Over the last 100 years, the road to success for most everyone has been divided into five stages that mirror the decades of working life:
Your 20s are a period of Learning. This is the decade of trying a thousand things, exploring a multitude of interests, and discovering what really motivates you.
Your 30s are a period of Editing. This is the decade of sorting out interests, where you discover what you really care about and who you really are.
Your 40s are a period of Mastering. This is the decade of narrowing focus, honing skill sets, and becoming an expert in your field.
Your 50s are a period of Harvesting. This is the decade of reaping the benefits of good decisions and enjoying the highest income-earning period in a career.
Your 60s are a period of Guiding. This is the decade of mentoring, training, and encouraging others on their own road to success.
Every successful person has followed these steps regardless of their occupation. But three things have changed the path to success and erased the decades associated with them:
Finish lines are dead – Boomers are realizing that a lot of the things they were promised aren’t going to materialize, and they have started second and third careers.
Anyone can play – Technology has given access to an unprecedented number of people who are building online empires and changing their lives in ways that would have been impossible years ago.
Hope is boss – The days of “success first, significance later,” have ended. A new generation doesn’t want to change the world eventually; they want to change it now through the wells they kickstart in Africa and the TOMS they wear on their feet. The value system has been flipped upside down.
The result is that you’ve got an entire generation pushing down to start over, another generation pushing up to start for the first time, and in the middle of this collision, the tools to actually change the world.
Experience years now trump chronological age. And while none of the five stages can be skipped, they can be shortened and accelerated.
There are only two paths in life: average and awesome. The average path is easy because all you have to do is nothing. The awesome path is more challenging, because things like fear only bother you when you do work that matters. The good news is Start gives readers practical, honest, actionable insights to be more awesome, more often.
It's time to punch fear in the face, escape average, and do work that matters.
It's time to Start.
Jon Acuff used to be a Serial Quitter. He had eight jobs in eight years, constantly hoping the next one would be different. From writing advertising for The Home Depot to branding for companies like Bose and Staples, he's no stranger to the cubicle. In 2010, Jon closed the gap between his day job and his dream job by becoming a full-time writer. He has contributed to CNN.com, speaks nationally on a variety of subjects, and is the author of four books. He lives in Nashville, TN, with his wife and two daughters.
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