You Are Never Too Old to Change Your Life!
If there's one thing guaranteed to set me off, it's phrases like 'Oh it's my age’, or ‘I’m too old to change now,' or ‘in my day’. Unless you’re actually dead it’s always still your day! For me, age has no bearing on whether or not you should make a major life change, or follow your dream - and I'm living proof.
In my late forties, I left a secure job (and pension) to follow my dream of running my own business in my own way. And it's easily the best thing I ever did.
So why did I leave it so late? Actually, with hindsight it wasn't 'late' at all. The first two-and-a-half decades of my working life were spent gaining vital experience of what makes women tick and the challenges we face in the home, the workplace and society in general. I began working as a social worker in 1978 & started my 2 year post grad in social work soon after my first child was born. Most of my ‘proper’ career was about helping people change themselves in some way during which time I worked with female offenders in prisons, in psychiatric hospitals, and with abused women and saw first-hand how even the toughest lives can be turned around. I moved into management (2 kids and 12 years later.)
As part of a management qualification I did some research on how women in my organisation were sidelined and institutionally discriminated against and we set up a women’s group to effect change, which we did. But I wasn’t really happy in management; I felt I’d lost touch with what I’d set out to do when I became a social worker. I planned my escape. My husband was a fire-fighter and I was the principal money earner so this was no easy decision. But he supported me every inch of the way.
Everyone thought I was mad to leave. The most frequently asked question was ‘what about your pension?‘ Stuff the pension’ was my silent response. I’d die of boredom long before I got that far! It was scary suddenly being totally on my own but it was so exciting too! I did all sorts of freelance consultancy in the early days but lurking at the back of my mind was the idea of doing something different for women. Survey after survey tells us that women lack confidence and I wanted to do something about it. So what did I do, apart from blog on the topic and garner quite a following?
I used my skills and experience to write and deliver a one-day personal development course, RenewYou (www.changingpeople.co.uk/courses-list/), aimed exclusively at women. Its aim is to empower and equip others like me to follow their own professional and personal dreams. The feedback I've had has been amazing and last year I began licensing the course to excellent trainers across the world, including in the US. In 2013 we started with one woman delivering RenewYou, me, and now (summer 2014) we have 60.
It's so exciting to be living this dream. At 58 most of my friends are either retiring or thinking about it, but I never want to stop. Doing what you love enthuses and energises you; I look forward to every day. As I always tell my clients, dreams start to become reality when you stop dreaming and actually do something.
Follow your dream!