Protect your investments!!
This is the headline from this month’s Money magazine. In fact the whole magazine is focused on how to keep your retirement intact for future years. For me this is like saying, prepare for your death!!! The opposite action is mandatory now, especially for those in their middle years. This is the time to invest in yourself and your work.
External views are not useful now
It is critical to reject the external perspective on how you should live your life with regards to your work. The only view now which is useful is the one you have about yourself and what you really want to do now. Just changing your perspective can give you new direction and energy for a more fulfilling life. It is easy to just take any job to survive and quickly become bored and burned out at work. Better to decide to look inside yourself and what is most important now. Start to examine what bothers you most with regards to your work and life and what you might do about it. As you became clear about what was most important, you will gain a new perspective.
The worst won’t happen
I doubt taking time now to reflect will make you homeless or die. I should point out that a worthwhile exercise is to in fact envision your death. Only then can a person really start to live with passion each and every day. Last year I was nearly diagnosed with Cancer during a period of my life when I was very ill. I imagined the worst and during this time I also become at peace with my life and my work.
Others and their opinions don’t matter
So many of us are influenced by others and their views of us. We seek out external opinions first to see if our new choices make sense to others and only then do we venture forward. The sad thing is that it usually takes only a few external perspectives from those not even close to us to shut down our dreams as silly, not achievable, or not worthwhile. Then we go back with our head down to the same old job, hoping for someone to rescue us from job prison. Instead, armed with a new self-awareness and new dreams, we can venture forward with a new view of ourselves despite what others might think.
Practice your passions
If you want to teach, print a business card that says, “Teacher.” Carry it around, and start to teach others what you know best, and what you are passionate about. Soon you will reshape a new vision and perspective of your life and your work.
Your life will never be the same! Sometimes it takes rocking the boat and changing your life completely to answer the call for a more authentic life. When you start to believe that something is indeed possible for you in your vocational life, and you have the courage to follow your heart, magical things can happen. This takes courage and you must take a risk. There is a difference between just deciding to change your life and taking the action required to make the change. It takes a complete shift in thought, and in many cases, it involves over-turning the apple cart of your life. This is radical change, and not one most people are accustomed to. This is, however, just the right recipe for those over forty whose lives have become both predictable and secure.
Mid-life is a milestone for action
After the forty milestone, we need to put aside our egos. The ego is useful before age forty, but after forty, we need to replace ego with cause and integrity.
Life has a way of moving much faster in mid-life. This is not the time for pondering or worrying or over-analyzing. This is the time for action. Not just mindless action, but action that will lead to more joy, more happiness, and more meaning in your life.
This approach isn’t just for the most secure or the most fortunate; it is for everyone wishing to create a better life. Wonderful things can happen when your life is centered around your true vocation. Your work can determine who you are and who you become. Just think back to work you did in the past and how quickly it became the norm for you — you felt like this job was your life. This is how quickly our work can consume us.
Pay attention to yourself
If you don’t pay attention to your growing angst, your life can pass too quickly, and suddenly you find yourself talking about your past and what might have been. Thinking deeply now about new possibilities instead will fill your mind with new creativity, new energy, and the expectation of a fuller life centered around your work and passions. This great opportunity awaits everyone after forty. The ticket is yours to use or discard along the road to someday. Your new possibilities await you now. All you have to do is take action.
As always I am cheering you on as you go- Craig Nathanson