Steps to FINALLY loving your work after forty!
By Craig Nathanson - The Vocational Coach™
Step One: Envision exactly what would be just perfect for
Many people stop on this first step by their negativity. But
no one is going to do this except you.
Take some time and create a picture in your mind of the work
which would be just perfect for you. Is it working in the health
field, with children, painting, writing or creating marketing
campaigns? Separate the money at this stage or you will NEVER
move to the step 2. Of course, there will be steps to get to
this perfect state. What would that look like for you?
Step Two: Write down your plan to get there
When you write down a plan, your whole life and activities
start to align around what you want. Then you start to figure
out how to reach your goals. All of a sudden daily activities
start to align and make sense. You start to be clearer about
which opportunities to say yes to and which to turn down. Once
written down you have something to refer to daily especially
when you encounter others who don’t support your plans.
Step Three: Talk to others about your plans
This is not a process of ego. In some ways it doesn’t
matter who you talk to. Strangers on the airplane are the best
for the start. They listen and ask questions while you get to
practice your new elevator speech about your life. When you
talk to others about your plans you commit yourself and start
to believe that what you want is possible. This is really important.
You are not talking to others to get their views. You have to
be strong emotionally and resist to the negative view.
Step Four: Take small steps daily
Imagine you just started an exercise program. The first 4 days
you jog slowly. You start to feel sore but good at the same
time. Then you decide to take a week off. You lose all the momentum
and fitness gained in those first four days. The same is true
for vocational passion. You need to take small steps daily.
For example, if you decide you want to be in the marketing field,
don’t let a day go by without reading an article on marketing,
talking to someone about marketing or marketing something yourself.
These activities build new habits around what you want vs. perhaps
old addictions which are no longer helpful for you in your life.
Step Five: Measure your progress
Financial experts will advise to make a budget and keep track
of your spending. They claim this helps to place focus on where
your spending is going. Again this is true for moving towards
your vocational goals. To keep track of your daily activities
and progress will help as you move towards new goals in your
life. Then you can examine what is working and what is not working,
so you can make corrections as you go.
Step Six: Celebrate small progress
Using the above example, you decide to subscribe to an on-line
marketing forum with other marketing professionals. For a week,
you log on daily and discuss the world of marketing with others.
It feels good to be involved with others who share your passion
of marketing. At the end of the week you have new ideas and
are feeling pretty good about your progress. Ok, time to celebrate
in a healthy way. Maybe for you this means going out to a nice
dinner or maybe a movie or buying a new CD or your favorite
newspaper. The point is these small celebrations will reinforce
your progress and encourage even more progress. This is very
different than the rewards you used to have in the past when
the organization allowed you to wear jeans on Friday for work
performed- how humiliating!
Step Seven: Change course when needed
Along the way you will run into challenges and roadblocks.
You may need to slightly change course. I have many clients
who start down the road to one passion then suddenly discover
this was not what they expected. Don’t be afraid to make
change mid-stream. These are usually small changes but enough
to keep the dreams alive and moving forward. The most important
thing is to be aware of and recognize when change is needed.
One can usually tell if they listen careful to their INNER signals.
Step Eight: Get a new team
In many cases, the path towards a new vocation will require
a new team or just a new commitment from the same team! Approach
your existing team of friends, family and professional contacts
and let them know your new path and direction and ask for their
support, ideas and encouragement. If you run into anyone who
doesn’t support what you want, let them know in a nice
way you may have to drop them from the team down the road. This
is the hardest thing to do with a spouse who isn’t thrilled
with your new plans in mid-life. The key to a strong relationship
is to support each others’ dreams and desires. Without
this, there is no longer a strong foundation in the relationship
to fall back on during challenging times. This is the time when
a new team or member is needed. Surround yourself with only
people who support and encourage your development at this stage
of your life. Don’t settle for anything less!
Step Nine: Change your environment
It is amazing how just a small or large change in environment
can make a difference in your progress. Burdened by a large
mortgage, perhaps a move to a less expensive area will make
the difference. Perhaps moving to a new office or part of the
house will create the same effect.
Start with the criteria which would be just perfect for you
with regards to the environment. This should include where you
live, how you live and what stuff you live with. Sometimes just
getting rid of old junk and things can create a lighter backpack
for your new life.
Step Ten: Change your financial state
Money is such a personal topic. Start with a clear understanding
of what you need vs. what you want. There is a difference. How
much money do you need to make, net after taxes to do the work
you love? It is amazing to me how many people don’t have
a good idea as to their monthly cash flow and expenses. Where
can you lighten the load? Start with small things and work your
way up. Don’t expect miracles. Stay away from traditional
advice like saving for retirement. This should be the first
idea to throw out. Cash out your savings for death (my word
for retirement) and use now to fund your way towards doing what
you love. You won’t die or go homeless at this step. You
need to free up all resources now. So many people I work with
are scared of losing their money and this fear prevents them
from living in the present and making a better life now vs.
saving for someday which usually never comes as life tends to
get in the way.
Step Eleven: Continue learning
Continue learning and improve your self-awareness. This is
key to future development and a sense of calmness about your
path. Start a journal. Just before bed each night, answer the
question, what did I learn about myself today. There will always
be something you learned. Read this journal every 30 days. You
will see your progress. This is what I call the compounding
of self-awareness which is much more valuable in mid-life than
the compounding of money. If you follow JUST money then after
losing your work you are left with nothing. But if you follow
a path towards doing work which you love, you may lose money
but you will always have the work to do which you love!
I’ll be cheering you on as you go - Craig Nathanson.
Craig Nathanson is the author of "How
to find the RIGHT work during challenging times: A new approach
to your life and work after 40" and is
a coaching expert who works with people over forty.
Visit Craig’s online community at http://www.thevocationalcoach.com
where you can take a class, get more ideas through Craig Nathanson’s
books and CD’s, get some private coaching over the phone
or using skype and webcam and in Craig’s office, or read
other stories of mid-life change and renewal.
Craig lives and works in Petaluma, California. His office
is located atP.O Box 2823, Petaluma Ca, 94953. You can reach
him at 707-775-4020 or at email@example.com.
Craig's Vocational Passion Newsletters are edited by Anita
Flegg at The Sharp Quill. The Sharp Quill -- www.sharpquill.com
-- specializes in writing and editing for small business. You
can see Anita's vocational story at http://www.thevocationalcoach.com/_vocational_community/_real_stories/story_anita.html
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