Growing up in a family of finance officers and bankers, the profession seemed like the right way to go. But once I have graduated from University, I have realized, finance is not for me. And I have found myself in a position which was very uncomfortable and unknown. Family wasn’t happy that I don’t want to be a CA or a CFO like my father. But one thing I had come to realise that a self-belief and self-image I had was no longer serving me and it was time for change. The process was tough but very powerful. During the process of change, I have found myself in the wilderness which was very uncomfortable and painful. I was out of my comfort zone and the place was scary. It was the time when I had to develop a new “me”.
During this reflective time, I realised that I had to start to transform from the inside as well as the outside. And overtime it became more comfortable and I slowly started to identify the new me. So, the question I ask myself? Was is messy or scary? I think it was both. But my advice is to anyone who is considering a change or a career change, is to learn to accept that the discomfort you are feeling is the greatest thing. It is actually ok to be scared and anxious and to feel a little lost. But remember, “you have every reason to trust yourself, after all, you have taken the first step and has decided to change”.
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There are few principles that apply if you are thinking about a career change or any kind of change in your life. People are scared of failing. Yes, some people do fail because if you want to create a new “me”, you need to know about all the obstacles and the blocks that you will face. You need to be powerful to face all those obstacles and make the necessary changes prior you create a new “me”. So, what are those principles that need to be applied to career transition particularly in our midlife dilemmas.
1. Purpose (unclear or transparent): Are you clear about your career desire? Are you focused? Becoming clear about career direction is about having focus. The reality is that most people are unclear about their goals. If we are too busy in our everyday life and in the non-urgent or worse, the trivial, then we lose our purpose. So, clarity will assist to define purpose and importantly accelerate us to act on our career aspirations.
2. Fixed mindset: What mindset do you have? Fixed mindset or growth mindset? If you have a fixed mindset then basically you would prefer to play it safe and not stretch the boundaries. You are happy in your comfort zone. If you want to change your career, you need to have a growth mindset. This is directly applicable to your career transition plan. When we value learning, find enjoyment in growing our skills set, are not discouraged by setbacks, we can transition to new roles and achieve success.
3. Poor self-image: It makes sense that if we harbour negative and self-destructive self-images, we will sabotage any success we achieve and not have the courage to transition across careers. So, giving yourself a pep talk is one way to replace negative ways and enhance a poor self-image. Remember, “fake it until you make it”. It’s a powerful technique. There is also an important element of surrounding yourself with cheerleaders when you re creating a career transition. So, considering whom you socialize with and asking yourself if they support or hinder you, is important. If you are not a better person in their company, then reconsideration is required.
4. Money Obsession: Successful career transition is rarely driven by people just wanting to get rich. So much of the feedback at midlife from people transitioning is about recognizing the richness of relationships, serving others and finding true purpose in their careers. But we do recognize that while money doesn’t buy happiness, it does make life a whole lot easier. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to build a secure financial basis for now and the future, especially in the context of leaving a legacy. It’s all about how we get there, not becoming slaves to money or using the lack of it as a reason to not make a career change.
5. Not focusing on strengths: Most of the time, we do not focus on our strength. Focusing on what you love and where it intersects with your strengths, maximizes the careers you may want to move in to. Recognize your strengths, focus on them and you are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life.
So, if you haven’t done it yet and genuinely want a career change that will sustain you, go back and focus on your strengths, your life and find out, what is that really makes you happy? Once you find that answer, go for it. Trust me, if you love what you do in your career, you won’t work for another day.