Everything was fine for the first 20 years of your career. You were focused. You were happy. You were going up the ladder.
Then, you hit an age. Maybe it was 30, or 40, or 50. But suddenly, everything changed.
Now, you are no longer happy at your current job. Something just isn’t right. Nothing about the job itself has really changed all that much, but you just aren’t satisfied like you used to be.
It’s confusing. You worked your entire career to get to where you are today. You’re at the top of the mountain, but now you wonder if you were climbing the wrong mountain the whole time. You’re questioning everything you’ve worked for.
Sound familiar? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. I talk to multiple people every single day who are having this very same experience. We rarely talk about these feelings and thoughts with one another, but I wish we would.
Some see these thoughts as indicators that they have failed somewhere along the way. I prefer to look at it a little differently: You’ve achieved your original goal, and now you’re ready for a new one.
The priorities in your life have shifted. Maybe you are no longer as motivated by money; perhaps your retirement account is secure. Alternatively, maybe money motivates you more; perhaps you want to catch up on your retirement savings.
Maybe you’ve learned more about yourself. You really don’t like managing people after all, or you really don’t want to work in a creative atmosphere where the imperative to produce new content never goes away.
Whatever the case, the fact is you’ve grown. You’ve changed. Growth and change are both good things — and they’re inevitable parts of life.
Making a midlife career change doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It just means your priorities have evolved. It’s time to find something new that better aligns with your new goals and your new direction.
Start small. You won’t find the answer tomorrow, nor will you find it in your head, thinking for hours, devising the perfect solution. The answer most likely doesn’t exist in a personality test, either.
Almost always, a career change happens by doing. It happens by getting out there and having conversations with other people in different lines of work. It happens by researching various companies. It happens by volunteering for projects outside of your comfort zone. It happens by trying new things to find what works and what doesn’t.
Career change is not an easy process, but the journey will take you to where you’re meant to be: a new life that is in alignment with your current and future priorities.
A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.