In any endurance race, everyone falters at some point. Therefore it’s not surprising when we experience a mid-career slump. Like running a marathon, we hit a wall. Self-doubt begins to close in. We wonder how we can sustain our performance when we’re rapidly running out of steam. The only way forward is to find your second wind for a renewed sense of energy and purpose.
The key drivers of a mid-career slump are varied and highly personal. Career disappointment is a big one. The success that you worked so hard to achieve doesn’t quite live up to your expectations. So now you feel ‘stuck’ in a career that no longer fires you up. For many people, this is a terrifying place to be.
Fatigue and the lack of growth from doing the same job, day in and day out, can also cause anyone to feel a loss of enthusiasm and direction. And finally, not having a clear and meaningful sense of purpose is another huge driver of mid-career slumps, usually affecting those who have achieved some level of success, and are now wondering what’s next.
Regardless of what’s causing your slump, the only way out is to find your second wind. And defining a renewed sense of purpose is how you find your second wind.
It’s crucial at this point to lose the straight line approach. When thinking about your next chapter, think of it as the time for some reinvention. Cast your net broader. Re-imagine how you can connect the dots between the work that matters to you (the core of who you are), your talents (strengths) and your expertise (accumulated from all your experiences). It’s at this intersection that you will find a new purpose for an infusion of renewed drive, energy and confidence.
Remember – you are not your job.
Many of us have run out of gas at some point. And there have been equally many of us who have either completely reinvented ourselves for our next phase, or tweaked our career paths to find our second wind.
It can be done.