How have you handled personal crises in your life? Have you started something new but given up too soon? Can you think of people you’ve known who have given something just one more try and made it work?
Even people who have reached the top of the ladder in their fields have been plagued by doubt. Shortly after Ray Kroc signed the contract with the McDonald’s brothers he wasn’t quite sure what he had taken on but he was eager to go into action. “I was 52 years old. I had diabetes and incipient arthritis. I had lost my gallbladder and most of my thyroid gland in earlier campaigns. But I was convinced that the best was ahead of me.”
A pilot who worked for a fishing company along the West Coast was retired when the hey days in the fishing industry came to an end. He just seemed incapable of starting out a new. Eventually he became a store master in the Simon’s Town dockyard. His life ended in his mid-60s. He had drunk himself to death.
Another person was the publisher of a successful magazine but through unfortunate circumstances went bankrupt. Instead of taking stock and taking time to recover from his personal losses, he picked up a gun and shot himself in the head. Forced into a crisis, he took his own life rather than starting all over again.
The other day I read about a fitter and turner Vic Sawyer who at 92 runs a small workshop in his Woodstock home. He has made many of his own tools and uses his milling machine and lathe to repair and make parts for old classic motorcycles for which replacement spares are no longer available. After he retired from a fireworks company he did not want to give up. “I knew I had to carry on,” he told a reporter. “Apart from the fact that I had to keep my mind occupied, I loved this work.”
Some people are able to rewire themselves. They are able to adapt to change and move on. Others cling on to what they’ve always done until change happens and they are forced into retrenchment or retirement.
But often the problem is that they do not have a plan. They don’t know what they are going to do next. These circumstances can keep people in a state of paralysis, thinking and thinking but never taking even one action towards creating a new future for themselves.
Some people do some inner work and find out their core drivers – the things that motivate them. They may have new drivers or uncover drivers that they had when they were younger but never had an opportunity to satisfy. Drivers can include social such as being connected to others, value (giving value to others or to be valuble), mentoring others and passion. Jerry Sedlar and Rick Miner, who run a search and transition coaching firm, have identified a list of more than 80 drivers or personal motivators that help you match up with your deepest needs and with the world around you.
Vic, the fitter and turner, shows how if you are passionate about some particular work, you don’t have to stop at any age. He was also extremely sharp in finding a niche that protects him from competitors. In a time when people have to work longer in their lives, Vic is an exceptional example of no matter what your circumstances are, you can start all over again. You can give it another shot. One more time.