As new retirees, I believe we have more in common with people in the twenty-something age group than any other age bracket. We can learn from their questions, books, websites, and other sources that target a stage of life when one is trying to find direction, change the world, and create a life that's more than a resume.
This belief proved true the other day when my 25-year old son told me about a friend who is concerned that she's losing her drive. The conversation went like this:
Theresa asked Steven if he thought she was losing her drive since she doesn't feel motivated to put energy into work-related stuff. Theresa has always been a high-achiever, but now she's feeling like she doesn't have the ambition that she had in the past. Steven explained that now is the first time in their lives when the next goal/step is not obvious. When they were in college there was always the next class, project, semester, etc. Now that they're in "real" jobs, there's not a beginning and an end. They have a long road ahead, but to where? And for what?
Steven and I talked about the importance of forming your own goals at this stage of life. You have to create what you're aiming for. It is the goal/deadline that generates the drive. We don't believe that Theresa has lost her drive—she just needs to decide what is the next thing that she's excited about pursuing. Once she's on this path, her get-up-and-go will return.
This discussion could have easily (or more easily) taken place between two retirees. There are times when I question if I have lost my drive—especially when I look back to all the things I accomplished in my life when I was much busier than I am now. Compared to those days, I feel like I don't have the fire, motivation and ambition that I once had. I have reason to question, "Am I losing my drive?"
I found the answer to this question when I offered to host the family of a dear friend who had recently died. Her family was from out of town and they were coming to empty her house. Instead of returning at the end of the day to a motel, I invited them to spend the week with my husband and me. In preparation of their visit, I developed a two-page "punch" list and worked tirelessly all week to prepare the house for their visit. I also had incredible drive to be hospitable the entire week while they were here.
I learned that I hadn’t lost my drive—it just needed a place to go. I needed a purpose.
Daniel Pink, author of Drive, encourages us to develop a "purpose-motive". Profit-motive may have provided a source of energy while we were working. Now a purpose motive can be an equally powerful source of energy.
If you want to reignite your drive and motivation, then create a greater sense of purpose. Set goals and know what you're aiming to achieve. Once you do this, your drive will return. Keep in mind—it needs a place to go.
"Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement." -W. Clement Stone
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