The Best Time to Plant a Tree...
Karen and Jay share the inspiration that it is never too late to chase your dreams.
A wonderful friend recently shared a saying with me that his father had repeated to him over the years. His father was fond of asking: When is the best time to plant a tree? The answer: Twenty years ago? When is the second-best time? Today!
And so it is with life. We can look backwards, dwell on regrets, possibly even do some second guessing. Or, we can look forward, seize the moment and take positive action. It’s up to us. The truth is ‘it’s never too late.’
Every year, Forbes Magazine publishes an award known as the ‘30 Under 30,’ a list of 30 individuals under the age of 30 who are considered to be the leading entrepreneurs and innovators in their industry. From entertainment and art to science and finance, the ‘30 Under 30’ bestows this accolade onto individuals who the magazine deems as having ‘made it big’ or are on their way to great success. The list without a doubt spotlights an inspiring group of young people. Yet it’s one in a series of popular narratives we often hear that suggests success, especially as it's typically portrayed in the mainstream, can only come at a younger age, and that by the time you’re say 40, 50, or beyond, it’s too late to act on a long held business idea or take up a new trade. However, I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late.
A recent MIT study of 2.7 million people who started a business between 2007-2015 found that those who did so around an average age of 50 were twice as likely to see financial success and sustainability than those who started them at age 30 or younger. More often than not, youthful ‘success’ stories like those of a young Bill Gates or those on the ‘30 Under 30’ list are the exception and not the rule and distract us from the fact that our success often has little to do with age. Instead, how we define success for ourselves, our willingness to be persistent, and believing in oneself even in the face of difficulty or possible failure create the conditions that allow us to take a leap of faith into a new venture.
Stan Lee. Vera Wang. Ray Croc. Charles Darwin. Julia Child. Samuel L Jackson. You’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘Jay, what does this random list of people have to do with what you just said?’ In short, they all share something in common. Each of these individuals began new careers or business ventures well into their 40’s, and in most cases, after having met failure many times before or having struggled to find meaning or purpose in what they had been doing prior to their own success.
Oftentimes, we tend to compare ourselves and our ‘success’ to that of others. This can be beneficial, healthy competition always is, but only if we acknowledge and are comfortable with the idea that we each of us forge our own path and accumulate our own experiences at our own pace. Otherwise, we run the risk of setting unrealistic expectations and force ourselves into believing we don’t have what it takes to take a leap of faith to pursue a new venture or a long thought about ambition. As I’ve said previously in this Sunshine Report though, be kind to yourself and start each day with a series of small steps you can take to ‘win the day’. And even if you experience a setback, you’ve still learned a valuable lesson that can help you improve your own process, and ultimately, reach your goals. You’ll find that over time, it was never too late, just a matter of making it happen, one day at a time.
Gorham, NH – Gateway to the White Mountains
Gorham is in the southern portion of the northernmost county in New Hampshire. And Gorham is gorgeous. Surrounded by the spectacular White Mountains, Gorham is located only a 10-minute drive from the majestic Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the northeast, offering year-round beauty and plenty of recreational activities for visitors of every age.
With a population of about 3,000 residents, this small town has had a lot of starts and restarts. Gorham’s history is different from most New Hampshire small towns in that it did not really get its start until the railroad came to town. Gorham used to be the best way to visit the White Mountains as it was the first town to have a railroad. This meant that tourists from the southerly direction – including Boston, New York, etc. - could finally visit the mountains without having to come by horseback or carriage. This is how it earned the nickname ‘The Gateway to the White Mountains.’ The railroad did not come to Gorham for the beautiful scenery though, it came because Gorham is almost the exact midway point between Montreal and Portland, Maine. Montreal needed an ice-free port like Portland and a rail system to get the goods there and Gorham was a byproduct of this transit route.
Gorham has an interesting history though and quite literally, a fiery one. Like most rural northern New Hampshire towns, it had a strong logging and agricultural base which has now waned. As Gorham’s own town history notes, they taxed their last cow in 1964. The town is unfortunately famous for its many fires. One was so bad that a fire team came all the way from Portland, but of course by the time they arrived, the fire was mostly out. But the towns people have kept the town alive and well, rebuilding multiple times through the fires and the occasional flood. Today, Gorham’s many historic buildings are still around and are popular tourist attractions, although the visitors do not come by rail anymore!
