Second Acts to Reinvent Yourself

Tips for following your life’s passion.

Even if your life and career are on track, there may be something else you’re wishing you could do with your time. Finding and following your passion may take thoughtfulness, patience and trial-and-error — as well as careful consideration of the financial implications of your choices.
Younger Baby Boomers held an average of 10.8 jobs between the ages of 18 and 42.1 While job change becomes less frequent as a person ages, the desire to make a change may increase.
Ask Yourself
Your responses to these questions provide a place to start when reinventing yourself. You may already sense the answers — or you may be surprised by a totally new direction your life is taking you.
  1. What gets you truly engaged and excited today? What do you have the most fun doing?
  2. What kinds of activities are so absorbing for you that they cause you to lose track of time?
  3. Do you have interests or passions that you’ve never shared with anyone else?
  4. What would you choose to do with your time if money wasn’t an issue?
  5. Are there things you create as gifts or talents that you share with others? Have friends pointed out talents of yours that you hadn’t recognized?
  6. Who do you know that’s doing your dream job or succeeding in your interest area?
Your job may be routine. You may find you have more “me” time as your children grow up. Maybe you’re longing to do something more fulfilling with your time…but don’t know what that is. If it’s time to reinvent yourself, here are a few tips to get you started.
Identify What Interests You.

Start by noticing the things that you find truly engaging. Write down a list of the activities, hobbies, or experiences that make you energized and happy. Add in special skills and talents that could give form to your passion.

“This is a helpful exercise because it provides clues to mine,” says Pamela Mitchell, author of The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention. “What you wanted earlier in your life may not be exactly what you want to do today. But there may be elements you can take into your reinvention.”
Bring Your Interests To Life.

Begin to make your passions a bigger part of your life. “Weave your reinvention into what you’re doing now,” says Mitchell. “Don’t add the pressure of stopping one thing cold and doing another.”

Research industries that may need your skills or the type of people who share your interests. Investigate jobs, mentoring roles or volunteer positions that might be a good fit — or brainstorm a business that could grow out of your dream. Then try out some of your ideas.

“Start with mini-reinventions,” says Mitchell. “Take on a project that’s outside your scope. Learn a skill you’ve been afraid to try. Mix it up a little bit.”
Consider the Financial Implications.

Factor in how your reinvention might impact your family’s finances. You may have education expenses, require seed money for a new business, or need to accept a position with a lower salary. Work with your financial advisor to create a plan that allows a smooth and financially secure transition.
Stay Flexible.

And what if your plan doesn’t work right away? “When you begin your reinvention, keep a couple ideas in your back pocket,” says Mitchell. “That way, you won’t go so far down one path and realize you don’t have other options.”

Take the insights with you from one idea to the next, and analyze why something may or may not be working. Then use that to learn what you do and don’t want to do.

“Your reinvention will take the time that it takes,” says Mitchell. “Patience is good. Reinvention benefits with the compound value of time, just like investments.”

Pamela Mitchell offers more reinvention tips on her website, The Reinvention Institute.

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