Find the courage to envision a different future
It seems to me that so many of us arrive at a point in our lives where we aren’t quite sure how we got here. Looking around, things look familiar, but we’re not sure how they became part of our lives. They somehow showed up somewhere along the way.
Past generations (and even mine), would say that you choose a career path and you stay in that lane until retirement. Sure, you might take off in slightly different directions from time to time, or climb the ladder, but generally, if you start your career in one area, you retire from that same space. A mid-life career change might actually be called a “mid-life crisis” by some. A crisis…as if having a change of interests or addressing a need you feel in your heart for change is a traumatic experience and that one must be in crisis to think about making such a decision.
Younger generations think of this differently. Changing paths multiple times is not a crisis at all, it’s to be expected. It’s what they do without sideways glances from their peers. They plan to make pivots from time to time. They remain open to new learning and possibilities that appear along the way and have the confidence to make a right or left turn if an opportunity exists, if they aren’t feeling fulfilled by their original plan, or they feel a pull in a new direction. I can’t say with certainty where this courage to change their minds and directions come from, but we can learn something from this mindset.
It’s good practice to pause and look at our lives regularly, regardless of the generation into which we were born.
● Are you doing what your 20 year-old self thought you’d be doing?
● Are you in the career that you set out to pursue back when it was time to choose?
● How did you get here?
● Did you intentionally choose your career or did you “fall into” it because of circumstance, like so many?
● Is there something else you feel a pull to?
Checking in with ourselves to notice if we are feeling fulfilled and content or anxious and unfulfilled puts the power in our hands to make a change. I don’t mean to strike terror with the suggestion of a major career shift, but you owe it to yourself and those around you to check in every once in a while. And I don’t suggest you start looking at the help wanted ads just yet, but ask yourself, what else might there be for me? Maybe it’s not a full scale career change, but a shift toward a slightly different job within the career you love. Or maybe it’s learning a new skill that will help you do what you already do even better.
So today, look up from your computer screen, or wherever you are as you read this, take a slow, deep breath, and look around your life. Stay there for a few minutes. This is your life, and you deserve this time to make a choice about what’s next.