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Running a Business through Menopause

ABM Full Member Kathie O’Donoghue

March 25, 2024

Running a Business through Menopause

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You may recognise this scenario - Mary is a dynamic, confident businesswoman who has spent years learning, adapting and developing herself to grow her business to where it is today. She manages a capable team of people who rely on her input and sound judgement, and then BAM !! menopause symptoms start creeping into her daily life, and she starts;

·   Second-guessing her decision making

·   Forgetting salient business information

·   Having random hot flushes during essential meetings

·   Becoming easily irritated by her Team or Colleagues

All of which trigger increasing anxiety levels to the point Mary feels utterly overwhelmed, ashamed and confused!

The Facts

The menopause is when your ovaries stop producing eggs and levels of hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone fall, which can result in a range of symptoms. The definition of menopause is when you haven’t had a period for 12 months, while the perimenopause is the time directly before the menopause, when you still have periods, but the fluctuating and low hormone levels, especially oestrogen, can trigger a whole host of symptoms.

Menopause often intersects with a critical career stage.Usually occurring between the ages 45 and 55 – which coincidently is also the age bracket during which women are most likely to be running a business, leading a Team or adopting top leadership positions.

The Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM) highlights that nearly 8 out of 10 menopausal women are in work, which is the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce. 3 out of 4 women experience symptoms; 1 in 4could experience severe symptoms.

How Mentoring can help

It certainly isn't designed to be a medical alternative, although having recently seen a Menopause specialist, I can certainly steer you in the right direction! Suffice to say, going through these symptoms myself as well as running a successful business; mentoring can help you;

  • tackle day to day decision making processes.
  • Rebuilding confidence in your abilities.
  • Talking through triggers that increase anxiety and how to change focus.
  • Improving your work/life balance.
  • Adapt your business and the untapped potential within it.

The ability to openly discuss these changes, not only in my priorities and mood but also the impact to my business, with a Business Mentor can be vital in navigating and tackling some difficult decisions. A Mentor can help you explore new evolving options, be a sensitive and empathic sounding board as well as helping you to keep focused at a time that your focus can be bouncing off the walls!

Mentoring in the Workplace - Are you an Employer?

Menopause is covered under the Equality Act 2010 and can be the grounds of sex, age or disability discrimination.

According to the Office of National Statistics, the groups who experienced the highest sickness absence rates included older women and those working in large organisations - How much is this costing your Company?

It is best practice for Employers to provide Employees with the proper support through their menopause transition. Mentoring in the workplace can provide Employers with a structure to support Employees, not just those that may be going through Menopause, but also to raise awareness within the business and support Business owners and Managers to best oversee their workforce.

About Kathie

Kathie O’Donoghue is an Executive Business Mentor,Supervisor and trained DBT Therapist. She is also a Full member of theAssociation of Business Mentors.

Kathie recently hosted an ABM Mentor Motivation on this subject. ABM Members can access the event recording via their ABM Members Area. Not an ABM Member? Learn more about our membership here.

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