I get asked a lot what it is like to live a self-described authentic life filled with happiness, joy, fulfillment, and a sense of making a contribution. So with this article I decided to share what I do. Try out these steps for yourself and you will also see an emerging life which works better for you!

1. Surround yourself with people you care about

Prior to 40 most people do what they can to network, build contacts and attend conferences to get to know even more people. Just take a look at Facebook, Twitter, Linked–In and hundreds of other networking sites. Despite the logic of signing up to many of these I am going to offer the opposite advice. After 40 it is better to be very selective and only surround yourself with a small group of people who both support your goals and or share similar interests. Most important, surround yourself with people whom you really care about. This will help you feel more connected to what is most important.

2. Don’t settle for what you don’t want

There is a lot of pressure to continue to do what you are good at. I don’t think this is a very good idea if you are no longer enjoying what you are doing. Now is the time to reshape and recreate a life which works better for you. This starts with ONLY focusing on what you want. There is no reason why you can’t live until 100 or more if you take care of yourself. Doing what you want is the best way to spend your life time.

3. Take big risks and make change happen

If you want a dream to come true, you must be prepared to make big change. This goes for relationships, finances, work, and your health. There is so much that you can control. I have seldom seen much progress made towards goals without huge sacrifice

4. Have more motion and get outside more

Motion does change emotion. Moving the human body from one place to another is important. Pick up any exercise to move your body and get you outside more. 30 minutes a day should do it. No excuses and you will get back much more energy in your day and as a result you will live longer!

5. Have down time

There are many ways to have down time. It can be daily reflection, writing in a journal, doing Yoga, or walking and meditating. The point is to allow yourself around 20 minutes a day for doing nothing but reflection. I take a daily nap for 20 minutes and during this time reflect and rest. It recharges the rest of my day

6. Reward yourself daily

I love the New York Times and give myself 30 minutes a day to catch up on the day’s news. It makes me happy. I do it after a major task or project is complete. What can you do to reward yourself daily? This is the stuff which makes life enjoyable. Don’t short, change yourself in this area.

7. Decide which work must emerge through you

Think deeply about this. Which gifts still remain dormant inside. Perhaps it is your writing or music or ability to solve problems or maybe helping others with math problems. Figure out now what it is and start to do it. No job description will ever define this for you. This must come from within.

8. Define the right work for you

This will be the hardest work of all! Which work could you do for lifetime? What work is a natural alignment of your abilities and your interests? What work just makes you happy and is fun? Find it and do it now!

9. Don’t seek approvals or opinions

After 40 is the wrong time of life for getting approval from others. This is the time to be a rebel with a cause. Decide what is most important to you and take steps to make this a life priority.

10. Learn to let go

There are so many opportunities to look back at past mistakes, things you wished you would have done differently and choices you should have made. This is not useful. Instead act in the present. Take the risks now which you need to take, make the decisions now you need to make, and make new choices which will better suit you now and in the future. Let go of your past experiences which didn’t work and realize that at the time you made the best decisions you could and this was part of learning and life!

And a bonus step because after 40 it is important to make your own rules!

11. Learn more

Become an expert at what you truly are passionate about. This can take the shape of degrees or certificates or just new learning experiences. At this point of your life it is no longer as important what is on your resume vs. what new things you are learning and how you are applying them in your life.

After 40 is the time for greater reflection about who you are and what you want. You have paid the price of entry into life. Now is the time to integrate what you have learned, apply what now matters most, and enjoy the ride through the best time of your life!

I'll be cheering you on as you go!

Craig Nathanson

Author's Bio: 

Craig is a 25 year management veteran, Executive coach, college professor, author, and workshop leader. Also, Craig Nathanson is The Vocational Coach helping people and organizations thrive in their work and life.

Craig Nathanson is the founder of The Best Manager , workshops and products aimed at bringing out the best in those who manage and lead others.