Today I turned 57. This is mid-life and there’s no other way to spin it.
For some of you, it may seem like I am old, and I am OK with that.
I’ll share that I feel about 40, have lots of things I want to do, and don’t plan on retiring ever.
I am blessed with great genes, and even though my family members drank a lot and never ate healthily or exercised, they lived to enjoy their 80s and 90s with relatively few health issues and most of their marbles.
My grandmother Claire died at 94 and could kick anyone’s butt at backgammon and gin rummy until the end. That woman was a fierce competitor, keeping track of how much each family member owed her. She sold real estate into her late 80s. She said it kept her young and out of doctors’ offices.
All this is to say that while I am staring at 60, I probably have 30 more productive years ahead of me.
That’s a long time, and you can accomplish some amazing things in 30 years.
Birthdays are generally considered milestones, but 57 is a dud number and not much of a milestone.
Frankly, it feels totally lame.
However, I will be following my own advice and am taking the day off to celebrate.
My business will turn nine in May. That seems like a bigger milestone somehow.
I grew my business for the eighth consecutive year, which is a good milestone, although the percentage increase wasn’t nearly what I was targeting.
Speaking of growth, it’s helpful to measure it. Revenue is clearly one metric. But is it the only one?
How about the number of clients served?
Or measuring client success rates?
Or joy in doing your work?
Joy is hard to pin down to a number, but spending time in a flow state doing work you love for clients you can truly help might be the metric to aim for. It certainly makes life worth living.
For better or for worse, I have been fully (maybe stupidly) committed to this business. I will share it has never made the money it should have, given the incredible results I have helped my clients get.
Opportunity cost is a real thing! Investing my time, money, blood, sweat, and tears in this business has cost me easily $500K that I could have made if I had stayed in corporate.
This recent realization was shocking, but is absolutely true.
I would tell you that working for yourself is great or completely sucks, depending on the day
One of my dearest friends asked me why I didn’t go back to corporate last weekend. I told her I almost died at my last job and three doctors told me I had to quit as soon as I could.
This is true. The story of almost stroking out in my boss’s doorway on Christmas Eve is included in my TEDx talk.
However, this isn’t the real reason I haven’t gone back to corporate.
The real reason is I haven’t found the situation that would pay me to do this work I love, and feel is the work I was put on this earth to do. My best clients come to me when they have hit the wall or suffered some kind of major loss (job, business, or personal). I am able to re-launch them and help them get back on track.
The satisfaction – and joy – I get from doing my great work is worth forfeiting some money, at least for now.
And I may be able to make it up over the next 30 years.
What I want to leave you with is:
You might have different milestones and metrics that matter to you.
Try joy. It’s a great one.