Making the decision to change your career requires courage, and making a smooth change requires wisdom, clarity and strategy. Anyone who chooses to change their career will face challenges, and this does not get easier with age. As we face the challenges our confidence can be eroded, bit by bit or through some nasty incident.
Rebuilding or maintaining a strong healthy confident outlook on life is, in itself, a challenge! That is magnified by the challenges that everyone has to deal with, but if you know what is ahead you can be ready to manage your reactions.
Let’s face it – your age is what it is and there is nothing you can do about it. If you need to change the colour of your hair, lose weight or obtain more qualifications then there is something you can do to make these things happen. With your age, there is not one thing you can do! So put your birth date aside and get on with facing the challenges you can conquer, fighting the battles that you can win. There is no point in dwelling on your age as an issue.
Wanting to change your job is one thing but making the decision to pursue a new career is another thing altogether. Many want to do it, but few have the courage and determination to follow through!
During your working life many new occupations and even industries have appeared, but, unless you have had the opportunity to gain skills through your current work, many mature workers are unaware of some of the new jobs that exist. To overcome this challenge and gain a contemporary perspective do some research on areas with which you are not familiar. This can be done by looking at job ads in newspapers and on the internet. By all means consider a career change but don’t limit yourself just to the jobs you already know. Give yourself the widest range of options!
Society today seems to be dominated by youth and beauty. Maybe it was always like this, but when we were young and beautiful (and sadly most of us didn't realise we were at the time!) we thought it was perfectly normal. Now it seems ageist to us! The media go wild about ‘beautiful young things’. Many television programs cater for and star young people. However look a little harder and you will see that there are many mature workers involved in every industry.
Age is a common stereotype. The image of an older worker who is slow to learn, set in their ways and dull to have around is full of prejudice and stereotype. It is also blatantly not accurate for most people. However ageism, sadly, is alive and well. Nevertheless, let’s face facts here; some older people are indeed slow, finicky and dull. But so are some younger people!
What you have to avoid is falling into the trap of perpetuating that image. You are looking for work in the 21st century. Workplaces are contemporary and you need to be contemporary also in order to be considered a suitable employee. Don’t dress like a 25 year old, and conversely, don’t go to work looking like your grandmother. You don’t need to be the computer whizz kid in the workplace, but you must have the appropriate level of skills for your job. You can wear your glasses to read, but don’t make a big deal about the fact that you can’t read without them. Get the idea? Be your best self in the workplace, not some caricature of your age.
Even if ageism and stereotypes are common you can overcome these challenges. While many employers seem to favour young workers there are also many employers who welcome older staff members. They appreciate experience and reliability. You have those qualities in spades. Break free of the stereotypical mould by showing them what you are capable of. If you believe that you will encount age discrimination then you will find it everywhere you go, so don't go looking for it. Your challenge is to communicate that you are capable, talented, reliable, enthusiastic and definitely a person worth hiring.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to many people is their own opinion of themselves. Many older workers ask themselves, “Is this all there is?” They wonder if they will ever do anything exciting and worthwhile in their working life. And if they do want to try something new, the biggest handicap is their lack of belief in themselves.
So, what do YOU think of yourself? Be honest and look at yourself as a stranger would with regard to your
If you aren’t happy with your personal rating of yourself do something about it. Making changes to improve your image and attitude will impact on your self-esteem and self-confidence. When you have a strong self-image, changing your career is so much easier. I recently saw a UK TV production about makeovers of two career women. There was a huge difference in their self-esteem after the makeover. When they knew they were smartly dressed and looking attractive they projected an entirely different energy. What was fascinating was the reaction of the people they interacted with at work who obviously viewed them differently because of their “new image”.
Now don't misinterpret my comments here as preaching. I'm writing them as much for myself as for you. I would benefit from making many changes in this area of life. So please understand that, although this may seem harsh it's what many of us (myself included) need to hear.
You may like to read the other blog posts in this series:
Confidence is critical, but when you are experiencing problems at work and want to change your career it is common to temporarily misplace your belief in yourself. Sometimes, just when you most need it, your confidence is at an all-time low. The key here is to recognise the sources of these issues and then actively use strategies that will help you move past them.
Many people feel some fear when they consider changing their career. No, you are not alone. If you’ve had the same job for many years making a change can be very stressful. Making a big career change that involves study can mean an even greater level of fear. Again this is not uncommon. Fear of the unknown is natural.
I remember feeling a combination of terror and elation when I enrolled in the course that changed my career direction. All the usual fears almost engulfed me and caused me to give up before I began. Would I still be capable of doing well in assignments? Would I start the course and not be able to continue? Would everyone else think I was a fool for taking steps to change my career at 50?
