I do not have all the answers for my own life, let alone for anyone else's. however, I do have some insight on this topic. I have been a caregiver most of my life. I was a very young mom starting with giving birth my first time at 17, and my last at age 28. I took care of my mother when she was ill and she passed when I was only 36 years old. Then my oldest made me a grandmother at the ripe old age of 38! For several reasons, I was the one who "held down the fort" for everyone while they were working and going to school. I hadn't had the opportunity to have the freedom to work outside the home for the most part just because it didn't make sense for me to for so many years. Then once I was a certain age (like over 49), and my daily babysitting of grandchildren duties was changing, I had an opportunity come my way to make a little extra money with some outside work. Did I think I would have a career? Did I think it would really amount to anything? Did I WANT it to become something? Those answers weren't all made up for me at all. I just moved forward to "see what would happen" for the most part. Here is what I learned in the process:
Never Hurts to Try - Since I really had no idea that any opportunity would arise, or if I really wanted it to by this point in my life, when I was offered to help out my son a few hours a week folding flyers, or filling out information on a sheet, I thought I would try it for a few reasons. One, it would help fill my longer days with no kids around, two I could help my son who needed it and three a little extra cash wouldn't hurt! However, I have a very overactive brain and began to worry about a huge amount of things that I didn't even need to think about at this point, like, could my son be able to fire me if he needed to? and would this hurt our relationship? I also had general worries about whether I would like to fill my time with a job or if it would be a problem for my husband when I needed to do something that took away from our time together. At this beginning stage NONE of those were issues at all! The change in my schedule was the only issue I needed to deal with right away and my husband supported me 100% from the beginning and has continued to support me ever since. I finally decided that the rest of my worries I would deal with as they came--and I am so glad I did that. So, if you are considering changing careers or even starting a new one, it truly doesn't hurt to give it a shot! Most of your fears or worries either don't happen, or you find the best way to deal with them as they come. I have to say, out of all of the things I have passed up in my life because of one reason or another, I haven't looked back with any regrets on trying. Most of my regrets have to do with giving up before I even tried. It truly never hurts to try.
Face Things As They Come - I touched on this a little, at least about fears, but you have to do this about the workings of the career you are embarking on as well. I didn't have pie in the sky ideas on my career because it was something I never thought of before, so I was fortunate in this regard because I had no pre-conceived notions of what my job would entail. But that isn't the case at times if you are consciously changing from one career to another. You need to know (as best as you can) what you are getting yourself into, however, a lot of things you will face in a career you can't know before you are in it, no matter who you ask. Some things you just learn as you go. It never hurts to do your homework a bit, but, you have to be ready to handle all sorts of things you haven't thought of yet. Thinking of that all at once can be overwhelming, but, when you face each situation one at a time, you find you can manage just about anything. I didn't even think of getting my real estate license right away. I was just trying to figure out the tasks I was given and do those. Only after time did I want more and more to learn about the industry I was working in.
Be Fearless - This is something that can be so difficult to do. Any and all new things freak me out a little. I really dislike the unknown and it can truly paralyze me with fear, however, I have learned that I just need a moment to get my big girl pants on and face it--whatever it may be! Being fearless isn't really the lack of fear, it's deciding to push that fear aside to do the task you need to do regardless of that fear. That is what courage is--to face whatever you need to face at that given moment. Decide to be fearless each day. Some days you will be more fearless than others, but, if you keep practicing each day, you will find that you can face a lot more than you ever thought you could! When I decided to get my license so I could work with contracts and help with some client things, it was a daunting task. I was getting ready to move at the time and I had started an online course. For each section I had to take a proctored test at a local library and there were many times I failed. I was terrified each time I faced that test once again and I felt like I would never pass those pre-tests let alone pass the state licensing exam. But, I didn't stop trying. I didn't give up. I faced those fears and kept marching along until I did pass. All of it. Not one time during any of that did I feel fearless, but I was. I was courageous to keep on going--I know that now. Now, I have to be fearless for every new task I am given. The more new things I do, the more comfortable I am doing them. You can be fearless, too. Just push ahead and don't give up.
Stay Positive - When you are doing something new, you are going to make mistakes. Making mistakes is how you learn what works and what doesn't. Some days getting back on track and feeling good at the end of the day may be tough, but bad days don't come too often and they don't last forever. You have to keep that mindset and practice being positive whenever you can. The more positive you are, the better you will feel and the more opportunities that you can see that are working for you and not against you. If you focus on all your failures, you will not have time to focus on all the new things you need to learn. So, get up from your mistakes, brush yourself off and start over again.
I never thought at age 52 I would be starting a job, let alone a career path that I absolutely love. At my age, I know that I can't keep up in some ways as my younger counterparts, but, I have some life experience that some of them don't have either. I have my own tools in my tool belt that no one else has because they aren't me and I don't have to compare myself to them anyway, because I have my own path to follow and they have theirs. So, why not try something different and see where it takes you? You just never know where you may end up!
Until Next Time!
Jen Lush--Associate Broker, Blog Writer, Mother, Nana and Fearless Woman