Intro: Welcome to Your Confident Self, the podcast that empowers women to step into their boldest, most confident selves. I’m your host, Allegra Sinclair, and I’m here to help you unleash your full potential in every area of your life. From the boardroom to the dance floor, we will explore practical strategies and mindset shifts that will help you show up as your most confident self in every situation. Join me each week as I either bring you a lesson straight from my own executive coaching practice, or I dive into conversations with inspiring women who have overcome their own fears and self doubt to achieve amazing things. From entrepreneurs and executives to artists and athletes, my guests will share their stories and insights so you can learn from their experiences and apply their lessons to your own life. Whether you’re ready to ask for that promotion, start your own business, or simply feel more confident in your own skin, your Confident Self is the podcast for you. So grab your headphones and get ready to unlock your full potential.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Hey, everybody. This is Allegra. Welcome to the podcast. I am fascinated by today’s topic because I had not thought about when I reached a certain stage in my life, turning around and mentoring other folks. Right. As a coach, I thought about coaching, I thought about leading, I thought about managing, but I had not thought about mentoring until I met today’s guest. So today’s guest, Rachel Astarte, is a psychotherapist, a coach, and a counselor who works with people in midlife to help them polish who they really want to be and think about mentoring younger people. She’s the author of Celebrating Solitude how to Discover and Honor Your Highest Self, as well as novels, Screenplays, and articles, all of which focus on self development and connection with our human and nonhuman families. Rachel has a podcast called Self Talk with Rachel Astarte, which helps listeners negotiate a healthy relationship with themselves and others. Everybody, please help me welcome Rachel to the show. Hi, Rachel.
Rachel Astarte: Hi. Nice to be here, Allegra.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Thank you so much for coming. I am thrilled to meet you and to dig into Mentoring. Why, just why? But we’re going to start with a little bit of history. When we were talking before the podcast, you told me that one of the events in your life which actually spurred you to make a career shift. Because we love talking about career transformation here. That one of the things that encouraged you to make this shift was kind of a disorienting experience you had in your own life with your body. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?
Rachel Astarte: My perimenopause was not pleasant, as a lot of women experience. Some people say hot flashes. My friends say power surges. I like that.
Allegra M. Sinclair: I love power surges. My mom used to say that, oh, I’m having a power surge. And I was like, oh, I can’t wait. When I was younger, oh, I can’t wait to have those feeling a superhero.
Rachel Astarte: Mine were more or less like complete inability to regulate my temperature. So I would constantly, no matter what season it was, have to walk around in four layers because I would either be freezing cold or boiling hot, and I would have to adjust and they would switch, like, every few seconds. So it was a lot lovely.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Okay. Yeah.
Rachel Astarte: But yeah, so it was pretty wild. And of course, there was the emotional shifts. It was like PMS on steroids. For me, it was just really difficult time. So that was really the pivotal moment that I began to say, okay, I’m going through some kind of portal here, and I need to start paying attention to what I need to do to make my life as positive as possible, even when I feel so disoriented.
Allegra M. Sinclair: So prior to perimenopause, what would you say your focus was when you think about I don’t want to get all subterranean, but like, what your purpose was or what work brought you joy, what would you say that was? Pre perimenopause?
Rachel Astarte: Yeah. What’s interesting is the primary purpose I had, which is to help people to develop their true selves and be able to navigate life’s challenges with grace. That didn’t change. What did change was more of the message got revealed to me as I went through perimenopause, and now I’m post menopausal. So having that clarity, I said, oh, my goodness, that’s not all there is. It’s not enough for us to just be the best person we can be in the world. We’re not contributing to the rest of the world that way. We’re just feeling good about ourselves, which is fine and beautiful. So what got revealed to me was we need to step into mentorship. We need to take our we, meaning women in midlife, need to take our wisdom out into the world. It’s not enough to just live your best life. That’s great for you, but what are you contributing to collective consciousness if you’re just keeping those gifts to yourself?
Allegra M. Sinclair: That is interesting. So your purpose or your kind of understanding? I talk about what lights you on fire. So what lights you on fire remained the same, but it was augmented. So it was like that and more?
Rachel Astarte: Yes. It was almost as though I wasn’t able to see the full picture because I wasn’t ready to see it yet.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Awesome.
