Tom skipped college and went straight to work.  Just like so many of us, he lived in the moment, focusing on the grind of family, and work.  He didn’t have time for anything else.  But, in his 50s, he decided to take a leap and take a stab at being a radio show host.  He’d always fantasized about being behind the microphone asking the tough questions, but the idea this could be a reality was not even in his consciousness until he hit Midlife. By 50, he had the stability and confidence needed to make the leap. The new adventure was both exciting and frightening, but he figured he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Ten seasons later, Tom has an award-winning, syndicated talk radio show: The Tom Matt Show.  He is so glad he followed his passion. 

Life Experience

Midlife is the perfect time for new beginnings.  The great thing is these new beginnings come with the wisdom we’ve gained, the connections we’ve created, and the confidence we’ve fostered in ourselves.  Most of us hit a high level of confidence in our skills by the time we turn 45 or 50. This gives us the freedom to explore the interests we didn’t have time for in previous decades. There simply isn’t time to devote to extra interests when raising a family and entrenched in a career. The wisdom we’ve gained from a couple decades of work pays off in our middle years. We finally have mental bandwidth and research shows this.

According to the Harvard Business Review (2018), the average age of a successful startup founder is 45.  Why is this?  Perhaps it is because midlifers have had a chance to gain confidence and skills, learn from failures and successes, and bring well-honed life experiences to a new venture.  

Time is ticking

Midlife is a time to try new ventures because time is limited, and we know it.  Putting passion projects off until “next year” just won’t work anymore.  The chance might not come along again.  Time has meaning in Midlife; it seemingly passes much faster than in the 20s and 30s.  This is the time to seize opportunities, and capitalize on them because we have the expertise and the knowledge that it is “now or never,” and living with regrets is often more frightening than taking a leap toward a new adventure.  

Financial Security

According to CNBC (2019), financial stability and security are factors that play into making a change in Midlife.  Women hit their peak pay at 40 and men at 49. This may be just the incentive needed to leave a job that isn’t fulfilling, but pays the bills because 58 percent of workers are willing to take a pay cut to completely change careers. 

Now get out there!

What’s your passion project?  Writing a book?  Becoming a podcast host? Entrepreneur?  Whatever it is, Midlife is the best time to start.

References

Research: The Average Age of a Successful Startup Founder Is 45. (2019). Harvard Business Reveiw. https://hbr.org/2018/07/research-the-average-age-of-a-successful-startup-founder-is-45

Nearly half of workers have made a dramatic career switch, and this is the average age they do it. (2019). Cnbc. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/31/indeed-nearly-half-of-workers-have-made-a-dramatic-career-switch.html

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Originally Published on https://deborahheiserphd.substack.com/

Deborah Heiser, PhD The Right Side of 40

Deborah Heiser, PhD is an Applied Developmental Psychologist with a specialty in Aging. I'm a researcher, TEDx speaker, contributor for Psychology Today, Substack blogger, CEO of The Mentor Project, and adjunct professor of Psychology.

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