Creative freedom beyond your midcareer malaise
The dreaded question of any ambitious mid-careerist: Is this it? Is this all there is?
We may wonder about the paths not taken.
We’re social creatures, living in social systems, and we’re often rewarded for doing things that don’t light us up or leverage our unique set of strengths. The promise or reality of success, security, status.
We overwork, make ourselves smaller or superior, compromise our true values, ignore deep desires.
Our identities and sense of basic goodness can rest on achievements that have more to do with what others (people, industries, institutions) need, want or know as good, less to do with our strongest drivers.
Supporting our families may feel like enough. For many it doesn’t.
Enter midlife malaise. AKA languishing and quiet quitting, which can happen at any career stage.
Usually what follows is semi-resignation or some kind of “fix.” We change jobs or industries. We create work-life balance and spend time with family or explore personal interests. We start our own business. We spend more time giving back, more money on philanthropy.
Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. We can be healthier, more at peace and altruistic without being “lit up.”
The question becomes, do we want to be?
Who are we to feel passionate in our ripe middle age?
Enormous levels of energy, talent, inspiration and wellness are left on the table when we buy the lie that we need to give up parts of ourselves to be acceptable or successful — and likewise when we resign to being “used up.”
Self compromise is the obvious path to success when we’ve made it a habit.
Is this it? Only if you say so.
A joyful, self actualizing path heals our midcareer malaise.
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