Welcome to Episode 26 of the Forward From 50 podcast where we interview people over 50 who are pursuing new direction for their lives. It’s an opportunity for men and women to tell their stories, their way, in their own words. I’m Greg Gerber, the founder of Forward From 50 and your host for today’s show.
Mike Brennan knew early in life that he wanted to be a graphic illustrator. Some of his earliest memories were about creating special greeting cards for friends or relatives, and enjoying their reactions when they opened the hand-drawn cards.
After graduating from high school, Mike enrolled in art school before landing a job with prestigious Madison Avenue companies in New York City working on behalf of some major brands. He bounced around from company to company for a few years before going into full-time ministry.
The work was important, and Mike was making an impact in the lives of others, but he wasn’t inspired. Even after starting his own church with his best friend, Mike often found himself doing things nobody else could or wanted to do. He was just going through the motions of life, which was depressing and unfulfilling.
After his father was diagnosed with cancer and died a short time later, Mike hit rock bottom. He wondered how he arrived at this stage in life and questioned whether he could ever truly enjoy life again.
He saw a therapist and began journaling. Through that, he felt a tug to return to his first love, which was graphic illustration.
Mike made a commitment to draw something new every day for a year, but he didn’t know if he could maintain the consistency of showing up daily to create illustrations. He described his first drawing as horrible and embarrassing because Mike knew he had great artistic capacity as a young man.
But, Mike stuck with his one-year plan, and found renewed purpose at the end.
To develop a habit of showing up every day to create something, Mike had to put in place some systems to help him maintain his momentum. He also had to draw a lot of really bad things until he could start creating the dazzling illustrations he envisioned in his mind.
Because Mike knew the application of certain principles was ultimately responsible for the new direction of his life, he wanted to share them with others.
So Mike formed an online platform called Daily Creative Habit to help other people tap into their own creative energy. He helps them set goals, monitor their progress and remain accountable to their commitments. Mike developed a daily creative habit journal to provide seeds of inspiration to people who may be struggling, and he backed that up with a free newsletter to give creators prompts and encouragement.
For people who want some one-on-one help to gain traction on their goals or projects, Mike serves as a creativity coach.
Like Mike said, “I know from personal experience that if they don’t show up and do the work, that idea or project will never see the light of day. They will never build a business around the idea and they’ll never make money from it. Nor will they feel like the work they do is fulfilling and impactful.”
Mike says he has no regrets in life because everything he has done and experienced have worked to build him into the person he is today. But, people who are wondering what direction their lives should take after turning 50, should evaluate where they are right now, and address any roadblocks they see standing in the way of the life they’d like to live.
Once the analysis is done and people know the things they intend to pursue will be significant, impactful and purpose-filled, then it’s essential for them to take action toward their dream.
Mike said if you don’t act, you won’t get clarity. But, if you wait for clarity, then you’ll never get started. Clarity comes from action and the sooner you start acting, the quicker you’ll get traction.
To connect with Mike, visit www.mikebrennan.me. From there you can find examples of his creative work, links to social media accounts as well as his Creative Daily Habit website and coaching services.
That’s all I have for this week’s show. If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit www.forwardfrom50.com.
Please join me again next week for another motivational interview on the next episode of the Forward From 50 podcast. Thanks for listening. If you like this show, please consider leaving a review wherever you download the episodes.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.