It’s hard to find inspiring stories in the news these days.
You may have to look longer to find them, but they’re out there. Even in this economic downturn, you can find inspiring stories about people over 50 who are successfully reinventing themselves and finding ways to pursue old interests, passions, and dreams.
Take a look at these three recent news stories (some of them may require a free membership):
Turning your experience into self-employment
In a New York Times article, The Restless Soul in the Bathroom Mirror, Lee Weinstein recounts how career coaching helped him to reconnect with himself. Through a “destructuring process”, he gradually lets go of his preconceived ideas, which frees him to open up to who he is now.
After spending some time looking within for answers, he decides to use his existing skills to create his own business. Once he figures out the “what”, he tackles the “how” by doing research, networking with other entrepreneurs, and building a strong support system.
Exploring your interests
A Washington Post article, Economic Hardship Drives Some to Explore Their Long-Lost Dreams, profiles several people affected by the downturn who are searching for something to be passionate about this time around. They choose to use their time creatively by exploring their interests in such fields as the arts or nonprofit work.
As the article points out, exploring your dreams and passions may not lead to a full-time job. But you may find part-time, temporary, or contract work that you could use to patch together a portfolio career.
Learning new skills
In the Sun Chronicle story, Starting Over, you’ll find a lawyer turned violin maker and a downsized banker turned marine electrician. Before pursuing training in their new careers, both begin by exploring what they really want to do and then taking some time to research their job prospects. Even though their new work isn’t as lucrative, both agree it’s more satisfying.
Returning to school or a training program isn’t a silver bullet. But if you take the time to be clear about you want, learning new skills or updating old skills can be a great way to prepare for a career change.
As I read each of these inspiring stories, I noticed some similarities. The people in them:
- are open to change and willing to learn new things
- let their belief in themselves outweigh their self-doubts and fears about starting over
- take the time to explore what they want and to research their options
- are willing to take a cut in pay and make lifestyle adjustments – taking a chance on life is more important to them than remaining stuck and waiting for things to change
- allow themselves to follow leads as they come up, taking a flexible approach to possibilities, rather than setting goals that may be too rigid
- get out and meet people – they proactively connect with others to build their networks and support groups
Perhaps the most striking similarity is that the people in these inspiring stories aren’t focused on the negatives in their lives or in the world around them. They aren’t buying into the anger and fear that is becoming too much a part of our daily lives. And they aren’t blaming others for their problems.
Instead they’ve decided to take small steps forward, with the intention of making their part of the world a better place.
What do you think? Is it crazy to look for inspiring stories or positive news these days?