Did a friend ever ask you how it feels being over 30? (If you are, of course.) Last night, I went out with one of my oldest friends who’s turning 30 next month, and after a beer he paused, looked worriedly in my eyes, and asked what he might have been thinking about for a while. What has changed for me since turning 30?
For me personally, nothing much really. However, what came to my mind was how sometimes I notice people believe that once they’re over 30, their path is set in stone and they’re doomed to do whatever they’re being paid for right now until the very end of their life. Whether they’re enjoying it or not. They look at the younger people around them who do what they wish they’d done at that age, or would be doing now, and they feel like their ship has sailed. They can’t and won’t ever be able to do that very thing.
I often hear how something’s not possible because one hasn’t studied the right subject or doesn’t have the right references. It feels to me like we ask for permission to do something. Like we want to be asked. We might want something, but we wait until someone finally sees our brilliance; our skills we had humbly kept a secret.
We wait to be allowed to pursue whatever we’d like to do and we forget that in the age of the social web, it’s actually never been easier to give ourselves the permission we’re hoping to receive from the universe. Truth is, it might never come unless you prove you’re worth receiving it.
Let’s take the example of publishing a book. A couple of decades ago, you needed a publishing house to approach you and ask you whether you’d be up for writing a book. Now, you self-publish or set up a blog and you share with the world whatever you can’t keep to yourself anymore. Or if you want to have your art exhibited, you no longer need to find a gallery to take a risk on you. You can simply start an Instagram or a Tumblr feed and curate your art there. The literary agent might find your blog, or an art collector might discover you on Instagram or even Pinterest.
Fact is, references can be made up.
If you want people to ask you to do something, do it for yourself first. If you want to do something professionally, start doing it and don’t forget to share the results online. You can shift industries and careers and get into whatever field you’d like to by positioning yourself within that field. You can and should give yourself the permission to have a voice.
Start talking about the things you want to talk about, start publishing white papers, keynotes, online classes, and blog posts on the very subjects that would be relevant once you’d work in that field professionally. Join the conversation and don’t wait for that magic moment. Don’t wait for someone to offer to pay you for the talent you’re keeping a secret. That someone might never come.
Now it’s time to take the Monday seriously.