How Old is Too Old to Change Careers?

By Leanna Fredrich

Many of the clients I work with in my Life Coaching business are in the age range of 40 plus. A belief which comes up often early in our conversations is the belief that maybe they are too old to consider changing careers. After all they should be slowing down. They should be thinking about retiring not starting a new business or entering a new career. Well that’s a lot of "shoulds" and as time goes by I am less and less sold on retirement. I get many retired people in my workshops who say that they are totally bored with retirement and are ready to get back to work! Sure, they are picky about the work they want. They want work they are passionate about and many want more freedom of time. What they all want is to feel like they are doing something meaningful and enjoyable with their life.

As a generation we are living longer then ever and many of us are extremely healthy so there is no reason to hold back from finding and creating work we are passionate about. There are many examples of people who change careers much later than is normally thought of as a "good age" for a new career. I remember reading about a woman who always dreamed about being a doctor. She entered medical school at the age of 60. Often people would say to her, "Do you know that you will be in your 70's when you finish?" Her answer always was, "I'll be in my 70's anyway. I would rather be a doctor when I am 70 then just be 70." Last I heard she was enjoying a thriving medical practice. Most successful new businesses are started by someone in their 50's or older. In fact many Venture Capital Companies prefer funding businesses run by a more mature and experienced leader.

A common argument against starting a new career as an older person is that, "I won't have enough energy." Often people are so burned out in their current career that it is hard to imagine having the energy to start a new one. We do need to be good caretakers of our energy at all times of life but especially as we get older. The beauty is that when you find a career you love, which uses your strengths then it will naturally give you energy! Yes, you will get tired by the end of the day but you will be ready and excited to go do it again tomorrow. When you are working from your strengths and passions it feeds your energy rather then draining it. What I have found is that when you are in a career you love it is easier to drop the draining activities in your life or hire them done. Save your energy for what you love!

A big plus to starting a business or new career when you are older is that you bring with you tons of life experience. You have learned through the years how to get along better with others, how to problem solve and you have connections you developed over time. All of this will help you progress faster and move smarter. Take all your hard earned knowledge and life lessons with you and they will give you a huge boost.

So let's change that old belief, "I am too old for a career change." and choose a supportive belief like, "I am the perfect age for a career change." Agnes Martin wrote, "I didn't get my first show until I was 45. If I could tell you anything, I would tell you that you have time." So gather your wonderful self up and get started on that new career or business. It is never too late to have work that brings you joy!


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