How to Move Past the Obstacles to an Encore Career

Many find it difficult to imagine starting an encore career. After working for a certain number of years in a specific industry, it can be hard to visualize yourself in a new industry - or even a new position in the same area. Change is tough for anyone and including those in this final phase of their professional life. Normally, an encore career is a career started in the second half of one’s life that, while providing an income, can provide even greater personal meaning than your previous career depending on your goals and desires for this phase. There can be several obstacles that prevent many from even imagining having an encore career.

Four Common Obstacles

  • Over-analyzing. It is good to research enough to make a sound decision based on all the facts of your financial situation, past experience and skills. However, don’t let over-analyzing the information paralyze you from moving forward. Give yourself a time frame to gather your information, and then stop and make a decision. If you need to, set a deadline for your decision.

  • Fear of failure. It is normal to feel afraid when thinking of starting a new career, or the next stage of your career, but channel that emotion to help you to move forward instead of letting it paralyze you.

  • Making assumptions. Many times our assumptions can be inaccurate. Sometimes they are correct, but be sure before you make decisions based on them. Ask a close friend or family member to help you affirm or dismiss your assumptions about your next job decision. Consider hiring a career coach to discuss the tough issues with you.

  • Fear of change. While it is more comfortable to stay in your current course, don’t let this stop you from a new course that will give you personal meaning. Identify what makes you most fearful (change, failure, age discrimination during your search) and address those negative voices or feelings head on. Write a positive affirmation to address each of them.

  • How to Motivate Yourself

  • Take time for self-examination. Consider how you want to spend the second half of your life, and be honest with yourself. Think about how the four obstacles above could be affecting you. Make a pros and cons list to identify the benefits of making a change.

  • Change your scenery. When we change our environment, this many times can help us see the bigger picture and make a better decision. Try this by walking outdoors, visiting a friend, or participating in some sort of volunteer activity.