Richie had a high-powered job in the financial industry. He’d been “between things” for three years when he came to coach with me. He was stuck in circular thinking that left him with only one choice that tortured him. He kept looking for another job in the same field, although there was no traction. He saw no other way. In his mind, nothing else was possible, and he felt powerless to change that.
Except . . .
Truth be told, Richie wanted to get back to his roots as a musician and lead a more creative life. He wasn’t willing to start living off his retirement savings (although he could), and the odds of becoming a rock star were slim. He declared it a dead end.
However . . .
Before one of our sessions, in my mind’s eye, I imagined a studio space where lessons, recording, small performances and a jovial musical play space could all coexist. I shared that with Richie and sparks flew. He knew people he could talk to, and off he went! What he found was that such places already existed, and that some of his contacts were open to investing in something like this.
Which one was the dead end? The new road or being stalled on the old road? The final destination is not wrapped up yet, but the momentum has been carrying Richie to new possibilities that will pay him. Not at finance industry rates, but likely enough to leave his savings intact for now.
So now, I challenge you, dear reader.
How powerless are you? Are you truly powerless or are you simply unwilling to jump into the wave of uncertainty? Like the old Robert Frost quote says: “The only way out is through.” The only way to know is to dive in. Explore, make inroads, and assess from inside an idea. It’s so much easier to discover from this vantage point rather than from the outside where it’s protected in a glass cloche that makes it impossible to touch.
As I say in “Now What?,” you don’t have to decide. Life will tell you if you’re wrong. Explore a path. If it gains traction, it has merit. Finances will, of course, be a factor, but you have to be honest with yourself. You may not WANT to begin touching your retirement, or you may not WANT to invest in yourself to get on your feet in a new endeavor, but if you CAN, why keep pursuing the path that hurts you mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
For those who can’t even fathom the thought of living without immediate income, this does not mean the end of the road for you. It means that you will want to include aspects of the newfound direction in whatever you do next. It means that you are back in touch with your “Life Blueprint,” or your unique way of contributing to the world that will bring you the most satisfaction. It MUST be included in some way.
It’s not what you do for a living that will make you happy. It’s who your job allows you to be.
Let us know how we can support you to make it happen. We’re here cheering you on!
Being coached in front of an audience is not an easy task for anyone. I get it, but that doesn’t cause me as the coach to take mercy on anyone who volunteered for the task. After a weekend of leading a seminar and coaching live, it was once again drummed home to me how often and easily we betray ourselves.
I do it too. Make a joke, tell a story about my woe or otherwise deflect—all ways to avoid pain or face the truth. During this seminar, the person in the “hot seat” was insistent on sharing the drama of the wrongdoing done to her instead of recognizing next step was right in front of her.
Dariah was performing a role within a corporation that spoke to her passion for diversity and empowering women. She reported loving her work, feeling alive and finding meaning in the task at hand. BUT (and there is always a BIG BUT) she had been forced off the upwardly mobile executive track and that was causing her to feel marginalized. Furthermore, she took that to mean she didn’t matter. She could not get over the loss of the chance of reaching a high executive level, and so was ready to walk away in order to prove her merit.
When she addressed me in front of the group, she did what I have seen countless people do: get silly and self-deprecating as she explained her scenario and answered the coaching questions with more rhetoric about what had been done to her. True or not, that was not the issue. What mattered was whether she cared to move forward or not. She claimed she did.
She wasn’t happy with me for interrupting her story. I did so anyway. I refocused her attention away from the problem and reminded her of what she said: “I love what I do. I feel alive.” She had also said she wanted to do more of it on a larger scale.
Her demeanor, partly due to being shocked out of her anxiety, became serious, focused and centered. I made her repeat what she had said. When she did, she suddenly had a lot more options. She could keep the role where she was (if she could get over her “should” about being on an executive track); she could look for a better one doing the same thing elsewhere as an executive in HR around diversity and inclusion; or she could even create a new role/department at her current company.
She went from justifying her story of being “stuck” and “helpless” to very powerfully grounding herself in what was already true: She loved what she was doing and wanted to have even a bigger impact with it. Drama, anxiety, executive track be darned! She was doing exactly what she wanted to be doing!!!! Now, she could move forward with the intent to grow the impact she could make. She could leverage what she was doing to reach more people and maybe even attain the title and recognition she craved. She was getting paid well to do what she was doing, but perhaps she could even be paid more. Now she knew who she was, what she wanted and how she could go about getting it. She was more passionate than ever about the mission she was on to make a difference.
Do you play this game with yourself? Do you get wrapped up in how you’ve been wronged or how things aren’t going as you think they should so that you miss all the good stuff right under your nose? I know I do sometimes. We can all be blind to the pitfalls we choose to stay stuck in.
JUST STOP! It’s not cute. Or funny. Or totally true.
Need help getting unstuck? Give us a call.
Here’s a funny reminder that our fears, though very real, can put us over the top.
A little lightness helps to get perspective.
“To thine own self be true . . . ”
It’s not just a line from a Shakespearean play! It’s great advice for anyone any time, and particularly for entrepreneurs creating a business that reflects, inspires, and supports them!
