It’s easy to lose focus as we move through midlife. The excitement of new adventures and opportunities or sometimes the demands of life can overshadow the need for taking care of the basics. However, if you want to truly stay “sharp” in this season, it’s crucial to remain grounded in the fundamentals.
I have found it helpful to use the acronym SHARP to identify the five key areas to focus on to flourish in midlife.
S – engage with your Strengths
H – maintain emotional and physical Health
A – maintain a positive Attitude
R – enjoy life-giving Relationships (including God)
P – unearth and live into your Purpose
Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
First, using your strengths regularly can help you feel more connected to your work and confident about who you are and what you do. Studies show that when we use our strengths, we are more likely to create flow experiences and be engaged in our activities and with others. When we focus on developing our strengths, all those around us – our team, family, and community – benefit from using our God-given talents and abilities.
Second, health is essential for thriving. It almost seems ridiculous to put it in the top 5, but you wouldn’t believe how many leaders I coach that quit paying attention to their health in midlife. Eating right, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are critical in maintaining a positive outlook, pursuing your goals, and having the energy to care for those around us.
Third, a positive attitude is crucial for thriving. Studies have shown that individuals with positive outlooks grow and develop more fully as they age. They’re also more likely to build strong relationships, remain resilient in the face of adversity, and more likely to find meaning in difficult experiences. A positive attitude doesn’t mean we always feel happy; rather, we tend to see the good in people and situations even when things are tough.
Fourth, healthy relationships give us a sense of belonging and significance. Studies have shown that we are more likely to stay healthy in later years when we have supportive relationships. They also offer opportunities for personal growth; after all, we learn about ourselves through interactions with others.
Finally, having a sense of purpose gives our lives meaning and direction. It helps us set goals and stay motivated even when things are tough. People with a sense of purpose know that their life matters. They feel passionate about what they do and invest in making a difference in the world.
When we focus on the fundamentals, we build a foundation that will help us weather any storms that come our way. And while midlife can be challenging, it can also be a time of tremendous growth and fulfillment. By paying attention to these five fundamental areas, we can remain “SHARP” throughout midlife and set ourselves up for a rich, satisfying, and rewarding life.