7 Tips to Get Over Your Mid-Career Crisis
A mid-life crisis is so last season. The new "it" crisis these days is a mid-career crisis.
As companies cut costs left, right and centre (yet again) and restructuring is rampant, some friends and their colleagues have been fearing the pink slip, while others are resigned to the eventuality, and some are kind of relieved as they're now catapulted into doing what they've wanted to do with no more excuses. If you fall into the third category, you'll pull up your socks, dust yourself off and get going eventually. But if you fall into either of the first two groups and perhaps have been in the same company for over a decade, it is a scary time. Terrifying, even.
Up-skilling and retooling yourself is advised by outplacement agencies, government agencies and training companies. Well and good. But what about the emotional and confidence impact? From what I've seen and heard, I've found this aspect to be lacking as a coping mechanism for many employees out there, facing this "new normal".
So here are 7 tips to get over your mid-career crisis, or at least get through it:
Tip 1: Face the Fear
Fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real. Our reality is painted by our experience and perception, or sometimes, coloured by the experience of those around us whom we admire, and want to - or need to - follow.
George Addair once said that "everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear". You can choose to face your fears and get through them. How to do that?
First, by deciding to do it despite the fear, and whatever the results. More fears will undoubtedly come up as you move through the process but at least get enough momentum to start the process in spite of the fear. Once you have decided that the result (regardless of what it is) will put you in a better place than where you've begun, you can move ahead.
Second, physiological change. Changing how you stand, sit, and even breathing can change the way you look at your situation.
Third, removing some layers of the fear itself. Through the use of empowering language, incantations, and energy work techniques, layers of fear can be removed sufficiently for you to take action!
Tip 2: Get to Know Yourself
Each of us has six key needs that we have to meet, and that drive our decisions and actions: Certainty, Variety, Love/Connection, Significance, Growth & Contribution.
Two or three of these needs are our guiding lights; these are what we gravitate toward most often and have the most impact on what we do, why we do it and how. Taking the time to understand which of these needs make you tick is a key to understanding your inner self and that will allow you to find true direction in life, and I work with clients to assess their needs typically in our first session as this sets the tone for everything else that we work on together.
Tip 3: Change the Meaning
How you view your situation defines your emotional state and your decisions around it. Are you adopting a jaded mindset, because you feel helpless to change the situations? Are you seeing it as an attack on you - feeling like a victim of circumstances? Or perhaps you take the situation to mean that you no longer have any value and will be replaced by someone younger or with a different skill set.
What if the meaning is changed? Is what you're going through an obstacle or yet another victory to come?
One of the things I work on with clients is achieving and maintaining a "beautiful state". This is a state in which we view things that happen, as happening for us and not to us. Through a few processes, clients are brought through the meanings attached to situations and given the tools to change this to view things in a more resourceful way. Once you change the meaning, you change how you feel about it, and no longer need to settle for being helpless, victimised or whatever else it was that you previously felt about yourself.
Tip 4: Empower your self-questioning
Next, the little voice in our heads - our inner critic - can sometimes be the meanest and least forgiving to us. Questions have power, so what we ask ourselves, often subconsciously, has the greatest impact on our everyday actions, thoughts and decisions.
When facing situations such as a mid-career crisis, these questions could be "Why do horrible things always happen to me?" or "What's the use of trying?" or "How can I change careers now when this is all I've known?" and many, many others.
Through some processes, these questions can be changed so that you have more resourceful ways of looking at your situation. As I said, questions have power, so making sure your questions bolster you rather than impede you, is critical in times of crisis.
Tip 5: Find your New Normal
Once you have a new question, it's time to assess your operating system, so to speak, and decide what mental, emotional and physiological software to retain, delete, or upgrade. Realigning your values and purpose with your new beliefs is critical in order to take yourself onto the journey of finding your new normal. Or your "True North", as a client once described it. That term is wonderfully apt - it's your internal compass that directs you toward the life that you really want.
One way of doing this is to write down as many things as you can that you feel gives you purpose. Then stop and look at the list, and select your top 3 that resonates the strongest. Create a purpose statement using those 3 elements, and see how that feels, i.e. does it fit in well with who you want to be and where you want to go? If not, then redo the exercise until it does.
Tip 6: Condition yourself for a new future
Last but not least, you will need to get the new beliefs, value and purpose embodied in you and to make these a habit.
Most of us have carried around the same self-question, limiting beliefs and fears for decades!! That's a lot of conditioning to replace, and it won't happen overnight. So be kind to yourself, be patient, but be unrelenting. It takes between 21 to 42 days for something to become habitual, so this is the minimum conditioning you need to employ.
If you're a visual person, paste visual reminders and cues at your workstation or on your mobile phone to help you retain and apply the new beliefs and purpose that's driving your actions and decisions. If you're an auditory person, ensure you have music, tapes, audiobooks or podcasts that cement your new world-view and self-view. If you're kinaesthetic, then find a physical anchor or physical practice that you associate to your new direction.
Tip 7: Get a coach
Of course, being a life coach, I believe that having someone support you through this process is invaluable, as we are all blindsided by our own internal experiences, and admit it, all of us give ourselves excuses when the going gets tough. Heck, even coaches have coaches!
So, if you're interested in working through the emotional roller coaster a job restructuring exercise or career transition or just to get some new perspective or direction, SUBSCRIBE and keep this conversation going. I'd love to hear from you!