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Last Updated on December 18, 2019

How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Get Unstuck

How to Make a Career Change at 40 and Get Unstuck

There are plenty of people who successfully made a career change at the age of 40 or above:

The Duncan Hines cake products you see in the grocery store are a good example. Hines did not write his first food guide until age 55 and he did not license his name for cake mixes until age 73.

Samuel L. Jackson made a career change and starred alongside John Travolta in Pulp Fiction at the age of 46.

Ray Kroc was age 59 when he bought his first McDonald’s.

And Sam Walton opened his first Wal-Mart at the age of 44.

I could keep going, but I think you get the point.

If you have a sound mind and oxygen in your lungs, you have the ability to successfully make a career change.

In this article, I’ll look into why making a career change at 40 seems so difficult for you, and how to make the change and get unstuck from your stagnant job.

What’s Holding You Back from Making a Career Change?

There are a flood of amazing reasons to make a career change at 40. Heck, you could argue the benefits of making a career change at any age. However, there is something a little different about making a career change at 40.

When you are 40, you probably have lots of “responsibilities” that come into the decision-making process. What do I mean by responsibilities, you ask?

Responsibilities tend to be our fears and self-doubt wrapped in a bow of logic and reason. You may say to yourself:

I have bills to pay and a family to support. Can I afford the risk associated with a career change?

What about the friends I have made over the years? I cannot just abandon them.

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What if I do not like my career change as much as I thought I would? I could end up miserable and stuck in a worse situation.

My new career is so different than what I have been doing, I need additional training and certifications. Can I afford this additional expense and do I have the time recoup my investment?

The economy is not the best and there is so much uncertainty surrounding a new career. Maybe it would be better to wait until I retire from this company in 15 years, and then I can start something new.

If you have experienced any of these thoughts, they will only pacify you for a short period of time. Whether that time is a few weeks, a few months, or even a few years.

Since you know that you prefer to do something else for a living, you start to feel stagnant in your current position.

Your reasons for inaction that used to work are no longer doing the trick. What used to be a small fissure in your dissatisfaction in your current position is now a chasm.

Ideally, you never stay in a situation until that point, but if you did, there is still hope.

4 Tips To Change Your Career at 40

You do not have to feel stagnant in your current role any longer. You can take steps to conquer your fears and self-doubt so you can accomplish your goal of changing your career.

The challenge of changing your career is not knowing where to begin. That feeling of overwhelm and the fear of uncertainty is what keeps most people from moving forward.

To help you successfully change your career at the age of 40, follow these four tips.

1. Value Your Time Above Money

There is nothing more valuable than your time. You are likely receiving a pay-check or two every month that is replenishing your income. Money is something you can always receive more of.

When it comes to your time, when it is gone, it is gone. That is why waiting for the perfect situation to make a career change is the wrong mindset to have.

Realistically, you will never find the perfect situation. There will always be something that could be better or a project you want to finish before you leave.

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By placing your time above money, you will maximize your opportunity to succeed and avoid stagnation.

If you feel disconnected when you are at work, understand that you are not alone. According to a Gallup Poll, only 32% of U.S. employees said they were actively engaged at work.[1]

Whether you think your talents are not being properly utilized, the politics of promotion stress you out, or you feel called to do something else with your life; the time to act is now.

Do not wait until you retire in another 10 to 20 years to make a career change. Put a plan in place to make a career change now. You will thank yourself later.

2. Build a Network

Making a career change is not going to be easy, but that does not mean it is impossible.

One benefit to being further along in your career is the people you associate with are further along in their career as well.

Even if most of the people in your immediate network are not in your target industry, you never know the needs of the people with whom they associate.

A friend of mine recently made a career change and entered the real estate industry. The first thing he did was tell everyone he knew that he was a licensed real estate agent.

It was not as though he thought everyone he knew was getting ready to sell their home. He wanted to make sure he was in the front of our mind if we spoke to anyone purchasing or selling their home.

You may have had a similar experience with a financial adviser canvasing the neighborhood. They wanted to let you know they were a local and licensed financial adviser. Whether you or someone you knew was shopping for an adviser, they wanted to make sure you thought of them first.

The power of your network being further along in their career is they may be the hiring manager or decision-maker.

You want to let people know you are considering a career move early in the process, so they are thinking of you when the need arises.

Let me put it to you in the form of a question: When is the best time to let people know you have a snow shoveling business?

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In the summer when there is not a drop of snow on the ground.

Let them know about your business in the summer. Then ask them if it is okay to keep in touch with them until the need arises. Then you want to spend the entire fall season cultivating and nurturing the relationship. As a result, when the winter comes around, they already know who is going to shovel their snow.

If you want to set yourself apart from your competition, start throwing out those feelers before the need arises. Then you will be ahead of your competition who waited until the snow fell to start canvasing the neighborhood.

Learn about networking here: How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life

3. Believe It Is Possible

One of the greatest mistakes people make when they want to try something new, is they never talk to people living the life they want.

