I turn 41 this month, which seemed ancient when I was in my 20’s but now I’m pretty good with it. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 20 years, which I do think is a long time.
Being such an old dude <grin> I have watched a lot of friends reach highly successful positions at their companies. I have friends who are VP’s or SVP’s or CMO’s at large, Fortune 1000 companies. Some are Executive Directors of nonprofits, and still others are decorated civic leaders.
And they all have one thing in common. They all feel like they should be doing more.
There’s something about being a high-performer that never lets you fully relax. When you’re younger and climbing the corporate ladder, you can be fulfilled by the thrill of the hunt. But as I’ve observed, once you reach a certain level, you’re kinda “there”.
And once you’re “there” things are mostly on autopilot. And for high-performers, autopilot is not fulfilling.
At the same time, another factor usually hits people. The feeling that goes something like, “I have some gifts, some real chops, yet what impact am I really having? Am I making a difference that will stand out long after I’m gone?”
So many of my high-performing friends find themselves in this position. I can look back now and realize that probably one of the reasons I started 48in48 with Adam was because I was beginning to experience this. While I didn’t have the feeling of reaching the top of the mountain as many of my friends have, I did feel like I wasn’t contributing enough to the world and needed something to appease that need.
My advice: No matter where you are in your career, or even if you don’t have a “career”, make sure you’re doing something that is bigger than you. Something that you can be proud of, that makes a real difference. I can tell you from experience it will help you become at peace with the other things you’re searching for.