Where ageism is very real in almost every industry, plenty of resources will tell you how to combat ageism so you can successfully make a career change.
Tips and tricks on positioning yourself, talk about your qualifications so you don’t come across as ‘overqualified’ or ‘underqualified’ but just right. How to talk about your passions and the reframing goes on.
Very few will tell you how believing in yourself, and your capabilities are the start of navigating a career change.
If you find yourself or know of a family member, significant other, friend, colleague or relative who’s experienced a career change or soon-to-be, it can be a frustrating and confusing experience or the most exciting and challenging.
This post is to celebrate those who’ve been able to identify an opportunity either through changes that happened to them or changes they voluntarily made to make a career change later in life. At an age, they likely never imagined themselves transitioning and encouraging you or, at the very least, inspiring you to see the possibilities in front of you. To ignite a belief that anything is possible if your heart desires it.
There’s what you want to do and what you can do and while life and reality play a role in deciding what to do next, believing you have the possibility to succeed by doing something else is important to your success.
Chip Conley is an excellent example of what he calls “re-potting” yourself – twice! I love that word, and in full transparency, it’s his word, not mine :). A successful hospitality entrepreneur at 26 who ran and sold the second largest boutique hotel brand in America as CEO for 24 years, Chip later joined Airbnb, a start-up organization at the time, at the age of 52. Here’s what he had to say about that experience. (2:01 min.)
If you’re thinking he’s rich, famous and not a ‘real-life’ example, I get it. He’s not your next-door neighbour or ‘Charles’ in Accounting that you can have coffee with. The truth is, without knowing all the details, there’s always a risk of failure regardless of your status.
Experience goes a long way, but in a new industry, the doubts, insecurities and expectations still speak loudly, especially when you’re tapped on the shoulder to seize a big opportunity because of your experience.
The point is you try. Learn, do, fall and try again. Or learn, do and keep learning if it works the first time.
Talk to those in your immediate and extended network. You’d be surprised who you may learn of that’s had a similar experience. Two coaching colleagues are prime examples of having to “re-pot” themselves in their 50’s.
Both come from very different backgrounds, cultural differences and varying levels of experience, now venturing into a world of doing something completely new while exploring entrepreneurship simultaneously. Not an easy combination.
It takes courage, vulnerability and honesty to choose and do something new when experience has taught you that you’ve ‘done it all.’ But it starts with a belief.
If you’ve read this far, you’re at least inspired and hopeful that you can pivot later in your life if you find yourself at a crossroads in your career. The end of one experience usually signifies the beginning of something new. You get to decide on what that looks like.
A new role in a new industry?
A new business venture?
An opportunity to create a role for yourself and take on an advisory position?
The choice is yours.
I’m curious if you or someone you know has experienced ageism; how has it impacted your career?
What advice would you give to someone who’s experiencing this right now?
Let me know in the comments below!