Done with Dieting Episode #136: Phases of Self-Discovery

Phases of Self-Discovery

Has anyone ever asked you, “Who do you really want to be?” Many of us, especially during midlife, tend to live in service of others, often neglecting our own hopes, dreams, and desires. 

Join me, as I explore the awakening, that electrifying moment when you realize that you’ve been sidelining your own needs, and it’s time to reclaim control of your life. This episode is a transformative process intended for anyone seeking self-discovery, whether you’re single, married, a mom, or have chosen to remain child-free. 

Do you remember when you last allowed yourself the freedom to dream? To nurture your passions? To align your life with your deepest desires? 

By embracing our truths, embracing our desires, we can live in harmony with our dreams, creating the fulfilling, authentic lives we all deserve, no matter where we find ourselves on life’s winding road.

Chapter Summaries:

The Journey of Self-Discovery in Midlife (0:00:05) 

Embark on a journey of self-discovery, exploring the awakening, expressway analogy, and living for yourself.

The Journey of Self-Discovery and Transformation (0:10:12) 

Jenna’s story of self-discovery, overcoming fears and doubts, and living in alignment with truths, desires, and dreams are discussed.

Reclaim control of your life, embrace your desires, and navigate the twists and turns of self-discovery on the expressway to authenticity.” – Elizabeth Sherman

Are you loving the podcast, but arent sure where to start? click here to get your copy of the Done with Dieting Podcast Roadmap Its a fantastic listening guide that pulls out the exact episodes that will get you moving towards optimal health.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join the Feel Good Sisterhood - my group coaching program for women in midlife who are done with dieting, but still want to feel good! The Feel Good Sisterhood is open for enrollment, so click here to discover if group coaching is a right fit for you and your goals.

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other women who want to get off the diet roller coaster find it, too.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode

  • Learn about rediscovering your true self and aligning your life with your authentic desires.
  • The phases of self-discovery and how to navigate them to prioritize your own needs and desires.
  • Embracing the journey of self-discovery and understanding its normal challenges and unique nature.
  • Embracing your unique journey of self-discovery, understanding there is no right or wrong phase, and exploring the value of coaching as a supportive tool.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript:

Have you ever found yourself lost in the hustle of life only to suddenly pause and wonder, what is happening? If so, you’re not alone.

Today, we’re diving deep into a journey many of us embark on, especially for women in midlife. It’s the powerful journey of self-discovery. We’ll be exploring the winding road to rediscovering ourselves, navigating through those big, scary questions about purpose, desire, and ultimately learning how to align our lives with who we really want to be.

This is about reclaiming the driver’s seat of your own life. After all, the road to self-discovery is far from a straight line. And no matter where you are on this expressway of life, I want you to remember, you’re never behind.

So, take a deep breath and let’s get started for an adventure of a lifetime, one where the destination is you.

You are listening to the done with dieting podcast. The podcast for women who are experiencing perimenopause and menopause symptoms and want to feel better – like they did before their body started changing.

I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman, Master Certified health, and life coach for women in menopause and peri menopause. I’ve helped thousands of women manage their symptoms, get off the diet roller coaster, and change their relationship with food, exercise, and stop fighting with their bodies. And I do it through a feminist lens – which means exploring how we are socialized as young women has a huge impact on our current relationship with food & exercise, our bodies, health, and ourselves.

What’s different about this podcast is that we’re exploring your health from all sides, not just food and exercise. We also address the mindset shifts that will make you happier and lead to better health.

My goal in this podcast is to illustrate that the reason diets don’t work long term is because your health doesn’t exist in a silo. Your health and your weight are a symptom of the OTHER parts of your life and how you show up. I want to help you to feel good and live the life you desire from a 360 degree approach: body, mind, and soul.

Welcome. Let’s get started.

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Done With Dieting podcast, episode number 136. I am your host, Elizabeth Sherman. And today, we are discussing a topic that’s especially close to my heart. And I believe extremely relevant to many of you. It’s about our journey of self-discovery as we navigate the exciting and sometimes challenging, but often unpredictable terrain of midlife.

So, you know, our lives are like a rich, complex novel filled with diverse characters, unexpected plot twists, and moments of sheer joy, deep reflection, and profound meaning.

And today, we’re turning the page to a chapter that I think that you’re going to find very enlightening, empowering, and maybe even a little bit liberating.

So, what are we talking about today? We’re diving into the phases of self-discovery that many of us women experience in midlife. We’ve often spent so much of our time in the service of others, our partners, our children, our parents, our careers that we often lose sight of who it is that we really are. What we want, and how we can nurture our own happiness.

