Recently a dear friend sent me a book entitled “5”, written by Dan Zadra, in celebration of her five successful years in business. I love this book! It is simple, inspiring and liberating in its approach and message. One particular excerpt of this book hit home, as I have recently been coaching a few leaders and executives who feel the best years of their lives have passed them by. They lament to me that they are not where they thought they would be or where they want to be at this stage in their lives. We know intellectually that nothing is stagnate, and yet often we get stuck. We get riddled in our own stories of where we think we ‘should be’, where we think others think we ‘should be’, or simply paralyzed by the hurdles which test and often hinder our forward momentum.
This book asks the penetrating question: “Where will you be five years from today?” It is chock full of provocative exercises to challenge our limiting beliefs and reinforce the fact that there is no time like the present. I found one particular passage particularly relevant and motivating to those of us who still have a lot we wish to contribute in life and find our life zooming past at lightening speed. The author compiled a list of individuals of varying ages and when and how they contributed. An excerpt:
Age 7 – Mozart wrote his first symphony. Age 17 – Joan of Arc led an army in defense of France. Age 21- Fred DeLuca founded Subway with only $1000 in the bank. Age 45 – George Foreman, the boxer, regained the heavyweight championship of the world. Age 54 – Willie Shoemaker won the Kentucky Derby. Age 57 – Ray Kroc founded McDonald’s. Age 78 – Grandma Moses started painting and continued exhibiting one-woman shows well into her nineties. Age 84 – Titian painting his famous Allegory of the Battle of LePanto. Age 86 – Ruth Rothfarb ran the Boston Marathon in just over 5 hours.
So, when we think life is passing us by and we have not contributed in the manner in which we had hoped up until now – what is holding us back from diving in? We need to forget our age and just go for it! Many years ago after a serious surgery, I remember telling my father, “I wish I knew what my purpose was.” Without missing a beat, he said, “Well, you have one, otherwise you would not be here, you would be dead.” Perhaps a bit morbid, yet so very true. We will never have more time than we do right now. So, for those of us who think we have ‘missed the boat’ – lets get in the water and swim.