Rachel Astarte: I’m actually going to be teaching a free class, but not till August. About perimenopause, they’re called the Power of Paramenopause hour long free class that we’ll talk about that at the end. But yeah, there are many, many gifts and many different ways to look at this phase of our life. I personally get really frustrated with pity, the pity that is sort of pervasive in society about women stepping into midlife. And it’s like, oh, you poor things. You’re going to have the night sweats and you’re going to have this. You’re going to have the sagging boobs and the skin looking in the mirror and pulling your jowls up. You know what I mean? That’s what we have to look forward to. And so what do women do? We can see this. Look at the Yahoo newsfeed. Almost every other post is about a woman at 57 still being able to rock a bikini. This is not where our strength lies. And that is not the focus. The focus is not to go backwards. The focus is to go forwards. And there is a lot of power as we move through paramenopause into menopause that is completely overlooked. And it isn’t just the awareness part, but it’s understanding that we are going through a rite of passage that this society doesn’t want to talk about.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Because why is that? So there is so much juicy stuff in what you just said. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but I was like, oh my gosh, my hair is on fire right now. So I didn’t know this was a thing. Now so we’re talking about women over 50 being able to wear a bikini, which is so fascinating because who said we couldn’t? And who has now judged that it’s okay that we still exist? It’s like, I don’t know where that’s coming from. Is it suddenly that they’re realizing that women over 20 still exist?
Rachel Astarte: The sexualization of the female body, right? We’re not talking about it’s, not making the news that a woman who is 57 has just built a school in India. You know what I’m saying? It’s about how can you stay youthful. Anti aging is a pervasive phrase in this culture. What are we really looking at here? And so when I interrupted you and I shouldn’t have done, but you asked, why is that? And the ultimate reason is a fear of mortality and death. We as women are seen as well, you know, the phases. The maiden, mother, crone, right? So it’s like you’re the young pretty thing. As soon as you begin to menstruate, you step into mother phase. And then as soon as you stop menstruating this isn’t really accurate, but they had said you step into crone. There is actually a whole other phase between mother and crone, which is called the queen.
Allegra M. Sinclair: I like that.
Rachel Astarte: Yeah, I do too. There are many names. There’s queen, there’s virgin. We’ll talk about why virgin applies in a minute. There’s Maga, which is another word. But the point is that this is a time of transformation when we are the queens of our queendom, we are in charge of our lives. And this, on the one hand is very threatening. On the other hand, what the reason society isn’t willing to accept women in midlife, even though, frankly, at this point, we are perhaps at our most fertile, not for baby making, but for self creating. The reason is that we represent a fading out of what society says is the main purpose of women. You are either sexually viable or you are being a mother. After that, we’re not interested in you. And that is really tragic because when we look at the Sacred Feminine, when we look at the Divine Feminine, we look at how much power and beauty there is. And I know everyone listening to this is getting that feeling. Yeah, I have stuff to say.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Exactly. I have more stuff to talk about now. You all are missing it because this is the juiciest part of my life, right?
Rachel Astarte: Absolutely.
Allegra M. Sinclair: It’s like when I turned 30, I was very excited because then I felt like, okay, now I’m a grown up and people will listen to me. Well, that didn’t necessarily happen, like on January 24 when I turned 30. Right. So I’m just saying that. But with each year that comes, I’m like, people are not paying attention. What is happening right now is the good stuff. Right. So it is fascinating to think that women aging would make people afraid of their mortality. When men aging is fantastic.
Rachel Astarte: Right. Well, they look better according to society. Right. Men age better than women. It’s all societal construct. Right. This is all about aesthetics, and we need to go deeper than that. Right. So men are about leaving legacies that you can touch, like buildings or making films or writing books or curing cancer or whatever. And women are supposed to be here to serve. And to put it bluntly, when you’re no longer able to have children after you’ve gone through menopause, well, then what’s your purpose? And that’s a terrible disservice to women and their power.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Agreed. So we’re going to talk about mentoring in just a moment, but I’m wondering if some of the focus or some of the I’m going to see some of the articles about women of a certain age. Still looking good. Like, hey, we’re still here kind of thing. I think some of that may be driven by the fact that the people writing the stories have aged into that next group.
