Why Look at Life in Three3rds?

Good friends for decades.

The morning this is being written we, my wife and I, are in the home of these “good friends for decades” kind of friends: for over three decades now (but not the family in the picture above). This couple, now in their 60’s, live close to their sons and daughters-in-law, now in their 30’s, who with their own kids, now in their single digits of age, are a living demonstration of the Three3rds of Life.

Staring at me at the other end of the kitchen table at which I am writing is a clever high chair for the newest members of the family. Behind me is a sweeping view (when one can see it, through the quiet tones of the traditional morning coastal fog along northern San Diego County) of the Pacific Ocean. We are here this weekend to celebrate the wedding of the daughter of other mutual friends…and life rolls on.

The following thoughts are gleaned from the Circle of Life Mentoring Workshop. It is here that we help others take the 8 Dimensions written about in previous blog posts and begin to apply them to all the ages and stages of life. Every human being alive has those dimensions forming their life.

A full, whole life advances through Three3rds of life if one is alive long enough. Each of these thirds has particular opportunities, challenges, hopes and fears. LDG’s commitment to designing leaders, aiding in the development of flourishing humans of any age, requires exploring these unique time frames and attributes while being an integral part of whole-life mentoring of men and women, keeping in mind where they are in age and life experience.

It is important to note that these time frames have a give and take to them. They are not hardwired for exactness, even though this whole-life mentoring model does explore and discover what has happened, is happening and needs to happen in a unique life of any age.

Several years ago, while in Guatemala leading a workshop on this material with some of the vibrant, willing-to-learn continental directors of Compassion International’s Leadership Development Program, I was both quietly stunned, and creatively encouraged to hear that these three thirds are in every culture. One exceptional leader from Uganda helped me understand that though life spans can vary from country to country, each culture does have three thirds.

What is suggested here come from my initial work with the development of leaders in western culture. However, it is fully applicable anywhere, in any culture on the planet.

First 3rd:

In the First 3rd of life, ages 0-30, thriving leaders’ brains, capacities, personalities, hopes and dreams are formed. It is in this third that women and men begin to make many crucial life choices.

The First 3rd is certainly future-focused. It moves from Childhood (ages 0-10), to Adolescence (ages 10-20), to Emerging Adult (ages 20-30).

Second 3rd:

In the Second 3rd of life, ages 30-60, thriving leaders are recognizing and embracing their purpose in life. This is a time of achieving a majority of that purpose, as they live into why they are here to be making a difference in our world.

The Second 3rd is typically present-focused. There is a unique time in this Second 3rd when one hopefully grows and moves from a focused time of Realization (ages 30-45) to a time of Accomplishment (ages 45-60) that prepares them for their productive remaining days of life.

Third 3rd:

In the Third 3rd of life, from ages 60 to whenever, thriving leaders fulfill their life purpose, regenerate themselves in their relationships with following generations and achieve an integrity that passes the mantle of whole life living on to others.

Hopefully, by this age a life has lived into and out of all they were designed to be. It is important to be reminded that a person still has the capacity to grow, no matter their age.

The Third 3rd is both past focused and still forward focused. This 3rd contains three important, vibrant tasks:




There is a confession to make at this point: Leadership Design Group is about the development of leaders who will be making a difference in future decades of life, around the globe. It takes time, if one desires to be the the woman or man they have been designed to be, to live into what we are suggesting, no matter where they live or what their life work may be.

Thus, getting to know others (including yourself…) in the 8 Dimensions of the Circle of Life, no matter where in the Three3rds of age one is alive, takes a sacred commitment to being aware of yourself and others, whether they be family, friends, or colleagues. Human flourishing, in the development of thriving leaders, will be fully accomplished by what we are suggesting.

This is exciting, life-giving, life-challenging news. This we invest in to see the future of leadership making a difference that will be bringing change to our world. And all of this rests on where we began this 2016 series of posts on the four pillars of our whole-life mentoring model.

As one lives, fully alive, through the Three3rds of Life, one will learn to be intentional, experiencing deep change, in every dimension of their whole life no matter their age. Transformation will take place. Leaders will be designed to pass all this on to future generations…and the Circle of Life, as almighty God has intended since the beginning of time, will continue.

No matter where you live,
no matter your age or ethnicity,
to this you are also invited
with all that Leadership Design Group is about.
You, too, have been created
to be a person of influence in our world…!
We are here to help you
be fully alive.

Free Resource

LDG_ebook_coverFor more information on designing leaders through Intentional, Deep-Change, Whole-Life, Transformational Mentoring, download our free eBook.


Written by

Founder/CCO/Master Mentor Leadership Design Group. Wes is uniquely designed to encourage, grow, prod, and challenge others. He is wildly creative and able to imagine better futures for others and himself. Since 1967 his leadership mentoring has helped shape the future of individuals and organizations to grow their dreams into reality. Wes exercises his unique personality to serve others as Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Leadership Design Group, Leadership Design Associates and Three3rds Media. Wes has been mentoring individuals and teams since 1967 from a variety of backgrounds and on every major continent. The unique mentoring model that has deepened, enriched, challenged and changed many lives—in every third of life, is a cornerstone for all that takes place within Leadership Design Group, Leadership Design Associates and Three3rds Media.

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