‘It’s too late for me to work on [X].’ (How Larry Pursued His Ideal Career — At 57)


by Celes
Image Credit

Back view of a guy, alone by himself

How often do you hear someone say the following?

“It’s too late to pursue my passion.”

“It’s too late to start my business.”

“It’s too late to start my blog.”

“It’s too late to do [X].”

For me, I hear such comments all the time. People in their 40s saying it’s too late to start a business. People in their 30s saying that they are too old to switch to a new career. People in their 20s saying it’s too late to pursue their passion, because they’ve already invested time into their current degree / diploma / career path.

Today, I’d like to introduce to you my client, Larry.

Larry is one of my original clients all the way back in 2009 when I started coaching. He first saw me in My Paper, a popular daily newspaper in Singapore, where I was interviewed for starting my coaching business. Larry immediately contacted me, telling me about his overseas friend (who was working with a different coach) and her growing skepticism with personal trainers, coaches, and even counselors as many of these people came across as unauthentic and “just doing a job.” However, Larry could feel my sincerity coming through in the interview and even forwarded it to his friend. He said he was interested to engage me to clarify his life direction and define his path moving forward.

That’s not all. Larry isn’t in his 20s, 30s, or 40s (all of which are age groups of my usual clients).

When Larry first contacted me for coaching, he was 57.

Yes, you got that right. 57.

Cut to our first session. At that point, Larry was a teacher and had been teaching English for more than 10 years. He was looking for a switch, to move out of his comfort zone, and to get clarity on what to do next.

Through our sessions, we discussed his various interests, passions, and life purpose. Larry has many interests, but this was not an issue — I simply worked with him to understand his underlying purpose. We subsequently identified his life needs and mapped out the path that best met his purpose and needs, along with his 5- to 10- year goals. “To give something back to humanity” and “To continually learn and grow as a human being” — these were the messages that came through after our deep dives.

Amidst these discussions, we aligned on his decision to join Peace Corps — pronounced as “Peace Cor,” it’s a volunteer organization run by the U.S. government that works in developing countries — as it was the perfect intersection between his life messages. We worked on tightening his application and resume. After some iterations, it was time to hit “Submit”!

A while later, Larry contacted me. He had been accepted into Peace Corps. He was in the program!

Fast forward today. It’s been 5 years. Since joining Peace Corps, Larry has been to Philippines (Naga, Camarines Norte, Manila, Tagaytay, Calaguas Islands) and then China (at first Sichuan, and now Lanzhou where he’s based). Every day has been a fulfilling adventure, both for himself and the communities he’s based in.

Check out his journey in pictures:

Larry teaching

Larry, now a global teacher. He’s frequently giving talks to local students to educate and inspire. Here, he’s at CNSC (Camarines Norte State College) talking to 4th year majors, sharing his life challenges and experiences.

Larry with Filipino locals

Larry, among Filipinos and immersing in the local culture. In Philippines, Larry experienced for himself the warming, communal care Filipinos have for one another.

Larry at an event

Larry at an event — Peace Corps’ swearing-in ceremony for members

Larry on TV

Larry on TV, representing Peace Corps in a 50th Anniversary special

Fun and joy aside, Larry’s work has allowed him to see a different side to reality. Once, he attended a Peace Corp HIV/AIDs workshop in Philippines, after which the society members took the attendees to meet with local prostitutes. Of the ones he met, 3 were as young as 22. 2 of whom were single moms while one of them, pregnant. As he said to me, “You watch stuff on TV, but this was real.”

Larry helping Chinese students

Larry, now in China, supporting Chinese students

Larry in Chinese training class

In his Pre-Service Training (PST) training, learning Chinese and receiving cultural and technical training

Larry with other Chinese members in a local Sports Day

With other Chinese members in a local Sports Day

Larry with other Chinese members in a local Sports Day

Larry at the sea, during sunset

At Calaguas Islands for a break in between work

Last week, Larry was in Singapore for a quick break. We met up (been 5 years since we last met!!) and here’s a picture of us:

Larry and Celes

Larry and me

Larry is pursuing what can be considered his dream path now. He’s helping people, doing meaningful work, traveling, learning about different cultures, and making a difference in the world.

