When I was in my twenties I invested in real estate, traveled the world, would go running at midnight, and generally got around 4 hours sleep. Wine (actually more beer), women and song played a large part of that as well. You’re at that stage in life where you are past being an invincible teenager, but you have haven’t gotten to the soccer dad, occasional medical procedure, wouldn’t it be nice to sleep in on the weekends stage. It’s this window of wonder and uncertainty that rock stars are born – or not born. The Internet is full of them. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Shaun Fanning, etc. And especially in Internet Marketing circles the list of 20 somethings who are raking on 7 figures doing something that sounds almost too easy, continues to grow. For those of us over 40 who didn’t become a millionaire before age 30, it’s inspiring and frustrating at the same time. Most of us eased out of that magical time into a little house, mini-van and 2.5 kids without even noticing.
I’d like to think there is still hope. The key is unlearning bad habits and start identifying ways to reclaim time from your 9 to 5, get the kids to volleyball practice and walk the dog life. Start identifying those things that you tolerate in your life. It may be doing yard work, paying bills, etc. Now start looking for ways to eliminate them. Hiring your kids to do yard work, setting up electronic payments, etc. The key is creating space in your life so that you have time for the things that you may have wanted in the first place. And most importantly, start weening yourself from email. Do not check email first thing in the morning, and try to schedule times of the day that you check email. You will find that you recover quite a bit of time in the process.
This is just a start though. Start thinking about what else you would like to do with your life. It’s easy to look at some of the rock stars out there and think you missed your chance, but history paints a different picture. Divinci, Michelangelo, Grandma Moses and Horace Sanders (Mr. KFC) all were well over 40 when they came into prominence. Also, statistically if you start a business over age 40 your chance of success more than doubles compared to if you started the same business in your 20s.
And the last of these first steps is opening your mind to some of the possibilities out there. There’s plenty of unlearning to do. As homework I would recommend The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss and The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working by Tony Schwartz. Some people get hung up on the title of Tim’s book but it’s really not about getting your work week down to 4 hours, it’s about what would you do with an extra 36 hours. More to come.