Are You Worth It?
I am in the process of discovering my purpose for my next stage of life. Stage one was about establishing myself in an industry and occupation. I graduated with an accounting degree which led me to a CPA firm and then quickly into the early stages of the packaged software industry. It was perfect timing. I learned to be an entrepreneur, businessman, technologist, salesman, marketer, and general manager.
I also came face to face with my addiction to alcohol and who I had become as a man. This growth proved to be a refining process for me. It ultimately led me into a personal relationship with my God, Jesus Christ.
Also during this life stage, I met the love of my life, Kathy. We built a family of four beautiful children. We owned houses, joined a church, made friends, traveled to tons of sporting and arts events, and saved for our kid's education. It was all working. God is good.
Then Came Stage Two.
For me, this stage began in my mid-thirties. I just didn’t know it. It all started with hitting my life goals which resulted in me asking the question, “Now what?” Everything, including all my circumstances, was going well, except for me. I was looking for more. Maybe something different. A new challenge which would come with new goals. But what was the next step?
Get fired, that’s what. I lost my job, income, and purpose in one breakfast meeting. Now I had all the time in the world to answer my question of “Now what?”
But this time I had someone in my corner. God. I was not alone. I prayed, and over time He answered. He brought me into helping experienced managers in tech achieve their dream of starting and owning their own company. I was no longer an operator. I was now an investor.
My goal was to invest in and partner with twenty entrepreneurs over twenty years. These last twenty years have been so exciting. Not only was I surrounded by the brightest, biggest business thinkers and super-motivated people in Atlanta. I was on purpose for Jesus Christ. Being on God’s purpose for me led to an incredibly fulfilling twenty-plus year career.
Now I Am Entering Stage Three.
Last week I turned sixty-six years old. Over the last few years, my interest in investing in early-stage companies waned. As my interest waned, so did my discipline. This led to money-losing investments. I always said, “Angel investing is a contact sport,” and I was breaking my #1 rule.
So if not angel investing, “Now what?”
This led me to a conversation with Bruce Wilkinson, a great leader, teacher, and powerful man of God. I ran into him over the Christmas holidays while at a friend’s birthday party. I’ve known Bruce over the years but never had more than a fly-by conversation with him at conferences.
At the party, I told him what was going on in my life. I said, “Beginning in my early sixties, I started to struggle with purpose. I am once again asking the questions I asked myself in my early twenties and late thirties. I can’t believe it. I should have this life of mine figured out by now.”
He said, “You are right on time with the way you are thinking. As a man who follows Jesus, you want your life to be on his purpose and not yours. In spite of knowing this, you are not sure you really want to know what he might have planned for you. You are heading for convergence.”
“Convergence? What is that?” I asked.
“I will not answer that now. We need to get together the next time I am in Atlanta and talk it through. Would you be willing to meet with me?” he asked.
Bruce set an appointment with me on his next trip to Atlanta two months later. He came to town for a two-day conference he was leading which was scheduled to start on a Friday night. We met at 3 PM on Thursday afternoon.
During our conversation, something happened which rocked me.
About midway through our meeting, he said, “I came to Atlanta a day early just to meet with you.”
My reaction was immediate. “Why did you do that? You don’t even know me.”
Then he paused, leaned in, and looked me right in the eye and said, “Aren’t you worth it?”
I don’t know why, but this brought tears to my eyes. I welled up from emotion. I couldn’t maintain eye contact. All I kept asking myself is, “Am I worth it?”
I believe answering this question was the beginning of my journey to discovering stage three of my life.