Mid-Life Career Change Using Just Five Rules

When I started this blog last November I knew I wanted many of the posts to not only help people with their own mid-life career transitions at whatever stage they might be with them, but also to weave in a sense of my own coaching philosophy and approach, so that readers and potential clients can get a sense of what I am about.

This approach is captured in this sentence:

You can change your game using just five rules.

So, sit back and see what you make of five previous posts that I believe reveal the essence of just five rules, where the game’s career change, and the playing field’s life.

Rule 1: Take Action

There’s a powerful message in Scott Rigsby’s story being expressed by the many brave, sometimes painful and inspirational actions he&‘s taken over the past few years.

Scott is clearly deeply driven by his faith and the desire to let an extraordinary God perform extraordinary things through the life of an ordinary man (my paraphrasing).

Watch his video and ponder on those many tens of thousands of steps, strokes and pedals he took on the path to being the world’s first double-amputee Hawaiian Iron Man.

My favourite quote from Scott (and I am not a practicing Christian in the sense that he is) is clearly a very powerful testament for action in his life:

God, if you’ll open a door for me, I’ll run through it.

From a coaching perspective this inner desire (my definition) to make a positive difference in one or more lives, starting with his own, goes way beyond whatever transient fame and opportunities may come his way as a result of acting on that very same desire.

Rule 2: Follow A Proven Plan

Visually stunning as this video is, the real message is in the song’s lyrics; so listen carefully to Strengthen Your Mind by Dezaire.

Obviously these ski experts didn&‘t just get up one day, climb in a helicopter and decide to launch themselves down Mt. Eiger with nothing more than skis and a parachute.

Think of the years spent learning and experiencing the craft of skiing and all that entails, and long before parachutes were added to the mix.

Think also of the logistics leading up to this particular mountain descent, weather, safety, equipment, descent path, helicopter, physical fitness to name but a handful.

And imagine the double checking on how to optimally complete project Eiger. (Yes, I know they were having an incredible adrenaline rush too!)

Here is where many new to career change coaching think a lot of time will be spent - in planning and preparation. Partly true, but also incomplete without involving elements of the other four rules. Just remind yourself of proven plans you’ve followed in your own career and life but without much passion or commitment. Yuck!

Rule 3: Focus On One Thing At A Time

The effects of trampling over rule #3 are (almost) literally observed in people driving themselves to distraction over time and that’s why this personal productivity post makes an appearance.

Not surprisingly, whatever gains I’ve made by multitasking have often been usurped by dear old Parkinson’s law. I’d have been better off ring fencing my key tasks with regular time blocks and saying “to h#ll with the time vampires.”

Rule 4: Let Time Go Lightly

If you haven&‘t yet read Replay by Ken Grimwood, do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy pronto!

Although a work of adult science fiction with a time travel theme, this is one of the most life affirming books I’ve ever read on what I consider to be the loving intent inherent within all creative experience.

Rule 5: Find Games Worth Playing

Why? There is no why!

For someone who, in 1974, perpetrated perhaps the artistic crime of the century, and 34 years later is on a stage at the Sundance Film festival informing the audience that he married the Twin Towers with his art, and even had those buildings smile; that is some game.

Almost beyond belief.

And while career change may seem orders of magnitude less exciting than what Philippe Petit dared to do, the same magic applies. You do it because you want to, and again in Philippe’s words:

See every day as a true challenge and then you live your life on the tightrope

So there you have it; career change coaching using just five rules.

In reality, I don’t coach with these rules in a strict top-down manner but rather the conversations flow from trust and empathy developed between client and coach over time.

And the rules themselves are more like those cats eyes in the road, so coach and client can better see where we’re going.