Create the Life You Want With a Mid-Career Crisis

Set New Goals and Explore New Dreams

Businessman on a desert highway
••• Jacobs Stock Photography/ Photosdisc/Getty Images

Are you feeling a growing sense of unease about how you are spending your work life? So many people stay in jobs that they hate for more years than they care to remember. A once-loved career is no longer cutting it for growth and happiness.

You can do something about either situation. Are your inner voices asking you, "Is this all there is? " Do you have a growing sense that you would be happier doing something else? Do you hate going to work each morning? If so, it's time to create a mid-career crisis. And, think about the crisis as a good thing. I'll share with you some tools to help.

Guided Thinking Exercises

Personal thought time and daydreaming help you explore your options, but guided thinking exercises direct your thoughts in more concrete, helpful directions. Try these exercises to focus your career planning and life thinking—yes, you have to do the work to get to your goal.

It won't help you one bit to just read through all of the exercises. It's the thinking time and recording your thoughts that will achieve your new possible dreams.

  • Write down your ten favorite activities, the ones without which your life would feel bereft. (Mine included reading, writing, walking and more.) No career choice is suitable unless you get to do your favorite activities at least weekly, and preferably, every day.
  • Write down the top five goals that you want to accomplish in your career. (Think money, fame, impact, contribution and more.) Your selected career must enable you to achieve these goals. If it doesn't, you're in the wrong career.
  • List everything that you’d like to do in your lifetime. These lists can run several hundred items. (Mine included walk frequently on the shore of Lake Michigan, write books, travel to every country in Europe and design two additional websites.)

    Your chosen career must allow you to accomplish your most important dreams or, at least, allow you the time needed to accomplish them outside of work.