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How to Take a Midlife Leap

Diane Howell Topkis is the author of the Career Clarity ebook series. Diane works with midlife women to gain the clarity and confidence to reinvent or re-energize their career into meaningful work for their next chapter. Please visit to receive your free workbook, Find Your Career Passion.

How to Take a Midlife move

My sister left town today. She packed up her apartment in Manhattan after 12 years and headed south to North Carolina. I’ll miss her. And I admire her for having the confidence to make this big, bold midlife move. It was quick – from decision to move – barely 2 weeks. A need for change had been rambling around her head for several weeks but she kept it to herself. So it surprised everyone.

She had her reasons for leaving:

  • Job didn’t fit – on either side – and done with the industry too.
  • Living space didn’t fit – much as she loves it, Manhattan is just too expensive.
  • Small adjustments no longer fit – needed a big change – time to go. Now!

But she could not articulate where or what she was going to just what she was leaving. So it felt rash to everyone she told. I may have been the only one in the family to “get it”. I’ve seen this need for a big change from my clients. My concern was to slow down her knee-jerk reactions and at least pull a plan together. I took my coaching skills to her place and we packed a night and half the next day with a concentrated set of exercises.

She hadn’t needed my help when changing jobs before. She has a huge network in her industry and has moved to each new position with help from her connections. Now she was leaving all that behind. This was a huge leap. Exciting and quite terrifying.

First we tackled getting ready for a new career. We worked on old dreams, transferable skills, talents, what she loved to do, a lot of “what ifs”, some quick personal branding, “why the change” statement. Reviewed her resume and updated her sparse LinkedIn Profile. She’ll explore careers later.

Next, exactly where to move. She felt drawn to the Carolinas but really didn’t know why. We started with a list of possible locations. Searched quality of living, explored what seemed attractive to her, checked online job sites just to be sure there was a viable economy but not yet for a specific job.  It was quickly narrowed down to Wilmington, a town spread between the Cape Fear River (must be stories behind that name) and the Atlantic Ocean. Not a bad place to start a new chapter.

Now she had a direction and she could articulate what was drawing her to it. She could plan in a straight line, no more spinning. Within 2 days she had an apartment that was about 20% of her NYC rent. She had a truck rented and helpers to load it at both ends. Her son will drive her down.

Things were under control. Explanations to family and friends became so much easier. People are starting to understand her excitement. They are considering a future visit. She is on her way to an exciting next chapter.

Wow! Foolish? Maybe. But only on the surface. Once she understood what was underneath that voice shouting “Go,” it made a lot of sense. Midlife is a time of big change. Often it’s something external that forces the shift, especially a big one. If you’re ready, you jump on it and ride. You don’t let it get you down. You don’t let it make you a victim. You step up and take that big leap. You take control and go!

Action:  Are you listening to your inner voice? Do you need a big shift? Are you brave enough to take the leap?

If not and you want help building the confidence for it, contact me.

Diane, The Midlife Woman’s Career Coach

Diane Howell Topkis

Diane Howell Topkis, The Midlife Woman’s Career Coach, helps women gain the clarity and confidence to reinvent or re-energize their career into meaningful work for their next chapter. Her clients have successfully discovered new possibilities and developed new levels of personal and professional success. The first book in her Career Clarity ebook series reached #1 in Amazon's Women&Business and Self Help-Midlife categories. Watch for her next book, out soon. Diane lived the life of a slowly boiled frog for 30+ years in sales and marketing before she found the clarity to move to coaching. Now her very rewarding career brings a deep sense of peace, freedom, joy, and fulfillment.

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Tuesday 23rd of June 2015

"Are you listening to your inner voice? Do you need a big shift? Are you brave enough to take the leap?” I love this. It reminds me of the quote “Aint nothing to but to do it!” Diane, I can relate to this post. I launched my website,, to inspire men and women over 50 to live their lives to the fullest and to inspire and celebrate others along the way. One of the main lessons I’ve learned [so far] is that you won’t know until you try. Best wishes to your sister. #GFEpart2


Tuesday 9th of June 2015

Been there; done that! No t-shirt! But, I love my new home in a lake resort community - easy, small and beautiful! Goodbye, BIG CITY. I'll be back for a visit now and again!


Thursday 11th of June 2015

Sounds so nice, Eileen! On to your next chapter.

Lori Cipot

Tuesday 9th of June 2015

Last April 2014, I moved from CT (where I had lived for almost 50 years) to Charlotte, NC. Two months from decision to move but it had been on my mind for a few months prior. Most of my family and friends were shocked that I could be so brave, courageous, crazy to pack up and move someplace new. I had no friends here and no job but I knew the decision was right and I was confident in my decision! I pulled out of my driveway and didn't look back! It's been a little over a year and I'm happier than I have been in years!!!


Thursday 11th of June 2015

So glad to hear it worked out for you. Confident is the key word in your comment, Lori. When you know yourself, you build that confidence and nothing can stop you!

Janice Wald

Tuesday 9th of June 2015

#mlblvd It does take courage to make a move in midlife.


Tuesday 9th of June 2015

Indeed it does! But if you know the "why" behind what you're doing, it's much easier.


Tuesday 9th of June 2015

I admire her courage. It is so true that at junctures in our lives we need significant change. Hoping wisdom and courage lead us all to that new path.


Tuesday 9th of June 2015

I do too. She left knowing no one. That takes a lot of courage - and conviction that major change was needed.

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