Finding your path after 30 has some unique challenges. College is just a memory. You have a good career. You have a family. But when you look around at what you do and what comes next – you might be yearning for some direction. The words I hear so often are, “I want more.”
A client recently told me this:
When you get into your 30’s, you do not know where to go. Up to now, you had a plan. High school counselors and parents helped you find a college, college helped you find a job, and when you started the job you had some direction since you were new and just learning. Now, you are experienced with so many options of where to go, and no one is directing you.
She said it well. Finding your path after 30, when no one is there to guide you, and you have so many choices can be a rough and lonely road.
Finding Your Path After 30 (Podcast Outline)
Warning signs you might be on the wrong path (Some of these are taken from Jack Canfield’s post on how the universe is speaking to you. The universe aside – some good thought.
- You are not as interested in the work you once loved.
- Not wanting to dive into the details that once excited you.
- You complain about the company, the boss, or coworkers often. (A friend of mine refers to some people as “Waste of life”. )
- You hunger for change – even if you are not sure what that is.
- You might fear change at work – what will you have to learn now about a field you are bored with?
- Dealing with anxiety or depression.
- Never fully relaxed.
- Often we feel as if something terrible is about to happen.
- You might have chronic medical issues. Often undiagnosed with a clear path or often misdiagnosed and treat the symptoms. (I speak as a systems engineer.)
- Back pain
- Wrist pain
- Stomach issues
A few names for this state:
- Cubical insanity
- Corporate lobotomy
You feel numb and unable to see clearly what to do from here. You ask, “How did I get here, and how do I get out.”
The truth is, you are in a box that you have built. You cannot see your way out.
Coaching can help
Generally, a coach or a guide is what you need. Not someone to tell you what to do, but someone to lead your thinking.
Where you might find these:
- Career Counselors: I generally do not like this approach because it’s in a box. These counselors mostly focus on tightening up your resume or giving you tests. All in-the-box thinking.
- Therapists/Psychologists: I like this better since they are not in a box – but provide little guidance. That is not their role. But they can help you think through problems.
- Mastermind groups: These can be awesome – but are often focused around a topic. Also hard to find one.
- Grad School – new degree: Very useful IF AND ONLY IF they have coaching built into the program.
- Coaches: Career coaches, life coaches, executive coaches – so many names. This type has been the best option for me. But you really need to find someone who knows their stuff. A good one can reconnect you with your dreams.
What to look for in a coach:
- Life Experience. They need to have real-life experience – preferably experience that allows them to understand where you are coming from. I have seen 20-year-old life coaches. Sorry – it just does not fit the smell test for me.
- Work experience. You need someone who has worked in industry. People who are just coming back into the workforce (moms) or people who cannot find a better job will often hang out their shingles.
- Experience in your pain: They should have had similar struggles. Career struggles
- Connections: This is a super added benefit, they should be well connected to help you get connected assuming you need it. LinkedIn is a clue here.
- Wealth: Someone who has already made it or makes plenty of money in their work and does not need you. You do not want a starving coach.
- A price: They should charge. Free is not going to add value. If you are not willing to pay – you are not ready to change. Also if they do not know what they charge and how they can help – they do not have a plan for them.
- A conversation: Most want to chat upfront before they take you on. They do not want to work with just anyone.
So look for a coach who has real experience, has seen a lot or worked heavily with a lot of people, and who understands your pain. If they cannot state how you feel before you say it – they likely do not get it.
To Sum it Up
Finding your path after 30 may have challenges – but there are solutions. If you feel stuck and need to make a change and do not have a coach, you are leaving money on the table. Getting to a better spot usually means more money, more freedom, and more energy. And often these changes are significant.
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