Pasture or Future?
A friend in his mid-40s recently lost his Silicon Valley job. He felt like he was being put out to pasture like a lame horse, which immediately wounded his pride and put him into a confidence crisis. He’s not alone. More and more people are seeing their futures put out to past-ure. The question is: what to do?
Carol Gardner was put out to pasture by her husband who filed for divorce when she was 52. She felt invisible and untouchable. Her lawyer suggested she “get a therapist or a dog.” She got both. As a former advertising copywriter, she entered a local Christmas card contest with a picture of her bulldog and a funny quip about how she’d traded her husband in for this lucky pooch. She won. The win inspired Gardner to start a greeting card company, which she named after her dog, Zelda Wisdom. By her 65th birthday, Carol’s company was worth $50 million.
54% of small business owners in the US are over the age of 50, and older entrepreneurs are twice as likely to be successful as compared to a 30-year-old. 15% of these older entrepreneurs launched a business because they’d lost a job, but 42% did it to pursue a passion from the past, 36% started a business because “the opportunity presented itself,” and 22% did so because they were just plain unhappy working in corporate America.
Being in a pasture isn’t the worst life, unless it’s forced and unwanted, in which case, maybe it’s time to take a little of that sunlight and fresh air, then you use your past to mold your future.