High Achieving Women and the Next Career Move After 40 – the 5 First Steps

Next success is waiting

If you are a high achiever, a woman, a mum, in the middle of a successful corporate career and “having it all”, you are just like me some time ago. I’ve just turned 40, and in the middle of all seeming success, I found myself empty. I felt that my energy was wasted in all the wrong places.

I’ve come to realize that this was actually the wrap up of one part of my life. A life I worked hard for and really enjoyed for a while. A part I’m proud of and celebrate myself f

There are so many possibilities and I owed it to myself to explore these.

or having done. But I was on the verge of new uncharted territory nobody encourage me to enter, least of all myself. This was the start of my next successful part of my life! Less known, less understood and much scarier than anything I tried so far in life. I felt that I had no choice. I left my high position job and took a plunge straight into the unknown. I allowed myself to create a new career, not following the beaten path. There are so many possibilities and I owed it to myself to explore these. I won’t say it was easy, but for me it was necessary to keep me on my toes, to keep me alive.


I found that there are five important steps when entering this journey. Steps that kept me going even though the path may seem dangerous, steep and uninviting.

Step 1. First I realized that at this point in life I was actually quite sure of what my ideal life would look like, and also well aware that this image will change over time. I invested time in designing that life for myself. Making sure I was following my heart, nobody else’s view of success.

Step 2. Then I created scenarios for myself how I could support this lifestyle, financially. The options today are so many with the technology available.

Step 3. I identified a small support community. I’ve realized that my old social circle was not able to support me in these new ambitions. I also invested in support in the form of a mentor-program with a plan for me to follow.

Step 4. I very deliberately improved my own health, increasing all my healthy habits. Especially those I know that I’ve been neglecting for a long time. I slept more. I’m a natural morning person delighting in the early morning hours, and also need to go to bed early at night. I started to eat healthier, drink more water and increased physical exercises.

Step 5. I prepared myself to tackle the sabotaging tendencies of my own mind. There was so much to learn about myself. I couldn’t believe the length I would go to sabotage my own plans! I had to learn how to trick myself into actually following my own heart and dreams instead of just giving up. Destructive behaviors in the form of procrastination, talking myself down and focusing on the wrong thing (like obsessive cleaning, gardening or sorting of the attic).

The rewards are high but it was easy to forget what I was actually aiming for. The new life, owning my own time and agenda.  Making real worthwhile contributions to the world instead of following corporate directions. Creating a life that I enjoy every day, investing in being healthy and happy.


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Why Experienced Professionals Turning Entrepreneurs Need Mentors and Where to Find Them


It is often hard to ask for help, especially if you should be the expert yourself. If you decide to become an entrepreneur yourself after a long career in business you should already know everything, shouldn’t you? You might have supported others in this kind of work. You might even have been the strategy consultant advising successful new businesses. But still one of the most important investments to do when you decide to become an entrepreneur is not that nice desk or flashy cell phone, it is your very own dedicated mentor. A mentor should ideally support you with three important areas; keep the focus of your venture, encourage you, and challenge you.

  1. Hold you accountable. A person involved in your project knowing your goals and challenges interested in the next step of your journey.
  2. Inspire and encourage you. You need to look up from time to time to make sure you still have the big picture. A mentor is somebody that has a close enough view of you to understand your need of inspiration and encouragement, but at the same time is not so involved as to lose their objectivity of what you are about to do.
  3. Be your independent observer, asking uncomfortable questions and also be prepared to find the answers together with you.

The most useful mentor also provide you with tools and guidelines that might get you going even faster.

Some argue that you can do all this yourself. Set your own deadlines, get inspired by YouTube clips, TED talks, podcasts and check your business status with friends over lunch to get an outside view. If you are really committed to succeeding with your venture you should be prepared to invest in a support. You will have enough on your plate without trying to mentor yourself.

Global mentoring online can also be personal today using apps like Facebook and Skype

Where can you find mentors that can give you all this? That is the tricky part. You should be looking for somebody who actually done what you yourself is about to do. A guide should have done the trip before to be able to support you. Then there is the personal fit. You need a person you trust and understand your specific situation.

Sometimes people use the word mentor as anybody providing you advice over lunch once a month. This type of often high profile mentors can be found with a hefty price tag and you might think that their inspiring resume will be enough. When searching for mentors on the internet these types of mentors are the most common. But this type of mentor is not invested enough in your venture to be useful on the very hands-on journey to move from corporate employee to entrepreneur. What you are looking for is often described as mentorship programs and have specific steps that should be relevant to your specific situation. It might be for entrepreneurs who have not yet launched their business or new entrepreneurs struggling with creating a more sustainable revenue stream in their venture. The important part is the person behind these programs, there is no such thing as one size fits all in this area. The really exciting development now is that the most useful mentor for you can be found anywhere in the world. You can use Skype or Facetime to interact. For a global business, it makes very much sense to look worldwide for your support. Even if your enterprise will be more local it might give you the competitive advantage you are looking for to get a mentor doing the same thing in a perhaps more mature market.

The internet is the place to find your mentor candidates but take care of what you are searching for.

