Well, I have good news and I have bad news.
The bad news is your job drains the life out of you. That old flame called ‘purpose’ is more like a pilot light, now.
You’re scarred, and you’re jaded because you’ve tried to break out before and failed, and because it’s easier to accept your station in life and tell yourself things will never change for you.
As a result, there’s just too much going on in your life to risk dreaming again. The good news is that these real-world challenges offer enormous advantages.
You’ve earned your scars.
You have experience, perspective and insight into things they won’t know for decades to come. And you can use these to carve out a place for yourself
This post focuses on the good news.
You’re Able To Ignore What People Think You Should Be Doing
Everyone from Gary Vaynerchuck and James Altucher to Chris Guillebeau will tell you that you don’t need a job anymore.
Spend five minutes on Instagram and witness the 20-year-olds who preach about following your passion, leaning into your strengths and blazing your own trail.
Travel the world in a van! Manage the social media for clueless fortune 500’s for bag loads of cash, or take a selfie in front of someone else’s supercar and tell your tribe they could be living this life if they just paid $97 a month for your tell-all 12-month program.
I recall Gary himself pleading to the crowd at a live event to “…please, please, stop doing sh*t you don’t like. You don’t have to do that anymore!”
Hell, I reckon if I were still 22, I’d be thinking the only thing I need to do is to quit my job, live anywhere and join the new rich! Oh no, hang on a minute, that’s from Tim Ferris’s book…
I know I sound cynical, but I have so much of this stuff swirling around in my head, I sometimes wonder if my thoughts are my own anymore.
And I bet some of you are the same. If you’re over 35, you probably think most of it is nonsense. That’s because, like me, you’ve been around; you’ve done things. You’ve made children, got married, and you have a job with a mountain of bills to pay.
But like those viral posts that lead you down an hour-long rabbit hole (when all you were trying to do was Google the correct spelling for ‘emancipated’), you still find yourself wishing it were all true.
You Aren’t Aware What Being 40 Actually Means
Let me tell you, in your middle years, a perfect storm approaches. Part of the story is the dreaded midlife crisis, but that’s more of a disruption to the storm than part of the storm itself.
Time brings out these three powerful elements
It’s the convergence of these three powerful elements creates something wonderful:
Notice anything unique about these elements? None of them can be bought or faked.
They must be lived. If you’ve made it to the other side of 40, you have each of these in spades.
That means you have the most valuable asset you can bring to the table.
You’re An Expert Without Realizing It
You’ve done stuff, seen things, and been damaged along the way. You’ve had highs and lows, victories and failures.
And because of all this, you have things to offer those who are coming up behind you.
You are, without question, expert enough at something – probably a few things.
This puts you in an enviable position. Seriously – the 20-something’s with stars in their eyes don’t have what you have.
A twenty-year-old might have go-all-night levels of energy, but he has little precious real-world experience. He hasn’t tasted failure or disappointment or responsibilities like you have.
They don’t understand the value of the long game. Their mind is unfettered by the struggles of midlife, divorce, or demanding teenage children.
Building Your Audience Just Became Easier
Build a global audience for that something you have that no one else does.
Think about your career/s, your skills, your natural talents and the things you love to do – even if you barely get time to do them.
There is stuff you know, things you’ve done, perspectives you have and wounds you carry that people want to hear about.
Not your uncle or your sister, but other people.
Remember, we’re living in the most opportune environment we’ve ever known.
According to http://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/
For the first time in history, it’s possible to reach over three billion people using a simple little blog. The rise of smartphones and social media amplifies this to a scale unseen before.
Best of all, even the most narrowly focused topic can appeal to thousands – perhaps millions – of people. Not long ago, I met a young woman at a YouTube conference who was making an excellent full-time living from modifying dolls and posting videos of the process she followed. Really. She even had an agent.
Regardless of what you do for a living; no matter where you are in your life right now, there is a special niche just for you.
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It needn’t be unique or particularly appealing to the masses because the uniqueness and the appeal will be YOU. Your perspective. Your voice.
Let me give you three wonderful assets you possess right now.
The Three Assets That Will Make You Unstoppable
1. Limited Time
For one, you have limited time (both genealogically and practically). That means you can’t faff around with six ideas at once. You need to focus on one thing at a time, frankly, there’s only so much you can do after you get home, kiss the wife, kick the dog, hoof down dinner and help your kids with their homework.
This is a very good thing. You’re methodical, deliberate and purposeful with whatever you pursue.
It also means you’ll likely pay for tried and tested advice and follow that advice to the letter. This propensity to focus your effort puts you way above the youngins who are prone to ‘new and shiny’ syndrome at every turn.
2. Desire For Quality of Life
The second advantage in your arsenal is the desire for a better quality of life.
You don’t just want the money. A pool full of bikini-clad women and a garage-load of Italian supercars would be nice, but…meh, that’s not really you.
And besides, your wife would probably leave you, and your kids would start calling their mom’s new boyfriend, “Dad”.
What I’m saying is you’ll probably pursue entrepreneurship for the ‘right’ reasons. And that, too, is a very good thing. It means your actions will have the ring of truth. And in today’s celebrity/fake sincerity-saturated world, that’s as bankable as money. It means you’ll attract quality customers, powerful allies and great collaborators. It sets you apart from the wannabes.
3. Your Story
The biggest thing you bring to the table, though, is your story.
You’ve been here a while and done a few things therefore you actually have a story; you don’t need to make one up! You can be completely yourself and be almost guaranteed finding enough people who resonate with your story.
My story, for example, is of someone who’s tried and failed at many things.
I’ve made money and I’ve lost money; Been married, and been divorced. Suffered debilitating setbacks, and I’ve endured a full-blown midlife crisis. But I’ve also triumphed and broken through the haze. I’ve zeroed in on a few things I love, and these days, I live an autonomous and fulfilling life.
And best of all, I’ve found a few intersections between the things I enjoy, the things I know and the things I’m good at – and I’ve made a life out of them.
You can do this too.
Yes, you must respect the constraints of the season you’re in, but don’t let them stop you from formulating plans and taking consistent action towards the life you want.
In the 1979 Muppet Movie, Kermit said, “Life’s like a movie; write your own ending.”
So my message is this. Be yourself, stake your claim, and go do something extraordinary!
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You’re Already A Master At Multi-Tasking
The great thing about today is, you don’t need to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
You can keep your miserable job and build something on the side and not much capital (if any) is needed to start. Renting office space isn’t even necessary! Hell, you don’t even need a business card.
Thanks to this wonderful thing called The Internet, you can begin right where you are.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose to sell products, freelance for clients or share your knowledge, there’s a captive audience waiting.
Sure there’s plenty to learn, depending on your chosen path, but that’s the other great thing. You needn’t return to school or sign up for an MBA. There’s a plethora of quality education available online that’ll guide you to whatever you deem nirvana for you.
You only need to decide to get in the game and begin your journey now.
So, five years from now, you’ll be five years older, whether you do this or not.
Tomorrow is a brand new day and that’s as good a time as any to begin.
Please comment below if you have any stories, questions, or suggestions with any part of this – I will be responding to everything immediately for the next couple of days.
Good luck, and talk to you below!