I recently attended a networking event that featured a young (to me) couple that has, by all accounts, been hugely successful at flipping houses. For context, I am going to guess that he is in his 40’s and she in her 30’s. They were a very confident pair, with her doing all the talking, much about her amazing husband and how he taught her their trade. They were much adored by the crowd, all aspiring to be as successful. Indeed, she/they were quite impressive. She said one thing though, that I’ve been unable to shake from my mind. She said something along the lines of “Go for it now, you don’t want to wake up at 50 and realize you missed your chance”.
I get what she was saying. And I am all for encouraging people to follow their dreams. But at the risk of sounding defensive or petty, I have to say, I have a different (or perhaps additional) perspective around that.
As a young boy, as is the case with many kids, I dreamed of being a professional athlete. When I realized that it wasn’t going to happen, I thought about a career in sports broadcasting or becoming a player agent. I didn’t know how to crack into either of those careers, so I followed the more “traditional” route of a business degree.
The business degree led to a career in Oil & Gas that I enjoyed and was successful at. I don’t regret it for a minute. I guess it was also a dream to follow my Dad’s footsteps and build a successful career in business while raising a family. I met wonderful people, learned a ton, was challenged and given the opportunity to develop my skills and accomplish things I never thought I would or could. And all the while, I was building a nest egg that now allows me to venture into other things, still learning, still growing.
Along the way, I found ways outside of work to challenge myself and, some would say, pursue dreams. At 50, I ran my first marathon. Sure, maybe I should have jumped on that train earlier. But, for whatever reason, I didn’t. It was not too late. Also, at 50, I started playing hockey, barely knowing how to skate. Again, it would have been EXTREMELY helpful for me to have started that challenging sport earlier, but I didn’t. It was not too late, as I had a blast.
Fast forward to 2018/19. Fresh after retiring from the 38-year career in Oil & Gas, my wife, son and I started a kickboxing business in a different state. Arguably, I had taken a baby step toward being a small business owner by buying a short-term rental property a few years earlier. But to start an out of state kickboxing business was a big move, taken at the age of 60.
Shortly after that, I came across an opportunity to buy into a professional hockey team and completed the deal in the spring of 2019. As a result, I am the proud co-owner of the Greenville Swamp Rabbits professional hockey team and am enjoying every minute of it.
All of those past and current experiences have helped me become who I am today. And thankfully, I’m good with that, though every day is an opportunity to evolve into a better version of myself. If I were able to visit with the young woman who spoke at the networking event, I would suggest that she tweak her message. Follow your dreams; the only person who can decide what dreams you follow and when you follow them is you. It's never too late.