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Maybe it’s the long, gray days. Maybe it’s the holiday season.
But I’ve found myself reflecting on the past recently. Every day, there’s more past to look back on.
I’ve accomplished a lot in my five-ish decades so far. I’m proud of what I’ve done. Even the mistakes have turned into valuable life lessons.
Although there is this one nagging regret…
When I was younger, I had a strong sense of urgency. Although time has mellowed me a bit, that sense of urgency is still around today.
Today, at 53, I think it serves me well. I understand that I only have so many years left to achieve what I want in my companies. I only have so much time left to spend with my family while my kids are still at home.
But when I was younger, my sense of urgency distorted my perception of what mattered. I felt I had to rush through everything. I didn’t appreciate the time I had then, and I spent too much of it on things that didn’t matter.
Pursuing business ventures long after they stopped being good ideas.
I wasn’t intentional enough, and I wish I had been. Not to the point where I’m beating myself up every day, of course.
Because what can I change about the past? I didn’t know what I didn’t know. As someone once said: youth is wasted on the young.
Someone else (Bill Gates) said this: “Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in ten years.”
I like 10 years. It’s a nice, concrete number. It’s the amount of time we set for a company’s North Star. And it’s marked by the decades of our lives, a nice fat zero at the end of your age, telling you that you’ve passed from one era of your life into the next.
I like the future focus of Gates’ quote, too. Maybe it’s my age, but a year goes by faster than it ever has. It’s why, when I help clients plan, I’m so focused on their 3 Year Objectives. One year is almost done before it has started.
And 90 days? It’s a snap of the fingers. The blink of an eye.
Big goals aren’t accomplished quickly. But if you can avoid distraction, stay intentional, and focus on what you really want by the time the next decade comes around…