While visiting the middle east I observed some of the stone mile markers left by the Romans when they were mapping out and connecting the known world.
Physical mile markers are one thing. Life mile markers are even more fascinating.
The interesting thing about life mile markers is that when you look back, many of them are now clear when they were totaling confusing at the time. And, the more life you’ve experienced the more mile markers exist.
The first mile marker of my career appears around the age of 12. My grandfather taught me how to survey and I worked with him and my cousin as we did the layout work for a subdivision. That marker started me down a path to my engineering degree.
After ten years in the engineering business, I hit another mile marker. I say my first microcomputer. That mile marker may seem obvious now but at the time no one knew Apple or Microsoft and the IBM PC was yet to be invented. But that mile marker headed me down another decade in the software industry.
There had been other mile markers along the way that lead me to depart the software industry and step into the Leadership Development Consulting business where I have spent my time and talents over more than two decades. But that mile marker had nowhere near the clarity of the first two. It wasn’t very long after starting the business when I reached the point of no money, no clients, and no prospects. As my wife and I faced this moment that felt like complete failure she asked me “Are you suppose to be doing something else?” My answer was very clear to me. No! I felt I had been called to this work. It was what I was supposed to do! After this rough start, my career began to get on track and I’ve enjoyed years of satisfaction.
Some years after that moment the framework and model that explained it all was identified by Bob Bufford in his book Half Time. Bob’s book identified a pattern of survival, success, significance. That pattern immediately made sense to me and the mile markers were then much clearer. I can’t count the number of clients that I’ve helped understand this concept. By all measures, they were being incredibility successful but seemed to be missing something in their lives. They needed to move from success to significance.
Dean Niewolny, now CEO of Halftime Institute, tells a personal journey from success to significance in his newly published book Trade Up. In the book, Dean reaches that moment when all the success in the world doesn’t satisfy. It requires moving beyond success to significance. In his journey, he shares some steps along the way that, looking back along his mile markers, have become clear to him. His sharing of those steps may help you find your path to significance.