by Allan Milham
Today’s fifty-, sixty- and seventy-year-old want to remain relevant and continue to lead in their lives while they explore new possibilities as well as travel and enjoy family time. The question is: How do they find that balance? How do they plan and execute in a way that makes all this possible?
In times past, we imagined retirement through symbols of the front porch and the rocking chair. When people stopped working, they cast off their work identities completely. They withdrew from the world and all its “doing” to the comfort of the rocker on the front porch. There, our third act of life meant sitting back and watching others “do” the world’s work.
Work once involved physical labor and repetitive tasks with little reward beyond a paycheck. Even executives typically served as little more than cogs in a machine. However, with the rise of technology and shifts in economic structure, the world of work has changed dramatically. In the past 30 years, we have worked less with our physical strength and more with our mental acuity. We applied our creativity to tackle complex problems and craft effective solutions.
The Boomer generation redefined America, politically, culturally, economically, and technologically. Now, as Boomers approach the Third Act of Life, they are already what the third act of life can look like.
Both technological and social shifts have changed the vision of business, too. Increasingly, executives are looking beyond organizational objectives to achieve personal fulfillment and social good. They have built socially conscious companies, held volunteer days, and brought their concerns about personal growth, environmental responsibility, and community connection into the boardroom. No longer pursuing the goals of a single company, they have shaped their careers balancing their personal and professional goals.
It’s Time to Redefine What the Third Act of Life can look like.
Just as Boomers have been redefining their lives and careers, it follows that the Third Act of Life is ready for evolution, even revolution. Now it’s less about rocking chairs and more about rocking our third act of our lives. And it’s less about isolation and more about engagement—with self, family, and community.
As the new “older”’ generation, Boomers have great value to offer. Our world needs their skills, wisdom, and thought leadership. In parallel, it wishes them to remain engaged, How? By sharing their life experiences to keep an historical perspective on the rapid changes around us.
Fortunately, those needs match the commonly expressed desires of current and future retirees. For example, a recent Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey found that 75% of people over 50 want to work as part of their retirement. It noted that 80% of retired people who work do so not because they have to but because they want to. It also noted that retirees are three times more likely than pre-retired people to become entrepreneurs.
The benefits of continuing to work—from feeling purposeful to staying mentally sharp and continuing to earn income—are meaningful, even when it’s part-time work. But the third act of life for Boomers means more than a job. Today’s leaders who are in their third act of life want to remain relevant, continue to lead, and explore new possibilities as well as travel and enjoy family time. And they need to do it all while ensuring their prosperity into the future.
The question is: How do they find that balance? How do they plan and execute in a way that makes all this possible—especially if they lack immediate support needed to figure it all out?
To Rock Your Third Act of Life, Form a Band (with the right skills and talents)
No matter our vocation, skill set, or status, we typically made decisions based on factors ranging from economic conditions and business goals to our choice of tools. In the past, we collaborated with people whose skill sets supported us—that is, they helped us rule out bad ideas, foster good ones, recover from setbacks, and eventually achieve success.
Now as we enter the third act of life, Boomers face deeply personal decisions about the direction of their lives. But the support team they once turned to on the job is shrinking as old networks become less relevant for the Third Act of Life. Family members offer their opinions, but they’re not experts. And while experts such as financial planners, life coaches, and employment consultants are available, they are siloed. Rarely can they provide the holistic support needed for living a high-impact retirement. What is missing is true third act of life support. Having a meaningful third act of life strategy requires a process to help Boomers define goals, create plans, and execute effectively. And a team that helps them find purpose, fulfillment, and a reason to get excited about Monday mornings—that helps ensure financial stability and define personal health, fitness, and a sense of wholeness. A team that lets them use their skills and leadership capacities to contribute to the world and leave a profound legacy.
Questage is the New Paradigm for those desiring to create a meaningful third act of life
At Questage, we aim to build and inspire a community of engaged leaders who work together to redefine their third act of life for the benefit of themselves, their families, and the world.
We have more than 30 years of experience elevating top performers—from consulting with U.S. Olympians to advising senior leaders and executive teams around the globe. Within this growing community, Questage asks questions and shares ways for Boomers to rock their own retirements.