What are some tips for navigating a career change later in life? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
When we "leave the nest" and are entering early adulthood one of our strongest motivations is around how we are going to support ourselves. With that need being front and center, we are often in a hurry to start somewhere so that we can make money and work our way up the ladder. Because so many of us are nowhere near understanding what we want our work/career to look like in our twenties, we often end up in jobs that pay the bills. The years go by and the fear of change combined with our reliance on our salaries make it difficult to find something new. Sometimes we have no choice and we have to start again, and that was me when I decided to leave my marriage.
I was a stay at home Mom for six years. Then suddenly I wasn't. And I didn't have a clue as to what was next. I think the most important thing one can do in order to be able to make a career change is to be open to all kinds of experiences, especially ones that might intrigue you but take you out of your comfort zone. When you are at a job that is not thrilling you, use that time to try other things outside of work. After I had left the marriage and had to make ends meet, I trained private clients since I already had some fitness experience. I wasn't thrilled about it but it paid well. I also decided to take a course in Memoir Writing. I always enjoyed writing and thought, why not try it? I felt like the least talented person in the class but thoroughly enjoyed all that I learned without any desired outcome other than getting out of my comfort zone. I never in a million years would have predicted then that I would have actually written a memoir years later, let alone have it published by St. Martin's Press.
In the year that I left my marriage I noticed spin classes going on in my local gym. The room was dark, the bikes were full and the music was blaring. Everyone was moving in sync almost as if it was rehearsed. I was so intrigued but completely intimidated to get myself in there, especially by myself. But something in me wanted to take the chance and I did. The rest was history.
You never know what role these experiences might play in your future, but if you're contemplating a change, stay open and your answer as to what's next will come.
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