I hosted an interesting and fun group of women this past weekend at the Urban Oasis Bed and Breakfast. They had all met in college, and went on to have high powered careers, only to leave at the top of their fields to raise children.
Each expressed gratitude for the luxury to stay at home with their young children, but as their children started getting older, all of them had the same underlying question creeping into their mind. What’s next for me?
None of them wanted to go back to their previous careers, and they had no idea how to figure out what they were going to do next.
Helping people discover the next chapter of their life is an area I am passionate about, since I too went through that same period of not knowing what was next for me after I sold my software company and left my marriage, all while raising young, teenage children.
I knew that I didn’t want to go back to practicing psychology. So like Cortez burning his ships when he came to the New World, I let my license expire so I couldn’t fall back on it, and crossed my fingers that I would find my next calling.
Listening to my guests, I wanted to hug each of them and assure them that there would be an exciting next chapter despite the feeling of being unconnected in the world of adults, and feeling as though they are functioning with a few less brain cells.
And then, of course, because this is how it happens, the next morning, Seth Godin published a post titled, The Stories We Tell Ourselves. It was about the power we have, as we get older to do things that can make a difference, and he shared an inspiring TEDx Brussels talk by Dr. Sackner-Bernstein, Its Not Too Late to Make a Difference.
Sackner-Bernstein used his 18 minutes to debunk the idea that only young people make the important discoveries in science, or start successful companies. He demonstrated in a profound way, how as we get older, our skills and experiences, acquired over time, weave together to create our own special way of seeing the world.
Out of our specific blend of wisdom and experience, each of us is in a unique position to come up with entirely new possibilities that we would never discovered or acted on, if not for all that we’ve been through.
I knew exactly what Sackner-Bernstein meant, and I am a textbook example.
As I wondered what I was I going to do to make a living, I’ll admit that that I went through some dead-ends, did a lot of soul searching and experienced quite a bit of anxiety.
I have a friend who, from time to time, reminded me that I did not have to start clipping cat food coupons, quite yet. As most twenty something’s know, it is a bitch not knowing your place in the world, and how you are going to make a living. These same hardships are also experienced later in life.
As difficult as that time was for me, it was also exciting. I did a few great building projects and had some amazing adventures. But it actually took a couple of years before I found, in Dr. Sackner-Bernstein’s vernacular, my mold moment.
It happened when I saw that my Dog’s blog on Dogster came up higher in an online search for my business name at the time than my building business’s website.
It was then that I found myself in the right place at the right time, with the right experiences under my belt, to understand in an instant, that what I was seeing was a paradigm shift in marketing. Best of all, I was uniquely suited to help people take advantage of it.
It was my mold moment, and I went with it despite the fear of starting a new business in a field I had not been trained in. But then I realized no one knew this stuff. It was all new and I went for it.
It doesn’t matter whether you are 27, 47 or 67, we will find ourselves from time to time in this place of not knowing. It is important during these times to keep active, say yes to new experiences despite feeling fear, and practice your craft. It is never too late to find your dharma. If you live authentically and stay engaged and aware, you will find your special gifts to the world. As we say at New Tricks, It’s never too late.
What do you think about this?