Why You Can Always Have A Second (Or Third) Act
When I was younger, I was obsessed with the idea that I had to get everything exactly right. I had to make the exact right career choices. I had to apply to exactly the right companies. I had to behave, dress in exactly the right way.
It was premised on a notion that if I didn't make exactly the right choices, my career and indeed my life, would go off the rails.
It was premised on the notion (perhaps implicitly, if not explicitly) that there was no second act.
It's clear to me now that it was premised on a notion that was, frankly, bullshit.
The idea that we have no second acts is quite simply wrong.
If I could go back and speak with my younger self, I would tell him to not worry so much, to take some risks, to not overthink the implications of a particular action. That there is no absolute right way. (Gosh, I think I'd keep repeating that particular line into his ear until he absorbed it!)
And that's true whether you're in your teens, twenties, thirties, forties, fifties or beyond.
If you've worked hard, followed some sort of passion (whether as a hobby or a vocation), learned to communicate, and exercised any level of discipline in any aspect of your life, you have the building blocks to engineer your second (or third) act.
It's not about having money. It's not about have an infrastructure behind you. It's not about having anyone's backing but your own.
It's about your belief in yourself. It's about having the discipline to leverage the (mostly free or very low cost) tools and technologies around us. It's about using your own experiences and knowledge base on something you know and care about. It's about not waiting for someone else's permission.
If you're in your twenties and thirties, go do what you're crazy about. Plan it, define it, go after it. Timebox it if you need to, so you can mitigate any perceived risk, but go after it.
If you're in your forties or fifties or older, there's never been a better time to go after what you want. So long as you work to be open minded and flexible, your hard earned experience and maturity are assets, not liabilities.
To be clear, this isn't only about entrepreneurship. It's also about intrapreneurship. It's really about charting your own path within parameters you, yourself, are comfortable with.
If that's within the confines of the multinational you work for, that's perfectly fine. Remember, it's your life - your rules. (Not all workplaces will be amenable to it, but you need to try, and then make your choice as to where you want to be.)
Look, at the end of the day, it's up to you. To paraphrase a famous quote, if do or don't believe in second acts, you're right.