I turned 42 recently (no, I'm not at all ashamed to admit my age), and in my mailbox was a link to a Harvard Business Review article “You Are Not a Failure.” http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/06/you_are_not_a_failure.html The teaser in the email was “There’s still hope for success after 35.” I was kind of miffed by that. It makes it sound that when you hit 35, the chances of you having any success are slim, but you can do possibly, maybe do it.
So I read the article, and what really stuck in me was this: “But late bloomers can take comfort in his finding that creativity isn't one-size-fits-all. If you haven't been invited to the White House or launched an IPO or made the cover of a national newsmagazine before age 35, there's absolutely no reason to believe you can't still accomplish those goals later in life.”
What? This age thing really bothers me. Why is success measured by how quickly you can do something? And why do I hear “oh, it’s okay that you’re not a billionaire yet. You can still do it!” (with a sympathetic pat on the beginning-to-grey head)?
Now, not only do you have to be young to be deemed successful, you must also be completely saturated in cash. (Too bad for people like Grandma Moses. How unsuccessful she must have felt!)
When I graduated college, I graduated with a man who was 76 – and just receiving his first degree. That was success. When I make it a whole week eating right and exercising – that’s success! When I wake up every day and have work to do for one of my clients – that’s success.
Maybe I’m too old now to understand the measure of success. And I’m perfectly okay with that.
Guest author Christie is jumping in here and offering some great advice.
A few weeks ago I decided to beat the New Year’s rush and begin my resolution early. Although because I tend to think on a grander scale, I would like to think of it more as a revolution than a resolution. But the point is, I am now getting up off my backside and going for a run every day.
For me, running is therapy. It gives me much needed time to think; to find my center. I’ve found many lessons from my running that can be applied universally in life- to business, to relationships, to our personal lives.
Perseverance: With running, there will inevitably come a point when you hit a wall. You’ll find that your energy is fading fast, and you’ll begin to doubt whether or not you have the strength to continue. We hit walls in the business world, too. It’s at this point, whether running a mile or running a business, that we need to make the decision to persevere; to push through the tough part regardless of how difficult it may seem. It’s only upon doing this, and reaching the other side of the wall, that we realize we are stronger than we thought.
Goal setting: I quickly learned that if I didn’t set goals for myself, I wouldn’t get very far. The goal can be as big as “I’d like to be able to run a 5K race by Spring” or as small as “I’d like to run the entire mile without stopping to walk." The important thing here is just to have a goal. If I set out on a run saying to myself, “I’m just going to run until I get tired” then I won’t make it very far. But with a goal, I’ll continue to run even once fatigue sets in, and I’ll go much further than I otherwise would have.
Conditioning: When I first started running again for the first time in years, it was…..well, let’s say it was a less than Olympic performance. There was a lot of gasping for air, a lot of pain, and a lot of “What am I doing to myself?!” type thoughts going through my head. The second time was better than that. The third time was bordering on something I could be really proud of, and so on. This is one of those universal principles that go far beyond running. There are times in our workday when we feel maybe we’ve taken on too much, or we’re not pleased with our performance. Sometimes there’s no special magic answer to perfecting our work. Sometimes the magic lies in simply doing it again and again, and you’ll find with each passing day, you’ll begin to consistently get results you’ll be proud of.
Enjoyment: Perseverance, goal setting, and conditioning all require a bit of hard work and tenacity, but don’t forget that there is enjoyment in those things as well. Getting from point A to point B is important, but for goodness’ sake, don’t forget to lift your head up, look around you, and enjoy the run!
Unlike my solitary runs though, in business you don’t have to go it alone. If you're at a point where you're hitting the proverbial wall, talk to us. We're here to cheer you on and help you push through to reach your goals.
25+ years of business experience. 12+ years of virtual experience.