Lets face it, when we were kids the main thing we thought about was “I wish I was grown up”. Then we graduate high school and look to acquire all we can: a spouse, kids, career, a house, some toys, savings and retirement. We call this “growing up”. That’s what the world advertises. Grab all you can, then coast leisurely to your death.
One of the greatest pieces of truth and wisdom my mentors gave me is that life is broken up into quadrants of time. What you do in your 20’s radically impacts your 30’s and 40’s. Of course it does. I’m glad I started my company when I was 16. I was selling art. It was going to take twice as long to build with no schooling and connections. It’s true: The early bird gets the worm. That said, by the time you hit 40-45 you arrive at mid race. Life is a marathon. It takes you 20 years just to get warmed up. The following 20 years are vital to the foundation building to how you have impact.
The reason why mid-life crises exist is because most arrive at 40-45 and realize time they’ve wasted, are behind, or have been passed up. The key is to not let it beat you down, get depressed and turn you into a ghost. We are to be human beings not human existings. We arrive at mid life to realize we have, based on Gods grace, another 40 years to produce. The difference now is that we have wisdom. Wisdom what not to do and what to do. The question is will we take action and change the game? We embrace and realize that what we do today has a massive impact on our future. I’ve ran two marathons and two half marathons. Each time, the half waypoint makes you evaluate: how did I do? How and I now? What do I need to do to finish? How can I figure this out so I can actually enjoy this marathon I signed up for and so it doesn’t “suck”?
When you arrive at mid-life you arrive light or heavy. Your possessions own you or you own your possessions. The panic comes in realizing you are running out of time. You can’t buy it. You can’t buy more time with your spouse, your kids, others. It’s a sobering reality. So, you start to dismantle life. Simplify and streamline. To finish the marathon it will require being “light”.
The more I study what God intended for us as his kids wasn’t to be so entangled in possessions and “stuff” that it robs our time and opportunities on the “good stuff” of life.
My goal over this season of my life is to simplify, streamline and get small so margin can be freed up on what I really want to be doing that gas significance. Think about it: where did this idea of grow up, work, retire and die come from? The world and culture. They make a lot of money on it.
I am offering a perspective that is counter to our culture. It’s not popular. It’s free and gets better with time. The public defines success on how nice of a car you have, the size of the house you have and where you live etc. Most men cant move to a smaller place, a different car etc because it bruises their ego and pride. They are defined by what they have not what imagine letting go of that hamster wheel and finding a new definition of success: significance. The ability to use your career as the underwriting force so you can love you spruce, instill leadership in your kids and change the world with your gift.
Four suggestions for dialing this in and getting clarity:
1. Investigate and research the masters program this was a program I did to get balance, margin and focus. Tools must be acquired to facilitate being an effective leader in all areas family, career, church etc.
2. Study the life of Christ: he traveled light, didn’t have a bank account, had more influence than anyone ever and changed the world. He knew who he was, what he was supposed to do and how he was supposed to do it. That sounds good to me.
3. Get mentors that encourage you to pursue the above. You can’t follow your self.
4. Get other creative, leaders, friends that are willing to be real. Talk, share and encourage one another. The stakes are high. The decisions grow larger and more crucial as you get older. Don’t do it alone.
Waking up, putting your pants on and facing the day takes on a whole new meaning.
Travel light my friend. Finish the race well.