It take real courage to act on a mid-life crisis in the (not so) new Millennium.
Yes, I am tough. Yes, I am courageous. Yes, I take risks. But truthfully, I get emotional when I write about the process I went through reinventing myself. The scary thing is, I don’t think I am done.
I have the luxury of working later in the day and getting up when others are headed to work. I have clients. Several clients, I work with only part time so I have the luxury of having time to travel to hang out with family. This is exactly what I have in my vision statement and I never thought of it as a reinvention. But I just knew it had to change.
Mid-life crisis in the new millennium is different. It certainly doesn’t look the same as our father’s. Now, there are greater expectations and impact versus our father’s mid-life crisis. He only had to work another 10 years after his, assuming it happened somewhere in his 50’s. His company, that he worked at for 35 years, financially cared for his future with a strong pension and medical for life. We don’t have that.
He could buy a sexy new car. We can’t do that. We wouldn’t put one more vehicle on the road to rust or pollute the environment. It’s not socially responsible.
He would have an affair. We can do that, but most of us are not interested, or we got divorced or separated a long time ago. (That, by the way, is why we can’t retire in ten years, since the money got divided with the household.)
That leaves the question, how do we have mid-life crises today with the change in rules? Especially when we can’t even identify them as “mid-life crises” anymore. (And by the way, it’s not just a man’s problem. Women are having them, too.)
But how do we do it? Go to Nepal and speak to a guru? Throw ourselves into yoga and pilates? Run a marathon, triathlon, or go for the Iron Man? Or do we find passion in our work? But that’s like speaking a foreign language. Every week, I talk to engineers who have engineering degrees obtained solely for a guaranteed job. Does that speak to passion? Uh, no, it does not.
So, what’s your passion? For anyone who’s held a job in corporate for a while, that’s like asking someone who’s grown up in the city what they like about living in the country. Ideally, they remember or can identify what they would like, but what fills their soul is a much deeper question. And how (if I knew) would I turn that into a fundable habit?
How do you get down to the real section of where you find your passion? How do you stop the pragmatic part of you that wants to understand how you make a business out of the passion before committing to the passion?
Helping you find your passion and joy (yes, joy) in your work is my passion. Even though writing on this topic, which is my passion, is not easy for me. I am afraid of the challenge of writing. I am afraid of the implications of taking days to write a book and what that does to my revenue stream.
Yet, as I write these words, I know that working with people to bring themselves out from the inside out to really embrace their passion is my passion. Who they are in the middle of themselves gets lost along the way and we find that part again together. Helping someone head onto that route where they have fun while earning an income is absolute joy for me.
That leads me to ask you, do you think you can find your passion? How many hours did you work last week? Short answer – too many? How’s your to-do list? When you’re in the middle of that kind of energy suck, you’re not likely to have sparkly thoughts about a beautiful passion filled future.
What would you say to someone who is in your situation? Quit and think about your passion? Yeah, I don’t think so. But, you might suggest to incorporate a little strategic planning into your week of ‘too much to do.’ What’s an hour dedicated to bringing you back to the real you?
If you’re willing to take an hour a week to chart your personal course, here are some questions to answer. Then, you can find patterns and connections to leverage for change:
Week 1: What is there about what you do now that you enjoy? Suggestion of Marcus Buckingham’s, ‘Love it Loathe’ exercise – put tasks you do that fit in either category.
Week 2: Do a deep dive into you. Myers Briggs, DISC, values, Strengthfinders, Birkman. There are so many assessments. If you’ve done them, pull them out. If not, invest some money into your research project. Is $300 to $500 too much to spend for your happiness? The joy of buying a handbag or car wouldn’t last that long.
Week 3 – 5: Really comb those results, or let the professionals debrief you on those assessments.
Week 6: What patterns do you see?
Week 7: Create a strategy for your “controlled” mid-life crisis. How do you leverage what you love doing now so that you may do more of it? How do you get rid of things you’re not as good at or don’t get a smile from?
Ideas for the strategy come from all different directions. Conversations with your boss or spouse, magazines, hiking, or even the executive board can all spark some thoughts. What’s missing in your business or corporation? What would make the current business really fly? Would that make a great business for you to start? What non-profits can you give time doing what you love to make your J.O.B. palatable until you get the years or milestone to leave.
Ask your friends for ideas. Everyone has an opinion. Just manage their expectations on whether, or not, you’ll take their advice.
Before you implode in your own Mid-life crisis, why not focus on your passion? You know that anything you focus on grows. Give yourself some time to get creative. You didn’t get here overnight, you’re not going to change it overnight. You want to be sure your changes are well thought out and depending on how big the changes are, you want to be as strategic as you would be for the corporation you support so well.
Looking for a more structured approach? Join our virtual program, “Deep Dive to Discover Your Passion Again: Find your purpose and learn to leverage it for your career.” Over the course of 12 weeks, we’ll take you through these steps.
For more information contact Patricia Weiland at email@example.com.