Do you feel like you’re stuck in your career or a venture you once thought had so much promise? In my last post, I shared some of the key indicators I’ve noticed in myself when I’ve lost my sense of purpose. It’s one thing to notice you’re having a mid-purpose crisis, it’s another to know what to do about it.
When that happens to you, when you’re feeling discouraged or confused, some simple steps can help you recover your vitality or give you a fresh perspective on what to do next. Consider this your 7-step guide for a self-intervention:
- Awareness. As with any intervention, awareness of your situation is the first step. You’re reading this post, presumably because you can identify with the symptoms of a mid-purpose crisis. But awareness is not a binary thing that you either have or don’t have, it’s a skill that you can develop. As you grow in self-awareness, you’re more likely to recognize when things are going off-course, allowing you to take corrective action before things reach crisis level. Here are five ways to grow this skill.
- Volition. One of the primary driving emotions in crisis is a sense of hopelessness—the feeling that you’re in a cul-de-sac without a path forward. It’s vital that you reclaim your power of choice. No matter what got you here, you always have a choice about your future. How you spend it is up to you. It always has been. You are not a victim.
- Clarity. This is not clarity about your future, but your present. In choosing for the future, you cannot ignore the realities of the present. What behaviors or choices did you make to contribute to your present situation? What factors outside your control made a difference? What can you learn from these?
- Forgiveness. Gaining a clear-eyed view on how you got here may unleash a need to forgive yourself and/or others. Nothing in your past can be changed, but you can change the power it has over you to limit your future. As Anne Lamott puts it, “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.” Forgiveness is how you put your past behind you.
- Focus. Your best work today is what you can do today. It may sound trite, but when you put an unrealistic expectation on yourself to map out your future, you operate out of anxiety and not trust. It’s an exercise unlikely to yield anything positive and more likely to extend the crisis. When you’re feeling confused or alone in your pursuits, remember that you don’t need clarity about the big picture, just enough for what you need to do today. And you already have everything you need to make the best next choice for your life.
- Resolve. Make every choice with the conviction of resolve: that you must do it. You have many options for your future, but your choices, once made, should not be optional. Know that once you choose, you will follow through—no matter what it takes. Having that level of resolve not only gives you a greater chance of success, but it hones your decision-making, knowing that every decision you make must be met with that same do-or-die conviction.
- Detoxify. It’s easy to let shame have a seat at the table. This is the time to evict every self-generated negative word that robs you of your vitality. Your best decisions about your future are made from truth about who you are and who you are called to be, not believing the lies that fear or failure may be telling you.
Your self-intervention may some take time. Don’t rush it. That’s anxiety kicking in. Rather trust that this work is important because you are important. What emerges from it will better equip you for your next chapter, whether that’s in an entirely new direction, or just a fresh page in your present venture.
Comment below: What has been most helpful to you when you’ve been in a mid-purpose crisis?