Popular opinion has it that if you haven’t written your great novel, painted your masterpiece or launched your successful start-up by your mid-40s, you’re never going to do it.
An interesting story in The New York Times debunks this myth, citing several examples of people finding success later in life and research to support the findings.
This is great news for just about anyone who’s thinking about their career path and their future.
For high school students, it suggests that they might have several successful career paths in front of them.
For people mid-career, there are several career paths ahead that could lead to more satisfaction, success and fulfillment.
And for those in late career or retirement, being open to new ideas and directions can lead to new levels of satisfaction and unexpected success.
Here are five suggestions that can help make your new career path happen, no matter what stage of life you are at:
- Be open to learning new things about yourself. We are all constantly changing and being changed by our environment. Through our experiences (good and bad), we can sharpen our strengths and recognize our weaknesses. When we stop listening, we stop growing.
- Reach outside yourself for input. Don’t be afraid to ask others for their thoughts, be open to tools and assessments that can help you identify your strengths and potential, and learn how to translate your innate talents into a new career path. Oftentimes, the biggest barrier to change is our fear of reaching out to others.
- Go with your strengths. For many of us, the only real feedback we’ve ever received has been through an employee/employer review process focusing on areas for improvement. Research now shows that focusing on strengths has a much more dramatic impact on success and satisfaction in a career path than working on weaknesses. Find tools that help you identify those natural gifts that are your strengths, and then link them to career directions where you can leverage them for greater success.
- Learn to be flexible. This doesn’t mean settling for less, this means remaining open to thinking differently about yourself. We all get locked into our own narrative about who we think we are and what we should “be”. A willingness to rewrite your narrative enables you to consider career paths that never would have occurred to you before and could lead to a more fulfilling, rewarding future.
- Find a catalyst. Our product, Strengths for Success, has been designed to help you uncover your unique strengths, skills and talents, and then suggests a range of career path directions for you to consider. There are other tools out there, but of course we’re biased. You can learn more about Strengths for Success here.
If you are like me, you’re constantly reading or hearing about someone who has changed their career path and found more success and satisfaction than they ever thought possible. These events happen every day to people like you. It’s not too late for you to become one of them.