“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
At what age do we stop asking ourselves this question? It sounds as if once we hit a certain age that’s it – we’re done.
As women in the second half of life we often feel that it’s too late to shake up life. When do we begin placing restrictions and limitations on recreating ourselves? What’s “too late” and why?
Why? Because we’re scared! We’re afraid to course correct or try something new.
I was talking to a friend the other day and she was worried about making a career change because, she worried, “what if I fail?” It led to a few glasses of wine and a long conversation about the giant “what if” question.
Safety = Stagnation
As a motivational speaker and blogger I frequently talk about how fear constrains us from moving forward. People assume that staying in place, either in a dead-end job or marriage is the safe thing to do. Financially this could be the case but it’s often at the cost of your spirit. Please understand that I’m not saying to simply quit your job or your marriage without first planning and researching. What I am saying is don’t allow fear to keep you trapped in a situation that is slowly destroying you.
I tackle the “what if” question in my coaching practice a lot. Unravelling the fear allows it to become manageable. Quite simply, the answer to the “what if” question is “then what.” When you realize that there are plenty of options if the “what if” occurs, it’s easier to move forward.
There are numerous statistics on how many businesses fail in the first year. Often, it’s because people are afraid to course correct. They don’t see an answer to the “what if” question. Imagine the entrepreneur who was committed to only renting VCR tapes because he was fearful of changing up his business model. (Probably half the people reading this won’t even know what I’m talking about.) Successful entrepreneurs understand that change is necessary. They get an idea in their head and they run with it. Yes, they do their due diligence to see if it’s viable but it’s the curiosity and the desire to stretch that compels them.
Vera Wang started out as a professional skater but never make it onto the US Olympic team. She then veered into fashion. Marc Cuban’s first endeavor was powdered milk. Walt Disney began as a writer for a local newspaper and was fired for not having enough imagination.
Yes, change is scary but it also is an opportunity. People often ask me how I’ve continued to re-invent my brand and personally rebuild after challenges. They comment that they’d never be able to do it. My reply always is “sometimes you don’t have a choice.” Sometimes it takes tragedy to motivate you. I started out in television production. Then my son died and my second son was diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. That prompted me to find a way to make a difference and help save babies lives. I found myself passionate about helping families which led me to start my blog and public speaking.
I’ve often said I’ll never retire – not because I have to work (although that’s certainly a possibility) but because I never want to stop stretching and exploring. I want to continue to write the next chapter of my life and continue to answer the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?”