Create the Life You Want With a Mid-Career Crisis

Use These Career Exploration Tools to Set New Goals and Explore New Dreams

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Are you experiencing a mid-career crisis? And, if not, should you be experiencing a mid-career crisis?

I did when I was thirty-four years old. I'd been working in my chosen field for 14 years and had finished my Master's degree in a related subject. Working in adult education and running a community college extension center just no longer rang my chimes.

I experienced a growing sense of uneasiness that this work was not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

Fortunately, I listened to my inner voices. Or, I would never have been able to create this wonderful life and work that I love that I have pursued since then.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--

I took the one less traveled by,

and that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Are you feeling a growing sense of unease about how you are spending your work life? So many people stay in jobs that they hate for more years than they care to remember. But, some are a lot like me. A once-loved career is no longer cutting it for growth and happiness.

You can do something about either situation. Are your inner voices asking you, "Is this all there is? " Do you have a growing sense that you would be happier doing something else? Do you hate going to work each morning? If so, it's time to create a mid-career crisis. And, think about the crisis as a good thing. I'll share with you some tools to help.

Guided Thinking Exercises

Personal thought time and daydreaming help you explore your options, but guided thinking exercises direct your thoughts in more concrete, helpful directions. Try these exercises to focus your career planning and life thinking—yes, you have to do the work to get to your goal.

It won't help you one bit to just read through all of the exercises. It's the thinking time and recording your thoughts that will achieve your new possible dreams.

  • Write down your ten favorite activities, the ones without which your life would feel bereft. (Mine included reading, writing, walking and more.) No career choice is suitable unless you get to do your favorite activities at least weekly, and preferably, every day.
  • Write down the top five goals that you want to accomplish in your career. (Think money, fame, impact, contribution and more.) Your selected career must enable you to achieve these goals. If it doesn't, you're in the wrong career.
  • List everything that you’d like to do in your lifetime. These lists can run several hundred items. (Mine included walk frequently on the shore of Lake Michigan, write books, travel to every country in Europe and design two additional websites.)

    Your chosen career must allow you to accomplish your most important dreams or, at least, allow you the time needed to accomplish them outside of work.

Websites for Career Planning and Information

Your online career sites today surpass the resources available to me in the early to mid-eighties. Helpful websites for career education and career planning include those dedicated to career testing and career information.

Websites for Career Assessment

Books for Career Building, Career Planning, and Career Education

I have favorite books that I generally recommend for careers and job search. From "Rites of Passage at $100,000 to $1 Million+" to the ever popular, "What Color Is Your Parachute?" and "Internet Your Way to a New Job: How to Really Find a Job Online" are my most recommended books.

I'm trusting that these resources will help jumpstart a mid-career crisis for you so that you can take the opportunity to explore all of your career and life options. They are also useful resources even if you're just thinking about—maybe, maybe, maybe you'd like to try something new.

May your feet turn toward the road you may not yet have identified or taken.

At least, affirm that the road you’ve chosen is the right road for you.

Here are additional resources that you will find useful at this juncture in your career.