Success and Birthdays
I turned 42 recently (no, I'm not at all ashamed to admit my age), and in my mailbox was a link to a Harvard Business Review article “You Are Not a Failure.” http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/06/you_are_not_a_failure.html The teaser in the email was “There’s still hope for success after 35.” I was kind of miffed by that. It makes it sound that when you hit 35, the chances of you having any success are slim, but you can do possibly, maybe do it.
So I read the article, and what really stuck in me was this: “But late bloomers can take comfort in his finding that creativity isn't one-size-fits-all. If you haven't been invited to the White House or launched an IPO or made the cover of a national newsmagazine before age 35, there's absolutely no reason to believe you can't still accomplish those goals later in life.”
What? This age thing really bothers me. Why is success measured by how quickly you can do something? And why do I hear “oh, it’s okay that you’re not a billionaire yet. You can still do it!” (with a sympathetic pat on the beginning-to-grey head)?
Now, not only do you have to be young to be deemed successful, you must also be completely saturated in cash. (Too bad for people like Grandma Moses. How unsuccessful she must have felt!)
When I graduated college, I graduated with a man who was 76 – and just receiving his first degree. That was success. When I make it a whole week eating right and exercising – that’s success! When I wake up every day and have work to do for one of my clients – that’s success.
Maybe I’m too old now to understand the measure of success. And I’m perfectly okay with that.
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.