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You are recognising that the 2nd half of your career will not be a continuation of your current path of advancement and opportunity.
So, what do you do?
Step 1: Confront the reality revealed by your Future Work Prospect Score
Take our new Future Work Prospect Score quiz here. Whatever your final scores, there are some aspects of your current and expected workstyle that need attention. A review of your score will help you reflect on the implications of the answers you gave and establish what you want to change. Making changes is a challenge for all of us but being realistic about your current situation will build your motivation to explore the options.
When you are lying in a warm bath in a cold room, it is better to step out before you are sitting in a cold bath in a cold room!
Step 2: Explore the options
As an experienced professional, you have many different options. It could be now is the time for you to pursue a lifelong dream. Perhaps your priority is to maximise your short-term income before early retirement. Or are you one of the many I talk to who want to build on their skills, knowledge and experience to reshape their workstyle for long-term, flexible and independent working, that is both rewarding and sustainable?
You may have the resources to make a radical change but like most professionals, you probably want a transition that maintains your income and builds a better future.
Step 3: Prepare yourself and your family for the transition.
Your transition will have implications for those you care about most. Where, how, when you work and how much you invest for your financial future will mean changes for your family as well as yourself. Change is easier and more successful when those around you provide support when it is hard and celebrate your victories along the way.
Your family and friends can be your cheer leaders or a drag holding you back: get them on-board to see why it matters to you and to them
Step 4: Develop a plan
You won’t be able to see every step of the journey now but set your sights on your hopes for five to ten years ahead for: workstyle, family, financial, freedom, joy and fulfilment. Then step back one year at a time and consider where you want to be each year. Finally, look at the next 12 months and consider what you want to be different in six months’ time.
Planning will make the future more real and more obtainable. You will become more purposeful about both your choices and your destination.
Step 5: Take the first steps
Your first steps, however small, will help you to build momentum and develop a sense of progress. Remind yourself of the courage you had to take first steps that led to other important changes in your life: a first date, a first child, a first interview, a significant exam, a house move.
You can’t steer a boat until you have forward motion and you can’t see the path up the mountain until you have climbed the first hill.
Step 6: Persist through the challenges
As you build a new workstyle, some things will be harder or slower than you expect. You will face unexpected difficulties. Remind yourself of the benefits of the option you chose, draw on the support of family and friends, revisit your successes so far and remember the resilience that gave you earlier success. There will always be those who say ‘you can’t’ only you can say ‘I will’.
Persistence has given you so many valuable things already: it will reward you again.
Charles McLachlan is the founder of FuturePerfect and on a mission to transform the future of work and business. The Portfolio Executive programme is a new initiative to help executives build a sustainable and impactful second-half-career. Creating an alternative future takes imagination, design, organisation and many other thinking skills. Charles is happy to lend them to you.