The Midlife Shift: Don’t Fall for the Myth That Midlife Has to Be a Crisis


It’s that time again – midlife. Don’t panic! This is just a natural time to re-evaluate what you’ve been doing and to decide what you want to do, on purpose for the next 15 years.

I’ve been researching this and apparently, there’s this shift that happens when you’re in your 40s and 50s, and I’ve seen it with my friends and clients. Especially when you set your course and made huge investments in yourself in your twenties.

After all, what did we really know in our 20’s? We were just figuring out who we were and what we wanted. Now, in our 40’s, 50’s, (and even 60s), we’ve got the opportunity to apply our knowledge, skills, abilities – and wisdom – in new ways.

It’s daunting to consider altering what you’ve established. Especially when you haven’t done it before. And you don’t have a strategy in place. And making a significant blunder isn’t an option for you. You’ve come too far.

I’ve done it for myself a dozen times over the last 25 years, and I’ve assisted many others in doing so – therefore I’m something of an authority. During the process, I picked up a lot of information on what works and what doesn’t.

Making a change in your profession takes many forms. Some professionals must make minor adjustments and develop new routines to discover what they desire. Others like their jobs, but want to shift where they work or who they work with.

And then there are those that want to try something completely new, such as switching industries or starting their own business.

No matter what situation you’re in, I’ve found 6 distinct phases of career change apply. Permission, Discovery, Investigation, Evaluation, Implementation, and Integration. If you’d like to know more about each one then click the link in the comments to get the free guide.

Midlife Career Myths

There are so many myths around midlife – and midlife career change – that it’s hard to decide where to start.

So here are a (first) few of my favorites and why they are B.S. …

1. You’re too old to change.

This myth is perpetuated by those who fear change. Many highly successful people changed careers after 30, 40, or 50. One example is Ray Kroc who didn’t meet Mac McDonald until he was 50. Your years of experience and wisdom can open doors to more opportunities than you can imagine.

2. You invested all of this money and time in your current career – don’t throw it away.

Your success in one field doesn’t somehow preclude you from making a change. And making a change isn’t “throwing away” what you’ve built, and it certainly isn’t some sort of admission that it was a mistake. The truth is that all that you’ve become can be the springboard to something new.

3. You’re being selfish – you should be grateful for what you have.

You deserve to do work that is challenging and fulfilling. Being grateful for what you have doesn’t mean that you should ignore things that aren’t working. You spend more than a third of your life at your job. It isn’t greedy to want to dedicate that time to something enjoyable where you are doing your best work.

4. There’s just too much risk.

There is no risk, zero, to investigating what changes to your company or your career might increase your satisfaction. The real risk is not conducting the investigation. Now, you’ll want a framework so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel – and a guide for the journey so you don’t fall victim to SOS (Shiny Object Syndrome). And when you have those things and do the work, you’ll be in a position to make an intelligent risk/reward decision.

Myth Busting …

What myths would you like busted about midlife shifts in your company or career?

Comment and let’s bust some more myths.

Doug BrownThe Midlife Shift: Don’t Fall for the Myth That Midlife Has to Be a Crisis
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