What is Your Why in Changing Careers in Midlife?

Before You Change Careers in Midlife, Know Your “Why” First

Ask yourself these questions before pivoting to a new career in midlife.

Are you bored with your current work situation? Maybe the mundane of the 9-5 is wearing you down? If you wake up each morning dreading what you do for a living, then you may be one of thousands of people dreaming of a change. An average of 70% of working-age people are currently looking for a job change, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average age of this person is 39 years old. It’s around this time in midlife that some people start feeling like they need more…more fulfillment, more challenge, and more creativity. If you are one of these people, then I have a question for you. What is your “WHY”?

We all have had that dream of walking into the office and yelling “I QUIT!” However, I advise you to have a very important conversation with yourself before living out this film fantasy of leaving your job like Jerry Maguire. Ask yourself the following questions before you make a career transition in order to be confident that you are ready to begin your midlife second act. 

Why are you considering a career change? 

Whether it’s leaving your job, venturing into a new career, starting a business, going back to school, whatever your next step may be, I urge you to pause first and ask yourself…why? Making a change, any change is challenging. In order to keep you on a steady path toward second act success, you should have a solid understanding of your why. The more you understand your motivation behind this change, the more confident you will be in your decision.

What are you hoping to accomplish?

Are you interested in a career change to find balance?  Do you want to make more money for your family? Are you hoping to level up your career to a new position? Will you be following a creative passion full-time? The question is what will this change accomplish for you in the long run? Take the time to dive into what you are hoping to gain from this transition, so you can have goals set in place to get you there. Working towards a goal with smaller milestones to work towards along the way, will help get you to the finish line even sooner. 

Are you running away from something or towards something?

In making a big life change, be confident that you are moving towards something positive and not running away from something negative. Ask yourself “why am I choosing this particular path?” and “why now?” Listen to your answer with an honest heart. Make sure you know that the next chapter is a good one that feels right. This new role should light you up in a way your current situation does not. The last thing you want is to make a drastic decision and find yourself in the same situation a few months later. Take the steps now to ensure this is a path you are excited to pursue. You want to guarantee there will be joy and fulfillment in your midlife second act. So simply step back and make sure you know why you are choosing this path, be sure this career aligns with your values and goals, and that the next step is what you feel you are destined to do. 

Have you done your homework?

I always advise my clients to “learn before you leap.” Do research on your second act in order to learn as much as you can now about this new role. Will you enjoy the work? How will the hours fit into your lifestyle? Will the pay meet your needs? Do you have contacts in this field who can help? Will you need training or certification to move into this role?  Have you conducted informational interviews with people currently in this field to get opinions on what this field is really like? Is your resume up to date? Will you need a website, a business registration, social media handles, etc? There are many items on your to-do list when changing careers in midlife, so do your research now to make sure you are aware of all of the elements you may face down the road as you begin this transition. The more you know now, the better you will feel when you make the leap into this new adventure of yours.

Are you ready to make your dreams a reality?

At this point, your answer is hopefully a resounding YES! Now it is time to move forward with your why held closely to your heart. You now know why you are making this move, and you can feel confident in your decision. If you find yourself staring at the fork in the road in front of you with any hesitation, but you’ve answered the above questions, you’ve done your research, and you know your why, then I say take a deep breath and leap. Get excited as you head out on this adventure to accomplish your next big thing. You will be able to hold your head up high and walk tall knowing that you are your why. You know why you are making this change. You know why it is best for you.  And because of your why, you WILL follow your path to your second act.

We all have made big leaps and big mistakes in our careers, but I truly believe knowing your why and holding it close to your heart is all you need to motivate you towards your next midlife career goal. Since having my sons, my why has been clear. It’s all about them. They are why I left a successful Television career and why I opened a business that allows me to spend more time with them. They are why I coach others on how to make a career transition that fulfills them and why I host a podcast to share stories of people who have successfully found their second act midlife career change. I want my sons to see that there is not just one path in life, but that our paths can twist and turn, and this is what makes life an adventure. My why is to set an example for my kids that they can do anything and be anything in this one life we are given, as long as they follow their why and hold on to it tightly in their hearts.

I hope you can take this advice with you into your day, and that it motivates you to start moving towards a second act that produces a life you love. For more on this topic, follow me and listen to my Second Act Success podcast

Feature image by Anand KZ from Pixabay

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