If destiny were a total of 50 steps, which of these statements most closely resembles the way you currently think?A) My next step, will determine all future steps. B) My future steps, will determine my next step. C) My 50th step, will determine my next step
What is Your 50th Step?Fifty steps from now, where will you be? What will you step into? Will you be stepping up, stepping out, or stepping aside? In my experience, most people think and focus on the next step. In a way it makes sense because your next step will always determine the step after that, and after that, and after that… until all 50 steps are used up. Let’s say you want to walk to the most northern point you can get to by foot. You might make a plan, or you might wing it by heading in a general northerly direction. If it’s at night, you may use a torchlight and only be able to see one step ahead of you at a time. Whether it is night or day, you may even go off course, and you’d need to step back toward the direction you generally want to head. But that is a waste of steps. But every step of the way, you’d be thinking about that moment when you take that final step onto the most northern point. Entrepreneurs are especially like this. We’re wired for adventure and outcomes.
I challenge you, right now, to think about that 50th step.In that picture, what do you look like? What are you wearing? Are you wearing a suit and tie or a more startup getup. Will you be fashion-forward or just well-fashioned? Will you be reflecting back on the last 49 steps, or just enjoying the 50th? I have always imagined that as an entrepreneur, somewhere on my 23rd step, I’d have a team around me, of say, twenty five or so people who follow and trust me. The visionary. Maybe even think of me as their greatest inspiration. I would invest into them and train them into the very best they could be. I’d be a boss. A great boss. I’d want to of course be the best boss ever. But then one day, I started to look beyond that and I didn’t like what I saw. With a view of 50 steps, my 50th step was stepping out of my business and handing it over to my kids. Because after all, what do you do with a team of people who depend on you, when you’re ready to retire? Hand the business over to a stranger? No way! It would be my kids, I thought to myself, who would take over. My kids. Who might not even want to have anything to do with it. Hmmm… Conundrum. How could I be so selfish as to assume that they would want that? Had I considered their own individual gifts, temperaments and skills? Had I even asked them? No. I was willing to be an entrepreneur, defined by carving my own path. Inspiring others to do the same. But then I was going to be the biggest hypocrite ever, and lock my kids down from being entrepreneurial themselves, handing them a ready made business. Whoops. The more I looked at that picture, the more I realised, I’m no different to a dad who works 50 years in a corporation and expects his kids to also grow up and work in a corporation. Maybe even the same industry. Maybe even the very same company! That last one is the most shocking, and yet here I was doing the same thing – except I was building the corporation. Okay so here’s where I get a bit Freudian. Sorry in advance. My 50th step, wasn’t a picture of me in the future. It was a picture of my own dad. The past, replayed, in the future. Oh crap.
Changing the 50thThis started me on a journey of redefinition. I could choose to make my 50th anything I wanted. So I asked myself what I wanted my 50th to look like. I created a mental picture, and got it as clear as I could. Sights, sounds, smells, surroundings. I looked at the minutiae of the picture I created, and asked myself “why is that there?” For example:
- In that picture I am dressed in what I would consider trendy and fashion-forward. Why? It turns out, a core value of mine as an entrepreneur is that I don’t want to ever build anything that would cause me to have to be something I’m not. To lose my personality. I want to stay fun, casual, and dynamic.
- In the picture, I had more than enough in the bank accounts. Why? To fund any project I could ever want to undertake, back anyone I want to back, give to any cause I wanted to, and go anywhere I wanted. But most importantly, I don’t ever want anyone around me to feel like there isn’t hope. I want the capability to be generous.
- In the picture, my life is surrounded by cutting-edge technology. Why? Not just because I like the toys. Because I do. But it communicates another value inside me – Always do the undone, by accessing the inaccessible. It’s a pathfinding statement, an ethos for innovation. I didn’t put it ‘in there’, and I can’t take it out.
- In the picture, I am joy rich, family rich, time rich, and became financially rich, in that order. Why? I don’t want big complicated businesses. Just smart businesses. Businesses that nourish the endeavours of the points above.
From Here to Step 50When I realised what my truly wanted my 50th step to look like I realised I had already been living in some measure of it. It brought a profound sense of freedom. Why was I willing to make my life more complicated, when all I really needed to do was fine tune, nurture and grow the life I already have? Told you it would get a bit deep. But screw it. This might help someone.
Is Everyone On Their Way To Their Ideal 50th Step?I can’t say that my happy realisation would be everyone’s position at the time of reading this, but that’s why I’m writing it! Whether you feel like you are at step 1 or step 49: It’s never too late to decide what step 50 will be. Okay look, I don’t have a crystal ball. Or a PHD in destiny creation. I’m definitely no Tony Robbins. So here’s what helped me arrive at the epiphanies.
Acknowledging the Steps Already TakenLooking backwards takes a lot more courage sometimes than looking forwards. There are no visible mistakes committed yet when you’re looking forward. But when you’re looking backwards, in light of the 50th, you are confronted with these things:
- Unchosen steps
- Wasted steps
- Steps back toward the right direction
- Steps to your ideal 50th