Updated: Oct 30, 2021
By Linda Lautenberg and Judy Schoenberg, originally published on Medium
Have you been working in the same role too long — and you’re not feeling it anymore? Maybe it’s a career that enabled you to juggle family responsibilities, but never really made you happy.
Did you pause your career to care for others, and you’re wondering “what’s next for me?”
Or your career was disrupted by a personal event such as illness or divorce. You’re ready for a fresh start, but it’s hard taking that first step.
When thinking of making professional change, sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start!
Here’s a hint — it’s not rushing to update your resume and sending it out into the ether, applying to jobs online and letting an algorithm decide your fate. That only leads to confidence loss and frustration.
Career reinvention is an inside job!
It’s all about how you align to your values, what you’re good at AND love to do. Do the inner work first — think about who you are and the rest will follow!
It’s time to own your value — not just the skills you use day to day — but your whole value. ALL your strengths, what you care about, what people come to you for. That’s your special sauce!
And don’t listen to those nagging voices in your head.
So often with women in midlife, we let negative inner thoughts write our story for us — you know the ones:
It’s too late for me
People will only see me in my current role/industry
I don’t have time to focus on myself
My skills are outdated
They’ll want someone younger
I’ve been out of the paid workforce too long
When it comes to making a shift, your inner voices and doubts can be your biggest form of self-sabotage. But once you admit that YOU are the only thing holding you back, you can begin to overcome negative self-talk and move forward with confidence!
We LOVE this quote…
“You know who’s going to give you everything? Yourself.”
-Diane Von Furstenberg
Unfortunately we often discount the things we’re really good at — because they’re easy for us! Now’s the time to start valuing our expertise and seeing ourselves for who we really are. We get it — it may be difficult at first. Acknowledge your fears first and then move onto these effective strategies:
Ready? Here are three ways to start owning your value
#1 Don’t give in to self-fulfilling ageism
It’s true, ageism is a reality in today’s world. But that doesn’t mean you need to give it power in your world.
Time to quell those inner voices (it’s too late for me, my skills are out of date, they won’t want someone my age).
In fact, at midlife, you have an edge!
Think about it. In midlife, you’re not starting from scratch. Just for starters, you’ve got:
And soooo many transferable skills which are in demand today!
Need inspiration? Think about some of these icons
Vera Wang started her company at 40..
Julia Child found her culinary chops in her 40’s (and wrote her first cookbook at 50)!
Betty White found acting success at 51.
Laura Ingalls Wilder became a published author at 65.
Viola Davis got her big break at 43.
Anna Mary Robertson Moses became a painter at 78.
And get this — studies reveal that women rate themselves as less confident than their male counterparts until their mid-40’s. But after that, there’s a shift, and women begin to rate themselves equally confident, so that by the time they reach age 60, they outperform men in confidence.
Here’s more — according to the U.S. Census Bureau, over half of business owners are aged 55 and over! And research has found that entrepreneurs are more successful new firms than those in midlife. In fact, a company founded by a 50 year old is nearly 2x as likely to be acquired or go public, as that of a 30 year old founder.
It’s true! We only get better — and more confident — with age.
#2 Get clear on your transferable skills
Transferable skills are your strengths, abilities and areas of expertise that are portable across roles and industries.
And they’re not only skills you use in paid employment — think about all aspects of your life — home, volunteering, social — all of you!
Which ones do you have?
Transferable skills can be used to frame your past experience in a way that makes sense for future opportunities. It’s vital to understand, embrace and be able to communicate these strengths to future employers. Think of times when these skills have served you well.
#3 Create a compelling career story
Your story is yours to tell. To be effective, create a narrative thread of your professional life, connecting the dots, and showing how and why you got from point A to B — without apology.
Having a clear and compelling story is essential to effective networking. But just as importantly, thinking about your career progression — including the twists, turns, gaps and bumps along the way — is key to discovering who you are, where you’ve been and what comes next.
At EvolveMe, we know that career reinvention is a journey — one that can be frustrating and isolating when attempted alone. But with a tribe of like-minded women who’ll support you and reveal a more authentic image of you through their eyes — the sky’s the limit!
Check out Evolveme’s FREE training: 6 Mindset Traps that Sabotage Career Transition in Midlife (and how to avoid them!).
Get out of your head and start moving forward to your next chapter!
Linda Lautenberg, Co-Founder of EvolveMe, is a return to work expert, women’s career advancement strategist and champion for all midlife career changers. Along with her co-founder, Linda developed EvolveMe’s proprietary DARE Method of Career Reinvention to help cohorts of high achieving women find clarity, gain confidence, and launch the best chapter of their professional life.
Linda has appeared in Forbes.com, cnn.com, Reuter’s World at Work, tEllevate Network and Fairygodboss. She’s a Forbes’ 50Over50 nominee! Get the inspiration you need for your next career move by downloading EvolveMe’s FREE tool: Evolveme’s Career Reinvention Analyzer
As Co-Founder of EvolveMe, Judy Schoenberg is a career strategist and leadership expert for women in midlife career transition who are exploring a return to the workforce or are pivoting careers. Through the DARE Method of Career Reinvention she created with her co-founder, Judy helps cohorts of women find the clarity and confidence to own their value and pursue new opportunities.
Judy has appeared in Forbes.com, cnn.com, Reuter’s World at Work, the Ellevate network and Fairygodboss. If you need a place to start getting unstuck, download EvolveMe’s FREE training: 6 Mindset Traps that Sabotage Career Transition in Midlife.