Freelance After 50 Newsletter

F50 Issue #17: Never too late to chase your dreams!

Published about 1 month ago • 5 min read

F50 Issue #17: March 5, 2024

It’s Never Too Late: Chase Your Dreams at Any Age

Imagine you’re a child with a dream. You want to write books when you grow up.

This dream fills your thoughts as you eat breakfast in the morning. It inspires games of make-believe. You wonder how long you have to wait until you can live out this vision.

How about 60 years?

That’s how long Bonnie Garmus had to wait. According to an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, she’d wanted to be a novelist since she was five years old, but didn’t publish her first book, Lessons in Chemistry, until she was 65.

Before her dream came true, she worked for decades as a copywriter. And for five years, she continued to work full-time while writing her book. But once it was finished, she still had to wait.

The book was rejected 98 times when she first sent it out.

When asked if she wanted to give up, she said, “But the thing with writing, I think, is so important for people to realize is that the only one who says it's over is you. It's never over. Just because 98 people reject you, it doesn't mean that they were right."

And they most certainly were wrong. Lessons in Chemistry has made the New York Times bestsellers list, has been translated into 40 languages, won numerous awards, and is now an Apple TV+ series.

Bonnie Garmus is an inspiration to all of us — never give up, even if you’re over 50 and have unfulfilled dreams.

Her book is inspiring too. It’s set in the 1950s and early ‘60s and introduces us to a chemist and mom named Elizabeth Zott, who ends up hosting an innovative kind of cooking show for women.

As interviewer Tracy Smith says, “One of the messages of the book is you can change your story, you can own your story.”

That’s good advice for us all. If you have dreams of starting a freelance business, keep chasing them, and never give up. You can change your story to the plot you want to live out.

And to help you do that, here are five ways to stay resilient, persevere, and learn from your experiences as you chase your dreams.

Five Ways to Chase (and Achieve) Your Dreams at Any Age

#1. Define your goal(s).

Goals often begin with a vision, a picture of the future that ignites passion within you and inspires you to act. In your imagination, you visualize what you want to do, and you become eager to see that image materialize.

When you have a vision, we recommend creating a personal purpose statement so you can start defining your goals. For example, you might say, “I would like to build a freelance business so that I can _________.”

Once you know your purpose, map out specific, measurable goals for the end of the year, the first quarter of the year, and the end of the week. Once a week, sit down and create a list of tasks that help you take action toward reaching your weekly goals.

That list takes you to the next important step (or steps)!

#2. Take small steps every day.

Now that you’ve mapped out your goals and actionable tasks, take small steps every day. Accomplish little wins, and give yourself a pat on the back as you move closer to your dreams.

At the end of each week, evaluate which goals you’ve accomplished and which ones you’ll need to carry over to the next week. Each step will create momentum that motivates you to keep moving forward.

Here are some examples of small steps you might take if you decide to start a freelance business:

  • Read a blog post to learn helpful business practices.
  • Decide where you’d like your home office to be.
  • Make sure your computer has updated software.

#3. Use positive self-talk.

"Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love."

That’s a famous quote from researcher and storyteller Brené Brown. For two decades, she’s studied courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.

When dreams remain unfulfilled (especially if years or decades have gone by), you may experience some shame and self-doubt. You may even wonder if you’re cut out to embody the role you’ve dreamed for yourself.

But stop those thoughts in their tracks and replace them with positive affirmation and action. Write down a list of your weekly wins and celebrate how far you’ve come. Remind yourself that you can overcome challenges and keep going.

As Vincent Van Gogh said, “If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

#4. Choose a personal theme song.

Now let’s have some fun. Do you remember the TV show “Ally McBeal”? In one of the episodes, Ally’s therapist tells her, “You need a theme song … something that you can play in your head to feel better.”

The therapist then proceeds to turn on the stereo and play her own theme song, singing along and dancing. Ally awkwardly leaves the room, but later in the series embraces the idea.

So, what would be your personal theme song? What would help you feel better whenever you feel discouraged?

  • Maybe you could walk down the street like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, hearing the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” in your head.
  • Maybe the Gloria Gaynor song “I Will Survive” could inspire you.
  • Or maybe some lyrics from “The Impossible Dream” could help — “This is my quest to follow that star / No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …”

Think of a song that works for you! Let it play in your head when you need a boost of energy and motivation.

#5. Gain mastery over your skills.

When Bonnie Garmus was writing her book, she taught herself chemistry, according to the article above. She even tried some experiments from an old textbook called “The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments.”

As you define your goals and the action steps needed to move toward them, include any skills you need to learn. This learning is a lifelong process and will help you gain confidence and resilience.

If you decide to become a freelancer, commit to being a curious, relentless learner. Find out how you can master new technology, tools, or strategies that will help you build your business. In your schedule, reserve weekly time blocks for learning, or fit it in whenever you can.

Always stay on the lookout for new things to learn, and enjoy the process! It’ll sustain you on your journey toward your dreams, no matter how long or short that path is!

Did You Know?

“Aging brings new opportunities for learning.”

A Times Colonist article discusses how “keeping the brain active and learning new, intellectually demanding skills can have significant benefits for older people.” Some examples of skills recommended for older adults are:

  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Learning card games or chess
  • Learning computer skills or a new language.

Research shows that continuing to learn brings significant cognitive benefits. And don’t forget about leisure activities. They’re a great opportunity to learn too, and benefit your mental health and physical fitness!

Words to Live By

“Of all the important pieces of self-knowledge, understanding how you learn is the easiest to acquire.”

― Peter F. Drucker, Managing Oneself

At Freelance University, our motto is “Never freelance alone,” so if you decide to build a freelance business, we’ll be with you every step of the way, cheering you on!

We applaud you and encourage you to chase your dreams at any age!

Until next time,

Co-founders of Freelance University

431B 41st Avenue NE - Unit 94, Calgary, AB T2E 2N4
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Freelance After 50 Newsletter

Craig & Kelly Cannings, Co-founders of Freelance University

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