“In the middle of the road of my life, I awoke in a dark wood where the true way was wholly lost.”-- Dante Alighieri, “Commedia”
Certainly, you’ve heard of the stereotypical midlife crisis. The new sports car. The traveling. The bucket list. But that “crisis” begins well before you are in your 40s, 50s, 60s, (and for some) 70s.
The nice house, the good job, prestige, a family, even a swelling bank account. These are common pursuits of most, as we begin our adult chapter of our life.
Graphic: Jean-Pierre Weill, The Well of Being
We are so trained to think about pursuing our goals and getting what we think we want, that we don’t ever stop to think about what happens afterwards. Well, have you?
Our modern work/life crisis begins in our twenties and slowly, insidiously matures from there. Whatever the phase, we set the goals, work to achieve them, check them off the list, then rinse and repeat. Along the way, some inevitable, unpleasant realities develop.
We’ll get to those in a minute.
December, a year ago, I facilitated a workshop titled, What Happens When You Get What You Want? It provided a combination of presentations and activities that were both introspective and reflective.
At the time, it was a real chore to fill the room. Out of curiosity and friendship, a group of about 60-70 people representing a diverse range of ages, life stages, and professions assembled that day. No one was entirely sure what to expect.
Within minutes of the first presentation, everyone was deeply engaged. More than that, challenged, intrigued, and captivated. Their hearts and minds were turned on. What they were hearing was utterly new, yet completely on target with their lives. Never, in all my decades of being a professional speaker, did I ever lead an event that was received so positively.
While watching and facilitating the experience, the intensity of the group’s attention told me a couple things:
- People are desperate for the conversation of leading a meaningful life.
- People wanted to know what’s next and what could I do to help them?
At the time, I had no convenient answers.
There was a fellow (let’s call him SB) who owned a successful, high-tech manufacturing company. He sold the business for buckets of money. Loads of it. The kind of money that could buy pretty much whatever you wanted. After the sale, SB has been in a chronic depression ever since.
What happened? SB’s passion and devotion was to his work. He was driven by a singular goal; build a successful organization. It never occurred to him that his version of success came not from the goals he set, but the activities that engaged him along the way; the process of creating and building. At the time, he did not know himself well enough to identify the source of his vitality and happiness.
I held a seminar that presented this story. The response was overwhelming. Again, people wanted to know, how can they script a life that is based on intention of doing what matters? How can they actively prepare and move into their next life stage in a deliberate manner? How can they get to know the source of their purpose and vitality before losing it?
After that first workshop two years ago, I didn’t have an answer to these questions. I adamantly began searching for a way to provide one. Something meaningful. Something tangible, actionable, and real. After loads of researching, soul searching, testing, challenging, and organizing … I finally developed one.
You’re the Author
Like any story, life has a theme! What is the theme of yours? What role will you play?
Talk to any writer about what must be done before drafting a story and she’ll tell you it’s all about knowing the characters — their habits, preferences, daily routine, styles, response to space, lifestyle, hobbies, budget, favorite music … everything. Only then can a story come together beautifully and deliberately.
Your life is the same way. Admittedly, you don’t want to script every tiny detail … what fun, and how productive would that be? But you do want an outline for guidance, let’s call that your theme, so you play the role of the life you intend.
This is also true in business. Vibrant, thriving, sustainable organizations don’t just happen. They are designed that way.
But your role in life can only work if it’s designed around the very essence of you. Remember the unpleasant realities that develop as we mature through our life? This is the reality of wondering what we do next. Of sensing or experiencing a void at the other end of success.
If you are in this space, embrace it. Like a pause between the notes, a blank page between the chapters, or an intermission between the acts, it means you are perfectly positioned to design the story of you.
There are five stages to creating your life’s story. Youth is not required to ask what you want to be when you grow up. Although the older you are, the less time you have to dawdle. To all those who asked me, what can I do? Here are the stages to think about:
- Setting the Stage. Identify where you are in life as an individual and where we are as a society because the two are intimately tied together. Learn to strategize your life with techniques utilized by design engineers.
- Where Have You Been? How to self-assess your life’s aspiration, thoughts, efforts, and actions. You have knowledge! Discover and use the wisdom you’ve gained from your life experiences.
- Where Are You Now? Identify your current level of adult development and maturity and what that means for your daily choices, actions, and desires.
- Where Do You Want to Go? Using your new knowledge perhaps your direction has been realigned? Perhaps the role that suits you best is not in the story the way you’re currently authoring? That old adage of “finding your way?” You found it!
- How Do You Get There? Everyone’s toolbox is different. You need a custom-crafted skillset … and you may already possess it.
These stages sound elemental and maybe even simple, but being consciously aware and intentional about your stage, and getting what you really want, is the part that’s a challenge and your opportunity.
Third Act Guidance
Ready to step out of the uncertainty and join the conversation? Want to avoid dead ends and take advantage of the assessments, support, tools, and questions that come with decades of research and experience with hundreds of professionals, business leaders, and progressive thinkers in their respective fields?
I’ve put my decades of experience to work to create Third Act Guidance for those who are ready to say yes to the above and yes to creating the story of you.
Now is the time. If you are interested in Third Act Guidance, contact me and we’ll get started. Genuine fulfillment is within your reach, what exactly are you waiting for?