or because they work harder than we do (often both).
The grass always seems greener in somebody else’s life. However, when the green-eyed monster rears its head, take a few moments to consider the other aspects of the person’s life – these may not be quite so rosy. Your rich friend may be doing very nicely in the big house, driving the expensive car but behind closed doors their relationship may be falling apart. Their kids might be taking drugs and mixing with the wrong ‘friends’.
Don’t try to ‘keep up with the Jones’ out of jealousy, to make yourself look better or more acceptable to your friends. You may find yourself deeply in debt if you overstretch yourself unnecessarily.

To be happy in your life, accept what you have – but don’t let that stop you from striving to achieve greatness. There is a difference between making the most of your life and trying to live your life imitating someone else.
The Mid Life Opportunity ( is a community for Mid Lifers. Advice and Guidance is available from the members of The Mid Life Coaching Panel. It’s free to join so what are you waiting for? Join here FREE!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Your Children and Mid-Life Dating

Guest Post by Cara Michaels

As your grown children get older, they may become more protective and territorial of you as their parent.  
The roles somehow seem to reverse and many adult children see themselves in the role of caring for you. If you are someone who has become interested in dating and your children are resistant to the idea, you need to sit down with them. Have a good old-fashioned conversation about your needs and what the boundaries are between you.

If you are divorced or widowed, it’s natural for your children to feel protective when you express your interest in dating.  They know what a jungle the dating world can be.  Also, they probably want to protect you from any scammers that are often prevalent when meeting someone online.  Of course, the obvious reason they are reluctant to have you date, is that they don’t want to share with you anyone else and feel a great loyalty to your departed spouse.

You need to explain carefully to your children, that your wanting to date has nothing to do with lack of loyalty to your ex or deceased spouse.  Explain that you are interested in moving forward with your life and you are looking for companionship.  It’s very difficult for children, even grown children, to see their parent as a man or a woman.  They only see them as Mum or Dad, and they don’t typically take into consideration what your social needs may be.

If you are not Internet-savvy, this is a perfect opportunity to ask your children to help you get up and running on a dating website.  This will make them feel less excluded as you take your next step into the dating world.  In all likelihood, they will be able to offer you great tips and advice for creating an effective online profile and even help you select some of the dates you would ultimately like to meet.

Convince your children that this is a healthy move forward for you and assure them that you will enter this new phase of your life carefully yet confidently.  Perhaps you’re not even looking for the next love of your life; you simply want to go online in order to meet activity partners and such.  Explain this fact as well and your children will be certain to understand.  After all, you cannot continue to count on them for your social life since they have their own lives to lead.  By seeking a dating life, you are asserting your independence and moving forward in a happy and positive way.  Your children will more than likely understand this is a healthy decision.
Author Bio: Cara Michaels is constantly sought after by friends and family for dating and relationship advice. She has taken her knowledge to the web and frequently writes for

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Grants for World War II Veterans - Can You Help?

Many Midlifers have parents and grandparents who fought in World War II. A grant is available during 2012 to enable these veterans to revisit the theatres of war in which they fought.

The letter published below, from Ted Cachart, gives details and an offer of assistance.

Please pass on/tweet these details to ensure that a wide audience is reached, enabling our veterans and/or their surviving spouses to return and pay their respects to fallen friends and companions.

Ted Cachart
4 Cottage Close
     Heage, Belper,Derbyshire.
      DE 56 2BS
        Tel: 01773 853 181
          e mail:
             Chairman of the 49 Squadron Association

Dear Sir or Madam,


As a former member of Bomber Command I am writing to you on behalf of World War II veterans who, due to a lack of advertising, may not have been aware that in 2011 financial grants, Heroes Return II,  were available from the Big Lottery Fund to enable veterans to pay a visit of remembrance to the theatre of war that they were involved in.

Veterans, male or female, widows, and widowers of veterans, can all apply. The offer also extends to- Merchant Seamen, as well as WAAF’s, WREN’s and ATS who worked closely with active personnel.

It appears that the number of veterans claiming these grants were far less than anticipated resulting in these grants being extended during 2012. It would be extremely helpful if you can find space in your publication to make these details known so that veterans, who will now be aged 85 and over, may still take advantage of these grants and plan a visit. There is a further grant available (where required) for an accompanying carer.

The grants range from £150 to cover travel and accommodation for veteran, spouse and carer, within the UK,  £1,300  to Northern Europe and £5.500 to the Far East.

As I have received a  grant for a visit I made last December, I would be more than willing to advise any of your readers on how and where to claim..

It would also be most helpful, and if you have time and space, to reproduce this letter on your web edition.

My name, email address and telephone number may be published ,

Ted Cachart 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Where Have All the Jobs Gone?

Do you ever wonder where all the jobs have gone?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Top 4 Reasons Why Most Career Dreams Fail

Guest Post by Kathy Caprino

In my work as a career coach and speaker, I interact with thousands of highly functional, achievement- oriented professionals with fantastic gifts, talents and skills who have BIG career dreams.  But despite their talent, intellect and enthusiasm for building an awesome career, many won’t get there, not even close.