Rachel Astarte: Yes, absolutely. To put a positive spin on it, we are hearing more from women over the age of 40. Or I would say I would go so far as to say 50, because as I said earlier, 40 is 30 now. I guess 40 doesn’t really mean much anymore, but in terms of considering that to be old or older. But yes. So a lot of the Gen Xers are the ones writing the articles or noticing. But I also believe that some of the younger women who are writing these articles are in need of the kind of mentorship or need to look forward to something that they are aging into. And they need to find their heroines. They need to find their teachers and mentors.
Allegra M. Sinclair: So tell me what mentorship means to you. Let’s just make sure we’re on the same page here. When you say that women I always say women of a certain age, but we can say midlife women. When you are encouraging midlife women to mentor, what does that mean?
Rachel Astarte: Yeah, it’s a great question. So most of the time, because we live in a capitalist society, when we hear mentor, we think business, right? And so even if you search on your search engine midlife mentorship, what you might see is people mentoring in the business place, in the workplace. And I’m not necessarily talking about that, although that is one segment of the way that women can mentor. What I’m talking about is a much broader thing and we need to really redefine what mentorship means. I think of it more as a process, and it’s a three step process for us to get to a place where we can mentor. We need to find out who we are separate from the labels and roles we think we’re supposed to be playing. We need to polish that being that we are, work out our childhood traumas and create that beautiful foundation of self so that we feel solid. Then we can step into mentorship. And mentorship means, and it can be expressed in many ways. It may simply mean when your young niece comes to you and says, I’m having problems dating, and you have some insight and you share that insight, that’s mentorship, right? Or it could be a neighbor, it could be none of those things. And I said you could do it in the workplace, right? You could take a young colleague under your wing and teach him or her. It doesn’t always have to be young women that we mentor, but certainly that’s needed. We can do it in our communities through volunteer service, that kind of thing. Or, and I think this is really important, we don’t have to do anything overt, but be who we are and not shrink into the background. So imagine being your full and true self, just going to the grocery store and the way that you’re going to interact with the clerk checking you through, right? If you are grounded in yourself, let’s say something doesn’t work or the price is wrong or they bag your groceries wrong or something, if you’re grounded in yourself, you’re going to be able to be calm. You’re going to be able to be grounded. You’re going to maybe even be able to say, hey, I noticed that this thing isn’t working right. Or I noticed that I’m making this up. I don’t know. But here’s a good way to pack these groceries. That isn’t necessarily what we need to do, but the way that we show up in the world is another way to mentor. If we’re coming from a grounded place, if we’re coming from a place of self knowledge and self worth, then we’re not projecting our childhood wounding onto others. And by living in that way, by living as our true selves, we are actually mentoring by teaching, by example, right? So in a flustery situation, you keep your cool. You’re teaching others to do the same. Now, if you have a skill set, if you have something you’re really good at, which is part of the work that I’m doing with women. Now, as we work through these three phases I just mentioned, we’re working on what is a skill set that you have. And it could be anything. It could be knitting, it could be just being a good listener. What are the things that make you beautifully unique? These are the things you want to share with the rest of the world. That’s what mentorship is, to be a guiding light to people who are a little farther behind you on the path of life.
Allegra M. Sinclair: I want to back you up to two things. So this journey that you were walking us through, I was totally focusing on what you were saying and not kind of what you called that, but you talked about kind of a three step journey, the third step of which was mentoring. Can you repeat what those three steps were?
Rachel Astarte: Absolutely. So the first step, which I call Unearthing the Self, is really about developing a strong foundation of self, which we mentioned earlier, where you are able to manage life’s challenges with grace. That means you need to know who you are. That means you have to redefine the labels mother, daughter, colleague, friend. What do they mean to you individually? Not how am I supposed to be as a daughter, as a sister, as a mother? Right. We’re not going to take the way society wants us to be. We’re going to find out how those words and terms apply to us and our true self. So the first phase is really developing who you are. Part of that is developing what I call a solitude. Practice spending quality time alone doing something that you love every day. Could be five minutes, could be 5 hours. I don’t know what your schedule is like.
