Does it cross your mind that you would like to make a course change? I know and have worked with many people who have come to a place where it seems imperative that they make a course correction – even at midlife or later. It can be a hard decision, but one that brings great satisfaction.
I have been at Standing Rock Indian reservation to attend my nephew’s ordinations as an Episcopal priest to work on reconciliation and healing with the Indian nations. He will be living in Navajo land in Utah – it will not be easy with a wife and three kids. After a successful and grueling career as an attorney and state legislator (D- AL), he could not take the contentious politics anymore. He wanted to be a clearer force for positive change. He has made a midlife course change against the odds.
It is more important than ever that we pay attention to what is true to our nature, our soul, our greater calling and mission in life. Here are some signs that you may need to make a course correction.
YOU DON’T LOVE WHAT YOU DO
My nephew was a wonderful attorney – he loved solving complex problems and representing people who needed help. But then there were contentious politics and sometimes nefarious dealings that a polarized system of right and wrong and win and lose create. As a politician, he would be pulled in directions that didn’t always agree with his value system. He was fighting against his own beliefs and those of the system.
If your work doesn’t give you a lift, and you are dragging yourself to go through the motions, it’s time to consider making a change. While there are always ups and downs in work, if it no longer gives you the thrill of a challenge or the boost from a sense of accomplishment, it may be time to consider other options.
YOUR MIND AND BODY IS SUFFERING
Dealing with contentious politics is draining in any setting. When it keeps you awake, makes you feel physically ill with headaches, stomach or back aches, or mentally exhausted with a sense of dread, pay attention. My husband went through this when he decided to sell his business. He was in knots hating the conflict and contentious business dealings. Even though he was good at it – he’d had enough. My nephew did too.
Physical symptoms or emotional distress is often a sign that you need to consider making a change. Determine if it is a temporary situation or the new normal. Many people will suffer for years, even decades hoping that the situation will change, only to finally realize they are the ones who need to make a change. Don’t let yourself suffer endlessly, especially if you experience mental or physical symptoms of distress.
HEAR YOUR SOUL’S YEARNING
Do you have a sense that there is something more important or meaningful for you to do? My nephew has a servant’s heart. He was drawn to the ministry when he was young but was encouraged to go into law – the more secure and prestigious life path. Even though he was successful and good at it, it created a real internal conflict. Similarly, my husband navigated a successful career in business at the cost of his love of music. Both have now changed course to embrace their true passion, later in life.
Making a midlife or late-in-life course change can be risky. But my nephew and husband are thrilled to be aligned with what they love. Don’t ever think that it’s too late. Going to the seminary with a family was a hard decision that took a lot of work and sacrifice. My husband stepping away from high level employment to fully focus on launching his music career was also a risk. Both knew it’d be worth it to do what they love – against the odds.
SUPPORT WILL BE THERE
I was impressed with the outpouring of support for my nephew. Because he is undertaking something important, to help heal Native American’s inter-generational trauma at the hands of the church, he has people across the country offering support. From the Lakota Indians at Standing Rock, the Navajo Indians he will worked with, to seminary professors and other clergy, family and friends, people want this work to be successful. There is investment. Lee is also taking a risk to do something original, exploring the dialog of rhythm from Africa to the new world and back. It is complex and interesting. He has professionals in the music business helping him at every level.
When you are willing to take the leap to do something bold that needs to be done, people get on board. It’s clear, when you do the hard work to make something important happen, people notice. Let this be your permission slip to consider what you really want, trusting that there will be others helping to make it happen. You are the hope for our future.
Do you feel a pull to do something different – to make a course change? Consider these factors: if you don’t love what you do and have emotional and mental distress from staying the course, it is time for a change. Listen to your soul, your heart’s yearning and follow it, even against the odds. The more risk you take, the more hard work it takes, the more you will be matched with support. You can change course against the odds.
Does this sound like something you’d like to explore? My Transformation Coaching and Therapy is specifically designed to help support big and important changes. Reach out to www.spectrumtransformation.com and use my Free Consultation link to tell me your interest. I’d love to help you.