In today’s challenging times, professionals are longing too to discover their “life purpose” – the one unifying theme they think will bring them the joy, fulfillment, and meaning they desperately yearn for.   But a vast majority won’t be successful on that front either.  Not for lack of trying or laziness — but because they are looking in all the wrong places, and taking actions that propel them backward or sideways, but not forward.

Why do so many career dreams crash and burn?

I’ve observed four key behaviors that guarantee you won’t achieve your deepest career hopes and dreams.

Below are the top 4 behaviors that will kill your dreams:

1)      You’re doing the WRONG things to get what you want
The vast majority of professionals today can’t identify what they really want to create and achieve in their lives.  They’re in the dark about themselves and their deepest longings.

But there are some people who DO know what they want, and can articulate it clearly, with passion. Unfortunately, among those who are clear, many aren’t taking the right steps to get there.

Here’s an example:  I know hundreds of stressed-out, overwhelmed corporate women who long for more balance, control and flexibility.  Suddenly, in a desperate hunt for a new way to work, they embrace the belief that chucking their corporate life and launching an entrepreneurial venture will be the answer to their prayers.   The problem is, an entrepreneurial life is not suited to everyone, and is certainly no antidote for work-life imbalance.

What they don’t understand is that there are certain core values, mindsets, traits, and behaviors essential for entrepreneurial success (see Michael Gerber’s book E-Myth Revisited about why so many small businesses fail).  It takes an amazing amount of effort, skill, know-how, leadership talent and vision to make it work.  Going into business for yourself just to get more work-life balance is the wrong move.  Other motivators and factors have to be in the mix, or your business will fail (see the harsh data on small business failure rates).

In the end, thousands of professionals choose the wrong “form” of work in an attempt fulfill the right “essence” of what they want.  They know what they want, but have taken a misguided path to get it.  Then, after crushing failure, they give up and stop moving forward.

2)      You quit too early
You and I know hundreds of people who have deep longings to contribute to the world in powerful ways.  The problem is, they want to contribute at this level NOW.  They’re impatient for the reward and want it yesterday, without making the commitment.

People who have risen to the top of their field and are making a large contribution in the world, by and large have worked for many years to refine their craft, perfect their messages, amass knowledge and expertise, and close their gaps.  They have demonstrated intensive long-term commitment and incredible courage – walking through walls of fear and resistance to make the impact they want to.

If immediate gratification is what you want or expect, you’ll give up and turn back long before you arrive at your destination.

3)      You’ve confused a career with a “calling”
A job and a calling are very different.  They require different things of us.  Many people think their career dream is to have a “calling” and they yearn for that.  What they don’t know is that a calling is a vision so compelling that you can’t stop yourself from wrapping your entire identity around it (even if you don’t want to),  even to the detriment of your bank account, your relationships and your health.

People romanticize about a calling, just as they idealize “love.”  A calling is not something that you choose – it chooses you.  And when it does, it exacts a large price.

Neither a job or a calling are better than the other;  they’re  just different.  There are costs and benefits to both.   But you can’t fabricate a calling out of thin air, so longing for one is a fruitless endeavor.

he key to creating a fulfilling career is to find the right path for you that makes you feel passionate, powerful and purposeful, and motivates you to be all you can be.  Stop wishing for what others have, and start creating the best version of you — your authentic self.

4)      You’re too scared to stretch big enough
Finally, the biggest obstacle in the way of achieving large career dreams is an unwillingness to do the internal and external “stretching” necessary to get you where you want to go.  The stark reality is that you can’t go from Point A to Point Z without transforming yourself.  To have a fantastic career, you have to continually stretch and expand yourself far beyond your comfort zone and learn to walk directly into experiences that would scare the “old you” to death.

You can’t be a thought leader without doing the intimidating work of being on the leading edge with your thoughts.  You can’t be a moving public speaker if you shy away from using your voice authentically.  You’ve got to do the work of expansion.

To achieve big career dreams you also have to overcome your resistance around getting help.  Many are deeply afraid of looking foolish or exposing their vulnerability.  Or they simply refuse to invest in themselves (financially or otherwise) to grow.  But you can’t do great things in a vacuum, all by yourself, without support.

If you long for the validation, recognition, respect, power, and self-esteem that come from an amazing career, then you have to earn them, by stretching yourself beyond what you thought possible and wrestling down your fears and looking your demons squarely in the eyes.

For the record, I believe wholeheartedly in dreaming BIG and having expansive career visions.   I wouldn’t have reinvented my career successfully without them.  But if you want to achieve your highest career goals, don’t make these mistakes.  Figure out exactly what you want (take my Career Path Self-Assessment for a start).  Then do what it takes to reach your goals in a planful, realistic and committed way.  Don’t be fooled about the energy and effort it will take.   Remember – a fantastic career takes fantastic risk.

Do you have the courage and the right stuff to make your career visions are reality, and are you taking the right steps?

Kathy Caprino, M.A. is a national women's work-life expert, career and leadership coach, speaker, and author of Breakdown Breakthrough.  Founder/President of Ellia Communications -- a career and executive consulting firm dedicated to the advancement of women in business -- Kathy is a top media source on current career topics and trends, a Forbes contributor, and frequent invited speaker.  For more information on Kathy's leadership and executive training programs or career coaching services, please visit  Follow Kathy on Twitter @kathycaprino, FB, and Linkedin.