Retirement is not the end of the road…

It is in fact a beginning. A time to shift perspective and meaningfully transition into the golden years of your life.

There are several synonyms for the idiom ‘golden years’: the twilight years, the sunset years, or simply, old age. But I love the phrase ‘golden years’, because for many of us, it is these years that bring true freedom to take on all those endeavors we’ve wanted to throughout our busy, working lives but had to put aside for the future. Whether it’s volunteering for a project, spending more time with grandkids, gardening, or running a 50-kilometer trail through the forests.

I’ve been an independent consultant and coach for many years now, and retirement for me is maybe not as big a milestone as for people in organizational careers. Still, reaching the second half of the 60s is a turning point for all of us. I see it as a moment holding the potential of exceptional possibilities. In my case, one such exceptional possibility was running the Indian Summer Ultra. A friend of mine from my running group said to me a while back, “We don’t stop running when we are old. We get old when we stop running.” This turn of phrase struck a chord. In fact, it has become a sort of anthem for me in the last year, as I prepared for and completed my 50 km challenge at the age of 68!

Running this trail was not just a personal, physical challenge. Training for it and completing other trails in the process, became a journey of reflection, where I pondered over new avenues for my professional life. My own personal experience slowly planted the seed of a new endeavor in my head: a program through which I could connect with and guide other people approaching this similar meaningful moment of transition in their lives.

Creating a meaningful retirement moment is what I want to help others with through my new Indian Summer Program. This process has two sides. One part involves preparing to hand over your legacy, all that you have built professionally, into qualified hands. The other is charting out a roadmap for what comes next, the new role and activities you want to set out on. This is exactly what I helped one of my clients with a few years ago, when she approached me with the challenge of handing over her 30-year-old business to her son, so that she could devote herself to her grandchildren, gardening and the nonprofit she had been a member of for several years.

Despite her intentions, my client had been struggling to let go of the company’s responsibility, not knowing where to start with the handover and how to ensure that all the know-how she had acquired would be successfully passed on. A good and sustainable transition requires adequate planning. Together, she and I worked out a step-by-step plan to transfer her business within the next few years, beginning first with the operational responsibilities before moving on to strategic direction. In individual coaching sessions, I also helped her develop a personal plan, which involved reducing her company hours to free them up for the other activities she wanted to fill her life with. Additionally, we made a strong development plan for her son to take over the reins. Now, a few years later, my client has found a new, freer life. “I should have done this years ago!” she tells me, reflecting back on this process with satisfaction.

This is what I believe retirement can and should look like. Not the end of a journey, but the start of a new and just as meaningful one. So, if you have your eyes set on navigating this bend in the road, handing over your business or professional role and planning for new endeavors, get in touch and we’ll shape your Indian Summer together.