Your life chapters: the best is yet to come!
Posted on February 01, 2023 by Martin Krafft, One of Thousands of Business Coaches on Noomii.
What made us successful in the past will almost certainly not lead us to our best future. Each chapter in our lives has its own significance and focus
A concept that has been guiding my life’s journey over the last couple of years and which I experience frequently with clients in their 40s is that of our different life stages.
In my mid 40s, I was struggling personally and professionally, when I noticed that there was a tectonic shift of my preferences, choices, and passions. Initially, I could ignore it, sedate it, push it back. But the realization always came back. Each time more frequent and more obvious. What motivated me and got me out of bed in my 20s and 30s faded away and became rapidly less appealing. Since I thought something was just off with me, I kept trying harder … just to get less results (and even lesser satisfaction!) out of it. It was a really frustrating period.
It suddenly all came together and started to make sense, when I came across Harvard Prof. Arthur Brooks’ work about the different stages of life. Hinduism, for instance, divides our life into 4 stages of 25 years each, the ashramas:
In the first stage, Brahmacharya, we arrive in the world and learn.
In the next chapter, Grihastha, we build a career, accumulate wealth, and build a family.
This is followed by Vanaprashtha (‘retiring into the forest’), where we pull back from old personal and professional duties; become increasingly devoted to spirituality, wisdom, and teaching.
In the final stage, Sannyasa, we find enlightenment in the moment we realize that we are the self, not our body, but infinite truth.
Now, while I wasn’t aware about the concept at the time, I had lived through the transition from the second to the third stage. But instead of grieving my loss, my decline in productivity, I soon realized that my new found interests could be my guiding light and gift to others, if deployed prudently and intentionally.
Simultaneously, I figured out, that the new chapter can only begin, if we allow the previous one to close in dignity and thankfulness. And this is, where I see many successful high achievers struggle: our addiction to work and success, the attachment to worldly rewards, and the fear of our physical and mental decline, keep us going mindlessly. The hamster wheel keeps spinning …. but the hamster has long lost his/her mojo. The race has become a mindless routine.
In order to exit the hamster wheel in dignity and fulfilment, Prof. Brooks’ work led me to realize that its important in that transition to develop our relationships, to start a spiritual (not necessarily religious!) journey, and to embrace our weaknesses with dignity and serenity. That way, the second half of our life and each subsequent day can be a present to ourselves and those around us.
If any of this sounds remotely familiar and should you be interested to explore this further, I invite you to the safe space of a coaching conversation, where through reflective enquiry you will be your own guide to your best life imaginable: the best is yet to come!