Mark Zuckerberg co-founded Facebook while he was still in college. In 2012 his wealth was estimated to be over $9 billion.
The Beatles were all in their early twenties when they became chart-topping millionaires.
Steve Jobs was 21 when he and Stephen Wozniak founded Apple.
These are the kinds of people who grab headlines, their admirers marveling at their meteoric rise at such tender age. And that’s cool. It’s sexy.
But what about the other 99.9% of us who didn’t do that?
Most folks find their place in the sun the usual way, plotting their careers as twenty-somethings, paying their dues, and finding some level of success as they work through the ranks. But what about the ones in their thirties, forties, and beyond who are still trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up? The ones who worry they will never hit the target?
Wikipedia defines a late bloomer as someone “whose talents and capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual.” It goes on to say that those people eventually catch up and outshine a lot of their peers.
If you’re one of the mature ones who’s just now hitting your stride, take heart. Not everything has to be fast and flashy. My favorite definition of success came from Earl Nightingale, who said “success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.“ Notice he didn’t say it was necessarily the rapid realization.
Don’t let the world tell you that you’re too late. You might be a late bloomer, but by the very definition of the term you’re still a bloomer.
If you haven’t bloomed yet, there’s no need to despair. Not everybody operates on the same timetable. The only thing that can really stop you is giving up.
Take a look at these famous examples of people who didn’t give up:
Thomas Edison failed so miserably when he started school that his mother pulled him out and home schooled him. Yet he went on to become one of the most acclaimed inventors of the 20th century.
Legend has it that as a child Albert Einstein was labeled a slow learner who wouldn’t amount to much. But he went on to be the most influential physicist of the 20th century.
Danny Glover didn’t start acting until he was 28.
Alan Rickman didn’t get his first movie role until he was 46. Even if his name doesn’t ring a bell, you probably know him as Professor Snape from the Harry Potter movie series.
Colonel Sanders started his KFC franchise when he was in his 60s.
Ronald Reagan was elected to public office for the first time when he was 55.
Kurt Warner didn’t start playing in the NFL until he was 28 but he went on to win a Super Bowl and took home a couple of MVP awards while he was at it.
These people all may have been late to the game according to the world’s standards, but were they bloomers? Darn right they were!
So where does this leave you if you haven’t found your stride yet?
Well, first of all you’re in extremely good company. And I hope it leaves you with the knowledge that great things are always possible no matter where you are in the journey. As long as you have breath, you have hope.
As another slow starter named Winston Churchill famously said, “never give in – never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small….”