When we transition from one stage in life to the next, the story we tell ourselves about who we are either changes or stays the same. When our circumstances change, but our story about who we are does not, we find ourselves engaged in an internal struggle. On the other hand, when we shift our self-story in-step with changes in our lives, our transitions occur more gracefully.
I talk with many people in the military who feel something is missing when they transition into the civilian world. In class, our instructor suggested that unless "Warriors" consciously shift into a new storyline (or way of defining themselves) that is of equal energy to the Warrior energy, their transition will be challenging and they can be left unfulfilled.
The same holds true for any transition. Consider the woman who loses her husband after a long illness. When she holds on to defining herself as "Wife" and "Caregiver" after his passing, her life can feel void of meaning. But if she shifts her energy into "Matriarch," or "Adventurer," or another energizing storyline, there is a rebirth of sorts. This different energy creates new meaning.
Similarly the empty nester who holds on to the role of "Nurturer" can feel lost when there's nobody home to nurture. But when that parent steps into an archetype of equal energy to "Nurturer" by becoming "Mentor" or "Community Leader," s/he makes the transition with more ease.
When I downsized my business and left the role of "Boss," I felt a little discombobulated. As long as I held onto the idea that I should be managing a group of full-time employees, I felt like a failure and I certainly wasn't fulfilled. When I stepped more confidently into the role of "Creator" and transformed my energy for building teams into building art, I reached a new level of fulfillment and contribution. I feel more freedom in the storyline of Artist/Creator, more authenticity, and more passion.
Whatever transition you're going through, consider which of the great archetypes you're stepping out of. Honor your time in that role and consider a new storyline that can provide a fresh outlet for your energy. When we ignore the disconnects between our story of ourselves and our circumstance, we struggle. But when we harness the power of archetypal roles, we unfold a new layer of ourselves and blossom in unexpected ways.
Seeking More Meaning & Fulfillment?
My next Midlife Seeker Flourishing workshop takes place October 20-21st. This workshop is for those of you who feel like you should be content in your life, but feel like something's missing. It's for those of you who feel trapped by your circumstance and want to make a change. It's also for those of you who feel drawn to contribute and want to uncover your unique path.
This workshop explores the main archetypal energies in your life, enables you to see your own greatness and helps shift perspective on what's possible. Whether you're going through a career change, hitting a personal milestone or simply want to unfold in a new way, this course helps you see yourself in a whole new light. Learn more and register today!
Hitting the Road
Later this week I have the honor of working with National Military Spouse Network members in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. We'll talk about what it means to Live Courageously and how to generate the courage to overcome all of those voices in your head and in a society that hold us back from becoming our best selves.
A week from today I'll be on a plane to Park City, Utah to bring my Soar project to The Leadership Circle's Summit. This conference is dedicated to elevating the conscious practice of leadership and will be attended by (in my opinion) some of the best minds in leadership development. I'm so excited to share my thoughts on uncovering our deepest wounds for collective healing and inspiration.
Want the Full Story on Soar?
ABC7-WJLA's reporter, Jay Korff created a long-form story on Soar that covers the inspiration, creation, and curation of the project. Jay's ability to capture stories of vulnerability and courage shines through in this six-minute feature of my latest project. We've already had requests from across the country from people who want to bring Soar to their communities. I'll create a manual with materials and curation advice to help them (and you?) recreate this meaningful project.