Are You Ready to Make a Midlife Career Leap?
The pandemic created a pause. A time for all of us to reflect and expand our thinking on what we really want to do moving forwards, how we want to lead, work & live our lives. With statistics from Mental Health First Aid England quoting one in six workers will experience depression, anxiety or problems related to stress, there has never been a more important time to reflect on what’s important to us moving forwards and to act in alignment to those values.
It’s no surprise that many hashtags are now referencing #TheGreatResignation in posts with many of us thinking that a new job will give us more of what we want.
Kate Thomas, Leadership Effectiveness Expert from NewlandRock explains.
‘When you reach that midpoint in life and career, a shift occurs. Physically and mentally. You feel different. Many of us start to ask deeper questions about what we want, what’s important and how we can live differently.
Ironically, it’s also when our career is at its fullest, family life is at its busiest and your body is changing quickly, especially if you are woman. These physical and mental changes are natural but combine it with an ‘always on’ style of working for both male and females, and it’s no wonder the cracks start to show.’
Our pre-covid intense working styles have been put under the microscope during the pandemic with hybrid working patterns emerging and many companies now considering new ways of working. The idea of work/life balance has never been so sharply drawn into focus. The challenge facing all of us now is to find a way to balance the needs of being an effective leader both in the home and boardroom.
Kate talks about this on her Journal section of her website, NewlandRock.com where she refers to our careers as chapters in our lives.
“Our working worlds are all-consuming. The ‘always on’ digital way of working and living means that for many, we are surrounded by a corporate story, a media story, a family story and who we are; our identity, and the character that we show are more aligned with the stories we are in, rather than our own. It can mean that you are not in balance; you are not as effective as you could be. You are not leading your story.
Achieving more isn’t about doing more. It’s about doing the right things for you. It’s about being the star of your story.”
Kate takes a neuroscience-based assessment approached to her executive leadership coaching to help leaders to find their strengths and ensure they are maximising their potential in the right role.
“Typically, I work with leaders who are at a tipping point in their career. Many of them are at this midpoint in their lives when they are questioning who they are. The pandemic has accelerated this within the executive coaching sphere as more people than ever are confused about what they should be doing moving forwards. What got them to where they are isn’t working anymore, and they are fearful of stepping outside of their comfort zone to move forwards. I help leaders on their journey to leadership effectiveness. Helping people to achieve their full potential is so rewarding and life changing. By coaching people to gain control of their brain, intercept what’s driving their behaviour and understand their thought patterns and sabotaging tendencies we can create real lasting change that will take them into the next chapter of their career.”
This challenge between advancing in our zone of genius or staying where we are was recently summed up by bestselling author James Clear.
“The strategies that made you successful in the past will, at some point, reach their limit. Don’t let your previous choices set your future ceiling. The willingness to try new ideas allows you to keep advancing.”
Sometimes the career midpoint is a good time to pause and reflect on what that next chapter should look like. Is it time to climb the next rung on the ladder shooting for the c-suite, or take a role that will enhance your skill set and take a portfolio or latticed approach to developing your career?
Guy Day from BartonRock, executive search consultancy and sister company to NewlandRock has some suggestions.
Before making any rash decisions it’s a good idea to get some clarity around why you want to make a career or role change. Get curious around your unrest and consider what is at the root cause of that feeling.
Are You Just Needing More Balance?
Is there a way you can stay in your existing role but work more flexibly in a way that would help you to better prioritise both work and family as being important? Or is it time to look for a company where this is embedded into their culture and values?
Review Your Worth
Sometimes when we are so focused on moving onwards and upwards, we can neglect to look back and see how far we have come. Recognise your skills, experience, and accomplishments before you decide to move on. Have you identified an internal sponsor who is proactively supporting your career?
Do You Need to Move Teams?
Career growth and satisfaction isn’t always about moving upwards sometimes it’s about taking a sideways or diagonal move that will capitalise on your talents and skills. More companies now are taking a latticed approach to their leadership talent recognising that flexibility in career development is beneficial to an organisation, increasing satisfaction and retention. Moving talent within organisations can also help to provide a fresh approach to projects
Skills Gap Review
What will a new role add in terms of skills and capability? Know your experience and what you’ve done and where there are gaps. Consider how these gaps impact the career aspirations you have. What do the responsibilities of a new role need to include for it to move you forward?
Indra Nooyi, former PepsiCo CEO shared her thoughts on what it takes to get to the top in a recent article which delves deeper on this exact point.
“If you plot out your career and say, ‘I’m going to be CEO in 15 years,’ I can guarantee you won’t be, because you’ll be so obsessed with the trajectory that you’ll lose sight of the jobs you’ve got to do on the way.
My first job, aged 20, involved selling sewing thread to garment makers; I’d trudge all over Bombay, now Mumbai, with a sample bag over my shoulder. It was humbling, particularly when some of the streets were flooded to my knees in monsoon season. But I learnt everything about the thread; the codes of every colour, how it goes through washing machines, how it behaves when washed. It taught me to be curious about every detail of the industry I was working in; to ask questions and try to understand all the levels and what makes it work. If you love what you’re doing now and you put in the time and work, you will rise.”
The midpoint of our lives is a key time. It can be a challenging time but also the perfect time to start a new chapter. Take your time to assess, reflect and analyse what is next for you and if you need assistance with that then reach out to either Kate or Guy for more help.
For more information on executive coaching and assessment contact Kate@newlandrock.com and for more information on recruitment opportunities within the digital sector, or if you are looking to hire within digital get in touch with Guy@bartonrock.com
About BartonRock: We are the executive search partner for companies where data-driven digital leadership is intrinsic to growth.
We manage the careers of leaders whose know-how and commercial acumen within digital steers the strategic direction and future survival of companies.
Our assignments search for executives who understand how to implement and lead data-centric digital agendas.
You can also subscribe to BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast by visiting Apple Podcasts