I am so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by several brave men and women who have had the guts to make a change later in their lives. Today, after you’ve taken a hard look at your current situation, I want to encourage you to make some big, exciting changes if you so desire.
However, before you dive headfirst into the next chapter of your life, I encourage you to do a few things first.
DECIDE WHO YOU WANT TO BE
You were fortunate enough to wake up this morning and find yourself with an entirely new day to live the life God created you to live. With each new day, we can decide who we want to be.
Don’t like your bad habit of hitting snooze when you should be getting up and squeezing in a quick workout and a healthy breakfast? Then you need to decide who you want to be – someone that hits snooze, or someone who makes health a priority? Once you’ve decided which version of yourself you want to be, then take steps to do it.
I know, I know, it’s so much easier to say than do, but in the eloquent words of Joe Biden, “C’mon man!” You’re an adult now. Get your act together and do the hard thing to become the person you want to be. No more excuses – take extreme ownership of your situation.
SET YOUR STANDARDS
When I was younger, there were a lot of things that I put up with simply because I thought that I had to, being low on the totem pole—condescension, demeaning tasks that were not in my job description, and yes, even sexual harassment. My lack of experience, wisdom, and self-assuredness resulted in staying in less than ideal jobs.
When we’re young, we typically don’t have a solid sense of who we are and tend to settle, thinking that these are the things we must endure to one day reach our dreams. Then one day, we wake up and realize we’ve been settling for far too long!
It’s time to reevaluate and set your standards. Be honest with yourself here. Acting entitled or playing the victim will serve you equally as well in this situation – which is to say, not well at all. Don’t act like your employer owes you that promotion if you haven’t earned it, and don’t act like you would’ve made it if it wasn’t for coworker Karen getting in your way. Be realistic and know your worth.
You might expect me to advise you not to settle. But sometimes what we think is settling, isn’t. For example, I had dreams of a big career. But my husband’s job has taken us all over the globe, and I ended up being a stay-at-home mom for many years, doing small side gigs here and there to help contribute to the family budget. Some days I felt like I had settled by giving up my dreams of a big, successful career. But when I pictured myself in that career, I realized I was already living my dream as a mother and homeschooler. Plans can change, and that is perfectly fine. You should expect that they will evolve over time. My standards of success have changed, and I’m right where I need and want to be.
RECONCILE YOUR PRIORITIES
As I alluded to in the last section, my priorities shifted as I got older, but I didn’t realize they had until I purposefully reexamined my long-held dreams. Whereas my previous focus was on money and career success, my new priority is to raise and nurture my family.
I had to reconcile my dream job’s priority and the money and hours to come with it with wanting to be at home with my children. Sometimes these same priorities can coexist well together, but not always, and I’m challenging you to recognize when your priorities clash. When they do, you’ll need to reconcile with that and adjust accordingly.
Maybe you’re struggling with keeping the security of your well-paying job with the desire to do something bold to break through the stagnation you’re currently feeling. You’ll need to decide which priority you value more.
Perhaps you’re feeling stressed because you’ve put an unrealistic expectation of productivity on yourself when what you need is time to relax and unwind. You’ll need to reconcile whether the stress is worth the toll it takes on your health or if the lower productivity is worth the toll on your wallet.
GET RID OF EXCUSES
I’m too old to switch careers. I’m too old to go back to school. I can’t start my own business because my family depends on my current income. I don’t have the experience to do XYZ.
Sound familiar? What’s that saying? “Excuses are like elbows. We’ve all got some and don’t need any more or anyone else’s.”
If you start today, you could be somewhere completely different in a year. Time is going to pass whether you decide to change your life or not. Don’t say you’re too old when your clock hasn’t run out yet! If there is time on the clock, there is time to make a change. Be bold, and go for it!
If you’re worried about your lack of experience, please realize that all experts started as beginners. With determination, hard work will pay off at any stage of life.
MUSTER YOUR CONFIDENCE
Bold change takes guts, conviction, and confidence. Now is the time to muster your confidence. Remind yourself of all of the reasons why you can do this. People do incredible things all of the time – why not you?
