Don’t wait for a crisis when it comes to your career

Recently, I had the great pleasure of joining a number of inspiring local authors from Fairfield County, Connecticut, at the Wilton Library, to share our writing with area residents. It was a wonderful experience to connect with authors in my community – accomplished writers of a wide range of material. They have poured their talents and brilliance into their works to share their ideas and perspectives with the world.

In talking about my own book, Breakdown, Breakthrough: The Professional Woman’s Guide to Claiming a Life of Passion, Power and Purpose, it brought back the powerful experience I had in 2006-07 of conducting my yearlong, in-depth research study on women overcoming professional crisis. I interviewed over 100 professional women across the country who’d experienced deep challenges in the workplace and in their careers, to dimensionalize and understand more deeply the key challenges and issues, and bring new solutions to the table.

We explored the many social, cultural, organizational, and individual factors that contribute to the 12 “hidden” challenges professional women face, and identified more clearly how to successfully navigate through them. In my subsequent follow-up study, I learned that seven out of 10 working women ages 30-55 are experiencing at least one of these hidden challenges. On average, they’re facing three at the same time.

Here’s a bit more about Breakdown, Breakthrough, and paving the way to career bliss, from my interview with The Wilton Bulletin editor Jeannette Ross:

As I mentioned in the interview, while Breakdown, Breakthrough was published in 2008, it’s as relevant today as it was then. In my coaching, teaching and career consulting work with over 10,000 women in 10 years, I see and hear daily how these 12 challenges hit women hard. What’s more, over half of them don’t know what to do about it.

The 12 “hidden” challenges the book explores are experiences of disempowerment, professional paralysis and emotional pain that fall into four categories: our relationship (and empowerment – or disempowerment) with ourselves, others, the world and our higher selves.

Here’s a brief look at these challenges:

Empowerment with self

  1. Resolving chronic health problems
  2. Overcoming loss
  3. Achieving self-love

Empowerment with others

  1. Speaking up with power
  2. Breaking cycles of mistreatment
  3. Shifting from competition to collaboration

Empowerment with the world

  1. Escaping financial traps
  2. Using real talents in life and work
  3. Helping others and the world

Empowerment with higher self

  1. Falling together after falling apart
  2. Balancing life and work
  3. Doing work and play you love

One thing I’ve seen countless times in my career consulting programs: the vast majority of people wait until a true crisis hits before they take action to change how they operate in the world. I lived this experience too, staying for 18 years in a corporate career and life that was terribly ill-fitting and unfulfilling – even damaging for me. I waited until I’d experienced all 12 of the crises I write and speak about before I finally snapped and said, “I’m done with this! I refuse to feel like a victim one minute longer.”

If any of these challenges ring true for you, I hope you’ll make this the day you finally take one concrete action to improve your life. It doesn’t have to turn your whole life upset down, and you don’t necessarily have to chuck your entire career out the window. (As I love to say, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”)

But you do have to do something different to modify and improve the way you operate in the world. Whether it’s committing to taking the necessary time to restore and rejuvenate yourself from the toxicity around you, taking my Career Path Self-Assessment to gain more clarity about what you want going forward or finally mustering the courage to have that tough conversation with your boss – or your spouse – today is the day to do it.

Don’t wait until true crisis smacks you in the face before you realize that you deserve better in your life and work, and you’re ready to get it.

This article originally appeared on and is republished here with permission.

Kathy Caprino, M.A. is an international career and personal success coach, writer, speaker and leadership developer dedicated to the advancement of women worldwide. Considered a “brave up” expert for professionals, Kathy is the author of Breakdown, Breakthrough,  and Founder of Ellia Communications, Inc., the Amazing Career Project and Amazing Career™ Coach Certification training.  Kathy is also a Forbes, Huffington Post and LinkedIn contributor, TEDx speaker, and top media source on careers, women at work, leadership, success and personal growth, For more info, visit and connect with Kathy on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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