S2 Ep 21: The Power of Heart: Why Following Your Passion Can Transform Your MidlfeApr 07, 2023
YOU need to be needed.
And guess what? You share that need with every single person on this planet. It’s built-in as one of our basic heart needs.
You need to have purpose.
To feel as if you are somehow making a difference in the world.
When midlife hits and we’re standing with all the closed doors behind us, that’s when we’re faced with these feelings the most.
Who am I?
Who needs me now?
Yes, some of us more than others, but I don’t believe there’s anyone who doesn’t go through this in one way or another.
Kids are gone. Your career hits a plateau. Your hubby is going through his own identity crisis. Your friends have drifted on or are dealing with their own life drama.
Now, my Beautiful Warriors, is when you must make an incredibly important decision.
Do I sit down in the middle of my path and just prepare to die because that's, essentially, what many women do...Or, do I choose to grow? To morph into someone new and adventurous and, even, dare I say, exciting?
At first thought, shifting along with the times seems hugely difficult. Almost annoying because we’re pretty comfy being who we are.
But let’s boil it down. It’s really about coming into our own. Creating our own avenues of contribution.
We have to find new ways to be needed, new ways to make a difference.
I believe that this is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves in midlife.
Why? Because when we feel needed, when we feel like we are making a difference, we feel alive.
Finding a sense of purpose is finding that feeling you get when someone tells you what an incredible job you did on something.
It’s that feeling of awe and deep gratefulness you feel when you stayed up all night doing everything you knew to do to help your sick child and you finally saw his fever break.
It’s that sense of immense joy knowing that you took a huge mess and cleaned it all up. I used to love walking back over and over again into a chaotic room I had cleaned up and organized just to admire it.
The feeling of living with purpose is like that.
Feeling unneeded feels as if there's no more reason to clean up messes at home, at work, or wherever you used to. No one will care or see it or be affected by it.
It’s a lonely, isolated place to live. And a dangerous place.
This is where the decision comes in - “Give up my life and wait to get old or stop and look inside for that person who is my Beautiful Warrior, determined to fight until the end, and go for a new adventure.”
Life changes. But so can we.
Let me tell you about a woman I know named Maria. When her kids grew up and moved out of the house, Maria started to feel like she had lost her sense of purpose.
For a while, she tried to fill the void by volunteering at her local church and community center. But while she enjoyed helping others, she still felt like there was something missing.
One day, Maria decided to take a class on interior design. She had always loved decorating her own home, and she thought it might be fun to learn more about the field. To her surprise, she fell in love with it.
Maria started taking more classes and eventually decided to start her own interior design business. It was challenging at first, but she loved being able to use her creativity and help people make their homes beautiful and functional.
As her business grew, Maria found that she had a renewed sense of purpose.
She was making a difference in people's lives by creating spaces that they loved and enjoyed spending time in. And as she became more successful, she felt like she was contributing to her community in a meaningful way.
Looking back on her journey, Maria realizes that finding her purpose wasn't easy. It took a lot of soul-searching and trying new things before she found something that truly resonated with her.
But now that she has found it, she feels more alive than ever before.
Remember the 5 components we've been talking about that Robert Reacher used to create curriculum for elementary school children to feel more at home in the classroom?
- I need to feel secure: I need to know I am safe;
- I need an identity: I need to know who I am;
- I need to belong: I need to know others accept me;
- I need purpose: I need to know what I want to achieve;
- I need to feel competent: I need to know I am capable.
We’re talking about the 4th today: I need purpose: I need to know what I want to achieve. And that I can achieve.
Find a new role
Maria is such a great example of that. The fourth component of self-esteem is called "role significance." According to Robert Reacher's research, role significance refers to the belief that we are making a meaningful contribution to society through our roles and activities.
In Maria's case, she had spent many years as a stay-at-home mom, which is a very important role. However, when her children grew up, she felt like she had lost her sense of purpose and was no longer contributing in a significant way.
By taking classes in interior design, the lightbulb came on. She had skills that she didn't realize could be useful and a passion that worked itself into her starting her own business.
Maria was able to find a new role that gave her a renewed sense of purpose. She was now making a meaningful contribution to the world in a brand new way.
Result? She felt needed again. She had carved out her own place using gifts she loved so her sense of significance went sky high. So did her confidence. And her connection to others.
For many of us, we make the losses we experience in midlife mean that nobody needs us any longer. That we have done our time.
And when we stop to ask if we have anything worth giving, there are too many women who don't look deeply enough.
Yes, the journey to finding our purpose can be difficult. It requires us to ask some tough questions.
- What are our values?
- What do we care about?
- What kind of legacy do we want to leave behind?
These are not easy questions to answer, but they are essential if we want to understand the calling that we have inside of us. That's the Midlife Call to Adventure.
The Call to something new.
The Call challenges us to look deeper into how life has been molding us, preparing us for this time just ahead. A new phase.
Find the answers to that calling and everything else will fall into place.
Purpose becomes the reason for our lives and the foundation we can use to make all our decisions and choices for the rest of our lives.
You have so much to offer, and the world needs what you have to give.
It's never too late to find a new purpose. A new reason for living.
Let's look at how that can be done.
First, think about what you’re passionate about.
