Trans4mind Home Page

Is Your Life's Purpose For Sale?

By Craig Nathanson

There is no purpose too big or too small

Meet Joe. He's a middle-aged bridge toll-taker in the San Francisco Bay Area. In a recent interview, Joe said he loves the role he has filled for the last 12 years. The job suits his purpose. He said: "If I can help someone start their day off right in the few seconds when they are handing me [the toll], I feel I have made a difference in the day and life of another person."

Meet Mel. He's a veteran New York City street sweeper who works through the night clearing away the previous day's debris. Mel ran into Craig Nathanson, The Vocational Coach, one morning after Craig's run in Central Park. Mel said: "Nothing makes me happier than making sure no one has to step on garbage when they start out their day on my street." He has been sweeping the same four square city blocks for 30 years.

Meet Minna Valentine, a.k.a. "The Reading Doctor." A past client of Craig's, she's a former marketing executive who ditched the corporate world to teach English as a second language. This is her take on the changes she made in her vocational path: "Teaching others makes me feel like I am contributing to something worthwhile."

Joe, Mel, and Minna each go to work every day knowing they will make a difference to someone. They are grateful to be able to do so. There are many so-called high achievers earning six-figure salaries that cannot make that claim.

Why is living with purpose critical in mid-life?

In mid-life, many people find themselves suddenly questioning everything - careers, lifestyles, and priorities. Nothing is spared from this examination, although few will discuss their fears.

Often it takes a personal crisis - a layoff, a death, or a divorce - to move people from introspection to action. When these events occur, they open up a small window of opportunity to challenge everything and consider a new course.

Inner questioning is critical in mid-life. If a person hopes to achieve greater meaning and self-fulfillment, things are never easy. It requires courage and a leap of faith.

Craig speaks from experience. A few years ago, he came home from his six-figure job and announced to his family that he was quitting. He no longer found meaning and fulfillment in what he was doing. That was his first leap of faith.

How do I find and live with purpose?

Finding the "meaning of life is not self-indulgent or clich". It is the essence of why we are here. If there is no meaning, then what is the point of existence? In order to create a path toward meaning, in our jobs and in our lives, we need to begin with an evaluation process that challenges.

  • Fill in the blank: "The purpose of my life is " Keep saying it until you find an answer. Then write it down.

  • Make an honest self-assessment of your current state. Exclude external input or validation. Are you driven? A procrastinator? Happy? Sad? Energetic? Lethargic? Generous? Selfish? Adventurous? Conservative? Etc.

  • Define the experiences you need now to feel fully alive. Then, develop a plan to have those experiences. Do you want to travel to China before you turn 50? Have you always wanted to sing in front of a large audience? Have you always wanted to study to become a chef? Have you always wanted to run a marathon? Etc.

  • Define exactly what you're passionate about and where you want to make a contribution. Is it music? Teaching? Sports? Photography? Cooking? Academics? Etc.

  • Define what is most important to you. Then, set short- and long-term goals that are aligned with these priorities. Without a clear path, goals are mere daydreams. Set up a process to monitor your progress.

  • Define the new experiences that you must have to add a greater sense of meaning and fulfillment to your life. Do you need to start cooking more? Traveling? Taking classes? Skydiving? Etc.

  • Define your beliefs about yourself. Then, change the ones that are no longer useful. Do you believe you are deserving of doing what you love? Or do you believe that work is not meant to be fun and meaningful?

Dr. James Hollis, a scholar on philosopher Carl Jung and a writer on mid-life issues, said that as we grow older, both meaning and purpose become equal. Both are needed to thrive. Also, Jung wrote that early in life, meaning is derived through preparation for living. In later years, meaning is derived through an examination of the inner self.

What are the results of living with purpose in mid-life?

Victor Frankl, a Nazi death camp survivor, believed that the urge of human beings to search for meaning is inborn. Researcher Martin Bolt said that having meaning and a defined purpose in a person's life makes it possible to accept one's own mortality with less fear of death and a greater sense of life's plans and their meaning.

