You’ve built a career as a professional, a successful business leader, a business executive with a great firm, an owner of an entrepreneurial business. It all seemed great until you slowly began to wonder, “Is this all there is for me?”
It disturbs me to coach so many women who say exactly that — “I’ve made it this far, is this all there is? Where is my purpose? How can I have a more fulfilling life?” These are women who are 29 and 45 and 60 in all types of roles, from key administrators to partners in professional services firms to leaders in sports conferences, and even in fashion, design and retail.
They aren’t sure why these feelings have bubbled up, but they’re less than satisfied with their jobs, careers and the daily tasks to be done. Every day they ask: “What am I missing?”
Maybe it’s not too late to become the person you always wanted to be. The challenge is to figure out what it was you always wanted, and then visualize what that might look like today.
My suggestion: Draw a picture and look at it — a lot. Or write a short story about the girl who … and make it your future story. Read it often.
It’s Time to Make Those ‘Someday’ Changes Happen
Many people think that change is so scary, why even try? They can’t decide whether they should stick it out or make a move. If you too are scared, that’s OK. Our brains hate the unfamiliar. However, the brain also can change if you let it see what’s possible, if you imagine your future, and if you then act to make that future come alive.
Isn’t it time to rethink your life’s journey? Aren’t you ready to start living the life you love? To paraphrase George Eliot (aka Mary Ann Evans): It’s never too late to become the woman you had always thought you were. Who was that “you” you were dreaming about when you were a kid, or a teenager, or a young woman? Dreams are those stories in your mind’s eye that are always nudging you to rethink today and find the life you wanted to live then, and now.
Where to Begin?
- Non-negotiables: First, start with what you never want to change. Make a list of the non-negotiables in your life that can set the stage for what comes next.
- More of: Write down what you want to do more of. What are those things missing today that would help you live the life you always wanted?
- Less of: Write down what you want to stop doing or do less of. Only you know what those things are. Carefully think about what you want to change.
While it Doesn’t Sound Hard, it’s Never Easy
Take a long walk, a thought walk, and allow your mind to quietly rethink what matters.
Once you have your lists in place, consider the options that await you. Perhaps you want to try a side-hustle that you can do while you’re still working. If you had always wanted to be a coach, go talk to others who do that now and see what it’s really like. Is nonprofit work on the top of your list? Do you want to give back to seniors or children or whomever matters to you?
Focus on something that fits your personal passions, and your purpose — which are strong drivers of success. As research shows us, 80 percent of people say they want to change their careers or jobs or re-enter the workforce, but only 6 percent act. Is it time for you to act now?
A Few Tips to Keep in Mind
Some of the best career choices for women, whether you’re 29 or 40-plus, include ones that offer these five things:
- Meaningful impact on others. This is a huge driver of change for women. They want to matter and make a difference. Purpose is what’s missing in their lives now.
- A clear path to get into your chosen business or career, not one filled with twists and turns that make it hard to get where you want to go.
- A way to get trained or certified while preparing for your career shift, as well as an opportunity to sample the career.
- Good income potential from the starting point and afterward, too.
- Flexibility to work from wherever you live now or want to live, and the ability to decide how you want to work — remotely or in an office.
Now, Your Turn. What’s Holding You Back?
Usually it’s just the fear of the unknown. We all know that our brain hates the unfamiliar. You must push through that fear and don’t flee what’s right before you. You won’t know if it’s the right thing for you unless you try it
Most importantly, take a step at a time toward the new destination. You only move forward if you move forward, and small wins work wonders to build your trust and confidence that it’s the right direction for you.
As George Eliot reminds us: “Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” Are you ready to find the life you love and start to live it? Isn’t today a good day to start?