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Mid-life disappointment | What are your values?

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Are your best days behind you and all you have to look forward to is mid-life disappointment?

Physically
Mentally
Socially

Every area seems to be in decline!

You are in your 50s or is it your 60s?

An age where perhaps from here on in things are going to go downhill. Worse still you look back over your life with regret and disappointment with yourself. Neither what you’ve done nor what you’ve achieved makes you proud.

Maybe now you’ve experienced periods of ill health. Your memory seems to be nowhere near as good as before, maybe you’ve been forgetting people’s names. You feel fragile.

You’ve put on weight and try as hard as you have you don’t seem to be able to lose it.

Those career dreams and those big goals you set many years ago have failed to materialise and you’re asking yourself ‘is there any point trying to still achieve something with my life?

The real question that keeps reverberating around in your head is ‘What now for me?’

You have totally lost your sense of purpose and optimism about life or your future.

Welcome to Mid-life disappointment. Finally sticking your head above the parapet after years of mediocrity, stress and yes disappointment, rather than hiding from it, at last you’re questioning ‘now what?’

This is the point at which you cannot allow your negative mind to take over. Asking, ‘Is this it? Where did life go wrong? When did I make the choices that misdirected me?’ Worse you think to yourself that all you have to look forward to in the future is nothing but further mid-life disappointment.

See, what you’re meant to do when you have a mid-life crisis is buy a fast car, aren’t you? Well, I’ve always had fast cars. It’s not that. It’s the fear that you’re past your best. It’s the fear that the stuff you’ve done in the past is your best work.
Robbie Coltrane

But things don’t have to be like that.

As I approached my 50th birthday, the realization I had more years behind me than ahead woke me up from my autopilot daze.

My mind was in a spin of negativity.

I felt stuck and like nothing was going my way worried that the best years of my life were over. I looked back over my lifetime and recalled many memories, some exciting, some bringing a smile to my face, but others recalling missed opportunities or downturns in my life.

All of life’s big questions and fears pressed me down as though trapped under an incredible heavy weight. Everything made more difficult by a series of major health problems and scares.

I thought back to the days prior to my first retinal detachment, how busy my life was, how successful I had been. I thought I could take on the world that I could achieve anything. Now I just felt tired, frustrated, constantly competing against time. The clock was running down on my life. I was experiencing mid-life disappointment.

Once you realize you’re still alive and have a future ahead for you in spite of your disappointments and fears, you then have a chance of putting your midlife disappointment behind you.

A personal crisis forces you to re-evaluate yourself and your life. It also allows you to contemplate and determine the one thing that maybe you’ve never made a priority. Yourself. Maybe to this point you’ve always put your loved ones first. Or was it your work and your boss’s demands. One way or another you more than likely have done what you believed was best for others. Well now its time for you to come first.

If you ever needed guiding principles, this is the time you need them most. The key is to define your life values. Probably something you’ve never done before. Taking the time to determine your core values will introduce you to both your authentic self and your life priorities. The heart and soul of what really makes you tick.

Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
Dalai Lama

If you’re ready, lets discover your true values.

Determine Your Values

Our values are those things that we personally feel are important and fundamental to not just who we are, but the things that are right for us to do. Our values are the things we care about and strive for in life.  These are deeply held within us, and often, incredibly, we don’t know what our values are. Without this knowledge we are creating a life, like painting a portrait in a dark room.

Knowing what your values are provides you with the guiding light to find your life’s purpose, happiness, ultimately success and finally contentment at the end of your time, having achieved what you feel you were meant to achieve. Almost every great person found what their true values were, and know it was these that empowered their lives.

So I don’t care how old you are because what I know is that discovering your values will be one of the best things you’ve ever done, for yourself!

The right goals, dreams, and desires for us are simply the vehicles for fulfilling our values. If we don’t fulfil our values, we experience disappointment, emptiness.

When you don’t discover your values you lose your motivation, find yourself on auto pilot, wonder where time went, feel empty. This is the number one reason we experience mid-life disappointment.

So it’s time to discover what value system you have inside of you trying to direct you. What do you value in life?

If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values–that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Examine Your Deepest Values

I just want to get your head in to the mindset where you truly understand what your values are and what they mean to you. So ask yourself these questions:

1. Look at the goals that you are pursuing now. You have already started to look into the future and see those goals being achieved. Pick the most important words that come to mind. For example success, happiness, love, connection, passion, courage, recognition, power, trust etc.

(Answer this before you proceed)

2. Having done this , you will have started creating a list of deep values. Now ask ‘What is important to me about all these values?’ The answer will be a value that is even more important.

(Answer this before you proceed)

3. To move from mid-life disappointment to second life joy what words come to mind to describe your new successful and happy life?

(Answer this before you proceed)

Exercise 3: Values Identification Worksheet

Go through the following list and choose 28 values that you feel express who you are and that are important to you. Note that this is not a comprehensive list of values. You may add any that are not listed here.

