It’s Never Too Late To Go For It!

If you’ve ever felt like you’re “too old” to start something, you’re not alone. I talked with a woman recently in her early thirties, who wanted to find out more about changing careers. She was currently self-employed, but it involved physical labor and she didn’t see herself able to do it forever. She had checked out the possibility of graduate school, but since she would be 40 years old before she finished her education, that was not an option, in her mind.

Since I started my coach training at age 43, her perspective seemed limiting to me. I don’t know where the concept originated that “life is over at 40” but nowadays it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Take Ed Whitlock, a 73 year old Canadian marathoner who, according to the New York Times, may be the best athlete in his age group. He runs over 100 miles a week training for races and is the first person 70 or older to break the three hour record in the marathon. This would have put him in the top 1% of all finishers in the New York City Marathon, had he competed. Interestingly, Ed ran earlier in his life, then stopped for 20 years while he focused on career and family, resuming running at age 41. He said he stopped the first time because he lacked “coaching and motivation.” The article stated that 70 may well be the new 50, because so many people later in life are doing amazing things.

My own great Aunt Emily, a successfully published children’s book writer, went to law school in her 60’s and practiced until her death many years later. (She was also in the top of her class in law school.)

Many of my coaching clients have made a dramatic change in mid-life toward a new career or starting their own business. But first they had to face the strong negative voices that many of us have inside about taking such bold steps. We must take heart and bolster ourselves, trusting that if we align with our authentic self we can allow our destiny to unfold, that true path within us that has been longing to emerge. As my favorite slogan states: “Carpe Diem” – seize the day.

Grandma Moses had her first solo show at age 80. Sam Walton started WalMart in his mid- 40’s. Henry Heimlich was 54 when he developed the Heimlich Maneuver. Irving Berlin was the same age when he wrote “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” one of the best-selling songs of all time.

One client of mine using my small business consulting services became an accountant in his twenties because his father told him that being a psychotherapist was a waste of time and he’d never make any money. In his forties, he finally honored his authentic self, quit his job and got the education to be a psychotherapist. Today he is happy and has a successful practice.

In any profession, any field, any area of life, there are people in mid-life and late life starting things they’ve always wanted to start and accomplishing amazing things. Whatever your age, don’t let it stop you.

© 2014 Anne Alexander, all rights reserved in all media


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