The most common myth I’ve come across in life coaching is that: “it’s too late to change my life“.
Well, this is almost always not true!
I have seen some clients and surely, potential clients who ‘devote’ their lives to someone else. It’s often their children, their husband/wife, caring their parents, or simply their jobs (that they don’t like but have to do for income). Does this sound familiar to you? Many of these people devote their lives for different reasons. It’s out of love to their children, out of love to their parents, and for some cases, simply because of no choice.
There is nothing wrong with this devotion. Indeed, this kind of ‘devotion’ or even ‘sacrifice’ is socially respected and even implicitly encouraged in some cultures. The only issue with this kind of devotion is that the person will be drifting in his/her life as long as the devotion is going on. The person will only wake up when the devotion is no longer needed, such as when children have grown up, or parents have passed away. When that moment comes, the person will suddenly find himself ‘lost’ because the target of devotion is gone. What’s next?
For example, many parents suffer the syndrome of ’empty nests’ because the target of their devotion is gone: kids grown up and leave home. This is natural and no big deal. Most parents will re-focus on themselves more or re-focus on their career; time to enjoy holidays without kids! Yes, this is how it should be; a natural transition in our lives.
I came across some potential clients and even some friends who are in such a situation. They may be glad that they are finally themselves (if they realise!). This realisation is often followed by a lament that: “OK, it seems this is it; this is my life.” The big question is: What do you do about this?
One type of people will say: “OK, this is my life. Since I’m approaching the retirement age (such as 65), I will just keep doing what I’m doing. This is it.” Believe it or not, most people will choose this path because:
(1) They are lost: they have been drifting in their lives for so long that they don’t know which path to take when there are choices. The easiest path is to keep doing what they have been doing.
(2) They don’t think they can do anything else because either they don’t know how, or they have no motivations to change. “What new stuff can I possibly do at the age of 57?“, a person asked me.
(3) They are concerned of how other people see them because they feel inferior when they compare themselves with their peers.
(4) They have tried something in the past and that didn’t work out well. “Why should I risk at this age?”
Well, when I face such a situation in coaching I usually tell the client that there are two possible choices. One is to do something NOW with no regrets in the future, and the other is to do nothing and no worries. Trust me, the 2nd option is not nice because most people end up bitter and regret that they didn’t try when they had a chance.
This is particularly true for career. Some people may have sacrificed their younger life for something (most commonly caring children for women, or caring parents). When they are finally free at the middle age or after 50, many of them sit on jobs mostly for the sake of the income. Take a mental picture of this situation and fast-forward time by some 15 years. The most possible situation is that these people may still in similar situations, but 15 years older; time to retire and the sun is setting in their lives.
So, when the sun is setting, what can we expect? Hmmm… this is not a science question, but a life question. You may see the sunset, but I see the stars and the sunrise when the darkness starts. Stars only shine at night because that’s their time to shine. You are always a star, if you know when you can shine and you give yourself an opportunity to shine. It’s never too late to do something to your life. It may be too late to become a CEO of a Fortune 500 company for you in this life, but you certainly can try to enjoy your career and life more. Your life is not defined by your work title; it’s defined by what you’ve done for yourself.
Sunset is actually more beautiful than broad daylight, so what’s the issue when you face the sunset of your life? No issues at all; it’s just the beginning of something different and something new. Give yourself an opportunity because we only live once. ^_<
Dr. C. Richard Wu @ REEAConsulting.com
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