Are you starting to get a stronger sense of the “real” you? Are you ready to explore some of the many options available to you in the wonderful world of encore careers?
Remember, I define an encore career as a new stage of work, post-retirement, that's purposeful, meaningful, and joyful. It's work on your own terms; work that matters. An encore career is not one-size-fits-all. It's the perfect fit for who you are at this stage in your life.
Since you've finally earned the freedom to have fun, make sure your encore career is fun. If you're looking for meaningful engagement and fun, you might:
1. Express yourself creatively. Do you have a creative side that's never been fully expressed? Have you always wanted to act, paint, or write but never pursued the dream? It's not too late. My client, Jean, is a perfect example of living her creative dream later in life.
After “retiring” from a successful career as a therapist and completing her second Master's degree in her 60's, Jean was struggling with what might be next for her. In our coaching, she uncovered her passion for writing, and in fact, had quite a large body of unpublished work. She also had three ideas for books, and decided to write the “easiest” one first, and got it published.
Jean's second book is currently being shopped around to publishers, and she's working on her third book. Her passion for writing has led her to a side career speaking and leading workshops and retreats around the country, and she's having a blast. By allowing her rich, creative side to flourish, she's thriving in unexpected ways.
2. Follow your calling. Is there something you longed to do when you were younger but didn't have the discipline to go for? What's been “calling” you most of your life? What if you answered the call?
That's what John (eventually) did when he retired from his 35-year career in the military. He knew he would continue to work, but wasn't sure what would be the best fit. For the first few years he tried out a number of new things: selling solar panels, training to become a paralegal, and even trying to launch a home business. They didn't make his heart sing.
Since he was quite young, John had felt called to become a minister. In college, his lack of discipline made it challenging to pursue this calling, so he entered the military. Nearly 40 years later, he had the discipline and the ability to accomplish whatever he set his mind to, and answered the call to ministry.
Now in his late 60's, John is minister of his own church and loving every minute of it.
3. Create a business around what you love to do. Are you an entrepreneur at heart? What's your passion? How could you marry the two?
Darlene was downsized from a high-pressure sales position in a major financial institution. She needed a break, and took time off to recharge. She played with the idea of turning her passion for quilting into her lifelong dream of having her own business, created a business plan, and took the first tentative steps toward getting the business off the ground.
After four months, she started to worry about her cash flow, and went back to work in sales. Two months into the new position and she was clear it was time to be her own boss. She's devoted herself totally to the business, has had a successful launch, and is on target to meet her plan this year.
And, of course, she's having the time of her life!
4. Make an impact. Do you have a deep desire to make a contribution? What if you brought your incredible experience, resources, and wisdom to solving a serious social issue in an innovative way?
I first read about Dr. Jack McConnell in Marc Freedman's book, Prime Time: How Baby Boomers will Revolutionize Retirement and Transform America. After retiring from a successful medical practice, Dr. McConnell moved to a gated community in Hilton Head, SC and played golf until boredom began to set in.
He saw that people living outside his gated community were living very differently than he and his affluent neighbors. Many were uninsured and using the local hospital emergency room when in crisis. He saw a way to provide excellent health care and save the community money.
It wasn't easy, but he persuaded the local hospital, businesses, and legislators to support his vision of a free clinic. He enrolled his neighbors who were retired doctors, nurses, and dentists in donating their time to this new venture, Volunteers in Medicine (VIM), and providing excellent medical care to the people of Hilton head. They now experience a joy in practicing medicine that they didn't believe possible.
Dr. McConnell has since helped his dream become a reality in communities around the country, and I'll bet he's having fun.
Each of these extraordinary role models didn't land in the perfect encore career right off the bat. Each one kept exploring until they locked into “it”. Each found a purpose that's fun, and is making a difference.
What would give your life meaning and be fun, too?