Have you been repeatedly inspired by the stories of friends, colleagues, people on social or in the media, who changed careers in their fifties and started something vastly different? Have you wondered, even for a minute, how exciting it would be to follow their example? Then this article is for you. In all honesty, nobody ever said it was easy. It never is. But the most difficult thing may well be the first step: Overcoming your pre-conceived ideas about what it takes to follow your inner North Star, and start a meaningful second act of life.
Here are four common misconceptions about career transitioning that I often hear from clients before we start working together.
1. I am too old
Misconceptions about age are extremely interesting because ageing is a taboo. It becomes even hairier when you realize that you are now officially part of the “senior” or “older” workforce. At this point, the only visible perspective for your future is retirement. If this is not what you want, and if you consider changing career instead, I can hear you asking: “How old shall I be when I succeed in my new job?” the short answer is “The same as if you dwell in the status quo”. We age anyway, this is a fact of life. The even shorter answer is: You have choices. You always do. Starting a new career that makes your heart sing every morning might come with a different lifestyle, where you divide your time between work and leisure. According to the latest Aegon research on retirement, older professionals do not want the traditional ‘cliff edge’ retirement – they want an easier transition towards a work-life balance which better suits their needs.
2. I will need a lot of training
This is also a misconception, and here is why. Once you are crystal clear about what you want to do (which might require some time and help), it becomes a matter of execution. If you need to add competence to your skillset, you will proceed, promptly. One of my clients transitioned from CEO in the media industry to skipper, cruising clients in the Mediterranean in a luxury sailing boat. While he had been a savvy sailor in the past, he needed to pass a professional skipper degree. It took him six months of commitment and he graduated with honors. Motivation is at the core of the decision to get training. As Brave Start observed in a recent survey,
“The drive to learn is undiminished but comes with the self-awareness and perspective that comes with age” ¹
Are you struggling to find clarity? A great place to start is by downloading my free Compass Coordinates Workbook, which will help you cut out the noise and get a clear direction for where you need to go next.
3. I will lose my status
Yes, you will. The misconception is about what you make of it, and what you get in lieu of your status-quo. When was the last time you re-visited your conception of success? What is really important to you? What do you want other people to see in you? To say about you? What is the impact you want to have? Do you want to use your sterling experience in a meaningful way? Is there an entrepreneurial dream that is waiting to be brought to life? There is no right or wrong answers to these questions, but it may be time to re-align your actions with your values. Business cards are old-fashioned and unsustainable anyway. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Once you are on your way to your second act, a new status will emerge, together with a new version of yourself.
4. I will be financially vulnerable
If you ask yourself questions about your finances, you are point on. Money is key in the equation of a potential career change, and you want to be clear about the consequences. To start with, you want to have a 360° view to make an educated decision. This exploration is essential, as we tend, by default, to cling to standards that are no longer aligned with what we really want. Make a thorough assessment of your needs, and those of your family. You may be ready to downsize your home, move, or simplify your life. Doing a job you love has its own pay-offs, that may make you happily give up the toys you enjoyed at some point. Or, on the contrary, financial success is centrally important to you. Different moments of your life involve different priorities. An evaluation of your assets and pension fund is necessary to determine what you have and what you need to earn, in order to live the life you want.
Have you created false beliefs that are preventing you from living your dream life? What stories have you been telling yourself that are holding you back from taking a leap and transitioning into the next stage of your life? If you are looking for someone to guide you, who can provide you with an objective view and the tools that will allow you to transition gracefully into the second stage of your life, I would love to have a chat with you. Click here to schedule your free discovery conversation today.
¹ Unlocking the Value of an ageing working force, 2021