How do you feel about
After forty, this is what counts the most!
By Craig Nathanson
The Vocational Coach
Faith Smith did all the right things—all the things society
expected. She attended law school, was involved in television
and news production and was a top producing real estate agent.
Suddenly one day a new perspective emerged about her life and
what she really wanted. Today, Faith is the founder of Eyes
Cream Shades, quality sun wear for children.
Dolores Arste was good at managing people and teams in the
information technology field. Suddenly a new perspective emerged
for her life and she took action. Today, she provides holistic
coaching—helping others deal with their own life changes.
Marcia Brixey worked for the government for 26 years. She had
a responsible job and a career. Marcia had a great office but
she was miserable and unhappy inside. She also took the leap.
Today, Marcia is the founder of Money Wi$e Women helping women
to better manage their money.
It starts with a deep look inside
How do you feel about yourself? Does your work enhance your
sense of self or does it bring you down? Have you thought about
how your work might be impacting your health, your relationships
and your happiness? So many people just place their work in
a large compartment, as if to keep the rest of their life away
from their work…I wish it were that simple.
Your work determines who you
I went out to eat the other day and I noticed a group of maybe
15 people from the same work group out to lunch. It was your
typical work lunch where the boss did most of the talking and
the people tried hard to act like they were enjoying themselves.
Really, they just wanted to rush home, put on their pajamas
and crawl under their covers. Have you ever felt that way?
Stop looking for another job
Instead, create a life that honors who you are and your gifts
to the world.
Write down on a piece of paper, “The way I feel about
Change the parts of your life that are no longer useful to you.
So many of us are held prisoner by others; our bosses, our
parents, our spouses and society about who we should be and
the role we should play out in life.
Just remember, you are the only one who can change the role
in your own one act play called life. It doesn’t come
from thinking you should change or hoping for some better luck.
It comes from creating the life that works just right for you.
Your work is a center point of your life. Last week I met an
executive whose company sold electronic parts. I asked him if
he loved his work and all his travel. He said he actually didn’t
like it at all. His plan someday was to spend his time in the
mountains doing something around his love of skiing. I knew
what the real problem was. He lived a life of big screen TVs,
large trophy cars and lots of toys. He couldn’t actually
imagine giving any of these up in trade for his dreams.
Don’t prostitute yourself
to your work
I am sorry but it’s the best example that comes to mind.
So many of us do this. We rent our lives and our souls to faceless
work that we do without question. And the result is that we
feel worse about ourselves and who we are. The path to a life
of integrity is an open and honest review of who you are and
what you want.
Are you a job title or a person?
When someone asks you what you do, how do you answer?
Do you respond with your job title or a description of who you
There are so many jobs out there and most of them would not
be done unless people were paid to do them. After forty, it’s
time to take a deeper look at doing work that warms the soul;
work that solves real problems in the world.
Is your work making a difference
in the world?
Only you can answer this question. Most jobs are created only
to help an organization turn a profit. If you can’t contribute
to this mission, then the organization will find someone else,
probably younger, who can.
After forty, you are ready to stop these silly games with your
life and find your vocation—the work you will start to
do and continue doing until you stop breathing.
On the day of my 50th birthday
I write this article on the day of my 50th birthday and frankly,
I couldn’t think of a better way to start my day. I plan
to continue this work for the next 50 years because in some
small way, I feel it makes a difference in the world. And along
the way it also helps me feel better about myself.
Consider making these your goals, too.
How do you feel about yourself?
Only you can answer this question. Only you can start to take
action towards doing something about the answers you don’t
like. Start by examining your work.
This will be the hardest thing you will ever do. But it will
also be the most satisfying when you look back over the second
half of your life and realize you ignored the status quo and
followed your heart.
Craig Nathanson is the author of P Is For Perfect: Your Perfect
Vocational Day and a coaching expert who works with people over
forty. Craig’s new E-book, Discover and live your passion
365 days a year is a workshop in a box designed to help busy
adults go insane with their work. Craig’s systematic approach,
the trademark "Ten P" process,’’ helps
people break free and move toward the work they love. Visit
Craig’s online community at www.thevocationalcoach.com
where you can take a class, get more ideas through Craig Nathanson’s
and CD’s, get some private coaching over the phone or
read other stories of mid-life change and renewal. Craig lives
in San Anselmo, California. You can reach him at 415-457-0550
or at email@example.com.
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