Your work, your life: What's possible?


Creating new possibilities and a more meaningful second half of life


 This is the fourth article in a ten-part series, based on Craig Nathanson's trademark "Ten P" model for vocational happiness.


By Craig Nathanson

The Vocational Coach


After working in marketing and information technology for thirty years, Dinah Chapman was burned out. She was laid off from her Northern California job in 2004. But rather then wallow in misery, Dinah took the layoff as a blessing. She considered new possibilities, deciding that her life would have more meaning if it centered on her love of music.


Working in a windowless office and selling faceless products brought Justin and Julie Greenberg together. Not only did they discover that they were soul mates, they realized that they were both seeking to create happiness and good energy in their work lives. Justin and Julie, based in Southern California, shared a passion for children and for sports. So they began to think together of new possibilities that would turn their love of soccer and kids into their life's work.


Brigitte Nadeau discovered that her work life was stressful and going nowhere. She developed heart problems, which she believed was a direct result of her unhappy and empty work life. Brigitte, based in Boston, decided to consider new possibilities around her desire to empower women how to take better care of their selves. The new opportunity she created turned her life around.


There are lots of possibilities in the world for each of us in the areas of vocations, relationships, finances, health, and fitness. What's important is how we decide to focus our thinking in these areas, especially when it comes to our life's work.


It is often easier to focus on what's impossible instead of what is possible. This is the first area to refocus.



Only you can determine your path

Our parents, teachers, spouses, children, and friends have told us what they think we're capable of. They often nudge us toward one career or another. Many of us fell into our careers by chance rather than by choice.


Think about how you are going to think about things before you think them. Are you considering your next steps with regard to your past, your present, or your future? Are you thinking of what to do about work from your perspective or from the perspective of someone close to you?


Your mind doesn't know the difference between what's real and what's imagined, when thinking about the future. If your work life is empty, perhaps it's time now to ponder new possibilities. Because if you don't, who will?


First, you must start to believe that something you want is possible. Answer these questions for yourself:

1) With regard to my life's work, the following is possible for me:

2) I know this is possible because:


If you are stuck on these two basic questions, you are not alone. Many people find it easier to focus on what's impossible. Those folks seldom change.



One thought leads to another

As you mull new possibilities for your life, you will start to create new ideas you might not have considered before. Most of us start with what's impossible and then we stop.


For Dinah, Brigitte, Justin, and Julie, they all took action as a result of focusing on new possibilities. Soon, new and supportive beliefs followed.


Today, Dinah has released her first music CD at Brigitte is a certified sexologist, helping women focus on embracing their bodies at  Justin and Julie have founded Soccer Kids USA, a sports camp for children under age 5. They can be found at



How about you?

Only you can answer the question -- "What's possible with my life's work?" -- for yourself. Here's how to get started:


-- Define what's possible;

-- Define new beliefs to support your new path;

-- Write down what's the worst that could happen if you tried and failed;

-- Write down what's the best that could happen if you succeeded;

-- Decide who would be a good, supportive person to have along for the journey and then spend more time with them;

-- Decide who would not be as supportive and spend less time with them;

-- Figure out whom you can talk to who's doing what you want to do with your life's work;

-- Join a support group to add more supportive people to your circle who will love what you do.


Take one small step in the next twenty-four hours to get started now. Start your list and define what's possible, then seek and gather the evidence you will need to convince yourself you can do it.


This process isn't magic and it isn't just positive thinking. It is a deep commitment for reflection and personal change that will bring you a more fulfilling and meaningful second half of life.



Craig Nathanson is a coaching expert who works with people in midlife. Craig's systematic approach, the trademark Ten P model, helps people break free and move toward the work they love. Visit Craig's online community at where you can sign for a class, private coaching, or group coaching. Or, you may read other stories of mid-life change and renewal.

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