3 Tips for Managing a Midlife Career Transition

Photo credit: Grant MacDonald on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC

Making a career transition in midlife has its own unique challenges.

Whether it’s internally driven (“I’m ready for a new direction in my life”) or externally driven (retrenchment, illness, family reasons), that period of time between your last payslip and your new normal (when you start to feel you’ve finally regained a sense of stability and confidence) is what I call an “emotional and spiritual wilderness”.

It is a time of great uncertainty and unfamiliarity, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and sleepless nights. The longer the wilderness period, the sharper the emotional peaks and troughs can seem to be.

Who are you, now that you have let go of your old job title and the benefits and certainty attached to it?

What do you answer when someone asks “So how’s work?” or when filling up a form that requires you to state your occupation?

How do you manage your moods and emotions day to day, when the structure of a set daily routine has been removed?

Here are 3 strategies I highly recommend for staying positive through a midlife career transition. These strategies have been helpful for me personally as well as for my clients:

1. Cultivate a Daily Power Practice.

Have you noticed that you don’t need to practise negativity, but you need to consciously practise positivity?

Be intentional in nurturing yourself daily with resources that power you up mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Tony Robbins calls it his “Hour of Power”. James Altucher has his Daily Practice.

Experiment to find what activities help you feel positive, strong, and enthusiastic, then incorporate them into the time of day that works best for you, and make this your daily practice.

Mine is a blend of reflection, prayer, reading, and exercise at the start of the day to get (and keep) my energy level up.

2. Assess How You Have Changed.

Our values and priorities change as we go through the seasons of life. What was important to us at 25 will not be the same when we are 45.

Use this time to re-evaluate and ask if you still care as deeply about the things you used to value.

Your career may have been high on your list when you first started working. Now, having turned 40 and with your children being in high school, your thoughts may be around personal development and self-care – making time for you as opposed to putting everyone else’s needs first.

In my practice, I use a Values Elicitation Exercise to help my clients identify their top 3 to 5 values. Just knowing what your values are can help you stay laser focussed as you make decisions in life and business.

3. Rediscover Your Strengths.

This is the perfect time to get in tune with what you’re effortlessly outstanding at.

Perhaps you already know what your strengths are, but you’ve lost momentum and self-belief, and need evidence that you really have strengths worth sharing.

Or perhaps you’ve never had the time or opportunity to find out.

If so, there are some useful assessment tools out there that can help you get insight into your personality profile, social and emotional intelligence profile, hidden gifts, etc. Use them to get a quick snapshot of where you are at currently, where you naturally flourish, and what you need to work on. Having this snapshot handy gives you a starting point to measure where you are so you can come back in 6 or 12 months and see how you’ve grown.

If you are interested to take an assessment to find out your social and emotional intelligence profile or discover your hidden gifts, I can help. Send an email to info@SerenaLow.com.au and I will explain the process.

Above all, remember that your midlife career transition is a gateway to a new chapter and new opportunities to be of service.

Embrace it, and enjoy the journey.