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Pick of the Week! 3/16/98

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Article of the Month - March, 2006

      Over Forty? Give yourself permission now to follow your heart; it may save your life

      By Craig Nathanson
      The Vocational Coach™

      There isn’t a better time

      Have you defined and written down exactly what you want in your vocational life? Have you talked about it with others? Now is a perfect time to follow your heart and become a magnet for your dreams.

      Give yourself permission to live the life you choose

      This is harder than you might think. There are many obstacles to cross before doing the work you love. These include financial concerns, relationship concerns and family concerns; the list is endless.

      Your life is not endless

      At forty, we suddenly realize that our life has a finite length. So what better time could there be to create a more fulfilling and meaningful second half of your life?

      Examine your beliefs

      Are your beliefs helping you or holding you back? Go ahead and make a list of the beliefs you hold about yourself. Change the beliefs right now that are not helpful for the next stage of your life journey.

      Look at yourself as a product

      There is no product you’ll feel better about selling than you. What are your best features? Who would benefit from using your best features? Who is the best audience for your services and or products?

      Build your support network now

      Making changes to your life cannot be done in isolation. Building a support network can provide you with the support you will need to attain your goals.

      A three tier approach:

      The bottom third of the tier is made up of “interested people”. These are people who you know are interested in your work. They make you feel good to just be around them. You should have 15-20 of these people in your network People in the middle-second tier are your “supporters”. These are the people who not only take interest in your work but they come up with ideas to help move you forward. You should have 6-10 of these people in your network. People in the top tier are your “believers”. This tier includes your most active supporters. These people provide tangible assistance and bring new referrals and new ideas. A couple of these folks are a great asset.

      The tough part

      Actually giving yourself permission will be the toughest job you have ever had. Why? We don’t usually do it. Perhaps just asking yourself what you are grateful for in your life might lend a new perspective.

      It might just save your life

      I was driving home one night from teaching my college class. Going down a steep hill very fast a sudden overwhelming sadness came over me. I felt empty. This particular night I was driving home with no money and just enough gas to make it home. I had placed the car in neutral down the hill to save gas. I thought to myself, “What if my students knew this?” I felt paralyzed. The divorce, my son in residential treatment for a drug addiction, the suicide of my father less than 2 years before, the custody battle, bankruptcy, the loneliness; these were just a few of my challenges at the time. For what seemed like minutes but was probably only a split-second, I felt my hand starting to steer the car to the right and pondered going over the cliff. I never had this thought before. Suddenly I thought; who would be there to help my son through his difficult challenge? Who would be there for my daughter in college and her wonderful daily calls home for more money? And the special time with my youngest son. Where would our special weekends go? And what about a future relationship with someone to love and give love to? And my students, my clients and their challenges? Who would benefit from my on-going work? I decided right there that my life was worth living and was suddenly grateful for the rich life I did have despite my current challenges. In that spilt second, I gave myself permission to live.

      I can’t help thinking that my father might still be alive today if he had thought about what he had to be grateful for and had found a passion for the second half of his life.

      Ten steps to move forward with your dreams

        1) Talk about your vocational passion with others.
        2) Build the life you want into your daily routine.
        3) Start with five minutes a day to make it a habit.
        4) Make it a priority each and every day.
        5) Study others who are living the life you seek.
        6) Celebrate any progress.
        7) Have a quiet confidence.
        8) Get enough sleep, enough exercise and eat right!
        9) Have fun and enjoy the process.
        10) Become the person you are!

      Give yourself permission now; it may save your life

      Craig Nathanson is the author of P Is For Perfect: Your Perfect Vocational Day and a coaching expert who works with people over forty. Craig’s second book is due out at the end of 2006 —

      Don’t just retire and die. Craig’s systematic approach, the trademark "Ten P" model, helps people break free and move toward the work they love.
      Visit Craig’s online community at where you can sign up for a class, private coaching, purchase Craig’s products or you can read other stories of mid-life change and renewal.
      Craig’s office is located at:
      7960 Brentwood Blvd, Suite D in Brentwood, Ca.
      Craig can be reached at 240-0770 or

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