Mid-life adults with purpose can experience:

  • A greater sense of integrity and authenticity;

  • An experience of being more alive;

  • An increased feeling of contribution;

  • Stronger health and psychological wellbeing;

  • A life that's more congruent;

  • An acceptance of their own mortality and, as a result, less fear of death and a greater sense of their life plans and their meaning;

  • A feeling of greater control over their lives and a feeling that their life matters;

  • An increased sense of self-esteem and happiness.

Is this enough incentive for you?

You can discover and live a more purposeful life now. Don't simply surrender to a world that will continue to rent your skills to suit its purposes. A greater second half is possible if you take action now!

Remember Mel, Joe, and Minna? What connects them is that neither fits into a conventional definition of success. Yet pursuing conventionally defined success has led so many people on a journey that ends with disappointment and a crisis of introspection that Mel and Joe probably haven't experienced. Minna, in contrast, is a good - and unfortunately rare - example of someone who pursued conventional success, found it wanting, and then had the courage to make a change that didn't lead to material riches. But her life itself was made richer.

About The Author
Craig Nathanson, The Vocational Coach, works with those over 40 to discover and do the work they love. He is the author of "P Is For Perfect: Your Perfect Vocational Day, by Book Coach Press. He publishes the free monthly e-zine, "Vocational Passion in Mid-life." Craig believes the world works a little better when we do the work we love.

From our extensive site, you'll find good info on many topics using this search:

Support your personal development with these popular and effective hypnosis downloads...

  • Public Speaking Fear ~ Banish speaking anxiety and nerves with hypnosis.
  • Motivate Yourself to Exercise ~ Build a powerful exercise habit that you can't break.
  • Get Rid of Fear & Anxiety ~ Stop worry and apprehension wrecking your life.
  • Self Esteem ~ Break the negative trance of low self esteem and give yourself a chance in life.
  • Create Your Own Reality ~ Use the power of your unconscious mind to transform your life.
  • Deeper Self Respect ~ Use hypnosis to connect with your true inner worth.
  • Detach From Fear ~ Tune out nervousness and anxiety with hypnosis.
  • Improving Concentration and Focus ~ Learn how to discipline, direct and command your mind to improve your performance.
  • Exercise Motivation ~ Give you powerful keys to getting back on track with your exercise - and staying there.
  • Overcoming Shyness ~ Provides an invisible security blanket allowing you to develop social ease and overcome shyness.
  • Quick Confidence Booster ~ An audio hypnosis session that's specifically designed to get you (quickly!) back on track.
  • Stop Negative Thoughts ~ Learn powerful hypnotic techniques to stop negative thoughts before they start.
  • Overcoming Procrastination ~ Let hypnosis help you get on with what you need to do, when you need to do it. Let nothing hold you back.
  • Think Thin ~ Use hypnosis to re-train your brain and lose weight naturally... that's how to get and stay slim.
  • Fall Asleep Fast ~ Relearn how to fall asleep fast and enjoy a good night's sleep.
  • The Next Level ~ Designed to radically boost your performance in any field. It's based on a technique used by top athletes and other successful people to help them make a big stride forward.
This is our selection of favorites, but there's a session for every need! Choose from over 800 Hypnosis Downloads...
Search now on an issue that interests or concerns you...

View all the Hypnosis Downloads here

The New Wave in Meditation Technology

Click here to learn more about the iAwake Profound Meditation Program
The iAwake Profound Meditation Program
is a way of enhancing your meditation practice, making meditation not only easier and more enjoyable, but also more efficient and effective.
Profound Meditation provides the smoothest, deepest, richest, most profound meditation experience available anywhere...
Here is a link to a free 20-minute track from iAwake Technologies - a sample of the type of tools that will deepen your meditation immediately and help you quickly become a successful meditator. It's the opening track of iAwake's flagship product, the Profound Meditation Program, called the iAwake Experience...
Learn More and Download the iAwake Experience
We think you'll find this technology a tremendous aid on your transformative journey of becoming your best and most creative self - and you can get started today!
Copyright © 1997-2018 Trans4mind Ltd