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Jan 06

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Getting Clear in the Midlife Transition by avoiding Shoulds

Sometimes it’s hard to get clear about what we really want because there are so many SHOULDS that it’s hard to distinguish what voice to listen to.

Do you know what you really want? You may have difficulty with this question because the answer is hidden deep within you buried beneath a sea of shoulds.
Most people make decisions about their life and work based on what is generally considered “right” and “good.” What they think they are supposed to do – living from the outside in: letting others people’s expectations rule your life. You do what you do because that’s what you have been told to do. It’s a good recipe for frustration and stress.

Here’s an example from my own life:
Midlife Transition – Reinvention Dr. Toni LaMotta

In the original Chicken Soup for the Soul, there is a story about Monty, who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer of little means. During his senior year he was assigned a writing project to describe what he wanted to be when he grew up. His seven-page essay minutely detailed the 200-acre ranch he wanted to own. It included a diagram of the ranch and a detailed floor plan of his 4,000 square foot home.
Despite the passion and effort Monty put into his paper, he received it back with a large “F” written on it and a note to see the teacher after class. The teacher told Monty that the reason he had given him that grade was because his paper was unrealistic. He went on to cite all of the reasons why, and told Monty that if he would rewrite the paper with a more realistic goal, he would reconsider the grade. After considering it for a week, the young man turned in the same paper with no changes, along with the remark, “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”

How many of us have had the courage to go against what someone else thought we should do in life?

The conclusion of the Monty’s true story has the teacher bringing 30 students for a summer campout at the 200-acre ranch of the now grown (and successful) Monty who lives in his 4,000 square foot dream home.
Ask yourself with EVERYTHING you do – does this make me HAPPY? Or am I doing it because I think someone else will be happy? It’s an important distinction
Recognize that to be happy, you must live the life that you truly want to live. It’s your life and you are the only one who can truly determine what is right for you. There is no tragedy in shooting for your dreams; the tragedy is in looking back on your life and saying “I wish I’d ?”.

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