One day in the not-so-distant future, you’ll get there. The end of the line. The top of your organization. The top of your field. Nowhere else to go, because you’ll have arrived.
Most likely, that day won’t be within striking distance of the end of your career. Far from it. So there you will be, at the top of your game and the top of the ladder you spent all that time and energy climbing.
And then you’ll have no choice but to make a shift. They’ll be no sense any more (was there ever?) in the obvious milestones of advancement: title, promotion, compensation. In all the important ways, those things will be behind you. At which point your yardstick will cease to be how high you can climb and become, instead, the actual impact you are having on the world, the change you are creating for others.
Imagine not waiting until that future date to let go of striving for the obvious markers of success and progress. Imagine how letting go now, not five or 10 or 15 years from now, would free up all the energy you’re putting into the climb. Imagine your confidence and sense of relief in recognizing that someday soon you will get there, which is why there’s no need to (and not much result in) continuing to push the rope. Imagine your ability to focus on the stuff that really matters: the really important, hard-for-the-right-reasons elements of making a difference.
Isn’t this, in the end, what it means to live a life of service?
Isn’t this why anyone who gets to the “top” discovers that it’s really just a starting line?