So you’ve started a new venture and your enthusiasm was off the charts. Everything was humming… until now. You’re discouraged. You’re questioning if this is what you should be doing with your life, let alone at just this moment.
It might even feel a bit like a mid-life crisis. Or to be more accurate, a mid-purpose crisis.
I’ve been there. Actually, a lot of times—enough to recognize the symptoms when they hit me:
- You have no clear sense of purpose. You’ve been on fire before—but now you’re not so sure if what you’re doing really matters. You’d like to know what hill to take so you can feel like you’re making a difference again.
- You don’t feel like your career is making the progress it should. You look back over the year and wonder what traction you’ve made, or maybe even feel that you are regressing altogether. You thought you’d be farther along than you are. And it doesn’t help to look at your peers and the success they appear to be having in their careers. Secretly, you’re jealous. Or mad.
- You are feeling overlooked, unwanted, and unneeded.You offer to run that meeting, but your partner at the firm says “Don’t worry about it, Bob’s got it.” You can’t remember the last time anyone said “You did a really great job with that client.” You get the impression that if you left, you wouldn’t be missed. Or in your darker moments, that your colleagues would actually be better off.
- You have a sense of futility. What used to bring you joy about your work doesn’t anymore. The opportunities that you’ve pinned your hopes on don’t ever pan out. Increasingly, it seems, the world is conspiring against you. You can identify with Robert Orben’s gallows humor: “Sometimes I get the feeling that the whole world is against me, but deep down I know that’s not true. Some of the smaller countries are neutral.”
- You have a sense of hopelessness. When you sum it up, you’re feeling hopeless, with little to look forward to, and uncertainty about what to do about it.
Can you identify? If so, don’t give up. This mid-purpose crisis you’re experiencing is a powerful springboard to recovering your purpose. We’ll look at how to get there in the next post.
Comment below: If you’ve ever been in a mid-purpose crisis—or maybe you’re in one now!—what’s one thing that defined that time period for you?