Retirement: How to Find Purpose After Career

Retirement: How to Find Purpose After Career

Our career gave us purpose, goals, growth and tasks on which to focus.  Yet, research has shown, we still need a sense of purpose after our careers to live a rich and satisfying life.  Retirement gives us a new opportunity to discover what truly sparks our vitality, but many career-hardened boomers struggle in this endeavour.  Here is a valuable approach to discover your new purpose.  Get ready for that “aha” moment!

 


Why Purpose?

I can see some of you rolling your eyes.  I’ve had a few skeptics in my strategic planning sessions who thought discovering the organization’s core purpose was a waste of time.  Au contraire.  Knowing your true mission saves you time.  It gives you direction, helps you in decision-making and gives focus on how to spend your efforts, energy, and resources.

Do you volunteer for this or that group?  Do you invest in this or that activity?  Do you spend time with these people or those?  How do you apply your skills and talents? How do you grow? How will you spend your time?

More importantly, research has shown that your overall wellness is linked to having purpose and meaning in life. A purposeless life can lead to depression and is often expressed as “frustration, anger, a feeling of worthlessness and internal angst” explains Dr. Peter Johnson, co-flounder of Retirement Options. Working toward something that is important to you, energizes you and fires your vitality.  It gives meaning to your life.  Isn’t that the ultimate goal in our 3rd act of life, our Next3rd?

 

“Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.” 

– Viktor E. Frankl

 

 

Yours to Discover

Your purpose is in there, inside you already.  It probably has been buried since childhood, covered with external demands and tasks asked of others over the years.  Now you can mine it. Let’s go digging.  It may be muddy at first, but over time and with focus, your purpose will become clearer.

 

 

The Venn Diagram Approach

Andy Stanley reminded us to reflect on ‘why we are here’ in the 2017 Leadercast “Powered by Purpose” conference. For those less into existential thinking, his simple Venn Diagram just might hit home.

 

 

“Instead of asking what am I most passionate about, ask what breaks my heart?’” 

– Andy Stanley

 

“What breaks your heart?” That’s hitting the bone. Your answer will give you insights into what you truly care about and what problems you may be inspired to help solve.  Your first seeds of your life’s purpose.

Take an inventory of your skills, talents and wisdom that you can offer.  Revisit those personality profiles you may have completed in the past for more insights. How can you apply your gifts to the problems or challenges you’ve noted above?  You may want to do something completely different than in your past career.  This is your opportunity to bring out the real authentic you.

Who were you thinking of when examining what breaks your heart? Troubled kids, the polar bears, your family?  Who can you help by applying your gifts?

 

Meaning in life often comes from serving others.

 

What is the overlap or the intersection between these spheres of what breaks your heart, your gifts and who needs your help?  What is at the centre of your Purpose Venn Diagram?  There’s your first iteration of your current life purpose!  Is that “aha” that I hear?

 

Just Do It

Congratulations.  You’ve planted a seed to your life’s purpose and meaning.  Now act on it.  It’s not the thought that counts so much as the action driven by that seed that gives you life meaning.  It’s an iterative process.  As you act to fulfill your life’s purpose, your mission and life meaning become clearer.  Enjoy the quest!

 

Purpose feeds action.  Action feeds meaning.

 

Care to share?

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