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Unlocking the Potential Within: Embracing the Mid-Career Journey of Awakening

By Michael Kiener PhD, CRC Director of Rehabilitation Counseling Maryville University, Missouri Rehabilitation Association Eastern Chapter, Co-host of the Mentor Moments podcast.




Mid-career is a time when many people experience a sense of restlessness or unease. This period is often referred to as a "mid-life crisis" but can also be viewed as a "mid-life awakening". While these terms are often used interchangeably, they have different connotations and implications.


A mid-career crisis is typically associated with negative feelings such as anxiety, depression, and dissatisfaction. It is seen as a period of turmoil and confusion, where people question their life choices and feel a sense of disillusionment. People experiencing a mid-career crisis may feel stuck or trapped in their current situation and may act impulsively or recklessly to try to escape it.


On the other hand, a mid-life awakening is viewed as a positive experience. It is a time of growth, exploration, and self-discovery. People who experience a mid-life awakening may feel a renewed sense of purpose or passion for life. They may be more willing to take risks and try new things, and they may feel a greater sense of connection to their values and beliefs.


One of the key differences between a mid-career crisis and a mid-life awakening is the mindset of the individual. In a crisis, the person may feel overwhelmed and helpless, whereas in an awakening, they may feel empowered and inspired. The crisis is often characterized by a sense of loss, while the awakening is characterized by a sense of possibility.

A crisis can be a catalyst for an awakening, prompting people to reassess their life choices and make positive changes.

Another difference between these two experiences is their impact on a person's life. In a mid-career crisis, people may make impulsive or destructive decisions that have long-term consequences. In contrast, a mid-life awakening can lead to positive changes in a person's life. It can inspire them to pursue new goals or take a new direction in their career or personal life.


Finally, it's important to note that a mid-career crisis and a mid-life awakening are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can be two sides of the same coin. A crisis can be a catalyst for an awakening, prompting people to reassess their life choices and make positive changes. Similarly, an awakening can arise from a crisis, as people seek to find meaning and purpose in the midst of difficult circumstances.


In conclusion, while a mid-career crisis and a mid-life awakening may seem similar on the surface, they have different connotations and implications. A crisis is often characterized by negative feelings and impulsive decisions, while an awakening is characterized by a sense of purpose and positive change. By reframing the mid-life experience as an awakening, we can view this period as an opportunity for growth, self-discovery, and positive transformation.







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