Archive for June, 2009

Are you experiencing a call for new meaning and purpose in your life?

Recently I was coaching a 47-year-old Clara who burst into tears as we were reviewing her assessment results.  Sobbingly she reported:

My life is almost over and I’ve never done what I really wanted! I feel like my life has been a lie and now I’m trapped in my job and I don’t even know who I am.

As a 60-plusser, I was dismayed to learn that someone would think her life was almost over at such a fruitful age. I was also surprised to learn that Clara, in a job with the federal government that many would love to have, was so unhappy and confused. Clearly, she was in the midst of what I call a self-realization crisis.

As a young woman Clara dreamed of playing the cello and becoming a veterinarian.  These desires ran counter to what her mother wanted of her, however, which was to get a good paying job to help support the family.  Out of guilt, Clara squelched her personal ambitions and acquiesced to her mother’s wishes.  Later, in married life, she again deferred her aspirations to support her husband’s career and provide for family needs. Her discontent was compounded by an abusive boss who showed little respect to her, and a husband so focused on his retirement plans that he was unwilling to listen to her needs and desires. It’s no wonder she felt trapped and depressed.

Clara had been aware for some time that she was going against the grain of her natural inclinations. It took a leadership assessment program, an encounter with the Passion Revealer assessment, and a career coach, however, to fully reveal the gap between who she had become and who she wanted to be.  As Clara regained her composure we discussed her passion-based aspirations and strengths, and developed a goal suited to this stage of her life. Her childhood dreams of working with animals and playing the violin remained a passion.  To pursue these persisting interests she decided to make a career transition to work at an animal preserve where she could care for injured critters.  As a leisure pursuit, she intended to take up the cello and to play solely for her own enjoyment. While it’s taken Clara half a lifetime to realize her passion, the good news is that she’s now on the path and has found the courage to become her “real self.”

In my work with thousands of adults over the past thirty years, I’ve observed that a call to “self-realization” often is heard during one’s mid-life years.  Our early years tend to be so focused on outward concerns that few have time to attend to the needs of their unique and personal inner selves.  That changes, however, as heightened concerns with meaning, identity, and purpose enter the center stage of our mid-life concerns.  It’s at this time when we need to make time to reflect upon what we want in life, who we want to become, and to re-conceptualize what will make us happy in our future years.

If you’re experiencing an inner calling for new meaning and purpose in your life, it’s a good time to consult with a wise mentor or a career/life coach for help in clarifying your self-realization needs, broadening your perceptions, and creating a possible new, or renewed agenda for your life, work, and your learning.

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