Abundance
Acceptance
Accomplishment
Accountability
Accuracy
Achievement
Adaptability
Advancement
Adventure
Affection
Aggressiveness
Agility
Altruism
Assertiveness
Attractiveness
Availability
Awareness
Balance
Beauty
Belonging
Bliss
Boldness
Bravery
Brilliance
Calmness
Camaraderie
Capability
Caring
Challenge
Change
Charm
Chastity
Clarity
Cleanliness
Cleverness
Closeness
Collaboration
Comfort
Commitment
Communication
Community
Compassion
Competence
Competition
Concentration
Confidence
Conformity
Congruency
Content over fluff
Continuous Improvement
Control
Conviction
Cooperation
Courage
Courtesy
Creativity
Credibility
Curiosity
Decisiveness
Dependability
Desire
Determination
Discipline
Discovery
Diversity
Drive
Duty
Education
Effectiveness
Efficiency
Empathy
Equality
Excellence
Excitement
Extravagance
Extroversion
Exuberance
Fairness
Faith
Fame
Family
Fearlessness
Ferocity
Fitness
Flexibility
Focus
Fortitude
Freedom
Friendship
Frugality
Fun
Generosity
Goodness
Gratitude
Growth
Guidance
Happiness
Hard Work
Health
Heart
Heroism
Holiness
Honesty
Honor
Humility
Humor
Hygiene
Imagination
Independence
Influence
Ingenuity
Inner Peace
Innovation
Integrity
Intelligence
Intimacy
Intuition
Investing
Joy
Justice
Kindness
Knowledge
Leadership
Learning
Liberty
Logic
Love
Loyalty
Mastery
Maturity
Meaning
Merit
Mindfulness
Modesty
Money
Motivation
Neatness
Non-violence
Openness
Opportunity
Optimism
Order
Organization
Outcome
Orientation
Outstanding Service
Passion
Peace
Persistence
Personal Growth
Persuasiveness
Philanthropy
Pleasure
Poise
Popularity
Positive Attitude
Power
Practicality
Preparedness
Preservation
Privacy
Professionalism
Progress
Prosperity
Punctuality
Purity
Quality Quiet
Rationality
Recognition
Reliability
Religion
Resilience
Resourcefulness
Respect
Responsibility
Risk-Taking
Romance
Sacrifice
Safety
Satisfaction
Security
Self-control
Self-discipline
Selflessness
Seriousness
Service
Sexuality
Simplicity
Sincerity
Skill
Solitude
Speed
Spirit
Spirituality
Being spontaneous
Stability
Strength
Style
Success
Support
Supremacy
Sympathy
Synergy
Systemization
Teamwork
Thrift
Tidiness
Timeliness
Tolerance
Tradition
Tranquility
Trust
Truth
Uniqueness
Unity
Utility
Valor
Variety
Victory
Virtue
Vision
Vitality
Warmth
Wealth
Well-Being
Winning
Wisdom
Wittiness
Wonder
Youthfulness
Zeal

(Answer this before you proceed)

Having first selected the 28 that resonated with you now reduce them down by selecting the 12 which you feel matter the most to you, for now don’t worry about the order.

(Answer this before you proceed)

Prioritizing Your Values

The next step is to prioritize your list. Which of these values is truly the most important to you in life? If you could only satisfy one of these values, which one would it be? The answer to this question is your number one value. Then move down the list and ask which remaining value is the next most important to you, and so on, until you’ve sorted the whole list in priority order.

(Answer this before you proceed)

Decipher your Values

Your core values need to underpin the way in which you behave, act, and how you live your life. Now you know what your core values are, using your first 4, think about how you are going to be able to live a life reflecting them. This is the key to move from mid-life disappointment.

(Answer this before you proceed)

It’s not easy to realise your values, but once you do life becomes far easier. Discovering your core values, learning from them, embracing them truly will empower your life.

For me knowing I am driven by:

Wisdom – To grow in understanding of myself, my personal calling and life’s real purpose.
Family – To spend time creating memories with my family.
Service – To contribute to the well being and satisfaction of others.
Personal Accomplishment – To achieve significant goals.

Now work out yours. It will change your life!

Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.
Mahatma Gandhi

I’m thrilled to be now offering Midlife Reinvention Life Coaching.

If you fear you’re heading for mid-life disappointment and want help in finding a new direction life coaching can help you.

Coaching gives you the opportunity to look at your life and work on the issues you’re facing rather than simply reacting to events as they arise. It gives you the chance to identify limiting beliefs and ineffective habits holding you back from living a full life

If you’re interested in working with me as your coach arrange to have a 30 minute FREE introductory call.

photo credit: Neil. Moralee Dishevelled. via photopin (license)

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About the author: Larry Lewis

Personal Development & Healthy Lifestyle Blogger at Healthy Lifestyles Living which has recently been featured in the Mail On Sunday, Life Coach & Author of Goal Setting Made Easy With The Single Page Plan.

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