What contribution do you want to make?
What exactly do you want to contribute to most now? What issues concern you the most? Where do you feel your natural gifts and talents can make the most difference in the world? Do you want to help children learn, feed the elderly, or help others with their financial problems?
The choice is yours. There are countless opportunities and choices to make in how we’ll spend our time during the second half of our lives.
Each choice we make will bring change and energy into our lives, while attracting what we are seeking. Examine for a moment how easy it has been thus far, to work only at thankless and unfulfilling jobs. Each new lackluster job just leads to the next, and so on.
This is your time to shine, and share your natural gifts with the world. Contributing in the areas of your life that interest you most is the best way to live an authentic second half. Where exactly do you want to contribute now?
What is most important to you?
What does your list of “most important” look like? Family, health, developing products, painting, helping families in need, travel?
You need to make an honest reassessment of what is most important in your life now. If you are like most people, before 40 this list was driven largely by external expectations. Now this needs to be an internal list driven by what you are most passionate about. What does your list look like?
Can you think of how you might align your life’s work around what is most important to you right now?
Notice, I said your life’s work. This is the difference between JUST a job and a vocation. When your work reflects what is most important to you, you never need to re-tire (get ready to be tired) — your life’s work stays with you until you stop breathing.
What could you do in your second half of life for as long as you are breathing? Answering this question will change the way you think about your life and your work.
How do you feel about you?
Notice your feelings about you. Take a step back, and in your mind’s eye, re-examine yourself from a distance. What do you notice? What do you love most about you? What areas would you like to change, and why? If you know the why, you can always figure out the “how” part later. The way you feel about yourself will have an impact on your emotions, which will impact on your thoughts, and on your body, right down to your individual cells. Those around you will feel the impact as well. Continue to focus on the areas you are most proud of, and make a commitment to change the areas that cause you some concern.
The better you feel about yourself, the better everyone else around you will look as well. As a result, you will attract more of what you seek in your life.
Have better brain synapses
Have you noticed that when you think a thought, you immediately start to think other, similar thoughts? Most of the time, we think a negative thought and then, before we know it, we start thinking more, similar negative thoughts. This is how the brain works.
Remember: you are the person running your wonderful brain. Start now to think of new possibilities for your work and your life. Do you want now, after 40, to become a brain surgeon, build boats, open a deli, or teach 4th grade? Why not? It only takes new possibilities, and new possibilities can happen with new thinking.
What work best fits you now?
In your second half of life, this is a much better question to ask.
Those silly job descriptions you used to try to conform to don’t work after 40. Now, it is much better to ask yourself what work best fits you. What work feels just right to you? Can you think of work that will be challenging to accomplish, and for which you also have the abilities and interests?
What kind of work makes you feel alive and joyful?
Sometimes, just like trying on new clothes, you have to start to try on new kinds of work. After all, after 40, just as your body has changed, your skills and priorities are a little different than they were when you were 25!
What are you most passionate about now!!
What are you most passionate about? What things or activities give you the most energy and excitement, and leave you breathless for more?
This is a great place to start. For example, does yoga make you feel so great, you just wish it would never end? Well, write down all the ideas you can come up with, around yoga as your work.
I get this question all the time — many people seem to think this will stump me: “What if I am passionate about sex?”
Well, great. Think of all the people in the world who have similar passions and interests around sex. You could be an educator, a healer, a facilitator, and there are countless products to sell in this area.
The point is that no subject you are passionate about should be off-limits, as long as it is legal, and doesn’t harm others or the environment.
Start with a short list of your passions. Walk around all day with this list, and just reflect and look around you — you will get many ideas
What would your perfect day be like?
This is a great exercise to try. Make a list, and imagine you could create a new typical day for yourself — one that you would be excited to repeat over and over again for the rest of your life. Start with when you wake, and plan it right through to when you go to sleep. How will your day go, and what will you do? Who will you be with?
Be careful, as the mind doesn’t know the difference between what is real and imagined when you think about your future. Whatever perfect day you write down, you will start to move towards it!
What can I do today?
Take small steps. Ensure that you are emotionally strong for this journey. You will need to stop caring what others think. Make sure those people close to you are supportive. If they are not, you will have to build up a better support team around you.
Think about money. How much money do you actually need vs. how much you want? There is a difference. Do you have a big retirement fund? I have great news!!! Now that you have decided to find your life’s work, you will never need to retire. Cash in that retirement fund now and use it!!! You will disappoint your financial advisors, but you will enhance your sense of control by deciding how you will use your money now.
Give yourself permission
Sometimes this is all it takes. Have you ever made a personal decision and immediately felt better? Well, this is exactly what you can do now with your work. Give yourself permission now to not settle for anything less than a joyful, passionate, authentic second half of life.
You will never look back, as you will start to create a more joyful second half of life that is just right for you.
I’ll be cheering you on as you go- Craig Nathanson