“You need to think strategically about where you are and where you want to be [and] become your own CEO,” she added.

Khe Hy, a writer and contributing editor to Quartz at Work and creator of RadReads, echoed Dallmer’s words. “You have to give yourself space to think” about where you want your life to go, he said. “I never thought I would be a writer, but now I am and I am also home every night for dinner.”

Hy was 35 years old and a managing director at BlackRock when he quit to be an entrepreneur, coach of hedge fund managers and writer on leadership and management. He was comfortable and respected at BlackRock and knew it would be financially dangerous to leave. “But it was more [personally] dangerous to stay,” he said.

He said he has to “work on himself” in order to make the transition, but the more he’s done so, the more his possibilities have expanded. “You have to find success on your own terms.”

The panel’s moderator, Joann S. Lublin, recently retired from the position of management news editor at The Wall Street Journal. Her transition led to an epiphany: She could now be anything she wanted to be.

Lublin is the author of Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World. Now she wants to write another book.

“But I should not be closing off [other avenues] to what I want to do now,” she said.

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