You did it. The “it,” of course, is your personal definition of success. You started the company. Got the salary. Landed the job. Grew the organization. Expanded the territory. Built the dream house. Ran the marathon. Traveled the world.
It can be checked off the list. Now it’s time for your happily ever after. Right?
If only it were that simple.
Too often in reality, the original vision that inspired your efforts isn’t quite fitting with the emotions you’re experiencing upon the moment of achievement. The journey changes you. When was the last time you stopped and looked at the road signs, landmarks and maps to figure out where you are, how you got there, where you are going, and why you are going there?
One thing is certain. You got where you are by one of two ways: infinite or finite. Knowing which path you followed can help you answer some of the questions listed above.
This is the journey that is organized around a series of specific, well-defined markers. Each goal marks a new cycle, a repetitive pattern, of striving and arriving at the next destination, each representing a victory or mark of success.
For example, a string of destinations may sound like the following. I will start my own company. The company will grow to $5,000,000 in sales each year; employ 20 people; expand to a new city, state, region, then country; each office will employ 10-15 people. And on and on and on. Destinations can be defined by salary, title, responsibilities, department size.
At some point, you begin wonder, what’s next? Are there any destinations that feel more meaningful?
The Infinite Way
This is the journey defined by its lack of definition. The navigation down this path is one through unchartered territory full of endless possibilities. The destinations along the infinite way are discovered, as opposed to being reached with a long-term, sequential action plan.
At some point you realize the role your company or career is currently playing, has become dramatically different than where you started started. You begin to wonder, where exactly am I going? Am I achieving my potential and is it meaningful?
Which are you?
You can’t know where you are going without knowing how you got there in the first place. Taking a moment to identify if you’ve followed the finite or infinite way is to stop and read the road signs, landmarks, and maps. It gives you context and information for what’s ahead. It gives you the ability to recognize and acknowledge your success while affirming that you’re ready for a change of direction. I call this The Third Act.
In his succinct but powerful book, What Happens When You Get What You Want, author Rick Eigenbrod says, “The journey ends and the call to a new one begins. Which journey? The one you choose of course.”
If this interested you, take a look at these articles:
- Are You There Yet? Advice to Those Who Have Arrived
- Making it Real: A Leadership Challenge
- Two Game Changing Words for You and Your Organization: Beyond. Teal.
Bruce Peters has spent the last 15 years living his own “Third Act.” Based on his personal experience and in working as a guide for hundreds of leaders, he has designed a unique process for getting beyond where you are and into the creation of your own Third Act for you or your organization. It starts with the question of what is the difference you want to make? Learn more at www.beyondteal.com