Over 40? What is most important to you?
By Craig Nathanson
I doubt that anyone will run up to you on Monday morning at work and ask you what is most important to you. Organizational life is concerned with productivity, revenue and efficiency. What's most important to you and your life are of little value or concern in the organization.
What do you do?
You need to figure this out. Your behavior is driven by what you do and more importantly who you are. This starts with a deep analysis of who you are and what is most important to you. Since most of your waking days are spent working, what you do will determine who you are.
What work is most important to you?
Have you thought about this? What is the work that fits you best? What is the work that best aligns your abilities and your interests?
What kind of work gives you a sense of fulfillment and meaning? This is another question no one will ask you at your job today.
You need to figure this out for yourself.
What kind of work culture fits you best?
Do you want to teach? Then work around teachers.
Do you want to design? Then work around engineers.
Do you want to build? Then work around builders.
Design an environment to fit YOU
Many studies have shown that the best work environments include fresh air, windows, soft colors, individualized music, climate controls, cushy chairs and so on. So why do we spend our lives in gray, faceless cubicles with walls that can't even support hanging pictures of our loved ones? Windows and fresh air are nowhere to be found or have to be earned!
Do you yearn to work in a big building in the city or a small cottage in the country? Do you want to work inside or outdoors? Do you want to work by yourself, with a small group of people or with a large group? Are you an early riser or do you prefer to ease into your day?
Make a list
Start by listing the details that are most important to you in your life.
Write down how you will know when you are following what is most important to you and how you will know when you're not. With this list in mind you can begin to design short and long term goals that align with what is most important to you.
Your work determines who you are
So many people come to me stuck in a vocational rut. They soon discover that the work they have been doing all their lives no longer fits their self-image and what is most important to them.
I had a friend once who was a painter. He took a day job processing paperwork for an insurance firm to pay the rent. He told me later he came home too exhausted to paint and soon realized he had become an insurance clerk.
So many possibilities for you
There are so many possibilities for you. What bothers you most about the world? What you would like to change? What change do you most want to see in the world, your country, your city, your neighborhood?
You CAN do the work best suited to making changes you want to see but you must start thinking in new possibilities.
What is possible right now?
As you think about the work you are most passionate about, what is possible right now? Be careful—your life is determined by what you do.
Your sense of happiness and your self-worth affect the quality of your life each and every day.
There are no shortcuts to vocational passion.
Retirement is the biggest myth of all
The only people who retire are those who don't love what they do. If you did what YOU loved each and every day, why would you ever want to stop?
Mid-life is a time to narrow the choices
With the best part of your life remaining, now is the time to focus on what is truly most important to you and what work you are most passionate about.
There is no time to waste
After forty, there is a greater sense of the movement of time and the need to make the best use of it. You have no time to waste on activities that have no meaning to you, especially in your work.
What about the money?
No more excuses. You have a choice right now. You can fill your days with work that lacks meaning and happiness or you can decide NOW to close the gap between what you are doing now and the work you most want to do and are most passionate about.
Life can be rich without the money!
To truly experience a rich life, you must decide NOW to focus on what is most important to you and to take action to move towards it.
The six secret steps to reach your goal (in this order) are:
1. Envision it
2. Write it down
3. Talk to others
4. Take small steps daily towards doing what you love
5. Measure your progress and self-correct your path as you go
6. Reward yourself daily
Your life is a journey
Take the path that seems most interesting, most fun and most meaningful and you'll never look back. Besides, you will live a richer life and become a wonderful role model for others.
About the Author
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" model, helps people break free and move toward the work they love. Visit Craig's online community at http://www.thevocationalcoach.com where you can sign up for a class or private coaching and read other stories of mid-life change and renewal.
Craig lives in San Anselmo, California and can be reached at 415-457-0550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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