If you only talk to friends who have not changed their career in 30 years, what kind of advice do you think they will give you? They are going to give you the advice that they live by. If they have spent 30 years in the same career, they most likely feel stability of career is essential to their life.

In life, your actions often mirror your beliefs. Someone who wants to start a business should not ask for advice from someone who never started one.

A person who never took the risk of starting a business is most likely risk adverse. Consequently, they are going to speak on the fact that most businesses fail within the first five years.

Instead, if you talk to someone who is running a business, they will advice you on the difficulties of starting a business. However, they will also share with you how they overcame those difficulties, as well as the benefits of being a business owner.

If you want to overcome your fears and self-doubt associated with changing your career at 40, you are going to need to talk to people who have successfully managed a career change.

They are going to provide you a realistic perspective on the difficulties surrounding the endeavor, but they are also going to help you believe it is possible.

Studies show the sources of your beliefs include,[2]

“environment, events, knowledge, past experiences, visualization etc. One of the biggest misconceptions people often harbor is that belief is a static, intellectual concept. Nothing can be farther from truth! Beliefs are a choice. We have the power to choose our beliefs.”

By choosing to absorb the successes of others, you are choosing to believe you can change your career at 40. On the other hand, if you absorb the fears and doubts of others, you have chosen to succumb to your own fears and self-doubt.

4. Put Yourself Out There

You are most likely going to have to leave your comfort zone to make a career change at 40.

Reason-being, your comfort zone is built on the experiences you have lived thus far. So that means your current career is in your comfort zone.

Even though you may be feeling stagnant and unproductive in your career, it is still your comfort zone. This helps explain why so many people are unwilling to pursue a career change.

If you want to improve your prospects of launching your new career, you are going to need to attend industry events.

Whether these events are local or a large conference that everyone attends, you want to make it a priority to go. Ideally you want to start with local events because they may be a more intimate setting.

Many of these events have a professional development component where you can see what skill-sets, certification, and education people are looking for. Here you can find 17 best careers worth going back to school for at 40.

You can almost survey the group and build your plan of action according to the responses you receive.

The bonus of exposure to your new industry is you may find yourself getting lucky (when opportunity meets preparation) and creating a valuable relationship or landing an interview.

Final Thoughts

Whatever the reason, if you want to change your career, you owe it to yourself to do so. You have valuable in-sight from your current career that can help you position yourself above others.

Start sharing your story and desire to change your career today. Attend industry events and build a mindset of belief. You have everything you need to accomplish your goal, you only need to take action.

More About Career Change

Featured photo credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/HY-Nr7GQs3k via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] News Gallup: Employee Engagement In US, Stagnant In 2015
[2] Indian J Psychiatry: The Biochemistry Of Belief

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Top 10 Management Skills Any Strong Leader Should Master

Top 10 Management Skills Any Strong Leader Should Master

The newspaper headlines, blogs, social media, TV programs are talking about leaders, leadership qualities and people who occupy high positions in government, enterprises and multinational corporations more and more every day.

We understand that all these high positions are not the main things we should talk about. Leadership is not about the profession, place of a particular person in the hierarchy of the company or government body. It doesn’t make anyone a strong leader.

Being a strong leader means acquiring management skills which allow you to lead people, to get them to the new achievements and high results. That’s the ticket. It doesn’t matter you are a small company manager or an industry leader the next list of TOP-10 management skills will boost your effectiveness, will make you a strong leader.

1. Always Inspire the Team

Remember that your job is not just about hitting goals, enhancing sales or raising profits. We both realize the importance of these indicators for stakeholders and investors.

Now let’s focus on leading your team. Be rooted in reality and always strive to give your empathy, perspective to all circumstances and situations you encounter.

Roll up your sleeves and inspire:

  • Be visible among your staff to become their inspiration. There is no chance to be a good leader hiding in your office on a top floor;
  • Join your team to complete ad-hoc projects. Believe us, your participation and contribution is always inspiring;
  • Focus on each person’s strengths, stay enthusiastic with his/her contribution;
  • Be closer to your team;
  • Find the right words. It may be the biggest challenge of the day, the right words in a difficult situation can show that you are a really good leader.

Need more inspirations? This article can help: The Simplest Ways To Inspire People And Change Their Life

2. Make a Wise Delegation Your Number One Priority

It is obvious that you can’t do everything by yourself. Moreover, you shouldn’t do that.

Your ability to delegate responsibilities shows that you trust your staff, you are sure in their competitiveness.

It is the best thing that you can do within a team environment. You’re able to kill two birds with one stone: you can reduce your own stress level and make the workplace more friendly showing confidence in workers’ abilities.

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How to delegate to the right person?

When you’re thinking about the person who will take some responsibilities consider three factors:

  • The relevance between the skills, experience of the person and the delegated tasks;
  • Working style (is he or she is a team player or independent performer; does he has goals which correspond with the responsibilities which you want to delegate?);
  • The workload of the person (does he/she has time to take new responsibilities or this delegation requires some reshuffling of responsibilities).

Check out Lifehack’s CEO advice on how to delegate: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

3. Stay Responsible and Don’t Blame

Failures always happen. You need to accept this fact and learn how to overcome them. Your job is not to find who is wrong but to take responsibility together with your staff.

