1. On average, how often do you think women are reinventing themselves or attempting to? (pertaining directly to a career change or trying to make a hobby profitable?
I would say a women reinvents herself directly pertaining to career change or profitable hobby launching every 6 months or at least once per year. Things are changing so rapidly in every facet of employment and technology, just being current and relevant involves reinvention. I don’t see women necessarily changing careers, but inside their chosen careers, reinvention is necessary and happens often. Creativity is also abundantly present. A woman will creatively redesign herself, her workspace, her job description frequently because the ideas are flowing.
2. Can you give me an example of the different challenges women may have when attempting to make a big career change at 20, 30 and 40?
Big Career Change Challenges: Cons
At 20: pressure to make the ‘right’ choice in career/fear of failure/mistakes. Family pressure, peer pressure and lack of knowledge about personal self. ‘ Still transitioning from Adolescence to Adulthood. ‘Huge autonomy changes - ‘Finishing post secondary school, securing employment, securing housing, relationships, financing. The learning curve is very steep.
At 30: Demands on time and energy have been subtly acquired –demands by/from boss, husband, children, family. Woman realizes suddenly that she is overwhelmed, over-scheduled and not sure how she got there.
At 40: Job security and familiarity may mean she doesn’t want to rock the boat – giving up pension, benefits, position, etc.
At 20: So many choices! Everything is experience. No experience is wasted. Time for exploration and discovery.
At 30: Really having it all right now, career, kids, relationship, grown up real world life.
Age 40: Better self- knowledge, wisdom, less angst.
3. What are the pros and cons of reinventing at each age: 20, 30, 40?
Pros and Cons of Reinventing: At 20: No wasted experience, it all counts. Too many choices?
At 30: Not too late to change direction entirely and still secure future. Tired, hard to reinvent in the midst of very full life. Shock and awe of ‘tribe’ if you step out – peer and family expectations may prevent a woman from stepping into her true desire.
At 40: Knowledge of self a lot clearer. Values solidified, less conformity pressure. May have to give up long term security/comfort.
4. What are some tips and strategies that women at each of these stages can employ to be most successful?
Tips and strategies.
Every age and stage will go through the same cycle of change. All change begins with a ‘catalytic’ event of some sort. Some catalysts are biological – built into our biology. Eg. Infant to toddler, child to adolescent, adolescent to adult, then mid-life, then old age. These are stages that cause change. Other events occur seemingly randomly, but all, one or some will happen to everyone at some point in our lives. Events like marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, illness, job loss, even rapid success will cause transition in our lives. Transition means that you must leave one state to assume another. As in marriage; you must adjust from being independent single to operating as a couple. After the initial catalyst that thrusts you into transition, you will adjust and begin to explore and create in your new state. Once the new state has taken hold and becomes ‘new normal,’ you will go into a maintaining stage, small , constant adjustments until the next catalyst comes along.
A great strategy for the 20 year old ‘phase’ (or any time you are in a situation you’ve never encountered before) would be to adopt a “Kindergarten” attitude. In Kindergarten you are not expected to know anything. You are expected to acquire information and knowledge and perform only when you understand all the rules and procedures. The biggest mistakes happen when one pretends to know something they don’t. The ‘fake it til you make it’ is not always a good strategy when just starting out. If you are the newbie, go with that. Be humble, ask, watch and learn.
I often advise overscheduled women (most in their 30’s!) to Better, barter, or bag it. Seriously inventory everything you are responsible for, everything you do in a week and then take each item in the inventory and decide if this item can be discarded – bagged. If not, then can it be bartered? Exchange child care, house hold chores, car pooling to have some grown up, free time. If bartering or bagging is not optional, then figure out a way to better it while you are doing it. Treats while performing task or as reward for completion – a piece of dark chocolate, a Starbuck’s coffee, your favourite soap opera guilt free. We reward children, why stop as an adult. Pear down those energy drains and add some energy givers. Learn to say no.
Reinvention can be fun at any stage, but in your 40’s it is especially, well ‘special ‘ to “Dream & Scheme.” At this stage many women have finally figured what they absolutely cannot tolerate another second. Most need a little help discovering what they do like to do. I will have my clients practice some relaxation/meditation for a few weeks and then lead them through ‘dreaming while awake.’ Often times images or ideas will ‘appear' to them and I will have them find a representation of the image/idea in a picture form from a magazine or a representation of a feeling – like velvet for a peaceful/protected feeling and post these items on a ‘vision board.’ When clients are in touch with their ‘feeling’ state they begin to move toward creating those things in their jobs, in their homes, in their lives and pretty soon they will get a strong direction pointing them toward their ‘dream’occupation.
5. Is being a career coach your own career reinvention? If so, can you tell me a little bit about how you got there?
My own reinvention? Yes, taking the Martha Beck Life Coaching course was my reinvention at the mid-life stage of my life. My kids had decided to go away to school, my husband and I were going through relationship difficulties and my focus was changing from outward to inward. I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I have many skills, talents and interests. I began a music teaching business and that was and is going very well, but I needed ‘something’ more. I have always been a ‘self-help book’ junkie and had read all of Martha’s books. I saw her speak at a women’s event here in Calgary and then shortly after that found out she offered Life Coach training, I felt I had found my ‘calling.’ I felt I was being ‘lead’ to take the course. I wasn’t really clear about what a Life Coach was or did, but I really wanted to find out. Taking the course and becoming a Life Coach has helped me literally put my life (back) together. My motivation for wanting to help other women came from the years I floundered around with angst about other people's expectations of me, questions, yearnings and ideas I had no idea what to do with and wishing I had someone who could help me. That’s what a Life coach does. She/he takes all of what’s already churning around inside and helps to sort through it to get to your core, the real you.
Anyone else have any questions??? Please ask.