If asked to describe my life’s path in one sentence, I would say it’s been one of ever-changing, ever-challenging reinvention.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Many people fear and resist change … the unknown can be scary … the status quo is preferable because it’s familiar. But, as Frank Gehry says:
You’ve got to bumble forward into the unknown.
And I’m definitely a bumbler. Challenge, change and reinvention are what I crave. Perhaps it’s my Finnish Sisu. Maybe it’s because I made my own way in life from an early age. Maybe it’s in the genes. But, for whatever reason, my wayfaring nature has challenged me to pursue new experiences and vocations throughout my life. And with each change in direction, even if for a moment I felt lost, I knew I was actually found.
When I went to university to study kinesiology, I always thought I’d be a physical education teacher. But as I delved more deeply into my heart’s passion, I chose athletic coaching as a profession.
I had performed at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. I had lobbied for the inclusion of Rhythmic Gymnastics in the Olympics (in my role as youngest President of a national sport governing body in Canada). I had been one of 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist Lori Fung’s coaches, and I had worked on CBC television as a color commentator.
All of that is to say that, basically, I spent years travelling the world, coaching and mentoring amazing athletes.
At some point someone finally said to me: “You know, what you do for athletes, business could really use.”
Now this was long before the moniker or profession of “business coach” came into being. But I knew that assisting others to be the best they could be applied equally well to business. So I started to provide business-coaching services for free, utilizing my coaching and mentoring skills as I immersed myself in the study of business practices.
For over 30 years I helped business owners achieve higher levels of profitability and personal prosperity, working in both the private and public sectors. In those years, my life was like a smorgasbord of opportunity that I eagerly gobbled up. From being the first General Manager of a professional theatre company, to creating business mentorship and fitness leader certification programs, to speaking at conferences and events, I reached beyond my grasp for every opportunity to learn and grow.
My thought was: “when I leave this, I want ten people to want my job and no one to remember my name. The latter hurts like heck, but it means you did a good job. You created something that will live beyond your own involvement.”
But inside, I had an itch that hadn’t yet been scratched, and that was writing.
I’d been blogging for four years, but my blogging focused on business coaching tips and information. I’d spent way too much time eating up all the “expert” advice on how to “do it right”, while my fiction and poetry remained in beautifully lined journals, all written longhand, sitting quietly on shelves, begging to be released to the light of day.
Could I really be a writer? Could I really be an author?
At a time in my life when many of my peers are retiring, I’m undertaking yet another reinvention. And this is not only a Second Act or a new chapter in my life; it’s an entirely new book.
So if anyone tells you it’s too late, or it’s been done before, or any number of the other negative comments that many of us have heard before, simply smile and get busy doing what they say you can’t … or shouldn’t … do.
Don’t let “aren’t you too old to be doing that?” ever dissuade you!
If someone had told me back in 1984, as our national anthem played and the Olympic Gold medal was ours, that 32 years later I’d be a writer—doing what I’m doing today—I’d be surprised. But only a little bit, and delightfully so.
And the journey is far from over. Many more steps will be taken, leaving fond footprints behind.
Today my new website is a reflection of the steps and paths I’ve taken and the adventures I’ve experienced. After all, I am where I am as a result of where I’ve been. And those journals, chock full of penned thought, have been patiently waiting for the day for me to realize: I’m a writer.
It’s not too late. It’s never too late.
I hope you’ll join me in the journey. As I say on my site:
If you have landed here, I welcome you, my fellow explorer-wanderer-wayfaring adventuring lover of life!
This place and space was created for you and me to journey together.
To take moments away from our busy lives just to “be”.
To experience new thoughts and new things together.
… I’ve got much to share with you.
Let the journey begin.