Before you consider your next job change or even career change, it's crucial that you look at the kind of lifestyle you want today and in the future.

This career-planning time is also time to think about life planning. When I meet with my clients for the first time, before I ask them what they want to do, I ask them what kind of life they want to live. Even in carefree Hawaii, there's an expression Pau Hana--meaning after work.

Until the last decade, most of our lives were built around work and after work. It always seemed upside-down to me that our society encourages us to work long hours at something we hate in order to get a few hours to do something we really love.

When I grew up in the Midwest, it was the highest of compliments to be referred to as a good worker or hard worker. Our days are typically divided into getting ready for work, going to work, working, working lunches, working late, going home from work, dinner and doing the work we took home to do and then planning for the next day of work.
And so day in and day out, 50 weeks a year with two weeks off, we follow this cycle. And we joinyou guessed itthe rat race until we are so worn out that we have to be retired.

As weve already discussed, youll probably have as many as seven careers (or more) in your lifetime. As my mom said so succinctly when I told her the title of this book, Yes, no more one job. If you are value-driven and lifestyle-driven, youll find it much easier to create a rewarding career, when it fits in with your lifestyle.

Integrate your life/work choice: not starting over starting better!

Just remember, this time, you're not starting over,you're starting better.

In writing this chapter, I wanted to include spectacular stories of people who would inspire you to believe that you could trade your tie for a lasso and ride the open range or sell your BMW and spend the next season of your life climbing Mt. Everest. But, when I looked at the case histories, I found that some of them are indeed spectacular, but others may appear more ordinary for getting a life, not just a job is a highly personal venture.

Here are three examples of how people not only changed their careers but integrated their choices into their lives:

I had the good fortune to work with international baseball hero Sadahara Oh, the Japanese Babe Ruth. Oh San, as he is called, retired from baseball and yearned to give back to the people some of the joy of the game he had so loved. It was my honor to work with him to set up the World Childrens Baseball Foundation, a camp where kids around the world meet to play ball for a few weeks each year. By sharing what he loved, he created a new career for himself in the process.

But he didnt do it alone. I worked with him to create a board of advisors ranging from Hollywood celebrities to business leaders to other athletes to help make his dream come true. Now he can travel around the world each summer visiting his baseball camps in foreign lands.

Another extraordinary man was already integrating his career with his lifestyles while he was still in his 20s. I met Douglas Heir while working with Olympians Mary Lou Retton and
Bob Richards on the Wheaties Search for Champions a national quest for outstanding amateur athletes. Heir was a member of the U.S. Olympic team wheelchair division. He won four medals at the World Olympic Wheelchair games in the javelin and discus competitions. At the time I met him, Heir was also a law student and teaching assistant at Rutgers University. He would not settle for just one career but rather combined his athletic prowess with his quest for the law.

Gina, another client, discovered that her true calling was in social work. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping build a community center brick by brick, board by board with your own hands, she explains. A stint as a volunteer on a local crisis line led her to go back to school at 35 to get her masters degree in social work. After she lost her job at Enron, she thought the world was over but volunteered at the local YWCA. It was there, working with their displaced homemaker program, she realized that just getting another corporate job in Human Resources would not be enough.
Too old to change your life?

Many people worry that they are too old to start over. Yet, Ive found that my clients successfully recareer at all ages. San Francisco actor and writer Dean Goodman dreamed his whole life of doing films, and in his 70s broke in as a co-star on a Francis Ford Copppola movie.

In doing research for my book SUCCESSFUL RECAREERING, I came across an interesting fact about illustrator H.A. Rey, noted for his charming drawings of Curious George, the nosey little monkey who is always getting himself in and out of trouble. Rey, who lived from 1898 to 1977, sold bathtubs up and down the Amazon River from the age of 26 to 38 until he married his wife, Margaret. Then he embarked on an artistic career that produced the wonderful Curious George book series. From bathtub salesman on the Amazon to childrens book illustrator with books now on Amazon.com Quite a lifestyle change
Life changes brought on by crisis

Not all career changes are planned, many start by accident or when people like you and me go through tough timesdivorce, down-sizing and even financial crisis.Actor Ed ONeil, probably best known as Al Bundy on the classic television show Married with Children was a professional football player at one time. After being cut from the pro team, he decided to take a break (like many of my clients do) and stay in Florida where he had been in spring training. He supported himself as a bellboy coincidentally at the same hotel he had stayed at as a ballplayer.

He needed what I call a station break in life. This is not an easy time for most of my clients. And in fact, making a transition is often filled with a potpourri of emotionsconfusion, anger, regret and hope. And challenges. As a bellboy, ONeil was called to the front desk one day to carry the bags of some of his former team members who were back in town to play football. Can you imagine what kind of razzing he must have taken? He reports that he kidded them right back using that sarcastic brand of humor that would become his trademark on TV in the future. And he also accepted the tips. Of all the qualities that help during a transition, Ive found that the ability to lighten up is one of the best. And to realize like ONeil did then, that this limbo period is not permanent. Someday, you, like ONeil will move onto the next episode and maybe even a starring role.

For more information about envisioning your starring role in life consider creating a VISION BOARD and email Joyce Schwarz at: thevisionboard@aol.com. Or sign up for our free newsletter at www.ihaveavision.org

Author's Bio: 

Joyce Schwarz is the best-selling author of "SUCCESSFUL RECAREERING" When Just Another Job Is Not Enough and four other books and more than 200 articles. She is also the author of the upcoming book THE VISION BOARD: Unlock the Secret to An Extraordinary life, Harper Collins Publishing, Collins Design, fall, 2008