FOLKS OFTEN feel that, because they’re a certain age, their time has passed and it’s too late for them to pursue new goals, whether it’s saving for retirement or starting their dream business. But I believe we can reinvent ourselves at any age.
Last year, I listened to an NPR podcast that featured an interview with Bob Moore, founder of Bob’s Red Mill. You’re probably familiar with Bob’s Red Mill: Their products are now sold in most grocery store health-food sections. Bob told the story of how he transformed his life as a failed gas station owner by starting a side hustle milling grain. That side business now has annual revenues of more than $100 million.
It wasn’t easy. Bob faced adversity all along the way, including saving old mills from being torn down to watching the business go up in flames after an arsonist destroyed his building. What kept Bob from calling it quits? “I began a concerted effort to make my life what I thought I was capable of doing,” Moore says.
What’s fascinating to me isn’t that Bob and his wife Charlee built this amazing business, but rather they started when Bob was in his 50s. After the failed gas station business, he most likely could have taken the latter part of his career in a number of different directions. But instead, he took on the daunting challenge of building a business that would make far healthier foods than were currently available in grocery stores.
Bob is now 90 years old and still active, handing over his company to his employees and giving away his personal wealth. He’s a man of faith who believes in the motto “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Have you ever dreamed of starting your own business or going after a big hairy audacious goal? Start today by taking one small step toward your goal. Much like compound interest on your investments, incremental actions done repeatedly result in massive change over time.
To achieve your personal goals, try reverse engineering the task at hand. First, write down your goal. But don’t stop there. Next, write down the 10 or 20 steps it’s going to take to get there. Even the most minute details can be included, with each step getting you closer to where you want to be. As Bill Gates once said, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.”
Ross Menke is a certified financial planner and the founder of Lyndale Financial, a fee-only financial planning firm in Nashville, Tennessee. He strives to provide clear and concise advice, so his clients can achieve their life goals. Ross’s previous blogs include Head Games, Full Speed Ahead, Up to You and No Money Down. Follow Ross on Twitter @RossVMenke.