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How Old Would You Be?

by Beverly Ryle

Every few years or so, I engage in some form of creative exercise to refresh and renew my business (and myself in it).

I knew it was time to redo my website when I didn't feel comfortable sending potential clients to it because it looked out-of-date and cluttered.

The idea of getting started on a new site was exciting to me, so I was surprised that it led to a sleepless night of thrashing and telling myself I was crazy to be reshaping my business identity at an age when most people have already retired.

This sudden attack of self-inflicted ageism was particularly disconcerting because most of the time I like my age (I'll be 70 in November). I rarely hear myself saying, "I'm too old for …" (except in-line skating, which I ruled out after I was diagnosed with osteoporosis).

Fortunately, my slump didn't last too long. A quote from a right-handed pitcher set me straight, like a base hit up the middle.

Satchel Paige's outstanding control and trifecta of talent, charisma and showmanship made him a legend in the Negro Leagues. His skills on the mound and enthusiasm for the game were so effective at filling ballparks, even in the darkest days of the Depression, that he was often loaned out to struggling teams who needed a quick boost.

He did the same for me the morning after my sleepless night when I came across a rubber stamp I had bought because I liked the question embossed on it:

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" asked Satchel Paige, who didn't pitch in the major leagues until he was 42 years old.

As I sat at my great grandmother's desk, holding the stamp in my hand while I contemplated my answer, all the reasons in favor of bringing my professional self up-to-date came back to me.

You're never too old to be intentional about how you live your life.

A successful transition to a new beginning requires consciously deciding what to carry forward and what to leave behind.

The reward for going through the hard, messy and painful work of recreating yourself is personal renewal and growth.

Thank you, Satchel.

P.S. It's now two weeks later and the new site is done! Check it out and let me know what you think.

As I scan through its pages, comparing them to the old site, I feel as if I'd cleaned out an attic that had accumulated so much stuff I could no longer readily lay my hands on what was valuable. Of course I don't know yet if anyone else will like it as much as I do, but that concern doesn't enter my thoughts.

Like an artist, I've hung my show the night before the opening, and it's late and I'm tired, but I pause at the door to slowly look around the room, and then quietly whisper, "I like it" before I turn off the light.

Image courtesy of U.S. Postal Service

In her professional roles as a career counselor and business consultant, Beverly Ryle has been helping corporate professionals, business owners, and people-in-transition achieve their full potential through education and empowerment for over twenty-five years.

Her ability to guide clients through a professional development process is built upon expertise in transition, communications, negotiations, Gestalt training and long-term experience as the only recovering person in a dysfunctional family.

Her integration of business, counseling and spiritual disciplines has made her a vital resource for clients seeking to grow professionally by overcoming habitual patterns in order to claim greater authenticity in their work and interpersonal relationships.

In her first book, Ground of Your Own Choosing: Winning Strategies for Finding & Creating Work, she focused on ways of achieving self-leadership in your professional life.

In her second book, Standing Alone (now under development), she turns her attention to helping people enhance their potential for leadership within the context of family dysfunction, including rampant, multi-generational addiction and mental illness.

Standing Alone is a collection of memoirs and short essays in which she tells both her own personal story and the more universal story of the possibility of renewal and joy whatever your life circumstances.

She will launch a website to preview the book before it is published (and to honor her 70th birthday) in mid-November.

Her blog can be found at She welcomes comments or questions on the site or by direct email to