I came across this over 500 year old quote recently:
“Worthy are the labors that give us a sign other than age to show that we have lived.”
Leon Battista Alberti (1503)
Heavy stuff for a bunch of carpet cleaners! But seriously, isn’t this the truth? Don’t you want more out of your “labors” than ONLY growing old?
In his book Beyond Survival, Leon Danco (I seem to have a run on Leons here) states that most people start their businesses when they’re in their 20’s. I think this holds true for most of the people reading this blog. (Well, OK, the ever-precocious Steve Toburen says he started at 16!)
But for the sake of this post, let’s use 25 years of age at your starting point and let’s say you want to “cash out” of your business by the time you’re 60. That means your “prime business life” is 35 years long.
Now let’s convert 35 years into months. This would be 420 months. Now how old are you now? Hmmmm …
Well, if you’re 46 years old, that means you’ve already spent 252 months of your prime business years working in your business. You’re ALREADY 60% of the way through your prime business cycle! It also means that you only have about 168 months left before it’s time to liquidate, sell, or transfer ownership of your company to someone else!
WOW! How time flies! Take a minute and reflect back over the months that you’ve owned your business. It probably seems like only yesterday that you started it. Yet when you were in the middle of those 252 months, it probably felt like an endless string of long days and sleepless nights, bone numbing fatigue and time away from your family.
Looking back now those past 252 months understandably might seem a little blurry. But they were very real at the time. So maybe it’s time for a reality check right now and for the very important 168 future months you have remaining.
You see, it’s a good practice to occasionally step back, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves some questions about where we are on our journey. Remember that the important question to ask isn’t how well you have done compared to other companies in your area or in our industry.
The important questions to ask are “How well have I done compared to what I set out to do? What do I have to show for all the sacrifices I’ve made? What legacy have I built?”
The good news is that it’s never too late to start and/or to “re-energize” your journey. After all, Ray Kroc didn’t start McDonalds until he was in his late 50’s. Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was in his 60’s! And Billy Yeadon didn’t start his scintillating new career with Jon-Don and Strategies for Success till … well, let’s just say he wasn’t a “spring chicken”!
What better time than right now to recommit to achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself. What can you do today, this week, or this month to either get back on track toward building the legacy you want to leave behind? Those 168 months will pass quickly! Let’s get to work!