Overcoming Obstacles to Midlife Career Change

Midlife is a lot like being a teenager again—only with more wisdom. We may not stay out all night and run with a wild crowd, but many in their 40s and 50s experience the same restlessness and yearning for change. We’re still asking questions about what we want to be when we grow up, but the questions are deeper, more profound. This time we won’t settle for less than what makes us truly happy.

This is especially true for the work we do. Yes, we want to pay the bills, support a family, save for retirement. But, many of us now want our work to be meaningful and make a difference. We ask ourselves if not now, then when? What better time to act on those unfulfilled dreams? Work is one of the most profound ways we live our true selves, and now is the time to start doing that.

Yet, it can seem as if there’s a chasm between the knowing and the doing. We know something’s not right with our job or career path, but we tell ourselves to live with it. We set goals but feel too overwhelmed with daily life to try something new. We worry that to make a change to follow a dream would be selfish, especially if it means a loss of income, or upsets our family and friends.

In fact, every person living out his or her dreams gives a gift to the world—a gift because it inspires others to do the same. 

“We often hesitate to follow our hearts, to grow, because of perceived barriers,” writes Carole Kanchier in Dare to Change Your Job—and Your Life.

Let’s consider some of the obstacles that you may be perceiving as barriers to making a change:

  • Fear. We think: I’m too old to make a change. If I switch jobs now, I’ll have to start over at the bottom. What if I fail, then what? Fear is common, and it’s important to acknowledge it. There are numerous tactics to help you through the fear. The most powerful may be looking to others who’ve gone through life/career changes.
  • Confusion. Many of us are clearer about what we don’t want than what we actually do want. We may have lived out others’ expectations of us for so long we’re not even sure what actually makes us happy. Or we’re not certain how to turn our many talents and skills into meaningful work.
  • Procrastination. Many individuals keep putting it off. They tell themselves: It’s just not the right time. And as a result, many stay in work situations longer than they should, or in relationships that aren’t working, You can’t be happy or achieve success without taking at least some action towards your goals.
  • Confidence. Some believe they aren’t “good enough” to make a change. Or they listen to others talk them out of making a change.
  • Preparedness. Some just don’t know how to make a career change at this stage of their career nor where to begin. I work with clients who have never written a resume nor have ever had to do a job search. Being mentally prepared as well as knowing how to proceed can be daunting.

Here’s how a professional Coach can be an excellent resource to help you make your midlife career change.

A Coach can…

  • Help you sharpen your focus and gain clarity around your goals.
  • Guide you to imagine and create real work that isn’t just a job, but a whole new life.
  • Assist you in dealing with fear, gaining confidence and eliminating procrastination.
  • Get you prepared with the right tools and mindset to go for it
  • Develop a plan of action and hold you accountable every step of the way

Whether it’s a new career or small shifts in how you work or live, making a change in midlife can bring new energy and joy for life. Like being a teenager again—only better.

If you would like some midlife career or life coaching, I’m here to help. Contact me at linda@lindacattelan.com or at 416-617-0734.

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