Have you found yourself wondering what you want to be when you grow up? Trust me – it’s very common when you hit the 40+ year mark to realize that climbing the corporate ladder is no longer fulfilling. Or the 20-year career makes you hit the snooze button more and more each morning. Maybe you’ve been a work from home mom but with the kids the flying the nest, you’re wondering what your life’s purpose is now.
- Be open to what lights you up. Pay attention to activities that you enjoy. Is it baking? Working out? Painting? Maybe you love organizing financials in neat and orderly spreadsheets. List them all and pay attention to those that may be unexpected.
- Dig deeper into what brings you joy. What about baking do you enjoy? Is it the actual baking, the precise measuring that is needed or is it giving your treats to others? Is the physical exertion of working out bring you joy or the progress you’ve seen as you’ve made it a habit? Does the act of painting light you up or is it getting lost in self expression? Do numbers and order bring delight or is it offering relief to someone who glazes over at Excel? Get curious around all things that you love doing and what others often see as your natural gifts. Hint – your friends and family often ask you for help with these joy-bringing tasks even if you don’t see it in yourself. Just be sure to look at the “why” underneath the “what.”
- Be open and explore. Take a class that has always interested you. There are great online classes on Udemy and Creative Live, check out your local community college, or look for adult classes at your local recreation centers. Read books outside your normal genre. Talk to people who you look at with envy and think “I want in my life what they have.” Reawaken your childlike curiosity.
- Deepen your spiritual practice. When we hit our 40’s, many parts of our lives can feel as if we’ve outgrown them and your spiritual life is no different. .Be open to other forms of spiritual expression. Get curious and think outside the box. Interested in tarot, crystals, meditation? Adding in ways of connection doesn’t mean you are leaving your religious beliefs behind. You are just exploring new ways to center and be present. Being connected to our spiritual center is grounding and helps us stay true to ourselves.
- Practice gratitude. There is no better way to be open to what brings us joy than to get in the habit of expressing thanks for the little things in our lives. List 5 things each day you are grateful for.
- Listen to your self doubt but don’t let it become the ruler. Doubt is going to come up as you stretch your comfort zones. But the voice of self-doubt serves an important purpose – protection. The keys are to recognize this is just a defense strategy of your ego around fear and everyone has this inner critical voice, even those who seem to have all their stuff together. The difference is those we admire have learned to recognize this voice but don’t let it be the decider. As Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic, you should let your fear ride in the backseat and never let him choose the radio station.
- Seek help and work with a life coach. It’s easy to become stuck in our self-doubt or feel overwhelmed with the possibilities. Accountability and digging deeper into what is having you play small in your life can shine a light on self-limiting beliefs and self-defeating habits.
- Take care of yourself physically. This is often overlooked but you cannot undertake making positive changes without caring for your physical self. Get the right amount of sleep, eat healthy food, move your body in pleasing ways. Laugh, love, smile, rest. Repeat.
- Develop a daily practice toward your goal. Let’s face it, changing your life can be overwhelming. But bigger chunks broken down to daily tasks will work wonders at moving you toward living your purpose.
- Start today. Don’t wait for the perfect time or when you have enough money or are less busy. We’ve all said those words and often we find ourselves in these middle years with unrealized dreams because we were waiting for just those perfect times. It’s time to make today that “maybe someday.”
The golden thread through all of these 10 steps is a feeling of curiosity and openness. Develop this sense of wonder for yourself and be open to the answers. You will soon find your way toward a life that is filled with purpose and passion.
If you’d like to explore working with a coach for help in finding your life’s purpose, click here to book a complimentary 30-minute discovery session. I’d love to learn more about you and help you begin living a life of purpose and passion.
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