I paused the other day and considered the past few years and realized that I had, without any real plan, stepped up my giving game for the pure joy of it.  As my world continues to change and the race to succeed, to prove myself, ebbs, I wonder what I’ll be doing next.  The day is coming when aging parents move on, all of our children are grown and established, and the time that I give to them and the business community is going to be radically changed.  What will I do with all of these extra hours?  It’s exciting really – there is an endless list of possibilities and I know that retirement is not a time to disappear, and that giving is not just for the wealthy.  I’ve always loved Winston Churchill’s line “We make a living by what we get – we make a life by what we give.”  That quote has been a guiding force for my business.  Your time is coming – what are you going to do?

We are so much more than the sum of our work skills, our collection of experiences.  It can take years to get to really know yourself – we know the person others want us to be, we play the roles that are required to function in life and in business, but who are we really?  What get’s your mo-jo going – discovering this is the key to tranistioning from success to significance.

What inspires you?  What makes you angry?  What makes you get out of bed every morning eager to greet the day?  It’s not the money.

“Chance favors the prepared mind” (Louis Pasteur).  About half of the people between the ages of 50-65 tell me they want to keep working in an area that helps their community.  They aren’t just do-gooders as many would say but rather they are the driving force, an undeniably huge demographic, that could quite possibly change the world.  And the number of people in this group who want to give back, to make a difference, is going to swell around the world over the next 10-20 years so I’m confident this revolution is just getting started.  It’s in our best interest to harness and inspire this enormous resource and focus their skills, ability and energy in a whole new direction.

There’s no university for the “second half” – we just aren’t prepared and often find ourselves doing what others have done before.  A good place to start is to take stock of your hidden personal assets – maybe it’s time you wrote your own personal mission statement.  Giving (and that can take many forms) is for everyone and is in fact a satisfying path to a sense of personal well being, balance and significance.  The real heroes in my mind are those regular people, like you and me, ordinary individuals who weave acts of giving back into the very fabric of their being.  Everyone can see something that needs fixing, it’s just that we don’t always know what to do about it.  What if we just got involved rather that sitting passively – you can be part of the audience or you can be part of the show.  Now is not the time to be shy and your options will continue to grow each year more retired individuals look for ways to make good on promises they’ve made themselves in the past, and as the world begins to recognize the value in this immense resource.

And this group of people are NOT running out of steam – there’s plenty of knowledge, experience, talent and vitality left.  I recently met a remarkable man who at the age of 90 is wondering what might be next for him – he’s busy preparing for the next decade.  Amazing!

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