If you prefer to listen, you can find the Podcast version here.
This is a message to those of you who are feeling like it’s too late. To start over, change paths, or even try something you’ve wanted to do. Maybe you’re 65, maybe you’re 45, or maybe you’re 25. Whatever stage you’re at–know that there’s no such thing as “too late.” There is no official ruling on when the right time in your life has come.
There’s also no such thing as “the time it takes to start over.” Whatever you are seeing as the reason you cannot make a total 180 in your life, is an illusion. It’s your brain’s false perception of future pain and it’s completely made up.
Not to downplay the feeling, because I know it well and it ain’t fun. It’s that feeling of dread, or insecurity and doubt, or being daunted and overwhelmed–enough so that you don’t even want to entertain thinking about change. It’s called “Fear” and it’s your brain making you THINK you know what the future will be like.
The fear is false. What you perceive in your mind is much, much harder than it is in reality. It is simple to create dramatic change in a single day. The hardest part of change is in your mind. The single greatest hurdle you have to overcome, is that seedy voice of doubt.
I suggest you call it out into the light. Make it accountable for its catcalls and know that when it speaks, it is not you. It is the voice of fear and doubt that lives inside of you. Identify it, give it a name, a tone of voice, and know that it’s not allowed to tell you what you can and cannot do. (BTW, mine’s a lady version of Gollum from Lord of the Rings.) Decide to stop listening to it because it is not logical and it does not speak the truth. You are not perceiving reality, when you perceive feelings of dread or fear.
If you are convincing yourself you cannot change your life in a direction right now, you must make effort to conquer your brain. I know that sounds weird, but you have a built-in survival mechanism that says, “No–just stay here.” You have to decide to override it. Because once you really make the decision–change just happens, like water pouring down a mountain. It just flows in the direction it’s meant to head in and it’s logical.
Know that once you decide to change, you have already begun to change. The fact that you are even reading this means a part of you has already moved closer to the new you. The act in itself illuminates the part of you that is already mentally deciding to move toward change. Stay curious, and the rest of you will follow–and you’re already in motion. If you have tried once before and failed, do not judge yourself today by the self of your past. You are a different person now that you were before. Success usually lies just past that point you’re about to give up. If you failed, it’s because you hadn’t decided 100% yet. The hardest part of creating change is in YOUR MIND. It’s in making that commitment and knowing you mean it. Because the actual steps are simple: once you begin to take steps to change your life–in any direction–it will happen so quickly you will be astounded.
Once you have conquered the change you desire to make, you will be shocked at how quickly it was completed. Because that’s the part of change that you forget: it’s novel and foreign so it feels like a long and treacherous process, but once it’s begun, it moves more and more quickly like a cartoon snowball. As you grow, you gain momentum and energy.
The best part of all is once you try something terrifying and new once, the next time it’s easier and faster. You will feel almost all-powerful, because you have an awareness of what it takes to create any change in your life. All it takes is creating the habit of change and suddenly every door opens up.
There’s no such thing as “too late.” There is no “correct” timeline for your life. You get to change it whenever you want, and once you’re on the other side of it, every single waking breath you take makes the work you had to do a million times worth it. And it’s worth it at any age, there’s no such person as you. Let go of what ‘they say” and decide based on what it is you are curious about. It’s worth it to experience anything new, because this is your one go-around on this ride.
If you’re in a place where you’re scared of taking on a new challenge and you’re intimidated by others who are already doing that thing–the key I hand you is to humble yourself. Being humble is the most powerful form of bravery in the world. It is intimidating and disarming to all who witness it. The most brave, beautiful, impressive people in the world are the ones who put themselves out there and try. Who invest their whole self in something, even when they are stumbling. It is cowards who only want to look good. The coward is the one who does not try: who sits behind a window, pointing at what is good or bad about what others choose to do.
Take an honest and unabashed role in trying and you are (in my book) amazing and powerful. Your life is filled with greatness just for doing so.
I know that’s a bit lofty so I will bring it down to a smaller level–I’ll talk about myself. Every time I’ve started a new career, I’ve felt that seedy lady Gollum on my back singing the, “I want to give up” chants. Half the time I’m walking down a path committing to taking an action and thinking, This is a terrible idea. I don’t know what I’m doing – this is stupid, people are not going to like this. The key to creating change is knowing that you’re going to think that way, and embracing it.
Plan for it! Accept that you’re going to feel dumb, or slow, and own it! Wear it as your armor and it will intimidate everyone else around you. “Hi, I don’t know what I’m doing. But I am trying, wholeheartedly! I am singing at the top of my lungs!”
Once you wear your truth, and do not hide it, you are free. Free to try and fall down, free to laugh at yourself, free to ask people to talk more slowly so you can take notes. You get to be exactly who you are and where you are, without feeling bad about it. The most powerful form of confidence is authenticity.
There’s no such thing as too late. There is no time limit. There has never been a person born that is YOU. Every moment spent living a dream: something achieved–whether it’s 40 years or a day, it’s worth it.
Your life has not been written. You can make a 180 in your life–Right Now. I hope you go for it, because, why not? What have you got to lose? Absolutely nothing, but a life of joy.
Happy Sunday, my lovely friends!
Sarah May B.
Featured image via Flickr