Have you noticed that most of us want the front row seats at sports events and concerts? Often, we pay a premium for them, too. And, during that time, we let our inner selves go as we cheer on the home team or lift candles (flashlights) swaying in the imaginary breeze to our favorite singer. We let go with abandon, we are fully engaged in the moment and loving every minute. However, when we are unsure of ourselves or don’t want to be seen, we head for the back seats at church, office meetings, training events, family get-togethers. We just want to blend in and don’t want to be called on to participate – we become passive.
Passive participation is not the route to finding your encore career. Discovering your encore career, requires one to sit in the front row of life. It is about investigating the possibilities. Here are 10 tips to help you do that:
1. Shed the inner voice that tells you to take a back seat. It might say you aren’t good enough, who do you think you are, you’re too old. All negative fear-based thinking. Talk back to the voice to squash it! Remember, you are unique and have wonderful gifts to give to the world.
2. Take time to reflect on what you love to do. Reach back to your childhood and early years – is there something that you have submerged that can be reignited?
3. Ask yourself – what do people compliment you on? Often our talents are so innate that we take them for granted. Others, however, appreciate your skills.
4. Ask your friends and family – if money was not in the picture, what would they see you doing in your encore career?
5. Review your past jobs – what did you love about them. What are the common themes?
6. Carve out time to network. Get to know what other people do. You may find a career path you never thought of before. Volunteering is a great way to network.
7. Use http://www.onetonline.org to research careers and the requirements for them.
8. Once you have narrowed your career choices down to 3-4, interview people in those professions to determine how they got into the field, what they enjoy about the job, and any advice they may give you. If you don’t know anyone in that profession, use Linkedin to see if any of your friends know someone in that industry to talk to. Most people will be happy to do an informational interview with you – remember this is not asking them for a job.
9. If you have found a career that requires more education, talk with the chairperson of the department at a local college. They are a wealth of knowledge on job opportunities in the profession for those 50+ and the requirements for entering a college program.
10. Create a support team (family, mentor, coach) who you can share your innermost feelings, brainstorm and hold you accountable.
Honest introspection, following the actions above, and accountability will keep you in the front row seat of discovering your encore career!
Hopefully this post will inspire you to take a more proactive role in your career!
—Katie Weiser, Associate Career Coach at HallieCrawford.com