Are you over 40?
Good. Then you won’t need permission from your parents to read this article. If you are under 40, I give you permission now! I would guess if you are over 40 you have begun to question your life and your work. Good. This is normal and healthy. Perhaps you have also started to question your contributions to society. Perhaps your accomplishments for this period of your life have not reached up to your internal or external expectations. That’s ok. Life tends to get in the way as we are making plans. And, this is the right time to deal with the disparity between where you are and where you expected to be in your life. This is important now so you can change your internal expectations to the one that suit you better at this point of your life. This can be a magical process. Do you experience sometimes that you are no longer young? This can generate an awareness of who you are, what you have done and where you might be going. It’s normal from time to time now to sense a recognition of your own mortality as this can drive new healthy change. This is an invaluable time to ask yourself key questions around what is most important and whether your lifestyle aligned to your values and sense of identity.
Do you love your work?
If your answer is no, you are not alone. Most people don’t find meaning in their work. Many people afraid of failure continue to work harder at jobs which have no meaning. This overemphasis on productivity and sense of doing things which are not personally rewarding causes their inner conflict.
Stop doing what didn’t work before
This is the most important lesson to learn from. For example, don’t go back to jobs which didn’t provide joy or meaning. Don’t go back to jobs which you didn’t enjoy or lowered your self-esteem. Don’t go back to jobs which you didn’t feel made a difference to yourself or others. For sure don’t go back to jobs JUST for the money as this has a way of catching up to you. You will spend the money you earn faster than you can earn it and then the emptiness of the work will set in.
Try something completely new!
This usually requires risk, courage, and an openness to change in one’s life. Why not? What have you got to lose or gain? What could you do which would be completely different with regards to your work? What small steps might you take now to get started?
Become an expert at something you enjoy
What can you become an expert at? Being really good at one thing vs. average at many things can raise self-esteem and give one especially those over 40 a greater sense of self and contribution in the world.
Make a product or service and sell it to at least one person
This is not just for fun. Even if your goal is to work for someone else, the process of thinking through what you could make as a product or service and then selling this to just one other person can create even more possibilities in your life and work.
Learn from others
The world of learning is unlimited. For each idea which you want to pursue you will find many people already doing this. Within seconds you have the world’s knowledge to pursue new learning and new ideas.
What are your first five steps now?
Let me help. Decide what you want to change in your life and work now. Define WHY you want to change. Define how your life will be different if you do change. Define what your life will be like if you don’t change. Take one action now which will start to build new habits.
Take a new approach for the New Year to your work
Why not? It might just be the right prescription for a healthier and happier life.
I’ll be cheering you on as you go
Craig Nathanson and Happy New Year-2010!