When You’ve Outgrown Your Life and Career

Last Updated on May 25, 2020 |

what to do when you've outgrown your career and life you've builtYou find yourself looking at and around your life, wondering if you’ve made a misstep somewhere.

You’ve worked so hard through the years. Acquired mean skills. Built a decent career.

Your parents are proud of you. Your spouse, your friends—they’re all happy for you and all that you’ve become. You’ve accomplished so much. You’ve made a  good living for yourself.

You have been successful at adult-ing. Hooray for you.

And yet.

When the lights go down, and you’re alone with your thoughts, it feels empty somehow.

You feel the discontent inside. You hear a question bubbling up, getting louder and louder until you cannot pretend anymore that you do not hear it.

Is this all there is?


Things we outgrow and move on from:

The clothes we wore in college. The hand-me-down VW beetle.

Forced piano lessons; ballet classes.

Partying on weekdays; noisy bars; more tequila shots when you knew better.

Thick shoulder pads, big hair, leg warmers.

The 80s music (though I confess to listening to ABBA from time to time).

Filofax, Palm Pilot, Blackberry.

Pasta for dinner, the daily pot of coffee, Krispy Donuts.

when you outgrow the life you've built | career change

Getting older means getting wiser about who we are if nothing else.

It’s about hearing ourselves more than we ever did. Understanding ourselves better. Accepting ourselves—flaws and creases included—with less resistance.

Alongside all that is the awakening to the parts of ourselves that did not get much attention before.

Because we were young and thought foolishly that life would go on forever.

The beauty of getting older is that we get to re-discover ourselves in a new light.


Making space for the new means:
– knowing parts of the old that still work
– letting go of the parts that no longer do.

You didn’t make a mistake. There were no missteps to cry about. No past decisions to regret.

You evolved, is all.

Your priorities changed. Your interests morphed. Your goals lost their shape and then reformed into something completely different.

You can walk away from this knowledge and stick to the life you’ve built. Except, I don’t know what you’d do with the seed that’s found its space in your heart.

Or you can choose to adjust. Change a little. Or a lot. Whatever suits you fine.

You can learn to accept the you that’s becoming and dance with her.

Give her the chance to breathe and grow.


A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

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