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How To Change Careers

When I was 48, I decided to change careers.

I’d spent my entire professional life working in public relations, in corporate and agency settings, as well as having my own consultancy.

I stopped working for a while when my children were young, then picked up my consultancy work when they were older, then cut back again to help my oldest daughter pursue her dream of becoming a professional ballet dancer.

Once she left home to pursue her career, I could have easily jumped back into my public relations consultancy and been assured of a steady income working in a profession where I was experienced and comfortable.

But something happens to us at mid-life. We wake up one day and suddenly the status quo is no longer interesting or even acceptable. We begin to question the life we’ve been living, the work we’ve devoted ourselves to for so many years.

You start asking yourself existential questions like, “Why am I doing all of this? What is my purpose here? Is this really all there is?”

Sometimes this happens as the result of children leaving home. Sometimes you are shaken up by a life crisis like a divorce, job loss, or death. Or it simply could be the dawning realization you’ve come to the halfway point in your life, and you’re watching time slip away faster and faster.

For me it was a little bit of all of those things that contributed to my decision to step away from my PR career and go on a search for something different — something that felt more authentic, exciting, and purposeful.

Deciding to change careers at nearly 50-years-old was not the safest route. At least it didn’t seem so at the time. I’d been feeling rumblings of dissatisfaction and restlessness for years, but I kept pushing through, doing what I’d been doing because I didn’t know what else to do.

But when I had the opportunity to really crank up my PR consultancy again after my daughter left home, I simply couldn’t do it. I hit an emotional brick wall. Every time I tried to take on a new client, or create a campaign for an existing client, my inner resistance was overwhelming.

So I began a search for my life passion, a career that would excite me again and make me want to jump out of bed in the morning. The main problem was my lack of career experience in anything except public relations. Starting a new career meant starting over completely.

I went to coaching school, started a coaching practice, and created an online business with absolutely no experience or knowledge in what I was doing. In retrospect I see that many of the skills I had as a PR professional have helped me tremendously in my online business.

At the time I began my business, I was financially stable enough to afford to go back to school and build a business from scratch. But I knew that financial safety net would last only so long. Even with some amount of financial security, I knew I was taking a risk, and it was scary.

Through my personal journey, I learned a lot about changing careers at midlfe, and in my work as a life passion coach, I’ve helped many people through this same process.

Here are some tips on how to change careers after 40:

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