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Change Mojo: When you’re no longer the key talent at work

In every professional journey, there comes a time when the spotlight swings away. One day, you’re the key talent, the indispensable player in every strategic decision—and then, seemingly out of nowhere, dynamics shift. You find your brilliant ideas receiving lukewarm responses. You might hear that even your best skills could use some brushing up. It's not personal, even if it feels like a punch in the gut!


As a leader with years under my belt, guiding transformations and nurturing growth—not just in our bottom lines but in our people—I've seen this scenario unfold more often than you'd think. It’s happened to me too. And here’s the kicker: it’s not a career-ender. It’s a curveball, and how you swing at it can turn a perceived setback into a step up.


Understanding the shift


Markets evolve. So must we.


Business isn’t static. Shifts in market dynamics or strategic pivots can redefine what skills are in demand. Think of it like clearing the underbrush; it’s not about destroying the forest but about letting new trees thrive. Embracing this can turn anxiety into action. It hurts but it’s not personal.


New blood brings new ideas


When new talent rises, it’s not a signal that your time is up. It’s a testament to your success. After all, part of being a leader is mentoring the next generation. Their growth is your legacy. Don’t just pass the baton—cheer them on. Experience the joy and satisfaction you gain from mentoring. Just remember:


  1. Plan and take action to prepare your next move.

  2. Know exactly who you are mentoring. Know what they perceive as the desired outcome.


Personal Reflection and Growth


Delighted to meet you


Take a hard look in the mirror—what do you see? Beyond a seasoned professional, are you someone clinging to past glories or someone eager to forge new paths? Self-assessment isn’t about dwelling on what you’ve lost, but discovering what you’ve yet to gain.


Consider:

What does it look like if I keep doing…

What does it feel like if I keep doing…

What could it look like if I try out …

What could it feel like if I try out…


It’s hard to see anything if we believe we are valuable only for “this” or “that” skill. Or if we are in love with what we do. Or if we are hurting and feel betrayed.


But what would happen if you closed your eyes for a minute and thought back to a time in your past when you skipped and ran with no one looking? And with that feeling in mind, open your eyes and look at yourself in the proverbial mirror. Look upon yourself with delight.


Feedback is your friend


Yes, feedback can sting. But without it, growth is stunted. Approach feedback with curiosity, not fear. Rather than solely focusing on polishing your skills from feedback to get back your shine, get curious about what it looks like to be different than you are today.


Reframe your narrative


Every ending is a beginning


Remember, Shakespeare had it right: "All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances...." When your role changes, it’s not a promotion or demotion; it’s a chance to play a new part. What will your next act look like?


Be a good neighbor


If you’re networking, continue! Check in on your friends and colleagues each week to see what they’re up to. Tell them what you’re up to and look for ways to be helpful to each other. When you have a conundrum, ask for their advice or thoughts. People want to help the same way you do. Talk about shared interests like work and cats (maybe that last one is just me.) Connect them to people you know who share a similar interest or have solved a problem on which they are stuck. Ask for the same when you need it. I challenge you to try this on LinkedIn and in person.


In essence, influence doesn’t need a spotlight. Real power often operates behind the scenes. Think of yourself as a connector, someone who brings people together and facilitates meaningful interactions. By being genuine and supportive, you create new opportunities for yourself and others in a way that feels authentic and satisfying.


Moving forward


Set new goals


Have you heard this before?


  • Create a five-year plan.

  • Break it into actionable steps then take action.

  • Keep it alive by checking in with the plan.


If it is that simple for you, this may not be the article to read. For those of us who experience a deer-in-the-headlights-moment when we experience change, think smaller at first.


  • Start with small daily wins: Update your resume, apply to one job, or learn a new skill through a short online tutorial. Take a shower.

  • Reach out for support: Connect with someone you trust—a friend, family member, or former colleague—and share your feelings and experiences in a way that really gets to the heart of the matter. For example:


"Hi [Name], I hope you’re doing well. I’m looking to make some positive moves and could really use some advice on [specific area, e.g., job searching, skill development, industry trends]. If you have any insights or resources, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks!"

Conclusion


You haven’t lost your mojo; you’re just channeling it differently. You stepped out of the limelight. That’s a redirection. And being moved from the center stage doesn’t mean you've been sidelined—it means you’re backstage, making the real magic happen. Remember, the only constant in life, and business, is change.


So embrace it, and let it be the wind at your back to reach places you never imagined when you were recognized as the key talent.


______________________

About the author


Robin Weldon Cope is an experienced and visionary operations change leader. She is a fractional COO, and co-founder of Kinetic Change. Through initiatives like Kinetic Agility™ research and products such as Change Mojo™, Robin helps organizations navigate transformation with empathy and effectiveness, fostering genuine relationships along the way.


More reading

Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future" by Dorie Clark - This book provides a step-by-step guide to help individuals think about their personal brand and professional image. It's excellent for anyone looking to redefine how they are seen at work, especially after feeling sidelined.


From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life" by Arthur C. Brooks. This book explores how individuals, especially those who have been highly successful in their early careers, can find fulfillment and purpose later in life. It delves into the psychological and social adjustments that can help mitigate the feelings of irrelevance often associated with aging and career transition.


Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One" by Jenny Blake - For those feeling stuck or considering a significant change, this book offers a practical method for creating a compelling new path forward. It's useful for anyone looking to change directions without starting over.

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I really needed to hear this. Thank you for the great post!

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robin4954
robin4954
06 de jun.
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You’re most welcome.

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05 de jun.
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Wonderful article. Thanks!

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