Dream a New Dream: There’s No Such Thing as too Late

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” ~ C.S. Lewis By the time Vera Wang turned 40 and was preparing for her wedding, she was already an accomplished figure skater and fashion editor. After having difficulty finding a wedding dress she was happy with, she decided to design her own and commissioned a dressmaker to make it. She opened her first bridal boutique a year later. Julia Child, a name synonymous with great food, was 39 years old when she published her first cookbook, and 51 when she made her television debut. Speaking of good food, Tim and Nina Zagat wrote their first restaurant guide in their 40s after leaving successful legal careers. Martha Stewart left behind a career on Wall Street and a catering business to write her first book at 41 years old and then launched the Martha Stewart Living media empire seven years later. Renowned artist Grandma Moses, aka Anna Mary Robertson Moses, didn’t begin her painting career until she was 78 years old. Prior to that, Anna worked as a seamstress. What do these notable names have in common? All of them dared to dream a new dream and set the goals necessary to achieve it. Whether they enjoyed success in their earlier careers or not, they seized new inspiration by the horns and made something wonderful out of it. And you can too.

Name it

A new dream can begin like a soft tickle in the back of your heart, pushing itself up and into your consciousness, but only when you let go and allow it to happen. Give yourself permission to declare a fresh start and a new pursuit. Identify what it is you want to take on. Define it. Learn what it’s going to take to get you there and make your plan.

Take the first step

Whether you’re looking to leap into an entirely new career, launch your own business, or make a move up the corporate ladder, seizing the brass ring of a new dream can seem a little daunting. Like any other goal, however, the key is to break down the task into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Get to work on the first step. And then the next. And the next.

Remember, what’s old is new again

Your new venture may seem to bear no resemblance to your current or prior positions, but the truth is that there are skills you’ve learned that will be useful in your new role. You aren’t really ‘starting over.’ Your path has simply come across a fork in the road and you’ve headed the sage advice of Yogi Berra who once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Your experience (and your professional network) is the foundation from which you launch this new phase.

Celebrate each victory

There may be points along this new trail that cause you to wonder if you made the right decision. There’s comfort in staying in the familiar. It takes courage to push out of that box. As you accomplish milestones on the way to your new goal, celebrate them. When you have set-backs, embrace them and learn from them. Remember, you’ve got this!