What’s Your Mission?

Posted on February 10th, 2013, by iMinerva

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article entitled “Why You Need to Find a Mission.”  Rush Medical Center’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago has been conducting research on Alzheimer’s and aging for years.  Their study of 1,500 men and women reports that “having a purpose in life can help stave off cognitive decline and promote a broadly healthier, longer life.”

While the researchers aren’t able to provide a scientific explanation as to why a “mission” or “purpose” is “robustly protective” to cognitive brain function, they documented a 30% slower rate of decline.  Rush’s Dr. Patricia Boyle suggests that those with purpose are more physically and socially active, and involved in life issues beyond self-concern.  Whether volunteering, learning, or beginning a new career, people with a purpose are energized and motivated.

MetLife Foundation and Encore.org surveyed individuals interested in “encore careers” where they could use their experience and passions to help society.  Topping the list of interests is Social Services, followed by Healthcare, Religious or faith-based issues, and Human rights or social justice.  Encore.org is an interesting online resource providing information on “encore careers combining personal meaning, continued income and social impact – in the second half of life. In addition to research and helpful information, the group offers Encore Fellowships, paid assignments with social-purpose organizations.  Their “Purpose Prize”  awards $100,000 to people 60+ “who are changing the world.”  Take a look at the five remarkable individuals recognized in 2012 for some further inspiration.

Second-Act Careers is another good resource for anyone considering career reinvention.  Written by career coach Nancy Collamer, the book gives inspirational examples of folks who have begun new careers and offers suggestions to help determine how to begin consideration of your next act.  Check out Ms. Collarmer’s website at mylifestylecareer.com.

This is not Mission Impossible!  A life filled with meaning, new learnings and experiences, is just what the doctor ordered.



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