Make your subordinates understand that all of them are accountable for the decisions they make. Remember that you are their leader, you should take a part of the responsibility for their actions.

Always give them a pat on the back if you see their good results but don’t blame in case of failure. Make an atmosphere in which everyone feels your support and willingness to realize mistakes together and work on their improvement hand by hand.

Taking personal responsibility for your company and everything that happens in it including failures will motivate your employees to follow you.

Don’t make excuses, better do this:

  • Take your personal responsibility for the failure;
  • Try to work on the problem to fix it;
  • Think about what you should have done before to prevent this mistake and what to improve in the future.

4. Encourage Creative Thinking and Innovations

What is the difference between the follower and the leader? The leader always looks ahead, he is not afraid of innovations, creative approaches to management and business processes.

Innovative and creative thinking are qualities which make you stand out from the crowd and enable your team to get 200%, not 100% of the result.

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Don’t forget to encourage your staff because the majority of people perceive innovations painfully and adopt new rules with reluctance. It is all about phycology, a good leader should take it into account.

Encourage creativity in your team:

  • Become a model for your staff, show your dedication to innovations;
  • Create a supportive atmosphere for creativity in a workplace;
  • Launch events and processes to find and capture creative ideas;
  • Reward fresh ideas, innovations, celebrate success with your team.

In short, ensure psychological safety in your team, this will encourage more innovative ideas. Learn more about psychological safety here: If You Want an Invincible Team, Make Them Feel Safe

5. Stay Positive in Any Circumstances

If you want to be a great leader, you should understand that you need to be positive and motivated despite any circumstances.

Even in the hardest situation, you should be an example to follow for your staff because you will be who leads the way, so stand firm and show a positive attitude.

Always keep the lights:

  • Create constantly friendly, open atmosphere in your workplace;
  • Remain positive when things go wrong;
  • Find the ways to keep your team motivated when the situation goes in a bad way.

Here’re more tips to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining Your Positive Attitude

6. Develop Your Employees

Along with developing yourself don’t forget that without people around you and their skills the success may be not so bright.

Thanks to the staff development, not only employees will get new skills which they can use when they write resumes, your team can make tasks easier; besides, it will foster morale.

Use these tips to develop your staff:

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  • Turn your staff meetings into an instrument of learning;
  • Launch annual education/ training for employees with coaches, experts;
  • Encourage their willingness to develop their skills;
  • Share your own knowledge with your team

7. Remember Your past Experience When Making a Decision

Futuristic vision is good. But you can’t go far in business without your experience. You should make all management decisions taking into account not only your skills, statistics, ideas of key stakeholders or innovative approaches.

You should also consider your past lessons. The right decision made at the right time has a great impact on the masses.

Look ahead, think hard before making a decision. But after you make it, be firm and stand by it.

Improve your decision making:

  • Trust your management vision, intuition;
  • Try to connect your present-day challenge with the lessons which you learned in your career before;
  • Better to take notes when you make important decisions, write down the results both positive and negative so that you could get back to them in the future.

You can also take a look at this guide for making better decisions: Decision Making 101: How To Be a Successful Decision-Maker

8. Show Your Charisma and Confidence

As for charisma, everything is simple like wiping the window in the rain. People normally are more likely to follow the person who they like.

Let’s remember the best leaders. All of them are friendly, close to people, well-spoken, showing care and empathy.

If you behave in that way, your employees feel that it is not hard to reach you, they will show a willingness to follow you.

Make confidence your strength.

Believe in your success and your company’s prosperity, show it everywhere.

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A great leader exhibits confidence to everyone in any situation. (Take a look at the 5 Key Traits of a Charismatic Leadership.) This will inspire your employees and give them the feeling of confidence in the future, that’s exactly what you need for enhancing their achievements.

9. Sense of Humor Is Vital to Success

As a leader, you need to have a sense of humor. Show it when something goes wrong and you need to encourage, relax your employees.

The ability to laugh things off can make morale up which is so important for staff productivity in difficult situations.

How the sense of humor can save you in some situations:

  • Humor is able to humanize you. It makes your employees feel that you are all in the same boat, boost camaraderie;
  • It is a key component of a set of empathetic leadership.
  • Humor promotes a sense of shared culture, unity in a workplace.

10. Consider Failures as Challenges Not as Unrecoverable Mistakes

Even if you try the hardest in the world failures will happen. Your job is to cope with them and do it with honor.

If something goes wrong, realize that it has already happened and try to find the best solution.

How to manage failures:

  • Remain calm, think logically;
  • Don’t stay apart from your team because it may cause the negative morale;
  • Encourage discussion, communication within the team to find the root of the problem, design the best solution.

The Bottom Line

It is not easy to become a strong leader, you must have a lot of qualities and experiences. You should look ahead and go beyond the frames in your everyday tasks and responsibilities.

Moreover, you should be an example of intelligence, wisdom, honesty, commitment and dedication. And that’s why these 10 management skills are so important to master if you want to become a great leader.

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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