Settle in. This could take a decade … or two.
by Peter Crocker
As I sat across the table from a marketing manager to discuss a new project, I realised I’d been here 10 years earlier! It was the fourth company, the fourth website, the fourth brief, but the same four people at the table. Am I stuck in Groundhog day?
This year marks 10 years of Flying Solo, 12 years as a freelance copywriter, and 14 years as a parent … and it’s made me ponderous. How on earth did I end up here? And, what happens next?
A decade sounds like a long time, because it is. So why do they seem to pass like days?
In his book Life in Half a Second – How to achieve success before it’s too late serial entrepreneur Matthew Michalewicz boils down decades of research into his formula for success in your career, business or personal life. Hint: It involves a lot of hard work!
However, in his thought-provoking first chapter he bluntly counts down how little time we each have left. He also cites a stack of Harvard research on work satisfaction and happiness which reveals thatfor most of us, most of the time, we would rather be doing something else with our time!
Put simply: we spend much of our lives chasing things we don’t want.
Given we, as soloists, are fortunate enough to have the freedom to forge our own direction, it seems ludicrous not to at least try and escape this trap.
“As a modern society, we can design almost anything: from advanced medical devices and complex satellites in space, to atomic bombs… Even at an individual level – we can design our homes, clothes, computers, cars…
Given our mastery in the design of all things big and small, I have often wondered: why can’t we do the same things with our lives?
Designing your life is no different to sculpting, painting or writing: day by day, piece by piece, you turn what’s in your mind into reality.”
The book argues that the first and most important step is to gain clarity about what you want from life, and then set very specific goals to get there.
While I don’t connect with the frantic urgency and ‘countdown’ urged by the author (I feel enjoying the journey trumps the speed of ‘arrival’) I do agree that knowing where you’re heading is at the core of happiness.
Given we’re all going to spend the next decade doing something, we may as well spend our time building something meaningful right? Whether that’s a business, relationships, skills or experiences.
I believe the key to any ‘successful’ life and business, (far more important than ticking off material goals), is to nurture the relationships of those important to you and invest time and energy surrounding yourself with a devoted dozen or ‘inner circle’.
So, hopefully I do find myself in 2025 sitting across the table from the same clients, the same business partners, the same family and same close friends. And rather than see this as a slothful lack of progress, I’ll choose to see it as my carefully planned long-term strategy coming to fruition!
Where do you see yourself, and with whom, 10 years from now? And what does a successful life look like to you?