Have you ever been frightened to start over completely or been faced with the fear of being forced to consider it due to circumstances beyond your control?
Ever told yourself that beginning a brand new career wasn’t in the cards simply because you were too old?
I can remember this messaging already being a part of my make up by the time I was 19 years old and beating myself up that I had not enrolled in college or university right out of high school. Already, my belief system way back then, was that it was too late. I believed that I was too old to do what I had dreamed of doing, which at the time was to be a Vocalist or a Special Effects Make-Up Artist, and this idea literally kept me from pursuing my dreams.
The truth is many of us have used all kinds of excuses to put off accomplishing our dreams. One of the most common ones I hear from people of all ages is: ‘I wish I had done this or done that years ago because it’s too late for me now.’ In fact, many stay stuck in a JOB that they don’t enjoy and is totally draining just because they believe that they have missed the boat and couldn’t possibly start from today.
When I look back at my life, I can’t imagine what mine would have been like had I bought in to that philosophy. Many years ago, I literally fell in to an opportunity after some initial hard work with a leading manufacturing company, and was promoted to the position of purchasing manager at a young age. Being in my early twenties, I truly believed that this would be the company I retired at. I loved what I was doing, got to work with great people and saw potential as the position stretched me out of my comfort zone. Imagine my shock when after just a couple years, notice was given to the entire Team that the Canadian Operations was closing down. Everyone at this 35 year old company would be getting laid off and my dreams were dashed. What would I possibly do next? How could this be happening? I am way too old to start something new! (Yes, I actually believed this at the ripe old age of 27!)
What happened next has been a turning point in my life that I am forever grateful for. I started working at a new company in a similar position but soon realized this field was no longer for me. Pushing paper and processing orders for the procurement of chemical and packaging raw materials was making me cross eyed and I started regretting my now chosen field. The writing seemed to be on the wall: if I stayed in this field, I would literally be drained of all my inspiration and so I started being open to change. It was that or suffer the consequences of staying in a JOB that I hated. So, to start with I began to read some influential books that started to change my perspective on life in general. Some of these included Og Mandino’s: The Greatest Salesman in the World, Dale Carnegie’s: How to Win Friends and Influence People, and As A Man Thinketh by James Allen to name a few. As I began to grow myself, I began to see opportunity that I never saw before.
Thankfully, right around that time, a new opportunity to work for myself presented itself. It would require taking several risks including borrowing money, putting in extra long hours, having faith when everything outside of me said different. Scary stuff if I continued to believe that it was too late for me, but I had met someone that turned that belief system completely on its head and this is the story that they told me:
An international speaker on the subject of being a successful entrepreneur gave presentations to large crowds all over the world and had quite the following. At almost every event in North America, one fellow was a regular attendee and stood out with his enthusiasm, but something seemed to be missing. What the Speaker noticed over time was that this attendee came with many invited guests but did not appear to be implementing the strategies taught at the events. So, one day the Speaker asked to speak to the Attendee and this is the conversation that transpired:
Speaker: I notice you are at almost every event, are you enjoying learning the strategies taught?
Attendee: Absolutely, I tell everyone I know that they must come to hear you speak.
Speaker: Why is it that you never share your own experiences about implementing the strategies, to be more clear: what business have you started and how is it going?
Attendee: I love what you teach but I bring others that are young and vibrant so they can learn these strategies early on and enjoy success, but I am 43 years old and couldn’t possibly start over now.
Speaker: Let me ask you a question: At what age do you feel a man begins to be a productive contributor to his own life, what age does he begin to work regularly?
Attendee: Well… I guess around 18.
Speaker: And at what age do you think this working or productivity ends?
Attendee: Well, it used to be around 65, the age of retirement, but nowadays it’s closer to 70 years old.
Speaker: So, what you’re saying is that the average man works for about 50 productive years of their lives, correct?
Attendee: Yes, that’s correct.
Speaker: And you are 43, so that means you have NOT EVEN COMPLETED HALF OF YOUR PRODUCTIVE YEARS, and you are saying it’s too late to start something new?
Attendee: Wow, I had never thought of it like that, so from what you are saying, I still have more than half of my life to begin something today. I now see your point and realize I could start today at being the success I always dreamed of.
Made you think? Well it certainly did me… and that story has propelled me over the years to reinvent myself over and over without fear of it being too late. Going back to my career change moment and the timing of hearing this story by a mentor of mine gave me a fresh set of glasses that propelled me into a brand new career as a company owner. I have since lived life to the fullest, continuing to excel in my career and taste opportunities that never would have presented themselves had I stayed stuck with an old belief system. Over the years, and especially now that I am in my mid forties, I rely on this information to keep setting new goals and reaching new dreams, believing that I can still start over and be a success at whatever I choose to do and so can you!
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