One of the biggest fears many people face is the fear of failure. When you start talking about changing your career some of your friends and family members may discourage you. With the best, but misguided, intentions they may reinforce the fear you are already feeling. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are probably trying to protect you in case you don’t get the job you want or can’t succeed in the business you are creating. Don’t let their concerns get you down. Make up your own mind, and be aware that change will only happen if you are prepared to step forward and take a few chances.
There are two things to remember here. Being afraid is a natural reaction, particularly when you are treading in unfamiliar territory, and even the most confident person has moments of doubts and fears when faced with a new challenge. Also remember that problems create problems. If things are going badly at home or work it is difficult to get yourself into the positive frame of mind which supports a confident career change. If your family life is stressful, or you are engulfed in financial woes, your stress levels may worsen and you are more likely to be depressed than enthusiastic.
Work stresses are often out of your control
If your job description changes or your boss makes demands you feel unable to meet, you may feel under undue pressure. Poor management can often contribute to employees’ dissatisfaction and stress. Stress can magnify if you have a serious disagreement with a work colleague, if your job skills are no longer enough to handle the work you are required to perform or if the culture at your workplace takes a turn for the worse. Tension at work is an unhealthy situation. Your productivity will suffer. Your health is likely to suffer. Your employer is not getting the best from you, and the cycle goes on.
Sadly, a bad work atmosphere usually only gets worse; people talk about you, or you feel that they are doing so, and everything becomes toxic. People who are struggling for one reason or another will find making a career change far more difficult than those in a happy state of mind. Be kind to yourself and recognize that you may need extra help making your career change if you are not feeling on top of life.
Downsizing can be dangerous
When a business gets into trouble jobs are often the first thing to go. If your position is to be made redundant you experience the emotion and complications of losing your job. However, sometimes it’s actually worse for those who retain their job because it usually means a much larger workload for fewer employees. You may find yourself picking up the workload of the retrenched employees. Your stress and dissatisfaction at work are now compounded, but it probably isn’t a good time to even think about making your own career change.
In a situation like this patience is required! Take the time to appreciate that you were not one of those who lost their job, that you can now assess the situation objectively and make your move when the time is right. Don’t give up on your dreams of changing your career, but perhaps bide your time a little until the job market is a little stronger.
As we get older sometimes we find ourselves working with people who are many years younger. Whilst this shouldn’t be a problem, often generational differences cause problems at work and mature aged workers, finding themselves working alongside, or for, colleagues who are half their age, can feel threatened. Confidence, self-esteem, all those things you thought you had sorted out years ago, are suddenly in danger of erosion. There is no easy answer to this issue beyond making sure that you are doing your job to the best of your ability, while remaining open to new ways of doing things.
Thinking about failure not success
Your attitude to changing your career will have a great impact on its success. For this reason those negative thoughts must be managed. However you can’t just ignore things that worry you. You need to separate the real from the unreal. Sometimes this could simply mean changing your perception of certain issues, then finding a practical solution to manage them.
Try this strategy. Sit quietly and ask yourself:
Jot down every thought that comes up in response to these questions. Add a third section on your notes where you can also list random thoughts, which may come up but do not answer any of the questions. Usually, they contain clues to how your subconscious mind is influencing your current thinking. If there is a trusted person you can discuss this with, it would be helpful.
You may find that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. You may find that the worst things really don’t seem too bad. Alternatively, you may have come up with another way of thinking about the whole decision. Taking the time to reflect will help you recognize the reality of your situation and prepare you for a number of possible outcomes.
You can’t anticipate everything but you are giving yourself a good chance of being prepared for possible problems. With information laid out in front of you, trust your instinct. You may get a feeling that this is possible, or it may feel that you still need time to do more research and preparation.
Listen to the combination of your logical evaluation of the situation and your instinctive feelings, and remember that decisions don’t come with a guarantee. If you weigh up the pros and the cons and arm yourself with all the information you need to make a serious and sensible decision, you will replace your fear with optimism. Your confidence will grow.
Fear can be used for good
Everyone has fears. Smart people use their fear as a prompt or reminder that they need to work hard, work smart and take calculated risks. If you want to be in control of your life, if you want to make a career change and be successful, you need to be proactive. Use your fear to kick start your determination. Franklin Roosevelt was right when he said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”
Acknowledge your fears but don’t let them stop you.
It’s funny how, when you are younger, you presume that older people really have their act together. You might have considered them stuck in their ways or old-fashioned, but I’ll bet it never occurred to you that they may be lacking confidence. Certainly I doubt you considered that when you were over 50 you’d be having crises of confidence. Getting older is full of surprises, isn’t it!