It is time to shed the negative things that others have said about you. Their words reflect the state of their heart and not your capability or worthiness. It’s time to call out the lies you’ve believed about yourself for so long. It’s time to see you for all you’re truly worth and make big things happen for yourself!
With change comes unfamiliar territory. To navigate unfamiliar territory, you’re going to need conviction to keep going when things get tough. Take the time to remind yourself often of all the reasons why you’re making this change and why you have what it takes.
EXAMPLES TO INSPIRE YOU
Words and “steps to success” are all fine and dandy, but what inspires me are stories of real people who have made changes later in life. I am blessed to be surrounded by incredible people who made decisions – sometimes small, sometimes life-altering – to make a change. Read on to feel inspired.
Top row from left: Betty, Goldie, Don. Bottom row from left: Summer, Melanie, Beckie.
My Grandma Goldie was a force to be reckoned with. She survived lung cancer and the removal of one lung, eye cancer and the removal of one eye, and skin cancer. She raised four kids, made three homemade meals every day, and retired from her office job in her 60s. Grandma Goldie had always wanted to learn to play the piano, so she started lessons in her 40s. She always wanted to learn to paint, so she started painting in her 60s. I will always admire that she never felt too old to invest in herself.
My Grandpa Don (Goldie’s husband) was an incredibly hard-working farmer and carpenter. My Grandma Goldie passed when they were 79 years old. She was always the one that kept their social calendar full of activities and get-togethers. When Grandma Goldie was gone, Grandpa Don decided that he needed to fill his time with something productive, so he applied as a volunteer as a hospital escort at the hospital where my mom worked.
He worked for over a decade, pushing patients in wheelchairs from their rooms to their cars. Escorting new moms and their babies were his favorite. Grandpa Don made so many new friends and gained a new sense of purpose. He finally had to give it up in his 90s when his vision was too poor to drive himself to the hospital for work.
My Grandma Betty was 42 years old when she gave birth to my dad in 1952. Three months after his birth, his father passed away suddenly, leaving Grandma Betty with six children ages three months to 18 years old. Living on a big farm with no way to run it alone, she decided to go to college and become a teacher, leaving my 8-year-old aunt to care for my dad while taking her night classes. Don’t judge – this was the 50s when 8-year-olds could practically run a household by themselves. Shortly after, Grandma Betty sold the farm, moved to town, and worked as a teacher until retirement.
My dad, Jim, and I.
After marrying my mom at age 18 and doing a brief stint in the Airforce, my dad skipped college and worked in construction through his 30s. With three little girls in school, my mom working as a nurse, and coming home sore from physical labor every day, my dad decided to go to college. At age 40, he graduated with his bachelor’s and worked until retirement as a beloved high school teacher.
Dr. Jeannine Bennett
Dr. Jeannine Bennett worked into her 40s in a high-powered job that had the high stress to go along with it. She felt God calling her to leave the position and start her own company, but fought the calling, citing all sorts of excuses as to why she needed to stay. Ultimately, God brought her to her knees with a stress-induced health crisis, and that was the final straw she needed to start Vision to Purpose.
IS IT TOO LATE?
Is it too late for you to make a change? No! Absolutely not. Whether you want to make a diet change, a lifestyle change, a career change, or some other change, I encourage you to go for it! Time will continue to pass no matter what, so go after what you want!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melanie Lemus is the Communications Specialist for Vision to Purpose providing self-help, business, and career-focused topics. She lives in Virginia with her wonderful husband and witty daughter. Melanie loves her freedom – in Christ and America. She’s passionate about natural health and homeopathy, and she’s always down to take a hike through the mountains.
ABOUT VISION TO PURPOSE
Vision to Purpose is an organization dedicated to helping individuals and businesses succeed by offering tailored career, life, and business solutions.
Need a resume writer? How about a career coach? Perhaps a business consultant? Look no further; Dr. Bennett and the Vision to Purpose team can help! You can learn more about Vision to Purpose by visiting www.visiontopurpose.com.