Career change after 30 (and why it’s never too late)
If you think about a career change at 30 (or 40, 50, 60…), what comes to mind? That it may be too late, that you cannot pursue your passion anymore, that you have missed the boat, life is already too complicated, you are too old, too settled, too this or that to make a go at it?
Well guess what? It’s just not true.
Career change after 30 is all about your mindset
If we think we are too late, there must be some optimal time that we consider ‘on-time.’ What is this for you? Before you turn 30? Before you turn 40? Before you have kids or before you are 60? Have you ever considered where this idea of timeliess comes from, and when a career change is still acceptable?
Usually our limiting thoughts are not really based on sound logic, but unfortunately that doesn’t make them any less real for us. However, once we start to examine them in the light of day, they start to crumble.
Think of thoughts such as “Well that’s what they say” or “People don’t usually do that at my age.“
It’s worth thinking who these infamous ‘they’ are for you? Your highschool friends you haven’t seen in 15 years? Your parents who grew up in an entirely different world than you did? Your neighbours that you don’t like anyway?
Are you giving some vague group of people who you don’t even interract daily with the power to decide some of the most fundamental decisions of your life? Because this happens quite often. We stop going forward because we worry what others may say if we try it.
But these ‘others’, who ever they may be for you, will not have to live with the regret at the end of their lives. You do. Are they really worth so much? Let me answer that one for you: no sir they are not!
Related: How to find your passion
Why your words matter
Another problem with these kind of beliefs is that they are so vague we cannot pin them into anything concrete, and yet they become the truth for us.
The beauty of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) is that it doesn’t let us off the hook with such statements. It takes everything literally and shows us why words matter.
When we generalize certain statements, we are taking one specific experience and making it represents a whole class of experiences. This is useful for us in general, as it saves us time figuring out same things in our world over and over again.
But when it comes to experiences we want to change, or thought patterns that are not helpful, it can be limiting.
How can you recognize such patterns in your thoughts? A good guideline is to watch for statement that include words like always, never, everyone, no-one, or they.
Have you ever thought “I’ll never succeed anyway” or “I always fail?” Here you are taking some specific experience you have had, and making it cover your entire life. With this logic you have never EVER succeeded in anything, not one single successful experience since you were born. Really?
Think again. So you can succeed, you are just very selective with your thoughts, and where you apply this in your life. This also means that you have what it takes to succeed, to plan and reach your goals. If you have done this in one area of your life, you can do it, period.
The shame of failing WHEN changing careers
Then there is the monster in the room called failure. Oh but what if we fail? Well, of course we will fail. I love what Rachel Hollis said about this in one of her podcasts; Stop being so precious about failing!
Because of course we will fail, so stop worrying about it. Of course we will make mistakes, so let that one go and proceed anyway.
Or you thought you should be the one and only individual in the history of time that does everything perfectly, never fails and always succeeds in everything you do, even when it’s something you haven’t done before?
Yeah, didn’t think so. So let’s get off the high horse and sink our hands into the mud. We’ll get dirty anyway, so might as well enjoy the process. Career change at 30 or 40, let’s go for it!
Examples of Late bloomers with career changes
Not everyone finds their passion at the age of 20-something, or make a living with it in the first decade of pursuit. Does that mean we should somehow quit trying? Oh I hope you know the answer to that!
Let me give you some examples of creatives who have not had it all figured out by the tender age of 20 or even 30-something.
Elizabeth Gilbert is one of my favourite authors, especially I love her approach to her creativity (she wrote a book called Big Magic). Her passion is abviously writing, but for the first deacade or so (even still after her book Eat, Pray, Love went viral) she refused to put financial pressure on her craft.
Her idea of being an artist or a creative is that you create because that is what you are suppose to do, but it doesn’t mean your creativity has to pay the bills. Elizabet Gilbert says that she is the one supporting her creativity, not the other way around. I find this such a great example of dedication to ones craft and passion.
Another favorite inspirational person for me is Louise Hay. She started the Hay House publishing after turning 60, and continued to spread her light onto the world until she passed at the age of 90.
And of course, J.K. Rowling. Imagine if she had thought to herself ‘Nah, too late, I am a single mom now, best to just stick to my job and stop writing these silly stories.’
So that career change at 30 doesn’t sound so impossible now, does it?
Following your passion is pure magic
If you want more down to earth example, there’s me. I can tell you that following your dreams matter, even if they will not last a lifetime, sell a million copies or save the earth.
I will never forget sitting on a white sandbar in the middle of the ocean after a sunset yoga session, looking at the yoga teacher and students in meditation while the sun was setting in front of us. Those moments for me were pure magic.
I kept thinking how none of those people would be there if it wasn’t for me and my crazy dream. If I didn’t believe that crazy things were possible, if I didn’t believe that I can go from a cubicle in Finland to a beach resort in the Philippines. But I did believe, and I acted upon it.
And there we were. The yoga teacher was living out her dream of teaching yoga while living on a tropical island. The students were experiencing something truly magical and unique, and I’ve heard many times that those sunset yoga sessions on that White Island sandbar were the highlight of their trip.
All that gratitude together on that spot, chills. Everytime.
And although I lived that particular Passion ‘only’ for three years, the magic of achieving my dream will carry on. It inspires me every single day, and still makes me smile. Because I know I don’t just do it for myself.
So don’t let your fears of it ‘being too late’ for a career change stop you. Someone out there is really counting on you!
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