Our culture idolizes success at an early age. Between stories of young entrepreneurs and tech whiz-kids becoming self-made millionaires at 23, it’s easy to feel as though you’ve missed your window to pursue your passion. But contrary to the obsession we have with the achievements of young people, there’s no reason to give up on your passion just because you never found yourself on the Forbes 30 Under 30.
If you’re in your late 30’s, 40’s, or even your 50s, the prospect of starting from scratch can feel terrifying, especially if your true passion would require you to go back to school. On top of that, you might even have deep feelings of unworthiness, as though you don’t deserve to have your dream job because you didn’t put the work in when you were young.
These feelings are understandable and extremely common, but they should never stand in between you and your true passion. Consider these 4 things before you write off your dream vocation as an unachievable pipedream:
1. Success in a New Career is By No Means a Long-Shot
While Mark Zuckerberg may have found success in his college years, data from an MIT study suggests this is far from the norm. In fact, the average successful entrepreneur starts their company at the age of 45, meaning there are plenty of entrepreneurs that didn’t have their winning idea until they were well into their 50s!
Stan Lee wrote his first comic at 38. Vera Wang didn’t even enter the fashion industry until she was 40. Samuel L. Jackson and Betty White landed their first major roles at 43 and 51, and Henry Ford was 45 when he created the Model T. Skills, passion, and a strong work ethic beat the energy of youth every time. And remember, success doesn’t always mean success in the eyes of the world, but rather success felt in the consciousness of the individual.
Related: 5 Career Questions to Ask Your Higher Self
2. Not Making the Change Can Have Negative Consequences
If you find yourself thinking, “I don’t like my job, but at least I still have my free time,” a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research found a direct correlation between happiness at work and what is called the “weekend effect”. The study revealed that your work environment plays an enormous role in the emotions you experience outside of work. It also found that negative work environments impact a person’s free time three times more than a positive one. In other words, compartmentalizing your career and your personal life is virtually impossible, and a bad job can create problems in your life that seriously hamper your relationships and your spiritual progress.
In many cases, the discontentment we feel in mid-life is the soul gently nudging us and telling us that we need to look within to find our true vocation. While facing this inner knowing can be frightening, ignoring this call to self-examination can cause deep dissatisfaction and even serious depression. On the other hand, while embracing it and diving into deeper self-awareness can cause a wonderful transformation in every aspect of your life.
3. The World May Not Have Been Ready for Your Dream Job
People often criticize themselves for not starting earlier. “If only I had started when I was young,” they’ll say, and harshly judge themselves. In many cases, though, that wasn’t possible, and there’s no use in dwelling on these regrets. If you were born in the eighties and you discover that your dream job is to be a computer programmer, you likely wouldn’t have had the opportunities to develop that skill at a young age. The world simply wasn’t ready for your skills, and you shouldn’t be angry with yourself for not pursuing this course earlier in life.
Even if you had access to your dream job when you were young, it’s entirely possible that you hadn’t developed yourself enough to embrace it. Perhaps you didn’t have the wisdom, focus, or social abilities earlier in life that your dream job requires. It’s also possible that you grew up with strict parents who disapproved of your dreams and you ended up in a career of their, and not your liking, but now you are free to choose for yourself. Society evolves in a way that can bring us closer to our dream vocation at the right time, and therefore we also evolve in a way that prepares us to accept the opportunity when it presents itself.
Related: 7 Troubling Signs Your Job Isn’t The Right Fit
4. Making a Switch is Easier Than Ever Before
There’s a good chance you’ll have quite a bit of learning to do before you can be hired into your dream job. The idea of going back to a college classroom with people twenty years your junior may sound intimidating, but these days, it’s far from your only option. Compared to just ten years ago, the number of new educational resources available to you is staggering.
In careers that don’t require a college degree, a free YouTube account might be all that you need to get started. If your dream is to open up your own online store, you can find wonderfully-detailed tutorials walking you through every step of the process. Even if you require formal certification, you can take online courses through a university, or even take free online courses through a website like Coursera or Khan Academy. A career change is never easy, but learning and acquiring new knowledge is always exciting and satisfying to the spirit and technology has made retraining yourself on your own terms and at your own pace easier than it’s ever been.
How to Know if the Time Is Right
Timing is critical when it comes to making a mid-life career change. You can best pursue your vocation when it feels right and when you know, in your heart, that you are working without obstruction. We have just discussed the obstruction caused by trying to work when the society isn’t ready, but if you’re having trouble getting started, you may have to work on psychological blocks before you can begin.
To make sure the time for change is right, try our introductory meditation that will put you in touch with your Higher Self. Your Higher Self will help you get clarity on life changes you are envisioning for yourself.
When it comes time to ask a question of your Higher Self, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
1. What is behind the dissatisfaction I am experiencing with my current job? Is it a temporary frustration, or something deeper?
2. What is my life purpose? What type of work would help me fulfill this purpose?
3. What would the benefit be to me? To others?
4. Do I need any new skills to do this kind of work?
5. Am I really ready to make this change? If yes, what is my first step? If no, what is blocking me from taking the steps needed for change?
The Higher Self, which is part of your higher nature, will bring that knowledge down to your conscious self, and help you bring clarity to your process of change.
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Well I definitely enjoyed studying it. This tip procured by you is very helpful for good planning. Rolando Ricucci