I think many underestimate the impact that a change in career, role or lack there of, has on an individual, unless you've been there yourself.
We hear all the time about how the ex Sports Pro hit rock bottom when his/her career ended, or the Corporate Exec who found him/herself rejected, when their organisation collapsed. Or the Business Owner, who felt pointless and didn't know what to do with their time when they sold on their self-made £multimillion business.
What's clear to me from working with professionals is the high-level, if not total lack of, purpose and identity when they reach the end of their career.
When we are no longer who we think we are, or feel we were born to be, and do - then; who are we?
This isn't simply about transition from one role or career to a new one; it's a whole identity shift. If You're The Business it's a strategic rebranding or even total repositioning. If you've spent your whole life building for, and being exactly who you were, then why would you expect to become something else would be so simple or easy?
Learning to reach 'acceptance' of such huge professional changes can be hard work for most, never mind working out how to achieve the last stage of 'detachment' from it; where the ego and subconscious mind no longer hang on to what was, allowing you to healthily reach forward to what can now be.
Never underestimate the grief process a professional goes through when all they once knew and worked for; is no longer theirs!
Stopping your profession; being rejected professionally; reaching the end of the line of your career; giving it up or losing it all; whichever your scenario they all impact mental and often physical health. For too many, the mental impacts can often go ignored for sometime before they're addressed, allowing the ex-pro to internally suffer. For many, it's only when internal suffering reaches critical breaking point or impacts other areas of life or relationships, does mental health get any attention or support at all. It's hard to accept something you're not aware of or simply cannot understand.
It took a strong and focussed mind to reach great professional heights, imagine how much you need to work with your mind to switch, change or leave those heights - it's not about switching off, it's about switching on.
Ending your life-long career, by choice or not, needs grieving time, just like the loss of a loved one or pet, this is still a loss and something you loved. But it cannot stop there for the high-flyer. There was something about flying high that every pro loved and became attached to and it wasn't scoring the goals, winning the big deals or making the fastest time - it was what drove those achievements and why you achieved, that needs to be addressed.
As life goes on beyond the profession, conscious action for acceptance and a rebalance of your mindset is required, to let go - so to speak, especially if you have not prepared for the end. Sometimes, whether you want it or not, you just cannot get back in 'the game' and this lack of control can create many negative thoughts, beliefs and situations such as depression, anxiety or addictions, among others.
When you know your career has come to an end, you need to take control and make sure you control it and it doesn't control you if you're to continue to live a mentally healthy life.
Five Things to Remember:
1. You are not your profession; you are you, always was, always will be.
2. Understand why you fear the ending of your career and start facing up to it.
3. The values and behaviours that got you that great career and work out how to channel them to something new.
4. There is no blame in the ending of a career, blame creates a victim mindset.
5. To take full responsibility to what happens next, don't wait - take control and positive action now!
Be kind, DJx
Nice article 'Simplified approach to mental health too risky' www.smh.com.au 5-7 min read
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