Read This if You Feel You’re Too Old for Success
Are we finally in a place where anyone of any age can succeed in their chosen profession? Even though I’m yearning to tell the story of how Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was 65 years old, I’m going to hold myself back.
At this point in history, his story shouldn’t be all that astounding. It certainly was in the ’70s and 80s, but now, we should be more open to the fact that you’re never too old to go after your dreams.
Unless, of course, you want to play professional sports after 40. There are areas where physical strength and stamina matter, but on the whole, if you have your mind and a passion in your heart to pursue, age is just that, a number.
At least, now that I’m in my mid-forties, that’s what I think people should believe. I’m sick and tired of feeling down about aging. As a husband, parent, teacher, writer, and cartoonist, I see how much I’m capable of doing now, even though my life is crazy busy.
So much of life is about our mindset. The time is now to realize success over 40 is not only possible but pretty darn impressive.
Being young and successful is cool and all but let’s see you sustain that for 40 years
Why do people still feel it’s better to become a success when you’re young? What’s wrong with just having a goal of supporting yourself without needing help from your parents?
This idea that the most extraordinary success comes with youth is ridiculous. Let’s be real here, what have you done in your 20s that qualifies you to get more respect than someone in their 50s?
Gaining life experience and wisdom is honorable. Making a good life for yourself and keeping it up for decades is a skill not everyone can master. When you add factors like marriage, parenting, and surprise health issues, holding on to a successful career as you age takes a herculean effort.
Yes, when you’re young, you have the energy to work hard and move up in a company, the balls to take risks with a new business, and the nerve to ride on the coattails of successful friends to find success.
But can you sustain it?
The one thing young people can’t see is that you have to maintain that success for another thirty to forty years. Trends change, the needs of society shift. Are you flexible enough to move with the times and stay in demand?
Here are three tips I’ve found for helping sustain a long career.
- Find pleasure in the creative and business aspects of your profession.
- Stay open to new ideas, learning new skills, and growing as a person.
- Manage your stress, so you avoid burnout.
The trick will be to discover your unique techniques and ways of thinking to stay strong and balanced during the marathon of a long career.
Why are you letting age hold you back from pursuing your passion?
If you’re physically and mentally able, go for it. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t.
For many of us, life can get pretty busy in middle age. You can have more available time for doing what you love when you get older.
My aunt would always tell me there are different seasons of life — pay attention to where you are and do the best you can while there. We will have seasons where it’s all about our career, a season of raising children, or a season of healing from an illness.
Seasons come and go.
Take an honest look at where you are in life and be clear about what you can accomplish. If you’re in a season where you have more time to pursue a business or passion, but you think you’re past your prime, think again.
You may need to ease in and warm up to start something great. Doing small things towards your goals can build up momentum to a place where you feel like doing more, and then, BAM, your mindset changes.
Suddenly, you see that you still have what it takes to succeed. Not only that, but you’ve been through enough in life to know you’re tough enough to keep going.
“You can start late, look different, be uncertain, and still succeed.” — Misty Copeland
Who decides what age you can start something new? Especially in the era of the internet
“It’s just too late for me.” How many times have I heard people say that? People who remember a time before the internet. A time when getting attention for the work you do was so much harder.
The age of gatekeepers is disappearing. Someone at a company deciding whether your work is good enough or you’re relevant enough to be pushed out to the masses.
You choose when you’re ready and can share work with the world.
The internet is a place to promote what you do, but there’s one skill you must master to make it work for you.
Posting online now and then about your work isn’t going to attract eyeballs and new fans. You have to post, promote, and share your work at least one to three times per week on your chosen platforms.
Having the internet is magnificent, but if you’re not willing to put in the regular weekly effort of sharing work for viewers, readers, and potential customers to consume, nothing’s going to happen.
If you have a goal, you can’t shake, ignore your age, pursue it and see where it takes you
If you’re able to update your mindset to believe that success is possible at any age, you can make miracles happen.
Just remember these suggestions for success over 40.
- Cultivate an interest in all the work you do and find pleasure in aspects of the business that may be challenging.
- Keep an open mind so that you’re ready to learn new skills to keep up with the times.
- Manage your stress by finding ways to have fun and relax every day.
- Do little things, taking small steps every day to reach your goals.
- Post and promote your work online consistently to reap the benefits of the massive potential audience the internet provides.
Understand that, even though you may feel old or society tries to tell you there’s very little time left to succeed in your passions, you can still play the long game.
Change your outlook and your attitude and start taking steps towards more success, no matter your age.