Abram Interstate Insurance Services, Inc., CMGA

Helping Independent Insurance Agents Since 1996

The Key to Lasting Leadership: Peak at 65

Published on October 29, 2013

Want to be a Lasting Leader?

Peak at 65

An idea From Donald Miller’s book, Storyline




This is the truth: Only a few people in any given generation become true, long-lasting leaders. Only a minute fraction of politicians ever rise above their peers to truly lead. Only a few authors create the works that sell millions. Only a few actors are well known and sought after. Only a few musicians shine for long enough to make an impression on music history. Only a few CEO’s are still relevant and active with the times in their sixties.

Most leaders fade out too fast – more equipped for the sprint than the marathon.

But life is a marathon.

We don’t want you to wilt away too early.

In our twenties, it’s easy to think that everything is urgent. Dreams are to be dreamt and executed NOW. And it makes sense. In our twenties we have more energy, more motivation, and we just go for it.  If that’s you, don’t lose that, just keep listening…

There is often a specific decade in everyone’s life that acts as a launching pad. For many, that decade is the 20s or 30s. Significant energy fuels us forward, and that’s important. Those early decades are when we are training ourselves for careers as professionals and leaders, in business and in families.

The problem is, when we’re younger, we don’t know enough of the world or ourselves to lead wisely. If we haven’t experienced enough failure yet, successes tend to bring pride. Look at most leaders who rise in their twenties: They decline in their thirties and forties. And that’s why. As Donald Miller, author of Storyline says,  “They had all of the energy to become successful but none of the wisdom to manage that success.”

So here’s a trick from Miller’s book: Plan now for peaking at 65.

That seems odd in a culture that is so retirement driven. It’s made even weirder by the dot.com millionaire phenomena that has taught us that 23-year-olds can be the richest and most cutting edge of defining our culture’s trajectory. But this is the key to longevity in leadership.

Do amazing things in your 20s and 30s and 40s. By all means.  But don’t plan on those being the best. Don’t flame out like a flashy firework. A slow progress, a slow build toward greatness later in life will not only be a key to longevity, but to fulfillment in the work you do.

Ask yourself, what would you design your life to look like if you peaked at 65. Then take steps today that will take you to that peak.

When you give yourself that time, you won’t feel so desperate in the moment toward action, and you’ll be able to operate with more wisdom.

If you plan on peaking at 65, you’ll start to rise above your peers in your thirties, and continue to grow slowly throughout the later decades. What you’ll see begin to happen is that you’ll be sought after as an expert in your given field, and likely before. When your peers are reeling in their glory from years past, you’ll be relevant, and growing still.

If you’re in your later decades already, and you feel like you peaked too soon, start over. Start the slow build now. Re-imagine. Re-dream. Write part 2 of your story, and make this one have a lasting influence. Whether you’re an insurance agent, a CEO, or an author, this applies to us all.

If you want to be an expert and a leader in what you do, it’s worth the time to do it right.


Abram Interstate is a wholesale insurance broker that has licensing and expertise to place business in both admitted and non-admitted markets in California and surrounding areas.