I made a career transition at 42.
I started my career in 2002 as an Engineer writing code for mobile chips. In 2020, when I left my corporate job, I was leading global leadership development programmes in Asia. And during these 18 wonderful years, I moved many roles and countries and built myself a rich and varied career. And along the way, I became a bit of an expert on - how to build a career from within the organisation. Today I transform people and organisations through my offerings in career coaching, training and speaking.
And during my career transition phase, there were challenges - fear of the unknown, uncertainty and rejection! And I realised soon enough that there’s only one thing that’s going to help me make this career transition successfully.
I needed A MINDSET SHIFT. I needed to act in such a way that I adopted a growth and positive mindset.
Here are 5 Mindset Shifts That Helped Me Change My Career At 42
1. Describe yourself
I wanted clarity on what I was going to do next in my career. I was feeling a bit stuck in my current job and wanted to take small steps towards a change. And this activity helped me immensely -
I do _____ because ____but it ____
For example - I do my job because it pays the bills but it is slowly destroying my dream to be an entrepreneur one day
Now reframe it as a commitment to change
Instead I will _____ by _____ so that ______
For example - Instead I will start engaging with entrepreneurs by making time for it every weekend so that my dreams stay alive while I save money
By redefining my current state, I found the strength to stay committed to a career change.
2. Ask yourself some serious career related questions
Thinking about a change of career? Here are 5 questions you should consider ...
Why do you want this career change?
Start with your why. Explain your reasons simply and clearly so others can understand.
What do you know about the companies and roles that interest you?
If you haven't done your research on the company/role, then what can I say? It doesn't look good!
What transferable skills do you bring to the table?
Do you need to upskill significantly, or have done most of it already. That's what your potential employer is thinking.
How do you feel about starting afresh ?
Think about how you feel. Is doing something different and new going to stress you out, or is it going to excite you? Do you want to get a fresh start?
Are you curious? Are you inquisitive about where you want to go?
Ask questions about the business you want to join, its future prospects and work culture. You are entering a new world, you should be filled with questions about it!
At the end of this, I had so many career ideas buzzing in my head, I felt re-energised and ready to take action!
3. The “10 words” technique
"What do you do?" Can you answer this in less than 10 words?
This was my answer -
"I help you create magic at work"
Let's break it down -
I help - you own your work, I can only help
you - target audience
create magic - specific outcome, but with enough room to personalise
at work - I'm a career coach, not a life coach
How would you tell me what you do? Try it in less than 10 words!
4. Career quotes that inspires me
Quotes are like tiny stories. Tiny stories that shout out to my soul, help me push my boundaries and gather courage to take action.
Here are some that might inspire you -
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~Aristotle
“If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.” ~Thomas J. Watson
“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” ~Billy Graham
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” ~Pablo Picasso
“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” ~Will Rogers
“We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.” ― Carol Dweck
5. Work in progress
"Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished”. Says Daniel Gilbert in his book Stumbling on Happiness. He continues - "The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been."
When I think about this, I realise t
hat my life is a moving target. I am different everyday. And that means that I am never the same. I am moving. Changing. Evolving. When I feel stuck, I remind myself of this.
If you’re feeling stuck in your career, and trying to get out of a career rut, don’t get overwhelmed. Take a moment to think about this - How can you be stuck when you’re always moving ?
You Are Not Alone In Your Career Journey
A career change can be daunting. But if you have the right mindset in place, it can actually be quite a liberating experience! But, remember you don’t have to figure everything out by yourself. You can talk to someone and get help. Here are some tips -
Let it out
Get vulnerable. Share your feelings about what you want with a friend, family member or career coach. And remember, it’s OK to feel what you’re feeling.
Get out of isolation
Fear thrives in isolation and darkness. Get out and stop fuelling your fears. You can do that by getting community support, getting external perspectives or getting a career mentor to help you get through this phase.
Remember to take small steps
Steve Jobs said - "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future".
Imagine that the dots represent all the small steps you’re taking today for a career change. You have to believe that all the choices and mistakes you make today are going to lead to your midlife career success in the future. The dots will somehow connect and make sense to you one day!
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