Archive for the ‘life planning’ Category

David@60 – My Mini Life Map

February 15, 2016

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.

DAVID@60

Decade 1 – 1956-1965    FIFTH CITY

  • Germany #1 as preschooler
  • The Order – started in Evanston and then moved to West Side of Chicago
  • Fifth City” Urban Development Project – 16-square-block area near Homan Avenue “L” station
  • The Ecumenical Institute
  • Iron Boy (becoming an Iron Man)
  • Leif Ericson Elementary School
  • Two Fires (Evanston, my parents’ bedroom)
  • The Brotherhood (John, Mark, Wayne, David)

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.

IronBoy_ChicagoWestSide  IronManStatueFifthCity  David-Mark_Lief-Ericson_6thgrade_Dec1967

 

Decade 2 – 1966-1975    FREEDOM

  • Third Fire (Chicago riots after MLK killing)
  • Leaving Home at Twelve
  • Iowa in Seventh Grade
  • Malaysia in Ninth Grade
  • Denver in Tenth Grade
  • San Jose, CA in Eleventh and Twelfth Grade
  • The Other World
  • The Institute of Cultural Affairs
  • “Christ Event” in San Jose, CA
  • Left Order
  • San Francisco State University (majored in International Relations & German Literature)
  • Fourth Fire (Wayne’s apartment house arson)
  • Germany #2 – Heidelberg University (junior year abroad)

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.

David-Malaysia_1971  SFSU-ID

 

Decade 3 – 1976-1985    KATE

  • SFSU Graduation
  • Selling Apple II computers San Francisco financial district with Mark
  • Chase Manhattan Bank in New York City
  • Kindred Spirit Kate on Wall Street
  • Mexico City – Kate & David in penthouse
  • Atlanta – Starting software career at Peachtree Software, Mark & Julian
  • Our wedding in western Massachusetts
  • Boston – Harvard Business School, David L.

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.

Kate-David-Wedding-Day-web  Kate-David_Deerfield_10-14-86

 

Decade 4 – 1986-1995    EMILY & BEN

  • Emily born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • HBS graduation, Class of 1987
  • Germany #3 – Munich with Softlab, Klaus
  • Thinking, feeling, dreaming in two languages: German & English
  • Ben born in Munich, Germany
  • Moved to San Francisco with Softlab GmbH/BMW AG
  • JourneyWare Media, Mark & David L.
  • Joined Men’s Group
  • Kate and David’s 10th Anniversary
  • I Want You to Know, Before I Go” (precursor to The Book of Myself)

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.

Bo April 1998  Ben-1993  Emily_1993

 

Decade 5 – 1996-2005    MARSHALL BOOKS

  • Settling in Northern California
  • The Book of Myself published (becomes bestseller)
  • The Book of Us published (becomes bestseller)
  • Oracle Corporation, Preet and Mark
  • Homestore, weekly commute to Los Angeles, Preet
  • The Book of My Pet published (first dud)
  • Kabira Software in San Rafael, CA, Mark and Preet
  • Go-go high tech investing and crashing back to earth
  • Emily leaving the nest
  • Kate and David’s 20th anniversary
  • Men’s Group 10th anniversary
  • Leaving software business at 50

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.

Carl and David Marshall  BOM 2007 3-D  Book-of-Us_Cover_21.5kb

 

Decade 6 – 2006-2015    WORK REIMAGINED

  • Writing Iron Boy memoir
  • Berrett-Koehler Publishers – second (or third) career, finding true community
  • Ben leaving the nest
  • What I Love About You (becomes bestseller)
  • Emily’s Wesleyan graduation
  • Ben’s UCLA graduation
  • Emily’s University of Minnesota Law School graduation
  • The Book of Myself – second edition published
  • Picture of Me published
  • My Life Map published
  • What I Love About You, Mom published
  • Kate and David’s 30th anniversary
  • Men’s Group 20th anniversary

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.

