Let’s start with a serious question, which is this; “is it ever too late to change the direction of your life?”
Well, yes, I’m sure that on some level a time comes when ‘technically’ it is too late, but when you really think about it who gets to decide that for you, if not you? Regardless of your age, your circumstance, your experience, your financial or your relationship status, there really is no time when it is too late but there is most certainly a time when you can discover that you have waited for too long.
When it comes to understanding what you should do next you must first acknowledge that at different times in your life you allowed yourself to get swept along by others and if you are being brutally honest you may not have invested too much time into thinking about, and deciding, what you were going to do. You just did it.
I am of course referring mostly to your teenage years and even well into your twenties, when you likely followed the trends and looked to see what was happening around you? What colleges your friends were going to, what career options were the most popular? I’m not saying that you blindly followed the crowd but the chances were, you didn’t have the space or opportunity to stop and ask what you, yourself, wanted to do with your life and may have been a little influenced by what was happening around you.
It is only when you hit your mid-thirties and forties that you find yourself seriously contemplating, ‘is this really what I want to spend the rest of my life doing’? This could involve the work you are doing, the relationships you find yourself in, the people you spend the most time with, anything that makes up the daily routine of your life. To help, these are some questions that you can ask to get you directly to the heart of the matter.
If you had no fear and there were no obstacles, what would you love to do?
Is your life as it is now making you happy?
Does it feel safe for you to always ask for what you want?
Do you find it hard believing that change is possible for you?
Does the concept of finding your soul purpose feel a little out there?
Do you get joy currently from your life or are you settling?
Do you find your curiosity being piqued when you imagine your life in a dissimilar way to how it is now; when you think of those sliding doors moments and how things might be so different now if you had chosen a different career, partner or friendship group?
Do you trust that everything is always working out for you?
Acknowledging that you are supposed to change and evolve, it’s worth remembering that what appealed to you in your twenties, what felt fully in alignment with who you were then, does not, and should not, mean that the same applies today. You’ve changed and you are supposed to. So, then it must follow, that what you want from your life may have changed too. Be open to that idea.
The next question then, is that if you can accept that you are not where you want to be in your life currently, for whatever reason, is it too late to turn the bus around and move forward in a new direction? I don’t hesitate when I hear this question in my practice, at interrupting with an “It’s never, ever too late to go after what you want. Ever.” I say this not just because I believe it but because I’ve lived it.
In my late thirties, I found myself in a place in my life where things had not worked out how I had envisaged for myself. I experienced a series of close bereavements and my world was shattered. All the planning and working towards what I wanted no longer mattered – the universe had other ideas and other plans for me. I just didn’t know it at the time.
When life-changing events come knocking there really is very little you can do except to sit and wait them out. But the really interesting part of this is, that what happened to me, had in that moment utterly changed me; and there was no going back. Nothing made sense like it had before. This included my career, where I lived, my friendships and how I showed up in the world. I no longer felt the same, and as a result, I no longer wanted what I had previously wanted. It was quite dramatic when it unfolded, even if it took me some time to notice it happening.
Over the course of the next few years, things started to fall away and people started to fall away. The end of my career when it came was sudden and sad. I never envisaged leaving it but the time came when I couldn’t consider a future doing it and so I knew we were finished. I was in my early forties at that time and starting over was scary, not to mention that I didn’t have the first idea what it was I was going to do when I did! That was actually terrifying.
Maybe there was an element of nothing to left to lose, but the stronger feeling was one of “I can’t not explore this”. When you reach that point there is no going back. Don’t be scared when things that once felt so comfortable, and helped keep you safe, start to change. In fact, this is a time to feel grateful as you are being nudged from where you are now to somewhere better, somewhere that will feel more you. Look on it as a time of new possibilities and opportunities. Trust that you are being minded.
Observe that this change is in fact growth and expansion and that sometimes, a lot of the time, we need to be brought to our knees, to be cracked open before we can see the beauty in what lies ahead. But it’s always there if you open yourself up to it. It was for me.
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Transformation Coach and Author. She’s known for her practical solutions to life’s challenges and her ability to activate in you that desire for change. If you’re feeling stuck and want to get some real clarity then Niamh is hosting a FREE Masterclass called LIMITLESS YOU on July 29. To grab your free space, just click here niamhennis.com/limitlessyou Find her on Instagram @1niamhennis or niamhennis.com.