Let’s be honest here; many people approach midlife struggling with the question “what’s next?”
We are taught that life works in step-by-step order. Simply check off each item as you complete it.
- High school
- Good job
- Dream home
- Dream car
- Dream vacations
- Everything works out perfectly, and we have the ideal life by the time we hit “the magic age”
But the biggest question is, what’s that magic age? Because you sure haven’t hit it yet, right?
The degree was great … until you found out you hated the jobs that went along with it.
The marriage worked … for a while.
The kids are off and doing their things … leaving you footing the bill for attempting to get them into the best schools, and paying for it once they got there.
The dream home and the dream car are all mortgaged to the hilt, with the economy teasing that it may never give you that promised appreciation your parents saw while you were growing up.
Raises? Retirement? Returns? Oh, my. Yep, they may just be myths for all we know.
Yet down the street, The Joneses seem to be doing very well. They vacation all over the world. They always seem so happy. They just bought a second house somewhere…
Why can’t that streak of good luck find you?
Just like every generation before us, we have our share of obstacles in our path. And in most cases, we let the movers and shakers – the people that seem to navigate the path exceptionally well – guide us to several lies that continue to do more damage than good.
If we’re going to successfully navigate our second acts, we need to stop believing these lies right now:
1. I’m The Only One Struggling
Remember how tough your 20s were? Or your 30s? Or 40S? Why should your 50s be any easier?
In truth, our lives are filled with ups and downs. The downs make us appreciate the ups and put our greatest strengths more in focus. We have ups and downs to learn what makes us who we are.
Let’s face it; it would be a pretty boring world if everything were always at the top, being “perfect” every step of the way. Struggles build character. And while you may wish the character building would stop once in a while, acknowledging your struggles and using them to guide you to the next phase can help make things clearer.
Too many 50-somethings are busy trying to create the illusion of a perfect image without perfecting the image they hold deep within.
The Joneses don’t count. And at 50-something, it’s time to let the Joneses slip away. This is about you. No one’s life is amazing. No one exists without struggles and holdbacks.
It’s how we approach them that matters most. And hopefully by our 50s, we are willing to do that with style and grace … and a smile along the way.
2. I Should Be More Successful
It’s easy to compare yourself with others. After all, if the Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs can all do it, you should be able to as well. Why haven’t you achieved all you have with your career? Why haven’t you started the business you’ve always dreamed about? Why don’t you have bank accounts filled with riches?
Success isn’t about sprinting to the finish line in a matter of weeks or months. Think of it as an Ironman marathon, something you work towards your entire life.
Your 20s may have provided you with building endurance and gaining skills. Your 30s may have provided you with clarification and mobility. Even your 40s helped you gain perspective by deciding what works and what doesn’t, often helping you change your path again and again.
Now, as you enter your 50s, it’s not a matter of asking where success has been hiding. Instead, it should all be about taking your success to new levels.
Your marathon is now in full drive. You have what it takes to make a change and tweak your skills. If only you’re willing to say “yes.”
3. I Am A Failure
No matter how bad it gets, others have walked in your shoes. Think you’re the only one filing for bankruptcy? Around 1.25 million Americans do so every year. Over 96 percent of all businesses formed will close down within the first ten years. And if you choose to get married (almost 90 percent of us do), there is close to a 50 percent chance it will end in divorce.
Imagine if every single one of those people facing any of these situations gave up.
Not much left in the world, right?
Instead, we see 50, 60, 70, even people 80 years and older getting degrees and starting new careers. One of the fastest growing demographics for starting up a new business is with people over the age of 65. And marriage? Who says you can’t find love again no matter what your age?
You get one shot at this thing we call life. And you’re living it right now. It has little to do with what we’ve accomplished up to this point in our lives, and is more about how we can use what we’ve accumulated and use it to build towards a stronger future.
There’s only one way to achieve success in your 50s – to begin doing so today.
Here’s my challenge to you this week:
Have you believed one of the three lies from above? Find the language to turn those lies upside down. Where have you found your successes? How can you use those successes to build your future?
It may be time for a little reinvention!