So you survived the storms of parenthood, battled through business or even sailed triumphantly through the waters of success and here you are, pretty much at a loose end. What next?
Have a rest? You deserve it, right? Kick your shoes off and settle down in front of “Escape Down Under” with coffee and cake at hand and take a peek at how life could have been. Enjoy the fruits of all your hard work and watch your belly spread in front of you? Well, why not? It’s not like you’re going to be playing football for England or running the London Marathon, is it?. Relax and accept those “inevitable” aches and pains as they start to creep across your sagging form, and fill in a crossword every day to “keep your brain active”. Sit back reflect on what a great life you’ve had and how lovely it is to see your children and grandchildren having a wonderful time.
I think we all know that that’s not how it has to be but I have seen personally how easy it can be to give in to giving up. Before you know it you can recite word-for-word those funeral plan adverts, find yourself agreeing with your neighbours about how much your knees hurt in the mornings these days or confessing to everyone how you drink more than you should, bemoaning how time passes so quickly. Yes, well it does and there’s never a better time to seize the opportunity than the moment you have right now before it’s gone.
Getting on for five years ago, in my sixtieth year and feeling it, I looked at myself hard and decided I really didn’t want to let it all slide any further and I set about beginning to change some habits that I had slipped into quite uncosnciously. It began with physical exercise and I embarked on the Couch To 5k programme to get me jogging again after a lapse of a few years.
A couple of years ago, after a chance conversation with an old friend I began reading books about Success and, as a result, I started changing more habits and embarked on some new business ventures. Since then I have also lost three stone in weight and begun new learning in various fields. I feel better than ever and I’m totally up for whatever further success life has to offer me. I am working full time and a little more in my own businesses but somehow I still have the time and energy for hobbies, pastimes and travel and life is amazing.
Having arrived at 60 (and a little more) and got all inspired about doing new things I really am convinced that this is absolutely the best time to be starting a new business. Here are ten reasons why:
- You have nothing to prove (except, perhaps, to yourself)
All those years of having to do something with or for others and now you can do it just for yourself. How many times did you think you could do it better, or at least differently, but had to hold your tongue. Well now you don’t have to.You can change things if you don’t like the way it’s going or you can take a rest if you want to and noone (except you) is going to have a go at you.But make sure you really give it your best shot or you will not forgive yourself. People who work for themselves are their own harshesst critic so be ready for dealing with that inner voice that nags away.
- You have the knowledge
In all those years of doing stuff for or with other people you must have picked up something along the way. Now’s the time to use your knowledge to make a success of your own new business project.
Whether it’s knowledge you picked up in your working career or something you are passionate about – a hobby or pastime or a cause or something you have found you are really good at but have never put it to the test in making money from it, now is your chance to do something with it – for you.
- You have the wisdom
With age comes wisdom – we all hope, anyway. So what IS the difference between Knowledge and Wisdom? Knowledge is facts – wisdom is the ability to see facts in the context of life and experience and how to use those facts can be used to the best purpose. Wisdom is also the ability to distinguish between what is really important and what matters less in reality.For example: Knowledge of how to ride a motorcycle and how to do it really fast and skillfuly is something that anyone might have or be able to gain. The wisdom to use that vehicle so that you protect your life and the the lives of others is something that might come only with age and experience.
When we are young it seems we care about how we look, how others see us, what possessions we have, how much money we earn and so on. But once we have done all that we come to realise that there more important things, such as how we feel and how we make others feel, our relationships with others and with the world around us. Such wisdom can bring a real satisfaction to how we operate in our business. Wisdom also leads to less risk-taking and whilst risk-taking is encouraged in entrepeneurs it often results in financial instability or even disaster. We do’t need that when we are older and our wisdom guides us accordingly.
Your wisdom helps you to understand that in every kind of area and activity there will be problems and you just have to deal with them. Your wisdom will guide you through them.
- Financial worries
Hopefully. by now your mortgage will be paid off or you are in a stable living situation and all you have to think about in terms of finance is making sure your day-to-day living expenses are taken care of. So any business venture you embark on now can contribute to improving your disposable income and you might even be able to put a stash away for that car you’ve been hankering after or the holiday you have been promising yourself and/or your partner.However, unless you are awash with cash and can afford to lose some this isn’t the time to be taking big risks with dodgey business investments. When I go to an auction I have a think about how much I can afford to lose on any one lot before I bid and I never go over that amount unless I am more than sure I can make a good return on my investment. The same should apply in any business adventure you take on at this time of your life.
Some folks are what has been expressed as “asset rich – cash poor”, meaning that they own their own house, car etc but their income is low. Starting a busines venture at this time of life can help deal with that situation and having the time to do it helps make it possible.
- You have the time
Perhaps you are retired or maybe winding down towards retirement but at this time of life your responsibilities are probably fewer than at any time since you were a student. Unless you have committed long hours to a volunteering role or community project the chances are you are no longer answerable to a great number of demands.By this time you may well be time-rich and thinking about how you can fill those empty slots on your previously busy calender. Plenty of time to spare but don’t waste it.
- You have the connections
Over many years you have met and worked with a variety of people, you have made friends and their freinds and all these people have skills, reources and attributes that you can learn from and use (in the nicest possible way) to your advantage. Oh and you might be able to help them too.Social media these days means that our connections, unless we choose to severe them, remain in touch. Linkedin , Facebook, Twitter etc
- You have the energyIt seems ridiculous but when you are past that time of growing a family and slaving away to make them secure and prosperous you are working hard on so many levels you can easily find the demands on your energy almost overwhelming. Add to that your need to keep your social life alive and any sports and pastimes you have managed to keep up with and there’s not much left in the tank.Once all that good stuff is done, and perhaps you have grandchildren you can enjoy but give back, you may well find that you have plenty of energy left. It does help to have looked after yourself, though, as being overweight or unfit, drinking to excess or any other over-induglence is definitely counter-productive and take a great deal of energy to maintain.
- You understand the Time ImperativeWithout dwelling on it, you understand that life’s road is a cul-de-sac. It is a cliche but nevertheless true that when you are young you think you will live for ever. There comes a point as you get older when time starts to speed up and you can defenitely see that there will be an end.You don’t want to waste your time, how ever long that may be and so you are more likely to get on with whatever it is that you want to do. There are some folks who will waste their time, though, and they are the ones that all those day-time TV adverts are aimed at – you know the ones, for funeral plans, incontinence pants, travel insurance for seniors. If you don’t know what I’m refering to that’s great. If you know them all too well perhaps it’s time to consider using your time more productively.
- You can mix with a wide variety of peopleIn early stages of life you tend to mix with people of a similar age and background – those who share your values and opinions. As time goes by your outlook changes a little and you accept a wider variety of people into your life.
- It’s Good for youAll the evidence says that being busy is good for you. Many large organisations provide retirement counselling before their older employees leave the business because retirement can be a shock to the system – and to your partner.Keeping busy keeps your mind active and healthy and reduces the chances of you slipping into mental health problems. You might enjoy a rest from the rigours of full-time employment but don’t let your life slip away into nothing as long as you still have the mental and physical capacity.In conclusion
With your experience of life, work and leisure activities you are in a great position to start a new business venture. At this time of your life you have the time and the energy – even if you having limiting health issues – and your life experience will help you overcome any difficulties that might come your way. Throughout your life you have gathered the contacts and know how to deal with people of all ages and backgrounds. You have the resources to make a success of it and, more importantly, to enjoy the process.
If not now, when? This is your time. Take action – Now.
- You have nothing to prove (except, perhaps, to yourself)