BABY BOOMERS, WHAT’S YOUR NEXT ACT?
If you are a baby boomer, you may be a little burned out and starting to think about what you’d really like to be doing in the next five years. You’re in good company.
More and more baby boomers are taking the time to think about the future. After decades of raising families and moving up corporate ladders, they’re either daydreaming or actively thinking about what they want to do with their lives in the years ahead. Every day, the road ahead is becoming shorter than the one behind. It’s a startling perspective. The view from the top of the corporate ladder may not offer the quality of life or the personal and professional experiences boomers want to explore in the years to come. For millions, it’s time to seriously consider what’s important in life and then get busy developing the next act.
But even though boomers are at a life tipping point, and as much they may want to change their lives, transitioning from what they know to what they don’t can be daunting, if not scary. It requires letting go of old life styles, old habits and routines, potential loss of income and work relationships and, perhaps, most frightening of all, loss of identity. The fear of loss can stop the best of intentions to make important life and career change.
A recent Wall Street Journal article, The Case for a Midlife “Gap” Year, highlighted the lives of several boomers who, after taking a “gap” year to think about and plan for the future, successfully transitioned into rewarding new lifestyles. They are part of a growing trend of boomers who “retire” to go into new work experiences. The article cited a 2011 survey by AARP of 1,200 baby boomers between the ages of 46 and 65. 74% said that after “retirement,” they would return to work either out of financial need, personal interest or to start their own business.
As a coach, I see this tipping point as the perfect opportunity for boomers considering a major career and life change to take advantage of coaching’s ability to support them before and during the transition process. A skillful coach can be a tremendous support and sounding board to help people evaluate their lives, visualize future dreams, identify important values, clarify issues, set new goals, understand impending challenges, and take positive steps to create meaningful and abundant futures.
Everyone experiences change through a unique set of personal circumstances. Some embrace change, and some fear it. But one thing is certain, change will happen. Either we can passively let change come to us and drift along its current, or we can seize the opportunity to reframe our lives by creating our own change. It takes work, time, patience and courage. And support.
Boomers, your future is what you make it. What’s your next act going to be? Time to get started planning it.