With several successful sales among Members of my groups, a new question has arisen, what to retire to?
For many hard working executives, the idea of retiring is like agreeing that you are ready to die. Who does that? Who will you be without the title after your name? Nora Paller, President, becomes Nora who? Why should I talk to you? Who are you? What is your identity without the company which gave you status?
Observing my friends who crossed over to the other side, there seems to be a pattern. The ones who retired early had a plan on what they were retiring to. Some joined multiple corporate boards, and traveled extensively. Some pursued a hobby they never had enough time for while working. Some started a new venture.
Many found a way to serve their community. How? By volunteering or selling their immense expertise to other companies through consulting. Or teaching an entrepreneurship class at colleges, or high schools.
I also enjoy hearing about the weavers, the bread-makers, the food preservers, the gardeners, the music-makers.The deep dive into non-business pursuits.Taking that laser focus to something completely new and different.
The point is: expand interests you have had or always wanted to pursue but did not have enough time for while you were working. If that feels like you are staring into a deep hole, don’t panic.It often takes 6 months to a year to reset after 40 years of living your day in a certain way.
It is also okay to try something and then decide you don’t like it and drop it. I suggest that you don’t make any permanent decisions for 6 months. Don’t give all of your new found wealth to a risky venture, or move to another continent or sell you house and buy an RV….well actually that sounds really fun. But, maybe you rent your house out while you travel around the country. You might get tired of the nomad life really quickly.
Retirement doesn’t have to be a downward spiral if you take time to listen to your heart and test new ways of being in the world. Find meaning and purpose in a new way. For me it was becoming a Vistage Chair. 21 years later. I still pinch myself that I get to do this work every day (or as often as I choose).