Discover what you dont like doing and stop doing it!” – Marcus Buckingham

Research from Marcus Buckingham concludes that stretching yourself by doing things that are not in alignment with your interests, ability, and capacity WILL NOT move you toward self-actualization.

What IS Self-Actualization?

Self-actualization is the ability to realize your potential capabilities. This component of emotional intelligence is manifested by your becoming involved in pursuits that lead to a meaningful, rich, and full life.” As defined in The EQ Edge, Emotional Intelligence and Your Success., Steven J. Stein, PH.D. and Howard E. Book, M.D.

Your success in your life’s work and/or your work-life is more about sculpting and editing rather than accumulating or building.

Sculpting a lifestyle that leads to self-actualization consists of not only discovering your purpose and strengths, but also in knowing when to say “no”. Often, our inability to say “no” jeopardizes what we have built for ourselves. Consistently saying “yes” when we need to say “no” chips away at our self-regard, another key component of emotional intelligence.

Clear the Room for Something Great

Sculpting your lifestyle, means proactively examining what you don’t want in your life to make room for what you do want. It also means passing up what might be good and holding out for something great.

Cheryl Richardson is one of “the first and original” life coaches. Back in 2003, I read her book, Stand Up for Your Life. I had the pleasure of meeting her personally in 2004. I recall her famous quote, “Pass up good for great”. That requires saying “no”. She had my colleagues and I practise saying “no” to what was good in order to attract and be ready for something great. Two decades later, this “self-honouring” strategy holds fast, especially as we create the lifestyles we always wanted – whether it be an extended work-life or full-on retirement.

Clear the Runway and Save Fuel

As we enter our sixty’s, we no longer have the luxury of “trying things” that are not clearly aligned with our strengths and what we love to do. We no longer have that long runway ahead of us. Nor do we have excess energy (fuel) to make another approach or make a course correction to reach our preferred destination. We simply cannot waste precious fuel.

The longer you put up with aspects of your life and work that don’t play to your strengths and that are not aligned with your core values and purpose, the less you will be rewarded and satisfied with your life and your work after 60. This is the time to focus on doing what you do best, what you love, and being very intentional about moving toward self-actualization.

When you focus on your best talents and what you love to do, you will achieve more with more joy and less stress. You will experience sustainable rewards and satisfaction with your life and your work. You will find that your life’s work will be exactly what it should be – on purpose and aligned with who you are.

Clear the Path toward Self-Actualization

Sometimes the path is laid down one piece at a time throughout a person’s career. When you look back with the wisdom gained through years of experiencing what you enjoyed and what you did not enjoy, you are able to be discerning in order to focus your energy through the following decades.

The capacity and capability to move through these decades with a lifestyle that allows further personal and professional development offers opportunities to excel in what you do best and forges a path of continued contribution. This is a privilege that cannot be wasted.

The answer to fulfillment and success lies within you. It always has been up to you to find out where your passion lies, what you do best, and what personal and professional development you need to achieve self-actualization.

Are you pondering continuing to work or full-on “retirement”? Are you currently enjoying your work after 60?

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 professional 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

Other Resources:
Marcus Buckingham, Head of People + Performance Research. Formerly Senior Researcher at Gallup Organization
Cheryl Richardson, Stand Up for Your Life, 2003
The EQ Edge, Emotional Intelligence and Your Success., Steven J. Stein, PH.D. and Howard E. Book, M.D.