To live a life with purpose and meaning we must find that sweet spot where our unique package of gifts, skills and experience meet a need in the world that we are passionate about.
In the second half of life as we let go of a long-time career and the structure it provides, it can take some time and intentional reflection to find this sweet spot. If and when we do find it, it is the doorway into a meaningful life that we can’t wait to wake up for in the morning. Here is a way to kick off this process.
Grab your preferred writing implement, whether paper and pencil or your electronic device and set aside 20-30 minutes of quiet time to follow steps 1-5:
– List at least 5 different things that you are proud to have accomplished in your life and that you also really enjoyed doing.
– This is what’s meaningful to you personally. It could be anything, including raising a child, starting a business, caring for an elderly relative, writing a book, leading a team.
– Now under each one of those 5 things or events you listed – What gifts, skills and personal qualities did you employ to achieve them?
– Examples include – qualities like courage or patience, skills like negotiation, leadership, or budgeting, and gifts like musical talent, artistic talent, vision, or mathematical genius.
– Once you’ve done this, look for the commonalities in the accomplishments you listed in step 1 and in the gifts, skills and personal qualities you listed in step 2. This will give you a window into your unique package and what is most meaningful to you.
– Consider your community and the world at large. Where are you passionate about making a difference?
– Reflect on how you could match up what you discovered about yourself in steps 1-3 with what you are passionate about it step 4.
Once you’ve completed the steps above, talk to the people in your life you respect and love for their feedback and insight as well, then start to experiment. Try some activities whether it be volunteering or doing some paid work. After the activity track whether you feel tired or energized by it. Also what you did well and enjoyed vs. what you didn’t enjoy or do well. What you enjoy, do well, and feel energized by will point you to your sweet spot and to a meaningful life you look forward to waking up for in the morning.
Enjoy the discovery process!