This is what I learned helping people change careers

A short guide to starting all over in mid-life

Painting Katarzyna Środowska, courtesy of the artist

Most people who come to a career coach have it up to their ears with their jobs. They don’t even want to consider talking about any changes in their current workplace. Usually they’ve already decided not to stay where they are now. Stuck in jobs that pay the bills but no longer feed their souls, they cannot bear anymore the strain of an unfulfilling career.

Sometimes they are a desert inside but you’d never tell. Smiling from their LinkedIn profiles they seem to be a modern success story. You can meet them at events, conferences and talk about the latest market trends. If you get a bit a closer, you might learn that they are ‘looking around’, thinking about ‘making a move’ or ‘investigating new options’. No no, nothing serious.

The process usually takes time. Torn between the stability of one’s present job and a blurry vision of the future, it’s easy to procrastinate. What’s more in mid-life we usually have a lot to lose, we’ve made connections, got used to some standard of living or gathered enough experience to get at least a reasonable income. A change means effort, chaos and insecurity. Who on earth would want that?

A change means effort, chaos and insecurity. Who on earth would want that?

  • Stop thinking about what you don’t want. People who realize they’ve burned out or they just desperately need a change usually know extremely well what they don’t want. If you let them talk about it, they can go on for hours, describing their current workplace, how terrible their boss is and other things they dislike. Such behavior is very common, however it brings one nowhere. Even if it helps eliminate some options, there’s still an ocean of possibilities left. That’s why instead of wasting time dwelling on what you don’t want, ask yourself instead what is it that I want. Reverse the focus to the future you would like to build and do not look back. At this point it will be just brainstorming ideas and you might not know exactly where you’re heading but do not worry about this too much now. The bottom line is to stop thinking about what doesn’t work and concentrate on what potentially could.

The bottom line is to stop thinking about what doesn’t work and concentrate on what potentially could.

And just by the way, what if your task was to create something completely new, a new niche, a new blue ocean or a new trend in your area of work? Who’d ever could predict that or invent that in your name?

Our past experiences show only how we performed on such and such position in such and such company. Period. They say nothing about the future.

Painting Katarzyna Środowska, courtesy of the artist
  • Start seeing your assets. Some people have the power of a racing car, but think of themselves as an old convertible. Some are like a house with a beautiful basement full of treasures to which they have lost the key. Here’s where asset inventory comes in. Evaluating where we stand and what we have almost always brings some new insights and a feeling of greater security. Whether you work in a group or 1:1 setting, it does not matter that much, what matters is that it is best to do it with the help of another human (Every person has their own bias and is blind to certain facts).

Some people have the power of a racing car, but think of themselves as an old convertible.

Allow yourself to work with abandoned parts of yourself, to explore the new.

Having done some inner work, you need to get out — start meeting people, asking questions and building new connections.

Whatever your potential line of business, an investment into playing with one’s creativity always pays off.

If you tune attentively inside, you’ll always hear that little voice softly whispering “go on, this is your path…let’s explore something new..”

And what will be your story?

Inner work gold digger. Therapist. Social Psychologist. Loves dancing & art. Web: cdm-warszawa.pl

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