Professional woman, particularly those in their middle years, are at a critical juncture, says Caprino, who, in conjunction with the Esteemed Woman Foundation, conducted a national research study, “Women Overcoming Professional Crisis: Finding New Meaning in Life and Work.” Caprino explains, “After devoting years to building successful careers, most of them feel that their professional lives and identities no longer work.”
If you’re a professional woman longing for a radical change, you’re not alone. Seven out of ten working women report that they are facing a major turning point in their professional lives, according to Kathy Caprino, author of Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power, and Purpose.
A professional crisis is telling you that change must occur—now. That doesn’t mean it will be easy—most likely, it won’t—but, one step at a time, you can create your own breakthrough.
Kathy Caprino offers these ten tips for getting started:
1. Listen to your body.
Your body is always communicating, but are you listening? From minor aches and pains to major forms of disease or malaise, pay attention to what an ailment may be saying to you—not just about your body, but your mind and spirit, too.
2. Heed your hunches.
Your intuition, or inner voice, is an invaluable source of information. Start developing a keen awareness of the “dialogue” within you—even asking questions and waiting for the answers. Rarely, if ever, will your gut-level hunches lead you astray. Follow them!
3. Say “no” to an either-or life.
Are you focusing on just one aspect of yourself? Don’t do it. This is not an “either-or” life—it’s an “everything” life. Reconnect with a talent or dimension of yourself that you love, but has gone by the wayside while you over-identified with a single role or function.
4. Speak up.
Speaking the truth sounds simple, but it’s not. Still, it’s essential to learn to express yourself, or you’ll feel stuck. Throughout the day, at home or work, ask yourself, “What do I want to say here?” Then take a risk and put it out there.
5. Embrace “good enough.”
Many women strive, even slave, to be the best—driving themselves crazy in the process. If you’re one of them, “practice” accepting good enough. Sooner or later, it will be just that—good enough!
6. Figure out what you’re most afraid of.
Get in the cage with your fears. One by one, take them on and face what you’re most afraid of. How is it driving you, limiting you, and wearing you out? Deal with these issues once and for all, and you’re sure to get unstuck.
7. Get real about money.
Money is simply an energy form—with no particular qualities in and of itself—yet it can be the means to either limiting or expanding yourself. Take time to understand your own beliefs and history around money. (Are they healthy?) And even if it’s not the ideal situation yet, find a way to balance what you need to do with what you want to do.
8. Stop making excuses.
We’re all good at making excuses for not acting on our dreams. Take a long, hard look at your own excuses, see them for what they are, and let them go.
9. Be open to angels.
Odds are, there are a number of “angels” in your life—people who love and support you, believe in you, and will give you the gentle push you need to venture into the unknown. Be open to their help and act on it. You might be steeped in doubt or fear, but they’re not.
10. Find a role model.
You might already have a role model—from your own mother to Mother Teresa. If not, get serious about finding one. Look for someone who brings to light the qualities and successes you admire and aspire to, and whose story resonates.
Finally, relax! It’s not all up to you. There is a “higher power”—someone or something bigger than you—to help you reach for your dreams.