Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
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Amidst all the physical changes around at midlife, there's also that biggie - the emotional one: where do I go from here?
Perhaps your job has become tedious or un-rewarding...or the children you stayed home to raise have flown the coop (that's what happened to me before I made the decision to return to graduate school at 47 and carve out a whole new career).
Aside from that, there are so many of us who are suddenly living alone - a major transition, for sure. You may be looking around and saying, now what? Change is in the air but perhaps you can't grasp just what it all means.
And then there's the whole unemployment issue: baby boomers face a more difficult time in light of the current job market. I'm sure all of us know someone (if not ourselves) facing the tough task of finding a job after being laid off. I personally think it stinks that older workers are shunned, don't you?
Kathy Caprino, author of Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman's Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power and Purpose, is also a dynamic life and career coach. (I'll publicly thank her here for putting me on the right path!)
Want to make your visions a reality? If you're looking for a deeper sense of meaning and purpose, here are Kathy's four steps for breaking through:
1) Understand what you truly want - Essence vs. Form
Determine first what an "ideal" life would consist of for you. Then decide what you'd truly like to "go for."
If you believe you want to start your own business, for instance, get to the heart of why you want that. Are you clamoring for independence, self-respect, and self-reliance? Or longing to find work that's deeply meaningful and helpful to others? The biggest mistake people make is to go for the "form" of a dream (I want my own business, for instance) without realizing what this direction truly entails. Perhaps the essence of your dream can be found through other avenues (a new job in a kinder environment, or volunteering, part-time work, gaining new education and learning new skills, etc.) that may be better suited to your preferences, style, and needs.
2) Research and commit to doing what it takes
Once you've determined exactly what you want to do and why, do research, research, research. Understand what it will take to get you there. Read as much as you can about this new direction. Interview experts and those who have succeeded as well as those who have failed at it. What are they telling you? Gain clarity on precisely what your dream will demand of you. Then if/when you're ready, commit yourself 3000% to making this a successful endeavor.
3) Stretch yourself beyond where you are
Embrace that you need to grow to achieve your dreams. Get advice from friends, a mentor, colleagues, family, a business or career coach, a financial advisor, etc. and take action. Maybe you need new skills or a business plan with strategies that truly work. Or do you need to reconnect with yourself differently to find something to engage in that will bring greater meaning? Look at where you feel a bit jealous of what others are doing as a start. That's usually a very strong indicator of where you want to be.
4) Power Up - and Speak Up
If you want a fantastic life, it takes fantastic risks. So now's the time to power up. Look at where you feel insecure and afraid. Where do you feel drained, vulnerable, disrespected, or ignored? Identify what have you been longing to say to someone (a family member, colleague, boss, friend, etc.) and say it, today.
Read more from Kathy here: