Let’s assume you’ve spent much of your adult life working and caring for others. What happens when you wake up one day and realize your life isn’t infinite? Maybe you’re not getting the same joy out of your day-to-day commitments and you want to do something more meaningful.
Welcome to the club.
I’ve spent much of the last two years reflecting on my life’s purpose and reinventing myself. I’ve always prioritized my family, work and volunteer efforts, but I never learned how to prioritize myself.
When I had a moment of clarity recently, I realized:
1 – You are worthy of the same kindness you extend to others.
2 – Putting yourself first is not selfish. It is, in fact, the opposite of selfish. It fills you up so you can better help the people you care about.
3 – There’s something to be said for your gut instinct. If certain people or situations drain your energy, it’s okay to limit your exposure to them.
4 – Finding your life’s purpose starts with self-reflection and ends with self-acceptance
Here are a few other things I learned along my purpose-filled journey.
Self-reflection was a difficult, but important, discovery process. I needed to reconcile the expectations of my life with where I was at the present time, adjusting for the “stuff-happens” element.
I considered my strengths and weaknesses. In order to figure out what I wanted to do with the next half of my life required knowing what gifts and talents I have. We all have them. I also needed to recognize what I wasn’t good at. In doing this, I was able to either acknowledge it and move on, or to work on it so it was no longer a weakness.
For example, even though I thought I was a confident person, deep down I realized I lacked self-confidence. This likely was the result of a difficult childhood, but that is no excuse when you reach midlife. It was time to decide how I was going to allow this to factor into the next half of my life.
I needed to let my loved ones in on what I was doing. As I worked through some of the more uncomfortable elements of reinventing myself, I was making changes. These changes were sometimes questioned by friends and family. Not in an ugly way, but in an, “Is everything alright,” way.
I found a confidante outside of my family to share this journey with. This person was going through her own similar process and was able to relate to the experience. This came in particularly handy once I was knee-deep in my transformation and building a business in a non-traditional space.
I also got better at not allowing the perceptions of others to permeate my personal armor. To have an opinion is fine, but to be insensitive or hurtful is not. I get to choose who I share my time with.
Then one day, the fog cleared and the road to self-acceptance was no longer a dirt road. It was paved.
Although I’m still evolving, I now know my life’s purpose involves helping others. I hope that by sharing my journey, I’ve helped you to feel better about your own.
Here’s to your sense of purpose and reinvention journey!