You can start by looking at interesting blog-posts, pods or videos on topics that are relevant to your particular situation. You can also post questions in forums at LinkedIn or Facebook searching for a mentor fitting your situation. Then you should identify 2 or 3 candidates to get to know better, they often offer you one free session to get to know each other. Invest time in this process. Also, remember that you will need more mentors down the line, perhaps someone on your short list doesn’t fit now but might be interesting for you to follow and use later.

Inspiring Ted Talk About (Very) Experienced Professionals Turning Entrepreneurs


After decades working with brilliant very dedicated people in the corporate world it struck me how many of their best ideas and most passionate topics were discussed on the lunch break instead of in work meetings. I believe many of the best changes and inventions we really need today is still stuck in experienced minds too busy working with their everyday duties in their corporate roles. Yet there are more opportunities than ever to really make a successful living with new ventures today. Research also shows that first time entrepreneurs are much more successful if they do the transition later in life.

But most people become more cautions over the years and we are as humans prune to stay in our comfort zone. There are important questions to ask oneself. Can I afford to follow my heart this late in life? I’ve got responsibilities and pension plans, what happen to them? I’ve might be laughed at by my peers, dare I risk that? What if I fail is there any options for me left to start something new? The demons we face when leaving our comfortable life are numerous and we are never more creative than when we persuade ourselves to stay put and not to rock the boat. But if we dare to move past the demons and really scrutinize the validity of our fears we’ll find the other side of the coin. There we might see that our current path is not as secure as we might think and that we are not risking that much in reality. There are also the aspects of life quality and to grow in life. What is our own view of ourselves? Do we peak at 40 and after that we just stay put as a rabbit caught in the spotlight or do we never stop learning and keep on moving forward our entire lives?

I think Paul Tasner’s Ted Talk below is an excellent example of what is possible also later in our careers.


Are you dreaming about becoming a successful entrepreneur after decades as employed?

Man jump through the gap. Element of design.

You are not alone, one-third of the workforce is dreaming about starting their own business, according to research. With a long professional experience, you have even more to offer with your own enterprise. When you have climbed the corporate ladder for decades you have experience, skills, and hard earned knowledge. Some of us start to realize that we can do so much more with these assets.

Use your experience to create more value

You can both design a life with you and your family in the center and impact society in radical ways. To leave your corporate career and create a new life is not easy, but for me it was necessary. I left after two decades a very successful corporate career. I was then Management consultant and Partner at a large global advisory in IT. The digital development of corporations and government bodies has been my working field. For me, it was the need to create the kind of life I really loved with time for me and my family combined with the knowledge that to really tackle the big issues we are facing today I can contribute so much more if I own my own time and my own agenda.


The key question to ask oneself in the middle of your career is: Do I want more out of life? If the answer is yes, you have started your journey!

When looking at your current situation there are many things to consider; your career, your family, your economic situation and other responsibilities you might have. It is easy to get stuck there but the key is your dreams. If you really know what you want you will find a way to get it. To do it right you need a long-term plan and to develop your skill to stick to it.

When I got explicit about my goals I found this. I needed to own my own time, I cannot sell my most precious asset anymore. I needed to use the time I have in a way that makes sense to me, no one else (this is harder than you might think). I needed to find ways

I love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this subject!

of creating more of my renewable assets energy and money. When I got this sorted,

I identified what gave me energy and what took my energy, and step by step altered my life accordingly. My knowledge of the digital development has given me so much inspiration in the money-making side of this journey. There are all kinds of ways to make money on knowledge and experience today and the only thing limiting us is our own fears and lack of imagination. It’s a pity the generations currently holding the long experience have so little understanding of any other form of money generation than selling themselves by the hour to an employer.


I love to hear your view on this and your experience!




Lifestyle Design and Digital Business Can Change Your Life

Digital Business

I believe we today have unparalleled opportunities to live the life we really long for. We also have the possibility to impact the world at our fingertips. My background as management consultant and partner at a global advisory in IT, has given me the opportunity to be a part of leading the digital development of our society for the last two decades. I’ve seen what the digital development can do for large organizations. I’ve come to realize that if we use this resource wisely we as individuals can do so much more. We can design the life we want, the future we want to give our children and use the possibilities of digital business to support us.

There are many inexpensive platforms for us to use and there are so many ways to reach likeminded people and potential clients from all around the world. Digital Business to me is the possibility to use the products of the digital development to create new business models. This could be new ways of interacting, performing services and ways to get payed. But it also includes new services needed and the use of creative thinking when it comes to understand the business part of the upcoming value transactions. Who is the benefactor of the service and who will pay and in what way does it make sense to pay today. Many of us are very fast getting used to new ways of paying and enjoying services. All of this is creating so much opportunity especially if you have loads of value to offer as an experienced professional.

I think the strongest reason we can have to think of new ways of making money of your experience is lifestyle design choices. If you are really sure of what you want and what kind of life you would like to lead there is a pretty good chance you can get it!


Sign up for a five days free email course:

set yourself up for success when leaving your successful corporate career

and Cate Swedish newsletters with more tips to get you moving!


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