The search for one’s purpose is important, but by no means an easy task. Many of us spend our lifetime searching for true purpose. We all seek meaning from life. Everyone wants to leave footprints. Yet finding and clearly defining what that is, is elusive.

As we approach our 60s, there is a bud of wisdom that reveals our “life’s work”. Work is no longer defined by our status or compensation. We thrive under our own guidance of what’s best for us. Often, that translates into what’s best for people around us and expands beyond us to the world. A happy coincidence of life that makes our transition from a “career” to a “purposeful work-life” that we always aspired to achieve.

To aid in defining what “purposeful work-life” is for you:

Ask Yourself These Three Core Questions

  1. Who are you? What are your core values?
  2. What is your core purpose?
  3. What are you trying to do with your life?

These questions reveal the power of purpose, especially when considering our choices in this very powerful phase of life and awesome time of transition. Some of us choose full-on retirement with personal projects. Others decide to continue being professionally active with work projects. Regardless of our choice, we all ponder the following questions at some point:

  1. What do I want to pass on? My knowledge?
  2. What is the deep meaning of my life?
  3. What will be my legacy?

The Power of Purpose + Energy

Many experts believe that we can identify our purpose by looking within ourselves. Regardless of our spiritual or philosophical beliefs, most people agree that when we act in alignment with our strengths, talents, and desires, there is a sense of heightened energy or flow. Therefore, when our purpose is aligned with our personal and/or work projects, we become more motivated in our lives. Our work, in any form, is no longer a chore, but rather a “joy” that is reflected through our expressions and behaviour.

Finding Joy in Our Work – Our Life’s Work

The key to acting with purpose and finding joy after 60 is bringing together the needs of the world or business with our unique gifts in the form of a vocation – a calling – our life’s work. We apply our talents and passion to projects and the tasks that we perform.

At this juncture, our life’s work becomes a way of actively making a contribution to the world or society and a way of validating our choices, decades of investment in our personal and professional development, and our ambition.

Ambition is Never Enough – Hustle is Worse

We need more than ambition to really excel in our life’s work. Satisfying goals, receiving rewards and compensation, and attaining status is rarely enough. Our inner wisdom leads us to “choose” to leave those needs behind us.

“Choice” versus “ambition” is our new superpower.

In fact, our inner wisdom tells us that ambition can lead to hustle which drains our energy reserves: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I am not referring to the 1970’s disco dance “Do the Hustle” which was and still is good exercise for mind, body, and spirit. Keep on dancing.

Once upon a time, the “corner office” was the dream status symbol of success for professionals. That fairy-tale is no longer an attraction nor is it accessible in our current world. Many of us have now created our own reality of this fairy-tale status symbol in our own home office or den. We can check that goal off our list.

Self-Actualization – Realizing Your Potential

Self-actualization is not a goal, an award, or a status symbol; it’s an experience that keeps evolving and compounding our own sense of satisfaction. We are more likely to experience self-actualization by being connected to our core values and intrinsic motivators (internal drives) versus external pressure to complete or be restrained by others’ standards.

Determining what our own internal drives are is not an easy task at any stage in our lives. Fortunately, there are professionals who can assist us in our quest. In the professional coaching community, there are coaches who specialize in the assessment tools such as emotional intelligence and retirement lifestyle options to help clarify and update self-knowledge.

Are you preparing for what’s next? Are you pondering full-on retirement or are you continuing to be professionally active? Are you currently enjoying all your projects after 60? Do your projects align with your purpose and move you toward realizing self-actualization.

“Take care of yourself. Do What’s BEST for You. Don’t jeopardize what you have built for yourself.”  Stanley Wicketts, father of Patricia A. Muir, Author

Reading resources
Leider, R. J. (2015). The Power of Purpose: Finding Meaning, Live Longer, Better.
Written by Patricia A. Muir, Maestro Quality Inc., THRIVE
Patricia’s signature program “THRIVE After 60” validates women’s choices and amplifies their voices as they remain professionally active after 60 and beyond. Visit her website at
The THRIVE Video SeriesTM is a collection of interviews with women in their 60s and beyond who have achieved a level of self-actualization with self-responsibility. Check out their stories shared on the YouTube channel
Alternative Credit
“Written by Patricia A. Muir, PCC. In my role as principal consultant and coach at Maestro Quality Inc. and founder of THRIVE Coaching Programs, I have worked with women entrepreneurs, executives, and highly skilled professionals who continue to enjoy their work after 60.”