Career Direction

How to Find Career Direction |Midlife Career Change Part 2


“Change is not a process for the impatient.” -unknown

In our first post: Midlife Career Transition part 1 we shared our story and our battle of managing our own head games about career change.  We used three steps to navigate through the chaos of the transition.

Our next step was lighting a fire within ourselves to discover what’s next. 

When I was left jobless after a 20-year corporate career, I felt lost at first. For years, I had insulated myself from a corporate world of beliefs, the ways of working, behaviors, and language that was completely different from the rest of the world.  I was practically oblivious to what was going on in the ‘real world’ outside my organization. When I started looking for a new job, I met with many past colleagues to help me in discovering my next move. Often, I felt stupid. Not only did I not know what was going on in business outside my own universe, I realized I wasn’t equipped to handle them.

I had a choice at this point: continue to wallow in self-pity; or reframe this experience to my advantage. After all, this would be the one time in my life when I had no choice but to work towards acquiring some additional skills in this new, unfamiliar career world.

I became a kid again, allowing myself to have an insatiable curiosity to learn and discover new projects, skills and career ideas.

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If Troy and I could simplify this process, we would distill it down to 3 important things that led to a new career path. Now three years later, we’ve revamped our skills and added new ones to start Travel Life Media  – where we help travel brands improve their business and on Travel Life Experiences where we hope to help our readers to make a change in their lives and use travel to transform.

3 Catalysts for Finding Your New Career Direction:

1. Inspiration from new people

You have heard this from us before, but this is no bullshit– New Ideas from New People Can Change Your life. We have both proven this time and time again.

Troy’s path to discovery was different than mine, but we did end up in a similar place. He was still working, but he was looking for something new in his life, and he didn’t know what it was. His path started with listening to a podcast interview with a writer he admired named Jonathan Fields, who interviewed Scott Dinsmore from Live Your Legend.   If you haven’t seen Scott’s Tedtalk yet, it is totally worth the 17:47 minutes of your time. This led Troy to attend meetups in our hometown.

Months later, I followed along and attended my first local Toronto Live Your Legend meet up. I was apprehensive at first, but this led to a road of discovery of people and connections, including trying new things that challenged our comfort zones. It led us to explore new ideas and business opportunities we never thought possible.  Since that time, wherever we were in the world, we attended various meetups to connect with new people. Even when we are tired from the day, we still make an effort to connect with people, because something interesting often comes from that discussion.

2. Being vulnerable to learn new skills

Self and Group Skill Development

I took to heart that attitude of feeling stupid or unworthy for not knowing something. I remind myself that the only way this will change it is if I do something about it. The last three years, we have leveraged friends, books, and online courses to improve or learn new skills often, as shared in our post:  the seven great ways you can learn new skills.

Leverage the Volunteer and Exchange Economy

If you don’t have experience, you can’t do something new? Complete Nonsense. The volunteer and exchange economy is the perfect solution no matter how old you are. When we first started out on our new lifestyle and career redesign, we wanted to do some work in the travel industry. We approached some businesses that were apprehensive about our skills because we didn’t have experience in their particular field (even though we are long-term travelers and veteran marketing and video people).

We agreed to work out an exchange – offer our time and services in exchange for some travel tours (or accommodation) to develop marketing tools for them. This approach not only gave us credentials in the industry, but it allowed us to work on projects that we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do, and some of them were some of the most rewarding and creative projects we’ve ever done.  Like this one. 

The exchange economy is also the perfect way to save money and see the world. 

Here are a few examples of many skills we learned or advanced during this process and the doors it has opened for us:

New Skill or Skill Improvement

  1. Blogging and website development
  2. Advanced Online Marketing
  3. Improving our Video Shooting
  4. Learning new industries by volunteering or work exchange


Doors that Opened for Us

  1. Video jobs, writing jobs, blogging income, meeting long-term business colleagues, inspiring new friends, brand sponsorships, coaching advice, helping others with their life redesign, travel opportunities.
  2. Improve our website traffic, offer better advice to our marketing clients.
  3. Video projects, amazing creative video projects that we are proud to work on inspiring new friends, long term video projects.
  4.  Landing jobs in the industry we want, working on rewarding projects.

3. Be willing to try things, test ideas out, revise, and refine

I used to be a perfectionist – nitpicky about every small little detail which would stop me from finishing projects or getting them out in the world. I stopped this because I discovered that it was stopping me from landing work. In fact, what I often considered was my 70% effort on a project was equivalent to someone else’s 110% effort. I was too hard on myself. It was my own fear of not creating the best, most perfect project that stunted opportunities from coming my way.

Now, We’ve created videos and done marketing projects that weren’t our best work (in our view) but it led to a new opportunity or led to improving on our initial project with a new idea.

We have come to appreciate that doing little fixes along the way is a better approach than waiting for ideas to be perfect.  We would never have created a blog or website had we waited for every picture, article or video to be perfect. If we did, we would never have been introduced to new businesses, exciting projects and additional income, which we gained through just putting our voice out there.

Thank you for reading and we would love your comments!

We’d like to hear from you.  How is your change in career direction going? What has inspired you to find the work that you love and move past your beliefs? 

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Career Direction

About the Author Dorene

Dorene is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She quit her 20-year career in marketing to redesign her career and lifestyle on her own terms by living location independent. Now with her husband Troy, she helps people who want to redefine their midlife and make conscious changes at TravelLifeX. She also trains & coaches travel and hospitality clients to improve their marketing at