Timing. All of life is about timing, right? When to wait out the storm. When to hit the deck. When to search the waters for direction.
Eyal Danon tells a personal story about the importance of timing. “I went skydiving in New Zealand when I was in my 20s and it was a phenomenal experience,” says the now 55-year-old CEO of Ignite Advisory Group, a New Jersey-based consulting agency that focuses on managing customer advisory boards for leading firms. Recently he tried the sport again. “It was “horrible,” he says. “I didn’t enjoy it at all.”
Still, Danon is glad for his original experience, because now he never wonders what it would have been like to feel the exhilaration of free fall and then floating in the quiet expanse of sky. He won’t have that regret.
Personal dreams are like professional ones, explains Danon: “There are certain things we do – and should do – at certain times of our lives,” he says. This attention to timing is the foundation of Danon’s newly published book, “The Principle of 18: Getting the Most Out of Every Stage of Your Life” (Blue Branch Press).
In addition to his day job, Danon spent 25 years as a life/career coach. Meeting hundreds of clients helped him formulate a career planning approach that matches professional goals to the natural cycles of life. It’s a strategy that doesn’t put money or a leisurely retirement as front and center. One, he says, that will minimize regrets.
The book draws on real clients’ career journeys, the psychology of life stages and Danon’s own professional path from a student to head of his own global firm.
Danon sees life as five 18-year phases that corresponds to appropriate personal and professional focuses:
• Dreamer: identifying and fleshing out dreams (age 0-17)
• Explorer: Embarking on a quest to find our calling (18-36)
• Builder: focusing intently on a chosen area (36-54)
• Mentor: guiding younger generations (54-72)
• Giver: dedicating to a cause (72-90)
[su_quote] Danon’s take is fresh air in an industry that often encourages over-the-top job hustle and sees achieving financial goals as the only measure of success; it’s especially relevant since the pandemic prompted professionals of all ages to re-examine their career choices and personal goals.[/su_quote]
For young adults, Danon’s message counters the immense expectations to compete at a high level and pursue a career only for the money.
Danon recalls one young Explorer-aged client who was determined to become a millionaire by age 30. “He tried all sorts of careers to achieve that, from real estate, used car sales to financial advising,” he says adding that his client kept getting frustrated and depressed with each “failed” attempt. Finally, Danon asked why this goal was so important; the client brought in a stack of books that promoted how to be a millionaire in a few easy steps.
“There is too much pressure at this point in their lives and 95 percent of it is not warranted,” he says. “There is plenty of time. I want these young people to stop and take a breather. You don’t have to decide what you want to do with the rest of your life.”
Danon helped his young client realize that as an Explorer, he needs to embrace curiosity as he hones skills. Study, intern and travel, if possible. “This is not the time to be obsessed with finances and making money,” stresses Danon; that’s what happens later during the Builder years.
Being an Explorer, however, is not about playing video games all day. “This phase has to be done responsibly,” says Danon adding that for some it may entail getting a job just to pay the bills while doing the hard work of being an Explorer.
Danon encourages Explorers to pursue three dreams during this phase. Not job-hopping, but rather, an immersion into a career landscape for a long period to see if it truly is yours. Connecting with mentors – professional and personal – is also crucial.
Explorers often start their journey convinced of one outcome, explains Danon, but end up in a completely different direction.
One example that he shares in his book, The Principle of 18, is of a young man that wanted to be a pastry chef and enrolled in the Cordon Bleu training track for five years before realizing his heart really wasn’t into it. Consequently, another Explorer client thought her passion was to be a film director, but during film school, she discovered she really found her calling in sound editing. “She kept an open mind and that made all the difference,” says Danon.
For older folks who don’t have the luxury of 18 years of exploration, Danon says to truncate and accelerate the process. Instead of 18 years, give yourself 18 months.
Once a career path is determined –usually in the mid-30s – that’s when money becomes important. If a profession is chosen correctly, you’ll be so involved and excited that a paycheck won’t be the sole reason for showing up to work. “You will have the passion, skills and confidence you need to navigate your career,” says Danon.
Becoming an authority during the Builder phase sets the stage for giving back to others as a Mentor; finally, engagement in a cause (where you can re-hone your skills) will keep you inspired in your later years as a Giver.
This way, says Danon, you are planning a full life, one with no big regrets. He hopes that career-seekers – especially young people – see the bigger picture. “It takes time to blossom and grow,” he says. “Give yourself that gift of time.”
Copyright © 2022 California Business Journal. All Rights Reserved. This article was edited and published by Rick Weinberg, California Business Journal’s Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. Click here for Rick Weinberg’s biography. For testimonials on the impact of California Business Journal articles, click here. Contact us if you’d like an article written on your business: Rick@CalBizJournal.com / 949-648-3815
Copyright © 2022 California Business Journal. All Rights Reserved.
This article was edited and published by Rick Weinberg, California Business Journal’s Founder, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. Click here for Rick Weinberg’s biography.
For testimonials on the impact of California Business Journal articles, click here.
Contact us if you’d like an article written on your business: Rick@CalBizJournal.com / 949-648-3815