Guest Post by Don Maruska and Jay Perry
Pursuing a second career in a different field can be either an opportunity for excitement and fulfillment or a nightmare. These three critical actions will help you succeed.
1. Think it through – not just on your own but with someone else.
Left on your own, it’s easy to get caught up in wishful thinking or debilitating fears — or to vacillate unproductively between the two. Find a friend, coworker, or family member who is willing to listen to you and support your hopes without being judgmental or directive. It’s your talent, and you need to be the one taking charge of it.
The latest insights from neuroscience and psychology and decades of experience have shown that when carefully pursued, this conversation can explore your person’s hopes, identify opportunities, and initiate productive actions. We call it a Talent Catalyst Conversation because in about an hour it stimulates fresh thinking and accelerates action.
2. Plan how you will tap resources and opportunities to pursue your aspirations.
Starting a second career in a different field has similar challenges as a business that is making a huge shift into a new market. It takes thoughtful planning and diligent efforts to tap the resources you have and reach out to others in creative and productive ways. You need to expand your resources, make more complete use of them, and connect them for faster results — what we call a Resource Power Up.
Answer these questions to create an outline that you can share with others — what you want to accomplish, why, how, with whom, when, what resources and what reports and measures.
3. Create and test your new “brand” to see how it sells.
Will people perceive and support your new direction? Tony wanted to shift out of a management role in a specialized field where he’d been for decades into a broader general manager role. He had a “personal brand’ problem. He needed to rebrand himself from a specialty line manager into a general manager.
Tony used the following formula to shift others’ perceptions and get the job he wanted: Personal brand + proof points = opportunities. Work this equation backwards: Tony wanted general manager opportunities. So, what personal brand would he need to project? Instead of seeing him as “Tony the specialty line manager,” others needed to see him as “Tony the problem solver,” with abilities that cover a range of issues. He needed express that brand and provide concrete proof points to support it.
One way Tony created proof points was by writing up a case study of one of the critical problems he had led his department in solving. He highlighted how his problem solving approach worked and how others could apply it in different areas. These proof points boosted his credibility as a general manager. What had been in his head was now converted into a valuable problem solving asset which he brought to his new general manager job.
Take Charge of Your Talent: Three Keys to Thriving in Your Career, Organization, and Life, is for anyone at any stage of their career – whether just beginning, mid-career, or even considering a “second act.” Maruska and Perry show how each of us can unlock our talents and enjoy doing it. They turn the old top-down models of talent development on their heads and provide keys that anyone can easily apply. Check out the Take Charge of Your Talent Facebook Page.
Don Maruska, author of How Great Decisions Get Made, founded and was CEO of three Silicon Valley companies. Jay Perry is one of the founders of Coach University and the International Coach Federation.
A personal note from Jesse:
I am excited about Take Charge of Your Talent. In the Foreword, one of my favorite leadership thought-leaders, Jim Kouzes, author of The Leadership Challenge, explains why: “Each and every person has the power to make extraordinary things happen in their lives. What is required is to take personal responsibility for using that power. That’s why this book is so important and useful. It gives us the tools and methodology. This book offers the keys to ignite your personal power.”