Purposeful living after 50 is more about action than ideas. Many of us beat ourselves up trying to find purpose in life as we age when really we should just be living. Today we share insights and life hacks for purposeful living, plus “5 ways to achieve your goals” to help you live with more purpose.
The Art of Purposeful Living
Let me tell you a story.
I was lucky to attend a Rotary WA Joint District Conference last weekend, held at the beautiful Optus Stadium in the Riverview Room overlooking the serene Swan River.
The Rotary conference theme was “Opportunities to kick goals” (it was held at our beautiful football stadium in Perth after all!) and I showed up thinking it would be a fun way to meet people, and hear about some truly world changing fundraising opportunities and ideas.
It didn’t take me long to realise that the theme of the event and some of the content of the keynotes, were also applicable to life in general, particularly how to find purpose in life and achieve more, not less, as we age .
Finding purpose as an empty nester
I’m not saying that raising children was my only purpose, but it was a big part of being useful. Nurturing, caring, imparting knowledge and running a household gave me purpose, as did writing and sharing freelance travel stories from around the world.
Then when the children left home and I became an empty nester, one of the constant questions that popped up was: “What is my Purpose?” because back then freelancing as a travel writer was not fulfilling my deep seated needs.
It’s all too easy to lose one’s way when our children leave home because life has been busy and meaningful and we have been very much needed, very much consumed with getting on with life whatever it throws at us.
I imagine this is much the same if you’ve spent most of your life working long hours for a company or in your own business – your purpose has really been defined as a need to earn a living.
Now perhaps after the age of 50 many people have peaked in their careers or otherwise they are easing into a comfort zone, or a semi-retirement phase in which we look forward to our favourite TV programmes, do a bit of gardening, and walk the dog (among other things). The danger is that when we stop kicking goals, and stop being as active, we can begin doubting our life purpose.
I’m not saying we should run around like headless hares and adopt the endless ‘too busy’ option because then we let go of so many of life’s bounties that come with getting older. Such as; the time to choose what we really want to do, the time to give to others, the time to be more creative, and possibly the time to spend with grandchildren.
In essence these are all goals, soft ones compared to the corporate world I know, but they should be incorporated into a strategy to live with purpose so that you feel as if you are making a difference – you should be kicking goals of some nature because this in itself breeds activity and life purpose = action.
Together Everyone Achieves More
As we get older it’s ever more important to stay involved with life and also our communities.
Speaking at the Rotary Conference, Louise Giolitto (CEO, Western Australian Council of Social Service) said that over recent years there’s been an increase in disconnection, loneliness and self isolation.
Despite the social aspect of social media, we are interacting less. It’s crazy.
So much so that loneliness, disconnect and isolation are now considered cancers of modern society.
With that must run a deep undercurrent of lack of a purpose driven life and it needs to be remedied.
Somehow, and it isn’t always easy, we need to stay connected as we get older. Joining clubs, making a point to have coffee with a friend – these things might not come naturally, but we have to make an effort to keep meeting new people, and maintain friendships with old friends.
We need to remember as we get older that everything we do opens up a new opportunity for us and others, and this is so true of the opportunities with Rotary.
As an international entity with clubs all around the world Rotary has the capacity of numbers to achieve more, whether it be for the community or an individual or both. It was enlightening to hear about the amazing humanitarian projects Rotary clubs in WA are involved in and it made me realise that together we achieve more to help others – and in doing so we find purpose in life too.
We laughed, we shed tears, and yes we ate, drank and made merry too. I found out that social enterprise in all its guises is not dull and in the words of the founder of Rotary …
“He profits most who serves best.”Paul Harris (Founder of Rotary)
Some of the key takeaways from the conference speakers tied in with how to achieve goals as an individual.
5 Ways to Achieve Your Goals and Find More Purpose
- Have clarity of purpose.
- Be open to reinvent yourself.
- Don’t have assumptions – they will hold you back.
- Focus on what you can do.
- Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter twenty.
Personal Benefits from Volunteering
Dr. Michael Chaney AO (Chairman, Wesfarmers Limited) gave a presentation entitled: “Serving others – a personal and corporate perspective.”
Michael touched on the benefits of volunteering, and said there have been many studies to suggest that it can bring more meaning and purpose to your life.
“Helping others can promote happiness, increase a sense of belonging, give you a sense of purpose, promote higher self esteem and create friendships. People who volunteer tend to live longer, stress less and be more optimistic. ”Michael Chaney
Popular author and blogger Mark Manson has this to say:
“You’re not going to fix the world’s problems by yourself. But you can contribute and make a difference. And that feeling of making a difference is ultimately what’s most important for your own happiness and fulfillment.”Mark Manson – 7 strange questions that help you find your life purpose
Have you read Mark Manson’s Best-Selling Book : The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck?
Health Direct says that volunteering can …
- give you a sense of achievement and purpose
- help you feel part of a community
- help you feel better about yourself by improving your self-esteem and confidence
- help you share your skills, learn new skills and create a better work-life balance
- help combat stress, loneliness and social isolation, and depression.
- help you meet new people, which can help you feel more connected and valued.
Achieve More by Dreaming Big
He said, “Build a dream and the dream will build you.”
Cam was born with cerebral palsy, but this hasn’t hampered him.
He says that ‘life has been “normal” for him since birth and his life would have carried on in whatever direction he chose to take it.
He’s used the challenges he’s been presented with to live the life he really wants to lead.
He took action, and through action he found passion, and through passion he found purpose in life.
“The fact that Cam chose to extend himself way out of his comfort zone to have done the two things doctors said he would never be able to do, and to a very high level (running & speaking) means the message he delivers is very powerful and unique.”Cam Kalkoen
Find Purpose in Life
Cam is a leading example in getting off your backside and finding purpose in life by taking action.
His keynote speech was full of pithy take away inspiration and quotations, which have a direct impact on living a purposeful life, and included the following takeaways:-
- “Leverage opportunities and challenges to exceed expectations.”
- “Decide who you are going to be. Focus on the long term result, not the short term issues.”
- “Words influence how we feel and what we can achieve.”
- “Assumptions will hold you back.”
- “Focus on what you can do.”
- “Stories touch hearts. You touch a heart – you open a wallet.”
Check out his TEDx talk on YouTube here …
Achieving More and Being More Purposeful
Samantha Fewster, Chair Rotaract 2020/21 spoke about the Future of Rotary and reflected on the first 100 years of Rotary International in Australia.
Among other things she said that we shouldn’t compare our chapter one to someone else’s chapter twenty. We tend to forget this, yet it is so important in whatever we choose to do in life because we are all at different stages in our life journey and comparison inhibits achievement.
Samantha also said that each opportunity you take will give you so much more in return, and she quoted Claude McDonald and Charles d Gill:-
- “Opportunity is a bird that never perches.” Claude McDonald
- “There are many wonderful things that will never be done unless you do them.” Charles d. Gill
Again we see that through opening up to opportunities and taking action our world expands, so that more purposeful living is the result.
Connect with Samantha on Instagram : @sam.atthedisco
What is a Social Enterprise?
Perhaps you might find more purpose in life by starting up a social enterprise. Maybe doing something that you are passionate about, something that will help change the world in a big or a small way.
But what exactly is a social enterprise?
It’s a business that exists to deliver a social, cultural or environmental impact. It derives revenue from trading. It might reinvest profit in social good, or be an NFP with a trading arm, or both.
I hope this post about living a purposeful life after 50 has inspired you to think about your own life. I’d like to end with two questions …
Are you living a purposeful life?
Do you have any tips for more purposeful living?
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