My guest for this episode is Fiona Pagett. She is a 52-year old single mother of two young people, now in their twenties.
She has enjoyed a colorful career in broadcast journalism (check her out on BBC Scotland!), corporate communications, video production, personal training, and — most recently — real estate.
Proactive, and not afraid to make different life choices, Fiona has changed careers on several occasions, two of which have involved starting new businesses from scratch.
A “glass half full” type of person, she enjoys encouraging others to live life to the fullest.
Fiona and I met several years ago in an entrepreneurial community, and we’ve been friends ever since. I’ve always been impressed with how she’s taken control of her career path to adapt to changing circumstances quickly.
So many people get set in their ways as they mature, but she’s never stood still. She isn’t afraid to dive in and start a new business or pursue an entirely new profession.
The most amazing thing? She always succeeds.
You can find Fiona on Linkedin.
Key points from our conversation
I want to call out a few points from my conversation with Fiona to help you if you’ve ever felt like it was too late to make a change in your career or life. She also shared some of her experiences with the lockdowns and quarantines in Scotland from the perspective of a real estate agent.
You can’t control external circumstances. The Great Recession in 2008 impacted her business that provided multimedia services for corporations. Her clients dried up almost overnight.
The only thing you can do is quickly adapt and survive. Fiona has done that by diving into new employment (e.g., becoming a real estate agent) and starting her own businesses multiple times (e.g., video production, personal fitness training).
I know that you might feel hopeless and helpless when an external factor changes the world so dramatically. The negative impact and chaos create a great deal of anxiety and stress.
However, no amount of wishing or complaining will make it go away. It’s our reality, and we can’t force it to stop. All we can control is our personal reaction and mindset, and then make plans for adapting and moving forward.
What other choice do we have?
It’s never too late
At age 41, Fiona made a huge career change from being a partner at a video production company to becoming a certified personal trainer. She shut down one business, built the next successfully, and provided for her family while her children were in school.
Several years later, she pivoted again into real estate when she had more free time (i.e., her children were grown and moved out). People will tell you that you can’t make a significant career change after 50, yet she did (I did too).
Your soft skills are essential and play an increasingly larger role in your success as you move up the career ladder. Those skills are so transferable. Communicating well, collaborating effectively, persuading others, educating others, etc., can all apply to thousands of jobs and businesses.
It’s always possible to change. When you’re in your 50s, 60s, and even your 70s, you still have many years ahead of you. We’re all living longer — much longer. Those of you reading this right now may live past 100!
It’s so sad to talk with someone who has regrets. They waited and waited but never pursued a dream or passion. Don’t get set in your ways in your 40s and 50s. Keep growing and chasing what you want out of life!
The impact of the pandemic
She feels privileged that she never lost her job, despite the economic impact in Scotland. They had a 3-month lockdown, which resulted in furloughs for many.
Because of her real estate role, she met with people who had felt so isolated during that time. Sometimes, she was the first person who had been inside their home in six months! They were desperate for human interaction and conversation.
However, other people thrived. They adapted their home office spaces, enjoyed having time back (e.g., no commute), and made time for exercise again.
Much like in the U.S., this new world does seem to have a polarizing impact. Some people are lucky to have jobs that were easily transitioned to remote work and working from home. Some people made use of their recovered personal time for exercise, hobbies, and making new friends.
Other people lost their jobs and businesses. They didn’t have a good solution for working at home. The stress and anxiety have been so detrimental to their health.
However, Fiona believes in staying positive, doing our best to adapt, and finding a way forward. She always has, and always will. We’d all do well to follow her example.
⬆️ Scroll to the top if you want to listen to our full conversation, and hear more of Fiona’s advice and experiences! 🎧
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This week’s office hours topic
Larry Cornett is a leadership coach and business advisor who also hosts a private mastermind community for solopreneurs and entrepreneurs who want more accountability and support. If you’re not interested in starting your own business someday (or accelerating an existing one), this community isn’t for you.
Larry lives in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with his wife and children, and a gigantic Great Dane. He does his best to share advice to help others take full control of their work and life. He’s also on Twitter @cornett.