The rules have changed.
It used to be that in your 20s, you launched your professional career by taking a position in corporate America or starting your own business. In your thirties, you worked your butt off so that by your forties (and certainly your fifties!) your career or business would be firmly established and hitting on all cylinders.
But for many, it hasn’t worked out that way. Because of the difficult economic times, many people’s businesses have failed and others have lost their jobs. Instead of “rounding third base and heading for home,” many are finding themselves back in the “batter’s box,” starting over again. Never in your wildest dreams did you think you’d find yourself in this position at this stage of your life. But here you are.
So, now what? How do you find a new mission when the old one has ended? As a Life Coach, my role isn’t to help my clients create a new mission but to help them see that it’s already there, waiting to emerge. There is nothing to create, only something to discover. Here are seven tips to finding a new mission when your life is in transition.
1. Accept what is.
You will never discover your new mission if you don’t fully accept the ending of your old one. Regret, resentment, complaining, blaming and self-pity are all forms of resistance that will impair your vision of a preferable future. Let go of believing that life should or shouldn’t be other than it is. Surrender and accept what is.
2. Complete your past.
In golf, your last shot can ruin your next shot. So it is with discovering your new mission. Be sure you’re impeccably complete with your past. Open loops are like sand bags in a hot air balloon. You can’t fly with them; their weight drags you down. Is there a conversation you need to have? Is there an integrity glitch you need to clear up? Is there something left undone? Completion “tosses out the sand bags” and allows your life to reach new “heights.”
3. Wait with curiosity.
While mid-life transitions seem like a disaster, they can be a blessing in disguise. Some people report that without them, they might never have found their true path. Therefore, if it’s at all financially possible, don’t automatically look for a new job, but wait a bit and become curious. Has this transition been divinely orchestrated for your greater good? Do you really want to stay in the same line of work or is it time for a new direction? Is this a chance to do something you’ve always dreamed of doing, like writing a book, moving to another part of the country or starting your own business? Take your time and look for the blessing in disguise.
4. Sit and listen.
There are many complicated and elaborate testing tools to help a person find a new career path and some of them can be helpful. But sometimes we ignore the most reliable method: Sit down, shut up and listen! Sit in stillness and solitude and seek the wisdom that resides within you. Remember: nothing needs to be created, only discovered. So meditate on your mission. Just be. Sit. Listen.
5. Protect your space.
You need all your energy available in a time of transition. Rid yourself of anything that distracts you and anyone who drains you. Some of us distract ourselves with television, porn, food, alcohol, the internet, sports and so on. I’m not saying you can’t have any fun (see the next point!), but I am saying you must not engage in distracting and numbing activities—and you know what they are for you! Also, you can’t afford to have draining people in your space, those who suck the life out of you. Surround yourself with people who are a joy to be around, those who refresh you, nurture you, and enliven you.
6. Pursue joyful activities.
Along with protecting your space from negative influences, we must also pursue positive activities, those that rejuvenate us and make us feel alive and motivated. You need to take responsibility for your emotional condition in your time of transition. Don’t sit around all day fretting about your future. Your mission can not be discovered in misery. So play golf, tinker in the garage, reread your favorite book, go to the movies, work in your yard, go to a ballgame, make love with someone special to you. It’s amazing what emerges in the space of joy.
7. Talk about it.
We have so much to learn from athletes. Though they are some of the highest paid people in the world, when they go through a “slump,” they are humble enough to hire coaches, trainers or sports psychologists to help them get back on track. Let’s put it this way: If Tiger Woods has a coach, shouldn’t you?
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