I recently turned 40.
It was not a surprise, my birthday falls on the same day every year, and I have been tracking with my age for quite some time now. I consider it a KPI.
However, the day somehow caught me off guard. As an entrepreneur, as a business owner, as a CEO, as a husband, as a father, and as a Beatles fan. Well, not really as a Beatles fan, but still, it caught me off guard.
I think I found myself, and in some ways, i found a sense of “where I fit, in this world”, in my 20’s. In my early 30’s I realized a few of the things I want out of my life. A sense of purpose, stability, a long lasting marriage, home ownership, retirement, etc. By my late 30’s I discovered that no one was going to hand me those things. In fact, some would try to take them from me. I had to put my own foot on the gas pedal if I was going to accomplish any of these things.
By the time I hit 39, I was feeling pretty good about my life. A home of my own, 3 really good kids, a very patient and loving wife, and a career that had me on track to reach my goals over time.
Then, like a nuclear bomb straight from North Korea (funny, but not funny), 40 hit me, and slayed me, and left me trying to figure out which way was up.
Why? Why am i telling you all this? Because to me 40 was the number, it could be different for you, but it was 40 for me. “40” means I’m an adult. It means I’m supposed to be on a path, like, way down the road on that path. It means I’m supposed to be teaching others, not being taught. It means I’m supposed to have answers to life’s questions. It means I’m supposed to make no mistakes, and get it right every time, because hey, I’m 40 now, and I’ve been around a while.
Turns out, I disappointed myself. I don’t have it all together, I need (and have) a coach. I need (and have, several) a mentor. I make mistakes, I don’t get it right every time. And, worst of all, I’m NOT “way down the road” on my path. This is getting a little dark, right? Well, let me turn the light on.
It’s OK! I’m good! A little selfish, spoiled by my own success, a little ego centric, but still, OK!
Here’s what I’m saying, and here’s the “Take-away”;
NEVER GIVE UP.
Every time you hit another plateau in life, you start over with your goals and personal expectations, that is AWESOME! But it means you’ll never be perfectly fine with where you are.
You’ve got to give yourself a little credit. Recognize your upward movement over the years, and give yourself some time to hit that next level. Celebrate your own achievements. Realize how much you’ve learned from your mistakes. Don’t let your age get you down.
Pick 1 thing you’ve done in the last 10 years that is a MAJOR WIN. Something that stands out to you, that you’re proud of, and that you know wasn’t easy, but you did it. Feels good, right?
I have a friend who left his C-level position in a large restaurant group, and started his own restaurant. Guess how old he was? If you guessed 50, you’d be right. 50! And it’s a HUGE SUCCESS!! We can do things at our age that we couldn’t have done at 30. Things we wouldn’t have even thought to do, and/or wouldn’t have succeeded at.
So today, post “40” blues, I’d say that I’ve arrived. I’ve arrived at a place where I CAN win, I CAN get the job done. I CAN CHANGE AND GROW, because I HAVE CHANGED, AND GROWN.
I’ve got way more personal growth to accomplish, way more to learn, and several HUGE goals ahead of me, but I’m much more prepared to handle these challenges than ever before!
We all have allot to deal with right now, the economy is in a constant state of flux as usual, so many things that used to be constants, are now variables, and we have to adapt. That’s not easy. But we can do it. We can succeed, despite all that.
Keep making good food, keep making good business decisions, keep being that example of stability and longevity that you inevitably are, even if you don’t realize it, and please, please, please, by any means necessary, keep pushing forward with new and innovative ideas to make this world a better place.
Restaurants are critical to our society and culture, because food is critical. Food is required, and that will never change. You are responsible for giving people an opportunity to eat, share a meal, enjoy something, take a break, be social (whatever that looks like in today’s world), and most importantly, to set aside the worries and cares of this incredibly intense world, for just long enough to shove something in their mouth, and move on. Hopefully they take a moment to enjoy a meal that was purchased, prepared and served, delivered or picked up curbside, with the forethought, planning, and care that you played a significant part of.
Now go do that some more! And smile, you’re old enough to have earned it!
-Chuck Peters, 40 yrs old, and proud.