Macintosh-Development-Team-David-Marshall-2011   BK-staff-photo-for-website_Jan2016

 

Decade 7 – 2016-2025    SPIRITUAL SYNTHESIS

  • Studying Buddhism
  • Studying Christianity
  • I Loved You First – published in 2017
  • Complete and publish Iron Boy
  • Rediscovering music and singing
  • Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi
  • Aging well
  • “Refire Don’t Retire”
  • Kate and David’s 40th anniversary
  • Men’s Group 30th anniversary
  • Discovering the world; embracing global cultures
  • Planting my activist stake: protecting Mother Earth (or something else)
  •  Passing of parents – helping them exit with grace and dignity
  • Making a difference in grandchildrens’ lives

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.

Kate-David-GreatWall   David Avila Beach   Mens-Group2_October-2015

*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

IMG_3068

 

 

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My Close Encounter with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates – Thirty Years Ago This Month

July 21, 2014

Everybody remembers that Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh in January 1984 and the infamous Superbowl commercial that featured the young woman running down the aisle of a dark theater and throwing her sledgehammer into the screen of Big Brother IBM clones, with the message that the world will never be the same–but few people remember that five months later in July, Steve took his Macintosh, in the form of a two-story Macintosh replica on the exhibit floor, to the National Computer Conference in Las Vegas, and showed off a host of business applications from independent software companies, to prove that his new Mac was no toy.

At the time, I worked for Peachtree Software in Atlanta as the brand manager in the marketing department for our flagship microcomputer accounting software. We had just published “Back to Basics,” the first accounting software for the Mac, and “Back to Basics” was my baby.  Apple invited us to debut it at the NCC show.  They made us feel like part of the Apple family.  They took us out to dinner before the show and gave us all “Macintosh Development Team” shirts with the Apple logo. 

Mac-Development-Team2

Proudly wearing my Apple shirt, I manned my Mac station on the upper floor of the giant two-story Macintosh replica in the exhibit hall.  All the demo pods surrounded a small glass conference room in the middle.  My accounting software demo was interrupted by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates spit shouting at each from purple faces just inches apart just ten feet from me.  This was a big deal for me because I was 28 years old and this was my first big rodeo, and I was a few feet away from two other 28-year olds who were already demi-gods in the microcomputer revolution.  I stopped what I was doing and tried to figure out what they were saying, but couldn’t hear.  I read later that Steve was livid that Bill Gates had stolen his graphic interface for Microsoft’s upcoming first generation of Windows, but that Bill retorted that if anybody had done any stealing, that Steve had stolen it from Xerox PARC, and that Microsoft was just re-purposing it. That was one of the most memorable moments of my high-tech career. It also impressed upon me how much of an evangelist Steve Jobs was for his product and company, and influenced me to only work for companies where I truly believed in the products and services.  I got off course a couple times, but mostly kept on the right path.

Macintosh-Development-Team-David-Marshall-2011

The postscript to this July 1984 close encounter was that when Steve Jobs announced the iPad in January 2010, I called up Apple and told them we wanted to sell our books on the iBookstore.  Berrett-Koehler was one of only seven book publishers that debuted their products on the iPad when it was releases in April of that year.  A year and a half later, when Steve Jobs died, I asked if I could do a tribute to Steve at our monthly staff meeting. The morning of the late October staff meeting, I dug out my Macintosh Development Team shirt and put it on.  After I did my tribute in front of about twenty staff members, Steve Piersanti, our president and founder said, “David, that was a impressive tribute, but the most impressive part is that you still fit into that shirt!

July 1984 to July 2014 – It’s been a wild ride these last 30 years.  Thanks for steering me to my passion, Steve.

 

 

Tiger and the Buddha

February 16, 2013

“Tiger will do more that any other man in history to change the course of humanity… He is the Chosen One. He’ll have the power to impact nations. Not people. Nations.” –Earl Wood, Tiger’s father

This quote led an article by Robert Wright in Slate back in 2000.  Earl Wood believed that Tiger could have a greater impact than Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, or even Buddha because Tiger was reaching so many people around the world through his sport. Wright speculated that perhaps Tiger “warrants consideration as someone of potentially political, even spiritual, significance.”

