Meander if you must, but keep moving forward
Truth: what looks like a step back could be a step forward.
I was entranced reading this history of one Colonel Sanders. Here are four things I learned and that may be helpful reminders for you.
1) You are never too young and you are never too old.
The Colonel was 65 years old when he started franchising his restaurants. He only had social security to look forward to, thus his willingness to continue as an entrepreneur. He only would have been too old to start a business if he told himself that.
Same goes for you. You are never too young or too old to do what you dream of. Get on it, then.
2) It's only failure if you don't learn anything from it.
Sanders was discharged from the army, was fired from a locomotive company, barred from practicing law, fired as an insurance salesman, was replaced as a salesman due to injury, tried to open an airport, and lost his gas station during The Great Depression. But, as the article mentions, "The gas station may have been doomed, but Sanders would later realize that it was “one of the most important turns in my career.” It led to opportunities that finally turned Sanders’ theatricality and salesmanship into strengths."
If you fail (ahem, when you fail), learn from it and you'll never be doomed. Take those lessons, gather them up while you clean up any mess you've made, and keep moving forward. You can learn knowledge from books; you only get wisdom from experience.
3) Find a wave and ride it.
What laid the foundation for a successful restaurant concept was neither a secret recipe nor the price of chicken. Rather, it was the mass introduction of a single common household asset: the automobile.
Sanders realized this and started having success in the motel and restaurant industry, learning valuable lessons that spurred on his franchise idea for KFC. People were becoming mobile. They wanted food that was, too. Sanders took this wave for a ride.
When you see a trend or something that is changing the way people live, shop, work, or move, that can be a great place to plant your big idea.
4) People will call you what you tell them to (or, when it doubt, make up your own title)
From the article: "Sanders crafted a theatrical persona of “the Colonel” to attract diners, and later to attract franchisees." And that's what he was called. If you're a founder, call yourself CEO and others will, too. Call yourself unqualified and your customers will believe it. A name matters; think deeply about what yours should be.
It's never to late to become what you've always wanted or to do what you've always dreamed.