It’s safe (and a little sad) to say I’ve spent half my life living in the future.
I came by it honestly. My father is a futurist. This guy had me reading Peter Drucker, Tom Peters and Charles Handy before I could get my hands on the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated. Thanks to Jim Roberts, I was instilled with confidence that I had what it takes to put a dent in the universe.
Dad was a “you can watch the news or make the news” kind of guy.
He would say, “God has big plans for you!”, which used to feel more like a curse than a blessing. It wasn’t until I was a grown man that I realized God has big plans for everyone.
On my 33rd birthday, Dad reminded me Jesus saved the whole world at 33.
“Yeah … I’m probably not going to do that this year.”
To counter-balance Dad, my mother, Saint Judy of Boise, made sure I understood I was no better — and no worse — than everybody else.
Treat the President with the same dignity and respect as the homeless man down the street,” she would say. She loved to quote Rudyard Kipling and his famous poem, “If — ”, especially the part about walking with kings yet never losing the common touch. Mom was all about that.
The sad truth is, I over-corrected like most entrepreneurs tend to do. I became so obsessed with shaping the future, I found it nearly impossible to focus on right-this-second.
Maybe it was having three kids or working 80-hour weeks for 20 years. Maybe it was all those trips to Africa. Whatever it was, I finally discovered the world will go on without me. It was here long before I arrived. It will be here long after I’m gone.
By obsessing on crazy-big, cancer-curing ideas all those years, I overlooked the magic that can only happen when you pour yourself into someone right in front of you.
Now that I’m on the tail-end of half time, both career-wise and as a parent, I feel lucky to discover what the world needs most from us is to for us to give ourselves to the small and seemingly insignificant things under our nose.
It’s tough to free yourself of the glory days and heartbreakers of the past. For me, it’s more difficult to free my mind of the future I used to visualize. For me, I have to carve out time and open my eyes to what’s around me.
Today, I am convinced my greatest contribution to this world is likely in the magical space that exists between me and the people that surround me right this moment. Which happens to be one day before tomorrow.