Generally speaking, the first 25 years of one's working life are filled with a sense of forward motion and accomplishment. These normally are the most exciting and interesting years of our careers -- a time when challenges are welcomed and pride is taken in overcoming them. Then, for the next 20 years or so, we build on our careers, maturing and gaining experience. However, around age 50, problems may begin to arise.
For some reason, many men and women in their early 50s begin to lose their confidence, their edge, and their ability to perform as well as they used to. They may still have another 10 to 20 years before retirement, but they're already starting to burn out. Unfortunately, this has become almost an expectation in our society. We hit midlife and forget the qualities and abilities that enabled us to get where we are.
It doesn't have to be that way. Even though we may not have the same stamina and energy we had in our early 20s, a decline in performance is not inevitable. Some great people achieved their most crowning successes in the later years of their lives. What they had, and what all of us should have, is motivation. A determination not to let our age slow us down.
In my most recent book, Maximum Energy for Life, I devote an entire chapter to motivation and cite five factors that most often lead to a decline in career performance: lack of focus, loss of motivation, an inability to adapt, loss of functional health, and complacency. If you fit into one or more of these categories, I have some advice that may help you overcome your problems.
In the same chapter, I elaborate on seven ways to sustain your motivation as you get older. First and foremost, you must enjoy what you're doing. This may seem elementary, but you'd be surprised how many people don't. Those who fit into this category should try to move into something they like, if not in their careers, then in something such as a hobby or pastime. Volunteering your expertise to a community organization or youth group can help renew your motivation, or taking classes or courses to upgrade your job skills.
There are many other things you can do that will have the same result. For example, you can prepare yourself for the challenges you face, impress the decision makers who can make a difference in your life, take care of your physical and mental health, overcome the mindset of the people who see you as aging, diversify your skills wisely, and remember that no game stays the same over time.
You don't have to succumb to the midlife doldrums; you can fight back. Life can be as exciting and interesting as you want it to be, as exciting and interesting as you allow it to be. Eat right, exercise, and practice a positive mental attitude and you'll regenerate your motivation and continue to live a productive, rewarding life.