A lot has changed since then. Tiger ascended to unbelievable heights until 2007, then experienced equally unimaginable lows with the public affairs that led to his divorce, yanked advertising endorsements, and arguably, losing his mojo on the golf course.  After five long years, Tiger has now clawed his way back to the Top-5 in the international ranking.  He’s not back to his pre-2007 invincible form, but he’s in the hunt again.

How did Tiger come back from the dead?  In 2010, Tiger said he had strayed from his Buddhist beliefs, which he learned from his mother.

What if Tiger made a life map in 2010, taking stock of his past, present, and future?  Perhaps this is his full life story, as we imagine Tiger might tell it, at his darkest hour at the age of 36.

TigerWood-LifeMap

Life Title: My True Course

First Twenty Years – Ages 1-20 (1975-1994) – Golf Protégé

I grew up in Southern California.  My dad, an accomplished amateur golfer, taught me to swing a golf club at the age of three.  By the time I reached middle school, I had already won the Junior World Golf Championships in my age group. By the time I finished high school, I had won the U.S. Amateur Championship.  I attended StanfordUniversity for two years, winning the NCAA Individual Golf Championship, and the U.S. Amateur Championship two more times.

Next 15 Years – Ages 21-35 (1995-2009) – On Top of the World

After two years at Stanford, I left college in 1996 to turn professional.  I set my sights on winning the Masters and the PGA.  A year later, I won the Masters and became the #1 ranked golfer in the world.  After six major events and the PGA championship in 1999, I set a new goal for myself: breaking Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour wins.  By the fall of 2009, I had won 71 times on the PGA Tour including 14 majors; I was track to becoming the most accomplished golfer in history.  Then it all came undone.

Next 10 Years – Ages 36-45 (2010-2019) – The Turning Point

I’m not going in details about what went wrong.  Suffice it say, I lost my way.  I strayed from my beliefs.  I decide to take time off from golf for reflection and healing.  (Now the new imagined life map begins…)  I return to my roots and study Buddhist principles.  I meet with the Dalai Lama.  He helps me enormously in finding my way back home.  I begin to extend my TigerWoodsLearningCenter for underserved youth to Africa, Asia, and South America.  In 2011, I return to the golf circuit. After a rebuilding year, I find my groove again. In 2012, I win three more PGA Tour events.  From 2013 to 2019, I win 24 more PGA Tour events and 6 more championships.  With 98 PGA Tour wins and 20 championships, I am #1 in the record books.  During this time, I am preparing for the next stage in my life.

The Next 50 Years – Ages 46-95 (2020-2069) – My Calling

At the age of 46, I retire from golf and join the Buddhist priesthood.  My golf friends and sponsors tell me that I’m crazy, but I know it’s the right thing to do.  I’ve done everything there is to do in the material world.  It calls to me no more.  Now I seek enlightenment in the spiritual world.  It takes me two years to get through the program.

I still have quite a lot of money from my golf winnings. This year (2010), I’ve reached $1 billion in endorsements and tour winnings, and when I retire ten years later, it’s three times as much. This gives me a big voice, and I use it for good.  With these funds, I establish and grow a training institute to foster inter-faith dialogue and world peace.  I support books, movies, sports events, and games that encourage compassion and collaboration.

In 2033, at the age of 59, I win the Nobel Peace Prize for my work around the world.

In my nineties, I still have a smooth golf swing off the tee, but my speed has slowed down a lot.  My puts and chips are still sharp.  At age 95, I die in peace from this lifetime.  I expect to return to the earth next time in a much more humble form.  Thanks to golf, I made a real difference in the world.

Every future has seeds sown from the past.  Perhaps Tiger’s Buddhist past will become a focal point for his future as well.  Perhaps his unbelievable golf run was just the stage in between.  Tiger has the international recognition to influence whole generations, perhaps whole nations, in ways few people can.  The Buddha was once a young lord living the life of luxury, caring only for himself—and then he gave it all up to seek a higher calling.  Maybe Earl Woods was right about Tiger all along.

