On the eve of 47

My mother reminded me today that I was born on 10:03 on the morning of 10/03.

At 10:03am tomorrow, I’ll be 47.


47 sounds … old.

I know many of you won’t consider 47 old, but for some reason that number strikes me as close enough to 50 to evoke a bit of mortality. I’ve lived almost five decades. That sounds like a long time, doesn’t it?

I don’t feel old, despite the seasoning that decorates my hair and the creaky back that complains every day. There are still times when I feel like the kid in the room. It’s just recently that I’ve graduated above the age equator in my professional and personal circles.

But 47 sounds old — and that’s a good thing. A healthy sense of mortality keeps me between the navigational beacons, as Jimmy Buffet might say. I’m finally aligned with my purpose. It’s taken me a long time to find this place, this peace, this purpose in life. We’re often told not to worry about our legacy, but that’s misguided advice. The difference we make in this world matters, and I’m squarely focused on leaving this earth a better place for having lived.

That focus requires leaving a great deal behind. In his book Great at Work, Morten Hansen implores the reader: Do less, then obsess. The only way we make a real difference in this world is to give ourselves to purpose, and that often means ridding our lives of things, pursuits, and — yes — people, that don’t fit our focus. My purpose is simple: Helping others be the best, most productive versions of themselves while seeing the brightest, most beautiful version of the world around us.

As I rode this rock around the sun for the 47th time, I left behind more than twenty unwanted pounds. I left behind what drained me of the crucial fuel of my purpose. Those things still exist in the world — in copious quantities — but I removed their power by not giving them undeserved attention. I was far from perfect, but I did my best to focus on what mattered and where I could make a real, positive difference in people’s lives.

As I embark on my 48th circuit, I pause to reflect on a year that’s been my best ever and look forward to living my purpose with a rediscovered sense of hope and optimism.