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Finding Your Second Act

In theater, plays are divided into two acts. The first act has the exposition: it lets the audience get to know the characters and the problems they face. The second act is where everything you learned in the first act comes together. It’s where all the action happens. It’s where the impact is made. 

Like theater, we all have the opportunity to create a second act for ourselves. This is especially true for those who had great success in their Act I and are eyeing their next move––they know they want to start a meaningful journey, but they don’t know where to start or how to get there.

What’s holding you back from pursuing your second act?

Time: you might feel like there’s not enough of it. If you’re already in a place of success where you have established relationships and opportunities coming at you, it’s hard to know how to leverage your experience into a cohesive future strategy. 

It’s scary to step into uncharted territory and put yourself out there. Fear and doubt might be holding you back. Our internal monologues can be our worst enemy, especially if you’re thinking things like: “What if I share my wisdom and it’s rejected? What if I never find where I belong? What if my experience, knowledge, and passion go unnoticed?” For many, these are the same thoughts you had when you first started working. You might be frustrated to feel the same insecurities, doubt, and uncertainty you felt as a young adult. 

Don’t feel infantilized. Instead, feel freeing. Looking back at when you first started, the world was your oyster. No dream or vision was too big or out of reach. The same is true for you now, but you have an edge you didn’t have when you were in your 20s: time, experience, and capital.

Looking forward

Those who have succeeded in their Act I are the kinds of people to look 10, 15, 20 years in the future and envision where they want to be, knowing that they’ll need a lot of help getting there.

For your Act II, the challenge isn’t a constraint on capital, but on time. As we get older, we become spread thinner than at the start of our careers. Balancing a new business endeavor with all the things that life throws at us can be hard, but there are resources to help. Plus, your experience gives you a leg up.

As a driven explorer, challenger, and someone of prior success, you owe it to yourself to push your boundaries and pursue something that’s calling your name. You have what it takes to climb your second mountain.

What will your second act be?

To build a successful second act, you need to narrow down what path you’re going to follow. At the core, you need to find the answers to these questions:

  • What is your goal? What makes you uniquely qualified to deliver impact and meet your goal?
  • Who do you want to impact?
  • Why are you pursuing this?
  • What do you want your future to look like 5 or 10 years from now? 

Answering these questions will help determine the direction in which you can begin taking small steps. Your goal, impact, and purpose may have some overlap with your last venture or project, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s great

When you leverage your Act I experience to drive your Act II, time is on your side. The skills, network, and experience you developed carry over.  It’s there for you to access, build on, learn from, and connect cohesively. You’re not starting from square one; you have a leg up.

There is no right or wrong way to pursue a second act––there’s only what’s right for you. What’s most important is being meticulous in deciding how you can leverage your skills, experiences, and unique talents to bring nuanced impact.

Take your time

At BW Missions, we’ve learned the value of doing things right from square one. 

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The more time spent crafting a message that perfectly aligns with their core value, the smoother it becomes to develop products, share content, and tell personal stories. Like most things in this world, it’s not an overnight process. Getting it right will be more fulfilling, sustainable, and true to you than taking shortcuts.

Every year, month, and day you’ve spent up until this point has prepared you for your second act. The skill-sets, relationships, and experiences (both the good and the bad), all led you to take this next step. Every bit had its purpose, and every bit was worth it.

One of the rewarding parts of this journey is finding communities that can challenge you and reinforce you’re that on the right path. There is nothing more fulfilling than finding people who connect to your message and are empowered by your voice and lessons of the past.

So, what do you want your second act to be? Are you yearning for impact, beyond money and stability? Have you been too afraid to start anew? Stop just toiling and start creating, even if it’s from scratch. The only wrong move is not making one.

On the other side of your fear of failure or making the wrong choice is the potential for success. Lean into the possibility of fulfillment and take the time to create your second act in a way that elevates your trajectory in the most human way possible.

Want to learn more about how BW Missions can help you develop your second act? Read our case studies here.

For Thought Leaders
Bryan Wish

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