Over 40’s - don’t hold back!

updates + insights » Over 40’s - don’t hold back!

Are the responsibilities of adulthood – paying bills, household chores, child rearing – holding us back from the work life we could be living?

Sometimes it takes a major shift in our lives to push us to change. Take Tina Turner for example, who exemplifies resiliency and determination, leaving an abusive relationship and having to effectively start from scratch  - four children, no income and significant debt -  turning this around to becoming a major rock icon. Or, Julia Child an icon herself (of the culinary kind) who worked in advertising, media, and secret intelligence before writing her first cookbook when she was 50 and launching her career as a celebrity chef. More recently, the likes of renowned fashion designer Vera Wang who was a figure skater and journalist before entering the fashion industry at age 40.

Slightly exaggerated examples but does our own perceived ‘self-responsibility’ influence the everyday decisions we make, particularly around our career pathways? Are we less likely to take risks (perceived or not) that ultimately mean we are not taking opportunities that could be better for us?

If the answer is yes, here are some ways you can start to reset your mindset.  

Career pathways are changing

The idea that you would climb a ladder from junior to senior roles and then by the time you hit your 40s you’re on a concrete path and should continue that course, is changing. Yes, there’s no doubt that you want to put all of that experience to good use but with the dynamic nature of the current marketplace, staying on one pathway doesn’t necessary mean you’ll hit the finish line. Sometimes letting go of things learnt, opens you up for new experiences. Why shouldn’t a 20 year corporate career position you perfectly to start your own business!

Reach out for advice

No one knows you better than your family and friends. Listen to the feedback (unsolicited or other) that they are giving you. There is so much opportunity to reach out to others around your professional networks for support, guidance and mentoring. Ask them honestly, if they feel you have reached your potential or what your future looks like from their point of view. Get them to pinpoint your core strengths or skills that maybe are not as obvious to you.

Don’t stay in a bad situation

We’re not talking about singing from the rooftops with enjoyment and passion for what you do but don’t get stuck in a toxic work situation simply because of your perception of safety in a role. The reality is that no role is entirely safe, so don’t remain in a situation that is affecting your emotional well being.

Back yourself. Make an audit of your current situation. Be honest with yourself – this includes asking if change is truly something you can cope with in your life or whether other pressures are giving you a distorted view of your current reality.

If being 40 can give you anything, it’s the maturity to be accountable and responsible for yourself and your decisions.   

And if you decide it’s time for change? As we outlined in an earlier blog post, whether you are entering the workforce, looking for new opportunities or seeking a promotion, it’s no longer enough to just sit back and expect to be approached based on merit. You need to be actively managing your personal brand – the way you present yourself and the messages you send alongside yourself.

If you are an aspiring or experienced executive looking for assistance on how to create and improve your personal brand to assist with your career pathway, get in touch with us.   

The Decipher Team      

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