This Thanksgiving weekend as we all take a moment to be thankful for how incredibly fortunate we are, I want you to do some thinking, some real contemplation, about your next Act. Once the mayhem in the house dies down, and Uncle George is snoring in your favorite Lazy Boy, I want you to take a beverage to the chilly back deck and think honestly about what you want to do for the next twenty years.
Sometimes life hits us with a thermonuclear warhead, like I encountered over the last decade, and this forces us to re-think everything: what we believe, what's important to us, and what we're going to do about it. But for most people, the routine and malaise of life just washes them down the river until one day they wake up wondering what happened to their dreams and aspirations. Jimmy Buffet captures it as, "He liked the quiet clean country living, and twenty more years slipped away."
Odds are if you are reading JAM Views you have accomplished more than most, and, relatively, you have your act together. Yet, you know that you could be doing so much more if you became inspired, or re-inspired. JAM Views readers don't believe that we came down to the planet this time around to earn our pension and finally get some rest. We believe that we came down this time to work off our karma, attack life, and make tremendous progress towards enlightenment! We cannot "go with the flow" if we want to make tremendous progress, and we must accept that life is about constant change.
Ancient saints teach that a person "may never cross the same river twice."
Bob Buford wrote "Half Time: Moving from Success to Significance" to address these issues, and I urge you to hop onto Amazon and order it this weekend. Bob made a zillion dollars in business and then decided to do something totally different. But Bob didn't have the millionaire guilt, and he didn't leave everything he built to join the Peace Corps or work in the soup kitchens. Bob figured out what he was now passionate about, and then he created a new life plan which built upon his skill set and experience, which served his selfish self-interest (very Ayn Rand), and which would have a tremendous impact on the world before he moved onto his next adventure. He described this effort as Altruistic Egoism which recognizes self-interest as central to the human design and aligns efforts to gain personal satisfaction by helping others.
How do JAM Views readers believe we help others? We build companies and provide people jobs, respect and dignity. These beneficiaries then take care of their own families, provide for their children, and support their communities as they pay it forward every day. Legendary management consultant Peter Drucker taught us to "work only on things that will make a great deal of difference if you succeed." Peter also proclaimed, "The beginning of adult life is when you ask the question, 'What do I want to be remembered for?'"
Now, as you figure this all out on the chilly deck (better refresh your B&B), remember that the more wealth you create for yourself and your own family, the more significant and positive impact you will have on the rest of the world. Don't let the looters and collectivists convince you otherwise. But you are going to need to make some changes, tomorrow. Business advisor Charles Handy instructs us, "It is one of the paradoxes of success that the things and ways which got you there are seldom those things that keep you there." And we all know Edison's definition of insanity.
Charles brilliantly details in "The Age of Paradox" how we need to start these Second or Third Acts when we are at our strongest, even if life seems too hectic to take on one more thing. "The right place you start the second curve (path) is when there is time, resources, and energy to get the new curve through its initial explorations and flounderings before the first curve begins to dip downward." In other words, if you want to finally start your own global staffing company to make a significant impact on the world, start the project while you are still leading IBM's HR Department, your stock options have grown in value, and you have a small cushion enabling you to take a risk. Generals in war know that timing will never be perfect, and you will never have all the information you need to make a perfect decision. Nevertheless, you must press through the fog and friction of warfare and make a command decision. Your family, and the world, is counting on you. In "The Legend of Bagger Vance," Steven Pressfield wrote, "Life is action, Junah. Even choosing not to act, we act. We cannot do otherwise. Therefore act with Vigor! Stand now, Junah, and take your place. Do honor to yourself and your station!"
In great detail I have written out my Second Half Plan, and the JAM Views Blog creation was on the list. I have also put a great deal of thought into what I want to be remembered for once I, too, move onto the next adventure. If you'd like a copy, just send me a note. This Thanksgiving I am incredibly thankful for many things and some very special people. I know you are also. Now get back in there, get Uncle George out of your chair, and start scribbling down all those Second Half commitments. I can't wait to see a copy!
“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”