Bullish Q&A: How Do I Stay Motivated When I Feel Behind With Life?

How to stay motivated when you feel like you're behind in life.

I’m following a dream that I started late; I feel so behind with life. I do have hopes of getting there (think: academia or something really traditional like ballet), I’m getting positive feedback. But I am frustrated about my situation because I don’t get any respect and feel terribly unsuccessful. I’m also not stellar at focus and perhaps a reason for that is feeling discouraged about where I am vs. where I want to be. Have you had anything similar in your life? How did you overcome it?


Write a book about it while you go! The Middle-Aged Ballerina: Tales of Humility, Pliés, and Learning to Love My Body

Or, The 40 Year Old Intern: How I Went From a Dead-End Job to the Fortune 500 

Or, How to Succeed in College When Your Classmates Are Younger Than Your Kids

I think these are all really marketable books. Not everyone is an author, but when there’s a strong personal story (you know: I tried a different diet every month for a year; the couple who had sex every day for a year; the people who totally change their lives to live in a Tiny House), it can really work. The imperfections of your actual work just serve to make a better story and make you more relatable.

Of course a book could be a blog (but I think you should aim high, for a book), which could turn into some kind of coaching or consulting or being a motivational speaker or starting a group for career switchers or who knows?

But your disadvantages here can be turned to an advantage. To anyone wanting to do what you’re doing but too afraid, you are already a hero who has made the leap.

Secondly, find a way to combine what you were doing before with what you’re doing now. You used to work in a bank and now you’re a late-in-life ballerina? Teach a stress-relieving ballet workout to bankers. Talk to ballerinas about their finances. Help ballet companies grow their endowments.

80s 90s Vintage Fun


Once you’re a certain age, maybe you’re not really a beginner at anything; you always bring with you some kind of experience that, however obliquely, informs what you’re doing now. Find a way to make your previous career an advantage in what you’re doing now. Don’t be embarrassed that you “wasted” 5 or 15 years doing something else – make sure everyone knows that your 5 or 15 years experience doing something completely unrelated is actually REALLY FUCKING RELATED in some kind of fascinating way. If it isn’t, pretend it is anyway. Work with it. Fake it til you make it (as a ballerina).

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