Shift happens to all of us. It occurs with the change of the seasons, when children are born, when love enters our lives, when new friendships are forged…you know where I’m going. I recently read about a couple of shifts that can give all career professionals, in or likely to enter into a career transition, evidence of the possibilities and a clear approach to making them real, even while “shift happens”.

Consider a story in the Wall Street Journal about the growth of small venture capital-backed business built on more innovative approaches. In Michigan, the economy once bolstered by, but now decimated by the impact of the Big Three – Ford, Chrysler and General Motors are seeing new growth in the small business arena. Companies like Accio Energy are attracting more attention from investors and partners alike. It’s a great example of the power of networking and passionate commitment to your vision when around you, things are incredibly bleak.

Accio Energy got its start in 2007, based on plans two of the founders hatched at Zingerman’s Deli, Ann Arbor’s renowned gourmet-food destination.

Accio got some of the seed money for the three-person start-up from Mary Campbell, an area venture capitalist who met Ms. White (one of the founders) in a running group. Jeffrey Basch, a former General electric automotive development worker, is Accio’s general manager. Ms. White met him while helping shuck corn at an organic produce company that Mr. Basch’s wife, another former Ford engineer, started and Ms. White helped fund.

-- Ann Arbor and Warren: A Tale of Two Economies by Justin Lahart, May 26, 2009

The next example highlights transitions for those in the “booming stage” of their careers. A recent article in the Boston Globe discusses transitions to more service organizations. Many experienced professionals, having gained tremendous skills and expertise in the for profit area are looking for opportunities to parlay that talent in the non-profit sector. Signed into law, this past spring, The Serve America Act has become both a beacon and catalyst for those who desire to be of service and use their knowledge to create a better world for us all. Once again the power of a passionate idea and networking helps to create the desired future.

Jamie Kaplan, a 58-year-old former corporate lawyer from Maine who in 2003 cofounded the Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness, is using his fellowship to lay the groundwork for expanding his educational program beyond Maine. Thanks to connections made at Harvard, he’s launching pilot partnerships with City Year and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. “If we’re really looking to have a major social impact,” Kaplan says, “then I want to do something that’s bigger.”

This doesn’t sound like a bad way to grow older.

--A boom in ‘encore careers’ by Irene Sege, June 1, 2009,

There is no doubt that times are tough for some of our friends, colleagues and coworkers around the globe. But there is ample opportunity to begin now, to continue or to make that quantum leap with the wave of this shift supporting you; and have the momentum sweep you forward to your greatest desire. Don’t let what’s happening around you keep you from what’s in your heart, mind and soul. Remember always, “shift happens”.

Your next steps:

What is your passionate idea? What are you doing, step by step, day by day to move it from idea to reality?
What networks will help you bring it to fruition? Who can help? What are you involved in today that holds an opportunity for a connection that creates your shift – from idea to actuality?

Don’t wait; start today to use the shift around us to YOUR benefit!

Author's Bio: 

Chris Makell is the Career Transitions Specialist dedicated to career professionals who are not satisfied with their career options or want to do something different but don’t know what or how. Begin by breathing deeply and relieve the stress – download your free 2 part audio program today, because you are at your best when you're clear, relaxed and open to the possibilities. Claim your MP3 here: