What is the secret to recognizing and realizing your raison d’être? Stopping to ask yourself a single illuminating question will dramatically change your perspective and empower you to define your own powerful, personal philosophy. Mindfully shaking up how you think about your ambition and life purpose elicits inspired creativity, fresh energy, initiative, resilience, and prepares you to spot and passionately pursue your next great opportunity. Today’s show explores the easy-to-access foundation for success and happiness, including making the contribution you were born to make. Guest Bart O’Brien chats with me about hitting those points in our life when we realize, “I need a second act.” Bart, who defines himself in part as a “professional athlete in the sport of marketing,” pursued a career starting various companies, fielding start-up false starts and major financial setbacks before going back to high tech to co-found Calico Commerce. His first solo software startup, RSA Data Security, was acquired by Security Dynamics for $250 million. He sold most of the stock to finance his wedding, honeymoon, and the purchase of his and his wife, Barb’s, first house. Then Calico Commerce went public in 1999 at a valuation of $1.8 billion. Bart sold only a small portion of his stock before the high tech crash of 2000 and subsequent failure of Calico, but this was enough for him to heed his own “I need a next act” wake-up call by making a down payment to purchase a vineyard – now O’Brien Estate Winery – to make Barb’s “dream of owning land in Napa Valley” come true. Bart’s philosophy is that many people don’t think about how precious life is until it is too late. Today’s social milieu seduces many people into focusing on entertaining themselves and on immediate gratification. Instead of consciously and constantly assessing, “Where am I now? Where do I want to be? What’s working? What’s not?” we drift along. The consequence? The cumulative effect of seemingly insignificant decisions costs us big-time. We wake up in the middle part of our lives and realize, “Wow. I haven’t been working toward a really substantive goal. I’ve been spending my time just hanging out, mindlessly doing stuff. My life’s going to be over, and what have I done?” Rarely are we taught the power of sitting down and earnestly pretending that we are on our deathbed, looking back on our life, soul-searching when we’re out of time: “Gosh, if I were to fast-forward to my final days, what would I wish I would have done? Who would I wish I would have become?” True, once you are really at the end of your life, it is too late to do anything about those regrets. But today’s show reveals that by mindfully going back to the future now, whether you’re in your 20’s, or 25, or 30, or 40, or 50, you create a powerful new starting point – while you still have time to passionately create a successful and meaningful career and life trajectory.