David Marshall

Coauthor of My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future, Gotham Books, November 2012

Kap Attack – The Amazing Adventures of Colin Kaepernick: 1987-2097

January 30, 2013

Who’s that galloping thoroughbred who raced by Green Bay’s elite defensive players for a 56-yard touchdown?  Colin Kaepernick came out of nowhere to capture the attention of America this season.  At 25, he’s just in his second year in the NFL, has only started in ten games. He took his team to the Super Bowl in New Orleans on 2-3-13 and almost engineering the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. But even with the temporary setback, the York and DeBartolo families are already dreaming of their second 49ers dynasty.

But we shouldn’t be so surprised.  As a nine-year-old fourth grader in Turlock, California, Colin wrote a letter to himself foretelling his future with the 49ers.

Colin-Kaepernick_Dream_1996

So what’s in store for the rest of his life?  We know he likes to envision his future.  Here’s how this writer imagines Colin’s life—past, present, and future—as Colin might see it playing out:

KapAttack-LifeMap

Life Title: BREAKING ALL THE RULES: LEADING FROM BEHIND

First 18 Years – Ages 1-18 (1987-2005) – Loving All Sports

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and am proud of my ethnic diversity.  Mom and Dad, Teresa and Rick Kaepernick adopted me when I was young.   I only lived in Wisconsin until I was four years old before my family moved to the Sacramento area in California.  Growing up, I played as many sports as I could, but especially liked baseball and football.  At nine, I became the quarterback of my team. My first throw was a long bomb for a touchdown. I was hooked.  In high school, I maintained a 4.0 GPA even though I played on most of the varsity teams.  At 6 foot, 4 inches tall and 170 pounds, I was a string bean.  I became a pretty good pitcher, and could throw a 92 mph fastball.  Although I wanted to play college football, I mostly attracted baseball scholarships.  The Chicago Cubs even wanted to hire me straight out of high school.  The football scouts thought I was too lanky and wouldn’t survive all the hits.  The University of Nevada was the only school to offer me a football scholarship, so I jumped at the chance.  Some people thought I was crazy to give up a sure thing in baseball for a dream in football, but I knew in my heart that this was my future.  Mom and Dad supported my decision.

Next 6 Years – Ages 19-24 (2006-2011) – College and Drafted into the NFL

At the University of Nevada Reno, I majored in business management.  I liked my business classes, but my passion was football.  I became the starting quarterback for the Wolf Packs midway through my freshman year and held the position until I graduated.  I helped the Wolf Packs get to four bowl games during my collegiate years.  My biggest achievement was in reaching 10,000 passing yard and 4,000 rushing yards during my college career, which was a quarterback record for Division 1 colleges.

In the 2011 NFL draft, I was the sixth quarterback chosen; I’m glad that Coach Harbaugh saw something in me that others didn’t.  He had seen me scramble and knew I had a rocket arm.  I had always dreamed of playing for the 49ers. I ran the 40 yard dash in 4.53 seconds during the NFL tryouts, so he knew I could run faster than most other quarterbacks. Coach Harbaugh was a former NFL quarterback himself and had just come to the 49ers from Stanford, where he had coached Andrew Luck to winnings seasons. I was in heaven, but I still had a lot to learn.  During the players strike in 2011, the 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith organized his own training camp to get us ready, and he helped me learn the ropes. During the 2011 season and the beginning of the 2012 season, I came in now and again to use my scrambling ability to keep the defense of our competitors on their toes.  But I didn’t think that my time would come so soon.

