I have spent the last year leading a mid/late career transition program – which puts me in a room with 25-40 individuals that are committed to returning to work after being off between 6 month and 7 years.  I am inspired and learn something new every day.  Here are a few lessons.

  • Add a little confidence, and talent emerges
  • Add a little focus, and talent becomes a pretty compelling story
  • Add a community that give support, encouragement, and feedback and the talent and story just get better
  • Add a chance to actually work and use their talents for 60-80 hours , and the pride and passion that emerges makes the story even better (often a tears of joy kind of story)

It is not always a perfect journey because life happens, and setbacks seem to come in pairs for some reason.

A message for anyone who is not in this position and/or has never experienced this:

  1. Build and maintain a strong professional network (outside of your current company and within an area you are passionate about).  This means pouring into two groups that get you working/interacting with people outside of your company and in an area you care about.
  2. Remember that you will be in this position at least once in the next 10-20 years.  Don’t loose sleep over it, and if you are not doing #1 get ready for a tough-er journey.
  3. Read Linchpin by Seth Godin, then write down two things you will do differently over the next six months.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 yearly.

If you are a leader thinking about what you can do to develop your team, see the first four bullet points.  It is that simple.

I get inspired seeing talent emerge – – it is kind of like spring in Michigan.

FYI – another Shifting Gears cohort starts in 4 weeks.  Here is a link if you know of anyone that would be a good candidate.  There is also a great video so you can hear their stories.



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