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How men can master their midlife crisis

From covert counter-terrorism operative to ultra-endurance athlete to multi-industry entrepreneur, Mike Bates knows more than most about determination, resilience and not stopping until you find success. But his latest mission might just be his most daunting: to help all men avoid the dreaded midlife crisis by giving them the advice, support and community they need to successfully transition from their first half of their lives to the second. Mission Impossible? There’s no such thing, he tells Unfiltered
Mike Bates
Mike Bates

Mike Bates is a former covert counter-terrorism operations leader, endurance athlete, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. He left a distinguished career in the UK’s Ministry of Defence after 20 years of service, then became the fastest Briton to complete a solo row of the Talker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, raising significant funds for charity. He then co-founded NXT45, an events and community-focused company established to support men through midlife, helping them lead healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives. Follow him on Instagram. Visit NXT45.com.

Mike Bates: Survive your midlife crisis

From leading covert counter-terrorism operations for the British military for two decades to becoming the fastest Briton to solo row the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge – achieving the 3000-mile crossing from San Sebastian in the Canary Islands to Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua in just 46 days – Mike Bates knows a thing or two about performing under pressure.

Whether the enemy was a Taliban insurgent in the middle of Afghanistan or a 40-foot wave in the middle of the night, Bates’s preparedness and resilience has empowered him to rise to every challenge.

Yet not even men like Mike, who has more motivation and determination than most of us can imagine, can do it alone.

That’s why after his distinguished military career and fresh from his endurance challenge heroics he co-founded NXT45, an innovative health, performance and wellbeing company dedicated to supporting men through midlife.

More than just an events and community-building company, Bates wants NXT45 to be more like a movement, helping men navigate the often tumultuous transition from the first half of their lives to the second. The name NXT45 signifies this shift, focusing on the next 45 years and beyond.

Family over fortune

For many men the first half of their life is driven by testosterone-fuelled pursuits such as power, ambition, money and success. Yet as men approach middle age, these goals often shift towards more family-oriented values like support, community and mentorship. Navigating this shift successfully, Bates argues, is crucial for your long-term health and happiness.

In our exclusive Unfiltered interview, Bates sheds light on why understanding this transition will empower men to take back control of their lives and find new purpose and meaning. Knowledge, communication and support, he says, will also prevent them descending into a pit of despair and depression as they contemplate their lost youth and the inevitable march towards their own mortality.

One of the most compelling aspects of Bates’s message is his belief in the power of community, something many men at all stages of their life don’t feel or experience. Through NXT45 he aims to foster environments where men can connect, share experiences and support each other. This sense of camaraderie and mutual support, an essential asset in the military, can be a lifeline for those struggling with midlife transitions.

Bates’s unique perspective, shaped by his diverse and hair-raising experiences, makes him a compelling voice for men approaching middle age. His blend of practical advice, motivational insights and personal anecdotes can provide you with the blueprint for navigating your midlife with grace and purpose.

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