One of the emails I recently received from a new email subscriber asked if it was too late for her to follow her dream. It’s a question I’ve received fairly frequently since launching Vibe Shifting and maybe it’s time we tackle this one head-on, and say, unequivocally, that it is never too late to follow your dream. Not ever.
It doesn’t matter how old you are
In April of 2009 a shy, almost-48 year old woman on social assistance from Blackburn, Scotland screwed up her courage one day, bought herself a ticket to London, and performed an audition in front of a panel of judges and room filled with hundreds of people.
She definitely did not fit anyone’s preconceived notions of what a singer should look like, and everyone in the room laughed at her when she walked onto the stage. And then she opened her mouth and began to sing, and every last one of those people immediately stopped laughing.
That woman was Susan Boyle, and she went on to become an international super-star and multi-platinum recording artist with five albums to her name and a personal net worth of over 22 million pounds (over 36 million USD) as of 2012. Not bad for a woman who didn’t get started on her dream until she was almost 50, wouldn’t you say?
“That’s great, but I’m not Susan Boyle…” you’re saying. Well, Susan Boyle wasn’t Susan Boyle back in 2009, either. Or rather, she was always Susan Boyle, but while she had always loved music and made it a part of life in smaller ways, she wasn’t ready to take a big risk and the correspondingly bigger action, on her dream until that point. But once she did, miracles started happening in her life and massive progress was made in a shockingly short timeframe.
There is no such thing as a wrong path
What I really love about Susan’s story (and if you haven’t read her auto-biography, The Woman I Was Born to Be, I highly recommend it) is that she was able to see how everything she’d experienced in her life up until the point her music career exploded had helped to prepare her for that moment. She was able to see how a lifetime love affair with music, years of singing in pubs for fun on open mic nights, and even a one-time experience in a recording studio for a project that didn’t go anywhere, had all taught her valuable lessons and educated her in many of the areas she would later need to know about in a bigger music career.
I love this about her story because it’s such a great reminder that there are no real wrong turns in life. I get so many emails from people who are agonized over the fact that they “messed up” and let their “big opportunity” for success pass them by. They’re afraid that they’ll never get another chance to make their dreams come true and this overwhelming sense of regret and self-loathing just eats away at them, often negatively affecting every other aspect of their lives.
Susan’s story is a gentle reminder that there are no mistakes. Everything you experience has its purpose and can teach you something that you can use going forward. And maybe, what you’re learning on the “wrong” path is something vital that you’re going to find yourself needing to know when you find yourself back on the “right” path.
Navigating unknown territory
More importantly, how can you be sure that you are, in fact, on the wrong path to begin with? Your dream is still a dream because you haven’t achieved it yet; the dream is unknown territory and you’re essentially still travelling.
Now imagine you if you had to travel for four hours, trying to navigate your way to some place you’ve never been; everything would look unfamiliar and strange to you, and you wouldn’t be sure you were on the right path until you had actually arrived at your destination; just because you can’t see your dream or outcome yet, doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path or that you’re not going to get there. Unless you stop mid-journey, give up in defeat and turn around.
Just keep moving toward your dream
And even if you feel like you’ve gone off track with respect to your dreams and goals, have faith that the Universe is constantly and instantly recalculating new paths and shortcuts for you, just like a GPS system on a car. Missed a turn? No problem, that handy little system will instantly recalculate and give you an alternate route to where you want to go.
Likewise, even if you find yourself on a different path from what you started on, if you’re still clear about your destination, the Universe will recalculate and find a new path to get you there, provided you’re still doing your part and keep moving, because even the fanciest GPS system is useless to you if you never pull your car out of the driveway.
It’s never too late!
So stop beating yourself up over the path not taken, and know that if your dream is still in your heart, then it is still possible for it to happen. If the dream is still important to you, then forge a new path or just take a different route to the original destination! And ask yourself what you’ve learned on your “detour” that will help you on your way, or that will help you be even better at what it is that you really want to do. It is never too late to build your dream.
Photo credit: FRAMES OF MIND ~ Chris Preen / iW / CC BY (modified by me)