7 steps to making career change in your 40s

Beginning a new career is challenging at the best of times. And we all know, these ain't the best of times. But that doesn't stop you from dreaming and wanting and imagining something new for yourself. It's just getting started that's the hard part, right?

It feels amazing and exciting and you feel all pumped up to make a change and then BOOM. Self doubt, life's overwhelms, the to do list and a million and one other things get in the way of you doing something about this idea.

So you do nothing. And then you beat yourself up about not doing anything or having a good enough plan, or not knowing where to start.

How often do you spend thinking about a decision you want to make vs the time it takes you to actually make it?

So what is going on? What's up my friend? And how can you start to take some steps to move away from this endless cycle?

Step 1: Dial down the fear story

'There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve... the fear of failure' Paul Coelho

If we are all afraid of failure (and we really are!), what makes some people change and some people stay?

No-one wants to crash and burn. Success is seen as 'difficult' to achieve. There's already too many people doing what you want to do. What will people think of you? How embarrassing would it be to fail?

All of these reasons are good enough to hold you back from trying. Logically, staying where you are is easier, maybe wiser, definitely less challenging.

There's probably even a stat to back up not doing it! For example, only 50% of small businesses survive their first 5 years. That should be enough to scare anyone off, but it doesn't. People start new things all the time. So how are they getting past their fear of failure and you aren't (yet...)?

Fear is there to protect you from making a mistake. It's a cosy warm blanket of security. It feels known and safe.

But, and this is very important. Fear is keeping you small. And if you want to make a career change in your 40s, with all the baggage that comes with it, you have to be prepared to take up more space.

So it's time to give fear the finger. Tell it thank you very much, but not today. Dial down the noise, actively and often.

Step 2: Get clear

Fluffy isn't your friend here. Get super specific on what you need. Not what you think you should have, do, or want. But what you really need. These are your motivations for changing career or starting your own business. The fundamentals that make you 'you' and guide you - your compass North. If you aren't clear on what matters most to you then you can start to feel like you are bobbing about in a huge ocean of possibilities without knowing which way you are heading.

So how do you get clear? Do some self reflection. Use my 'Purpose Finder' workbook to help you dig deeper into what you love, what you are good at, your values and your worth so that you can make more informed and grounded decisions.

Step 3: Get creative (don't skip this one!)

Creativity can strike fear into the hearts of many. But there is more than one way to express your creativity so don't avoid doing this exercise. We are talking about using what you've learnt about yourself and creating a vision of that as your future. You could be thinking 6 months or 5 years, it's up to you entirely, but getting this vision down on paper will help cement it in your mind as an actual possibility. You can use the old school tekkers of cutting things out of magazines and sticking them onto a big piece of card or you can get creative on Pinterest and then have it has your screensaver. However you do it, it needs to be something you look at often and that inspires you.

Step 4: Get up to speed

This is a great practical action to take once you've quietened the fear noise and made inroads into truly understanding yourself and what you want for your future. A small step that is a realistic and manageable action. Is your CV up to date? When did you last look at your LinkedIn profile? What routes to this new career are there? Who do you know who does this well already? What else could you explore? Get really curious and give yourself permission to explore it all; no limitations here. Become an expert in what you want to do next and the ways to get there. Use your existing network to see what else is out there and how you can be part of it. Offer to volunteer or job shadow if you don't think you have the skills yet (I think you probably have more than you think do!) to see if this new path is a good fit. Try lots of things, keep on going.

Step 5: Be bold

Courage is one of my core values. It takes bravery to step out of your comfort zone and accept you might fail. But with all that work you've done to get yourself this far, you are well equipped to make this a reality. Time to play big and go for it. Imagine if you will, me in the background cheering you on with excessively large poms poms!


Step 6: Invest in yourself

Whether that is time, money or your physical and mental wellbeing, looking after your needs is a priority. I've let this slip too often and I've always felt worse off because it. It's ok to ask for help. It's amazing to have support. It's beyond incredible to have someone rooting for you. Or a team of people rooting for you. No-one can do this alone. With me, that looks like getting regular coaching, counselling, yoga, walking the dog, reading and talking to friends. Those are my 'things', what are yours? Be kind and compassionate to yourself, appreciate the joy you find in these things and then use that grounding to firmly step into the self belief that you can do whatever comes next for you.

Step 7: If all else fails

Everything you do to get yourself ready for a career change will stand in you good stead for if it doesn't go to plan. Because, of course, this is life and you only have some much control over what happens to you. But you can influence how you react, adapt and become more resilient in the face of disruption to The Plan. Look how much we've all tolerated over the past couple of years. You are stronger than you think and braver than you know. You now have this amazing support network to reach out to when the going gets tough, you have the mental and physical toolkit to weather the storm.

No-one does this alone. Your support squad is waiting for you. Don't let this opportunity pass you by.

Visit the website now to find out more about the 'Stop Over-thinking; Start Doing' small group coaching programme today.