Personal Life Vision Component #8: Stage of Adult Development

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Stage of Adult Development

By now, I hope that you have read over the last several blog posts discussing seven critical components of the “Whole Person Method” of creating your Personal Life Vision. These include your natural abilities, personal style, family of origin, values, skills, interests and goals. As I mentioned in my post discussing the Personal Life Vision (September 30, 2020), the last part is understanding your stage of development. It is critically important to understand what stage of development you are on to make the best career development decisions. 

What are the 8 Turning Points?

A Turning Point is a critical time in your life where big decisions could lead to big change, both in work and in life. Everyone confronts critical stages or transitions in life. People typically reassess their choices and their path every seven to ten years, but some experience fewer or more Turning Points and experience at different times. Each Turning Point offers a window of time during which you have an opportunity to examine your path thus far and decide whether or not to change the course you’re on. 

Here are the eight Turning Points and the questions you can ask yourself to evaluate your path: 

Turning Point 1: High School to College (17-18 Years Old)

This is the first career decision that most of us make. It’s one of the most predictable Turning Points of our lives. The teenager is ready to become independent from his or her family and will be making decisions on their own about what classes to take, what activities to engage in, and what subject to major in.  

Questions: 

  • What are my natural abilities, skills, interests, goals and values?
  • What topics or subjects are interesting to me?
  • What activities are energizing to me?
  • What kind of people do I want to surround myself with?

Turning Point 2: College to the Professional World (22-27 Years Old)

Most individuals will make some career decision between the ages of 22-27. This will set them on the path of their first building stage. These decisions can range from the decision to start their first job, continue with formal education, or stay home with parents. 

Questions: 

  • What is my identity? What is it based on?
  • What are my plans for a career? What would I like to explore as a career option?
  • Who do I need to talk to to better equip myself with the field I’m leaning towards?
  • What are my natural abilities, skills, interests, goals and values?
  • What kind of life do I want to have? What are my dreams?

Turning Point 3: 30’s Assessment (28-33 Years Old)

The path chosen at Turning Point 2 tends to continue for about five to seven years. Between the ages of 28 to 33, individuals will reassess and reevaluate their path. If an initial path was completely unsatisfactory, it is at this Turning Point that the individual will make some modifications.  

Questions: 

  • Do I enjoy the work I’m doing?  
  • Am I using my most important talents and skills?
  • How aligned is my work with my values?
  • On this track, where will I be in 10 years? Is that where I want to be?
  • What do I really want in life? Is what I’m doing going to get me there?

Turning Point 4: The Mid-life Transition (38-45 Years Old)

Individuals get to the end of their life structure in the ages from 40 to 45. If their career has not been fulfilling, individuals may start to question what they want from life. They may redefine their goals based on values that changed over the previous years. 

Questions:

  • How do I feel about the balance of work and family life?
  • Am I living out my values and how can I ensure my life is aligned with them?
  • What goals do I have for the next 20 years of my life?
  • What do I need to focus on now to ensure I have the life I want in 20 years?
  • What can I do to add more meaning to my life?

Turning Point 5: 50’s Assessment (50-55 Years Old)

Just like the 30’s assessment, individuals typically take stock of the choices they made at the mid-life transition after five to seven years. They use this opportunity to modify directions chosen earlier, or in some cases, to start over again if choices were unsatisfactory. 

Questions: 

  • What has been working about the path I chose? What needs to change?
  • What do I want my life to look like in the next 10 years?
  • What do I need to focus on now to ensure that I have the life I want in 10 years?
  • What can I do to add more meaning to my life?

Turning Point 6: Pre-Retirement Transition / Second Careers (60-65 Years Old)

At this time, at age 60 to 65, individuals begin their third life structure. This is potentially a time of great satisfaction or a time of disappointment. Success with this Turning Point depends on the choices that have preceded it. Encore careers are defined as transitioning from a first-half-of-life career into something that is more personally rewarding, and has a positive social impact while still bringing in an income. Most people pursuing encore careers do so as a substitute for retiring and are driven to “give back.”

Questions: 

  • What has been meaningful about my work? What has not been working?
  • What skills and experiences do I want to continue to incorporate into the next phase of my life?
  • What do I want to be my legacy? What do I want to leave to this world?
  • What can I do to ensure that I contribute to that legacy?

Turning Point 7 and 8: 70’s Assessment (70-75 Years Old) and Senior Transition (80-85 Years Old)

Going through a Personal Life Vision over these years can help ground individuals during these stages, both emotionally and mentally. 

Questions to consider at these two stages: 

  • How do I feel about my daily life?
  • What can I do to keep myself healthy and happy?
  • What can I add to my life to make it more meaningful?
  • What can I give back to the world?
  • Who would benefit from my knowledge and experience?
  • What changes would I need to make to have more balance and fulfillment?

Overall, having thought through these questions will help you to become more methodical and intentional when you arrive at each Turning Point. Rather than making a sudden, poorly thought-out decision or doing nothing and continuing an unfulfilling life, this practice will provide a tool to evaluate and make the best decision as you navigate change at each of the Turning Points. 

Putting it all together

Once you identify the Turning Point you are in, you can finally create your Personal Life Vision. First, take all of the factors we’ve discussed thus far (your natural abilities, personal style, family of origin, values, skills, interests, goals and stage of development) and create a visual image of what your ideal life looks like — in 5 years, 10 years or even near your retirement age. You can draw a picture on a piece of paper, paint a picture on a canvas, write it down in a bullet journal or create a slideshow presentation. The method you use is completely up to you. The important thing is to visualize the life and career you want to have and include as many factors and details as you can. Now, instead of just looking at available jobs in the market, you can start from your Personal Life Vision to identify your dream career.  This is the most powerful inside-out approach to career planning. I hope you found this series valuable, and I’d love to hear about your Personal Life Vision!

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