Next 12 Years – Ages 25-37 (2012-2024) – The 49ers Rise Again

After winning six of nine games in the fall of 2012, Alex suffered a concussion and had to leave the game. We tied that game and then won five of the next seven games to reach the playoffs.  Even though Alex got better within a couple games of his concussion, Coach Harbaugh made me the starter.  He probably figured my scrambling and strong arm would increase our chances of going all the way. We then beat the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta in route to the Super Bowl in New Orleans. My big breakout game came against the Green Bay Packers, when I ran for 181 yards, more than any other quarterback in history in a single game.  Once I started getting popular, some people criticized me for my tattoos, but they just didn’t understand. That’s my Christian faith written in my tattoos, and they keep me strong.  In the Super Bowl, we faced the Baltimore Ravens, coached by Coach Harbaugh’s older brother John Harbaugh.  It was a close game that we almost won, but the 34-31 loss made us stronger for the Super Bowl games ahead of us.

(…and now the future part of his life map, as this writer imagines Colin creating it.)  My first Super Bowl win in 2014 marks the beginning of phase 2 of the 49ers dynasty.  Under Joe Montana and Steve Young, the 49ers had won five Super Bowls during the 1980s and 1990s, but it had been a long dry spell since 1994.  After our big win in February 2014, we win six more Super Bowl championships over the next twelve years.  My combination of fast running and baseball-pitcher arm helps reshape the NFL quarterback position over the next decade.  I stay with the 49ers during my entire professional career and retire when I am 37 years old.

Next 50 Years – Ages 37-60 (2025-2048) – Robotic Football League, RFL

After my professional football career ends, I have many offers to coach NFL or college teams to become a sportscaster, but I intend to use the business skills I learned in college instead.  The 49ers move from Candlestick in San Francisco to Santa Clara during my fourth year with the team, so I become pretty familiar with Silicon Valley high-tech companies during the next decade. I become obsessed with the huge strides being made with robotics companies, and invest in a few of them during my NFL days. At 37, I decide to found my own company, Kap Robotics, with a focus on building life-size robots that play a spectator form of football on a full-sized field controlled by 22 offensive and defensive players with advanced joysticks and their coaches on dashboards along the sidelines.  The players in our games are nerdier than the guys I played with the NFL, but no less committed.  Kap Robotics wins multiple patents in using our robots in key football positions. At first, the NFL is threatened by my company, but I win over a newer breed of owners in 30 major cities around the United States and we created our Robotic Football League (RFL).  In the end, both the NFL and RLF flourish.

In the early years, our robots are a bit clunky, but over time, they became very sophisticated.  Our robot quarterback can throw 80-yard long bombs with pinpoint accuracy, and our wide receiver robots catch them with ease, but the defender robots are equally good.  The sport is pretty violent, but unlike the professional league I had played in, only the machines got hurt, not the people. No more concussions and crippling career-ending injuries.  By 2035, after ten years of perfecting our robots and building up the league, the American public started to really warm up to the sport. We even put some inspirational tattoos on some of the robots.  Over the next thirteen years, we produced most of the robots for the RFL and developed similar athlete robots for budding automated leagues in other sports such as soccer, baseball, basketball, and hockey.  I was lucky enough to attract some of the brightest engineers in the world to RFL.  I learned leadership skills from my parents, and high school and college coaches, but Coach Harbaugh took takes to a new level.  He practices servant leadership and unbelievable passion, where everything he does serves and inspires his team.  I try to practice that same kind of humble and passionate leadership at RFL, and the engineers love it.

Next 40 Years – Ages 61-110 (2049-2097) – Exoskeleton Robots Serve the World

I become a billionaire many times over as the biggest shareholder of Kap Robotics, but when I turn 60, I decide to devote the rest of my life to using robots to help people recover from injuries or diseases.  In 2049, I found CK Robotics to focus on exoskeletons, robotic extensions of arms and legs that can help quadriplegics walk again and war veterans replace loss limbs. We establish both for-profit and non-profit organizations to serve as many people around the world as possible. This becomes my life work up until the end of my life.  Over the next fifty years, our firm helps millions of people walk again and regain mobility from lost or non-functioning limbs.  Embedded chips in the brain allow our clients to control our robots with their thoughts.  Many of my colleagues from my previous company join me at CK Robotics.  My proudest achievement is putting the traditional wheelchair out of business. Now even quadriplegics stand six feet tall and see eye to eye with the rest of us.  Based on knee and hip injuries I received during my NFL playing days, I wear my own lightweight exoskeleton these days.  I just celebrated my 105th birthday on November 3, 2092, and still feel great!

