A few months ago I made a career move. I embarked on a journey to dedicate myself to changing how we see ageing and to help co-create alternative models that are better suited to an age of longevity. I stepped into this full of passion, belief and conviction. I also stepped into the unknown, after all, I am helping to create something new. There is also the sense of missing the "certainty" of a regular income and the seeming security of being part of a bigger organisation.
Over the past months I have had regular moments of fear and uncertainty. Questioning myself whether what I am doing is in fact valuable and whether I can make it work for myself and others around me. Having recently turned forty, and reflecting on achievements in my life, I found myself questioning my success. Using all the socially constructed images of success and identity, such as a job title, an association with a recognised organisation, possession of assets, etc., I wondered whether I was (am) doing the "right" thing.
Despite these feelings, I keep going. Keep refining my story, testing it with customers, peers and stakeholders, and embracing their frank feedback. Slowly the conversations have become easier and the intent of my work is becoming clear and relevant to those I speak with. Yet, I'd be lying if I said the moments of fear are no longer there.
Then the other day, I had a realisation that has grounded me. I realised that because I have chosen a purpose driven path, I can no longer rely on the props and constructs that I'd used in the past as evidence of my success. All I can rely on now is myself to determine my identity and sense of success. I can no longer use external markers because they don't count when you follow your purpose seek disruptive change.
I have chosen to follow my passion and what I believe is my purpose, because I had to (and wanted to), to be true to myself. The difficulty in the past months, has been realising that judging myself on irrelevant external markers just doesn't work. What drives me is creating a different future where we talk about, and experience ageing differently. Doing that and impacting the lives of people as they age will be my markers.
I believe this is what it feels like to live a purposeful life. It is no longer about titles and assets, but about having faith that I will make a difference. As hard as I find it at times, I wouldn't have it any other way.