Now What?!!

I cannot begin to tell you how many of my clients – from age 35 to age 65 – are questioning what is next for their lives. Thus, this is the second blog (in as many weeks) in which we are focusing on the “now what?!” question. Many are unhappy in their current roles yet power through every day unsure of how/if to leave; others are in transition having already taken the plunge by leaving their cushy corporate jobs to reduce their stress (and unfortunately their income stream); some have been riffed due to age (and please don’t tell me that doesn’t happen – because I see it happening every single day); and still others realize they want to leave soon, yet have no clue what they can do and even what they want to do. Sound familiar?

Well, the answers often do not come easily. Fear, uncertainty and doubt about what, where, who, why, and how are pervasive in every one of these scenarios. And, the answers will never be the same for each person nor will how we arrive at what is right for us. This blog offers 3 sets of tips and many relevant resources to consider, as you contemplate next steps.

  • Learn more about you.

What do you want? What financial vision do you have for your life? Look into your past: what did you love to do when you were younger? What do you enjoy about the industry you are in today? Can you visualize the life you want? What do you dream about doing ‘someday’? What are your key strengths? What types of problems do you like to solve? If these questions stump you, don’t worry, you are not alone. I have yet to meet one person that has not grappled with at least one of these questions (if not all).

To help, there are countless books to help you, and many are denoted in my Alignment Library. Also, there are a myriad of assessments which can offer insights into you: Meyers Briggs, StrengthsFinder, and DISC to name only a few.

Most importantly, I would encourage you to answer the questions posed above without the proverbial “Yeah, but” following each answer you give! Resist the temptation to negate the possible based on your negative or bruised self-talk. Finally, solicit support from your friends, colleagues, and even an executive, leadership, or career coach. All can be helpful in holding up the mirror for you.

  • Explore what is out there.

Given the internet, the proliferation of information is abundant. If you love your industry, and just don’t love for whom you work, explore industry associations, trade journals, and conferences. Also, there are thousands of career books and websites to check out. A few worth mentioning: NETSHARE, ExecuNet, MyPlan, Riley Guide, and eHow.

Do not underestimate the value of social media – groups on Facebook and LinkedIn can been very helpful. Post questions or comments – you never know what you may learn. Check job board aggregators like: Indeed, Guru, and Simply Hired. Again, you can learn what is needed and what is trending. Check company sites, of course, and read the business rags such as Fast Company, Inc. Com, and Money – along with their websites. Finally, surf YouTube for information on fields about which you are interested. There is a wealth of information out there.

  •  Learn more through others experiences.

You are not the first to embark upon a change, nor will you be the last. If you are 50 or over, consider looking at AARP – before you turn up your nose, check it out first. It is chock full of stories of reinvention and successful entrepreneurial ventures. Also, look into Huff/Post50, Encore, More, and of course the TED talks are amazingly informative, thought provoking, and inspirational. Yes, some of these sites are geared for the over-50 group; yet, frankly, the information is relevant for any and all age groups who are following where our world is, and where our world is heading.

  • Learn more about what the future may hold.

For those wanting to create a chapter of relevance for the next 20-30 years, there are ways to stay current in your industry and to be smart about where the industry may be heading. Recently, I learned about The World Future Society, which is dedicated to exploring the future. Their magazine, The Futurist, is a low-tech way to learn about future predictions, as well.  Other ‘futurist’ sites to look into also include: Faith Popcorn, Springwise, trendwatching.com, Trend Hunter and Mashable. ALL these sites can be greatly informative for aspiring entrepreneurs, or professionals curious about what is trending in the consumer marketplace, technology, fashion, art, and many other segments. Planning for just today is shortsighted, if you want to build your next career to last another 25-30 years.

What do you think? Do you have resources or ideas which may benefit others? What suggestions do you have for our readers?

5 responses to “Now What?!!

  1. Thanks, Pat!! You are so right….our thoughts become things! We have the opportunity to create the life we want to live. Thank you for your comment!

  2. This is such a powerful blog, Kristin, as so many people face the uncertainty of the future ill-prepared to answer the question: “What do you want?” We are so conditioned to ask, “What should I want?” or “What should I say?” Breaking out of that mindset is tough! But with patience, persistence, and a promise to self to find an answer that is congruent with values and aligned to real needs in the business community, it is eminently doable. Thank you for your profoundly important work!

  3. Kristin
    Your tips above are very good and should be very beneficial to someone trying to find their way. A few years ago after leaving the corporate world for a number of years I decided that it was actually where I wanted to be and at 50+ (and yes there is age discrimination once you hit 35+). The big question was at 50+ how do you get back in the game. The answer for me came from my network. I had ignored my network for about six years and it can go cold in a hurry. My first step was to reignite the network diligently tracking down people I had not talked to in years. (All kinds of interesting conversations come from that exercise but not room here to cover). As I review my many stops and starts over the years it is the network that leads you out of the wilderness almost every time. Much to my constant amazement is also how much everyone wants to help when you reach out. No ideas or connections come from sitting at home waiting for the telephone to ring. So my network will never be neglected again even when I do not need anything and often you can help someone else and as they say “pay it forward” because who knows when you might need it again.
    Sorry to ramble but it has served me well for many years. Stuart

  4. Thank you, Susan and Stuart. Great insights. Love the ‘build relationships before you need them’……cannot be over emphasized. Treat others as you would want to be treated…..and build the bridge before the creek rises!

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