Changing Gear


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April 2022



Creating the Life You Want After a Full-On Career

By Jan Hall & Jon Stokes
Published by Headline Home on 14th April 2022, £10.99 paperback

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly”.

Henri Bergson

Changes occur all the time. They can be identifiable and dramatic, or they can emerge imperceptibly, creeping up on you until one day you realise your foundations are less solid than you imagined. At this point in your life, you need to find a new path.

Coping with transition with or without Covid can be hard at every stage of life, but it presents unique challenges as we come to the time in our lives when we are facing change. Changing Gear is an accessible guide to help with this uncertainty and anxiety by entrepreneur and business leader Jan Hall, and clinical psychologist and leadership coach Jon Stokes. Their book offers advice and a practical 8 Step Plan to help you make the right decisions while developing the skills needed to cope with change and create a road map for the future. The steps included:
Losing your balance — and noticing. Shake off denial, recognise and accept the change.

Take stock — look around you and move from alarm to curiosity. This involves becoming more conscious of thoughts and feelings.

Be open to the new — explore and investigate fresh possibilities.

Try out new things — experiment with new behaviours, test and learn. This involves developing and playing with new skills.

Let go — accept the inevitable pain of loss and feeling naked. The rebuilding process can make you more resilient.

Become your new self — practice makes (nearly) perfect. Time to build sustained, conscious competence.

Enjoy a new sense of poise and balance. Conscious competence becomes unconscious competence.

Review your progress. Develop strategies to cope with the inevitable setbacks and failures in your experiments.

The authors look at why work is such an important part of a person’s identity, and how challenging it can be when it’s time to change gear, whether that’s to explore a new path or take a step back from our careers entirely.

Changing Gear is filled with case studies of people who have transitioned from one career to another and shines a light on the underlying and sometimes unconscious and psychological dynamics involved.

Offering insight, advice, and practical exercises to help the reader make the right decisions, this valuable guide gives the tools to navigate complicated situations, identify what’s most important, and develop the skills needed to cope with change and ultimately increase people’s happiness.

About the Authors

Jan Hall is a successful entrepreneur and business leader. She is now an adviser to FTSE 100 CEOs and Chairmen. She was a leading global head-hunter for over 20 years, has sat as a Non-Executive Director on multiple boards, and coaches’ top leaders.
Jon Stokes is a clinical psychologist and one of the UK’s top leadership coaches. He has taught for many years at Oxford University as a Senior Fellow at Said Business School and is a Senior Member of St Antony’s College. His research and writing focusses on leadership for the modern world.

Praise for Changing Gear: Creating the Life You Want

‘In a world in which we are all living longer, Changing Gear helps us to think deeply about how best to use this extra time. Jan and Jon draw on their immense experience to guide you through the transition from a full-on career to a rich and fulfilling life.’

Camilla Cavendish

‘I can only marvel at this book, which is full of practical wisdom.’

Sir Anthony Seldon, author of Beyond Happiness

‘[Changing Gear] presents a series of case studies of people who have been through this kind of upheaval, some a lot more successfully than others . . . readers will discover that the individual stories are instructive, and the questions posed by the authors are important.’

The Economist

‘How to prepare for life after an intense career. In Changing Gear…authors Jan Hall and Jon Stokes set out how this next life – or “third age” – might be approached.’

Financial Times

“At a time of great inflection, many are asking big questions about “what next” in their careers and lives. Changing Gear offers a practical and powerful roadmap for the route ahead, drawing on rich case studies and the deep experience of the authors.”

Henry Timms, Co-Founder, Giving Tuesday