It’s never too late in your career to reinvent yourself and pursue something different.
That’s exactly what self-made millionaire Barbara Corcoran did. After achieving her goal of becoming the “queen of New York real estate” and selling her firm for $66 million in 2001, Corcoran pivoted into the TV industry. She’s now a TV personality, business expert and judge on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
If you want to make a similar change in your life, remember that you can’t change yourself, but you can repackage. “Reinvention is about a new version of your old self that looks very different,” Corcoran says.
Here are the three steps Corcoran recommends taking on the path to reinventing yourself.
1. Write down a list of what you’re good at
If you want to pursue a new career, start by determining what your skills are. Recognizing what you already do well will help you identify new paths you can take.
When Corcoran decided to make her career change, she listed out her top four traits and realized the same skills that already worked for her in real estate could be translated into a new career.
“I loved attention. I loved an audience. I loved people, and I loved performing,” she says. “That applied very well to real estate, but it also applied well to the TV business. So I rewrote my packaging as a TV person based on the same traits that had done me well in real estate.”
Don’t forget to keep in mind the parts of your current job that you actually like. “People always do better in something that they love,” Corcoran says.
2. Start small
Even after you’ve identified a new career path you want to pursue, remember that nothing will change overnight. “You have to reinvent yourself in stages,” Corcoran says.
Ask yourself: What can I do now to gain expertise in a new career field? For Corcoran, that meant taking any TV gigs she could get and building a name for herself as an expert in business and real estate. “I became an expert in real estate on small little segments until people gave me credibility,” she says.
Depending on your career goal, you might want to take courses to learn new skills or find a side job in your desired industry to get on-the-ground experience, Corcoran says. Be creative.
3. Go all in
“There’s no such thing as part-time,” Corcoran says. Although it will take time to shift into a new career, you have to be dedicated from the get-go.
All of the contacts and sources you’ve built up in your current position will no longer be useful, Corcoran says. In addition to gaining experience in a new field, you need to start networking and pitching yourself so that by the time you’re ready to pursue something new full time, you’ve already laid the groundwork.
“Even if you’re taking small jobs along the way to gather your expertise, you still have to put it in the full-time effort to push yourself into who you’re going to be,” Corcoran says.
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