The commonest myth about making a career change is that there’s a specific age by which it must be done: after this age, you’ve got to stick to whatever job you’re doing… no matter how miserable it makes you. If you’re desperate to find a new career that feels more fulfilling, but you’re worried that you’re too old to change careers at 30, 35, 40 or any other age, consider this an intervention. Life transformation expert Sophia Davis says that age has no bearing on your ability to successfully change careers. Here are her three steps for breaking free from the idea that you’re too old to do what you truly want to do.
Step 1: Ask ‘Why do I think I’m too old for a fresh start?’
Asking questions is a big part of growth, and that’s why so many toddlers ask the question ‘why?’ over and over again. In a similar vein, when tormented by the belief that you’re too old to do something, the only way to break free from this and grow is to consider where that belief comes from. Once you’ve identified the source, ask yourself if you truly hold the belief. We very often reflect the ideas of others around us, and if done for long enough, we no longer question beliefs that aren’t ours.
Step 2: Pay attention to real-life evidence
There’s nothing more powerful than seeing others doing the very thing we’re scared to do… and doing it well. Wedding-dress designer Vera Wang famously changed careers from journalism to fashion designing at the age of 40, opera singer Andrea Bocelli was a lawyer until he was 34 and Martha Stewart didn’t start catering until she was well into her 30s. Yes, these are famous examples, but if you look closer to home, you’ll most likely find many ordinary people who have also made a career change later in life and have no regrets.
If you really want to let go of the belief that you’re too old to change careers, seek out evidence that disproves that belief. People can and do change career at 30, 40 and 50, and the world doesn’t stop spinning.
Step 3: Recognise that beliefs are ideas NOT truths
This final step is the hardest of them all because it requires you to let go of the one thing that provides security in an uncertain world: your identity. The reason so many of us hold onto beliefs – even those that bring us misery – is that these beliefs tell us who we are. They’re deeply rooted, and form our identity and understanding about how the world works. Letting go of that can create emotional turmoil, so it’s not surprising that most of us prefer to hold onto familiar unhelpful beliefs rather than venture into unknown territory.
But just as your experience of Christmas completely changes once you realise Santa Claus isn’t real, so will your confidence and professional potential once you let go of the idea that you can’t change careers after a certain age. You’ll see the world as it is, not as you think it is.
So, ask yourself ‘Am I willing to be open to something new, even if it means I’ve been wrong about things until now?’. If you’re willing to be open and to be wrong, you can still have your beliefs but feel able to walk forward at the same time, knowing that it’s not the beliefs themselves that are the problem, it’s your insistence on acting like they are absolute truths that is holding you back.
Do you think there’s an age at which it’s too late to change careers? Let us know in the comments below.
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