What If is the world we live in as kids. Imagination and belief of what could be are driving forces of everyday life. What if I trade you this for that? What if I get that new game? What if they pick me for captain?
What if, what if, what if. And, we move through life aching to be older, because we hear over and again that our dreams can't happen "until you're older."
Somewhere it all flips and we begin to hear, "You're too old to (act, be, do) that."
Whether too young - or too old - we live with a sense that somehow we're missing out on the good stuff.
We are trained as children with "fear of loss" techniques: privileges, events, freedom, money, friends. Is it any wonder that one of the most powerful marketing strategies uses exactly that tactic?
One Time Offer!
Don't Leave This Page! You'll Never See This Offer Again!
Limited Availability - Call Now!
Be the 1st 100 Callers for This Special Discount.
Once It's Gone, It Will Never Be Back!
Okay. So, I think I've made my point.
But all of those external messages can be filtered. With a bit of awareness and discipline, we learn to click the No, I don't want to save money on this incredible offer button and go on to the next page. Or, we can switch the channel and live without the newest widgety doodle.
The most critical battle takes place elsewhere. It is the voice in our own brain - our own heart. That voice tells us it is too late to (be, do, act). It keeps us locked in our self-made prison of limits. Let's talk about it.
The Prison of It's Too Late for Me
I was never a big adventure ride gal at the amusement park. Even today, I don't like to watch roller coaster rides (from the viewpoint of the rider) on TV. Don't get me wrong, I like excitement - just not that kind. I'd love to be the gal that loves the giant, death defying swoop, drop and shake ride. But, I'm not.
I remember when I was told that I was too big for my favorite ride at our local amusement park. It was the boats. It was a sad day. Someone decided that what gave me joy, pleasure and fulfillment was no longer appropriate for me. And, I began to believe it was okay for others to dictate what was and was not appropriate for a 'woman of my age.'
As an adult, I get it. The boats weren't built for anything over a certain weight and height. And, believe me, I understand that there is a huge difference between child-LIKE and child-ISH. However as a kid, all I knew was, "it's too late to enjoy this." And somehow, I began to be trained that adults act and react in particular ways in order to be accepted; silliness is not acceptable, gravitas is. I began to believe and obey my interpretation of those unspoken limits on what I could and could not achieve, pursue, do, or own. Note, I said I put those limits out there.
Maybe some of these resonate with you...
I got married young and had children while I was young - it was too late to go to college.
We answered the call to ministry later in life - it was too late to go to a large, recognized Bible school.
I worked for other people - it was too late to have a career that was meaningful.
I was late to the Direct Sales game - it was too late to be ridiculously successful (whatever that is!)
Richard became ill - it was too late for us to live our dream life.
Limit, upon limit, upon limit. And within each of those limits, I layered MORE limits. For instance, if I don't have a college education, then others will consider that I'm not intelligent and so will not respect me.
STOP THE MADNESS!
Somehow, it began to seep into my brain that all of those things were just my opinion of what I thought about my life. And, I started to see that it was all some sort of life I had concocted because I believed that once you are past a certain age or benchmark, it is simply too late. Fear of loss was true. I lost.
Maybe you have battled those same doubts and thoughts. Maybe someone told you it was too late for you to get into that boat - and neglected to tell you that there was a bigger boat ride around the corner.
Maybe, it's time to start believing WHAT IF can work FOR you, instead of against you.
Your life, your journey, your experiences are all lived through your unique filter. Basically, this means you are living the truth you believe. If you believe, and continue to believe it is too late for you - it will be too late. But, what if you could change your filter? What if you could recreate your story and experience the freedom to express yourself to your fullest capacity - no matter your age, race, gender, social status or education? What if you are enough?
What if you could recreate your story and experience the freedom to express yourself to your fullest capacity?
And notice, my latest battle with "fear of loss" wasn't that long ago. And I'll admit, that sometimes I'm right in the midst of that battle. But this is what I know - as long as I fight the lie, I have a chance to win. When I give up and believe it, I'm cooked!
A Few Classic Examples of What If It Isn't Too Late
Vera Wang did not begin her own brand until she was 40. Now at at 66 she is a titan in the industry.
Nola Ochs graduated college at the age of 95 and earned her Master's Degree at age 98.
Martha Stewart was 41 before she began her hospitality and food empire.
Samuel L Jackson was 46 and a recovering addict when he starred in his first major role.
Julia Child published her first cookbook at 39, and debuted on TV at age 51.
Laura Ingalls-Wilder was 65 when her first book was published, and 76 when the last book in the series was released.
Ernestine Shepherd began her health journey at age 56. Today at 79 she is a personal trainer, professional model and competitive body builder. She holds the Guinness world record for oldest female body builder.
As long as I fight the lie, I win! #ReClaimYourHope
Convert Your Story of Loss into a Story of Victory
At any point in time we can give in to our stories. Or, we can make a decision to write a new one. Maybe you can take a few points away from my journey.
The reality of not earning a 4-6-8 year college degree has not stopped my education. I am highly educated. I've successfully completed many courses. I'm an avid reader on business, leadership, coaching, spirituality and any other thing that I want or need to learn.
The call to ministry isn't from men, it is from God. He has led me and trained me. We have to get over the belief that the only measure of a person's insight, education and degree of skill is a diploma given by an institution. I'm all for higher education, but it doesn't mean a person is any good at what they do, it means they passed the test.
My career experiences taught me valuable lessons, and helped me discover what my passions are. I did work for several different types of companies: local tax agencies, oil and gas partnerships, an oil and gas mega-giant, abstract and title, publishing - as well as restaurants and cafes. Each of these positions helped me to identify my unique gifts, talents and skills. They helped me know what I loved and what I didn't. They taught me people skills, technical skills, and soft skills of interaction and negotiation. I learned that one of my highest values is personal freedom, and the ability to decide when and where I work, and with whom I work.
I was highly successful in my Direct Sales Career. Only, I didn't recognize it as success at the time. I have a personal high-level definition of success. I'm a high performer. I don't expect everyone to want what I want, but I expect myself to exceed my expectations. For a long time, I felt like a failure. Time and perspective showed me that I wasn't. I earned a very nice income, worked with incredible women, traveled the world, taught at conferences and seminars, and was highly respected by those I worked with and those who owned the company.
We are still alive. The life that Richard and I choose to live is based on how we decide to see reality. We decided to live. And, as long as you are live, there are options.
How Can You Change Your Story?
It's time for you to live your life of freedom and bravery. It is time to give your gifts, skills and talents to the world - no matter how young or old you are.
Hey, there's another boat you can ride right over here...
Live Inspired! Live At Your Best!