It is always interesting to me when after an article, people come to me and start a conversation.
After my post about the founder of Minecraft, (to see more click here) a person (we will call him Gary) contacted me, because he was achieving his dream and his goal of an early retirement (set of the end of September) yet he was anxious. His comment was quite striking. “I have achieved my dreams (he just sold his company for a pretty penny and he was on the verge of retiring at age 45.) But I think I am going to mess this up.”
His thinking was simple:
“I have worked my whole life. What am I going to do after tomorrow, if I don’t work? I don’t know me, without working”
Gary had actually put his finger on a real problem. He had worked very hard all his life, going up the ladder of his company, then creating his own to today where he had just been bought out.
When you meet Gary, you know that he is intense, driven and always active. He had always been driven to success. And in anybody’s book, this latest chapter of his life was a huge success. The culmination of one’s life. Yet, he was very aware that he was “too young to retire and do nothing”.
He felt that there was a gap between what people saw and his reality. And he would be right.
He told me about his immediate plan of holidays and relaxation and time spent with his family. But his view was that he had never stopped before. And he would lose his sense of purpose.
“You can only do nothing for so long…”
He had provided for his family in an amazing way. He had achieved his dreams. Yet, he did not have a goal for this next step in life. And for the first time, he was doubting himself.
He was still riding the high of his success. But he was conscious that overnight, he would have no reason to get up and go to the office and he did not like to sleep-in.
He would not have to make important decisions (aside from what he would do for the day) and he would not have responsibility of 100’s of people working for him. And most of his friends still had to work so he would be left alone most of the day.
He could go and travel the world and enjoy doing it but his children are still at school so he could not take them too far for too long. He had a gardening leave which was relatively stringent, so he could not start a new project too quickly.
He recognized that he did not have the slightest idea of what to expect. And felt trapped in the process.
So we talked about what was important to him, and it was clear that his family was his world, but that he was also of the view (his model of the world if you like) that it was important to work, and he did not want his kids to see him not work, (What kind of model would I be?). He expressed that he was looking forward to spending more time with this wife and that he had actually neglected her over the years.
“But she will be sick of me, after a while.”
I asked the obvious: “Do you regret your decision? Did you make the right decision?”
His answer was strong and uncompromising.
“Yes, it was time! and it would have been a mistake to overlook that opportunity. And quite honestly, it was getting boring, those people will do a much better job.”
I was surprised by this statement, I probed: “Are you jealous of their capacity to do better and greater things?”
His answer was
“No. I have done everything I needed to do there. I was getting bored, I was not excited as I needed to be. I am glad that the new owners will have great opportunities to get the company to greater and better places.”
So, we explored what he liked to do? He liked sport and he liked feeling that he was contributing to society. Clearly connection and contribution were his two driving forces.
With this in mind, he considered what he could do. He suddenly realized that he could fund a youngster sport club and he could be involved in the running of the club. It would be a challenge, because he would still have to find the funds to run the club and to manage it. He would use his connections and his need to help to connect with the kids…
Suddenly he had a project!
I asked him: “Why is it so interesting to you? What is it that excite you in this idea?”
Immediately his smile became bigger.
“I used to be the trouble kid, always. I was smarter than most, I was bored at school. I discovered Taekwando at a local small club at age 10, it gave me an outlet. I mastered my mind as well as my body and I develop a great work ethic. I want to be able to give back. If I only help one kid with it, it will be perfect.”
I know the person, he will help more than one kid!
But at that point, he had a project. A next step. One that he could relate to. One that would feed his need for connection and contribution. He left with a spring in his steps and the phone to his ear to talk to his friends about this idea.
Gary now has a plan for his future. One that will ensure his happiness, that will give him a sense of purpose. Will it be easy? No! Will this youth club be any different from another? Probably not! But Garry now felt aligned with his true self.
So do you have a plan, a goal? An exciting one, one that you can not wait to achieve because the results will be fantastic and so rewarding, that there is no reason for you NOT TO DO IT!
Let’s talk. A quick conversation (click here) maybe all you need to find the spark, once again!