Here let me read it to you. Best to listen straight off Spotify though, the browser version is buggy.
The things you always wanted to do but didn’t
Got business or work problems? Want personalised tips from the business dad you never had? Well this week is your opportunity at last. We’ll get to that shortly, but first, let’s talk about your future regrets.
Do you have side projects you’ve always wanted to do? But work got in the way your entire life?
Those projects are one of the nicest things about not having to work every day in your business. If you don’t do them, they’ll come back to haunt you in your declining years.
“Ha ha I’m the beautiful sculpture you dreamed of creating all those years while you stuck to being the best supply chain specialist you could be! And now it’s too late for that, or that long adventure holiday you researched but never did ahahaaaaaaaaa suck it!”
Of course there are risks with side projects, at least with creative ones. They run the risk of becoming a David Brent-style midlife crisis case study.
You need supportive friends around you who love you enough to support your efforts. But also with the taste and honesty to look at the finished product and say, “I think we should keep this between ourselves and not let it out into the world.”
Yet you have to try these these experiments. My own philosophy is: you must try something at least once a year that has the potential to be a major embarrassment. Or you’ll regret not trying it later on.
Midlife crises aren’t as bad as their reputation
Out of earshot, people will say you’re having a midlife crisis, if you’re in that age category. Fuck them and their small minds. They never tried anything interesting. Their punishment shall be to end up watching Sky News each night, then re-telling crackpot conspiracy theories to their despairing children.
Yes, there are midlife crisis cliches you should avoid, like hair transplants or shoes that make you taller*. (I’m listing male symptoms because ours are the most visible and entertaining.)
But the midlife crisis label also gets plastered onto any honest attempt to do something different. To live on your own terms. To act on some of the personal insights you may have gained since you chose a career as a 17-year old.
Rather than knuckling down and doing things you hate for the rest of your life. So as not to upset anyone who doesn’t like change.
I think continuous low-key midlife crisis is a good approach, otherwise you’re not trying hard enough. If you change smaller things more often, it’s less likely you’ll have a full-scale personal Chernobyl.
Side-projects don’t have to work
Sometimes these detours don’t work the way you imagined. Like when my daughter was about a year old. After a decade of insane overwork, I chopped my corporate job down to three days a week. The idea was to see more of her, and to work on my writing dream two days a week.
The writing went nowhere, because my work absolutely sucked. I found some of it the other day, it was excruciating. Like, Rowan Dean bad. But I don’t regret a minute of the daughter time and I’d make the same choice again.
If you never try your thing, for the rest of your life you’ll imagine it would have been a cracking success. But you were too lazy, cowardly or disorganised to take the jump.
The next project
For me, the writing got there in the end and it was a life highlight to get a book out. It’s been a wild journey and gives me the energy to put out the blog each week.
But now, I’m about to go down a rabbit hole on another creative side project that feels like it’s going to be a massive life highlight.
It’s in a completely different field to writing about business, and comes from an entirely separate section of the brain. At least I feel it does, as someone who knows nothing of how brain parts work.
I want to do the best job I can on it, and I want to enjoy every little bit of the process. It might not happen again.
Meanwhile, blog day rolls around real fast. From about Wednesday I’m thinking: I’m 200 topics in, what the hell do I write about next Monday? That process takes up as much time and brain bandwidth as writing the thing.
Ask Dr Ian: no problem too embarrassing
So here’s where you’re going to help me out. I’m going to switch the blog to Advice Column Mode soon. Not permanently, but for a month or so.
Come at me with your problems, the ones that Simon Sinek can’t answer. Obviously the theme is business, but personal material and moral quandaries keep it more interesting.
The weirder the better, and keep them specific. Please don’t give me something that needs a whole book or graduate diploma to answer. Don’t ask:
“My sales are too low what should I do?”
I’m looking for something more like:
“I have a demanding technical job but we had a quiet week. So my boss made me go to his house and move a truckload of chicken manure into his backyard with a shovel and wheelbarrow. What should I have done?”
You’re thinking: oh Ian you’re making shit up for comedic effect. But it actually happened at a place I once worked.
I know you have this kind of question in you. Hit reply to the subscriber email and give me your problems. If you don’t subscribe:
A: What the hell is wrong with you, it’s free, do it now.
B: Email your issues to undisruptable at ianwhitworth.net
Confidentiality is assured, unless you want me to put your name in there for some reason. Get in there!
Got a comment?
I’ve stopped moderating the blog comments because I get like 50 Russian bot comments a day. But why not drop your midlife crisis comment over on LinkedIn?
And if this story was useful or entertaining for you, why not help me out by sharing it? It’s a ton of work getting these stories out, and more readers really helps me justify the insane effort each week. Bless you.
Why not buy this nice book?
Want a book that is very different to Simon Sinek and also sells a lot fewer copies? Try this one: Undisruptable: Timeless Business Truths For Thriving In A World Of Nonstop Change.
Every week since it came out 8 months ago, it’s the #1 Review-Rated biz book on all of Booktopia. On paper, electronic or audio book with me reading it. Get it here:
Also I write a story each Tuesday, drop your email here to get it in your inbox.
For those of you in geo-blocked countries, here’s your non-Spotify audio: