“My vision is to give you a glimpse of yourself beyond anything you can imagine. I want you to experience more happiness, more hope for your future, more excitement for your next journey, more confidence in yourself, and a greater understanding of your true purpose and power in this next chapter of your life.” ~ Kavita Ahuja, Founder of Power Purpose Play
“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” ~ Buddha
Many of us go through life unaware as to why we do what we do. You may have entered a career in your 20’s, for example, because of societal or cultural pressures to “do the right thing”. You may have spent your whole life in this career, only to wake up in your 40’s, 50’s or later asking yourself, “Is this it?”
This happened to me. As a South Asian female, born in Kenya and raised in Canada, I followed the traditional path encouraged by my parents, of education, with a major in Biology and an MBA; a highly successful corporate career in the pharmaceutical industry, winning multiple national achievement awards. I married, had 2 wonderful children, and from the outside, I “had it all”. From societal standards, I had the perfect career, the perfect life, the perfect family — yet, as I turned 50, I felt like I had lost myself. I did not know who I really was. Can you relate to this feeling?
Many people may refer to what I was going through as a “midlife crisis”. In fact, this term was coined by a psychoanalyst Elliott Jaques in 1965 and caught on in popular culture. Yet when investigated further, psychologists found no such phenomenon. “If you look at the research, evidence for a midlife crisis is just not there,” says Margaret H. Huyck, PhD, a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Psychology in Chicago.
I prefer to think of midlife as a time of opportunity – not a crisis. It is a time of transition, and, as explained by Harvard MBA and researcher, Linda Rossetti, transition is an “incredible invitation to unlock the enormous potential that is resident within each of us”.
How do you unlock your potential?
So, how do you unlock this potential within you? How do you rediscover what your true callings are? When we find our calling(s) we become more energized, more vibrant, and more excited about life moving forward. This is because we improve our relationship with ourselves.
This is a taste of the process I went through to rediscover my true callings. I am happier, more fulfilled, and more energized than I have been in a long time. As a result, I am helping other women do the same.
Determine Your Inventory. What Are Your Superpowers?
It is so important to understand what you are good at, because especially now, in midlife, you have accumulated such a great wealth of experience and knowledge. Ironically, we often do not give ourselves enough credit for the breadth and depth of our existing skills.
You have so much to offer the world, and to uncover this, honestly ask yourself questions, like:
- What 3 things am I really good at?
I am really good at putting together a financial statement.
- What 3 talents or skills have made me successful?
My mind has a natural ability to process the meaning behind the numbers.
- What are my superpowers?
Try asking 5 of your closest friends what they think.
Determine Your Passions. What Makes Your Heart Sing?
Our passions are things we do which make us jump up in the morning with anticipation. It is when time stands still. It is when Sunday night feels like a Friday night!
To rediscover your passions, ask yourself:
- If you had no limitations on time, money, beliefs, or process — what are 5 things you would do?
- Why did you choose these? What about these activities brings you joy?
- If you could incorporate these passions into your work, what would that look like?
Evaluate Your Changing Values.
Your values can change in different stages of your life. When you were younger, your primary values may have centered around achievement or advancement. Or, they may have centered around family happiness and security. Perhaps both. When you are always putting others first, you take a back seat. It is time now to rethink what is important to you and why. It is not selfish to think of your internal values. When you build self-awareness, you show up better for yourself, and for everyone else around you.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
- What are you prioritizing right now? What does that say about your values?
- What kind of contribution or impact do you want to make in the world?
- Who do you want to serve? Why?
Find Your Ikigai — Or Your “Reason For Being”
The next step to rediscovering your true calling is to identify your Ikigai: this is a Japanese term roughly translated as “a reason for being”. To discover your Ikigai, incorporate some of the previous answers to fill out the following diagram.
This is the intersection of:
- What you love (related to your passions)
- What the world needs (related to your values)
- What you can be paid for (related to your vocation)
- What you are good at (related to your superpowers)
Ikigai can be found at the point at which these four elements converge:
Envision Your Future & Chart Your Plan Of Action
The next step on your journey toward rediscovering your true callings is to envision your life with deep clarity. DARE TO DREAM.
- Take time for daily reflection. Becoming centred with yourself can help you understand your skills, passions, and values.
- Take the time for daily journaling. Write down your feelings, fears, obstacles, and try to confront them.
- Take the time for daily visualization about your future. How will you feel? Where will you be? Who will you be surrounded by?
This is just the beginning of rediscovering you.
When you take time to BE, your next steps become clearer. However, a vision without a plan is merely a dream. Challenge yourself to chart your plan of action for specific time frames that make sense to you. It could be for the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, or 5 years.
What specific actions will you take, however small, to achieve your vision? Write down milestones for each action. Put these actions into a calendar so you are accountable to yourself and others to achieve those tasks.
This process is not easy. It takes time, determination, and a willingness to uncover hard truths about yourself. This time in your life is not a crisis – it is an opportunity to live the rest of your life with passion and purpose! Everything that you need is already inside of you; it is just a matter of rediscovering what that is. Is it your time now?