After 15 years in my industry, I find myself in that place where I’m really good at what I do and have built a strong reputation – but absolutely not as excited about my work as I once was. I’d like to pursue some other things that I'm more passionate about – but nervous about starting all over again. How do I jump tracks and give up my hard-earned success? ~ Anxious in Austin.
I guess the first place to start is to clarify your definition of 'success'. If purely defined as continued financial growth and increased title or position, your 15 years experience might be best leveraged in your current industry.
But if you view success more holistically, which may include your sense of purpose, passion and satisfaction with your work, it may be time to get uncomfortable again.
Obviously, you have to consider your obligations and responsibilities before making such a leap. And if you're serious about it, you can start spending some extra-curricular time on a volunteer basis to verify your passions and gain experience before jumping in with both feet.
One's work is a very personal decision. From my experience working with professionals and business owners, there is an 'exponential' effect that happens when one's work is truly aligned with their purpose and passions - and any time spent on 'restart' is made up in an accelerated pace, mainly due to one's own excitement and renewed energy about their work. Ideally, in the long-term, you shouldn't have to choose - your paycheck will follow your passions.
The acid test? When one feels that what they do matters and their work doesn't feel like 'work'. Onward and upward. ~Ammonista