I'm not saying that being an entrepreneur is easy or the answer for everyone. Change is never easy, but it is worth it knowing you're living the life you're meant for -- the one you've been capable of all along. Everyone has different paths they're destined for in life and it's up to you to make your dream a reality.
It could be a new role in your same company, it could be a new function or industry somewhere else, or perhaps it's pursuing your interests through volunteer work or a hobby. But, maybe, there's an entrepreneur inside of you waiting to build something new, to leave a legacy, to change the world.
It's never too late to pursue your passion.
Some people get lucky and are born knowing they want to be a doctor or a fireman and that's exactly what they do. Others face the end of their life still not knowing their calling. There is a middle ground, and it's not one without work. You know when you know is one of the most overused phrases that many cannot identify with. It takes soul searching to find the life you're meant for. Many decisions can change your life forever -- a move, a relationship, a career change. That's great if you know in your gut, but for most it's not so easy.
Success can come early in life. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were in their early 20s when they started Microsoft and Apple, respectively. Certainly they were born to be entrepreneurs. But, there are many others whose success was unexpected and perhaps unplanned. It's fairly well-known that at 31, J.K. Rowling was depressed and on welfare as a single mom in the U.K. In 2004, Forbes listed her as the first billionaire author, and she's been kind enough to give away much of that fortune to charitable work over the years.
Sam Walton managed a variety store at 26; 18 years later, in July 1962, Walton opened Walmart when he was 44 years old. Henri Nestle was born in 1814 with the name Heinrich as one of 14 children. He worked in a number of industries before he developed powdered milk for infants in 1867. He was 53. By the 1870s, he was selling Nestle products throughout the U.S. Colonel Harland Sanders spent his early years as an insurance salesman and filling station operator, until he began selling his secret recipe for fried chicken during the Great Depression. In 1952, at 62 years old, he opened the first KFCfranchise in Utah.
So, why do these stories matter? These aren't just people who made a fortune with reputable, worldwide brands. These are entrepreneurs that serve to inspire. It doesn't matter if you're 10 years old selling lemonade on your neighborhood block, or you're 60 and you've determined how to solve one of life's annoying challenges. It is never too late. If you don't try, you'll never know if you would have succeeded. And if you don't, that's OK, too. Life is a learning experience and it's meant to be lived. I'd sure rather be at the end of my life thinking of all the adventures throughout my journey, than all the days unlived, the words left unsaid and the dreams left unfulfilled.
First, you need to find your passion
How do you do it? Think about what makes you happiest in this world. Is it providing a listening ear, building something with your own hands, rescuing animals? It doesn't matter what it is, but make a note of all of those things that bring you the greatest joy.
Then, consider your greatest strengths. Do you have 10 years experience in marketing? Perhaps you're really organized or you can talk to anyone without fear. Jot those things down as well.
Make a list of every possible idea that comes to mind. Nothing is crazy or out of reach. Maybe you want to move to a new country and open a bed-and-breakfast. Perhaps you want to develop a new gadget to replace those hard-to-open key rings (I'm in the market!). Or, you have a pent-up novel living inside of you.
To me, every solid business is built on a mix of what you love and what you're good at. If you can take your interests and experience and turn it into something tangible, what could be better?
So, how do you pursue your passion?
This is actually the hardest part. Lots of people have dreams they wish they could follow -- the challenge is following them. That requires change, in some form or another. As Nike's famous tagline says, "Just do it!"
Well, not right away. Plan for it. After you find your idea and you've narrowed down the path to pursue, make a plan. Map out everything you need to do to get from point A to success. Visualize it. Detail it. But, be open to change -- you can't predict the unpredictable.
Do it in phases. Point A to a billion-dollar company is overwhelming. Point A of doing nothing to reading a book about X is not so hard. Set milestones for yourself, follow them and share your journey with those closest to you to keep you on track.
Once you've started, don't look back. Commit and recognize that there will be ups and downs. Not one business leader has gotten where he or she is today without a bump in the road. It's not easy. And it can be kind of scary. But, it's incredibly empowering to know that the only limits that exist are the ones you set for yourself.
It's never too late to pursue your passion. Why not today?
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors