Too Old? Get Over It!

old man

I’m always hearing people say, “I’m too old” or “I’m too young” for something. Forgive me my boldness, but that’s just an excuse.

Let’s take Thomas Edison as an example. By age 12 he had already read and comprehended Gibbon’s Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire, Sears’ History Of The World, Burton’s Anatomy Of Melancholy, The World Dictionary of Science and a number of works on Practical Chemistry. He was 43 when he made the Vitascope, an invention that would give birth to the motion picture industry.  He obtained the last of his 1,093 patents at the age of 83.  As Edison once said, “there is time for everything.”

He was right. There is time for everything you want to do, if you really want to do it. I have people saying they wish – that like me – they could own their own business. As the old saying goes, “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

It was the year 2000 and I had been working for someone else since my first job at the age of 11 – that’s 39 years. At the age of 48, I had an epiphany that I was ready to be a business owner, as was my father, his father and his grandfather. Was I too old? Well, how old would I be if I didn’t take a crack at it?

I began planning in the evenings after work. For three months, I thought about branding the new enterprise, who I would target for my services, and a host of other small details. I had a non-compete with my employer so I couldn’t really approach our current clients. But I could let them know what I was doing and ask them to help me with referrals.

I was upfront with my employer and told them what I was planning. They became my first client. On my first day in business, a supplier I had used called me and said they wanted my help. Referrals kept coming and my business grew. Was it easy? No, but I know now that – even if I had failed – I did the right thing.

Now, I’m not recounting this story in an attempt to get you to leave your employer and start your own company. I’m saying that there are many things people say they want to do but they let fear hold them back. Never finished college? It’s not too late. Want to learn a foreign language? At the age of 61, I’m studying three languages online. There are plenty of people out there who will support you in your efforts to try something new, no matter how old or young you are. Don’t listen to the naysayers. They just want company in their misery.

What is on your bucket list to accomplish? Let us know and maybe our THINKing community can assist you. And pick up a copy of my latest book, Born Creative, to help you get motivated.

About the Author

Harry Hoover
Harry Hoover is a partner in My Creative Team, the agency that makes Fortune 1000 clients look good. His communications career spans 35 years and runs the gamut from print and broadcast journalism, government and corporate communications to advertising and public relations agencies. He is the author of Born Creative: Free Your Mind, Free Yourself and Moving to Charlotte: The Un-Tourist Guide.

2 Comments on "Too Old? Get Over It!"

  1. Lauren Robertson | July 30, 2013 at 9:17 PM |

    Hello, thank you for this post. You are right in what you say- age means nothing. At 24 I decided to work for myself and have been the happiest of my life so far. We age no matter what, better to age living our dreams, than working for someone else’s.

  2. Lauren, thanks for your comment. You are dead on. Good luck with your endeavor.

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