22 April 2019
I’m too old. It’s too late. I wish I’d done it when I was younger.
How many times to you hear, or even say something like this? Why do we do that? Why is it that we so readily place deadlines on things? I want to be married and own a house by 28 years old. And I want to have my career settled and sorted by 32. It’s too late to change the career that I am morosely unhappy in, because I am in my forties.
It’s not true! No matter your age or where you’re at in your life, you have the potential to achieve whatever you want. That potential does not diminish with age, if anything it grows along with your experience and skills.
The older we are, the more we understand about the pitfalls and way of the world. Perhaps that’s what puts us off, a keen knowledge of what could go wrong. Instead, that should give us the confidence to proceed, knowing that we understand what to avoid and how to calculate risks in a more balanced way than when you were in your twenties.
Of course, with age there are more responsibilities and it becomes more complex but that shouldn’t mean you stop chasing your dreams.
Age is just a number
I recently watched a fascinating TED Talk by a man called Paul Tasner. At 64 years old, Paul was fired from his job at a San Francisco firm. He had a strong background in engineering and, as retirement simply wasn’t an option for him, he went into consulting.
He had no passion for consulting. So, at the age of 66, he became an entrepreneur for the very first time. He created a company to build packaging from waste products. It cuts out toxic, single-use plastic. The company has won more than 20 awards, has no debt and is going some way to making a notable impact on our environment.
Paul’s mission is to make “70 over 70” lists just as prevalent as “30 under 30” lists, because he had no role models when he was setting out. No one talks about senior entrepreneurs. But what an idea that is! Instead of feeling forced into retirement, follow your dreams. Take the opportunity to do what you really want to do, what you’re truly passionate about.
Charles Flint launched IBM at 61 years old. Harland David Sanders started KFC at the age of 62.
I can honestly never see myself retiring, so seeing people like Paul taking on new challenges well into his sixties is inspiring. It’s a reminder that we’re all on our own timezones and shouldn’t feel the pressure that we should or shouldn’t do something simply because of how old we are.