Recently I traveled to Burney Falls, just north of Lassen Volcanic National Park, to share the sight with close friends. Before you even see the cascading waterfalls, you are assaulted be the deafening sound of the water crashing into the pools below. And then when you actually glimpse its magnificence; what a sight to behold! While it looks to be all one continuous flow of water, in reality it’s comprised of many different outlets and tributaries all converging together. Standing and drinking in the mist and brilliance, your senses tell you that you’re experiencing the whole of this extraordinary display. What you miss though, unless you take time to read the sign posts along the way and hike the watery trail, is all the natural and environmental detail that actually goes into creating Burney Falls. Can’t the same be said for each person’s individual life journey?

One of the friends visiting me these past weeks was a former Health and Safety Engineer, and another a former Human Resources Business Partner. Both have retired and gone on to other pursuits and interests. But if I didn’t know them as well as I do, I might only identify them with their past careers.

Mist and Brilliance . . .our lives are so much more than our past career(s). #ClearPathForward #Midlife #Women #Brilliance #Change Click To Tweet

Our lives are so much more than our past career(s), and yet it is so easy to pigeonhole people to label and define them. She’s an HR person, so she must be good with people. We forget to ask what interests you outside of your career? What upbringing and environmental factors went into making you who you are? Take the time to realize the brilliance achieved when all facets of a particular life come together.

Here’s an even sadder commentary – we do the same things to ourselves. We move beyond childhood dreams and passions, saying in our minds that it’s just part of growing up. We become mired in careers that we may or may not have willingly chosen, and then continue with our noses to the grindstone in the hopes of a “comfortable” retirement. We then gauge from society’s perspective, not usually ours, when we should quit working. For many I have known, their brilliance quickly vanished into the stream below, pummeled by the rocks and trees of living.

And yet there is hope! There are those who, part way through their lives, experience an epiphany, wake-up call, or some intervention that enables them to stop, reflect, and question the life path they are treading. For many it requires being laid off from companies, quite unexpectedly or without advance warning. I have one friend who secretly thanks her former employer for ending her job, requiring her to examine what she really wanted to be doing with her life.

Instead of waiting for someone else to determine your fate, frequently ask and reflect on answers to these questions:

  • Do I take time to reflect on my life journey?
  • Am I joy-filled right now?
  • Do I have a three to five year life plan?
  • Am I taking actions that excite, energize, and make me want to get out of bed every morning?
  • What inspires me and who am I inspiring?

If any of your answers spark a hope or idea for what is yet to come, figure out how to make it so. Like the water crashing down at Burney Falls, we can all add brilliance and majesty to this planet. However, it’s up to each of us to reflect upon and examine how to make it so going forward.

Action:  Sit down and answer the above questions. Continue adding your brilliance each and every day.

Kathy Hart, EdD’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your midlife transition
  • Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
  • Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
  • Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance