OF YOUR LIFE
By Jane Pauley
A change in perspective
reveals hidden strengths
Wearing a baseball cap, sweats, and
sunglasses, I set out for the track in
New York City’s Central Park. After
one lap I noticed my friend Katy up
ahead—also in sweats, shades, and a
cap. That’s when it hit me: I recog-
nized her from the back! That meant
people could recognize me from the
back (which I’ve never thought was
my best side).
sister and my husband exchanging a
glance that said, “It nailed her.”
As I reviewed the list, a recogniz-
able “me” began to take shape.
“Command” summoned a memory
A FRESH LOOK
Want to see yourself anew?
Try these expert strategies
TAKE INVEN TOR Y “List every major accomplishment in your life,”
says Howard Stone, coauthor of
Too Young to Retire. “Pool those
that point in the same direction.”
HUN T FOR MEANING “Take field
trips,” advises Richard Leider,
author of The Power of Purpose.
One man seeking his next home
traveled via RV, working temp
jobs, till he found it.
EXPERIMENT Volunteer or moonlight to follow your passion, says
Laura Berman Fortgang, author of
Now What? 90 Days to a New Life
Direction. “Don’t let any excuses
distract you.” —Geoff Brown
of being chosen to lead a girls’ club.
And I could see I was an “activator,”
quick to make big decisions. (“Are
you sure that’s a strength?” my husband asked.)
When I recognized my “GI Jane–
ishness,” I had to bid farewell to “Janie,”
a self-image I had clearly outgrown.
Recently my sister paid me a
compliment that led to another
insight: “You have a gift for helping
people see themselves in new and
powerful ways,” she said. I realized
that was a good description of the
parts of my work I have most
enjoyed. I knew that, whatever path
my future would take, helping people
see themselves differently would
have to be a part of it.
Sometimes the things that give the
most pleasure, meaning, and purpose
to our lives are obvious to everyone
but us. So if you’re wondering where
you go from here, a little reintroduction may help you see that your hidden self was in plain sight all along. ;
TOP LEF T: ANDRE W ECCLES (S T YLIS T: ANN CARUSO–THE WALL GROUP;
HAIR:JAMES MCNALLY/MARIO DIAB SALON; MAKEUP: GREGG HUBBARD); ILLUSTRATION BY ALISON SEIFFER
Award-winning journalist Jane Pauley is
AARP’s Your Life Calling ambassador.
Watch Jane’s Today show segments—about people
reinventing their lives—at aarp.org/jane.