Rule number one: it’s never too late

Emirates Woman sat down with certified life and communication coach, educator and NLP Practitioner Shereen Mitwalli who offered the following advice on changing career paths at any stage of life.

So you’ve spent a good amount of years on your current career path, working hard and committing to it. Now, here you are getting all sorts of thoughts and ideas about whether or not this really is for you.  I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear that having cold feet about your job is something that a lot of people face.  While it’s normal to feel this way when you’re young and just starting out, there are many people out there in their late 30s, 40s, 50s and even 60s who want to reconsider their path.


It Sounds Like Bella Hadid Is Considering A Career Change

Here’s six reasons why it’s never too late to change your career path and why it’s actually more realistic than you might think:

Your skills might be transferable

When you’re thinking about changing careers, one of the questions that often comes up is whether or not you have the qualifications to switch to another industry.  Let’s say you’re a lawyer and you decided that you wanted to go into stand up comedy – what qualifications or experience do you have?  Well, for one, your ability to go on stage in front of a crowd and your presentation skills are already checked off.  Don’t get stuck seeing your skill set in a one dimensional way.  The chances are, many of the skills that you already have can be transfered and adjusted depending on the industry you want to go into.

Take Vera Wang for example.  She worked at a magazine for 15 years of her life but was left frustrated by the lack of bridal options and she took her knowledge that she gained from her previous experience and from her short time as accessories design director at Ralph Lauren to becoming a globally well known fashion and bridal fashion designer.

You don’t always need to go back to school or get a new degree to be able to practice something new.  There have been many people who have changed the course of their careers without the thought of an extra degree or any specialized training courses.  Always think about how you can trade your knowledge, expertise and your skills for an equal or better position in a different field.  A couple of ways you can do this is by reframing your resume, applying to fast-growing industries, leveraging industry knowledge or entering a management-training program.

There are new challenges

If you are in a job that does not challenge you very often, you’re probably not enjoying your work.  Having it easy and being comfortable is only fun to a certain extent, but after that it becomes pretty boring and it can make you feel completely demotivated, less productive and less satisfied as well. Waking up and going to work becomes a chore once you run out of more things to learn and this can also lead you to a plateau in your career.

Kerry Washington is a great example of someone who bloomed late and who is still constantly evolving and improving further.  She told AskMen, “I don’t think I’m even close to fulfilling my potential. And I think that, unlike a pianist or a flutist, an actor has an instrument that is constantly changing.”

Trying something new is always exciting because there are so many more new things to learn and to be challenged by and become good at.  Once you are maximising your full potential and you can feel that everyday you are learning something new and adding value back into your life again, your job satisfaction can reach new heights. Remember: you are never too late or too old to learn more.

You Only Have One Life

I know this one might sound like a cliché but it’s true. You do only have one life and you need to make sure it is lived knowing you are making the biggest impact you can on not only yourself, but on others around you.  This is only achievable once you are content and passionate about what you’re doing.  It is much better knowing that you at least tried, rather than regretting lost opportunity,  and think thinking ‘what if I did that…’ or ‘if only I went for it’.

A great example of someone who just went for it is J.K. Rowling.  She struggled for years and went through a pile of rejection letters before she managed to sell the first Harry Potter novel in her mid-thirties.

Furthermore, it’s your life to live. Which means it does not matter what other people say, what their opinions are or wondering how they will react to your change of heart. You are the one who is in the driver seat of your life and you are the one who has to live it. If other people truly care about you, they will end up accepting whatever makes you happy.

It’s All About Perspective

Wallowing over the past and how you made a wrong decision that cost you years of your life is not going to make your situation any better or brighter.  You can continue complaining and staying where you are, unhappy just because you regret decisions you have made or you can choose to explore new options.  At the end of the day, there is nothing that is holding you back except fear, and the truth of the matter is that you never really know what’s going to happen until unless you actually throw yourself into it.  You just can’t predict the outcome.

Another example of a successful person who did not give up despite his many failures is Steve Jobs.  He was even kicked out of his own company until he was forced to start over and managed to acquire success once again when he reached his mid-thirties.

Try changing your perspective to a more optimistic and positive one. A small shift in attitude can  open more doors and opportunities, rather than letting your negativity get the best of you.  Think about what if it actually does work out and how much happier you will be. If – worst case scenario – it doesn’t work out, it’s not like you can’t come back to what you used to do before.  Change your perspective to realize that this could be your calling and it’s definitely worth a shot and it puts you in a much better situation than sitting there and feeling sorry for yourself.

Age is Just a Number

Ask yourself, ‘too old for whom?’ It’s never too late to start over or to change your mind.  Life is never set in stone and it is definitely not meant to be lived unhappy.  Every person is different, in one way or another.  Some people find out what they are good at a very young age while others take years to develop and nourish the skills they pick up.  Each person’s life is different and in the words of Oprah, “Don’t compare your chapter 1 to somebody else’s chapter 20.”

Some people never find out what they want to do in life but if you have an idea, it’s never too late to achieve it.  An example of a person who achieved success much later in life is Morgan Freeman.  He was passionate about acting since he was young but it never really worked out so he became an air force pilot.  After some time, he realised that his heart still lied with acting so he decided to pursue it at age 45 with no success.  Five years later, he hit success at the age of 50 and received his first Oscar at the age of 67.

Passion trumps everything

It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, make sure you’re passionate about it and the chances are, you will be successful.  Think about what you truly love and enjoy doing. Being passionate and truly loving what you do is so important that it’s not something you can ever just adapt and create, it’s something that comes from within you.  It fuels enthusiasm, motivation, your drive and your need and want to leave an impact on this world.  This is one of the greatest tools you can have when you decide to take the path to success in a changed career.

Let’s talk about Kathryn Bigelow as a great example for this.  She directed many small movies and did not stop until she finally gained widespread recognition for her 2008 drama called The Hurt Locker.  She stuck to her guns and pursued what she loved.

In order to find out what you are truly passionate about, think back to if you had any skills when you were growing up, things that you were just naturally good at and enjoyed doing because this could be linked to your skills and passion.

To wrap it up

Many people get talked out of doing something they would love to do because they fear that they will waste all the time that is already invested elsewhere, or that it isn’t possible.  Just because you refuse to stick with something that makes you unhappy, does not mean that you are unreliable, average or careless.  In fact, it is a much greater act of braveness when you decide to leave your old life behind when it does not serve you anymore and go after something that is going to make you happier, more fulfilled and more challenged.

There is no age limit on success and on passion, so forget what anyone else says and go after what you truly want because that is what you are going to be the best at.

About Shereen Mitwalli

Egyptian-Australian born and raised, Shereen Mitwalli is a certified life and communication coach, educator and NLP Practitioner.  Based in Dubai, she was formally trained in television broadcasting and live presenting from the Sydney Academy of Film & Television and the prestigious New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. She has presented and spoken in front of more than 100,000 people. Some of the famous personalities Shereen has interviewed in the past include the legendary Richard Branson, Jack Ma, Lewis Hamilton, Chris Gardner, Gigi Hadid just to name a few.

Shereen Mitwali, the founder of – developed to help clients make better career choices and provide direction.  In addition to The Global Mentorship Program – a platform that provides online group mentoring sessions with an array of mentors from various expertise made available on an international scale.

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Media: Getty