When I first started reading Your Life Calling by Jane Pauley, I had wished I read this during my life redesign in 2010-11, then I realized it is a kind of Chicken Soup for the Mid-Life Crises. It feels good while reading but is forgettable when you put it down.
The cover implies that it is more self-help than it is: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life. I did glean a couple of useful ideas from her memoir/show notes (from recurring feature on The Today Show of same name).
The target audience are baby boomers who are blessed with ample retirement funds and good health to explore a second career. The baby boomers are the most blessed generation, benefiting from the rapid economic expansion, inexpensive college educations, and generous pensions. They are also going to be the longest lived in the US. However, everyone, at whatever age, should seek purpose in their life either through their main income or as a volunteer.
You have to do the work to figure out your purpose and the best way to pursue it. It is going to be unique to each person. If you apply Stephen Covey’s “begin with the end in mind” then you need to define what success looks like for you. As in Sylvia Abrigo-Araiza’s story, “She said, ‘I would define success as pouring yourself into what do into what you have a passion for doing, giving compassion for others, and basically changing the world one individual at a time.” (p ) For Sylvia it is counseling teens struggling with substance abuse.
When you do decide to redesign then the advice from the hiker Joe/Braid: “Moving into uncertainty involves managing risks–planning, preparing, and practicing–like Joe did before he took his first step on the [Appalachian] trail. But even then, as Joe put it, ‘Nothing can prepare you for the trail like getting out on the trail and just doing it.” (p 162)
And many times it also requires a change in thinking. In the story about a professional golfer giving the tournament another go, his wife said: “If you are going to do this again, you must do something different.’ As Michael explained it to me, she meant, ‘You can’t go about it the same old way. You can’t just keep beating your head against the wall, working on the same things. You need a different approach.”