What I find most inspiring about Larry is that while many complain and/or talk endlessly about what they want or don’t want, few take action. Larry belongs to the latter. You see, there were plenty of reasons for Larry not to act — more so than others, due to his age:

  • “I’m too old.” — At the point when he took up my coaching, he was 57. (He’s now 63.) Larry did, on brief occasions, mention to me about his age being a possible deterrent in what he wanted to do. However, it was never a “Oh I’m too old to do X” kinda thing. It was always a, “I’m now at a age where there may be some physical limitations, so what can we do about this?”
  • “I’ve physical ailments, so I can’t pursue my goals.” — Larry actually had a toe surgery a couple of years prior to our coaching, where his big toe was frozen due to growth. He had to take a year off while recovering through rehab. He has also experienced sporadic health problems over the years as a natural part of growing older. However, he never once let them hold him back, instead learning more about each problem and then taking measures to mitigate them. He also keeps himself physically active and eats healthy so as to remain at the peak of his health and to thrive at his age.
  • “I’m not sure if this is right for me.” — Prior to our sessions, Larry already had the intention to join Peace Corps. However, he wasn’t 100% sure about it as he had yet to clarify his life direction and life plan. What did he do? Many people would procrastinate and then wait for a million signs to appear and all the stars to align perfectly and exactly in the right place before making a move. Not for Larry. As the saying by H. Jackson Brown goes, “When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails.” Rather than put things off, Larry proactively signed up for coaching to clarify his direction and bust this “conundrum” right in the bud. And he got the answer he was looking for by our third session together.

Most important of all, Larry is taking action on his purpose, his goals. “To give something back to humanity” and “To continually learn and grow” — these are the messages he’s been living fully to in the past 5 years, and these are likely what he’ll continue to live up to in the next 5, 10, 15 years of his life.

Maybe you are in Larry’s past position. Maybe not. But it’s likely that you’ve a goal you’ve been procrastinating on:

  • Switch your job
  • Start your business
  • Pursue your passion
  • Work on your speaking skills
  • Work on your health and fitness
  • Lose weight
  • Make new friendships
  • Get your diploma/degree
  • Build your blog
  • Start project [X]
  • Work on project [X]
  • Etc.

How long have you been procrastinating in these goals?

What results do you want to accomplish in each goal?

How exactly are you going to make them happen?

We’re now in August, 2015. Very soon, 2015 will come to an end. Soon, it’ll be 2016. Another year will pass, then 3 years, then 5 years.

By then, it’ll be 2020. You’ll be 5 years older and so will I.

What would you like to see in your goals, your life by then? Would you want to have procrastinated further in these goals to the point of accomplishing nothing in them? Or would you want to have taken massive action by then?

I’ll let you decide. Either way, PE will still be around — I’ve been doing this for the past 7 years, and I don’t plan to be going anywhere. I look forward to growing together with you each year, every year, every step of the way.

Anti-Procrastination Course: My Only Course to Bust Procrastination and Take Massive Action! [Update: REGISTRATION CLOSED!]

I’ve been writing articles for 7 years and I know for a fact that there is a limit to what I can create with someone through just writing. However, there is a limit to the number of 1-1 clients I can take on.

This is why I created Anti-Procrastination Course over 2 years ago — to create the space to work with a group of conscious, goal-oriented PE readers, do a deep dive with them in their goals, help them bust inner blocks, and help them take massive action in their life.

In the past 2 years alone, the AP course has allowed me to make real, impactful change with my participants. I’ve been setting and achieving goals for over a decade and I’ve integrated my very best strategies in this course to help participants tap into their inner power and take massive action — using their own power. Here are some real results of past alumni:

  • Past participant Sarah joined AP to work on her PhD thesis. She has since completed her PhD.
  • Past participant Diana joined AP to work on her writing. She has since completed her manuscript and is on her way to publishing her first book. She has also completed a movie screenplay in this time.
  • Last year’s participant Annette joined AP to complete her Masters. She has since been awarded with her Masters, with a B in her paper, earlier this year.
  • Last year’s participant Alex joined AP to work on his career. He has since gotten a new job with a 40% pay raise.
  • Last year’s participant Matt joined AP to work on his blog. He is now running 2 blogs that receive 1–2 THOUSAND pageviews a DAY, per blog. He is preparing to monetize them next and take a step further in pursuing his passion.
  • Last year’s participant Farah joined AP to start her (health) business. She is now a certified weight loss practitioner, her Zumba classes are growing and have 2 classes a week, and she is now expanding in a local high end spa.

I’m conducting the course for a third run this year and I’m excited to work with YOU. What is a goal you would like to work on? What goal do you want to achieve massive results in in the next 4 months? What goal would you like to end 2015 on a high note?

Whether you like it or not, 2015 will be ending soon. Rather than waiting for results to fly down to the sky, I say we make the year count, take massive action on our goals, and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN as 2015 draws to a close.

We are getting some REALLY interesting participants this year and I can’t wait to work with you guys. Here’s what a course alumni is saying:

Anti-Procrastination Participant Farah's comment

Farah is a participant from last year and she achieved *massive* results during the course itself

All AP Details, course schedule, FAQs, etc. on the course announcement page.

Any question on the course, post them on the course announcement page — I reply within hours. Thanks and look forward to working with you guys soon! 😀

Update, Sep 10, 23:59pm: Thank you to everyone who registered – registration is now closed and we have a full class for the upcoming course! To those of you who’ve registered, look forward to working with you in the months ahead! 😀 Thank you!

Images: Guy alone, Larry pictures © Larry, Picture of Larry & Celes © Celestine Chua