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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

'Career Crisis' as awakening

My eyes widened in expectation. The vibrant director of operations speaking with me paused and asked hesitantly: ‘Do you think I’m in a career crisis?’

I couldn’t help but notice the heaviness in her expression ‘career crisis’. It implies…well…crisis (‘a time of intense difficulty or danger’).

I decided to do what I know best. I helped her shift the language and see things in her situation that she hadn’t before. First and foremost: there is nothing wrong with her life - not in the way society makes you think.

‘Career crisis’ and its cousin ‘midlife crisis’ have their origins in the 60s. But the word ‘crisis’ comes from the Greek krinein which means ‘decide’.


- You decide to make more conscious choices about how to use your energy rather than sleepwalk or drift through your career

- You decide to open up to new possibilities beyond your conditioned beliefs

- You decide to act on your intuitions (rather than your fears) and new paths start to come into existence.

In other words, you’re awakening! To what? To who you really are. YOU become the boss of you.

This way of looking at a ‘career crisis’ aligns better with emerging scientific understanding of brain maturation and adult development. We now know that learning continues until we die; and that something happens between the mid-30s and mid-50s that catalyses greater awareness of what makes us TRULY happy and free.

In this phase of life, (which can be initiated by workplace or life trauma), we have the chance to evolve from ‘conforming’ to ‘self-authoring’ and eventually to ‘self-transforming’ humans, as nicely described by Robert Kegan, a Harvard Professor of education and psychology.

Here are 3 benefits that I see people experience, as a result of engaging with a ‘career crisis’ as an awakening rather than a problem:

· thought processes become more supportive and less self-critical

· emotional tone becomes more positive and less anxious or depressed

· stress levels drop and chronic conditions like headaches, musculoskeletal pains or sleep disturbances improve leaving energy for better decisions and better action.

It’s not magic. It’s not just stress reduction. It’s the process of expanding awareness, clarity of thought and wiser decisions – the 3 principles of transformation I call Presence, Power, Possibility.

Today, we have much better interventions and understanding of how to address ‘career crises’ as opportunities for growth than in the 60s. But they’re not fully used or widely accessible. In medicine, withholding these interventions is unethical and potentially criminal.

Start taking control of your life narrative and celebrate your awakening to new possibilities. Reach out if you want the powerful support of a Transformational Coaching process to break through the subconscious beliefs that hold you back and break free.

Have a great week,


p.s.Join us for a fast and fun Speedcoaching session at the RSA and sharpen your ability to be present, insightful and connected. Create shifts with colleagues and loved ones within moments. Free registration here >>

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