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They Didn’t Understand Life

One of our wonderful Insiders wrote this thoughtful email for Michael and me, but also for the benefit of the FC community. I removed some identifying information. I think this message can help many people. 

If you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, as you read through John’s email (name changed for privacy), step into being 53.

Be in John’s shoes for the duration of the reading. And it will help you see more clearly what you need to do now to lay out a better foundation for your future.


Hi Kris and Michael,

Given all the posts about what it’s like to be middle aged, it seemed appropriate to write to both of you. I just turned 53. I think I am ten years older than you, Michael, and I am 17 years older than you, Kris.  I’ve been a subscriber to FirmsConsulting for nearly 10 years(Insider level). I teach xxx at a xxx, and I’ll know if I have tenure in two months. Before I started teaching, I worked as an xxx in industry doing R&D and process improvement for 14 years.  

Given my age, I am no longer in your target market.  If anything, I am the person you warn your subscribers against becoming. So what’s it like to be over 50?

I can tell you that the body is not as resilient as it was when I was younger.  I can do all sorts of things that a person half my age can do. I am in good physical condition for someone my age. The difference is that it is easier to get injured and it takes me much longer to recover. You won’t see my pulling all-nighters for anything because of how long it would take me to recover from it.

I have a family. This, of course, means that I have to balance family responsibilities with anything I want to do professionally. You can’t have it all. There are trade offs to be made.  Flexibility becomes very important.  Unless you want someone else raising your children, one parent will have to stay home.  There is always a decision to be made of what work responsibilities rise to the level of missing out on something your kid is doing. You can’t get the time back.  A good many people my age have children who are in college or older so this may not be a consideration. However, we all have aging parents. Taking care of them becomes more and more of an issue so the trade offs are still there with work. 

Professionally, I am at the point where becoming a corporate executive is no longer a consideration. I am not one of the fortunate ones to have made it to that level. Though I am not sure the climb is worth it.  I am much more cynical about life in the corporate world, no matter the business. Career success means doing meaningful work and making a difference in the lives of others.  It is less about money. I’d love to have a job with a 6 or 7-figure salary, but I don’t know if it would be worth the stress or hassle.  My 25-30 yr. old self would not think that way.  

I have thought about changing careers many times. My problem now is that companies may not look at me because of my age. Ageism is an issue. Especially in industries like tech. If I were still in industry, I’d be a layoff target due to my age. Finding people to help me out so that I could make a transition is a problem. Who wants to help out a 50 something with a 12-15 year career runway? People my age are supposed to be the mentors not the mentees.

There are some good things about being a middle aged person. I’ve made many mistakes and have my regrets about them, but with that comes some wisdom. I try to pass that on to others when I can. I have a perspective about life that a 30 yr. old simply doesn’t have ( I know what life before the internet was like ). I am much more patient and less judgemental about people than I was when I was younger. This makes me better able to deal with people. I look long-term more than I did.

I could go on about things, but this email is already a long one. I hope my perspective is useful for you, Michael, as you continue with your series about being middle-aged. You are welcome to ask me anything if you wish. The same is true for you, Kris, as well. FirmsConsulting is awesome and I learned a lot from what you have built. 

John (name changed)


John is a great Insider. We had an hour-long chat earlier this year. I think in this situation, I would look at building or buying a business in parallel with the day job vs. trying to break into executive roles. But, of course, it comes with some sacrifices. And the decision will need to be made, is it worth it. Or am I happy with the way things are?

Life is full of choices. But at the end of the day,
you need to do what will help you feel happy.

There is a quote from John Lennon:

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

Rereading this last part of the quote gave me goosebumps. And I know this quote by heart.

At the end of the day, I believe life is about being happy.

And John IS happy. Things are not perfect but he is happy.

But he was also kind enough to share what it feels like to be 53 so people who are 35, 40, and 45 can use this information to help them make better decisions today.

As many of you know, I invest scary amounts of money and time in professional training and development. I learn from top people in the world, so I can bring the best approaches, tools, techniques, ideas, and understanding of how the world works and how business works back to you guys.

My goal is every time a coaching client or a colleague, or even a family member, talks to me, they should be taken to an advanced version of me from the version of me they spoke to before, even if before means that morning.

Throughout the day, I attend multiple training and coaching calls from various programs from top people in the world in their respective fields. And I often attend training events.

And age will not stop me.

But I can confirm what John shared. With age, things do get harder physically.

I traveled to another city on Saturday to attend training. I was back home late that same night, finished some work, and went to bed around 12. 

In the morning on Sunday, I planned to finish some important work. When I woke up, I felt I had no energy.

Every step took effort. I felt weakness in my legs and feet. 

I still finished the work I planned, which required a lot of effort and willpower, and regained energy by lunchtime. By 1 pm, I felt much better, and we had an amazing coaching call with Legacy members.

But that morning was really tough and scary. 

Whereas, for example, during my 20s, when I was working for the 1st large international consulting firm (I worked for 2 in my career), I could leave the office at 1 am and be back at 5 am at that same office and be ok to do that again the next day, and the next day.

Tired, but ok. 

That’s why having a Masterplan for your career, a vision of where you are going, and building assets along the way that can generate income for you is crucial. Legacy membership is kind of like a mini Masterplan coaching program.

It’s a powerful maintenance program for Masterplan approach users.

You get powerful exclusive training and guidance, and individualized coaching at regular intervals twice a month. 

We even use the variation of the Masterplan excel tracking sheet for Legacy members because the Masterplan approach to planning and building your life, career/business is a very powerful and structured approach. And most people who follow the Masterplan approach and go through the training end up deciding to build or buy a business.

Join Legacy not to miss this weekend’s coaching call and get input from Michael or me, given your particular situation and goals.

Give yourself structure, training, coaching, and accountability to make the last quarter of this year count.

If you want in, use the link below to join. You will immediately unlock Legacy training on StrategyTraining.com. If you are not an Insider, you will also immediately unlock Insider content. And I look forward to working with you during the next Legacy coaching call (scroll down to membership options on StrategyTraining.com to select Legacy).


Take care,


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