I have been talking to a number of people over the last few weeks who have been considering whether they should change the focus of their careers. Seeking a new role or changing career is one of those things that people do tend to consider at this time of year.
I am sure you will have come across people who have “fallen into” their current career and have stuck with it because of the security the regular income brings. They often find themselves frustrated as time goes on that they are not following a career that would really fulfill them and allow to work in an area that they would enjoy and feel they were adding value to the world around them. You may be one of those people?
Pondering on this set me thinking about some of the people from history or that we know today who have changed their careers.
There are many examples of people who have changed their lives and careers completely through knowing themselves and what they were capable of. They also had the courage to change direction and make the most of the opportunities presented to them.
In 49BC, Caesar, though a great commander, was told to disband his legion and return to Rome – most likely to retirement or even death. He disobeyed orders and instead crossed the Rubicon River into Italy. His power grew through his great talents and love of the people, and that one act led to him becoming the Emperor of Rome and first in a long line of Caesars.
Napoleon was not even French, but become Emperor of the French within a decade after seizing upon the opportunities for power that had resulted through the French Revolution. He transformed himself from a corporal of artillery to the greatest general the modern world had ever seen, and he made every member of his family a king or ruler in Europe.
Arthur Wellesley was born in Ireland, a second son who would not inherit his father’s estate, and so would have to make his own way in the world. He was a talented violinist, but when the family of the girl he wished to marry turned him down because he had “no prospects,” he burned all his violins and threw himself into a career in the army. Around 20 years later, he defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and became the Duke of Wellington. He also became the prime minister of Great Britain.
Winston Churchill was a retired politician writing books and painting watercolors in the 1930s, but the rise of Hitler in Germany so alarmed him that he became a tireless opponent of the Fuhrer even though he was nearly 60 years old. He became Prime Minister in 1940 and led England through the horrific war and on to victory in 1945, when he was 71.
We have many modern examples of people who changed careers and went on to be wildly successful:
- Walt Disney was a newspaper editor
- Ellen DeGeneres was an oyster shucker
- Harrison Ford was a carpenter
- Andrea Bocelli was a lawyer
- Chef Julia Child was a spy in World War II
Sylvester Stallone was a deli-counter assistant and lion cage cleaner at the Central Park Zoo. Desperate to give his family a better life, he penned the screenplay to Rocky. Hollywood loved it, but he insisted he would only sell it if he got to play the lead. And the rest, as they say, is history.
What drives people like this to success? It’s often a sense of purpose or destiny. It’s knowing what they want and finding ways to get there. Let’s look at one way of accomplishing this in the next post!