It’s possible to make career shifts
Emerging research suggests that retirement can lead to poor health and reduced cognitive functioning.
This offers just one more reason to stick with your passion and find new ways of using your gifts to make a difference! I can’t imagine retiring.
Of course, over many years it can get boring to do the same job. Life goes fast, so it’s important to check in with yourself every few years to determine whether your needs are being met. Are you challenged enough? Are you living your values? Are you well-positioned to bring your unique value to the world?
If you want a quick pulse check, here is a simple exercise you can do. Get a piece of paper and draw three circles that overlap each other at one edge. The first circle represents what you love doing, the second what you’re good at doing, and the third, what people will pay you to do. Think about these three areas of your work, and write down notes for each.
The center of this Venn diagram is your current professional sweet spot. Compare this with your current role. If you’re feeling out of alignment, it may be that your skills or passion have shifted elsewhere. We don’t live static lives — we keep growing and learning, so expect to experience regular changes in what you need.
Making a career shift takes effort and thoughtful planning, but it’s not as hard as people think. If you have a growth mindset, if you thoughtfully build your network, and if you work towards a clear vision of what you want in your work and life, you can make it happen.
I finally identified a pattern in my late 40s, that I needed a professional shift every five years or so. I’d find something new that I was excited to learn, work to get a role in that field, become proficient after a few years, and then my learning would start to plateau. I would become intellectually restless, and begin exploring work that inspired curiosity at that phase of my life. I talked to people in those fields, learned how they got there, and would start to read, write, network, take classes, and build credibility in the field. And then I’d put everything into getting that next role. I’d find an adjacent learning step to climb. This type of transition boils down to identifying what you need to be your most productive and satisfied professional self, at every phase of your life.
Most of you know I’ve pivoted many times, from law to HR to compliance, to teaching, coaching and writing. It’s fun to aggregate all those experiences that build on the next.
And with that, I have an exciting announcement. Effective today, I am delighted to be joining Kaplan & Walker LLP, a boutique compliance and ethics law firm, as a partner. I’ve been friends with partners Rebecca and Jeff for years, as well as a former corporate client. Many of you know that I have a passion for supporting businesses and leaders in building healthy workplaces, and this is a great opportunity for me to continue maximum impact for my life mission.
A blessing of being in my 50s is having a portfolio of services and not having to choose between my passions. I will continue to coach select executives, write and publish, and speak about effective leadership, workplace culture, and good corporate governance. Thanks for continuing with me on the journey.
PS Thanks to all the wonderful members of our community who joined me last Wednesday for our leadership webinar. We had more than 60 signups, and attendees from Argentina to Philadelphia. I’ll plan to host another subscriber webinar in the next several months.