Evolution not revolution
I am a member of a generation that wanted to rebel against the establishment and then we became the establishment. The Beatles got it and sang about us being a group that did not want to really rebel when they sang “Revolution” in the watershed year of 1968. For those of you too young to remember 1968, it started with the Tet offensive, which was followed by Lyndon Johnson’s decision not to run for president, the assassination of Martin Luther King in April, the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in June, the riots in Chicago during the Democratic national convention, in November Richard Nixon was elected President of the US as the “Peace” candidate, and the year ended with three US astronauts orbiting the moon, reading from the Gospel of John on Christmas.
As a generation, we declared that we (males) were like Peter Pan and would never grow up and would never sell out to the establishment. As the draft ended and we had families, we realized that we had sold out. Now, as we “retire” from the establishment jobs and roles that we enjoyed, we have an opportunity for reflection. As they enter this phase of life, I suspect many boomers wake up and realize that whether they planned for it or not, they are for all intents and purposes retired from the establishment. For me it has been in the fall of my sixty-sixth year.
I was reading a blog last week from Harvard business review. It was a post from an executive coach talking about his work with executives who are planning for a new retirement. This is the area of practice that I created my coaching practice around when I was a young whippersnapper of sixty-two. Then, I looked at it as a business. Today it is a “retirement” business that is more like a practice. I have to run it as a business, but it is not conducted by the same rules. There are different driving forces at play.
Frankly, looking at the lyrics to the aforementioned song – I now find I finally have “the plan” and it is all about evolution. To evolve you must give some stuff up and you must add other stuff in. The challenge is to determine what you want to add in and what you want to take out – how are you evolving?
What are you evolving from?
For me, “The plan” is all about giving back. Helping people figure out their stuff. It defies positioning from a marketing perspective. And it defies being run as a business. I think some examples of the things that I have decided not to do are in order.
I am not much longer going to continue with casual business networking, despite it providing me most of my clients for the last four years. I am no longer engaged in it the way that others are. I have evolved to the point where I can see that I have a core group of referral partners that I know, like, and trust. They remain a core part of my support mechanism.
I am no longer actively seeking clients who are young people wanting to grow long-term, sustainable businesses. I love the ones that I am still working with and I might work with a few more, but it is not going to be my core focus. To be true to me, I need to focus on the evolving needs of today’s boomers as they hit “retirement”. The 65 of our youth is now more like 85. When we were born in the middle of the last century, the conventional wisdom was that at about 65 people were close to death. Today that is much more like 85.
I am not going to see clients in my home office, especially since I am selling it to move to a more maintenance-free home. I will see them in a shared office facility, in coffee shops, their offices, restaurants, or, during the summer, in parks or along walking trails. Steve Jobs used to have walking meetings. I will also use Skype and FaceTime.
I am also changing my focus. I want to work with men in their fifties and sixties who want to design a life in which they are not controlled by an ever-enlarging prostate gland, fearing ED, and living in the past, but are rather active, flexible, centered, content, and wise. And I want to work with women in that age group who want a new relationship with their male friends devoid of the opposites of the first half of life and focused on their commonalities with a less gender-biased reality that defines the second half of life. A retirement-era life in which our differences are replaced by a new harmony and coherence. And you know what – both men and women are going to have to change their approach to one another and get over the pain from the first half of life in order to co-create a better way of living in the afternoon of their days.
What are you evolving to?
We have such potential in the afternoon of life. If we can find purpose and meaning, it is likely many of us can and will live active lives until we are at least 85. But the things that mattered in earlier days are gone. Men, particularly, need to find a new way. A new meaning. A new authenticity. We are not as strong, we can no longer make love four times a night, throw a fastball, dunk a basketball, hike into the woods with massive amounts of camera gear on our backs, and do hundreds of other things. In saying this in no way am I saying that women do not have a similar challenge, but I see too many men sitting on lawn chairs at North Park in the summer and complaining about having nothing to do as they slip into a meaningless life? They need to find a new way of “manning up”.
As men, we have things we never imagined we would have in earlier times. We have wisdom, even if looking for “masculine wisdom” produces an error in SEO tools since it is not searched for. We have experience. We have patience. We have humility. We need to create a world in which masculine wisdom is not a contradiction in terms – we need to be evolving to that.
My practice focus is on men and women who are wisdom weavers. People that want to weave together integrated wisdom based on masculine and feminine energies.
To do this, my “retirement project” is to launch a new website and web community using integrated technology from Rainmaker. It will include educational materials, podcasts, media, imagery, writings, and forums dedicated to helping people weave wisdom together in an integrated, integral fashion. It will also offer various life coaches an opportunity to participate in at least six areas:
- Community and support
What about you?
Want to help change the world and chart your evolutionary path?
Image Credits – Shutterstock