Allegra M. Sinclair: You don’t know what we love, and you don’t know how long it takes to do that thing that we love.
Rachel Astarte: Exactly. And it doesn’t matter as long as you’re dedicating time to private, celebratory time with your true self. And part of it is even just getting to know who she is, because a lot of us don’t know.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Yes, we have lost ourselves.
Rachel Astarte: That’s right. That’s unearthing the self.
Allegra M. Sinclair: That’s okay.
Rachel Astarte: Phase one. Phase two is called polishing the gem. So we’ve unearthed this beautiful gem that is ourself, and now we need to polish it off, get the dirt off, get a little spit shine. And that means we need to heal childhood wounding. We need to learn how to create healthy boundaries. We need to get rid of our people pleasing. We need to learn how to I mean, not everybody has these issues, but these are just examples. We need to learn how to speak our truth and full of love. We need to understand that we are connected with all beings, sentient and non sentient. And that our part. Our minuscule part in this universe is incredibly important to the whole. So every bit of energy that we’re putting out into the world is contributing to collective consciousness. Think about how powerful you are with every act that you perform. What are you contributing to collective consciousness? What energy are you putting out there? That’s polishing the gem. We got to get that gem really glistening. That’s step two. Step three is called sharing the wealth. And that’s where we step into mentorship. Now we take this beautiful gem and we uncover it for the world to see, just by living our life. Or as I said earlier, by taking on a mentor, by mentoring at work, by making yourself available to, I don’t know, a Big Brother, Big Sister organization, or even, if you’re, if you’re so inclined, creating some kind of program for young people. And I don’t necessarily mean teenagers. There are women in their twenty s and thirty s who desperately need to know that what is coming around the corner is not to be feared. That’s a big, big part. And I wish I had that when I was in my twenty s and thirty s and flailing around trying to figure out who I was. I wish that there had been a woman in her 50s going, honey, don’t worry about it. You’re going to be fine and you are fine. And anytime you have a question, you come to me, right? If I had that, maybe I would have made the same mistakes, but I wouldn’t feel so bad about them.
Allegra M. Sinclair: So I’m loving the broader definition of mentorship. So I’m so glad that we talked about what that means to you, because I never thought the way I show up in the world is I never thought of that as mentoring, but it so is, right, because it’s not mentoring. What I just got from what you said is really modeling other options for people and how they can behave and how they could show up and how they can interact. I think this broader definition of mentoring enables so many more people to participate in mentoring. But the question that keeps coming to me is, suppose I don’t feel like what I have to offer is worthy. Suppose I want to share. But you just said, hey, maybe I would have made the same mistakes, but I would have felt differently about them. But suppose I don’t feel like I can mentor because I’ve made too many mistakes. What do you say to that person?
Rachel Astarte: Right? So what I say is your quote unquote, mistakes are gold. To mentees, they’re gold. When you have made a mistake, you have learned, right? And so you can say, hey, I’ve been there and your mentee or mentees will say, oh, so I’m not messed up, right? Imagine if we got that encouragement. So part of the reason we might think we’re not worthy is exactly the problem. We didn’t have support to say, no, it’s okay. Like, you’re young. Go ahead and date a lot of inappropriate people or whatever. You need to figure that out.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Rachel. Rachel, are you healing a wound right now? Rachel I think so. Because I resembled that remark. Yes, I resembled that. Okay. Sorry. I didn’t expect to be so seen.
Rachel Astarte: In that moment or I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I’m floundering to have a mentor say, I floundered too. And so even to this day, I’m not really sure if I’m doing all the things that I want to do, but I know that I’m on the path, and I’m trying. Wow, how helpful that would be to a 20 something, 30 something year old woman. So the point here is that the second answer to that question is part of the reason you feel like what you’ve gone through in the world or you’re not worthy of being a mentor is step one and two of this process. You didn’t define a sense of self, and you didn’t heal yet the wounds that make you feel small because you’re not. No one is small. We have such an important part. Each one of us is like a thread in the tapestry of all living beings. And without those threads, if those threads fray or if they fade, the tapestry itself fades. So even a tiny thread is so important to the beauty of the larger tapestry. So part of the work that we do before we step into mentorship is to make sure that you understand your worth, right? So you are worth it. And your mistakes that you’ve made are so helpful to other people who are looking to you for advice. I know personally, I would never want to go to a therapist who hadn’t gone through what I’d gone through, because why would I believe them? How would they know?
