Today’s blog post is from my colleague and friend Jay Remer, known internationally as the Etiquette Guy. Jay resides in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada and is the creator of the Six Pillars of Civility. Jay is full of insight and new perspectives (you can follow @etiquetteguy on Twitter), so enjoy his latest insight on finding your passion at 50:

Jay smiling

I recently led a small group discussion with the goal of discovering how to reinvent yourself after the age of 50. One of the members of the group was just turning the magic number, and I was a hired “dog and pony show” birthday present as part of the weekend celebration.

At the start, I tossed the ball out to the group, asking them to let me know what each of them wanted from the brief time we would spend together. Two main themes quickly emerged. One was how to find one’s passion at fifty. The second was to discover what we are truly committed to – a surprisingly elusive treasure. In this particular discussion, the principles of civility that seemed most significant were those of compassion, awareness, gratitude, and encouragement. A bit more on each:

Compassion for ourselves gives us permission to explore both new and hidden territory. We are so used to raising a family and establishing a career that little time has been available to us for ourselves. The feeling can be very unsettling, so we must have compassion, and allow ourselves to follow our inner voice. That is how we will ultimately discover our true passion.

We must expand awareness. This is the next step in our process of discovery. When we open our eyes to infinite possibilities, the “yes buts” will fall away, allowing us to consider alternatives we had been putting off (proscrastination.). We can begin to imagine how following our passion will satisfy us and influence those around us in a positive way.

Gratitude & Encouragement:
Gratitude for the opportunity to take the next steps along our path balances our joy of discovery and acceptance. And encouragement allows us to give ourselves a pat on the back. After all, we’ve been putting others first for many years. The passage into our sixth decade provides us with a chance to put ourselves first for a change. We need to develop the confidence to enter these uncharted waters safely and gracefully.

Understanding what we are truly committed to is one of the toughest challenges we will ever encounter. On the surface it may seem simple, but if it were so simple, why is the result so elusive; and why has it been so elusive for so many years? The answer lies in a quote I recently ran across by Brigitte Nicole:

“All of life’s lessons you have been through are only a preparation for what is about to happen in your life. If the experience brings you joy, much wisdom has prepared you for this journey. If it brings you sorrow, remember lessons will keep striking you at your weakest point because that’s what needs most strengthening.”

Whatever changes we decide to make, we need to continue following our paths, and discover fulfillment in our different roles. We must learn to understand that finding our true-life purpose requires scheduling some “me” time. I hope we can all take the time we need for ourselves. In the end, this is the ticket to civility in our lives and in our communities.

Copyright @Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, LLC 2015