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Archive for August, 2017

The Search Begins

Now that you are aware that life can have more meaning and purpose than you might have envisioned AND you are clear about what you want from your experience of the Third Act, it is time to start exploring what the possibilities might be.

So where do you start?

In her book GRIT: The Power of Purpose and Passion, Angela Duckworth suggests asking yourself the following questions as clues in this process of discovery:

  1. What do I like to think about?
  2. Where does my mind wander?
  3. What do I really care about?
  4. What matters most to me?
  5. How do I enjoy spending my time?
  6. What do I find unbearable?

The key is to keep asking yourself questions and take time to note the answers. While you may not have been a person who journaled in the past, now might be the time to put pen in hand and capture some of your musings.

Continue to dig away; share some of your thoughts with others, seek out a personal coach to share the journey with, or create a group of Third Actors who would like to support one another in this exploration.

Life Review
Self-knowledge is also a great starting point. This is the purpose of a life review, a time to reflect on the knowledge and wisdom you have accrued. Consider what in that knowledge stands out for you now as being important or worthy of learning more.

Additional questions/activities to consider:

  1. What parts of my accumulated experience are transferable to new activities/interests?
  2. What are my natural gifts/strengths?
    Consider taking one of the following assessments to determine your strengths: Via Strengths, Strengths Finder, Lumina Spark.
  3. What have been the most significant events/accomplishments during my life? Which of these lit me up and gave me joy? What was it that made the event so significant?
  4. What was it that as a child, pre-occupied me for hours, that I did not have a chance to pursue? Is now the time?

Digging Deep
All of these questions require a deeper dig than you might be accustomed to. As a generation, baby boomers have not been the most reflective types. Essentially, you began your career and simply showed up at work every day. Along the way you may have had a quarter or midlife crisis or two, where you may have stopped and wondered about the greater meaning of life. You may be better off now if that did happen as you have already experienced the process of questioning and introspection.

You may also have told yourself, or been told by others, to ‘get a grip’, this search for self is self-indulgent. In which case, you most likely abandoned the process and returned to doing what you had always done.

Regardless of your past experience, now is the time to look within. I love what Neale Donald Walsch says about this, “if you do not look within, you go without”. It is a worthwhile investment in yourself as you have all those days, months and years stretching before you that can be filled with meaningful activity, purpose and passion. This is a golden opportunity you do not want to miss.

And by the way, living with purpose and passion does not imply being out there in the world doing for others or engaged in activities. The importance of this journey is to understand what is truly meaningful for you, which might be writing, reading, painting or any solo endeavor that inspires you. There are no “should’s, have to’s or must do’s” at this time of your life. You are now free to choose what you want to do or be. You are free.

Freedom is the fragile neck of a daffodil after the longest of winters.
It’s the sound of your voice, without anyone drowning you out.
It’s having the grace to say yes, and more important, the right to say no.
At the heart of freedom, hope beats: a pulse of possibility.
Jodi Picoult, Small Great Things

What else?
Books, workshops, coaching – all of these are additional options for you to explore.

Remember , you have time, there is no deadline on self-discovery. It is a process and an opportunity to exercise your curiosity and to simply wonder, what if…

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