I overheard a conversation of quiet desperation between a couple at a coffee shop over the weekend. It was on a topic I’m hearing more and more from my clients and friends. I remember not that long ago having a very similar talk with my partner.
The couple at the next table were worried about not being able to make ends meet, to the point where they were both seriously considering selling everything and beginning again, somewhere else, in something brand new.
A number of years ago, I made the decision to change careers – from a lucrative senior business manager to becoming a therapist. It was a huge step down financially, but I was done (I thought) with high pressure. It took me a number of years to feel comfortable being a therapist – that transition was humbling and hard: it’s humbling to go from being a respected expert in your field to a beginner in your middle years. And yet I did it, and I don’t regret doing it. It’s really fortunate that most of us have a chance to grow in more than one career these days.
I understand the economic pressures of today, especially for younger people: buying a house in a major city means, most likely, settling for a corporate career we may not really like, knowing we will be tied to that career for as long as we have that house. If you want something different – if you want to start your own business, for instance – then it’s probable that you will need to sacrifice that house for a while.
Why? Well, there are many reasons, but one of the biggest that is grossly discounted at first is the unavoidable learning curve that comes with changing directions. You will make mistakes. You will miss what will eventually become the obvious. You will run into walls because they surprise you as a newcomer. You will be challenged by unanticipated costs. And you will fail, many times, before you begin to succeed – really succeed.
And that high pressure you thought you left behind? It’s still there, because it isn’t the outside world that causes that pressure, but your inside world.
Those are the lessons I’ve learned in changing directions at age 50 to 60 (I transitioned over 10 years). It’s tough, but believe me, it’s worth it.
Quote of the Week
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
– T S Elliot, Little Gidding
How to begin again
I hope you enjoyed this article. When you’re ready to take the next step on your life journey, book a free 20 min consultation with me.