The key to navigating any form of mid-career reinvention is to recognise the implicit dual nature of your reinvention strategy. It is never just a question of determining a new career direction. Successful mid-career reinvention will always need to be underpinned with successful reframing of who you are and where you are in mid-life.
The more robust the courage and clarity you can throw at your mid-life reflections and the process of redefining yourself from the inside out, the greater the success of any mid-career reinvention. The current pandemic crisis is triggering even greater self-reflection as it steadily disrupts the workplace, the jobs market and the economy.
So how do you go about the navigation process of any form of career reinvention? Bearing in mind these commonplace processes will help get you started …
- Revisit your ‘Why’ – First, examine the ‘Why’ that led you to your first career and only then explore the ‘Why’ that is currently causing you to consider mid-career reinvention. Is this latter ‘Why’ driven by economic necessity, industry contraction, a sense that you have other skills that need to be brought to the fore, a desire to change things up, the germ of an entrepreneurial idea that won’t go away?
- Capture your Vision – Start to sketch out your vision for a mid-career switch. What does it look like? How easy or how complex will this journey be? What resources do you need? What skills do you already have? What additional skillset will you need? How can you differentiate your Vision? How would you describe your current Personal Brand?
- Develop your Narrative – Now you have re-clarified your Why and your Vision, give thought to how you will articulate the career-switch journey that you wish to make? Craft a succinct narrative that will help you to gain laser clarity on the journey of transition you wish to take and can equally be understood in the outside world … Challenge yourself to create a narrative of eloquent simplicity, bold ambition and clear rationale for the direction you wish to take.
- Flex your inner strength – It’s critical to recognise that the path to your next career will be circuitous, messy and tough. Recognise that and then be searingly honest with yourself about what strengths you will need, what you have already, what you lack, what your blind spots are. Accept that you are on a journey to the unknown and be prepared to flex both your inner resources and a mindset that allows you to re-imagine a number of career route possibilities and different career selves.
- Hone your strategic curiosity – Stay curious. Stay strategic. Stay alert to possibilities and opportunities. Sharpen your ability to have an open mind and make connections between seemingly random facts and ideas. Leveraging your curiosity and imagination will in turn leverage strategic insight and help to uncover hidden opportunities.
Reinvention represents a powerful and unique opportunity to reframe your career trajectory, take control of your professional life once more and realign your values with your potential. It’s a tough journey but, if navigated well, can re-energise and reshape you in ways you would never have dreamed of. Plot your direction with care. You won’t regret it!