Paul David Walker, a former turnaround specialist in manufacturing, runs Genius Stone Partners, which trains top executives to excel. Here are his seven steps for reinventing a career:
1. Know the answer. Find out what kind of work suits your personality and "work genius." Mr. Walker gives clients a personality test.
2. Visualize it. "You have to paint a compelling picture in your mind of what kind of work in the work world will fit who you are," he says. If you get these first two steps right, you'll be ahead of 97 percent of the people.
3. Get committed. When his boss asked him to take a personal development course, Walker first resisted. Then he was transfixed as facilitators helped people move toward their dreams. It inspired him to do the same.
4. Acknowledge reality. Confront your weaknesses and misconceptions. When Walker went to interview, he realized he had to change his personality. "Here I am, a rough-and-tumble turnaround guy." His would-be bosses emphasized human potential instead of confrontation.
5. Make targeted plans of action. Walker created a road map of how he would land a new job, focusing on specific communication and training companies.
6. Find the courage to act. Once you have your targets, take action. Decline interviews that aren't on your list. "It's still a dream until you act," he says.
7. Be still. "When you go into an interview, the more still you are, the more they talk...," he says. "You can sense what will land [points] with them. And then when you say something, it's the right thing every time."