Ever find yourself daydreaming about what might have been? Perhaps you think about the career chances you didn’t take, but secretly wish you had. It’s never too late to follow those dreams. History is full of people who stepped out of their comfort zones at different stages of life to follow dreams or paths that might have been surprising, or even shocking. Perhaps you’ll find your inspiration in their chances.
Vera Wang was once a competitive figure skater; however, she missed making the 1968 US Olympic team. Instead, she became a magazine editor, then a design director of accessories for Ralph Lauren. Ultimately, she launched her own line of bridal fashions and became an icon of the bridal industry.
Sylvester Stallone wrote the screenplay for Rocky in four days. Although many producers wanted to buy the script, he held out to play the lead role himself. His first role may not have been a big paycheck, but it launched his career and solidified his place in Hollywood.
John Glenn became an American icon and hero as the first American to orbit the earth. At age 53, he decided to enter the political arena as a US Senator from Ohio. Space called him back, however, in 1998, when he joined the crew on the Discovery space shuttle at age 77, making him the oldest man to orbit.
Stan Lee and Marvel Comics are synonymous. It’s surprising that he was 39 years old when he created The Fantastic Four. Spider-Man, X-man and all the rest followed.
Remember Anna Mary Robertson Moses? Perhaps you know her best by her nickname – Grandma Moses. She started her artistic career at age 78. Most people would have been slowing down after a career as a housekeeper and years of farm work. In 2006, one of her painting sold for $1.2 million.
Sam Walton was 44 when he founded Walmart. Prior to that, he had spent years in retail management.
Henry Ford was 45 years old when he created the Model T in 1908.
Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first of the Little House on the Prairie series when she was 65 years old.
- K. Rowling was a single mom living on welfare when, after years of rejection letters, the Harry Potter dynasty took off.
Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at age 50. She became an icon of the industry – in print, television, and film.
What would the world have been had Bill Gates not dropped out of Harvard after two years to launch Microsoft?
Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, sold office supplies door to door until she launched her business in her 30s.
What would the food industry have been without Ray Kroc? He sold milkshake equipment for years, but at age 52, bought McDonald’s and the fast food industry has never been the same.
What Ray did for burgers, Harland Sanders did for chicken. At age 62, Colonel Sanders opened his fried chicken business after years in some diverse roles – from a railroad worker to gas station operator, to his iconic white suit and string tie.
Are these well-known icons all that different from you? Not really, they just followed their dreams and didn’t let things like rejection, age, or traditional thinking stand in their way. So, whatever your stage, age, or level of dream, brush it off and give it another spin. You may find yourself as an artist, writer, inventor, or entrepreneur – who knows? Put some action into those dreams!