By Laura Willis
Are you at that point in life where you’re ready to take a step in a new direction, but you don’t know what that is? I find that there are 2 main blocks that get in the way:
If you’re in group 1, you’re in luck! It’s a little easier to hone in on what you are most excited to pursue by creating a rating system of sorts. If you’re in group 2, you have the answers within you, it might take a little more work but you can do it!
First you need to Clear the Decks:
If you’re in a state of frustration, overwhelm or heaviness, you can’t see the possibilities. For me, there was negative self-talk to deal with. I questioned if I was too old to start something new. Plus, I had come through a couple of years of intense loss –almost an entire generation in my family and then some. My heart felt closed. I realized I had to get myself in a more positive open state. Here are some things you can try:
–Learn to meditate –I like guided meditations
–Breathe! –use simple breathing techniques to help calm and focus
–Get out in nature –notice sights, sounds, smells and feelings of being in it
–Start a daily gratitude journal –write at least 1 thing in it every night before bed, or in the morning or both – the more the better
– Try something new –a dance class, gentle yoga, an art or craft
–Take a different route to work or the store – get out of your routine
–Spend time with pets or look at happy baby or baby animal videos – studies show this actually boosts “dopamine”the “feel good”chemical in your brain
Next. Tune Into how your body feels.
This might sound weird, but your body can be a gauge to know if you are connected to a passion and to identify which direction you are most passionate about.
Science has discovered that your heart has more sensory neurons than your brain does. In addition, your feelings and emotions come from the inner part of the brain called the “limbic” brain, but it’s not where your language comes from. So in order to tune-in to what you’re most passionate about you have to create an awareness in your body to be your gauge. Try tuning in when you are doing something that’s pure fun for you to do, or if you’re with a person you love, like a child or grandchild. Where do you feel it in your body? For me, my blood pressure goes up, in a good way. I get “excited” butterflies in my stomach. I stand or sit up straighter, and tend to talk faster. My face lights up. Some people feel it in one specific part of their body, and others experience a sense of calm, ease or flow. Notice and then document this feeling and what made you feel this way.
Once you clear the decks, and tune in, it’s amazing at how the ideas flow! Things around you start to inspire you –magazine articles, something you see on TV, conversations you have with people or an event you attend. One of my clients, Stephanie Woods(thesingingbowllady.com) was inspired by a performance of what they call “singing bowls”and fell in love with learning about their properties, how to play them and how to help people to go into a deeper state of relaxation to relieve stress and anxiety.
Now you can start to play on “fantasy island”(remember that TV show where people went to an island to live out a fantasy?) and make a list of all the things you’ve ever thought about doing. Nothing held back, no limits, no judgments. When you put on paper as many things as you can, you can see the possibilities.
Then go back and start to rank or rate them (1-10) based on the feelings you have about them, vs. overthinking. I use several other exercises with clients and will share some of them here in future articles with stories to illustrate them.
The good news is your passion is inside you! It’s been there all along! You just have to reconnect with it so it can guide you in the next phase of your life.
About the Author: Laura Willis is a brand positioning expert and strategist, who has created award winning web and print communications to help local, national and global companies, stand apart from the competition for over 25 years in advertising agencies and mid to large corporations in the greater Boston area, as well as in her own business. With the launch of Encore Revolution (www.encorerevolution.com), Laura’s speaking engagements, educational programs and private coaching combine elements of her brand development process with personal growth and awareness work to inspire people to align with their deeper mission or purpose, give it an authentic voice and position them for greater success.
Reprinted from the June 2018 issue of the South Shore Senior News