There are numerous examples of successful people across many industries who prove that you don't need to have it all figured out by the time you turn 30.
Many people, perhaps more than you know, have struggled with success until finding their full potential in their 40’s.
We'll take a look at some of them, from renowned fashion designer Vera Wang, who didn't design her first dress until she was 40, to writer Harry Bernstein, who authored countless rejected books before getting his first hit at age 96.
The only thing more inspiring than a great success story is a great success story that happened later in one’s life. After all, who doesn’t love a late bloomer, whose many years of struggle and persistence have finally paid off?
Take these success stories as inspiration to reach your full potential, no matter your age.
1. Martha Stewart – After working in catering for years, Martha started hosting her own successful TV show and writing multiple books when she was in her 40’s.
2. Vera Wang – Vera was 41 years old when she opened her first design studio and started her successful career in the fashion industry.
3. Henry Ford – Before his success, Henry worked as an engineer under Thomas Edison. Henry Ford was 40 years old when he founded the Ford Motor company.
4. Samuel L Jackson – Samuel L Jackson struggled with drug addiction before he became successful, and at the age of 43 he landed his first major role in Jungle Fever and went on to another major role in Pulp Fiction.
5. Steve Carell – Steve didn’t become a household name until the age of 43 when he landed the lead role on the American version of ‘The Office’.
6. Betty White – Betty first appeared and gained media attention, on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore’ show; she was 51 years old at the time.
7. Alan Rickman – Before his acting career, Alan worked as a graphic designer. He then left in his 20’s to go to acting school. He started filming for Harry Potter and Die Hard in his early 40’s.
8. Patrick Stewart – Beginning his career in theatre, Patrick didn’t actually land his major role in Star Trek until he was in his 40’s.
9. Wendy Williams – Before her success, Wendy started as a disc jockey before landing her own talk show ‘The Wendy Williams Show’ at the age of 44.
10. Regis Philbin – Regis hosted many failed talk shows before co-hosting Live! With Regis and Kathy Lee at the age of 57.
11. Abraham Lincoln – Abraham Lincoln became president at the age of 51. Before that, he left the House of Representatives to practice law and thought his political career was over.
12. Sam Walton – Before his success, Sam ran various stores – but most of them failed in the process. He used these failures as lessons and at the age of 44 he opened the first Wal-Mart and became one of the richest men in the world.
13. Peter Mark Roget – After retiring from his mechanical and scientific work, Peter started to work on a book that would organize words by their definitions. He was 61 at the time. By the age of 73, his book, the first thesaurus, was published.
14. Julia Child – In 1961, Julia Child’s cookbook ‘Mastering The Art Of French Cooking’ was first published. Julia was 49 years old.
15. Donald Fisher – Donald Fisher and his wife opened the first GAP store when Donald was 40 years old (and had no retail experience). Today, the company is one of the world’s largest fashion chains.
16. Ray Kroc – Before buying McDonald’s at the age of 52, Ray had a career as a milkshake-device salesman. He eventually grew McDonald’s into the world’s biggest fast-food franchise.
17. Anna Moses (Grandma Moses) – She began painting at the age of 76, becoming one of America’s great folk artists. Her paintings are now worth millions.
18. Octavia Spencer – Octavia won an Academy Award and made a name for herself in her breakthrough role in ‘The Help’ – she was 41 at the time.
19. Laura Ingalls Wilder – At the age of 65 Wilder’s book ‘Little House’ was published and would later inspire the hit TV show ‘Little House on the Prairie’.
20. Harry Bernstein – At the age of 93, Harry started writing the book, ‘The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers’ after the death of his wife. The book was published when Harry was 96.
21. Lucille Ball – Before her success, Lucille was actually asked to leave two drama schools due to her failure to perform. Eventually though, after moving to Hollywood, she would become the first woman to head up a TV production company. When ‘I Love Lucy’ aired, Lucy was 40 years old.
22. John Glenn – John was 41 years old when he became the first American astronaut to orbit Earth. He then went on to become a US senator at the age of 53 and held that role for 24 years.
23. Melissa McCarthy – Melissa had several small roles in her career, but it wasn’t until the age of 41 that she shot into stardom with her role in Bridesmaids.
24. Kathy Bates – Kathy didn’t get her breakout role in ‘Misery’ until she was 42 years old.
25. Richard Adams – In 1972, Richard published his first novel ‘Watership Down’ – he was 52 years old.
26. Momofuku Ando – After World War II, Momofuku wanted to find a way to provide quick, easy and cheap food for everyone. He was 48 years old when he developed the instant ramen noodles.
27. Stan Lee – Stan was 40 years old when ‘The Fantastic Four’ was first published – years later, he would become the household name for the comics and Marvel Universe.
28. “Colonel” Harland Sanders – Starting out, Sanders sold fried chicken on the side of the road. This was during the Great Depression. He achieved success with his fast-food chain at the age of 65.
29. Bryan Cranston – Perhaps known for playing Walter White in Breaking Bad – Bryan actually first starred in Malcolm In The Middle at the age of 44.
30. Reid Hoffman – Although he founded the social networking site ‘LinkedIn’ when he was 35 years old, it wasn’t until Reid was 43 when LinkedIn became public.
31. Joy Behar – Joy was an English Teacher for some time until she launched her show business career at the age of 40.
32. Tim and Nina Zagat – Previously both with careers in the legal sector, Tim and Nina decided to leave their legal careers and write their first restaurant guides – this was at the age of 42. Their company is not part of Google.
33. Jack Cover – Jack worked as a nuclear physicist who worked in aerospace and defense. In 1970, at age 50, Jack started Taser, Inc, which produced the taser gun. By 2009, the Taser gun was in use in over 45 countries.
34. Ronald Reagan – Of course, Ronald previously had been a famous actor, but he was not elected as President until the age of 55 – this was after winning the vote by over a million.
35. Nelson Mandela – After serving four years in prison, he became president of his country at the age of 72 and became the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
36. Rodney Dangerfield – Rodney earned his fame as a last-minute replacement on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ at the age of 46.
37. Dame Judie Dench – Although she was famous on the stage and in England, Dame Judie Dench became a Hollywood name at the age of 61, when she played M in a James Bond film.
38. Ang Lee – Lee was a stay at home dad before he became a hit director for movies such as Brokeback Mountain and Hidden Dragon. He was in his early 40’s when he started directing.
39. Brian Dennehy – Actor Brian Dennehy was 44 years old when he starred in the film, Rambo. This was when he broke into mainstream audiences.
40. Robert Noyce – Robert Noyce was 41 years old when he co-founded ‘Intel’ and became a model for future CEO’s due to his relaxed working environment and for declining the usual executive perks.