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BK Blog Post
Posted by David Marshall, CEO & CFO, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
I just turned sixty. After reflecting on my last six decades and envisioning what my seventh decade might look like, I decided to create a mini life map* to tell the story with a few short words and pictures. I titled each decade just like a book chapter with the one or two words that defined the period for me. I then added highlight bullets, emotion words, thinking words, and a summary statement for each decade. Finally, I picked out two or three photos that represented the decade for me. This was a fun and meaningful exercise. I’m looking forward to what the next ten-year chapter in my life will bring.
Decade 1 – 1956-1965 FIFTH CITY
Feeling: Anger, Fear, Crying, Excited, Crazy, Nightmares
Thinking: Hot and cold – I love laying down my life for the mission, I hate it, no, I love it. No, wait….
Statement: The Order and the West Side ghetto of Chicago took me to the edge, but the Brotherhood helped me survive.
Decade 2 – 1966-1975 FREEDOM
Feeling: Homesick, Anger, Apathy, Remorse, Lonely, Awe, Exhilaration, Relief, Burning
Thinking: I grew up fast, maybe too fast. I’m lucid but I don’t fit in with non-Order youth.
Statement: In RS-1 language, I had my own Tillich Christ Event at seventeen and awakened to my own profound Bonhoeffer freedom, but it took a near-violent episode to shake me to the core.
Decade 3 – 1976-1985 KATE
Feeling: Loving Soul Mate, Confident, Adventuresome, Taking (more than giving)
Thinking: I’ll make a difference by becoming a minister like my dad and granddad; no, I’ll work for non-profits and the World Bank to change the world; no, I’ll help the world by redistributing the wealth via commercial banking; no, I’ll bring voice to the masses through the microcomputer software revolution. Profoundly appreciative of my short Chase bank tenure since it brought Kate into my life-and changed everything.
Statement: My life changed for the better when I met Kate. I’m the luckiest guy I know.
Decade 4 – 1986-1995 EMILY & BEN
Feeling: Loving children; not worthy of HBS, but wait, maybe I am; ready to take risks; stressed at running own company with constant fund raising and cash constraint; safe with my men’s group
Thinking: Meeting the Mystery of Life in infant faces of Emily and Ben; entrepreneurial spirit
Statement: Co-creating, helping birth, and raising two children is the most awe-filled experience of my life.
Decade 5 – 1996-2005 MARSHALL BOOKS
Feeling: After many travels, California feels like home; thrilled to be an “author;” relief with Oracle paycheck; exciting Homestore IPO; exhausting battles at Homestore and Kabira; burned out.
Thinking: Book of Myself proves I can work for myself; I’m an investment genius, oh wait, maybe I’m not. It’s time to move on, start over, and reinvent myself.
Statement: As software storms raged, I found my calling and ability to make a difference in Marshall Books.
Decade 6 – 2006-2015 WORK REIMAGINED
Feeling: happy, content, invigorated, creative, innovative, compassionate, learning to breathe
Thinking: I’m wearing two hats, one as an author, the other as a publisher, both with a mission to make the world a better place; giving back.
Statement: I’m extending my vocational calling, started with Marshall Books, by working for Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Decade 7 – 2016-2025 SPIRITUAL SYNTHESIS
Feeling: peaceful, serene, contemplative, yearning, concerned, giving, body creaking
Thinking: What a gift to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit as I start my seventh decade; it gives me an opportunity to integrate the lessons of my first six decades and to help others with what I’ve gathered.
Statement: Synthesizing my spirit life toward enlightenment; discovering and nurturing my higher self in service of others.
*If you want to do something simple like this for a meaningful milestone in your life, just follow this same formula I used. If you want a more comprehensive version with warm up activities to lead you through the life mapping process for your past, present and future, I recommend My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future, which I co-wrote with my wife Kate.
David Marshall, February 2016