We’ve just seen a glimpse of Kap’s amazing life adventure.  He has proven that it’s never too early to start mapping your future.  Colin envisioned it at 9 years old, and as opportunities arose, made the choices that fulfilled his dream.  He is at the 20 yard line now, and still has 80 yards to go in his own life journey.  Based on what we’ve seen so far, he’ll be galloping through holes and throwing pin-point bullets all the way.

David Marshall

Co-author of My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future, Gotham Books/Penguin, November 2012

Taylor Swift – Her Story Has Just Begun

December 23, 2012

At 22, she’s already America’s sweetheart.  Her records have sold over twenty million copies.  So far, she has won four Grammy awards.  Billboard and American Music Awards named her Artist of the Year.  She writes most of her own melodies and lyrics.  She sings about love and heartbreak.  Former boyfriends, some of America’s most eligible bachelors, including Jake Gyllenhaal and John Mayer, find their way into her songs.  Unlike most young stars, she manages her own business affairs.  She’s on top of the world, so where does she go from here?

Taylor was born in 1989.  Assuming she lives to 100, what will happen between 2013 and 2089?  How will she spend her time, energy, and passion among the big buckets of work, family, friends, education, and service?

Hot on the heels of Reds, her newest album sensation this fall, perhaps Taylor will pause in 2013 to create a life map of her past, present, and future.  If so, here’s what this writer imagines the work part of her map might look like:

Taylor Swift Timeline

Life Title: THE WORLD IS MY STORYBOARD

First 14 Years – Ages 1-14 (1989-2003) – Writing the Early Stanzas

I grew up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Mom named me after James Taylor, hoping a gender-neutral name would help me become a successful businesswoman.  Thanks, Mom, it worked!  Bucking three generations of bankers, I tried my hand at music and theater instead. Then I became interested in country music.  I won a talent contest at eleven singing LeAnn Rimes’s Big Deal.  My love of country music alienated me from the other kids in my middle school.  I convinced my parents to move to Nashville when I was fourteen to pursue my music career.

Next 16 Years – Ages 15-30 (2004-2020) – Re-Imagining Country Music

After winning a national poetry contest, I wrote my first song at twelve.  As an eighth grader, I received an artist development deal with RCA Records based on performances of my own songs. RCA wanted me to wait until I was eighteen to release my first album, but my songs were about my younger life, so I went my own way.  My first big single was Our Song in 2006; it made me the youngest writer and singer of a country song hit.  It was part of my first album, Taylor Swift.  My second album, Fearless, crossed over to pop audiences and became the bestselling album of 2009. My third album, Speak Now, launched me on a thirteen-month tour performing to almost two million fans.

My fourth album, Reds debuted in late 2012 and I’m touring non-stop again. (now for the future I envision)  I live a wholesome life and try to be a role model for my fans.  Until now, I’ve sung about relationships, and how I’ve recovered from ones that didn’t work.  As my fans grow into their twenties like me, I expand my songwriting to include love found, marriage, and raising amazing kids.  My fifth album, Shining Knight, is released in 2015 with songs about falling in love, getting engaged, and becoming newlyweds. Two other albums follow on starting a family.

Next 20 Years – Ages 31-50 (2021-2040) – America’s Singing Life Coach

Since my fans follow my relationship advice, I start writing songs and books about all aspects of life: how to move on from bad bosses, how to make a difference with volunteer work and education, and how to let politicians know when you won’t take it anymore.  My eighth album, Work Day, is released in 2021, my ninth album, We Teach, comes out in 2023, and my tenth album Stand Up, debuts in 2026.  I create a Literacy for All program with local libraries across the country.  Journalists start calling me “America’s Singing Life Coach” and it sticks.  My personal and career advice is based on my Christian upbringing that the highest form of humanity comes through serving others.  I begin investing my winnings in Nashville real estate and media companies. My 2031 personal development book, Greater Than Yourself, becomes a New York Times bestseller.

Next 50 Years – Ages 51-100 (2041-2089) – Business with a Heart

Nashville becomes the epicenter for pop music based on simple melodies and audible lyrics, and I have a little something to do with that.  My entertainment company, Taylored Fit, signs artists who sing pop ballads about all aspects of life.  These bestselling singing life coaches help people across the world create their own best futures. My television network produces family shows that teach people perseverance, resilience, and encourage viewers to reach for the stars.  I model my business after Oprah, but with a focus on helping people through music.

With so much accomplished in her first twenty-two years, it’s almost frightening to think what Taylor Swift might achieve in the next four fifths of her life.  But it helps to have a plan.  From everything we’ve read about Taylor’s life so far, she has been working her master plan with remarkable results. Whether she’s dreaming up what we imagined for her, or something else, you can bet that she’s dreaming big.

David Marshall

Coauthor of My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future, Gotham Books, November 2012

Sheryl Sandberg’s Timeline: Past, Present–and Future

December 13, 2012

She’s a blazing star in every sense of the word. At 43, Sheryl Sandberg’s life story reads like a bestselling novel. Now that Sheryl joined the billionaires’ club when Facebook went public earlier this year, what will her future bring?

Timeline, Facebook’s life story feature, received a lot of attention when it debuted in 2012, but it only covers the past and present. Does Sheryl’s own timeline include a future element? If so, how does she plan to invest her time, energy, and passion among the big buckets of work, family, friends, education, and service?

If Sheryl had mapped out her life when she graduated from college in 1991, this is how this writer imagines it might look:

Sheryl Sandberg Timeline

Life Title: WOMEN LEAD THE WAY

First Twenty Years – Ages 1-20 (1969-1988) – Laying the Groundwork

Grew up in Florida, always at the top of class. Attended HarvardCollege, majoring in Economics. Met professor Larry Summers, who became mentor and thesis advisor. Graduated from Harvard in 1991 and awarded Phi Beta Kappa.

Second Twenty Years – Ages 21-40 (1989-2008) – Building Public and Private Sector Foundation

Public Sector – Work at World Bank from 1991 to 1993, concentrating on health projects in emerging countries. Work as Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Larry Summers in Clinton Administration in WashingtonD.C. from 1996 to 2001.

Private Sector – Graduate from Harvard Business School in 1995 at age 27 as a Baker Scholar, the highest distinction. Work at McKinsey for one year as a management consultant. Leave private sector to work in White House for several years. Return to private sector in 2001 to join Google in Silicon Valley as Vice President of Online Sales and help start Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org.  Hired by Mark Zuckerberg to become chief operating officer at social media giant Facebook in 2008. Mentored Mark. Became national spokesperson for women in business.

Third Twenty Years – Ages 41-60 (2009-2028) – Putting It All Together

Help take Facebook public in 2012. Become a billionaire on paper at age 42. Facebook stock tumbles after the IPO. (and now for the future imagined from this writer…) Orchestrate a successful online advertising strategy that leads to strong revenue growth and a stock recovery.  Write a bestselling book about women in business that encourages them to lean in to workplace opportunities and challenges. Leave Facebook in 2014 to create Women in Politics think tank. Write a memoir/activist book about women in business at age 46.  Run for U.S. Senate in seat for California vacated by Barbara Boxer in 2016 at age 48.

As U.S. Senator, champion landmark bill to integrate solar panels into rooftops for all new housing construction. Run for President in 2024 at age 56.  Become the first woman President of the United States. Pass Equal Pay Act to remove final institutional barriers to equal pay for equal work. Put Elizabeth Warren on the Supreme Court.

Fourth Twenty Years – Ages 61-80 (2029-2048) – Redefining the Post-Presidency

Second term as President of United States from 2029-2033. Pass Education Act to revamp K-12 public education to global leadership standards. After the presidency, start a foundation for encouraging women to campaign for peace in the Middle East. Travel the world to encourage and support women running for political office.

