Alright, baby boomers, are you ready for retirement?
I don’t mean financially ready, as in having enough money put aside to not have to worry about that issue for this next phase of life.
And I don’t mean physically ready, as in being in good shape to enjoy the fruits of decades of hard work and significant contribution.
I mean are you mentally and emotionally ready for retirement?
For a time when you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn, and go through the morning rituals of a corporate warrior? When you don’t have a professional identity defined by your email signature, your business card, and perhaps, most importantly, by your own self-image? When people no longer respond to you and interact with you by virtue of the position you occupy within your company and its ecosystem?
Are you ready for a time when the main structural forces of your day that organize it, and define it, and make it meaningful, aren’t there anymore?
If you answered yes to these questions, you are an exception to the rule.
As much as most folks look forward to retirement for a stress-free, discretion-rich, leisure-filled period of their life that they have worked hard to achieve, studies indicate that most folks are not sure of how to deal with these newly found freedoms, once they are in a position to access them.
Unlimited golf is great for the first couple of months. So is unlimited time with grand-kids. And unlimited time to travel.
But anything unlimited begins to pall after a while.
Then, you will begin to miss the thrill of the chase on a sales call. The excitement of achieving a big business deal. The satisfaction of coaching someone to achieve their true potential. The engagement of an audience that you are addressing. The contentment of training a group to get to the next level. The joy of discovering a solution to a tough business problem.
That’s the bad news. We hear it all the time from folks like yourself, who have retired after long, successful careers.
Here’s the good news.
There is a way to have your cake and eat it in retirement. There is a way to continue to make a meaningful professional contribution and enjoy the associated benefits, while at the same time having increased leisure and lower stress. There is a way to be an executive and a retiree at the same time.
Want to know how to pull this off? How to enable a second career after retirement? How to turn on the after-burner, and enjoy retirement at the same time?
Here’s how to do it, step by step.
A couple years before you are planning to retire, start expanding your professional brand.
Best way to do that is to start small.
Agree to speak at the leadership meeting of a colleague not at your company, on a topic that is within your sphere of expertise.
Become a mentor for a high potential executive you know in a different industry sector and geography.
Reach out to a couple of business schools in the vicinity, and offer to be a guest lecturer in one of their undergraduate or graduate courses.
Co-author a couple of articles or white papers with an established professor or researcher on a topic that you deal with on a daily basis.
Consult with a medium-sized business that is not in direct competition with your company, but may be in an adjacent space.
You can do all this while doing your day job, by the way. You know why?
These aren’t jobs. They are engagements. New breed of cat. Gotta get hip to it, dudes and dudettes. It is new way the world will work.
Yes, due to the increasing disaggregation of work into discrete components, the growing legions of independent knowledge workers to deliver those components, and the developing capability to source work in this fashion, engagements are going to become the way business advances in the next decade.
And as you do more of them, concurrently with your full time, regular, old-fashioned job, four things will happen for you.
You will burnish your professional brand among important constituencies. You will build your network out in an authentic and genuine manner. You will add value to other organizations by leveraging what you know better than others. And you will enhance your skills through practice and experience.
Oh, and I forgot one more thing you will do.
You will build your post-retirement practice. The practice we spoke about before that will enable you to stay relevant and relaxed at the same time.
But, where do you find engagements like these, you ask?
You could go to websites that cater to people looking for these types of engagements. There are a few of those. Your favorite search engine can find them for you faster than I can type their names in this article, so I won’t waste your time doing that.
But, when you find them, and dig deeper into them, you will discover this.
They are meant for professionals who speak, and train, and consult, and publish full time, for a living, not for folks like you with a day job who want to try their hand at it to expand your brand.
However, there is one website dedicated to creating a community for these kinds of engagements. It is the first ever engagement network, with 8 different types of knowledge sourcing engagements, offered by professionals for professionals.
It is called QuantumFly.
QuantumFly doesn’t do pokes, pins, and pics. It doesn’t send reminders of anniversaries and birthdays. It doesn’t curate news articles about your connections.
Instead, it helps you DO stuff. Like leveraging your social network connectivity to find engagements in your area of expertise globally. Like getting and displaying feedback on your work in these engagements. Like building an economically rational network of customers and providers for Product You.
It will soon be the largest knowledge sourcing portal on the planet.
You should check it out http://quantumfly.com/
You can thank us later.