Redefining your Work Life after 50 – 8 Questions to Ask YourselfJan 02, 2022
Redefining yourself requires reflection
As we enter our 50s, many of us begin to take a serious look at our lives. What are we doing for our careers or jobs and is this what we want to continue to do? Or maybe we've been stay at home moms and are now figuring out what's next. We often take a serious look at our health habits and make changes. We may look at relationships and friendships and decide to invest more time in those as we get older.
For many of us, family continues to be our priority. But even with grandchildren and often senior parents added to the mix, we find ourselves with time on our hands and a desire to continue to learn, grow, and contribute.
Many of us are taking a look at our careers and jobs and wondering where we go from here. We might not want to stop working but maybe we want to make a change before it's too late. For me, I've loved my job as a behavior analyst working with kids on the autism spectrum. And although I'm healthy and active, I'm not as young as I used to be and am starting to be concerned as to how much longer I can do this job.
Find your Passion
There is no time like the present. To take some time, sit down in a quiet place, (ideally with a journal) and really reflect on what you'd like your next 40-50 years to look like. For me, starting this blog has been an amazing experience. It has allowed me to write which has always been a dream of mine. It also has given me the opportunity to continue to learn and expand my skills and knowledge.
If find yourself in a position of contemplating what is next for you in the years to come, ask yourself and reflect on these 8 questions:
1) What have I always wanted to do but never done?
Don't be shy about this one. We women often have no idea of our own value and get nervous about admitting our dreams, even to ourselves.
Simply answer the question and push away the self doubt. What have you always wanted to do but have never done in terms of a career, business, or hobby?
2) Why haven't I done the thing?
What has held you back from doing that thing you've always wanted to do but never did? For me, it was writing. And I was busy raising kids, going to school, and getting established in my career. It was only after having gone through my husband having a health scare, my mother in law being very ill for almost 2 months, and moving my mom closer to us that I decided it was now or never!
Life happened and I forgot about my dream of being a writer.
3) What is it that I love doing?
Maybe there isn't anything that you've always wanted to do but haven't done. Maybe the thing you love doing is something you get to do! Maybe you love cooking. Or writing! Or gardening.
Think about what you love doing.
4) What things do I love about my job?
No job is perfect, but what are the things that you love about your job? Do you love the people? Mentoring younger co-workers? Technical aspects?
What about the side bonuses of the job? The flexibility it allows you to be with family when needed? Your salary contributing to the household? The fact it gets you out of the house or keeps you on a schedule?
For women who have been at home moms, that is a job and this question needs to be answered.
Take time to brainstorm and reflect on this. These things will be important when you're looking at what's next on the horizon.
5) What are my strengths
Write these down. ALL of them - and you have many! What job skills do you have? People skills? What about your core values? What skills do you demonstrate in your everyday life? This can be anything from being able to walk 3 dogs at the same time to being a good listener.
What is your superpower?
Set a timer and reflect on this for at least 20 minutes. Write down all your strengths and think about your superpower.
My super power is being a good listener and someone that people know they can talk to without being judged.
Find your passion! It's never too late!
6) What is most important to me at this stage of the game?
This is your "why." What do you want your day to look like each day? Do you want to be working all day? Or not working at all? Do you want to continue to care for family all day every day? Or is there room in your day to pursue your passion either in work or as a hobby? Do you require flexibility if you plan to continue working to be able to put family first when needed? Do you require time to keep up your healthy habits, as well?
Think about your ideal day and week and where all of your roles fit in.
7) Given my strengths, what is important to me, and what I love to do, how can I combine these to create my perfect life balance moving forward
This is a total brainstorm prompt. Set your timer for 30 minutes and just sit there and write down anything that comes to mind about what you can do given all of these three criteria. When you run out of ideas, consult Mr. Google to make sure you haven't forgotten anything.
Let's say you love to cook, you are a great cook, and you crave flexibility in your life to be able to see your grandchildren whenever you want to. What can you do with that? Look into ways to start marketing your signature item. Check into farmers' markets. Start a blog around your specialties. Volunteer to cook for families in need.
What if you are a retired teacher whose strengths are elementary school science projects and you love all things science? And what's important to you is to be able to travel with your husband? Look into volunteering to come into local elementary schools and do a science lesson. Get on a website like Teachers Pay Teachers and find out how to make worksheets with instructions on how to do some of your projects! Create checklists, material lists and lesson plans and market them online.
The possibilities are endless when brainstorming. Also, when brainstorming, no idea is impossible. If it comes into your head, write it down.
8) What do I need to do to get started and make it happen? What can I do now and today?
Once you are finished brainstorming, take a look at your ideas and see which 2 or 3 get you really excited. Not "can I do this" but "oh my gosh thinking about doing this is making me super excited!" And go back to Mr. Google and research. Figure out next steps to be able to make it happen.
You might learn that you need a course to get you to the place where you can pursue the dream. Maybe you need a particular license. Or to set up a website and take it from there.
Pursuing your Passion after 50 is a Game Changer
As someone who is truly grateful for her life and fully embraces all of my roles and enjoys each one, I can tell you that pursuing my dream of writing really has changed my life and my attitude.
I love my job and I love working but was starting to have anxiety around how much longer I could do it. This, coupled with anxiety about what I would do instead, because I am not ready to retire.
When I came home from moving my mom and dove into this project, I felt a renewed sense of purpose. In addition, I was doing something that I had always wanted to do. I was writing and I was writing to my tribe! I love writing and I love helping people and this is what I'm doing!
I also enrolled in a course because I had no idea how to start a blog. I've always loved to learn and this was an additional motivator for me.
I'm still working in my job as a behavior analyst. But, I no longer have anxiety around what my days might look like when I decide that it's too much.
And, most importantly, pursuing my passion, has given me renewed energy in all other areas of my life.
What's your passion? What's holding you back from pursuing it?
Click here to download your "What's Next Worksheet" to walk you through your reflections.