Feedback at 55?

Woman seated at a table in center of image facing camera with two women seated opposite her with their backs to the camera

Today is my 55th birthday. I’m not a bit sad about it because, as I’ve mentioned here before, the alternative to getting old is death. I’m grateful for the opportunity to get another year older and I’m hoping for many, many more similar opportunities in the future.

This last year has been one of the most interesting, challenging years of my life and certainly not one that I could have predicted as I settle fully into middle age. I became a professional life coach six years ago and have loved every minute of this new, amazing career path. A year ago, the coaching school that I attended sent out a letter asking for applicants for their lead trainer positions. I’ve been a corporate trainer for many years and the opportunity to combine my training experience with my love of coaching was a dream come true. I immediately sent my resumé, application, and a requested video of me giving a presentation.

After numerous interviews and auditions, I was notified I was one of ten people out of 800 who were going to be part of a training program to become lead trainers. I was elated, but had no idea what a challenging situation I was walking into. We soon received a schedule requiring us to travel two to three weekends monthly in order to learn from other lead trainers around the country. Part of that learning was near constant feedback on how we were training and presenting ourselves in front of coaching classrooms.

Learning to See Feedback as An Opportunity for Growth

Let me just say that I don’t care how mature and confident you are, feedback is hard. Negative feedback is really, really hard. Every insecurity that I’ve ever struggled with came roaring to the surface of my emotions as I received continuous, corrective feedback on everything from my professional appearance to my periodically shrill voice. I was corrected on content, character, humor, eye contact, use of language, etc. There were evenings that I went back to my hotel room in tears thinking that I obviously wasn’t cut out for this work. Yet I’d go back for more the next day.

Let go of your defensiveness and learn to enjoy constructive feedback. #leadership #growth Click To Tweet

I guess I had believed that at 54-years-old, I wasn’t willing or able to change or grow and thus that feedback had me questioning a paradigm that I had adopted that was actually holding me back. Once I let go of my defensiveness and my belief that I knew it all, I actually learned to enjoy the feedback. I even started to ask for it! Admittedly, it is easier to get feedback from people you know who really care about you and want you to succeed but nevertheless, feedback is still challenging.

After a full year of interviews, training, feedback, and lots of learning and practice, I was promoted to the position of lead trainer. All of that feedback made me stronger, more confident, and more ready for any challenge that came my way. The first three classes that I ran on my own were filled with more lessons from the students and more opportunities for me to grow and improve. As exhausted as I was from the process, I was overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for the opportunity to lead new students into the beautiful world of coaching and self-improvement.

At a time in life where I thought I was going to slow down and take things a bit easier, I set myself up for the career challenge of a lifetime, and I’m so glad that I did. Now I’m ready to do more, to challenge myself more, and to see that age isn’t a limit. It’s just another day on the calendar. Bring on the feedback! Bring on the growth challenges, and bring on another year of a healthy, fully-lived life. Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself. You won’t regret it for a minute. If you need some feedback, give me a call!


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
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About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.



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Comments to “Feedback at 55?”

  1. This came at the most opportune time when I’m personally grappling with fear of being (possibly) judged in a new role due to age. But we can be fierce and fabulous at 55, right??!! Hell, yes.

    Congrats to you, Lisa, and Happy Belated birthday…

    Cindy — xo!

    • Administrator

      Cindy, yes we can! You are only getting better with age and your employer is lucky to have you.