Figuring out your next chapter can feel confusing and overwhelming, so I’m sharing the tactics I’ve used to gain clarity about what I want to do next in my life. Many of us are looking at an empty nest and a whole second-half to figure out. You can make the rest of your life, the best of your life!
Thanks for being here today! Welcome to the Style With Intention podcast.
A lot of the women I’ve talked to recently are at a pivot point – looking for a “calling” or a path to follow in the next chapter of their lives. They are moving away from being a full-time mom or “mostly a mom” even if they have been working outside the home. I’ve been there myself recently, with my middle son going off to college – I am looking down the road and seeing a whole different life ahead of me. So, in today’s episode, I’m sharing 10 great strategies you can use to figure out what your “calling” in and want to do with the next half of your life.
Listen in today as I share what I’ve learned about finding a calling and how the process of getting to know yourself works. Change can be uncomfortable, but hopefully, it will help you to understand the natural process of exploring and following the clues that will lead to your calling.
This is the process I’ve been going through intensively, over the last 8 months or so, and it’s resulted in an interesting new iteration of my business. Stay tuned to the end because I share about this near the end of the episode.
Also, I often have more thoughts – after I’ve finished a recording – that I want to share with you. Make sure you’re following me @anniekipstyle on Instagram to get in on all the insights that go way beyond what I share in the podcast.
As always, my goal is to make it quicker and easier for you to access more ease, joy, and intention in your life…because happy looks really, really good!
If you’d rather read, than listen, here’s the
Welcome to the Style With Intention podcast where we talk about how to use your personal style choices as a tool to create a life you love. We believe choice is empowering, complacency is boring and happy, looks really, really good!
I’m your host, Annie Kip, and today we’re talking about what you want to do with the second half of your life. How to find your calling. The thing that feels like a perfect fit for you. That thing that you feel like you were meant to do. Maybe you’re trying to figure out what to do to earn money. You need to get a job, but the idea of spending hours all day working at a job you hate sort of makes you feel paralyzed and like you can’t move forward.
Maybe you’re happy with your job and you just have a sense that you need more purpose or a creative outlet. Maybe your kids don’t need as much of your attention and you’re finally able to pick your head up and look around and start to wonder what exactly it is that you’d like to do with your free time.
I’ve shared some of this over on Instagram – and I hope you’re following me over there @AnnieKipCoaching so we can stay in touch! I’m 53 and I’ve been a single mom since 2003. In February, I left a relationship that I had been in for almost eight years. Around the same time my middle child left for college and I came to see that my junior in high school was really not needing as much of my time.
My house was feeling a lot more like an empty nest than the busy bustling family home than it had been before. I’ve done some projects (because I’m a decorator and I’ve been a stylist for years), but I was ready to make some changes, some real changes in the way I worked. I didn’t know exactly what that would be, but I can tell you that I can definitely relate to how uncomfortable it can feel to be in between. Not here or there. Always a mom, but on the verge of an empty nest.
I’ve traveled this road and I would like to share the 10 ways that I’ve found that can help you find your calling – the thing that you want to do in your next phase – and I will share towards the end what I’ve discovered about myself and the new direction that I’m going in, kind of the new iteration of how I’m working.
We push this aside so easily and it can sometimes feel like a mystery, especially if you’ve been focused on raising a family or you’ve been pushing your own needs aside for a long time. You aren’t in the habit of having preferences, so you have to kind of rebuild that muscle. (I encourage you to listen to episode #2 of this podcast – actually called “Listening To The Whispers” – to help you get more in touch with your own kind of inner knowing and access your intuition about your calling.) You have everything you need to know inside of you and it’s just a matter of accessing it.
It doesn’t have to necessarily be in front of people, but in your heart of hearts, you have to kind of open up and let yourself kind of be raw and and not attached to any specific outcome.
If you want to explore what your next phase is going to be, you have to let go. I have ideas about myself just like you do and it really finally took me sort of being vulnerable by myself. I know that sounds silly, but even by yourself, letting yourself be vulnerable to what you really, really want and not letting yourself be held back by the idea of whether it’s reasonable, whether you would look like a fool trying it. You have to let go of the image and the ego and the expectations in order for something new – like your calling – to be born.
This calling is not about a role, because we sometimes lose our roles. Our roles aren’t permanent. I mean we’re always going to be a mom, but doing the mom job is a role and I’m learning about this right now with this empty nest feeling creeping up on me and it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
After all, I have had many roles in my life. I was in the married role, I was a wife of a super busy professional and that role came with a lot of requirements and then I was divorced role. I was a single mom in this role too, so much of my attention that I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about what I wanted.
