I recently facilitated a panel discussion on career reinvention for the local bar association. Each of the three amazing women panelists described reaching a turning point in her career when she recognized that her job was no longer aligned with what really mattered to her. This prompted each of them to pivot to a different role, specialty or career that was more fulfilling.
Amanda started her career at a large prestigious law firm and after three years realized this wasn’t the path for her. When career testing revealed her aptitude for communication and persuasion, she started a new career in legal journalism. Several years later, she reinvented herself again as an entrepreneur and expert on law firm strategy and globalization and is now a partner in an international legal talent search firm.
Carla’s career also started in a big law firm where she became a partner. This was followed by a stint as in house counsel at a tech company and then a move back into a big law firm. Her turning point was when she realized that her demanding job was consuming her life, leaving little time for family and friends. After exploring various options, she created an opportunity for herself that allowed her to enjoy a fulfilling practice while having the flexibility to focus on her family, friends and interests.
Barbara began her legal career as a trial lawyer but after a few years decided that she would be more fulfilled working as an in house counsel for a high tech company. Since she didn’t have the necessary experience for this role, she moved into a non-legal role for two years in order to equip herself with the necessary background and skills. Her willingness to step off the traditional legal career path paid off. She is now a Senior Corporate Counsel at a cutting edge tech company.
Each of these women started out in the same profession but at some point chose to step off the “traditional” path and transition to a role or career that aligned better with her values, strengths and vision. This was prompted by a wake up call that her career was no longer working for her.
IS YOUR WORK NO LONGER WORKING FOR YOU?
Here are three clues that you’re ready to reinvent yourself:
“I’ve outgrown my job” – While many view you as “successful” you feel your job has become meaningless and monotonous. The career that was so fulfilling several years ago no longer aligns with your values, passions and life vision. You’ve grown and evolved and your life’s work no longer fits the person you’ve become.
“I’m looking for a new challenge” – Although you don’t dislike your job, you feel there’s something more you could be doing with your talents. You’re ready to explore some new opportunities and to take on a new professional challenge even though you’re not sure what that would look like.
“My job is consuming my life” – You wake up one morning and realize that your job is crowding out family, friends, hobbies and even self-care. You feel like you’re constantly juggling your professional commitments with your personal life.
Did you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios? If so, it may be time to consider redesigning your job, pivoting to a new role, or launching a career or life makeover. Here are four keys that our panelists used in successfully reinventing themselves.
GET CLEAR ABOUT WHAT MATTERS TO YOU
In order to align your career with what matters now, reflect on what’s important to you at this stage of your life. Ask yourself:
- What are my core life values? – What’s non-negotiable in how I live my life?
- What’s my vision of my ideal life?– Is my career helping or hindering me in living that life? How can my life’s work contribute to my living my ideal life?
- What are my passions?– Identify the times in your professional and personal life when you feel energized, fulfilled or in flow.
Each of the panelists was willing to think outside the box as she explored new career possibilities. They explored options that ranged from leaving their profession to moving into a new practice area to crafting a work situation that allowed them to live their priorities. As their stories illustrate, when you stay open minded and curious, opportunities that you may never have initially considered, will emerge.
Reinvention requires a willingness to expand outside your comfort zone, step into uncertainty and redefine success for yourself. Each of our panelists managed their fears and doubts by trusting their instincts, changing their self-talk and focusing on the positive.
There will be times during your reinvention when fear or frustration will tempt you to retreat back to your comfort zone. Stay committed by focusing on your vision of a new fulfilling career or role. Build a support network of people who believe in you and can provide you with advice, resources and mentoring.
CLARITY – CURIOSITY- COURAGE – COMMITMENT. These are the four keys behind every successful reinvention story. Are you ready to start writing a new story for your life?
Anne Martin, J.D. is a Certified Professional Performance Coach, Reinvention Strategist and Speaker who guides professionals in creating and enjoying meaningful success. Her most popular presentations and classes include Breaking the Confidence Barrier, Reinvent & Thrive Through Transition and Reinvent Your Work-Life. For more details, please visit www.daretoreinvent.com