I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but let me tell you, not having the capacity to learn “new tricks” isn’t the issue. It’s more about having the desire. The truth of the matter is, they actually learn something every day. So do you!
Think for a moment about things you’ve learned: a new task at work, programming your smartphone or perhaps implementing something from an article you read. Whatever the case, you learned something new.
The good news is, you have the ability and the capacity. For those of us who have a bit more life in the rearview mirror, we may believe we lack the ability or capacity, when what we really lack is the desire. It may actually be disguised as fear! We’re good at what we do. We’ve been doing it a long time and may have people coming to us because we’re the subject matter experts. We can answer their questions and solve their problems. It took years to get there and speaks volumes of your dedication to your craft. Congratulations! You’ve earned it. But what about having more? Could a degree or certificate elevate your knowledge or professional posture? Could more education facilitate a career transition? Could it improve your chance of getting a raise?
So, when is it too late to go back to school? When is it too late to conquer your fears? When is it too late to stop dreaming?
The answers to these questions are different for everyone, but also the same. It’s too late when you say it is. That’s it – in a nutshell! Obtaining additional education can say a lot about you. Never underestimate how powerful that is. It’s an incredible achievement that is more about the beginning than the end.
I spent most of my adult life as a United States Marine. It wasn’t until late in my career that I decided to pursue an undergraduate degree. As a matter of fact, my daughter and I graduated from college in the same year! I had done a lot over the years, but the pride in that accomplishment was unbelievable. It also showed my children you can accomplish anything you put your mind to; regardless of circumstances.
We can easily put other things in opposition; whether it’s time, money, opportunity, you name it. After my first degree, something happened. I had unknowingly been reintroduced to a part of me I had forgotten about. I love learning new things, but had become comfortable being the subject matter expert. Honestly, it felt good. Guess what? I wasn’t always the subject matter expert. I had to learn the subject, then get good at it. Learning is exactly the same! A few years later I acquired my MBA. Last year I became a doctoral student and the sky’s the limit. While this isn’t about me, it’s about you challenging yourself.
It’s never too late! Never. Let’s face it. We know more. We’re disciplined. We have real world experience we bring to the classroom. What we learn we can immediately implement into the workplace (or anywhere else for that matter). Everything we need is inside of us. Just in case you have any doubts, perhaps working with a career coach would help. However you decide to do it – just do it!
Thinking of going back to school, but need a little extra help from a career or executive coach? Connect with Reginald Jackson Sr or browse our directory of career coaches and request a FREE consultation!
Reginald is a United States Marine Corps veteran and served on active duty for more than 20 years. Since retiring from the Corps in 2007, he has held various leadership positions in the IT industry, to include consulting and project management. His education includes a B.S. in Computer Information Systems and an MBA (with a focus in project management). He's currently a doctoral student studying consulting, leadership development, and coaching. Reginald is a member of the International Coach Federation and has also served as a mentor coach; training others in the profession of coaching. Connect with Reginald on Noomii.