Fifth Twenty Years – Ages 81-100 (2049-2068) – Life Re-Imagined

Become AARP advocate for aging well through lifelong learning.  Focus on use of virtual classroom training to foster global learning communities.

For some people, it’s easy to predict what their future will bring based on looking at their past and present. For others, it’s not so clear. One thing’s for sure; people who are able to imagine and articulate a positive future for themselves are far more likely to make it happen. What’s on Sheryl’s private life map? She hasn’t told us, but we bet that if she does put the U.S. Presidency on her life map, she just might get there.

David Marshall

Co-author (with wife Kate) of My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future, Gotham Books, November 2012

What If We Taught Life Planning in High School and College?

November 13, 2012

My wife Kate and I are happy to report that our newest book, My Life Map: A Journal to Help You Shape Your Future (published by Gotham Books, a Penguin imprint – soon to be Penguin Random House) hit the stores nationwide this week. It’s on the shelves at Barnes and Noble and also available on Amazon. Hopefully the Indies will pick it up soon as well.

The BIG IDEA of the book is that you can increase your happiness by proactively shaping your future in all the major areas of life such family, friends, work, play, and lifelong learning. The simple exercises and maps in MY LIFE MAP can help you do that. The book follows the tried-and-true formula of our other prompted journals by asking questions about your past, present, and future. Based on the answers to these questions, you then create ten-year maps for the major categories (Family, Friends, Work, Learning, Service, Play), a consolidated ten-year map, and then a whole life map. For the whole life map, you name the major chapters of your life and then name the whole life. The idea is that looking at your whole life on one page, from birth date to death date, it allows you to visualize and shape your future with clarity and intention to achieve your dreams. We even created an electronic element this time so people could download additional life maps in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF to fill out on the computer or in larger formats. We updated our website to allow readers to use a special code in the book to access the electronic maps.

Here are several examples of how people in different phases of their lives might use My Life Map:

Young Adulthood

Why are so many 20-somethings ending up back home with their parents, unsure how to start their own lives?  Doesn’t it seem like they’re taking longer and longer to find their calling?

Imagine colleges required a life planning class in Senior year that would help students map out their futures? Don’t you think it would reduce the false starts and early job hopping dramatically and increase national productivity?

My Life Map allows students to take this course on their own time – tuition is only $16, the cost of the book. They end up with a whole life plan that incorporates their own goals and gives them a road map to follow.

Major Milestones

Do you know why college reunions and milestone birthdays like 30 and 40 are hard for so many people? It’s because they force us to take stock of our lives so far and we often realize that we’re unhappy with the track we’re on and aren’t sure what to do about it.

Imagine a thought-provoking seminar at every 10th or 20th college reunion to plan the rest of our lives? What might that weekend of reflection teach us? How many people might suddenly see what’s missing in their lives and then go home ready to make bold decisions to get it?

My Life Map allows adults whose life is moving too fast (or too slow) to give themselves a little life check up – what’s healthy in their lives, what’s not, and what program they are going to start to get and keep their life in tiptop shape. My Life Map is a DIY, budget life coach.

Baby Boomers

Did you know that many couples in their fifties are struggling with “What’s Next?” now that their kids have left for college and they are empty nesters?  With so much of the previous two decades devoted to raising children, many people are searching of a new purpose in life..

Imagine if community centers offered life planning classes to help people take stock of their life so far and decide how to spend the second half of their lives? Imagine if it were as natural to take life planning lessons as it is to take yoga classes or piano lessons.

My Life Map provides a simple curriculum for teachers, life coaches, career counselors, ministers, and support groups to help adults plan all the aspects of their lives in a balanced way that brings them the most happiness and purpose.  It’s never too late to shape the future.

I hope you like these examples. I have written three articles with sample life maps for well-known celebrities (sports figures, musicians, and business leaders) that I hope to share soon.

David Marshall, November 12, 2012