The biggest problem I hear from my friends over 50 is: “What next?”
Let me reassure you that you are not alone. In fact, there comes a time in one’s career and life that the passion we had at the beginning shifts. The shift can be in any direction; however it seems that there is a growing sense of fear, desperation and a sense of limitations when the shift feels stalled.
I know, having experienced the shift (a few times), and I have finally figured it out for myself. In my life, I was a “Hamptons to Hollywood Gift Bag Guru” (go to Madison & Mulholland: http://www.madisonandmulholland.com), a successful Beauty/Internet Public Relations executive with my own firm in Manhattan, a former producer at Good Morning America, Dow Jones, Regis Philbin and Entertainment Tonight, and have recently gone for my fourth act: A partner in a new company, OpenEDUTalk, which connects celebrities, athletes, author and speakers to classrooms worldwide via Skype (http://openedutalk.com). In addition, I’m on the faculty at NYU’s Fashion Institute of Technology and recently wrote and released the e-book 52 Things U Want to Know So U Don’t End Up On Your Parent’s Couch (check out my website: 52thingsUwant.com) and an expert in creating online passive income (Phew!).
Here, my seven ideas to fast track yourself onto the “What next?” stage of your life.
1. Positioning Yourself + Mindset
Make a decision that you are excited about this next phase (hint: pretend if you have to). Start saying to yourself (and the universe and anyone else who might be listening)
“Show me what to do next” or “I am completely open to new ideas and if anyone (or the universe) is listening bring it on…. and let me be wise enough to recognize what my next step should be.” Or you can say, “I’m open to receiving what is best for me.” Certainly the words are your own, but you get the idea.
You can start changing your feelings by changing your mindset. You want to transition from feeling desperate about where you’re at now…. to being excited. This process actually raises your internal and external energy level.
2. Reality Check
Make a list of five to ten things that put you into the “Zone.” I’m a painter, so when I’m painting or teaching, I get into a place I love and time ceases to exist. This is when I know I’m in complete alignment with what I should be doing.
3. Check your list to see if any patterns emerge. Be creative. Patterns are just repetitive “themes.” For example, if “travel” or “talking or teaching” keeps coming up for you…take note.
4. When you hit that sweet-spot, where something feels intuitively “right” or in alignment, start researching that idea or that area of interest. Make a detailed list of your skills and expertise.
5. Connect the dots. Sit down and look at your strengths and how they can fit into the kind of industry that you want to work in with the expert abilities you already possess. If you’re thinking, “What skills do I possess?” ask others as they might be able to enlighten you to the things that you are great at.
There is a way for you to begin a new life — and make money by offering your expertise to others. The question is: Can you “spin or tweak” your skill set to fit your area of interest?
6. Network like hell. Ask everyone you know in that area how they feel your skill set could be an asset. What comes easy to you can be extremely difficult and painful for others. Your skill set can solve other people’s problems.
7. Do not listen to negative people, or those mini negative little voices in your head or to anyone else who wants to sabotage your dreams. You must create boundaries and say to yourself, “I will not allow anyone into my life that does not love me or respect me.” (Put on “Torch Song Trilogy” by Harvey Fierstein if you need some motivation.)
Final Thought: If you don’t do it today, you’ll be sorry in the morning, or the next day, or the day after that. Time is the one thing you cannot get back.