Losing confidence is normal when you are experiencing an unhappy time at work. You may feel undermined by the people around you, or feel critical of your own level of achievement. Whatever the cause, it is important that you try to regain your confidence before you begin any sort of career transition. Confidence can mean the difference between you making that transition easily or struggling.
How do you build your confidence? Here are five critical steps you need to take:
Recognize the behaviours that indicate your lack of confidence. Change these behaviours and you will change the way people perceive you.
Face the demons
Identify the areas of your life in which your self-confidence is lacking.
Face the challenges with courage and wisdom
Career change is not a blind leap of fate, but rather a conscious decision with a calculated risk.
Learn and grow
Develop an attitude of learning from everything and growing into a mature person, an individual oozing with confidence and who can take on any challenges with gusto.
Allow yourself to consider all styles of work, even those that you have not done before. Whatever your decision, you will know that you made your choice having considered all options.
Over the next few blog posts we will consider each of these steps individually, commencing with the first.
With the help of those closest to you try to identify the things you do which indicate your lack of confidence. It’s funny how you can consciously change your behavior and act in a way that suggests you are much more confident that you feel, and people will take that new behaviour on face value.
Pretend you feel confident! Walk like a confident person, speak like a confident person, smile with confidence. Not only can this change the way other people perceive you, but it can also have a big impact on making you actually feel more confident. But that is easier said than done when you are trembling inside!
Are You Unconsciously Blocking Your Business from Growing?Marcia Bench (republished with permission)
If I were to ask you whether you wanted your business to grow and thrive, you would say yes, right?
But far too often I find that though you may have the right strategies for growth, there are other factors blocking you from achieving your goals.
The problem is, they are invisible! So how the heck do you clear them when you can’t see them? The answer lies in becoming aware of them and using proven principles to lead you to freedom.
Here are the three traps I most commonly see and how to overcome them:
Trap 1: I don’t really believe I deserve success – or that I can really achieve it.
Despite the best external statements and affirmations that “I deserve success,” no one else in my family (or immediate circle) has achieved what I want. Can I really do it?
First, comparing yourself to others is not a productive exercise – with one exception. If seeing someone else demonstrating success helps you create a picture of it, then it’s a great inspiration! A mentor can be exactly that: someone who is a few steps ahead of you on your path, that can help guide you along toward your goal.
Trap 2: I am afraid that success might require too much of me.
Will you have to change some habits – and maybe even some of your friends – if you reach a new level of success? Yes, you might!
There is a spiritual principle that you must let go of the lesser to make room for the greater. And if you are not prepared to do that – one step at a time, as you are led to do so – then you will continue to experience more of the lesser in your life.
Successful entrepreneurs invest in themselves through mentoring, learning, coaching, and personal growth so that they can uplevel by quantum leaps instead of incremental steps. If you are ready to “go for it” – and really feeeeel that within your body and emotions – then it will be easier to let go of what no longer serves you.
Trap 3: I might upset someone important to me if I really got successful.
Less than 6 percent of the U.S. population is making $100,000 or more in in_come. So if you aspire to that goal or more, you will need to do the exact opposite of what most of those around you do. (And there may be a person or two in your life that is secretly jealous of your success, who will be upset if you are more successful than they are!)
One of the best ways to surround yourself with support when faced with this dilemma – when you’re about to have “that conversation” with a spouse, friend or other person close to you – is to have a mastermind group or mentor to whom you can go and tell them how it went. They will understand and support you!
Want support in reaching YOUR goals in 2015? Join Marcia for Vision 2015: an Inspired Business Breakthrough Intensive Dec. 5-7, 2014 in Phoenix, AZ. Details at www.vision2015event.com.
In July 2012 it was my great pleasure to take part in Marcia’s 3 day event “Become An Inspirational Thought Leader” in Phoenix Arizona. It was a transformational experience, inspiring and full of best practice ideas, as well as being a lot of fun.
This article is reprinted with the stated permission of Marcia Bench.
Marcia Bench publishes the widely circulated ‘Inspire!’ ezine biweekly to over 8,300 subscribers. If you’re thinking about becoming a coach, or are a coach who wants to add a new specialty or reach more people with your passionate message and services, join Marcia at www.inspiredbusinessinstitute.com.
There are few things more depressing than looking back at old photos from many years before and realising how much your appearance has changed. Visually the changes are obvious and you can't help but acknowledge them.
But the changes that take place in our psychology are much more subtle. We are constantly changing our thoughts, what we value, the paradigms that direct our lives. When you look back at the choices you made 10 years ago, or the entertainment that you enjoyed, you recognise that changes happened. They were probably slow and gentle, so they crept up on you almost without you realising, but there comes a time when you realise that your thoughts, choices, values and preferences are different from how you they used to be. The way you think and act is not static throughout your life.