Next, there are different times in our lives where we end up in roles by default and but they come and go and that’s the important thing to remember.
They are not who we are as people. So now is the time to think about yourself, not in a role, but go back to those other things I mentioned of getting really real with yourself. Letting go of the image and the expectation and opening up to something that could be outside of the roles that you’ve been living in so far. A calling is bigger than any role you’ve played.
This is the advice that I’ve heard before, but it really, you know, you have to really dive into it. What are the things that you used to do for fun when you were a kid? When I was a kid, I used to create floor plans on the floor using a box of buttons that my mom had. I would lay out all the pink buttons into a pink bedroom and I would make a square and that was a bedroom and then I would make a blue box next to that and that was the bathroom.
And so we, the things that are innate in us, our innate talents that are innate interest in the things that we’re drawn to showed up when we were kids. So spend some time thinking about what you liked to do as a kid. Did you like being indoors or outdoors? Did you draw? What were the things that you were sort of obsessed with when you were a kid?
Go back to those things and start making notes and see how those can translate into your adult life. Give them a shot, try them out, see if you like them anymore. Which leads to the next suggestion.
Get out some paper and draw, if drawing was what you liked to do as a kid, you don’t have to do this in front of anyone. It can just be a private exploration all by yourself, but just follow what you enjoy.
I enjoy gardening and during this period of time, over the last eight months that I’ve been sort of in transition, I’ve done a lot of gardening and it isn’t productive necessarily. It doesn’t earn me any money, but it is a peaceful place for me. It’s a creative outlet and it let me have sort of time to process, so go back to what you enjoyed doing as a kid and follow what you enjoy.
We distract ourselves all the time with busy-ness and scrolling on Instagram is one of the biggest time sucks for me. It’s the one thing that takes our attention and it doesn’t really get us anywhere. It’s, it’s one thing to get inspired and to actually use it for a tool, for kind of building our idea of what interests us and the things that we’re attracted to, but often it can be a distraction. It can often make you feel less good about yourself depending on who you’re following. So I would say cut out the distractions, unfollow people that don’t make you feel good and take a minute to think about what it is that you’re sort of avoiding when you’re distracting yourself.
It can be cleaning, just wiping down the counter. Again, it can be cooking things that are just keeping you busy. You might want to just take a minute and be still and see where your mind wanders. Sit with the emptiness of something and let it wash over you. You know, I’ve been letting the idea of being alone in my house without kids around wash over me a lot and you know, I’m not saying it’s totally comfortable, but once you sort of face something like that, it gets a little easier and the answers are in there.
I mean, the truth is that I do like peace and quiet, so sometimes the thing that you’re afraid of isn’t as bad as you think it is and you just need to kind of allow yourself to experience it in order to keep it moving through. Movement is one of the best ways to get clear on your calling.
Do it for the joy of it and see where it leads you. Not being the best at something is hard, but at our age, if you’re going to try something new, you’re not going to be the best at it right away. I have a friend who just started playing tennis and I’m super happy for her and I love that she’s doing that because it’s a great social outlet. It’s great exercise. It’s fun, and she’s seems to be comfortable not being the best at it. She knows she’s learning, which is a really healthy way to approach doing something new.
If we’re not willing to be bad at something, it’s very unlikely that we’re going to ever try something new, so just be okay with not being the best at something. You’ve got to not be good at it. If you’re going to try something new and that’s the best way to grow is to try something new that could lead you to your true calling.
So this is a little story. I was playing tennis with some friends the other day and I looked over on another court and there was a woman, getting a private lesson with one of the pros at this athletic club that I go to and I realized, you know, I was sort of watching and she was a newer player and she’s getting one on one instruction with this really great coach. And I realized I was sort of envious.
I was sort of jealous and you know, that’s not a very pretty feeling. And so at first I just sort of pushed it away from myself. I don’t want to be somebody who’s jealous. I’m happy for her that she’s getting a lesson and it’s going to get better. But then I realized, Hey, wait, I’m allowed to want to be better at tennis. It’s okay to want something and it’s. It’s a thing that’s good for me. It’s athletic, it’s exercise, it’s healthy. What’s wrong with thinking to myself, hey, I might like to have a private lesson. Two, I want to get better at this thing that I’m doing and you know I can set up my life so that that is something I get to do if it’s priority, so allow yourself to notice when you’re jealous of something. If it’s somebody wearing something that you like, if somebody has a relationship that looks like something that you’d like to have, if somebody is doing things like going on vacation or travel or eating places that you would like to go, let yourself sit with that and use the jealousy in a way that’s constructive.
