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Feb 15, 2024

"It's not what you do, but who you become by what you do." --Anonymous

The New Old Age

Still wondering what you want to be when you grow up? Turns out, you're not alone. A fascinating phenomenon is burgeoning among retiring adults as they step out of their primary careers and into "the Encore Years". Programs at institutions like Stanford and Harvard have cropped up to support such transitions, particularly for established leaders. Such a process unearths raw questions on the nature of who they are, and what really matters. "When we're young," David Brooks writes, "we tend to want what other people want: the things that will bring affirmation, status, and financial gain. But in the Encore phase, students are compelled to move from pursuing the extrinsic desires the world rewards to going after their intrinsic desires." Conventional success hinges on productivity and its optimization of effort and deliverables. But what's the relevance of productivity once you get to the stage beyond work life? Former advertising firm CEO Susan Gianinno notes, "The key shift is to go from mastery to servant." Brooks describes her sentiment, "When you're in a high-powered work environment, you think of yourself as a master of performance. But to succeed in this new phase of life, 'you have to serve.'" The question is; does one wait until 65+ to find our deeper purpose or can we learn from these trailblazers and start now?

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