Allegra M. Sinclair: It reminds me of this time I went to talk with a doctor about losing weight when I was I don’t know, I think I was 30. And she’s like, oh, what I found works best as Weight Watchers. And I was like, oh, you used to be heavier. And she’s like, oh, no, I’ve always been thin. And I wanted to say, well, then what the hell do you mean, what you have found? Right? You can’t help me with this if you don’t have a frame of reference, except something that you read in a book, right.
Rachel Astarte: So you can see why whatever it is that we’ve gone through is golden to a mental.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Yes. And I think it’s also not just the mistakes that we have made or the things that we did that we’re thinking, hey, in hindsight, we wouldn’t do them. I think that we so much tend to underestimate our value and overestimate other people’s contributions. So it might not even be that I’m thinking oh, well, what I have done, oh my gosh, I’m not where I wanted to be in my career, or, oh, it took me longer than other people. It’s not necessarily any of those things. Sometimes when things are effortless to us, we think, well, they must be effortless to everyone. So why would I talk about that? Because everybody is at that same level, which is just not true. Which is also why you can mentor people who seem more like peers than someone who you think you’re trying to bring with you. Right. So I heard you saying that there are people who might need these messages in their twenty s and thirty s. There could be women who need those messages in their forty s and fifty s. Right. We all get lessons at different times. So mentoring isn’t always a I don’t want to say it this way, but it’s not always a reaching down. It’s a reaching out.
Rachel Astarte: Yes, reaching across. I address that too, in the work that I do. There is a way that we support our peers. We don’t necessarily mentor them because of the fact that we are sisters in the same club, as it were. But what we can do is share with one another. What we can do is to use a business term, network with one another. We can support one another. So, yeah, that’s part of what I do as well. I’m in the process right now. It’s very exciting of creating an online community for Awakened Women in Midlife so that we can meet from all over the world and do just what you’re talking about, support each other as we go through our midlife and share our wisdom with one another. That, to me, is more of a support system. And again, that helps us to be better mentors when we have our sisters to talk to and to gain insight and wisdom from love.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Well, I know that when you were talking about step two in your process, which was Polishing the Gym, that you have a workbook that you’re offering to my audience, which is amazing, which is called Polishing the Gem, a workbook for stepping into mentorship in Midlife. You can find the full show notes for this firstname.lastname@example.org. One, two, two. That’s allegrasinclair.com. One, two, two. So you’ll find links there for Rachel’s website, the waiting list for the Awakened Women mentors community she’s talking about, as well as this workbook that she’s offering you for free on Polishing your Gym so that you can be more prepared to step into mentorship wherever it is that you are. Is there anything that we haven’t talked about yet that you really want to pour into my audience today? Because this has been amazing, and this is definitely one of those episodes where I know people are going to go back and listen to it more than one time because there was so much juicy goodness here. One time is not enough. It’s kind of like watching The Good Place. You have to watch that series more than one time to get all the juicy nuggets, right? You have missed stuff if you only listen to this one time. Is there anything else that you really wanted to pour into my audience that we haven’t touched on yet?
Rachel Astarte: The final thought, though, in support of all this, is that if I could leave your listeners with anything, it’s don’t forget how powerful you are. That your unique self, all the trials and tribulations you’ve been through, all the successes and achievements, make you unique. And all of them are golden and beautiful and necessary to your experience in this life. And they can help others in their experience of life, and that’s why we’re here. So I think it’s really important to stress that as well.
Allegra M. Sinclair: I would be a moron to try to improve on that. Thank you so much, Rachel, for being here today. When everyone falls in love and wants more. Rachel, I know they can go to your website, but tell us what your favorite social platform is.
Rachel Astarte: I’m mostly on Instagram, actually.
Allegra M. Sinclair: Okay.
Rachel Astarte: Rachel Astarte Therapy.
Allegra M. Sinclair: We’ll make sure we include links to the Gram in the show notes as well. Thank you so much for being here. I’ll catch you next time, everyone.