You don’t have to begrudge anyone, anything that they have, just let it inform you about yourself and the things that you’re attracted to, the things that are sparking an interest in you. Don’t dismiss these ideas as crazy you. You can figure out the time and the resources and the space and the tools to do the things that you want to do. If you really care about them, don’t dismiss ideas. Don’t, don’t put aside your jealousy, use it. It’s information that you can put to work to help you figure out what you want to do and maybe even lead you to your calling.
I love this one because I really do believe that your home and the spaces that you live in can be a catalyst for change. If you let it look around at your space with fresh eyes and think about what it’s telling you about the person who lives there you.
This may be information about the person that you have been up until this point, but it will help you see whether it’s the person that you want to keep being or if there are things that just don’t fit you anymore, it’s okay to, to look around and say, these colors are not me anymore. I want lighter and brighter or I want cozier and darker. It’s okay. It’s just stuff, but it’s really informative to let you see yourself in your space. You can, you know you, you can think about whether this is who you want to be in five years, five years is a great horizon to look at because it’s far enough away that it seems like it’s doable, but it also is something that you could probably accomplish sooner if you come up with what it is you want to be in five years, you know is is your space doing what you want it to do for you?
Do you wish you had a studio? Can you change one of the rooms in your house to make it fit what you want to be doing? Is your home stressing you out? Is it too much work? Can you figure out ways to simplify so that you are not focused on maintaining your home and you get to put your energy into something else? What are the things that you are missing? These are clues. Do you want to feel cozier? Do you want to feel calmer? Do you want a space for meditation or Yoga? Your home should be serving you and letting you be and do what you want to do. It just takes a little bit of intentional, deliberate effort to set it up to match who are now and what you want to be doing with yourself right now.
Listen to podcasts that are inspiring or talk to people who are, you know, who know you well and want the best for you.
Limit your time with people who are negative. Limit your time with people who see the glass as half full and don’t really like thinking about making changes.
As you go along, you can talk to your partner and your friends about what you’re exploring, saying it out loud. It feels a little bit vulnerable, but in the end you may get some information and affirmation that you didn’t expect. When recently, when I told some friends that I had finally kind of come to terms with the idea that I wanted to officially bring coaching into my business, I wanted to expand my Annie Kip Style, LLC business to include an element of coaching. I’ve always been doing coaching as I work with clients and as I work with my menswear business clients, but I wanted to get some official training and bring this in as an element of the work that I’m doing.
And I finally just settled in and let it wash over me – and I realized I actually can do that. Why not me? I can go get training.
So when I told these friends that I had enrolled in this intensive coach training program and I had finally decided to do this, I was really nervous and I was worried that people would say, oh my gosh, why you complicating your life? You’re off your rocker! That I was trying to do too many things. But it made sense to me. So I shared it with them and, you know, what they said? They said, “finally!, we’ve been waiting for you to do this for so long.”
So you may be surprised at the responses you get. You also may have some friends who can help you process it and iterate and think through the parts of what you’re interested in doing that actually makes sense for you, that feel right. Allow yourself to explore.
Believe me, I have done all of that and my friends have been so supportive and patient, but in the end there really is only one way and it requires action. Motion taking intentional, imperfect action. Doing something different is hard, but is it really safer to do the safe thing and not do anything? If you can give yourself some grace and recognize that change happens in a spiral, often sort of a funnel circling and circling closer to the goal. We, we do. We stop and start and it can make us feel insecure that we aren’t really making progress, but that’s just a story you’re telling yourself.
You don’t have to make the natural process of stopping and starting and trying something and adjusting into something negative. We, we all do this. We adjust course, we press on, we get inspired, we have setbacks, we cry sometimes, and the process continues and as long as there’s intentional motion toward what we think we want, that we’re trying things that were checking it out, that we’re following what we enjoy, we will always be circling closer and closer and closer like a funnel toward the thing that we really want.
So until next week, keep making your life look the way you want to feel and tag me over on instagram and send me images of what it is that you’re looking into as you try to find your calling. Thanks guys. Bye Bye for now.
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check out: Listen To The Whispers, episode #2 of the Style With Intention podcast
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