I get asked more often than is comfortable, “Is it too late for me to make a career change?” I say this – and fast:
“NO! It’s never too late to be who you are meant to be. Let’s start now.”
Why? Because these people may as well have sent out an SOS telling me they go through life feeling that it is bankrupt of all meaning.
Some Things Are Better with Age
I remember that dissonant feeling myself. It nagged at me for far too many years. This was until I was on the wrong side of my mid-40s and finally used the strength that was hidden therein to spark some action.
I applied to do the psychology degree I’d been curious about forever. Easy to apply but so many kinds of uncomfortable to do! But I also felt committed to something important to me – for me – for the first time in a long time.
And that’s when things “clicked” into the next chapter for me. It was like getting a membership to a whole new layer of life. I called it “Joining the Wisery” because it felt like I had needed to hit a certain age, and the creeping feeling that went with it was the fuel to getting there.
I proved something to myself when my efforts earned first-class honors but what was more significant was my empowerment to press play on my life once more. Now, that psychology background feeds into my coaching. Where my past lives blend my commercial edge and marketing savvy from Career One – an integration I know is powerful.
My story represents the hard path in many ways. There were too many lost years because I didn’t know what was next, let alone how to get there. I passionately believe we can all join The Wisery if we just use the experience we’ve clocked up over the years to activate some agile thinking about how to connect what matters most with what we do next. Then act on that.
This Way to The Wisery!
Values are how you find your way to The Wisery.
Values are not just a list of socially desirable traits. They are more like the passion and purpose hidden deep at your core. By integrating your past experience and evolved sense of self with the life you want to lead next, you can learn your values.
While revealing your core values will elevate self-awareness of course, you will only accomplish meaningful change if you express them in your everyday life.
Here’s how you can do this for yourself (and a friend).
How to Unpeel Who You Are at Your Core
Use one of the many online tools available to generate your values. I think the VIA offers a good (free) option. Just know that this list of values is the start, not the end – because it can’t be nuanced enough.
Read the blurb for your 2 top values. Consider whether the rest of the list cluster naturally under these. If not, which would? Reorder until it’s you.
Invite a friend to join in. Have them do the same online exercise. Swap results. Look at the top values for you both. Do you agree with theirs? Is there something lower down either list that needs to be brought up before it’s just right?
Maybe you feel the list of values is on point but using your chosen words resonates better. Think about real-life anecdotes that illustrate these values in action.
Now organize when and where to have your powerful conversation. Talking about values is intimate stuff. You will want privacy and proper time to do this justice. Explain why your chosen top 2 values are so significant to you. You might use a memory that brings each value to life. It doesn’t matter if it’s personal or career-oriented, recent or in the past.
Equally, it may be wholly positive or the precise opposite. As you take turns talking about a core value, the other listens deeply – watching for an undeniable change of energy. A brand of aliveness that is noticeably different from often used words being wheeled out. You won’t miss this shift.
Say when you see it and then talk about what language to put to these values, until their articulation is just right (even if not obvious to others). This is what matters most to each of you. And that’s all that matters.
Values evolve over time as we respond to life. It’s why we feel stuck doing what used to feel right when it doesn’t anymore. But values operate under the conscious so most of us are oblivious of them altogether or have lost touch with them.
Having reflected on your top 2 values, you have recovered access to yours. You know what makes you uniquely you, what gives you purpose. However, this isn’t the hard work. It’s time to own your core values now.
Please share them with me – and others who know you – until you feel fluent talking about them. Noticing all the time if they jar versus when they are a Goldilocks fit – just right!
Only then is it time to activate them in your everyday life. Define 2-3 ways to live into these values. It likely means setting fresh boundaries in some areas of life – saying no to some expectations and protecting others.
Notice what happens for you when you betray a core value and decide how best to reset. Getting clarity about these disconnects helps plan the change you need to realign what you do with who you are. Then act on it.
I invite you to use the same process I created to help my clients activate their values. Just click here for the (free) PDF and I will happily share.
About the Author:
Helen Hanison is an executive coach. I help people who are committed to their career but have hit a crossroads, such as redundancy, loathing what they do or needing better work-life synergy doing it. with my coaching they make a plan realigning who they are with the life they want. then act on it.