Finding Confidence After a Career Break

Hear one woman’s story of how she found confidence and focus after a 14-year career break.

What made you decide to join the Embrace What’s Next Program?

Heather Belson QuoteAfter a 14-year career break to raise two children, I returned to an ideal temporary, part-time role in late February 2020. Following seven blissful days in Boston, the pandemic changed the world, and my work switched to being fully remote through the end of the contract in July 2020. During this period, I learned a lot about myself and recognized interest in shifting to something different from what my education (and experience) qualified me to do. Returning to the career I had pursued as a young adult ultimately wasn’t what made sense for my “middle-aged” life. As a milestone birthday approached, I was contemplating the next chapter. I was thrilled to learn of the Embrace What’s Next Program offered through Strengths Now.

What was the biggest surprise for you?

There were no real surprises for me, but more a sense of relief. Through lively discussions with fellow participants, I recognized the value of my strengths, including some contributions that I was unsure, amounted to much. I discovered that while I might be qualified for a position, the requirements for the role weren’t necessarily natural or comfortable. I became more forward-focused through the exercises and discussion. I soon realized I had lots to offer outside of my unpaid wife, mother, friend, and community volunteer positions.

Although familiar with the StrengthsFinder assessment, having taken it (and many other aptitude and personality tests) in the past, the Embrace What’s Next Program made everything click for me. The assignments before each of the sessions allowed me to delve into my strengths and needs. The most significant benefit I received from the program was developing the language to describe my talents through breakout sessions with some amazing women. This was integral for starting a job search and preparing to interview.

What impact did the program have on you?

Embrace What’s Next was an amazing gift. It far exceeded my expectations. Through the supportive community of women in different places in their lives, I gained confidence in applying my strengths best. The Strengths Now Embrace What’s Next Program was exactly what I needed to relaunch life beyond home and volunteering. In six weeks, I was able to move towards my goal of finding paid part-time professional employment. It has also permitted me to release some volunteer roles that never seemed to utilize my strengths.

Did the program have an impact on your family?

I’ve thought about the different strengths of my children and husband, which I believe has improved our relationships. Embrace What’s next helped me identify areas I needed to focus on to be more happy and productive. The new job has given me a chance to be more focused. I was comfortable taking the job, knowing my two children had their activities and my husband was available to help with transportation as needed. It was an important part of the puzzle.

Who do you think is well-suited for this program?

Embrace What’s Next is an exceptional program for those hoping to live their best life. The program is a natural choice for those going through a transitional life phase, but it would benefit anyone interested in self-awareness and improvement. If you’re not sure what you do well or need a boost of confidence, Embrace What’s Next is for you!

To learn more about Embrace What’s Next and the program options Strengths Now offers, please visit: