Coffee Break: 10 Interviews, 3 Key Lessons
Ten interviews completed and what have I learned?
I’d love to tell you I have all the answers and if you follow my Five-Step Programme for finding a new career in your 50s, you too will find total fulfilment but that’s not the case. Still what I have learned — or maybe more to the point what I have been reminded of, because I do think we often know the answers but have forgotten to ask the right questions — has been incredibly helpful and encouraging.
Lesson 1: When you are feeling stuck in a rut, just do something, anything. It is the motion that matters, not the direction!
In school and in life, I would sometimes get gripped by analysis paralysis. Simply put, I can spend hours researching options and writing up plans (and don’t even get me started on the black hole that is Pinterest). But at some point even I have to admit that I am just spinning my wheels and getting nowhere quick. My planning is really stalling. In an Upworthy article, How to Get Unstuck in Life Simply by Making a Next Move, author Jeff Goins talks about the bicycle principle and how much easier it is to make changes in life once you are moving… just start peddling and see where you end up, says Goins. He continues, more often than not, you just need to move in a direction, not the direction. I feel this way with The 50:50 Project, I wasn’t sure exactly where it would take me but I knew I had to do something different, something that got me out of my comfort zone and something that opened up more possibilities. I thought it might be scary, I am shyer than I appear but it has been so liberating. So, find your vehicle and just get going.
Lesson 2a: Put yourself out there. 2b: Don’t be afraid to ask. 2c: Talking to people helps; not only do you realise you are not alone, but you will be amazed by the support and positive energy that comes your way.
As I said I am a little shy; networking doesn’t come easy to me. I like to be the person behind the scenes getting things done, rather than the person upfront leading the show but read any article about how to find a job after 40 and the number one piece advice is to use your network. The 50:50 Project has been both my crutch and my launching pad to reach out to friends and friends of friends. I have been so amazed and grateful for the positive responses I have had. It has truly been incredible. So my message is don’t be afraid to ask; you will be amazed at how generous and open people can be.
Lesson 3: Keep learning; both horizontal but also vertical so think about adding skill-sets but don’t forget about the soft stuff too.
This is a point that has come up again and again. The importance of learning, staying curious and keeping an open mind. To help you, I’ve created a page with all the recommendations so far. In recent years, Podcasts have rocked my world so much so that every sentence I say seems to start with “So, I was listening to this podcast… “ but they truly have been an incredible way for me to learn and be inspired all while walking the dog, cleaning the house or making supper. Yes, I know my exciting life, see why I need a job!
My personal top five podcasts because I couldn’t possibly pick just one:
- How I Built This — for business inspiration
- Slate Political Gabfest — for my politics fix
- Recode / Decode — for insight into technology and business
- The Daily — for better understanding of today’s big news stories
- Invisibilia — for exploring the unconscious forces that control human behaviour and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions.