It’s interesting to swap stories about folks that are making the transition to their next self. I have become a bit of an example of how to retire well. I was a former workaholic with no life to speak of – just focused on business- nearly 7 days a week, diminishing from 80 hours a week to a mere 65 as age started to affect my endurance.
With no real plan, one day I was working and the next day I wasn’t.
No plan exactly, just a rough idea it was time to start living. I wanted to travel and I wanted to give back in thanks for the opportunities I had been blessed with. And so like any other project I began the research of what, how, when, etc. Within a year or two I had a solid plan and had begun putting the pieces in place, even before the plan was clearly articulated.
I’m not alone in this approach as many of my peers are enjoying the journey as they redefine their lives. Most are opting for a portfolio life rather than a singularly focused one. Others are not faring so well as they are being turfed out of careers, mourning their past rather than planning their future.
As someone said to me this week, “why didn’t I know these opportunities existed before? I switched focus and now everywhere I look there are exciting roles for me to use my skills but in a non-profit space.”
2 Similar men, 2 very different paths
Both are traditional male executives in their late 50’s (or a bit more), family men, experts with 30 years spent in the same industry mostly with the same company.
But that’s where the similarity ends.
One voluntarily retired and after a bit of searching and talking to a variety of folks, landed a couple of board member roles, now mentors at an incubator and contacted a local university where he started mentoring students and then worked his way to an instructor role which he really enjoys. Amid all this he is reconnecting and spending more time with his kids. He’s learned to Facebook, has a great LinkedIn profile and is busy connecting and learning. His energy is great.
The other is hanging onto his office for dear life but the axe is coming. He has no hobbies or interests outside of his industry. Any referrals or recommendations to connect go untouched as he waits for someone to personally approach him with the right offer. He’s stressed, out of shape, and over weight, and those around him are worried.
Making the transition
To help those who need to get going on their plan , here are some keys to transitioning
- Accept that things will be different
- Research what’s out there until you find things that appeal
- Create a collection of things to do so you can continue exploring and extending your network
- Listen and learn while leveraging what you know
- Reinvigorate yourself by meeting new people and trying something new