Today, there are restaurants, a bustling business and entrepreneurial community and sense of life and vitality in this scenic town. Gorham is truly a New Hampshire treasure!
Honoring Our Veterans – In New Hampshire and Across the Nation
This week, the nation paid tribute to one of its largest groups of veterans by commemorating National Vietnam Veterans Day on March 29th. There are over 6 million Vietnam veterans living around the world and over 12,000 commemorative partners who are supporting causes to recognize the service and sacrifice these veterans have made. We honor veterans for their commitment to a cause greater than themselves, and still to this day, many are still continuing that selfless work.
In Salem, VFW Post 8546 recently donated to the SSG Edmond Lo Memorial Fund. Staff Sgt. Lo was a member of the Salem High School JROTC program serving as drill team commander and graduated of Salem High’s Class of 2004. At 23 years of age, Staff Sgt. Lo lost his life supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009. The SSG Edmond Lo Memorial Fund supports scholarships for Salem High School students involved in the JROTC program and I am so proud and thankful to recognize this program and the support from local veterans including the members of Salem VFW Post 8546.
And of course, it’s a great pleasure to recognize my friends at Sweeney Post 2 in Manchester for their amazing activities of helping veterans and community members with groceries. What started as 250 prepackaged food boxes has now grown to over 1,000 each week. Week after week, the members of Sweeney Post organize, get their assignments, and execute with incredible precision the distribution of over 1,000 boxes of groceries. Just think about that for a moment, 1,000 homes will have food for the week. To put it into context, Sweeney Post members are providing services and groceries to communities larger than Center Harbor, Franconia, New Castle, Jefferson, and 50 other communities in New Hampshire.
It’s incredible to see how our veterans, after years of service never stop giving back and remain determined to help those in need. Karen and I thank each and every one of our veterans not only for their service, but continued commitment to service. God bless you all and if you are a veteran based organization that has something you would like mentioned in the Sunshine Report please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and will be delighted to include your input.
Positive Profile of the Week - Jess Edwards
This week I am delighted to profile a great friend – Jess Edwards. To many in the Granite State, Jess Edwards is known as a State Representative from Auburn. And, as a former State Rep myself, I thank him and everyone who has given time to serve the people of New Hampshire in the House of Representatives. It truly is a rewarding experience. Importantly, Jess exemplifies the very best of what it means to do the job of being a legislator. The way Jess conducts himself in the chamber has earned him the utmost respect among his constituents and colleagues and is a reflection of who he is and what he stands for.
With his business background in the healthcare industry, it's no wonder that Jess is a consistent champion of continued economic growth and providing business opportunities for companies both large and small. Jess is a college professor and if you ever have a chance to speak with him, his insights are inspiring, encouraging, and educational. In conversations with Jess, it’s immediately clear that he is fully present and involved, and that by the end of it, you’ve walked away with a valuable new idea or perspective. Moreover, whenever I spend time with Jess, I find myself feeling happier and more inspired than before, often saying to others, ‘That Jess Edwards really is a great guy!’
Jess is a veteran. He served our country and if you follow Jess on social media you will see he is constantly supporting veteran causes. Jess has attended just about every event organized for Children of Fallen Patriots in our state, and I am honored to have his support in our quest to help children who have lost a parent in military service achieve their dreams of a college education.
On a fun family note, Jess and I share a bit of a ‘State Rep Family Tradition.’ As mentioned above, I served in the NH House like Jess. And as some of you know, my son Gates served his community in the NH House as well. However, Jess and his daughter have outdone us in one important respect. Both serving in the House at the same time. Not only representing different communities, but also different parties! Like any parent, you are proud of your children, and I recall a WMUR article highlighting the service of Jess and his daughter. In fact, it was the first time in history where a father and a daughter served in the Legislature together.
Jess Edwards is a great supporter of so many worthy causes in New Hampshire, and I like so many Granite Stater’s, am proud to call him a valuable friend.
Quotes of the Week: Never Too Late
“My father used to say that it's never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, 'You never know what you can accomplish until you try.”
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
“Never... never... whether you are five or 100, never give up. It's never too late.”
“It's never too late to be great. “
“My message is that it's never too late. If it's something you want to do or if it's important to you, go for it.”