But here’s the thing. So, whether you’re married, divorced, single, whether you’re a mom or you’ve chosen to be child free, this episode is for you. It’s for all of us because at the end of the day, we are all women journeying through this life, constantly evolving, learning, and discovering who we are and what we truly want.

And let me tell you, embarking on this journey, asking ourselves those introspective questions and taking steps to align our lives with our innermost desires and dreams is not just empowering. It’s absolutely essential for our wellbeing and our happiness.

So, I invite you to join me today, and let’s dive into the phases of self-discovery together. And explore what they mean, and most importantly, learn how we can navigate them to create the fulfilling authentic lives that we deserve.

So, let’s start at the beginning. What typically happens is the first phase of self-discovery. And the first phase we often experience in this journey is the awakening.

It’s that initial spark, that tiny little voice that starts to whisper in the back of your head, or maybe even shouting, hey, is this all there is? There’s got to be more than this endless list of to-do items or all of these things that other people are asking for me. It’s the moment that you start to realize that you’ve been living your life for others, and that it’s high time to start living for yourself.

You see so many of us women spend our lives in service of others. We’re wives, we’re mothers, we’re daughters, we’re friends, we’re caregivers, and career women. We’re cooking meals, we’re organizing play dates, meeting deadlines, caring for aging parents. We’re the fixers, the planners, the doers. And while all of that is meaningful and fulfilling in its own right, it often means that we put ourselves, our needs, desires, and dreams on the back burner.

Now, let me share a story that might sound a little familiar. Let’s call her Lisa. Lisa was a go-getter, always taking care of everyone around her. She was the Supermom, the star employee, the best friend, the caregiver for her aging parents.

But one day, in the middle of the hustle and bustle of her routine life, she collapsed onto her sofa just completely exhausted. She stared blankly at the tv, not really seeing what was on the screen. And for the first time in a long time, she asked herself, what do I want? When do I get to live for myself?

That was Lisa’s moment of awakening. She realized that she had been pouring from an empty cup for so long, and that it was time to refill it. Time to start considering herself in the equation of her own life.

And here’s the thing, just like Lisa, it’s perfectly okay for you to start this journey now. There’s no age limit, and there’s no expiring date as to when you can start this journey of self-discovery. There’s a metaphor that I use to explain this journey.

Oftentimes, women will come to me thinking that they’re behind because they see other people who are quote unquote ahead of them. And so, the expressway analogy is a metaphor that I use to describe our unique journeys in life. Particularly, in the context of learning, self-discovery, and personal growth.

So, think about when you drive onto an expressway. There are cars that have been on the road longer than you and others that are just merging onto the road. There are cars that will exit before you and some that will remain on the road long after you’ve reached your destination.

Some cars are traveling faster, some cars are slower, some are headed in a completely different direction altogether. This is much like our personal journey. Some of us start our self-discovery earlier, while others do it later. Some may seem to progress more quickly while others take a more leisurely pace.

We all have different experiences, different goals, and different destinations. And that’s totally, okay. There’s no race, there’s no competition, there’s no behind because we’re each on our own path, our own journey. And with our unique timelines and destinations, our journey isn’t defined by how it compares to others, but how we grow and learn along the way.

Just like the expressway analogy that I just mentioned. What matters is not how or when we started, but that we continue moving forward. Navigating the twists and turns that life throws our way, staying true to our path and to ourselves. Because ultimately, we’re all headed to our own unique destination.

We all have our own wants. We all have our own desires. We all have our different likes and dislikes. And each journey, each experience is valuable in its own right.

The next phase that we generally see is questioning. Now, this stage is often a potential mix of exhilaration and uncertainty. Because this is when those big, deep questions about purpose, desires, and fulfillment start to surface.

At this stage, you might find yourself asking like, what is my purpose? What is going to happen? Like, why am I here? Or what do I truly want from life? Or maybe, how can I spend more time doing the things that I love with the people who matter most to me? And often, these questions may seem daunting or even scary because for so long we’ve been defining ourselves by our roles and responsibilities towards others.

I’d like to share a story to help illustrate this. One of my clients, Sarah is a successful corporate lawyer and mother of two. She found herself at the questioning phase not too long ago. She had always put her family and career first, often dismissing her own wants and needs.

But one day she found herself alone in the silent house. The kids had gone off to college and her husband was away on a business trip. As she sat in her quiet living room, she just felt this void, a nagging feeling of incompleteness. But despite her successful career and very successful life, she asked herself, is this all there is to my life?

She felt a deep yearning to explore her own identity outside of her roles as a lawyer and a mother. But she was also overwhelmed and confused. After all, it was as if she was meeting herself for the first time.

If you’re feeling like Sarah, feeling confused or even overwhelmed, I want you to know it’s perfectly normal. This is all part of the journey. Remember, my expressway analogy? Everyone’s journey and destination is unique. And so, those are the questions that you’ll ask yourself.

