It’s Wednesday! Time for a little inspiration to carry us through the week!
A lot of people say, you can do anything! Age is just a number! As much as we like hearing it, some of us are not convinced. We think, Well that’s all fine and good for her–she’s in her (insert some age here). But I’m (insert age here)!
Consider this: I was at a workshop earlier this year with about 30 other people, most of them in their 20s and 30s. A couple of us were in our 50s and one was in her early 60s. At one point, the amazing Josh said, Would everyone who thinks it’s too late for them, raise their hand? And every single person in the room had their hand up. Every one.
Feeling afraid it’s too late is not really about how old we are. It’s about how stuck we feel.
Now, I’m sure you’ve all read about the difference between a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset, the work of Carol Dweck and her fantastic book, Mindset. You can read more about it many places including the Brain Pickings link here.
The shorthand is: our beliefs shape our lives. Who we think we are underlies who we allow ourselves to become, and therefore, how happy we feel. It’s like that Henry Ford quote, Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.
In a fixed mindset, we believe we are who we are is the ending point. There’s not much to be done about it. We’re ‘this’ smart. We’re ‘this’ old. We’ll just never be good at such and such. It’s too late to start such and such. Etc. etc., In a growth mindset, we believe who we are is a starting point. Our personality, traits, and abilities are seen as fluid or plastic, as the brain people like to say these days. Challenge is welcomed and failure is accepted as part of the learning process.
When you feel like what you’ve been dealt is an ending point, you operate from fear, trying to be okay with what feels disappointing or scary. When what you have is a starting point, you operate from a place of possibility.
Look–I’m not skipping around in my ponytail chanting, You can be anything! Some things are not possible. Making choices means some roads are not taken. But that’s okay. I used to dream of being an Olympic gymnast back when I was 12. It’s not my dream anymore. What I want now is to feel strong and healthy, to feel good in my skin, to feel capable and energized. That’s doable.
Now, for some inspiration:
Here’s Shirley Webb. She’s in her 70s. The article I link to said she had a goal of deadlifting 300 pounds by May. My brother saw her deadlift 300 pounds in early April.
Here’s Vivienne Westwood. She opened a punk clothing store in her late 30s and is still going strong well into her 70s.
Trudy Smith always wanted to paint. She finally picked up a brush in her 80s and she’s still going strong.
Harriet Thompson completed a marathon at 92.
Vera Wang didn’t begin her career as a designer until she was 40.
Robin Chase cofounded Zipcar at 42.
Betty White was just hitting her stride on the Mary Tyler Moore show when she was 51.
Laura Ingals Wilder published the first of the Little House on the Prairie books when she was 65.
Henry Bernstein wrote and wrote but no one heard of him until he published a memoir at 96.
Ernestine Shepherd didn’t start start weight training until she was in her late 50s.
What do you want? What dreams won’t leave you alone? What do you want to learn, try, experience, make, see? Write it down. Check your mindset. If it’s fixed, resolve to unfix it. How else are you going to get any traction unless you can move?