Are You Living A Life Of Purpose Or Simply Filling Time?
Retirement is all about purpose
I talk about purpose – a lot. It’s one of my favourite words. Why? Because finding your true purpose can make a monumental difference to the way you live your life. I’m a living example of that.
As many of you know, a few years ago I was told I had six months to live. The diagnosis was wrong, but it forced me into early retirement. I had friends, family, an active social life and, thank God, good health, but it wasn’t enough. My diary was full, but I was empty. I had no purpose.
You see, up until that point my purpose had been wrapped up in my work. That was what got me out of bed in the mornings. That was my identity. Then, almost overnight, it was gone.
Repurposing your world
I’ve lost count of the number of people who have similar stories to mine. Retirement isn’t what they hoped or dreamed of, it’s dull and demoralizing.
Most of these people are stuck. They have no idea how to repurpose or even what that means. And that’s where I come in. I’ve been there and done that and my new purpose is to help other boomers live the life of their dreams for as long as they possibly can.
Feel your purpose
I won’t lie, finding your true purpose isn’t always easy, but you need to start somewhere. So, let’s begin with feelings. Grab a pen and paper and answer these questions…
– What do you love doing?
– Where do you lose all sense of time?
– What do you want to feel like when you’re ‘working’ in the widest sense of the word?
– Are you a people person?
– Or do you prefer to be alone?
See your purpose
Next, paint some pictures in your head. If there were no barriers in your way, where would you see yourself working? What exactly would you be doing? Are you with a group of people – or alone? Doing something creative or technical? Indoors or out? The more detailed your painting, the more life-changing the result.
Big purpose, little purpose
You don’t need to move mountains, but that’s not to say you can’t or won’t. For some people, true purpose can be close to home. Picking the grandchildren up from school, baking cakes for a local café, running a rambling group. If this is what you truly love to do and want to spend time doing, then it’s your purpose.
Some people want and need more than this. They want to leave a mark on the wider community. They need a big purpose. Maybe they’ll campaign to save a greenbelt that’s under threat, work as an extra in a TV show, get deeply involved in a charity close to their hearts. Perhaps they’ll continue to work in their industry – consulting, networking, sharing their expertise with the next generation.
There’s no shame in having a little purpose – if that’s what truly makes you tick.
The people who feel shame in retirement are often those who have found a ‘fake purpose’. They ‘work’ but they’re not fulfilled.Their days are full, and yet they feel empty. They play golf with their buddies three times a week, they have a couple of tertiary directorships on the go but contribute very little. They’re on a few committees, more to make themselves feel good than anything else. These people often crave respect, they want adoration, to be held in high esteem. They try to replicate what they had in their careers in retirement and more often than not, they fail.
So, the next time you find yourself planning your weeks around meetings with old colleagues, trips to the gym and dinner with friends, stop and ask yourself whether this makes you happy. Whether this is your true purpose or whether you are simply filling time.
If you want to know more about finding your purpose, then grab yourself a copy of my latest book, DARE to Discover Your Purpose. It’s now an Amazon International Bestseller.
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