What mindset is running your life right now? Is it stopping you from doing what you really would like to do? Are you getting in your own way?
Enjoy this inspiring TED video beautifully presented by Dan Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and author – The Psychology of Your Future Self.
It is easy to presume that someone who has been as successful as Dick Bolles is a highly disciplined worker who achieves more in the rest of a day than most of us! When asked how he sticks with one task to get things done Dick gives a most enlightening and endearing response.
By Jenni Proctor
Richard Nelson Bolles has been very entrepreneurial during his career, with 50 books in publication, a reputation for running outstanding workshops, and a website full of great information for job seekers.
When asked what he would focus on if he was starting in private practice now he said he would do what he most loves: training career counsellors to be even better than they are, and writing. He described the internet as being “both a blessing and a curse” and elaborated on different potential impacts of the internet.
By Jenni Proctor
At a time of life when most people are no longer involved in their career, Dick Bolles lives what he has always shared with others…do work that you love. When asked what he'd been up to lately, Dick Bolles laughingly replied "Mischief mainly!". In this conversation he gives you inside information about where he is taking his business, and the products that we will see from him in the next year.
By Jenni Proctor
Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute, describes career as being the expression of 'an artist at work' and reflects on the medium he most enjoys working with in this informal conversation with Jenni Proctor from Clarity Career Management and Boomers Next Step.
By Jenni Proctor
Finally making the decision to start your very own business is exciting, intimidating, and invigorating, all at once. It can be one of the most daring things we choose to do in our lives, and this is because of the considerable amount of risk that can be involved in something like getting ready to start your own company and start being responsible for making your own living. As such, there are plenty of things you should make sure you spend some a good amount of time considering before you really get to throwing your money and free time into starting up your own business.
1. Consider Your Expertise. This one seems pretty obvious, but you might be surprised how many overly-ambitious would-be entrepreneurs toss themselves headlong into a venture that they’re not even in the least bit prepared for. Perhaps the restaurant industry is a good candidate for the place where this happens the most.
2. Consider Your Budget. It costs a lot of money to operate a business, and for a lot of reasons. You’ll need a huge amount of capital just to get things started, and then you’ve got purchasing to think about, you’ve got supplies and employees, and you’ve got all sorts of other overhead like building rent and utilities. You should prepare a very thorough budget so you can know what to expect of your new business and can anticipate what it’ll take to handle it.
3. Consider the Market. It’s great that you’ve got a passion into which you’re about to invest yourself, and having a budget is just the icing on that cake of opportunity — but there’s still a very important piece that needs to come into play before you’re ready to even think about starting a business, and that’s the market. Is anybody going to be wanting to buy what you’re selling? Some of the best things to consider are whether or not there’s an established demand or use for whatever it is you’re going to trade in, and whether or not a good amount of competition seem to have noticed this, as well. If your area doesn’t seem like it’d be hospitable to your idea, maybe think about trying something else.
4. Consider Your Savings. Remember that capital we talked about a couple of points ago? That’s an incredibly important part of getting a business started. Whether you’re insanely cash-rich or take out a business loan (it’s more than likely you’ll be doing the latter), your savings are still important. They’re important if you’re cash-rich because you’ve got to make sure you don’t waste your savings on an idea that won’t pan out, and they’re important if you’re taking out a loan because banks think highly of how much money you’re keeping in them when they’re deciding whether or not to lend you more of that money.
5. Consider Your Customer. Think about the people to whom you’ll be selling. Think about those to whom you’ll most likely sell — and think about those to whom you would ideally sell. When your business starts up, nobody’s going to care about it unless you’re some prominent member of your community, or are fresh on the heels of some type of very popular success. In most cases, half the work of starting a business is actually getting people to realize it’s there. The best thing is that this can now be done for free. You can reach everyone from professional employer organizations to the average consumer on a very limited budget these days — all you really need is a laptop and some creativity. Building a successful new business has literally never been easier!
To make the best impression, it is important to have your business plan checked over by a professional who has experience editing business documents. Business editing can make your plan sound professional, which is important if you will be showing it to potential investors. You can also use a business editing service to make sure your business plan is reviewed properly. Here is information about writing a business plan and working with an editor to polish it.
There are approximately nine parts of a business plan:
After you complete your business plan, hire someone with experience editing business documents to look it over. Be certain to communicate your objective to the editor, so they can mold the plan to support your goal. When you receive your business plan back from the person, read it over carefully to make sure it meets your needs. It may be helpful to have a neutral party read the business plan and provide feedback about whether it does the job you want it to do or needs to go back for more business editing.