What gets you excited?
What makes you feel alive?
Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that we forget about the things that really matter to us. Light us up.
Second, ask yourself some tough questions.
What are your values? Make a list of the top 5.
What do you care about?
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
Challenge yourself with these questions. It’s not difficult if you go to the quiet place inside of you where you'll hear your heart.
To hear your heart is to hear what you really want. Not what someone else wants for you or thinks you should have or be or do - it's what you want.
What do you want to do with your life?
What could you do with your life?
Third, be adventurous!
Take classes, join clubs, or attend events related to your interests. You never know where those experiences might lead. Remember what Maria discovered.
Let me tell you about another woman named Sarah. Sarah had always been a high achiever and had worked hard to build a successful career in finance. She was well-respected and had achieved many of the goals she had set for herself.
But as she approached her mid-forties, Sarah started to feel like something was missing.
She wasn't sure what all her achievements had added up to. She started to question whether her work was truly meaningful and if she was really making a positive impact on the world.
At first, Sarah tried to ignore these feelings and just keep pushing forward in her career. But the more she tried to ignore them, the more they persisted. Eventually, she realized that she needed to make a change.
Sarah asked herself how she could use the skills and expertise she had and enjoyed in a more meaningful way.
She discovered a need for volunteers at a local nonprofit organization that helped low-income families with financial planning. She also started mentoring young women who were just starting their careers in finance.
Through these experiences, Sarah discovered a new sense of purpose. While she still enjoyed her career in finance, she found that it was even more rewarding when she was able to use it to make a positive impact in her world.
Looking back on her journey, Sarah realized that finding a sense of purpose was about more than just achieving success in her career. It was about using that success to make a difference in the world and contribute to something bigger than herself.
And by doing so, she found a renewed sense of fulfillment and meaning in her life.
Sara's story perfectly illustrates the importance, again of the fourth component of self-esteem, the ‘role significance’ highlighted by Robert Reacher's research.
Achieving great success was not giving her a life that felt meaningful.
What brought her meaning was using who she was, what she had to offer, somewhere it was needed.
She was making a big difference one family, one person at a time.
Imagine how she would feel years later knowing that she had worked to change the world in her own way.
Fourth, don't be afraid to ask for help.
Talk to friends, family members, or even a Coach about who you are and where you'd like to go in order to feel better about your life. Don’t stay stuck in the “I don’t know…”
If you’re struggling with thoughts that tell you that you can’t do this, don’t know how to do this, please reach out to me. I can help you to do that deep dive into your heart. And find the bridge from what you can give to where you could possibly use it to make a difference.
Finally, remember that finding your purpose is a deeply personal journey.
It may take time and effort, but it is worth it as you pass travel through midlife.
You’re going to feel the fear talking. Your brain knows risk when it sees it and it’s going to want you to stay where it’s safe. That’s its job.
But, to listen to your head, your brain and do what it says, you will end up in a place of apathy and boredom, where you waste the gifts that you’ve spent so much time growing. Is that what you want?
How do you know you’re in your head?.
If you have thoughts coming up like these, it’s your brain talking.
“Hey, you’re a woman and that’s not what women do. You sacrifice yourself for your family and to please everyone around you. Don’t be selfish by going after what makes you happy.”
“You don’t have anything to offer. No one is going to want what you have. It’s just ordinary and plain. You’re way too old to be putting yourself out there. The world belongs to the young.”
“What are you thinking? You’re already exhausted from the schedule you keep. How can take anything more on? Just leave things as they are. Get to retirement and then you can rest.”
Don’t listen to your brain. It believes you’re in danger just as it would if you were about to walk off a cliff. It doesn’t know any better because how you feel contains fear which causes your brain to go into protection mode. It will try to keep your blood pressure low and your heart rate down.
But the decision for how you live your life is up to you, not that voice inside that’s afraid of you stepping outside your comfort zone.
Here’s what you do.
Thank that voice of protection for believing it’s saving you from a painful experience. Tell it you appreciate its concern but you’re not in real danger. Tell it to go over there in the corner and eat a cookie while you get on with the things you need to do to grow. To feel alive.
Fight for yourself, Beautiful Warrior. Don't just lay down and let your life fizzle out.
Once you find your purpose, everything else falls into place.
Purpose becomes the reason for your life, the foundation you can use to make all your decisions and choices for the rest of your life.
Living with purpose gives you new confidence.
It creates a more resilient you who can face challenges and setbacks with a renewed sense of calm, courage and decisiveness.
And, best of all, to live with purpose, to laser-focus on your way to give, touches the world in some way. It changes the world even if it’s just in your one corner.
Are you tired of feeling like something is missing in your life? Do you long for a sense of purpose and meaning?
Those thoughts. Those feelings are a message. A Call to Adventure.
It’s time to take action.
Don't wait any longer to find a purpose that lights you up.
If you’re wondering where to start, start by downloading my free e-Book, "Discover Your Passionately Personal Midlife Mission."
And, you can now apply to join our first Midlife Women on a Mission Mastermind group where I'll help you not only discover your purpose but also find the life you want to build around it.
The benefits are waiting for you, and, my Beautiful Warrior, the world needs what only you can give.
Talk to you in the next podcast.