Stop comparing to others or trying to do things the way someone else does. Find what really works for you and flourish from that place!
When transitioning into a new line of work, you want to make sure you’re prepared. As with embracing any type of change, it can be a bit rocky at first—and the uneasiness can be even harder when it’s about your career, which holds so much value.
However, by preparing yourself for what’s to come and asking yourself the necessary questions to guarantee you’re directed on the right path, you’ll be more likely to secure a smoother transition and come out feeling confident in your decisions.
Here are 5 things to consider before making a career change, to determine how best to go about it and what outcome you’re searching for.
What Lifestyle You Desire
What lifestyle do you want to create? What aspects will improve your quality of life and wellbeing?
Many of my clients want to enjoy a more relaxed and balanced life with more time for simple pleasures, especially as they get older and are approaching their second act. Having this work-life balance is really important for personal and professional fulfillment, so you’ll want to make sure you’re transitioning into a career that can give you what you need.
Also, consider the pace. Fast? Slow? Do you envision making a geographic move? Freedom and flexibility?
Here’s a client example. Alison moved south to Florida and took a big pay cut to start her own business in providing home safety services for the elder care population. She let go of a 30-year career and senior manager role with a prominent NYC publishing company at the age of 49. She longed to be out of a corporate career and build something meaningful.
She now lives on the water in Florida with a relaxed pace. She loves her new home office, and I helped her devise an exit plan and negotiate a buyout package. She established her second act with her new husband, and they created their “dream come true” together.
Your Life Story, Not Your Resume
The book “Now What? 90 Days To a New Life Direction” by Laura Berman Fortgang contains a time-tested method for reinventing your career and life when faced with a crossroads. With my clients, I use this method to guide them towards career clarity. Most clients use conventional methods for job search but often end up more confused and frustrated than before.
Instead, with this book’s expertise, I coach them in a more non-conventional way to look for clues as to what they really want to do. We look to remove things that are draining energy first, then we consider the new identity to pursue, we work on reframing limiting beliefs and identifying their purpose statement, and from there, we create fictitious scenarios, so they can see themselves soar.
Many conventional methods are focused on logic and stifle creativity. So, together we can help them see that their future direction is probably not in their résumé, but rather contained within their life story.
Michelle is an excellent example of a professional who proactively set out to develop her second act by examining her life story. She conducted a career assessment using Now What? to plan a 5-7 year strategic process for manifesting a career that would move her into retirement. She went back to school while continuing to work full-time for a leading publishing company and got her master’s degree in library science.
As an introverted type, she realized she wanted a calmer, less draining role with fewer hours and no leadership and staff responsibilities. Now, at the age of 58 she’s still working a full-time job, with normal hours and doing the research she loves in a marketing career.
How Your Career-Related Values Have Changed
What are the most pressing needs you can’t live without fulfilling? What are your highest values? These typically can change, so it’s important to re-evaluate every so often to make sure you’re still happy in the career industry and path you’re pursuing.
Most of my clients have had to do some serious soul-searching and inner reflection to figure out their core values. A few weeks ago a client called me with a serious values dilemma. He was offered a very good position as a content writer for a very prominent law firm, but he felt as though he’d be selling his soul if he accepted.
The money was too good to turn down and something he seriously needed to consider at age 50 with 3 kids to put through college. The amount of time spent ruminating about money and sleepless nights would abate once taking the job. I had him consider the possibility of enjoying the work and team. He accepted the position with much relief.
How Long It’ll Take To Get There
I have many clients that fantasize about making a radical change, but after seeing the reality of it, they’re overwhelmed. This is not a quick process. You must be in it for the long haul if you really want to discover something new.
Most major career changes take an average of 18 months to 3 years to fully execute. Many clients have timed their exits very carefully before leaving and have often secured a package. Those who haven’t gotten a package have banked their money carefully.
Still, while you must be financially prepared, don’t let the money stop you. You can say to yourself, “This is not a never issue. It may just be not right now.” Be proactive, and plan 3 years ahead of when you want to make the change.
For instance, this is often the case with millennials who aren’t financially secure so early in life but are looking to make a drastic career change. A 25-year old girl was in PR and wasn’t making much money, working endless hours, both at the office and out entertaining in the evenings. She wanted to exercise, see friends, sleep, and maybe cook a meal or two at home.
Yet, she wasn’t in a position to leave with a package or enough years under her belt. So, she figured out what avenue she wanted and planned to head there in three years. She worked with clients in the industry she coveted and built a network, so once the time arrived, she’d have several people to reach out to.
Taking A Bridge Job Before Making The Leap
I’m a big fan of creating a 2-step plan, and this has consistently led to greater success for my clients.
For example, an opportunity might be right under your nose within your current organization. I have a client who went into banking, where he could work and live abroad in Hong Kong, and travel all over from there as part of his senior role. He fulfilled his desire to travel, while maintaining his career.
Here’s another example: you may have grown tired of being self-employed, but rather than abandoning your profession, you explore making a lateral move by leveraging your skill set with an employer offering a job opening in the same industry.
Whatever awaits you, see if it makes sense as a middle point before your next life-changing move.
Please feel free to leave any comments or personal stories. Helping others find their way is what inspires me to do my life’s work.