I rarely get this question when I give my Victory Lap presentations, but I know it is top of mind for many in the audience and I suspect for many of you reading. I know many of the people I speak with did not really want to stop working. Many have worked at the same career for years and now they are scared/uncertain about the future. The question they want to ask, which I will ask for them is: “Am I good enough to get hired again?”
You Are Not Alone
This is a common fear of many and one I felt on my Victory Lap journey. It is the fear of an uncertain future, leaving the work and routine you have been doing for most of your life, to a blank slate building your own path.
Most of us plateau late in our career (intentionally or not), not growing or feeling challenged. My story is I was burned out from playing the “game” and I knew I needed a more balanced life. I was happy with the money I was making, but I really didn’t want to move up the corporate ladder anymore. Promotions meant more stress and I had all the stress that I wanted. I did not slack off, I still tried my best every day, however I did not get the same fulfillment from competing with my team and winning an annual sales trip. My priority was, where it should be, on my family, getting healthy and pursuing other goals outside the bank. These were MY goals not theirs.
The problem with working like this is, you are good at your job because you have been doing it for so long and you stop getting all the other benefits from work besides a pay cheque. You are no longer being mentally challenged, we stop learning and testing ourselves. Work has become routine we lose sight of all the skills we have acquired and as a result we forget how capable we really are.
Getting Back Into The Game
Finding work after your first career ends can be uncomfortable. Feelings of fear may come back, a feeling you haven’t experienced for a long, long time. The fear of rejection, fear of having to sell yourself to a prospective employer after so many years. The fear of starting something new. Let me tell you it is ok to be afraid, but it’s not ok to allow your fear to keep you from doing what you need to do in order to be happy. The truth is that you are more than capable, you’ve proven yourself before and you can do it again. You may have forgotten what you can accomplish when your heart is in it and you put your mind to it.
Looking At It The Right Way
If you are going through this now take some time and make a list of your past accomplishments, remind yourself of what you are capable of when you decided to just go for it. When you were all in!
Don’t limit you list to just work accomplishments either. I have a little trophy I won in lacrosse when I was in my early teens. Back then everyone didn’t automatically win a trophy like they do today. You had to actually earn them the old fashion way. I still remember going to the annual banquet and waiting with the others hoping that maybe this would be the year that my name would be called. I was disappointed for a number of years but I was finally able to win that trophy. It was the first time I really won anything based on my own efforts and that was important to me. Even today I still value it more than any of my other accomplishments and it still reminds me of what I can accomplish by working hard and being disciplined.
You will be surprised by your list when you see how much you have accomplished over the years. Take strength from your accomplishments and feed off the excitement. Don’t be afraid to try something new because you probably haven’t been excited for a long time. You are finally back in the game but this time it is a game you can control and be inspired to perform at your best. Remember that feeling from long ago when you were excited to jump out of bed and head off to work. I missed that feeling for the long time at the end of my first career. Because your new job will challenge you, you will try harder, and you will find a higher gear. You will find, like I did that when you are excited and happy you can accomplish great things. Excitement will beat fear any day of the week.
What are you waiting for?