When I started my coaching journey, I was met by a lot of negativity.

Maybe it was due to my youthful face, but many people told me that I was too young to coach.

Even my mentor at the time told me that I would find it very hard to find clients because women in their 40s and over would not find me credible. It was very disheartening.

I could easily have been put off and stayed working in my law firm. The job paid well and felt secure – the only problem was I dreaded turning up every morning.

I could either let other people dictate how I was going to live my life or use their negative opinions as “f*ck you fuel” to spur me on to prove them wrong.

It is a magical day when you realise people’s opinions are just opinions and they can have them.

I am writing this article for all the other young coaches out there who have also been told they are “too young” or may have thought this themselves.

What I want to make clear is this: age means nothing when it comes to coaching.

Just because someone has been on the earth for a few more years than someone else doesn’t make them automatically more competent.

What matters more for a coach is the level of commitment they have for their client’s success, how emotionally intelligent they are, if they communicate well and if they can motivate someone.

Age has nothing to do with these skills. Yes, if you are older you have had more time to gain these skills but only if you were focussed on learning them.

I have been working with a 21-year-old graphic designer recently who has taught me so many new things it’s unreal. She gained her knowledge through dedication and will continue to learn and improve because graphic design is her passion.

So, how do you deal with the naysayers? Here are 3 tips:

  1. Ask them: “What about you? What’s your dream career?”

Chances are they don’t even have one. That’s right, the people who will shoot your dreams down usually don’t have any dreams themselves. It is almost as if subconsciously they want you to be like them.

I advise you to share your dreams only with fellow dreamers, not anyone who calls themselves a “realist”. In my opinion “realist” is the politically correct name for a fundamentally negative person and I try to stay far away from them.

  1. If they say you are too young to coach tell them: “Thank you, I will take your advice on board.”

Then secretly give them the middle finger when they are walking away.

  1. Use their opinions as “f*ck you fuel”. If I did it, so can you. There will be struggles, they are part of any business. When you experience them remember everyone who would love to see you fail. It will make you want to work ten times as hard.

If you are a young coach wondering if you should carry on, I hope this article has given you the peps you need. People need coaches more than ever, no matter what age they happen to be. Work hard at being the best you can possibly be, and you will be rewarded.