I don’t believe that age should ever prohibit anyone from reaching success. All age does is give us indicators where we have hit different phases of life. For example, in our 20s to 40s, we are typically in the learning phase of adult life. That’s the time for figuring out who we are and why are we here? We see what areas we should give more attention to and what we want to experience and to bring into our life. From our 30s to 40s, we are starting to get into some mastery, and then 40s to 60s we’re typically harvesting the knowledge and the experience and the skills that we have been planting seeds for in our previous years.
In the 60+ group people will often think that they’re at a point of questioning what to do next. Woman may think, I can’t bear children anymore and the ones I had have all left the nest; Am I any good to anyone anymore? Maybe now that they have taken care of people all their lives they find lots of time and nothing to fill it with. For a man, he may be moving into retirement and often have a loss of identity since they retire and feel they loose the things that they have done or accomplished. To many, it’s a sign of what they were capable of; more on that later.
Have you hit a time in your life for a new or different challenge to emerge, but don’t know what to do?
I believe in the saying…” people believe that they stop playing because they grow old, and the reality is that they grow old because they stop playing”. When we subscribe to the world telling us: “hey at this age you should be slowing down”, so often we confuse age with vitality.
I’m a great example of not allowing that brainwashing… I was a very successful Triathlon athlete. Then after several injuries, I left the circuit. By most accounts, I was told, “you’re supposed to slow down now or you’re not supposed to do these strenuous things to your body anymore”. I choose not to believe that my age has anything to do with my life, and I was able to come back fully. If I had listened to other people, I may have gained 30 extra and I’d probably be walking around with a cane, because I would have given up.
Regardless of your age, I think the real question that people ask themselves covertly is, at what age do I start giving up? It’s the same silly question I have asked some of my boxing clients, “In which round do you decide to lay down and quit because your tired?” My answer is never. I believe that you can do whatever you want at any age. And it’s about being able to know your north star in serving your purpose. And that doesn’t change regardless of your age. The economic means, the time, the other factors in the environment or your resources may adjust, but you can stay youthful and have that vitality from cradle to grave.
People that are really our closest allies are bombarding us constantly: they could be family members, friends, or your spouse. They may believe that they are trying to keep us safe, but they are sabotaging us with their view of universal beliefs, like “you better play it safe now that your older” or my favorite, “Aren’t you too old to go back to school”, or “Does your body still want you to move like that”?
The alternative I offer you is being able to know what you’re worth; to never give up because you’ll never know what you’re worth if you give up. The only way that you fail is if you quit or don’t start.
Let me use an example to show you how to get unstuck…
George and his wife were married for 55 years. He retired at 50 to be with her full time then so they could do retirement things like travel… and she suddenly passed away. George was now alone and stuck. He is financially stable but now he doesn’t know what to do with the rest of his life. George is sad, fearful, ready to give up and just stays home all the time.
Since George’s goal was to get unstuck I asked George to look at the quality memories of his life so we could find his values and let him see a new purpose. What I looked for with George was to remember his most powerful and happiest memories. I had him write down all the emotions and the feelings that he experienced. And once we had those great qualities, feelings, and emotions we can now find another vehicle to replicate those same feelings.
He had a long happy marriage with his wife and partner. His wife was always there and always doted on him and gave him words of affirmation, which made him feel loved. They did a lot of exotic travel, and they liked variety. They enjoyed being able to share that time together and they had a deep relationship with their faith and did many things that allowed them to feel that they could contribute to others in their church? All those things are telling us, how George shows up. What makes him feel connected and fulfilled? While our vehicles may change over time, our values pretty much stay constant. In the end, all George needed to get unstuck was to find new vehicles to allow him to express his values; such as people who were like-minded, the ability to travel, and a way to contribute to others. What worked for George was to join missions with his church, which took him to exotic places, and allowed him to help the local people who needed his expertise and experience. With his values met, success was achieved.
Originally published at medium.com