You’ve probably heard the saying, “Cold hands, warm heart.” It’s a nonsense thing people say when you shake hands and yours are cold.
When it comes to predicting business or career success, I’d add a comment: “Cold feet = empty wallet.”
After years of working with mid-life professionals and executives seeking a career change (and handling my own career changes along the way), I’ve begun to sense when someone will really change careers, whether they start a business or find a new corporate career. I can sense when they just want to talk about it. A big clue is what they say when they call me for a consultation.
Someone who is committed to finding a new career will ask a few questions and make a decision fast. Usually I hear within a few days. They don’t call back with a list of new questions. They are willing to take a chance. They are ready to take action and follow suggestions that may seem counter-intuitive.
And they don’t wait for me to fire them up. They take initiative beyond what I suggest and keep coming up with new ideas.
Those who are not committed to changing careers will express doubts before we begin. They want to know every detail of the coaching process. They say, “If I work with you, are you sure I will get results?” And they may even say, “I haven’t done anything yet; I was waiting for a coach to tell me what to do.”
To be honest, this advice is somewhat self-serving as the first group is infinitely easier to work with. They’re also more likely to appreciate what I do. They read between the lines of our conversation and they trust their intuition.
However, I can find logical explanations for the success of the first group.
First, successful career changers realize they’re in free fall. There’s no guarantee of a soft landing, no matter what they do or who they work with.
If you’ve been following me a while, you know I like to draw a parallel with sports. Corporate career success is like pro football. it’s all about following the rules and being in the right place at the right time. Career change is more like playground basketball. You have to be comfortable playing without rules. If you need referees, lines, and tradition, you’ll have trouble here.
Second, many years ago, psychiatrist Alan Wheelis wrote a book called How People Change. He wrote that people who change will do so with or without a therapist. If they depend on the therapy for change, he says, the process will crash under the heavy pressure. A coach, counselor or consultant can help but they help most when you decide you’re going to make things work no matter what.
Do you need to hire a coach or consultant? I don’t know. But you definitely won’t benefit if you want lots of assurance and a gilt-edged guarantee. No reputable consultant will promise results, let alone guarantee outcomes. Your sessions are like raw material; it’s up to you to decide how they will turn out.
You can learn about my services at https://midlifecareerstrategy.com/services.html