I’ve had several people talk to me about my retirement even though I was still employed while those conversations were being held. Because I had moved into a part time role with my current employer, many viewed that as going into retirement. The mindset is that if you’re not working full-time, you’re not really contributing and have really retired. There are many other options to be considered such as making significant contributions to the organization in new ways, transition from one phase to another, or going into a mode of still contributing to something bigger than yourself while finding time for those things that are personal priorities.
Retirement is not a concept that is consistent with the rest of life. All of life is a training ground for your finest moments. I am reminded that Moses began his most significant role when he was in his 70s. Similarly, his successor, Joshua, began his most significant role most likely when he was in his 60s.
What is it about us that makes us think that after 40 years of training, gathering wisdom born from experience, and building relationships, we should step aside and go into a season of inactivity and non-involvement? With the aging of the boomer generation, more and more organizations are coming to grips with the void of wisdom, knowledge and experience that they face if all those people just walk away at age 60 or 62 or even 65. It would seem that pathways need to be found to keep these people engaged at some level as a part of their “business and personal continuity” plan. Business continuity planning is not simply a function of disaster recovery, but ensuring the on-going stability of the organization.
My mentoring relationships are built primarily on the perspective that years of experience in many areas of life bring. After 30 years with a Fortune 10 company, 7 years as part of the senior management team of a national leader among non-profits, 43 years of marriage, 20+ years of church leadership, and scores of mentoring situations over 20+ years, it would seem to be a waste to retire and fade into the woodwork. Rather, I am looking forward to my next and perhaps greatest assignment. Stephen Covey refers to this as living life in crescendo.
I challenge everyone to consider where they are headed and how their current, past and future experiences might prepare them for roles yet unknown. Living life intentionally and preparing for future roles will prepare you not for stepping out of the game but stepping up your game for significance and into that which will energize and sustain you. Active and fulfilled people live longer and happier lives. Be one!