Why today is the best time to change your life.
Let me tell you something you want to hear. Luck does play a part in how your life turns out. It really does.
There's always going to be the guy whose rich parents give him a ‘modest loan' of a million dollars to start his business. Or the ambitious woman who scores a chance meeting with a mentor with the right connections. The first-time author who lands a bullseye with his first book.
Luck happens everywhere. But what can you do with that information? Not much, it seems.
Now I'm going to tell you something you don't want to hear. Luck will do nothing for you if you're not consistently earning the right to receive it.
To quote Qi Lu (once the Executive VP of Microsoft, and featured in Alex Banayan's fabulous book, The Third Door), “Luck is like a bus. If you miss one, there's always the next one, but if you're unprepared, you won't be able to jump on.”
This isn't about creating your own luck. It's about recognising that luck is flying around you all the time, just like electrons. When a correctly charged atom appears, electrons will attach themselves without hesitation.
So yes, luck plays a part in how things turn out. But as a midlifer with decades of experience, failure and success under your belt, you're already uniquely positioned. You're already lucky.
If you don't explore, you'll never know what's possible.
Say you want to start a business, or just a blog (one does not necessarily equal the other). Chances are, you have a combination of talents, skills and history few others possess. In the past, this might have required a long and arduous process to find customers for these. But in case you hadn't noticed, things have changed. This thing you take for granted called the Internet makes it possible to connect with people all over the globe. And some of those people want exactly what you have.
But they're a sceptical lot. Tell me you're not the same. Just because we can all become mediapreneaurs doesn't mean all of us should. Sadly, many ignore this and do it anyway. That means there are plenty of flaky content creators out there peddling hollow promises.
But here's where the opportunity lies. If you're honest, authentic and have a deep desire to give genuine value, there are people eager to consume what you create.
I've been writing here for two-and-a-half years. My desire from day one was to deliver honest value, backed by personal experience. There are no ads here. No salesy drivel. Besides my little book, I don't have a bunch of stuff to sell. Only now am I working on a significant product that I plan to market and sell. It's a course, and it's something in which I have over a decade of real-world experience.
I'm betting you have something inside you to share, too. Something valuable to a very specific audience. Not millions, but maybe a thousand or two. That's something worth exploring.
When I was a kid, right into my early twenties, I always had ideas for entrepreneurial meanderings. I tested some of them and did rather well with a few. But it was hard and it was slow.
Today, thanks to the Internet, social media and digital ads, it's possible to test an idea with very little money. And you can do it at scale because your potential audience is everywhere. That wasn't possible twenty years ago, not without a huge marketing budget.
So what I'm saying is, midlife presents a wonderful opportunity – one that our parents never had. If you have a combination of skills or a passion you'd like to explore, start learning how to put it out into the world. You might be surprised just where it'll lead.
I did the same thing back in February 2016, and it's been a magnificent adventure so far. But I didn't do it alone, and I didn't try to reinvent the wheel (not that you can't try that, too). Instead, I found some extraordinary mentors to help me. The good news is, you can use them, too.
The only thing I would say is to be patient with yourself. Explore, learn, experiment and iterate as you go. Quick success happens for unicorns, but don't be disheartened if you're not one of them.
There's a lot I could say about this, and I've said some of it before (see other posts below), but my goal here is to help you see that an opportunity exists. It's unique to our generation, and you shouldn't ignore it.
To help you on your way, I'm going to recommend three resources. Each has helped make Midlife Tribe (and the Midlife Mastery Podcast) what they are today. I can vouch for these people's integrity and the enormous value they offer, much of it free of charge.
- Side Hustle School – Explore ideas for your own side project with Chris Guillebeau, and hear about other people's side hustles on Chris's brilliant podcast (also called Side Hustle School). It's 10 minutes of practical tips, mixed with a little dose of inspiration, every day of the year. Chris is one of the loveliest people you could ever meet, so try to make it to one of his regular global book tour events. In the meantime, check out his amazing books on non-conformity and doing work you care about.
- Fizzle – Learn how to bring your idea/s into the world through Fizzle's comprehensive video training library. I'm so glad I found Corbett Barr, Chase Reeves and Steph Crowder. Without them, I might never have set out on the long and windy road that is online business. Their nine-stage roadmap is the best out there, and their podcast, The Fizzle Show, is funny and iced to the brim with refreshing, honest advice.
- Smart Passive Income – Explore platforms to build your audience (like podcasting, video and email). Pat's one of the icons of online business, yet remains thoroughly down-to-earth and extremely generous. There's little he hasn't done, and he's a master at teaching complex disciplines through his podcast and his online courses. I owe my own podcast to Pat, thanks to his Powerup Podcasting course.
There are at least a dozen more people whose wisdom and insight have helped me along my journey, and you'll find links to some of their books on the About page and other posts on this site. They include Seth Godin, Marie Forleo, Laura Belgray, Steven Pressfield, Tim Ferriss, Jonathan Mead, Ken Fife, Tom Schwab, The Minimalists (Joshua and Ryan) and James Altucher. The funny thing is, I only knew one of these people three years ago.
Today, my work carries traces from each of them. This will probably happen to you, too. As soon as you decide to change your life, the right people will appear, and they will plant seeds that lead to magnificent discoveries. Some examples from my own journey include a kind email from Steven Pressfield when I told him I wanted to write a book, and a pivotal mindset shift after watching Joshua and Ryan's documentary, Minimalism. Meeting them a year later amplified my respect for those guys.
Likewise, when I reached out to my most beloved mentor, Seth Godin, he replied with thoughtful generosity in less than 24 hours. And right at the beginning when I'd lost my way, Jonathan's daily emails of encouragement and support kept me focussed and positive.
When you truly commit to changing your life, you'll be surprised how many people will want help you. But you must earn their trust by channelling your commitment towards generous work in the service of others. People – that is, the right people – can spot short-term players a mile away.
Each of us has hidden greatness waiting to be explored. Often, it's an innate talent or passion that's been suppressed over years or even decades. Our job is to play the scientist and tease out the clues. And we do that by experimenting, by thinking openly and freely, and without fear of judgment. That's why mentors and coaches are so vital. They needn't be face-to-face, either. A book, a course or a podcast is often enough. But surround yourself with good people because eventually, you'll become the average of those people.
And realise this: midlife isn't just the best phase of life, it also happens to be the best time in history to change your life.
Before this generation, no one our age ever witnessed the opportunities we're now seeing.
And there's plenty of room for everyone because it's never ‘everyone' that goes for it. Like most things (especially the things that are good for us), precious few will make a deliberate decision to step out and try something that might not work. And then try again. And again.
Life is an experiment. Business is a hypothesis.
Think about something you'd love to do or share with the world, then take the time and exercise the patience necessary to create something from it.
Once you do that, the journey will slowly unfold. Your mentors will appear and the path up your mountain will reveal itself.
Now go blaze a trail.
Podcast or Video (or both!)
Decisions That Changed My Life
It’s time you decided what you REALLY want.
Midlife Crisis or a Chance to Reinvent Yourself?
The Top 5 Reasons You Need a Side Hustle
Want to have an amazing year? Here's how!
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Feature photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels.
Mountainbike photo by Mike from Pexels.
Also published on Medium.