When Is It Too Late To Change Your Life?

a woman sitting on a couch reading a book.

This question is asked in 80% of my coaching engagements. The client might be in their 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s. And they can be questioning a relationship, a career choice, parenting, or returning to school.

Does this apply to you? Is there an area of your life where you wondering if it’s too late, if you’re too old, if you just plain “shouldn’t”?

Almost as soon as my client asks question, they will tell me about an exception to the rule —  a parent who went back to school and became a professor at 50. Or a mother who started law school after her children started college. Or a couple who adopted in their late 40s, chasing after toddlers in their fifties.

Could they also be an exception to the rule? Who decided when it was too late for life to happen, anyway?

Growing up, I lived across the street from a tiny Viennese woman who was always wearing heels, satin robes, and lots of jewelry. I was fascinated with her exuberance; she lived each day like she shocked by her own good fortune to be alive.

She had a long and loving marriage. And after her husband died, she dated. She remarried at 82. She was not too old to fall in love again.

One day when I was working for Martha Stewart, she asked what I was planning to do with my career. I shared some ideas and she said, “how old are you?”

I responded, “31.”

She laughed and said, “I wouldn’t worry about any of that. You’ll be fine. I didn’t even start this company until I was 42.” 

There’s you have it. From Martha. Of course by 42 she had modeled, stock brokered, become a mother, catered, bought a farm, and cooked, baked, gardened, jarred and canned more than some people do in a lifetime.

And according to Martha, she was just getting started. And she was right!

Last week, a client sent me this Tweet from journalist Walt Mossberg:


Instead of retiring in his mid-fifties, Walt was launched All Things D.

A healthy career includes lots of pivots. Some are cultivated opportunities that you’ve been working toward and others are what-the-heck? opportunities that you choose to take advantage of. Walt was in the right place when dot-com happened. What might be coming for your career?

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend with clients who are contemplating leaving careers in education, journalism, and medicine. All these industries are in flux right now. And yet, with their background, these folks are prepared to pivot into something else.

So no, it’s not too late. And you’re not too old. And if you think the die is cast because of a decision you made about your college major while you were in high school, before your prefrontal cortex was developed and while you were also making some seriously unfortunate wardrobe choiceslet me tell you something on behalf of everyone who loves you:

It’s not too late to make a change. Stop talking about why you can’t and start doing it.

You put away that Gear bag, right? And that ID# shirt? Then you can do this.

If you are thinking about a pivot (or a 180), let’s talk. I’d love to support you. Whether you want to call me a career counselor, a career coach or a life coach, I’m here for you. And if you’re mid-pivot and want a bit more support throughout the process, I offer a range of coaching programs. I’d love to help you achieve your goal with more efficiency, humor and grace.

If you have a group of people who might benefit from a coaching workshoplet’s talk. I have been speaking more and more this year, appearing at trade events like NAPO, and at New York University and Montclair State University.

If your company, trade organization, book club, church or women’s club might benefit from a Personal (R)evolution workshop, I’d love to be of service.


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