I am the oldest member of our Amazon Learning Team. The only other person who comes close is my supervisor and she is still I think a good 10 years younger than me.
And while I’m pretty tech-savvy, I type at least 55 wpm, and I’m adept at multi-tasking, delegating, and handling on-the-spot issues when they arise, I still fear that the powers-that-be may consider a younger person a better risk.
Because of that, I hear that little voice inside me grumble louder at my most vulnerable moments:
- You’re too old to keep pace with younger, more tech-savvy people
- You may as well quit now; you’re going to fail at this job
- You’re going to be rejected – what made you think you were right for this job?
Years ago, I heard that little voice when I sat down at my desk on my first day as a writer with the Baltimore AFRO American Newspaper. Five years later with no journalism degree, two awards, and my by-line on numerous above-the-fold front page stories, I was finally able to shut that voice up.
I heard that little voice again while I was waiting with over 1000 other women for my first 5k to start at the Baltimore Women’s Classic. Three completed races later, medals and constant improvements on my finish time, I was able to, once again, shut that little voice up.
Both of those times – and many others – I was afraid of failing, of being embarrassed, of stepping out of my comfort zone.
But more importantly: I was afraid NOT to try. I was afraid to stop; afraid to look myself in the mirror one day and see disappointment and missed opportunities; afraid that I allowed fear to control me.
Allowing fear to control me scares me – and here’s why it should scare you too.
FAILURE IS NOT A DEAD-END STREET
“There is no failure as long as you learn from your experiences, continue to work and continue to press on for success.” – Maya Angelou
Every success story has its failures.
- Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job for being too emotionally connected to her stories.
- Stephen King threw away his work-in-progress novel Carrie out of frustration.
- Walt Disney was fired from his newspaper job – criticized that he had no imagination.
The question in your mind should never be: “What if I fail?” The three success stories above, plus many more, are perfect examples of how failing is not a dead-end street.
Instead, ask yourself: “How bad do I want to succeed?”
“Failure breeds success.” Do you know how?
- Your failures show your efforts; your tenacity; your determination to keep going despite everything.
- Your failures show you what works, what does not, and which directions to take.
- Your failures build a blueprint for future success by eliminating obstacles.
FEAR IS JUST A FOUR-LETTER WORD DESIGNED TO CONTROL YOU
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
It’s absolutely healthy to fear people and situations that are designed to hurt you.
But it’s absolutely imperative that you distinguish those fears from that nagging little voice inside you that stops you from pursuing your goals.
Are you a 50-plusser like me and still dream of …
- … starting a business?
- … learning a new language?
- … nixing your unhealthy habits and developing healthy ones?
- … going back to school?
You have still have things you want to do or wish you’d done right? Yet you believe it’s too late; that you have to settle for your current life.
Instead of going after all the things you still want to do, you allow that little voice inside of you fill your head with doubts:
You don’t have enough money to start a business; get your head outta the clouds.
You want to stop eating all that junk food and get healthier? Please! You can’t give up cheese and potato chips – no way!
Go back to school in your 50’s for a job you really want? Do you know how old you’ll be when you graduate?
That nagging little voice is FEAR!
Shut it up!
Don’t just sit back and watch other people live their dreams.
Your age can only stop you from realizing the goals you still want to accomplish if you allow fear to fill your head with doubts and excuses.
Go ahead give it a try and follow your goals!
You’re getting older every year anyway right?
Make those years count.
Live your life.