It’s okay if your questions seem different or even more complex than others that you know. This is your journey, your road to self-discovery, and these questions, as challenging as they might be your stepping stones to living a more authentic, fulfilling life.

Now, once we’ve gone through awakening and the questioning phases, we naturally move into the third phase, which is exploration. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we start to actively explore what we want and begin to align our lives with those desires.

This phase can be exciting, but it can also be super challenging. It’s like setting out on a journey without a clear map, guided by our newfound sense of self-awareness and fueled by our longing for a more fulfilling life.

A key part of this phase is really setting out a vision of our future self and creating a vivid, compelling vision of who we really want to be. This isn’t about unrealistic expectations or wishful thinking. It’s about giving ourselves the freedom, to dream, to aspire, to reach for what truly aligns with our authentic selves.

Let’s look at Jenna. Jenna was a dedicated mother and a wife who after her kids left for college, she found herself in the midst of this exploration phase. She knew she wanted more out of life, but she was unsure of where to start. So, she started by envisioning her future self.

A woman who is not just a mother or a wife, but who is also an individual with her own passions and dreams. Jenna always loved art and drawing but had put her painting on hold for her family. While she was in exploration, she started painting again, not for anyone else but rather, just for herself. She explored local art classes and connected with fellow artists. And even converted her son’s old bedroom into an art studio.

This was not without challenges. Of course, she had to overcome her own fears and doubts. The discomfort of prioritizing herself and the uncertainty of what was going to unfold. But everything that she did was a step forward for her true self.

And this is something I see often in this phase. Challenges and breakthroughs going hand in hand. It might be difficult to venture out of your comfort zone, to confront your fears and doubts, to face the unknown. But with each challenge you overcome, you’ll experience breakthroughs, growth, and a deeper alignment with your authentic self.

This is your journey. You have the power to shape it in any way you choose, and it all starts with that first step into the unknown.

Now, last but certainly not least, we arrive in the phase called transformation. This is where all of your introspection, your soul searching and growth starts to take shape in tangible, meaningful ways in your life.

This is the point where you start to live in alignment with new self-understanding that you’ve gained from the previous phases. It’s like you’ve been on a long hike and now, you’re standing at the top of a mountain just taking in the breathtaking view.

But let me be clear, this isn’t about becoming a whole new person or discarding your past or the people who are around you. On the contrary, it’s about honoring all that you’ve been and using those experiences to become all that you can be.

Going back to Lisa’s story, she confronted her fears, her doubts, and most importantly, she reconnected with her dreams. In her transformation phase, Lisa started playing pickleball and cultivating relationships that she had left for granted. Now, she realizes that everything that she ever wanted was actually there. It just needed a little bit of tending and renegotiation.

Now, your transformation might look a little bit different from Lisa’s or the other women that I’ve been talking about in this episode. Maybe it’s about setting boundaries, pursuing a new career, or embarking on a journey to better health.

There’s no one size fits all here. Your transformation is uniquely yours, just as your journey has been. But know this, whatever your transformation looks like, it’s the perfect fit for you because you are the one who gets to create it. It’s rooted in your truths, your desires, and your dreams. And when you align with those, you’ll find a sense of fulfillment and authenticity that will truly transform your life.

Now, as we wrap up the episode, I want you to remember that whatever phase you’re in right now is the right phase for you. And it may be that you go through phases over, and over, and over again.

There’s no beginning or end to self-discovery and personal development. Whether you’re at the cusp of awakening in one area of your life, in the midst of questioning, in another, exploring your options, or embracing the transformation that you’ve already made, you are never behind. You are right where you need to be on your unique journey of self-discovery.

And no matter where you are in this journey, coaching can be a valuable tool. Sometimes having someone to guide you, to offer a new perspective, to challenge you and support, you can make all the difference. Someone who has no agenda in what it is that you decide.

So, if you’re feeling stuck, if you’re not sure what the next step is, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Because coaching might be the right step for you. I’d also love to hear your stories, share with me your experiences, your challenges, your triumphs on this journey. Post your stories on social media and tag me, and let’s create a community of support and encouragement.

Remember, midlife is not a time to shrink back, to fade into the background. It’s a time to step into our power, to redefine our lives on our own terms. It’s a time to ask the big questions to explore and to transform. It’s a time to embrace the beauty of self-discovery and to create a life that truly is aligned with who we are.

So, let’s not shy away from it. Let’s embrace this journey with all its twists and turns and its highs and lows. Because the view at the end, the view of a life truly lived of a woman truly fulfilled, that’s worth every step of the journey.

That’s all I have for you today. Have an amazing day, everyone. I’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.

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